Monday, August 26, 2013

Horror in a Nutshell...

This morning while I was indisposed, I heard an incredible racket coming from the living room. Our two dogs were wrestling as they constantly do, but one of them was shrieking. All of a sudden I heard my girls screaming and crying. Stuck as I was all I could do was ask (as loud as I could) what was going on. My oldest, Eenie, finally ran in and told me that one of the dogs, Luna, had her muzzle caught in her brother, Apollo's collar, and it was strangling him! She couldn't get free because they somehow managed to get the collar twisted. She then ran from the room, and I followed as quickly as possible.

By the time I reached the living room it was all over. I am thankful that though my children were scared, they had the presence of mind to act. Meenie ran to the kitchen for scissors and managed to cut the collar from Apollo's neck. They said he wasn't moving, his mouth was white and his eyes were open and unblinking. Meenie picked him up, which I think gave him just the jolt he needed to start breathing again. He was in shock and it took a few minutes for him to recover, but it took longer for my kids to calm down, so we kneeled down and said a prayer of gratitude that he was okay, and that the kids had just enough calm to know what to do.

My poor babies are traumatized, and I don't know how to help that, short of bunches of hugs and kisses and reminders that they did the right things to save their puppy. I think we're cursed when it comes to pets.

Family Fun Fest: The Sequel Part II...

Thank you for returning to the party.

Now where was I? Oh yes! Friday in Little Rock.

After our trip to the Museum of Discovery we hiked to a place called Heifer Village. This place provides livestock, water, nets and life training for third world countries. It is awesome. We did a scavenger hunt through the displays and learned about all of the awesome things The Heifer Project is doing to teach self sufficiency in others. Here is the link: Go check it out.

We trounced all around River Market in downtown Little Rock until the kids ran out of steam. They worked really hard this week.

We left Little Rock Friday evening after Josh got off of work and headed to Hot Springs. We stopped at the Mid-America Science museum...

...where we spent an hour or two. They had a "cave" exhibit where we crawled through long dark holes and traversed rope bridges. I realized I'm a little bit claustrophobic, and I had to work to keep myself calm. It was an experience that I don't think I'll repeat any time soon. Or ever. This museum wasn't quite as activity filled, but it was a nice visit. 
After that we found ourselves in Hot Springs where the springs are, indeed, hot. We visited one of the bathhouses, strolled through the national park (which happens to be in the middle of the city), and taste tested some of the water. It was hot.
There are fountains all over the city where people come with jugs of all kinds that they fill with the water. We met a couple from Arlington (they lived just down the road from us) who were filling jugs. The water must be good. That guy was buff!

And then we were ready to go home, so we did. With the A.C. cranked up as high as it would go. Hallelujah!


Family Fun Fest: The Sequel...

Okay people, I hope you've set aside a little time because this is going to be involved, but worth it!

Mr. D. had to go to Little Rock for the third time this year on a business trip, and he would be gone the whole week. Well, that's just not cool, so we hatched a plan to drive up to meet him in the middle of the week. No biggie because Little Rock is only about a six hour drive. We drive further to camp in Texas.

The kids and I drove him to the airport on Sunday evening then filled the next two days with fluff and tomfoolery (and an awesome visit with my sister. Hi Kari!) Anyway, we loaded up the van on Wednesday morning, had lunch with said sister then headed out onto the open road with a thoughtful bag o' treats provided for us by our home teacher ('s wife) because that's just how (s)he rolls.

You'll note it is called a "road trip survival bag." That's called foreshadowing. Also, how did she know?
Everything was moving along smoothly when Eenie noticed the air wasn't feeling quite so cool, and that's when we realized the air conditioner had died. Just as we were leaving Dallas, less than one hour into our six hour drive. So we did the only thing we could do in that situation; we turned the rolled down the windows, and turned the music up. It was lots of fun. We sang at the top of our lungs (we had to if we wanted to be heard), we talked (loudly) and we laughed. Also, I told my offspring that this was how we rolled all the time when I was a kid. Life lessons man.
Anyway, we rolled into a gas station with about an hour left to our destination for gas, and a cold refreshing beverage which this station could not provide because the cooler was acting more as a cooker. It was most unpleasant to open that cooler with anticipations of a cool rush of air only to be met by a hot burst of disappointment. Also the fountain drinks left something to be desired, but we were beggars man! Put that gun away!
We crawled back into our toasty ride clutching our non-descript foam cups and I started the van. However, four hours of wind assaulting my eardrums had left me rather deaf. I panicked when I turned the key and couldn't hear the engine come to life. It's an eight year old car thus it no longer purrs, but more groans and I couldn't hear the groan. I started it again, but it was still as quiet. Thinking on it now, there were other hints that told me it was running, but my brain was rather cooked by then. Don't judge.
We made it to Little Rock without further incident, and because of the wonder of cell phones, Mr. D. had found a mechanic to check out the van. They kept the shop open for us. It was awesome.
We left the van at Christian Bros. and went to dinner. Mr. D. likes to go to places that are unique to Little Rock. That's how we ended up a Damgoode Pies. They make Damgoode pizza, and have...
Moe refused to speak the name.

Afterwards we found ourselves here:

Hence the "big dam" everything. To be fair, it is a big dam bridge.

The next day we were on foot as the van was in the shop (see above). I didn't want to be stuck in the hotel all day, and I figured if we left early enough we could see some sights before it got too hot. The kids and I asked for directions to the nearest Kohl's (Moe's sneakers had been left in the van) and we waltzed outside. The shuttle driver rushed outside as our trajectory became clear to him and insisted he let us drive him to the Kohl's "then you can walk back if you want," he said. "And here's my number when you change your mind." Well hah! to him. We didn't change our minds. Which might have been a mistake (foreshadowing again).

Our driver, Mack, who moonlights as a D.J. by the name of "King Mack" dropped us off at Kohl's where we picked out a pair of red shoes that happened to be two rights. After looking through all the boxes it was discovered that someone out there has a pair of red lefts. We found another pair we liked, which had both sides then grabbed some socks, and the best purchase I made this entire trip, nay, ever.

This little gem saved my life. I carried it every day until we got home. Best. Forty. Dollars. EVER.

We walked all over Little Rock. Up hills, down hills, stopped at a couple of stores, and made it back in one piece. We even danced across the street like they did in West Side Story, our very own musical. Then once the van was repaired, Mack took us back to the shop where we picked up the van. We had wheels again!

Reader Digest entry - Meal progression for Thursday:

We were eating our way through the livestock of Little Rock.

The next day, being Friday, the kids and I toured down town Little Rock. We went to the Discovery Museum where I rotated a wheel in futility hoping to knock down a glass after 1,000,000 million rotations only to realize I wasn't as close as I thought I was. That's forty five minutes I'll never get back.

We also smashed pennies, made die-cut boxes, molded plastic spoons, performed newscasts and changed a tire or two on a golf cart. The Museum of Discovery in Little Rock is AWESOME!

And for whatever reason, stupid Youtube or stupid Blogspot won't download any of the awesome videos I made.


Friday, August 16, 2013

A Case of Mistaken Identity...

Have you ever been somewhere like, say, for example, the grocery store, and run into someone you know you should know, but you can't quite remember how or where you know them? And then they say hello and you say "hey, (insert name here it doesn't matter what because it will be wrong anyway)" or even "hey, Syljulannmarimmmmmm." I feel like that happens to me a lot. Partly because my brain has been siphoned off to four children. The other two parts would be my advanced age, and the fact that I am my mother's daughter. The chips are stacked against me.

Anyway, I was at the store today, and a woman whose name I do remember called me out in the aisle. It was lovely to see her. We chatted for a few minutes, clogging the aisles so the other shoppers had to weave around us and sidle past. It was divine. We made plans to see each other and then went on our way.

I continued through my shopping excursion until I reached the end, and then as happens, carted my groceries to the van where the bag boy and I loaded the boot (as my English friends call it. And because that's what she calls it, I can't remember what we call it in America.) Anyway, we're loading groceries and this very tiny woman walks up and says hello. I don't know about you, but I don't have many miniature acquaintances, but I had just spent the afternoon with one of them this week so she was on my mind. Also, the woman who approached me looked strikingly similar to my mini-friend, but I knew this woman wasn't her. I just couldn't remember who she was. I'm going to assuage my embarrassment by claiming she couldn't remember my name either. Anyway, I addressed her by a name that wasn't hers, but she either didn't hear me or chose to ignore my gross whatever you would call that.

I confided to the bagger that I couldn't remember how I knew her as she climbed into her ginormous truck, but it was then that I figured out who she was. Why did the truck clear things up? I don't know. Also, I only remember her last name.

I served a mission for my church many moons ago. I spent eighteen months in the Eastern Washington/Panhandle of Idaho region, and we covered a lot of ground and met a lot of people. As a consequence sometimes I couldn't remember people's names or even where I had met them (was it Pullman? Post Falls?).

One time I ran into a man who looked familiar, but I couldn't remember where I'd met him. I foolishly told him I couldn't remember him, and he said he was one of the "three Nephites." (Ask your Mormon friends). I was shocked, I mean he could have been for all I knew, but a few days later I finally remembered my companion and I had been to his house for dinner. Twice.

Fast forward a little over fifteen years, several more cities and hundreds of new faces to today. It's a wonder I remember anyone's name, including my own. So in the word's of Elder Boyd K. Packer:

"You ask, “Do I remember you?”
Of course, you’re much the same.
Now don’t go getting all upset
If I can’t recall your name."
Ensign, May 2013

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Oooohhhhh! Mommy Said A Wordy Dird....

It's not something that I like to admit, but I have a somewhat dirty mouth. I try to disguise it with substitutions like "shipwreak!" or "flippin'heck!" or "whatthefig!", and "motherofpearl!"

Other times I make a concerted effort to steer away from these vain oblations with "johnbrown," or "greatgooglymoogly," and then other times I just use the potty words under my breath because I feel that if it's hard to hear it doesn't count. I don't go on like a drunken sailor, but it happens, so you would think my kids wouldn't be so shocked when they hear the occasional slip up.

However, they react as if the world has come to an end when one of those sentence enhancers reach their ears, which I suppose I'm glad for. When they catch a bit of this corrupt communication, I hear about it immediately. Something along the lines of "Mom! Language!"

So the other day we were rolling around with my friend and her son when she made the comment that her sister thinks her son may have a touch of Autism (he doesn't), but couldn't remember the word her sister had used. Well these days there's only one well known branch (or however you call it). So armed with that knowledge and the symptoms she cited, I made an educational guess of Asperger's Syndrome, and I gave my friend the word she was looking for. At which point my youngest most keen of hearing daughter yelled "Mom! Language!"

Well usually when they call me out I know darn well why, but I was confused by her outburst. So I asked, "What did I say?" But she declined to answer, so I had to review my previous commentary in search of the offending comment. Finding nothing, I continued with my conversation.

As happens when discussing a particular topic I said the offending word again. Again I was called out on my foul language. "What did I say?" I asked once again, but then it occurred to me what she might be thinking, and as I turned to face my youngest daughter with an explanation she finally decided to tell me what I said wrong.

"Donkey burgers, Mom! Say donkey burgers."

"Asperger's Adi," I laughingly explained. "Asp-ergers."

She remains unconvinced.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Davidson Family Fun Fest...

I love family time. I love family fun time with my family specifically, and my most favorite family fun time activity is camping. That's right, camping is our preferred family activity, and we do it quite a bit.

As a matter of fact, we just returned from another successful family fun fest not three hours ago. How do I measure success, you ask? Well, we left with six and we came back with six, and it's even the same six, and no one got gored, stung, bit, broken, or lost (though that last one was close). So in the spirit of archiving Family Fun Time, I thought I would share my favorite things about camping.

The Top 10 Things I love about camping.

1. Tents - I enjoy putting them up, taking them down, and I love sleeping in them. Especially when it's late at night, and the coyotes are out chewing up whatever it is they've caught that night. I love the crunching and tearing noise that accompany their evening meals. I also enjoy the subtle grunting noise of the armadillos that come rooting around the tent. It reminds of the fact that there is but a thin wall of canvas between me and all that wonderful wilderness.

2. Bathrooms - To be fair, I could be camping without flushing toilets, so I shouldn't complain. However my favorite part of camping bathrooms is that no matter where we camp, we always manage to be as far away from the bathrooms as possible. This makes my two to three nightly pee breaks so much more convenient. I love waiting until my bladder is ready to pop before I will leave the tent (because there are armadillos out there).

I love scrounging around in the dark for a flashlight, keys to the van (because it's too late to walk), my flops and my glasses and then stumbling around a minefield of bodies hoping not to step on anyone's face as I feel for the tent door. I love running to the van because I caught a glimpse of a pair of shiny eyes, and I'm afraid they're gonna get me then breaking the placid silence when I start my car. I love walking into the park bathroom uncertain of what creatures will be waiting there to greet me. Then I perform the routine in reverse, only now I can't get to sleep because I finally understand I am sleeping with animals in search of Oreos and they know we have some. And I always have to go multiple times, because I can't cut my fluid intake or I'll dehydrate in God's vast wilderness, Texas.

3. Air Mattresses - I love my air mattress which goes into the tent nice and fully inflated, but somehow always manages to be half an inch tall the next morning, while my husband's stays firm and fabulous. I also love the smelly sleeping bag that leaves me either too hot or too cold, but also puts another inch between me and that armadillo, so I'll crawl inside it anyway.

4. Cooking - I love camp cooking, especially when some peckerwood helps themselves to my groceries, because there's a grocery store in the next town over (forty five minutes away) so it's no big deal. I also enjoy the fact that even though we place all of our foodstuff in Ziplock bags there's always something that gets waterlogged and gross, and for some reason it's always the cheese.

5. Swimming - I love swimming in whatever swimming hole is in the park. Sometimes there are sandy beaches, and sometimes the sandy beach is four feet long and three feet wide. Sometimes the water is so clear you can see all the way to the bottom. Other times the water is black. Sometimes there are fun little minnow, and sometimes there are alligators (side note: if there are alligators then we don't swim no matter how much the children beg.)

6. Fishing - Well in theory I love fishing. I've only ever caught one teeny tiny fish, but I keep hoping.

7. Hiking - I love hiking with four kids and two dogs in the blazing heat. It seems like a good idea until it becomes apparent that it was not.

8. Dairy Queen - Every time we go camping we stop on the way out and the way back. It isn't a camping trip if we haven't gone to Dairy Queen.

9. Bugs - They are everywhere. In the van, in the tent, in the bathrooms, on the trails, hanging out over the water, up my nose, in my ears. EV-E-RY-WHERE.

10. Going home - I love packing the car up to go home, shoving garbage bags of dirty clothes into the back of the van, stewing in our stink the whole way home then falling out of the van to kiss the sweet concrete of our driveway before taking a nice hot shower in civilization, which I appreciate so much more when I get home.

We went to Cap Rock Canyon this weekend, which is near the panhandle of Texas. Even though it's been pretty hot the temperature there was very pleasant and a cool breeze made up the difference. It was very tranquil out there. Also, there are bison. Lots and lots of bison. Since people tend to get stupid around wildlife, the park made sure to post warnings everywhere. EV-E-RY-WHERE.

If you still miss the warning, you shouldn't be allowed to drive. Or breed. However, as I stated before, people tend to get stupid. Here is one example:
And here we are also being stupid:

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Survey Says...

Question: When is a slap to the forehead a proper response to an annoying question?
Answer: If anyone has one, I'd really love to hear it.

As a writer I find that editing is a process. One pass isn't enough to catch all of the mistakes that will inevitably occur. Two passes won't cover it either, but I have found that as the writer I can't edit it enough to catch everything. It requires a set of fresh eyes to see what I am missing. Also, maybe reading it out loud.

I type up these posts and read them through several times for any errors, but more often than not, I won't catch one or two (or three or four) mistakes until I post... the post. Thankfully, I will catch the mistake sooner rather than later, but since no one reads this blog it's really a moot point.

However, I refuse to post mistake filled drivel! Only properly edited drivel will do, so when someone asks me "do you read things before you post them?" I want to reach out and smack him...Uh, I mean the random person who asks. I know people just want to help, but if you want to be helpful why don't you offer a second set of eyes, Random Person Who In No Way Represents Anyone I Know!

Now that I have that off my chest...

Well What Do YOU Do In the Summertime...?

I waste time. It's basically what I do all year long only now it's hot.

Every morning I wake up with the hope that today will be a productive day, and every night I lay me down to sleep with the knowledge that I can't account for what I did with most of my day. Do you know how many hours of piano practice I have put in since the first of July? Roughly eight hours. That's eight hours over thirty six days. I'm almost unable to remember the notes and keys on that piano in my front room, but as much as I have neglected my musical studies, my thirteen year old has put in even less practice. I won't embarrass her more than that, but trust me, it is abysmal.

On the plus side...I'll have to work on that some more.

My running shoes refuse to be called "running" shoes at this point because I've only been taking them for walks, but you know what? I'm not as young as I used to be, and you know what else? I really feel it. My knees pop when I walk, and the thought of running makes me sweat. Also at this point in the summer, I have to get out the door by the butt crack of dawn to avoid heat stroke. Murmur, murmur, murmur.

In other news, I have found the artwork for the cover of my next book. I'm calling it "Misc. Short Stories by D.P. Davidson." Catchy, right?" I love it.

As the title suggests it is a book of short stories. This has been an interesting experience, much different than my vast previous experience in writing. There are about seven stories in the book, and I work on them all at the same time. It's quite the juggle, but since I'm failing everywhere else I have the time.

You know what else I enjoy doing? Denying my children the opportunity to see their friends. I say I enjoy it, but really I would rather tell them no then to crawl into my 200 degree van to drive them anywhere, so most of our conversations go something like this:

"Mom, can I..."


It's a short conversation, but you'd be surprised how many times I have it in any given day.

I also now understand why, as a kid when I would beg my mother to go swimming, she'd say "no, because it's too hot." It's hot! That's why I wanted to go swimming. Her reason never made any sense to me. However as an adult I realize there isn't enough water in the world to counteract the heat one must traverse through to get to the "ol' swimmin' hole" and "swimmin' holes" are outside most of the time, so you get to traverse, and then puddle in the heat.

I won't even allow the kids to call their friends because it inevitably leads to "Mom, can I?" My poor kids...It's too hot to care. Sorry.

In closing I would like to say WELCOME HOME to my sweet niece Sophia. She's been in the hospital since the day she was born in February of last year. She has fought every day to get here and her parents, sisters, aunts, cousins, uncles and grandparents are so happy to have her home. We are grateful for the love our Heavenly Father has showered upon our family in the life of this sweet spirit, and we look forward to getting to know her better.


Thursday, August 1, 2013

Dream a Little Dream of Me...

I have weird dreams. Like almost every night. So I've decided to start a dream journal just to keep track of all the tomfoolery going on in my noggin.

Last night I dreamed about the zombie apocalypse. There was a whole group of us trying to hide from the zombie hordes, and everyone felt the inexplicable need to talk at the top of their lungs. To be fair I watched World War Z a couple of weeks back, so I can see where that dream might have come from.

The night before, I dreamed I was riding a white stallion and it tripped as we were moving down a steep embankment. We landed in a water-filled ravine on top of a white colt that appeared from nowhere. It was weird.

Sometimes it seems my dreams are segues into stories that I'm writing. They fill in spaces I haven't been able to complete when I'm awake. Other times they cover things I am worried about. Those usually  manifest in the form of my teeth and the losing of them. I hate those dreams. I don't know of anyone who enjoys losing their teeth in their dreams. Or in reality for that matter, but I seem to have an especially strong desire to keep my teeth in my head.

For example one day shortly after my last baby was born, I went out for a run and tripped on a concrete booger in the middle of the road. After a futile attempt at trying to prevent the inevitable, I found myself lying facedown in the street. I knew I was hurt. I hit every bend-y part of my person on the way down and scraped up whatever was left. I even managed to slice open the inside of my lip. I got mad skills.

A neighbor saw me go down, and rushed out to help me. She asked me if I was okay, and the first thing I asked her was if my teeth were still in my head. She was unable to hear me the first time because my mouth was full of blood, but I asked her a second time if my teeth were still in my head. She seemed confused by my question, but assured me they were (though I search the ground just to be sure she wasn't trying to shelter me from the truth).

Once I was certain I still had my teeth, I picked myself off the ground and proceeded to limp home. It was only after I was certain I still had all my teeth that I succumbed to the shock and embarrassment of falling. I swear I hit the ground, so hard the earth moved. It definitely shook my brain. I fell on my face, but somehow scratched up the back of my shoulder. I am a mess.

So to make a short story long, the point of that narrative was to illustrate my discomfort at the thought of losing my teeth. Therefore dreams wherein I lose my teeth are basically horrifying.

I have also had, from time to time, recurring dreams. When they show up, I know I need to pay attention. For example:

I had a recurring dream that Mr. D. sold our house out from under me, under the guise of moving us closer to work. However, he did such a horrendous job that not only were we still just as far from his job as before (only on the other side) we also had to live in an apartment. Right or wrong whenever I had one of those dreams I woke up in a foul mood, mad that he had sold the house again. Bear in mind, my husband would not: A. Sell our house without my knowledge, or B. Cause us to live in an apartment because of his shenanigans.

It did turn out though, that when it was time to sell our house he had to do it without me (after a fashion), and we moved to a place just as far away from his work as before, just on the other side.

Prophetic dreams? That is a post for another day.