So I Went to Wyoming

2 07 2014

…and I kept a brief journal of my trip. I know. You’re such lucky readers.

6/27/14 – Wyoming, Day 1

I tried communing with nature, but it was muddy so I gave up.

My cousin, on the other hand, tried to drive across a stream and his truck is now stuck.

Did I mention he's a doctor?

Did I mention he’s a doctor?

So most of the men-folk and several women are working on that mess, while I sit here and avoid venturing forth into the mud.

Did I mention I hate mud?

It’s evening now. The kids are outside running around and a small group of adults is playing Carcassone. I’m not playing because I hate strategy games even more than I hate mud.

Still, I feel a little bit left out.

There are a lot of people here. I love them all, but the sheer proximity—it’s a lot to deal with for someone who really enjoys solitude.

The decor here is Western American rustic. Or something. Basically, there are a lot of dead animals staring at me and it’s creeping me out.

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6/28/14 – Wyoming, Day 2

Today I went shooting and I drove an ATV. I feel so bad-ass.

You can't tell, but I'm totally behind the wheel of an ATV here. I promise.

You can’t tell, but I’m totally behind the wheel of an ATV here. I promise.

I just sang in the family talent show. I feel less bad-ass now, but still pretty awesome.

6/29/14 – Wyoming, Day 3

We went to church at a local congregation this morning. The talks were on faith, which is personally relevant to me right now.

Last week my therapist brought up Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego, and we talked for a bit about faith. About how faith is more than believing in something—it’s knowing that if your hopes, your dreams, everything that if good in your life comes crashing down around you, you’ll still believe.

Faith, as one of the speakers said today, is more than just a feeling. It’s a choice.

So today I choose to have faith. I choose to believe my life will not always revolve around my depression. I choose to have faith that one day I’ll look up and realize my life is so much more than I ever expected it to become.

I choose. I believe.

6/30/14 – Wyoming, Day 4

Headed home today. We’ve had a great time here, but I’m still kind of glad we’re done.

We did run into some traffic on the way home.

We did run into some traffic on the way home.

So there you have it. I know, pretty exciting stuff. I bet you can hardly wait until my next post!


A Simple Prayer

18 09 2013

“…and please bless mom that she can be happy.”

It breaks my heart.

I don’t want my boys to even know about depression, much less have personal experience with a loved one who suffers from it.  I don’t want to miss soccer games because I’m exhausted from ECT treatments, or because I’m just too sad to leave the house. I don’t want to dread helping in their classes because of the massive effort it takes to convince myself to face a roomful of strange children.

I want to clean the house. I want to cook dinner. I want to play games. I want a smile and a laugh that appear at the slightest provocation.

I don’t want to be a depressed person. I don’t want to be a depressed mom.

It’s a simple prayer, really.

Please, God. Help me not be depressed.


Jenny vs. Nature, Day 2: “That’s Called Exhaustion, Honey.”

1 08 2011

I’m sure you’ve all been checking daily to see if I’ve updated with the exciting conclusion to my camping story. Or possibly you’ve forgotten I wrote about camping at all. Either way, here it is!

Camping, Day 2
July 23, 2011

5:30 am Car: “Sounds like the birds are waking up.” Me: “Thank you, Captain Obvious.”

I’m cold. In July. This is not right. The air mattress has been slowly deflating throughout the night. Also, I’ve needed to pee for about 3 hours, but it was dark and very scary and the bears were probably waiting in the bushes for people with weak bladders. Shut up. It’s finally light enough to venture to the bathrooms on my own. On the way back I consider staying up to watch the sun rise, but then I remember I’m not a crazy person.

5:45 am Car is peeing in the bushes. Men suck. And there are other people awake on purpose. What the hell, crazy people? I’m going back to bed.

9:15 am Oh, hi. It’s still morning, right? While I was asleep Car took approximately 200 pictures of prairie dogs:

And a few of chipmunks:

9:30 am Little G threw one of the eggs on the ground. Hey, I wasn’t really that hungry.

9:45 am Just heard Car say to Big G, “Do you want to walk to the toilet, or just pee on a tree?” One guess which one Big G picked.

10:00 am I gave a change of clothes to Big G and sent him to the tent to change. He’s in there humming while he gets dressed. At least someone slept well last night.

10:10 am Car is pulling Judo moves on flies.

10:15 am Big G refuses to drink the Instant Breakfast he has every morning at home because it doesn’t taste the same. Key difference: I forgot to bring a straw. Ah, the deprivation involved in roughing it.

10:25 am Know what takes almost as long as inflating an air mattress? Boiling an omelet in a plastic bag. Related: I’m hungry.

11:40 am Finally finished breakfast and have been packing things up. While taking down the tent, Car and I have this exchange:

Car: “Let’s tip the tent on its side and shake out some of the dirt.”
Me: “ACK! BAT!”
Car: “BAT?!”
Me, pointing sheepishly to the baseball bat he brought to beat down bears during the night, “You know, bat.”

Little G helps us carry things to the car, but some things are just too heavy.

11:50 am A deer just went loping through our campsite. Wow. Just…wow.

12:30 pm At the lake. Little G placed two feet in the water, then screamed to get out and refused to have anything more to do with it. Big G was hesitant, but soon warmed up to the idea of exploring the shallows.

1:30 pm Somewhere along the line Car missed the information handout that tells men when your kids are whining and your wife is crabby, it’s time to go home.

1:40 pm New plan: I’m sitting in the car with Little G, who’s stuffing his face with Doritos. Wait, scratch that. Now he’s staring forward with glassy eyes. He might be in some sort of preservative-induced coma.

Car and Big G are taking a walk around the lake.

1:50 pm It was a short walk, so now it’s time to make peanut butter sandwiches for the kids. I’ll be honest—I’d just as well give them chips and soda and hope they pass out until we hit a McDonald’s. I’m kind of done.6

3:00 pm We’re home! Big G, who managed (through Herculean effort) to stay awake on the drive home, is dead asleep on the couch. Little G slept for about 30 minutes, so he’s ready to party.

3:05 pm Car: “I don’t know if you feel it, but after I go camping, I feel relaxed and mellow.” Me: “That’s called exhaustion, honey.”

6:00 pm Oh, hi! Two hours still counts as a nap, right?

There you have it, friends. My complete camping experience. Sort of. Some of you will ask if I had fun. Umm…yes? It’s not exactly my regular definition of fun. In my world o’ fun, I can just go pee whenever I want without stressing about things that go bump (or roar, or chomp) in the night. But it was a bit of an adventure, the boys had a good time, and I love spending time with my family. So yes, it was fun. Just different fun.

Will I do it again? Well, you’ll just have to keep reading, won’t you?

*Edited to add a side view of the prairie dog to prove to my mother that I do actually know what a chipmunk is:

NOT a chipmunk.

**Also edited to change “rink” to “drink” now that two people have felt the overwhelming need to point out my error. For the love of all that’s holy, folks. I’ve never claimed to be perfect. Go read 20 other personal blogs and then let me know how mine stacks up in the grammar and spelling categories. (I’m looking at you, Rachel!)

***It’s not that I don’t appreciate a heads-up when I make a mistake. But the gleefulness in Rachel’s comment was just rude.

****You hear me, Rachel? Now you’re dead to me and Mark will never sing at my funeral and it’s all your fault. I hope you’re happy with your superior little self.

*****For those of you wondering about the singing thing, before I went camping I called Rachel and told her if a bear ate me, her job was to put together a group to sing “Hard to Say Goodbye to Yesterday” by Boyz II Men at my funeral. She and her husband Mark were a little bummed when I returned unscathed.

Humans 1, Bears 0

26 07 2011

On Friday I wrote a pre-camping post titled “In Case I Get Eaten by Bears.” The title was obviously a joke, because I had no expectation of being consumed by mammals. Insects, yes. Mammals, not so much.

Mere moments after I posted, my friend Esther had this to say on Facebook:

“Jenny, did you see that Payson Lakes is closed today because of bear issues? I know your husband is going to hurt me for telling you, but I don’t want you getting eaten by bears. Check KSL for the story.”

I immediately went to the KSL website (I admit, a small part of me wondered if I’d found an out and wouldn’t have to go camping) and found this ever-so-comforting information:

“A curious bear caused quite a commotion at Payson Lake Campground Thursday evening. …Early Thursday, campers were told to be cautious, but later in the evening, they were told to get out of the campground. …Payson Lakes Campground will remain closed until rangers are confident that the two bears are no longer in the area and no longer a threat to the public.”

Umm…okay. I called the ranger station just to confirm, because I know Car, and I knew he wouldn’t throw in the towel based on one silly news story. Bad move on my part—the lower campground (where the bears were sighted) had been shut down, but the upper campground (where our reservation was located) remained open.

So we packed up our car and our kids, and with no small amount of trepidation on my part (Car: “You’re not really nervous, are you?” Dude, bears. BEARS.) we headed into the mountains.

Oh, and I took a notebook. You’re welcome.

Camping, Day 1
July 22, 2011

It’s 4:00 pm and we’re finally on our way to the bear-infested campground. Big G is beside himself—not just because we’re going camping, but because there are two flies in the car who are hitching a ride. “My friends are going camping with us!”

This is going to be a long trip.

4:05 pm Big G made up a song for the flies: “We’re going to go camping and you’re coming too!” He’s telling them how cool it’ll be to see all the stars in the sky. We’re like the fly version of the Starship Enterprise, and they’re boldly going where no flies have gone before. I kind of want to kill one of the flies just to see Big G’s reaction.

I have issues.

4:15 pm Big G: “It’s taking a long time to get there, mom.” Dude.

4:20 pm Big G: “Mom, there’s a butterfly out there! In real nature!” We need to get out more. Speaking of real nature, two little deer just ran across the road in front of our car. Wait…Bambi? Where am I?

4:25 pm Just passed a truck being towed out of the canyon. I’m guessing the owner was mauled by a bear.

4:30 pm Should I be worried that tons of cars are headed out of the canyon but our is the only one going in?

4:35 pm Big G: “Fly, do you like it? I bet you like it. Mom, both of them like the car.”

4:40 pm Other vehicles spotted head up the canyon. at least we won’t be the only entrée on the menu. Related: my husband drives like an old lady and now there are three pickup trucks pulling trailers stacked up behind us.

4:45 pm The eagle has landed! Big G just tried to come out my door and I told him to use his own. Big G: “But it’s plant-y out there!” Me: “Yeah, that’s kind of the point.”

5:00 pm I already have three mosquito bites. Nature totally hates me.

5:30 pm Car informs me the initial surge of the electric air pump is too much for the inverter to handle. Translation: no pump, no air mattress. I will be sleeping on the ground. What the hell?

6:00 pm Car borrowed an air compressor from the recreation services employee who lives at the campsite across from us. With some ingenuity and duct tape, I’ll be sleeping on an air mattress. Huzzah!

6:20 pm Sent the menfolk to check out the toilet situation. I consider this a very important scouting expedition. Perhaps should have sent someone with higher standards than “a hole in which to pee.”

6:35 pm I’ve broken five nails so far. Nature sucks.

6:40 pm Nature has a lot of squirrels.

6:45 pm Ventured off to the bathrooms. Really not so bad, except for the pair of Disney panties on the floor that I’ve decided not to question.

6:50 pm Heard a noise in the bushes across the road. Looked over and saw a deer headed toward our campsite. Nature is kind of awesome.

7:00 pm Air mattress still blowing up. It is, perhaps, the world’s wussiest air compressor. We may have a fully inflated mattress around midnight.

7:30 pm Few things are more exciting to a 5-year-old boy than tossing twigs onto a fire. I did not know this.

7:45 pm The air mattress is mostly inflated. Car decides it would be faster to finish it himself.

8:35 pm Air mattress and sundry bedding are finally in the tent. Big G has decided to throw weeds on the fire, but for some reason words it like so: “Mom, should we throw some weed on the fire?”

8:40 pm I’m still giggling, because I’m apparently 13.

8:45 pm Menfolk go in search of water and leave me alone with 12 bars of chocolate. This seems like poor planning on their part.

8:50 pm I hear a voice in the distance yelling, “No! No! NO!” It’s Car. I don’t want to know.

9:15 pm Mmmm…s’mores.

10:30 pm We hear a loud crashing noise in the woods and take refuge in the car while Car investigates.

11:10 pm As we climb into the tent, Little G asks mournfully, “Are we done camping, mom?”

Stay tuned for Camping, Day 2!

The Best Medicine

12 10 2010

To wrap up my Albuquerque travelogue, I’ll share a few of the things that made me giggle during our trip.

One night Andrew, my 7-year-old nephew, asked Big G if he wanted to hear a joke:

Andrew: Do iguanas have tummies or wallets?
Big G: Tummies?
Andrew: No! They have TUMMYWALLETS!

And they both fell over laughing.

On our way to the mass ascension Saturday morning, we passed this truck:


Just go ahead and make your own redneck joke. It'll save us some time.


Friday afternoon I asked Big G to go use the potty (since he sometimes forgets when life is uber-exciting). Suddenly I heard two voices in the bathroom and realized Andrew was in the bathroom with Big G. I went in there to make sure messes weren’t being made.

I told my brother what I’d been doing, and said, “I had to make sure they weren’t peeing in the toilet at the same time. We all know  homosexuality starts with peeing together.”

His answer:

“Well, Ghostbusters taught us what happens when you cross streams.”

No, you can’t have him. He already has a sister, thank you very much.

Requiscat in Pace

18 09 2010

I went to a funeral today. My great-uncle DeVere, died on Tuesday. He was 94. Those of you about to make a joke about Utah Mormon names? He was born in Kansas and raised Southern Baptist. Go ahead and mock the Southern Baptists. They will mess you up.

DeVere was the last of that generation in my family, which makes me sad. At the same time, I know he’s been reunited with his sweetheart.You know the cute little old couples you see who still hold hands and dote on each other? They were that couple, and now they’re holding hands again, which makes me a little teary and sentimental and very happy for them.

Funerals with this side of the family are fantastic. They’re more like wakes, but without the liquor. (Unless something happened after I left…anyone going to ‘fess up?) Today was all about stories, laughter, and memories. It was a celebration of DeVere’s life rather than a mourning of his passing. The overwhelming sentiment (which I wholeheartedly agree with) was that DeVere was a true gentleman, and the sweetest man you could ever meet.

Take note, people: when I die, I want stories and lots of laughing.

Whenever I attend a funeral, I start to wonder what people will say at mine. That’s pretty normal, right? I’m not just being morbid. This time. As I listened to people talk about the positive attitude and kindness that DeVere displayed on a daily basis, I thought about how I really need to be nicer so people will say good things about me when I die.

What? That’s totally a good reason.

Let’s be honest: that’s never going to happen. The me being nicer part, that is. People should still say good things about me, because it’s not nice to belittle the deceased. So I’ve come up with an alternative that I’m comfortable with. Start memorizing it now, because I expect you all to say it at my funeral:

“She was funny as hell.”

That works, right? You have to do the swearing part, too. I demand it.

And now, because I am who I am, I have to tell you about how I almost had to leave the service because I’m just like Mary Tyler Moore.

After the opening remarks, there was a beautiful bassoon solo (Seriously, that’s not a paradox. Who knew?) which started off sounding dangerously like “Send in the Clowns.” I know! I was very concerned! (It wasn’t “Send in the Clowns.” Or anything else by Sondheim, thank goodness.) I leaned over to my mother and whispered, “The bassoonist is quite good.” My mother whispered back, “I know. His father played the xylophone at my wedding.”

“You had a xylophone at your wedding?”

Is there any way to not laugh at that? Even if it’s in the middle of a very touching bassoon solo? I think not.

Great-Uncle DeVere, you were a kind, gentle, loving man. You made everyone around you feel special and important. And I’m really sorry I giggled at your funeral, but I’m pretty sure you would’ve been okay with that. Especially since Dennis used the phrase “rolled dick” at the pulpit.

Seriously. You had to be there.