Pretty Much Alone

My kitchen window view of Y Mountain (and my hood).

I’m out here on an island.

I get to choose how it feels and looks but the weather is cold, crisp and sunny (with chances for snow flurries).  The view is what I get to decide:  concrete and asphalt, extremely old buildings, rivers or mountains.  The skies are normally filled with clouds of all sorts.

This is what I signed up for back in June 2017.  The UNKNOWN expectations of my future. Letting it ride with the wind.

There is good and there is bad.

Out of every 100 people I meet there will be 98 Mormon believers and 2 “everything else” believers from Atheist to Zoroastrianism.  This is according the Wiki page about Provo Utah.

Job Seeking has become unfun.  I’m not Mormon and while they do NOT ask about my religious affiliation I don’t know the “language” at all.  I feel like telling everyone I’ve got to get to Fireside tonight for the MTC Women’s Conference planning with my fellow Sisters. There are plenty of buzzwords there.

One person told me to BE CAREFUL in conversation if I ever wanted to get a job!  That’s nearly impossible for me.  I feel like I chat too much.

Anyway, interview after interview – rejected over and over.  Oh and these days there is NO reply letting you know.  They just cut the line and let you drift away in Wonder Wonder World.

I took myself off Facebook and Instagram again and am considering a full shut down and restart of this blog to make it more “Mormon-centric”.  We did sign a lease and I’d like to get a job.  I’m pretty sure this blog isn’t helping me at all.

I’ll just go get a donut.

Provo Bakery. Yep, they’ve been baking since before I was a twinkle in anyone’s eye.

 

THE GREAT MORMONS

I want to give a shout-out to a few people I’ve met that I think are Mormon.  Not 100% sure… but unless I’m seeing some tats showing and hear a cuss word I’m gonna conclude they’re part of the 98%.

My Yoga Teacher Chenae.  She is amazing.  I have two classes a week with her.  She told me we (Husband Unit and I) bring good energy to her class.  She is so relaxed and Zen’y.  Namaste.  Clearly she shines good light out because I definitely feel it.

Getting ready for Yoga!

I say this because I was told (by a Mormon teacher) that the people that grew up here in Provo have a thing about them that would explain their feeling of altitude over the rest of mankind.  Mormons outside of Provo have (on an absolute majority) been amazing, friendly, kind and fun to be around.

I have continued to go to all of my  weight lifting classes because I actually felt like the teachers made me feel welcome.

The list of activities I participate in is growing: swimming, pilates, Zumba AND Zumba Gold and cycle.  I’ve used the indoor track and love it too.  Can’t remember if I missed anything. Each of the classes have amazing leaders/teachers.

So, thanks to Erin, Amy, Drew, Heather, Wendy, Kara, Gabby, Becky and Stacey.

More positive vibes to share:

The instructors for my weight lifting classes.  One in particular is Lauren.  She’s off the charts friendly and talks like she has had a life outside of Provo. Amy cracks us up with her dry humor and stories.  Erin is a Mermaid – I firmly believe this because she is SO friendly and creative.  Heather is one of the nicest and most accommodating people I’ve ever met – she is an Iron Woman (she should be making Pilates workout video she is so passionate about it) and STRONG.  Wendy was subbing  for another teacher when I met her and she did the nearly impossible: taking a room of uptight early-risers through an hour of torture (AND WE LIKED IT), Gabby was the most patient person trying to teach me how to swim (I’m getting better), Kara was the FIRST instructor I met and she had such a positive attitude I just wanted to be in her class again, I call Drew Mr. Pain because the class was WAY WAY WAY above my abilities and he pushed me to try my best and lastly the two cycle instructors Becky (LOVE her program) and Stacey.  When class began Stacey put on the greatest music REAAAAL LOUD and shouted out, “NOT TODAY SATAN!!!!!”  He was a riot and got the whole room jazzed up.

In retrospect I feel that any sort of commitment here requires some “skin in the game” and that needs to be “being a Mormon”.  Without a doubt I’ll never be a Mormon (or join any other religion or cult-religion again).

OUR ANIMAL KIDS

Saved one spider, I’ve been feeding dozens of ducks oats every day and there are some magical looking birds (mom and dad I believe) roosting in our porch roof.

Zoey has some sort of rash-like situation happening.  We battle it with medicine but sometimes it gets her (plus she doesn’t do much all day so has plenty of time to be bothered and scratch it).  The donut has helped a lot.  Clearly she seems to be loving it…NOT.

Kona has now sprouted wizardly grey hair on his paws.  Is this the same as the curtains matching the carpet in the K9 world?  (I firmly believe I have TWO readers not including Randy… we’ll see). He is still anxious to sniff and eat anything that isn’t made out of wood, metal or plastic.  Walks along the Provo River are filled with food treasures.

Note: Randy discovered that carrots would help Zoey.  He ordered some dehydrated carrot powder or flakes (still hasn’t arrived) but in the meantime I discovered ALL of my carrots were pressure cooked in the InstantPot so he could give them to the dogs.  Rather than, say for example, serve them 1T of dehydrated carrot he served them 4 cups.  Poor Kona and his raw rear…and I guess Randy deserved the punches in the nose as those carrots moved through a chocolate lab(oratory) compressed gas release system or aka Dog Farts.  Oh gawd.

Piper has been visiting the backyard more.  I’m also growing cat grass myself (because none of the pet stores carry it here).  We have a tiny farm in our cupboard and it’s working out great.  She gets too fluffy and I cut her hair chasing her around the house with extremely sharp scissors.

We continue to feed them 3 times a day and the only difference I see is bigger poops, more poops and better begging techniques.

 

OUR HUMAN KIDS

Thought-provoking: I am rarely asked how Jordan and Claire are doing by anyone (family included now that my mom is dead).  Morgan is often the topic of “kids”.    Randy and I met on e-Harmony with two kids each.  He with Amanda and Morgan and me with Jordan and Claire.  All of our kids are different and incredible human beings.  They share a lot of commonalities but truly are so different.

Recently a friend’s friend asked me how MY kids were doing.  I never thought of a separation between all four of our kids. I’m proud of all of them.

One of J’s amazing creations.

Jordan

Schooling continues in Oregon.  Engineering.  Going well.  Carrying A average in classes.  Recently wrote a paper on The Congo which inspired a lot of great texts back and forth as he plowed through the history there.  He continues to create artistically, read and rides his bike.  He also keeps Randy and I appraised of great movie-night shows we can watch at home on Netflix or Plex.  Have you seen Black Mirror yet?

 

Scared as sh** but not backing down now!

Claire

Working in Santa Barbara at NEXT Energy Technology and no, was not affected by the fires or flooding.  She’s coming up on her one year anniversary!  In all my 50 years I have met a lot of people that went to college for X and aren’t doing a job connected to X.  Claire is actually working in the field she studied which rocks.  Naomi Ginsberg would be proud of her (that was her professor at Berkeley).  Recently she successfully jumped out of an airplane and I’m pretty sure she’ll be doing it again.

 

Morgan

We get to see Morgan regularly!  Laundry here is WAY better than any other place (of course) and on Sunday we have all of her house mates over for a dinner.  That has been so fun and these young ladies are amazing in so many ways.  Right now she has a packed schedule:  Anatomy, Ballet, First Aid & CPR, Book of Mormon and Creative Writing.   She went to her first ballet (as a spectator) last week.  I haven’t had a chance to ask her what she thought of it.  For fun she and her house mates are trying to squeeze in things to do TOGETHER making fun memories that will last forever.  I think that’s brilliant.  She, Randy and I buzzed up to Ice Castles earlier this month and had a blast (then a hot chocolate on the way home).

I JOINED THE POSHMARK WORLD

The other day I bought a brand new cotton fluffy delicious robe on Poshmark.  I donated mine before we left and it’s rather chilly to go from the shower to our bedroom…across the living room passing the big glass window.  Randy says the neighbors are fine with it.  It’s even PURPLE!

My friend Tracey has been able to quit her job and dive full time into RESELLING online.  She has many different shops and stores.  Reselling online is a fun way to find and share what’s in your own closet as well as treasure hunt for incredible things to resell.

This is a $1.5K skirt brand new (aka NWT, New With Tags).

I’m sticking with clothing, accessories and shoes.  My “store” is called PITA THE BUTTON GIRL.  I have about 2,000 people following me and today I have 78 “Listings”.  Instead of working on my Posh Closet I’m writing this blog update.

I hit some GOLD while visiting Park City at a boutique which I am hoping will be a magical find for someone in need of a Louis Vuitton Denim Skirt. THANK YOU to The Sundance Film Festival and all of the fancy-schmancy celebrities that visit and leave their “worn once” apparel.

My gorgeous and fashion-forward Yugoslavian Princess friend Danijela has been coaching me through this world of high-end fashion.

As most of you know, I spent the last 12 years in running shoes, sports bras and workout pants…and 805 Boot Camp shirts!  We’ll see how this all goes…it’s quite a task to open and keep a shop fresh and fun online!

If you are curious about Poshmark (or my Closet) and want to shop please use my “referral code” which is @saritapita and you get $5 in credit (I will too).  Go here to see my official Closet.

In the meantime I am continuing my job seeking through LinkedIn, Indeed and Glassdoor.

WRITING.  GETTING BETTER AT IT…I THINK

I am also taking an English Class and working on my writing skills.

So far it has been a great experience.  We get topics to write about then spend the second half of the class discussing them.

I’d never read Kurt Vonnegut until now.  Check out the short story Harrison Bergeron.  Did you know Kurt Vonnegut only published 14 novels in his lifetime?  I thought there were way more.

Right now Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451 is on deck.

Wanna know something completely ironic?  Neil Gaiman wrote the introduction to the 60th Anniversary Edition of the book I borrowed from the Provo Public Library (WHICH IS AWESOME BY THE WAY).  Neil has a sister named Claire.  I named MY CLAIRE after Claire Gaiman, Neil’s sister.   Claire and I were friends when I was returned to Los Angeles after escaping from the Sea Organization.  She was one of the only people that I liked (enough to name my child after her!). Her husband was one of my most favorite guys too, Timmy Edwards.  Or Tim Edwards if you are being picky.  I called him Timmy.  Reading the Forward brought back the memories of Claire and Timmy (and me and Jon, Claire’s dad) and I miss them both.  The both have strong English accents (or they did in 1987-1988).

 

 

I hope everyone is doing well.

Namaste.

 

POLLS – I LOVE THEM (you can even see the results too)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Dear Aunt Denise and Uncle Jaydee,

Me and my dad in Park City.

Jan 10th, 2018

Dear Aunt Denise and Uncle Jaydee,

We got to run the Provo River!! I ate snow (didn’t check if it was yellow…what’s that supposed to mean anyway?)

Just wanted to write to let you know your plan is working out perfectly for me and Zoey (and Piper).

Dad continues to allow 3 meals a day PLUS has bumped up the walks. I feel like I’m in heaven.

Yesterday we took our usual route to the Provo River. It’s about 2 miles round trip. Ducks EVERYWHERE.  Even Zoey loves it. She isn’t limping after plus she practically RUNS top speed home. Two things on that: now I know she has been faking her limp injury to get mom and dad to feel sorry for her and give her treats and extra pets and also she can’t tell time (like I can) and thinks we are going to be fed dinner when we get home from the walks.

Even with Zoey getting that one extra meal (which isn’t that big) she hasn’t gained an ounce.

Piper finally got a new shelf to eat on (and sit sometimes). She seems to love it. I think it’s old and from the thrift store (don’t judge).  I put photos at the bottom of my letter.

We took a walk up Y Mountain. I met a lot of other dogs and people. Dad lets me be off leash a lot as long as no one else is around. It was the start of 2018 which fell on a Sunday which meant 75% of the population in our town was at church. The path was snowy/icy but mostly just dirt. Zoey didn’t get to come with us on this trip.

Y Mountain hike. Me and dad.
Zoey played at the school in Park City Utah.

Then another time we got to go with mom and dad to Park City Utah! Have you been there? It is very fancy and filled with rich people (I could smell the money). Folks were friendly but sparse. There isn’t enough snow compared to what they need. Dad says their economy has to be suffering so we bought some stuff there. We went to the school grounds for a walk and I got to eat snow! Did I ever tell you how much I LOVE eating and rolling in snow? I picked this up at Lake George. Did I ever tell you how much I loved Lake George and the mountain life? Not so much on the trailer we lived in (I did not have any room – not complaining…just reporting).

To offset the added costs of our extra meal I worked on ways to pitch in. Everyone seems to be happy with it. Dad says your name a lot (mostly Jaydee) when he sees my contributions.

Just a short list of a few that I’ve really gotten extra good at:

  • Complete spill clean up
  • Trashes emptied while mom and dad away (I left recyclables)
  • Visited and left turds on almost 65% of our neighborhood yards (they were packaged in colorful bags right after). We aim to meet our neighbors in person one day, dad says.
  • Rearranging furniture (as needed)
  • Guarding front door, bedroom door, bathroom door and back door IN THE DARK on the DARK WOOD FLOOR (I am so big, I don’t understand why they keep tripping on me).

Oh and I’ve figure out how to get fed sooner than Piper (and even mom and dad!). Both Zoey and I have been taking turns moaning and walking panic-like around the kitchen and living room. I know my Happy Meal is coming soon when I hear “GOOOAWAY!” from Dad. The louder he says it the sooner my dreamy dish arrives. I still haven’t figured out how to eat slowly.

Mom has been feeding almost all of the ducks along the Provo River path every day which is pushing dad’s buttons. The other day she bought an entire loaf of bread home from Smith’s (our grocery store) JUST FOR THE DUCKS. Dad hit the roof and told her she could have extra spending money for DI (our local thrift store) or the ducks…not both. He act’s like he’s the boss of her sometimes. Mom called him “Squeaks” but I don’t know what that means.

We have eaten every meal together since December 22nd last year! This has not happened in my life. The longest they ate at home was 3 days, MAYBE 4. Mom has been in the kitchen a lot baking and making lots of delicious meals. More than normal. They have so many leftovers (I think I get some in my 3 meals too).

The future is looking bright for our family here.  We seem to be settling in to our new house.

Dad got a job with a company called Enecon. Now we get to hear about all the machinery and buildings that need to be fixed instead of demolished and replaced. I’ll never get bothered hearing mom and dad talk about work. He says this job is just like when he worked in the textile industry. I am happy he is happy.

Mom is stuck in the mud on getting employed. She has done a lot of applications for a lot of different jobs. One was a waitress job at a Mexican restaurant. She was hired after the owner did a background check on her the same day as the interview. Apparently the place wasn’t a good fit because mom is too much of a neat-nick and the place was a disaster. The longest employee was 9 months (after being open for 6 years). The would not let her push alcohol and everyone knows how much my mom loves margaritas ESPECIALLY with Mexican food.

If she doesn’t get a job I am assuming I will continue to get home-cooked meals. Not to be a downer or anything but I hope she doesn’t get a job.

Piper is getting cat hair everywhere (which I’m helping spread around along with my shedding.)

Anyway, I just wanted to make sure you knew your plan was STILL being followed.

Tonight is Movie Night!  I’m betting on cleaning up some popcorn (just doing my job!)

Please sniff Evie’s butt for me and pass on my regards to her.

Love and miss you,

Kona

Helping mom make surprise chocolate cupcakes for dad.

 

Mom’s chocolate chunk cupcakes. I wasn’t allowed to get ANY.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It’s Amanda Shoemaker’s Birthday Today!

It’s July 13th and that means WE CELEBRATE our beautiful, talented and kind daughter Amanda Nicole Shoemaker!

We will never forget the fun memories with you and all of the goodness you brought to our lives.

I am Amanda’s Step-Mom.  One of the toughest jobs I’ll ever sign up for willingly.  Started the job in October 2006.

She taught me a lot.  She opened my eyes up to a whole other world filled with energy and life that made her bubble and enjoy her friends and family.

There are so many belly busting hilarious moments with her in the short amount of time we spent in each other’s lives.

We spent her last birthday pigging out at BJ’s digging into a pazookie (which is a chocolate chip cookie baked fresh then topped with ice cream…not invented by Jenny Craig).  It was DELICIOUS.

We celebrated her 17th and sang Happy Birthday just like we do with every birthday person in our lives.

Happy Birthday To You

Happy Birthday To You

Happy Birthday Dear Amanda

Happy Birthday To You!

We miss you so much but you are on our minds every single day.

I often find myself wondering if you are near us watching our lives unfold.

I also imagine you are somewhere special welcoming the friends and family we lose and helping make them feel comfortable (as corny as that sounds).  

So much in my life today is a direct reflection of you! 

10-4 Loud And Clear. 10-10.

Chiquita Banana Walkie Talkie
Yep, they’re bananas AND walkie-talkies.
I love walkie-talkie stuff.  My sister and I had Chiquita Banana Walkie Talkies and inbetween building forts of our mom’s sheets in the livingroom we would run around the neighborhood testing their range (which was about 10 feet).

1985 was when I was stuffed in a Greyhound bus and taken from the secret Scientology International Base with WAY MORE PEOPLE THAN SHOULD HAVE BEEN ON BOARD to help fight for RELIGIOUS FREEDOM in Portland Oregon.

Portland Religious Crusade 1985
My actual pin from the Religious Freedom Crusade in 1985.
We marched the streets chanting. We slept on the floor of the Portland Organization (Church) in hallways.  The senior executives stayed in fancy hotels.  I was chosen to be a Communicator for Nancy Pomerantz.  In ENGLISH, I was her PERSONAL ASSISTANT.  It meant I got to have AN ACTUAL WALKIE TALKIE and communicate over it in ACTUAL HAM RADIO LANGUAGE.  Granted, this was for a few weeks of my life but I will always remember what 10-4, ‘what’s your 20’ and 10-10 mean.

I’ve got to share that whole experience in another blog post.

The point of this blog post is to share feelings about people in my life.

To anyone that knows me reading this post I can sincerely tell you that I feel for you exactly what you feel for me.  Actually, DOUBLE my feelings for you.

This goes all the way back to the day I was born.

I have learned so much in the last 10 years.  As I wrap up my 40’s I have to say that this point has become crystal clear.

No matter how old you are or when you came into my life I can see clearer now than ever before.  That is very grounding and makes me feel good.

Forget “Facebook Friends” and “Likes” and the “Followers”.  That is superficial bs in my opinion.  You know who your friends are by that energy you get  and hopefully you give it back double.

Think about the people around you and what they give you.  Don’t second-guess or question it – it is for real!

Mark and Jaydee speak
Time for a speech. Tough.
Last night was a special night for me. I’ve never experienced something like I did.  It was overwhelming and heartfelt.   I want to thank our friends that wanted to celebrate and send us off onto our next adventure.  I’m reading the notes and I admit I’m crying.  I know exactly what I am going to have as a giant void in my life when we lift off and that part just sucks.

It’s not a complete 10-10 just yet. 🙂

But that day is coming soon and I’ll be in touch with my 20.

Check out this CRAZY delicious cake made by Lizzy Whitlock.  Without a doubt she is a young woman to keep an eye on – I can’t wait till she opens up her own business.  Thank you Lizzy!!

Happy Trails by Lizzy Whitlock
Incredible cake. The USA! Made by Lizzy Whitlock.
I will put more photos on my blog as they come rolling in.  I didn’t take ONE photo last night which is a miracle.  What a night packed with so much LOVE.  Ugh my heart!

 

 

50 Ways Happier, Healthier, And More Successful People Live On Their Own Terms

FIRST THINGS FIRST:  Thank you Benjamin P. Hardy for this story.  I’m sharing it with people in my life.

The internet is a risky thing to use.

You can “prove” anything you want to prove using it, you can diagnose or misdiagnose yourself, you can see beautiful places and awful places…it’s a trap that seems to waste more time for me than give me time.

Michael Laws shared an article today entitled 50 Ways Happier, Healthier, And More Successful People Live On Their Own Terms.

Our ego pushes us to want things like this…so I clicked the link and began reading. Hmmmm. This is a fantastic post of great thoughts from random people.

Check it out – click here.

Big Changes For Us As A Couple

Randy and I have been on a quest to improve our mental health.

I decided a few months ago to spend way less time on FB because of the hate that was being flung in every direction. Suddenly EVERYONE was screaming their opinions at each other.

We got rid of cable and the newspaper delivery in May 2016. We only have one TV now. According to Nielson, the average number of televisions in an average household is up to 2.93 from 2009’s reporting of 2.86.  In 1975 the average was 1.57.

We looked for and found a few people that were quietly needing help in December last year and have made adjustments to do what we could which meant having less to spend on entertainment out.

We are downsizing our house.  This plan went into motion a few years ago when a dear friend John Chuang passed away after losing a battle with cancer.  As we drove home from the beautiful event to celebrate his life we decided firmly: WE DON’T NEED SO MUCH STUFF!  Our priority shifted the next day and we began filling the garage with items to sell.

We began a “Bucket List” and started knocking items off.

Piper sits semi-patiently at the door of our very first RV Travel Trailer we named The Lorax.
Since 2006 Randy has tried to get us to a Trojan Game so I can kick the thing and see Tommy Trojan.  After making our list, we got the opportunity and this time we said HELL YEAH!  We saved and finally got to see a live SUMO match!  We finally got to see our friend Bill IN THE PIT at the NASCAR races.  I began writing letters to people I was thinking about often.  I got my knees fixed so we can do some bigger physical bucket list items.  We bought a 1999 Coachman for peanuts and took our pets with us on an RV adventure.

We’re making progress but it took starting with a LIST.

We Are Not Alone

I watched a moving video created in Canada interviewing three generations with the same question: “What did/do you do for fun.” (when you were a kid). Grandpa caught fish and watched black bears, mom built giant forts you could stand up in and son’s eyes twinkled at the thought of playing video games. UGH.

Of course no one can help you do anything you are not interested in doing. I get that completely.

But what if you were to see something on a list that you liked and wanted to change to make your life better? I say DO IT. Don’t get approval or need agreement from anyone. If it is legal, do it!

Check out this list and see what you like.  I’d say “teach your kids” but my kids wouldn’t listen to me if I told them anything (maybe later in life).  For now just begin teaching by being an example.

This may be difficult to do.  It was for us.

“You’ll be fine!” as the saying goes in our house and so far, so good.

 

GET MORE awesome INSPIRATION AT THE SITE THRIVE GLOBAL

Morgan Monday’s

IMG_0046Our daughter Morgan is part of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints – aka the LDS Church. We are not and I never have been.

They send kids on mission.  2 years for the boys and 18 months for the girls.  The mission purpose, I’ve learned, is to get more members into the church.  They do this by going door to door talking to people and I think they give bibles out too.

(As a side note: if you are ever visited by a Missionary please offer them water, at least.  You don’t have to listen to them – but know they are all really nice kids and it is likely they are thirsty.)

She “signed up” for this task early this year, followed all of the rules and guidelines, had all of her Bishop Interviews and was accepted.  That was in July I think.  We would know where her mission would take her in September and have a few days to spend with her before she took off for 18 straight months.

I’m not LDS.  All I’ve learned about LDS has been from my husband (who served as a Missionary in Guatemala for two years when he was 19), Amanda (Shoemaker) and Morgan.

I was VERY against this idea for Morgan.  More scared than anything else. It all sounded like a part of my life I would hope to avoid and DEFINITELY not put my daughter or son through.

We will not be able to speak to Morgan during this 18 months.  At first I was told there would be a call on Mother’s Day (to her mother, not me I assume) and Christmas.

Being a good Libra, that was immediately and easily noticably UNFAIR to Randy – her father.  Why not Father’s Day?!

But it is not my place to boss the LDS church and I have no idea why that would be the way it is.  Add this non-nonsensical idea to the mountain of them that seems to be a part of every organized group (church, business, team…anything requiring “rules”).

Monday is the day we get an email from Morgan!

We hover around our computers all morning looking forward to the latest installment of her adventure.

I sent her off with a personal note telling her a bit more about what happened to me, just to get her to see what can happen when you allow someone to be the boss of your destiny.

She’s old enough to have some real-world experience and has had the taste of freedom to roam earth.

It’s Monday December 21st, 8:05am.

Vegan Pumkin/Pecan muffins just out of the oven and we’re ready to be dazzled soon.

Dogs Detecting Cancers

Family of Sarita and Adelita - 2_0054My little sister is a Dog Whisperer (read: trainer).  She’s always had a soft spot since before I can remember as a kid.

She told me about this concept at the end of 2014, having been connected through someone in the Los Angeles Area that is specializing in cancer detection through k9 noses.

Pretty special. And so is my sister.

Dogs detecting cancer – amazing video here.

UPDATE:  she will be training dogs on this!