Welcome to my little ol' blog. I'll be upfront about it: I don't blog very often any more. If you found your way here because you read my book "Trailer Life," have a gander! But it's easier to keep up with me on Instagram or on my Facebook page. I have this long, drawn out theory on why I'm a terrible blogger, but that is a story for another day. Enjoy the ramblings of my life from the last 8 years or so.

Monday, July 30, 2012


Today is catch-up day. It's a day of list making and list doing. We essentially haven't been home for 9 days. It's been busy, and today and tomorrow will be the days we get caught up. When I say "we," I mean me. Ryan has been swamped at work. We both went to Girls' Camp again, and it was great. We are in the kitchen, and we also do other stuff as well. Ryan helped certify the girls for orienteering. He also had a part in the spiritual program as Joseph Smith- a monologue of sorts. We both went on the third year hike. It was 12 miles in one day. 12. And a third of that mileage was up a mountain. I'm not joking. It was tough, but the girls did great. No tears! I liked being around the other leaders- it helps when the people you are working with are kind, and fun. No one was uptight- everyone seemed to do their jobs and no more/no less. It was perfect.
Now? Now I have to figure out if I can go again next year. With kids and hopefully animals, that gets more difficult. We'll see!
And, I'm off. Off to do laundry! And everything else on my list.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Taking Pictures

Friend Amy and I had talked about entering some pictures in the fair, just for fun. Well, last year we forgot. This year, we caught the deadline on time! The problem this year is that I am related to (and talk to often) the chairman of the photography stuff, and a couple of the judges! I wonder if I can enter under an assumed name? I don't even know if I have any I want to enter, and if I don't, not sure if I have the time to go out and take some. 

What reminded me about the fair was Aunt Gaye, who was practicing taking pictures the other night. I adjusted a couple of settings for her, took a sample picture, and then it hit me: I miss my camera. I hardly use it right now. There are a few reasons, namely that my camera bag is so huge, and my car so small and packed with kids, that it's just better not to lug it around. Excuses! I will have to get better about lugging.

This picture was taken with my iPhone- the kids loved the sunset and wanted me to take a picture.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Riding with Will: a Glimpse Into His Mind

Yesterday, Will had the opportunity to ride in the front seat next to me in the car. These are just three of the memorable moments:
1) We saw a Forest Service fire truck parked on the shoulder of the road, and there were some fire fighters dressed out. Two ran across the road carrying a stretcher. I surmised they were training (they were by the river), until I saw a county fire truck coming with lights on. I tell the kids, "Something must have happened- someone needs help." Without missing a beat, Will says, " It's a bear. It's probably stuck in trap. Dangling by its foot. You know that trap dad made with us? It's like that, only stronger for a bear. I bet that's what it is."

2) "Hey Mom. I know two places where hobos can find food. In a trash can and on the street."

3) "Hey Mom. Since you won't let me have a snake, how about I have a bunch of Meal Worms for pets?"

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Being "Private"

I don't like my blog being private. No one reads it. Except my father-in-law, who told me on Sunday that before he goes to bed, he checks Jocelyn's and my blog for updates, and by the way, we need to update more. At least someone reads it. :) I think the problem is this: it's a pain in the butt to log on. It just is. I've had several people tell me they can't log on. I'm thinking of getting rid of the private thing altogether. I wasn't ever concerned about stalkers or perverts or whatever it is we are supposed to be cautious about. I just haven't been. Most people are good, good people. At least, most people are decent enough not to be creepy. But since Ryan was shot, and we didn't know who did it, I felt like I should make it private. Now, after two months, I'm over it!

But I still can't decide, and I want to talk to Ryan about it. I don't think it matters anymore. His name was in the local paper, which is accessible online. If the bad guys want to know his name, they can find it there or here. I am technically a public official, so not so sure how much info is already out there about me. And then I think, would someone really come "after us?" I just don't see it happening. But then again, I didn't see Ryan being shot in a drive-by happening either. (If you are a bad guy, and do want to shoot again, try a shooting range. They are super fun and you won't go to jail. Besides, we are armed at my house, and we are good shots. Just so you know. And if you hurt one of my kids, you will not live to your next birthday. Just saying. I'm violent.)

In other news, it's hot. Very hot. And, the stucco guys are here! They are making there way around the house. I feel bad because it's so hot out there, but luckily they are covered all the way by the wrap around porch.

I am teaching the kids how to play cards. We play poker and blackjack, and one of our favorites is Uno. I have started remembering how to play Gin and Rummy, and would love to be able to play again. It's fun to play with the kids, even if it's painful at the moment. Painful because it seems so simple to match a color or number (and pay attention to when it's your turn!!!!). I can see future game nights and good times around a camp site.

What else? Oh ya- yesterday Jessie and I took a nap at 11:00 in the morning. Crazy. We were both tired. I started running, and I totally, whole heartedly, most assuredly stink at it. I'm not sure I can even run a whole mile without stopping. I can't. Today I ran 2.6 miles. In something like 40 minutes. (That included a walking warm up, breaks for walking, and a minute picking a cactus out of Pearl's foot.) So that's what...15 minutes miles? You are supposed to be able to walk that. I was thinking of doing a half marathon, not for time, but to finish. So I could get some exercise. I am a person who needs a goal. If I don't have a tangible goal, I won't do it. And "getting thinner" isn't enough motivation for me. I do like food. So, I figure a goal of "finishing a half marathon in three hours or less" is tangible and doable. Problem is, I'm afraid it's unreasonable for. me right now. Like, maybe I should try a 10k first. The longest I've ever run was 5 miles, once, back in college when I was 18. I'm 35 and weigh 20 pounds more now. That's not good, you know? So maybe a nice challenge that is within reach if I work hard is a 10k (6.2 miles). Then, if I survive that, I could move up to a half. We'll see.

I have a lot to do. Will my to-do list ever shorten? I doubt it. It's part of being a grown-up, I guess. at least I can check this off! ;)

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

The House

Not a lot has happened on the house in a while. A lot of little things, but nothing worth taking pictures of. Is that weird? We are waiting on the stucco guy to come up tomorrow. We are almost finished enough for the final. Then it's finishing up some trim work around the kitchen. We are moving the beds in shortly (after we get the final). We decided we will move into the rooms that are finished. Hope to be all moved in by the time school starts. I took this picture while Ryan and I were talking, it reminds me of a pirate ship or something. The curvy-ness? The planks?  Who knows.

Happy Birthday to Me!

Sweet picture, right?

Not really. It's an iPhone picture, and I was trying to see how I looked before going out to dinner. I was getting frustrated with the camera...anyway, after I took it, I thought it wasn't so bad. It's my current profile picture on Facebook, but I think that's going to change soon. The no smiling part is starting to bug, like I'm grumpy or something. I'm never grumpy, so I feel like it's false advertising. (I repeat, I'm NEVER grumpy. Riiiiiiiiigggghhhhht)

This year I turned 35. Life is going great. Brilliantly. As best I could possibly imagine. I know I write about how things aren't working sometimes, but that's mostly for posterity, and for ideas from other people. At the age of 35, I still live in an RV, although I spend a lot of time out at the house. I cook meals using the microwave and BBQ. I have no fridge that works, but I have a freezer. Our house is almost finished. My kids are awesome. They are the smartest, kindest, most thoughtful, best looking kids I know. They always eat their vegetables (and ask for seconds!) and they never argue. They always, always clean up after themselves. 

(Dear kids: you know I'm being funny, right? If you really did clean up after yourselves, and ate all your veggies (Will!!!), you would be 100% awesome. And of course I think you guys are the smartest, except when you do something dumb, and you are kind. Of course I'm going to say you are the best looking- shoot, you look like me and dad! Gotta get a compliment somehow! Anyway, you guys are great. I love you.) 

At the age of 35, I'm thinking about taking up running again. I have come to terms with my talents and abilities, and do the best with what I have. I'm a work in progress, still learning all the time. Sometimes I feel old, but mostly I still feel really young. That's what happens when the average age of your friends is around 60 or so. I am looking forward to the next year, to see what happens. I was telling someone today that I am a planner, and I have a one year, five year, and ten year plan. (I really and truly always do.) Recognizing I can't control everything, and plans are malleable, I can't wait to see how it all pans out in the next little bit. 

Pearl, (our Queensland Heeler/ACD) at 6 months

I don't know if I'll get a picture of her standing up...she's always by me!

Here she is, at nearly 6 months. She is 14-15 inches tall at the shoulder and weighs 29 pounds. She's a little petite for an ACD (Queensland Heeler). She is solid muscle, built by all the sprinting around she does. She loves to walk/jog with me, and loves to fetch. She has a "squirrel" that we throw, and she LOVES it. She knows the following words (even if she doesn't always choose to use them...but she mostly does):
Sit, stay, come, down, lay down (same as down), "bang" (roll over and play dead), wait, okay, drink, go potty, get in the car, go see George, get the cat (she loves the cats), out, no, yes, go, bring it, and go to bed. Her mind is more active than mine is! I wish I was a better trainer- I'm learning, too. She is awesome, and I love her. She barks at cars that come up, and she barks at people she doesn't recognize. Her hackles stand straight up, and she looks a little fierce. I love that alarm feature of her. She gets between the person and me. She alerted me to a rattlesnake. She is the best investment I've ever made, and I love her. Never thought I'd say that about a pet. But I do. I appreciate her dog-ness and attributes, and she is an essential part of my life- like a tool. I use her to help me. I feel safer when I'm out hiking. I feel just slightly more active when I play with her. And, she listens better than my kids. :)  We are thinking about breeding her because she is so small and smart. We could use a couple more. We will see what happens in the next year. I'm not sure I'll have another dog of a different breed again... I'm a Queensland Heeler owner for life!

Reptile Show

Here is Ed and Eric Johnson of E&M Reptile Show. This guy was great. So great, I want him to come to the kids' school for an assembly. I went and talked to him about it after, to find all the info. I passed it along to the PTC people...I'm going to bug them until it happens. He is based out of Springville (Tualre County) and travels around for the shows. It is truly a show: educational and extremely funny. Do I sound like I'm pimping it? I kinda feel like I am, but he was just SO GOOD with the kids. The parents loved him.Ed was the first to be chosen to help, and he was able to pet a tarantula. Here, Eric is pulling threads out and putting them on Ed. I have fuzzy pictures of the rest of the kids: Will was in the last group to hold the longest Albino Python I've ever seen. Kacy helped hold a blue tongued lizard something or other. She was all serious and he kept trying to joke with her, but she was NOT taking her eyes off of the lizard. Her face was cracking me up. Jessie's story is even funnier. At first, this little boy who volunteered was asked to hold this leash. The animal was still in it's basket, so he was just holding this black leash that led into the basket. When Eric brought out this large monitor lizard, the kids jumped up a foot in the air, dropped the leash, and bolted for his mother. It was CLASSIC. Since Jessie was next in line of the group, she held the leash. I didn't think she would, but she did a great job. Like Kacy, she was very concerned about the head of the lizard and wasn't really listening to the jokes and information. No smiles. But she loved it. This guy is seriously so good- he had my "educational" heart when he kept relating things back to books and reading in his fun way. Score!

The library has a great summer program set up. We have gone every Saturday. This week in the Magic Show. Last week was "Working with Wildlife" with Jeff Lee. He was good, the animals were fun. The kids loved seeing Levi the monkey, who played Jack the monkey in Pirates of the Carribean. I hated it, but only because of this really annoying older lady who sat with the kids (in front of the kids) and didn't follow instructions. No criss-cross applesauce for her, she kept touching the animals, and asking questions like she was the only one in the room. And then, there was the evil volunteer who was supposed to keep an eye on the cages for the guy, but instead kept getting after the kids for being...kids. "Shh!" "Be quiet!" "Get back!"  The worst was probably the way he would go over towards a kid, point, and give them the evil eye. It got to the point where I went over to the librarian (whom I know) and asked who he worked for, so I knew who to complain to. I figure if I feel someone is being over bearing, they are totally are! Because I'm so strict with what I call "public behaviors," you know, being quiet when necessary, not being the kids looking into the next booth in a restaurant, staying out of older people's ways... all of that. I'm strict. But I can also tell kids to zip their lips and not make them feel like crap or get scared. I'm going to either write a formal complaint or go volunteer for that job next time. Serious. 

Medal of Valor for Ryan

Valor: boldness or determination in facing great danger, especially in battle; heroic courage; bravery. (dictionary.com)

On June 8, Ryan was given a Medal of Valor award from the Kern County Law Enforcement Foundation. He didn't know he was getting the award until a couple of days prior, which just thrilled him. Hahaha- he HATES things like this. He was asked by his Captain to give a few remarks at the program several weeks before. The award was unexpected. It was very nice of the foundation to give Ryan the award. 

The dinner was at the Stockdale Country Club, and dinner was great. I ate WAY too much, and we sat at the Young and Nichols table. (Young and Nichols are a law firm, and we are friends with the Nichols part.) Several officers were honored as "Exceptional Officer of the Year" from various departments. Another officer from the Arvin PD received the medal of valor as well, after he got in a fight and had to shoot someone. 

When Ryan's turn came, they showed a picture of his car. The room got really quiet. Then, they played part of his 11-99 call to dispatch. The room was SILENT. You could here a pin drop. All evening was fairly noisy because of dinner, and the clinking and clanking of silverware and glasses. When they played the recording, it was eerily silent. After the recording, his Captain called Ryan up and everyone in the room gave Ryan a standing ovation. He was calm and collected during his radio traffic. He gave great details. He was worried about responding units, telling dispatch to tell them to slow down, his injuries weren't life threatening. He warned responding units that the weapon was a fully automatic MAC-10. In short, instead of peeing his pants and sucking his thumb in the corner of the car like I would have done (had I not gone mental with anger and rage...because who knows how you'll react, right?) he was the epitome of professionalism. In my opinion. 

When it was Ryan's turn to talk, he was... don't think I'm bragging here... better than anyone that night. That boy has a true gift for speaking to an audience. No notes, nothing written out. He was awesome. And, I'm not just saying that. Even Don Clark, an old TV news reporter who worked in Bakersfield for years came up to him and told him his remarks were the highlight of the night. So many people came up to us afterwards and told Ryan what a great job he did.  He did.

Later that evening, a Sheriff officer from Kern Valley was honored as Officer of the Year. He is awesome, and it made our little valley look great. The officer who got it is a great guy, and does a lot of work with our youth up here. The kids and parents just love him.

Ryan is glad it's all over. He has a box with stuff in it from this incident. Now, it's back to business as usual. An arrest has been made in connection to the shooting- it's a credible connection. (I really don't know how much I can say about what I know, so I'm zipping lips here. Sorry. Ere on the side of caution, right?) We will see how it all goes down from here.