"The Jingle Bell Bum" (Read The Touching True Story...please!) Comment at patriciahanrion.com

"The Jingle Bell Bum" (Read The Touching True Story...please!) Comment at patriciahanrion.com
Still available on Amazon for Nook and Kindle, hard copy booklett to re-print November 2013

Monday, December 3, 2012

By Special Request..."The Christmas Tree Exploded and I set the house on fire!"

Our California house in Christmas Glory!
The new owners will never match this!
It's a beautiful day today, blue sky, white fluffy clouds, and the newscaster said it would rain...I guess if your a weather person it doesn't matter what you say! It was supposed to rain and snow last week...I didn't do that either...It hasn't snowed for 20 years and It's never snowed around Christmas. I guess that's why I always tried to create a perfect holiday since we don't even have the cold weather to add to the spirit. I can blame almost burning the house down twice to the great California weather.

(Now we are in Arizona, with no fireplace...my husband is very glad.)

But, I digress....this is the story of my quest for the perfect Christmas which pretty much exploded right along with the Christmas tree...innocently of course. That year to save money we cut our own tree and it was quite lopsided...however...we put it in a corner to disguise the misshapen limbs, then after the children and I had it all decorated, (Patrick was at a church meeting and we were going to surprise him when he got home with our beautiful decorated tree.) I decided to straighten out the crooked limbs by snipping some of the parts that stuck out with the garden sheers....(BAD decision)

Well you guessed it...I snipped through the strings of lights and when the live wires came in contact with the metal sheers all the strings of
Safely away from fireplaces and real Christmas trees in Arizona
lights and half the ornaments exploded in one horrific POP SIZZLE. Now the kids were delighted...never had they seen such a grand display of fireworks...and right inside the house...I had to open all the back windows to get the smoke and electric smell out.  and quickly loaded the kids in the car, Pajamas and all...and we drove to the Do It Center and bought new lights and several boxes of ornaments. We had the tree all re-decorated by the time Pat got home and he never knew the difference...until the kids told him about the light show!

A few years after that I almost set the house on fire. I was once again naive enough to try and come up with the perfect Rockwell moment (since we don't have snow). 

I've given up the quest for holiday perfection and I don't try that anymore, but at the time I still thought I could make it happen. Anyway, it was around five in the morning, dark and cold....unusual for December, I wanted the family to come down the stairs to see a beautiful lit tree surrounded by gifts...a fire in the fireplace with hot chocolate and warm sweet rolls set out.

Now, remember it's rarely cold enough to light a fire so we have not had many fires in the fireplace, and even then they were started by Patrick or Michael with their Eagle Scout skills put into play...But I... in my exuberance thought I had seen them do it enough to get the yule log going myself...not so...I had the flue shut! Oh I got the paper and twigs under the log blazing away, but the smoke rolled out into the living room like a thick black blanket..realizing my mistake I tried to reach in and push the handle the other way, but by now the flames were not only going...they were licking up and out of the fireplace setting the garland and some of the other decorations on the mantle, on fire.

The fire alarm went off (which usually means dinner is ready, as my cooking skills are a bit lacking) and big Pat came bounding down the stairs. He and son Michael threw water at the fire and had it out in seconds. but the black smoke had laid a thick layer of soot up the front of the fireplace and across the ceiling. All the decorations near by had melted into green and red blobs. What a mess. I was so mad at myself and could only think of having to clean up along with getting the turkey dinner on the table for the 26 people we were expecting to arrive in about 4 hours.

Without even stopping to scold myself I pulled it together and went to work with cleaner and got the soot removed immediately. I moved around some of my decorations and filled in the empty places where things had gone up in smoke. The only thing left was the smokey smell and I got rid of that by opening all the windows and doors (learned from experience) and lighting some candles. By the time Patrick came back down the stairs with a camera to record my fiasco...HA! the mess was gone! And thank goodness there was no record of my mistake to show our guests or tease me with....

Now...I must brag...One year we had the perfect outdoor display of holiday decorations. You see our house looks a bit like the Griswold's house in the movie "Christmas Vacation" (When we were done I put up a sign saying "Griswold's" and freaked out the mailman as he thought we had moved...he had never seen the movie with Chevy Chase.)

Michael, our youngest son had always wanted to put up tons of lights so I said okay...not realizing the pull of electricity would constantly flip the fuses and turn off lights everywhere in the house. We solved the problem by running electric cords from different outlets all around the place. I must have run to the hardware store ten times, not only for lights, but new extension cords...and that year the bill was outrageous...but it was worth it.

Ever since then the neighbors have tried to keep up with the extravagance even though we only put up the 60 strings of lights one time. And it was the only time my grand plans turned out okay...well almost, except for having to reset the breakers several times every evening.
Mike proud of his illumination victory in 2010

Since Michael got married and moved away, (He was my partner in Holiday illumination) I 've been cured of trying to have our holiday resemble anything close to what you see in any of the classic Christmas films...and as my decorations get faded or broken I force myself not to replace them. So each year the boxes I drag out of the loft gets smaller in number and next year I'm going to order a cooked turkey from the grocery store. Heck, the weather's great and I've got better things to do than cook!  (Like plan my next fiasco)
Patricia, daughters Colleen & Megan, grand daughter Jess...crazy decorating

Friday, November 16, 2012

How can you Ignore me? Ode to the porta-pot!

Yesterday after I read on a radio show "Naked came the Bruce", (Paul Strickland was nice enough to give me a 40 min. interview on KBET radio about "The Jingle Bell Bum") I got a call from my four year old grandson...He began, "Why did Tigger look in the toilet." It took a while to figure out he was telling me a joke. I went ahead and gave him the courtesy laugh. He called his Bubba...(Patrick) and told the same joke. Pat was in a staff meeting and didn't even get the joke until I explained it to him that night on the phone. Of course Ben sometimes is hard to understand in his four year old excitement of learning how to make folks laugh. It wasn't a great joke, but he is definitely following in his grandpa's footsteps. Patrick seems to be in his glory when he is pulling a joke on someone.

(I'll tell you what's under the large American flag he hangs behind his desk in another Blog entry.)

Anyway, I just realized Patrick has abused my talent by calling in the middle of the day with one of his hair brained ideas and wants me to write a poem about someone or something. I began to think of all the wasted time when I could have been writing some very important story or novel...and yet some of the stuff Ive written at his request has been quite clever if I do say so myself. Most are about people and if you don't know the person you could never see the humor, however some are about subjects that are universal...I rather like this one.

How can you ignore me? Ode of the Porta-pot.

What is the thing no one will discuss?
Or has the thought to mention aloud

Ignored ‘til you need me I’m otherwise shunned
Anxious to greet me while on the run

I sit and wait for your daily visit, patient enduring your cheeks to caress
I care not if your deposit is liquid or odoriferous mess

No one will admit what my four walls are for
Or why your sorry ass must enter my door

It’s a thing you all do, to get rid of your poo
I wonder why you’re ashamed of my walls azure blue

And when they come with the truck, hoses ready to sanitize
You turn away hold your nose, and cover your eyes

So in my exile away from all human vision
What sadness surrounds me by your outcast decision?

Away from the throng, away from you all, still travel is worth it to reach release
Whether its mild soft cheese or some hot XXX Cantonese

How can you keep me away in my dark noxious fumes?
Are you so ashamed to expel your legumes?

Yet whither thou goest, It matters naught
You’ll forever need me, your trusty olde porta-pot

With paper to soothe your sore smooth bottom
Sorry for the absent Bidet…I no got-em

I await you still; I hold no grudge…so visit me often, no matter how far
For it’s better than putting your c--- in a jar.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Airport blues, or should I drive?

Flight travel is a tricky game at best

Airports like armed camps, everyone distressed

The line to start your journey begins at the curb

You gather-up your bags and feel quite absurd

For no matter how carefully you pack they’re stuffed full

As you drag them to the counter you look quite pitiful

Then..."One weighs too much," a man says with glee

So you re-arrange your underwear, out there for all to see

The worst insult comes as you stand in the longest line

Worried you'll miss the flight even though you're on time

With cavalier sluggish movements from the man way up in front

Who treats each person as if he's on an insurgent weapons hunt

Frail old ladies are searched, and wide-eyed small children cry

Your head is screaming on the inside, but outside you only sigh

For they study each passenger as if doing biological research

Your placed in front of an x-ray for the naked full body search

And I know when I die as a result of x-rays and Twinkies galore
(I just heard Hostess is going bankrupt...what will I do without Twinkies?)
I'll be preserved with a visible glow from here to Baltimore

Is it worth the hassle that continues during the flight?

"Buckle-up, don't move, no bathrooms," the gestapo isn't polite!

You sit between the large man who flesh oozes into your lap

And the stinky guy on the other side uses your shoulder for his nap

Could I drive there and not have this painful worry and stress?

Even if it took a bit longer than taking the nightmare express

Consider this next time your on-line and plan to reserve a seat

Even with high gas prices the comfort of driving, can't be beat


Monday, November 5, 2012

Pack'n Heat in Wallmart again!

(This is the "No Firearms" sign I saw..in upper state Az.)

My husband is in high demand at Intel in Arizona. SOOOO He is off again, well to clairfy, I know you know he's off most of the time...What really I mean is...he's gone to Arizona for  another contract stint of a month or two or so...

My cutie is right behind the bare-belly guy....these are a few of his closest  friends doing the haka...don't ask...this is fun?
and believe it or not...I miss him when he's gone...

After spending a bit of time in the hot flat state, we discovered there are a lot of things we rather like about Arizona, not the heat, but some other stuff. We like their politics for sure.

But, Arizona is very different from other states we have visited. We discovered this early on after living there for a month or two. One weekend we went to a little town in Northern Arizona to get away from the heat...it was only 92 in the daytime, instead of 115, and went down to 69 at night. Even the water from the tap was cool...not cold mind you...but at least cool.

There were a few pines and mountains which is a change from the flat around Chandler which is near Phoenix and is flat, flat, flat.... Anyway we went out to dinner the first night we were in Payson. I noticed on the door was a sign warning to not carry a weapon inside. Since neither of us had ever seen such a sign we decided it must be on all restaurants in Arizona. But then as we drove back to the motel, I looked at the numerous fast food places...every fast food place I had ever seen was present within the space of two blocks...(except In-n-out) Anyway, none of them had the special sign.
It wasn't until the next night when we went to get a burger we figured out how the law must work. The burger place had a small bar area in the corner of the establishment. And there again was the sign...no firearms. I came to the conclusion that any place where they serve alcohol you are not allowed to carry a loaded firearm...into the establishment. (See photo above)
We recently discovered the State of Arizona has a state gun...the Colt 45. An interesting and cool fact I thought, until I went into Wall-mart and saw a young man with a gun strapped to his hip in the check out line.
It was out there for everyone to see, so it wasn't a concealed weapon. (I wanted to get a concealed carry license for my Glock, here in Arizona, but guess it's okay if I just wear it hanging from my purse.) I know you need a permit to carry a concealed weapon, like in a shoulder holster under your coat...but this was in the open! so it was okay ! 
I mentioned the semantics to Patrick..."It wasn't concealed...it was right out there in the open like when we were on a train in Italy and a bunch of guys came on with Uzi's over their shoulders." That experience was intimidating and a bit scary. But then again the military men were in uniform and you knew they had at least trained to use their weapon, quite different from feeling confident about a dad shopping with two little kids in the cart looking for bread and bananas packing a gun on his hip!

After we got home that night our son Patrick called and shared an article he read about a guy in Chandler who shot his penis by having his gun in his waist band in Fry's groceries...the same store where we shop...I'm not sure if I would offer first aid help to a guy so stupid he didn't have on the safety...but most likely my nurse self would take over...Or maybe NOT!
After seeing the Wallmart packin' dad, I thought...what if a guy was drinking at a bar without his gun...then went down the street to Safeway fully drunk...but there he could have his gun! Maybe that's what happened to the guy in Fry's


Wednesday, October 31, 2012

"I See Dead People"

And, after spending time with Patrick's kids it made me realize once again that the best way to to connect with them (important since I teach Pediatrics) is to remember how it was when you were looking through younger eyes.

At post conference yesterday...this is exactly what my students expressed was the best way to gain the trust of the pediatric patients they were caring for. One student told us,"My goal today was to gain trust and learn how to interact with kids. Then I discovered that after giving the little girl stickers and playing video games she was much more cooperative when we needed to draw blood." Trying to think like a kid is easy for my husband, cause "He are one".

A while ago after attending my brother-in-laws' funeral I realized how important it is to think like a child if you want to really know them. 

I didn't go to a funeral until I was in my late 30's. It was a distant acquaintance and I wasn't emotionally involved but my own children, and grandchildren have attend family funerals at quite a young age. I've learned that children have a very different attitude regarding death. I first discovered this when my oldest daughter was around 3 years old.

We attended my husband's grandmother's funeral and she wanted to look into the casket during the viewing. She was anxious to see what was in the box everyone was looking at. My husband picked her up and stood a way back from the casket so she wouldn't reach out and touch anything. She began patting my husband's cheek and telling him, "Daddy, look at the sleeping lady, she has a pretty dress on."

Other children who live a farm-country life see animals born and others die and have a bit different point of view. When Uncle Bruce died and the graveside service was over, my grandchildren who were there wanted all the talking to end so they could ride on the tractor that pushes the dirt into the grave. They had a different understanding of death and what it means because they are more exposed to death than city kids. 

Often adults forget to explain things to children or try to help them understand what is happening. Then we can't understand when what they say makes no sense to us.

Two years ago my husband had two brothers die within two months. My daughter Megan lives in Utah not too far from the Uncles who passed away so her children knew them both and had spent time visiting with them and listening to old stories.

The younger brother Scott passed away first and we were all gathering for the graveside service. My husband and his older brother Don, who lived nearby, decided to drive to the neighboring town to pick up Leon (another brother) so he could attend Scott's funeral. They decided to use Scott's van as it was set up for a wheel chair and would be a better transport for Leon who would need his wheelchair.

While we were waiting for Patrick and Don to return with Leon, Megan's children were restless and began walking around the cemetery looking at the rows of scattered gravestones. The two older ones, Ali and Trevor were reading the dates and names on the monuments dotting the space and had gone quite a few yards away as they looked at the headstones.

I greeted the few people I knew, explaining we were waiting for the brothers to return with Leon from the convalescent home and noticed Ali the oldest of Megan's children looking puzzled and walking over to the gathering of people, and then back to a gravestone several rows away. Ali was about ten, a very serious thoughtful and observant young lady. I noticed she was looking at a woman very carefully, and soon went up to touch the woman's skirt and hand. Then she went back to stare at a headstone. Finally she came over and softly said, "How come if she's dead, she's walking around." In the emotion and bustle of the day I didn't realize until later what had happened or why she made such a strange comment.

The woman's husband had recently passed away and as was the custom she had purchased the adjoining plot with a joint grave monument which had pictures of them both. Ali was confused. She couldent' figure out why, if the lady had her picture on the stone, (which she knew meant the person was dead), that lady was in the cemetery walking around.

Soon after that her young brain got another shock. As Don and Patrick drove up in Scott's van they carried Leon from the van and placed him in the wheelchair. It was cold and windy so Patrick reached into the van and grabbed Scott's flannel shirt and hat and put them on Leon. He was all bundled up in Scott's clothing and did not move as they rolled him slowly toward the grave.

Ali was sure the person in the wheelchair was Scott because she recognized the clothing and thought they were going to put him in the box and then into the grave. Her eyes got big, she grabbed my hand and leaned into me saying, "Why didn't they get him in the box before everyone got here." I had no idea what she was talking about or why she gave a little squeak as Leon, who she thought was her dead Uncle Scott, stoodup from the wheelchair to say the opening prayer.

So pay attention to kids and most likely the strange things they say will make perfect sense, "I see dead people", may be true when you understand their point of view.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Is hard pizza like hard cheese? I'm having flashbacks!

Today I survived the gymnastics run of Patrick Jr's kids, and thinking back am delighted to recollect Megan, and Camile Rich. They were both on the Olympic hot-shots. A pre-training kind-of Bella-Karoli potential Olympic group. All work and not much play. Driving into the San Fernando Valley from Santa Clarita four times a week came to a screeching halt the second Meg said, "Mom this isn't fun anymore." Even with her Pepita legs, flip, flops, balance beam twists, and uneven-beam flying...I was more than happy to stop the "valley run".  I think Camile continued for a short time after that and both we moms considered the year or two we spent driving there as good exercise for kids, and a lesson in patience for us..., not training for an Olympic career.  Meg put her Hanrion traditional awesome legs to good use as the girl who stole the most bases ever at Saugus High School when playing softball, and then onto track which continued into college with a full ride scholarship at Southern Utah University. She is running still, and coaches a high school track team today...for fun so she says, but she does have a competitive spirit.                                                            Megan's Track Team...

Later that same day after gymnastics, I promised to take Pat's kids to the grammar school skate party. Oh my gosh. Harriet Hunt where are you when I'm having a flash back?  (Harriet was my best friend in the 5th grade and my roller-buddy) Going to Skate King with the grand kids reminded me of the Van Nuys Skate Place...flashing lights, blaring music, and the staff  who conspire to stop all fun activity.

The meanie skate-cops had the nerve to try and scoot off little adorable 4yr. old Becca from doing her free style routine in the "middle of the rink".  Many kids and adults defended her and told them to back-off saying "she's the best skater in the house tonight"...and indeed, she was in a world of her own. However, I don't remember ever eating the hard-tack pizza that the King rink served. But then again, I never had that kind of money to buy a pizza when I was 12.

Patrick, Angela, Pat and Pat...
Great Grandma Helen, 
Broc, Josh, Katie,
and Becca.

Maybe that's why I was so anxious to skate for the T-Birds. I needed the money and was very used to ducking and weaving away from the "roller-guards". So weaving past others to score came naturally. Ha, and If you believe the "Pat the Dad" tall tale about how we met when I was a T-Birds jammer, then I have a bridge to sell ya! Possibly the implication of being a roller-derby-jammer is why my shoulder is out of whack for the second time. The illusion of smashing into the wall  must have produced the problem of a ripped rotator cuff. OR, It must be one of those unsolved mysteries.

But No! There must be an explanation for my shoulder woes. Think! Did my bad shoulder come from once being dropped from a flying arabesque when a surfer held me aloft while shooting the curl? (in the 60's), or from being a nurse for 40 years in ICU and moving around 300# comatose patients.

No the truth is, I've wrecked my shoulders through the years in various ways. From playing basketball, to moving patients, falling off a bike during a race, swim training for a triathlon, moving furniture, picking up squirming children, yanking 75# suitcases from the back seat to the front seat one handed...yeah...that's it...Injured from thinking I'm Wonder Woman!! (She and I are the same age...It's true)

Then, today I got the call they cancelled my surgery, heck, guess I can hold out for a few more years.
 In my surfing polka-dot-swim-suit...(before being dropped and getting a really nasty black eye)
SEE, Megan really does have my legs!
Me and Barbara Laws at Jr. High Graduation. Harriet, Barb and I were like peas, carrots and corn?

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Eight Wonder Of The World...Wallmart!!!!

Each day I see zombie people wandering aisles with their carts
Butts tucked into stretch pants along with other parts

They park and off they slowly go heading to the door
To find those things they think they need and other stuff galore 

Outside the girl with a petition banning bacon accosted me first
However it was the man in a wheelchair who protested her impudence

"How dare you deny me bacon for without it, I cannot eat
Are you insinuating that's why I can't get up upon my feet!" 

They have movies in a bin, some one dollar other's five
But why pay the price when this place has the action of a hive

For here you can get most anything your little heart desires
Like food, or drugs or guns to shoot and stuff to make a fire 

Now some say Disneyland is the best place to people watch
But if you hit this wonder, your viewing pleasure goes up a notch

For you can get a parenting lesson on the aisle with all the toys
Which is near "Appreciation of Music,"…It's the place will all the noise
Adventure and Romance is at the lingerie rack where a lone man
Tries to buy his wife a gift, wishing she'd asked for a frying pan

So if your cash is low for frills, can't pay the power bill
Just hit the local Walmart to get your entertainment fill

Friday, October 12, 2012

Back in Seattle again

Yes two weeks home and here I am again...these boys of mine are lots of fun, but I am getting too creaky for so much fun. It seems I just got home from helping out Shannon Mike Ben and Sam and now I'm the glutton and doing Grammy duty for Pat's four while he and Angela have a honeymoon. 

Back in Seattle, Sleepless in Seattle, would be more like how it feels to have four kids ages 4-16 to keep an eye on when you are closer to 70 than 65...lots of work, how in the heck did I ever keep up with five...I vaguely remember doing 5 loads of laundry a day...folding it and putting it away...thinking about it makes me cringe!
I have already seen the Garfield Halloween special 16 times and I'm barely back from dropping off the happy couple at the airport ..and somehow  I forgot you don't take directions from a four year old...
I arrived yesterday and took notes about all the places I needed to take the kids. Then I made this calendar thinking myself quite clever, and programed the address of each of four schools, soccer practice, soccer games, library time, gymnastics, roller rink, church and a few others with the times of when they all begin.

So off I went on my first car duty....I was feeling quite smug..I have handled this and lots more but how could I forget you....NEVER take directions from a four year old, I know better don't I?  

Only thing is...after I put all this info into my GPS...I neglected to have a key as to where each place led to...one address was 1233, east 153, another was 324 north 162, another was 2277 west 92 ND street...and I got them all mixed up....what happened to logical names like Pat lives on Elm street, or the park is on Park lane...the strings of numbers got jumbled in my head and as I looked at the maps saved in the Garmin... they all looked sort of looked alike...so I took a stab at one... I guess it was the wrong one and when I turned  to the right the four year old in the back seat began yelling no o-no no Grammy!!!! the other way!!!!!...I began thinking I had heard the man in the Garmin box wrong...I turned around and went the other way...ended up on a dead end street...then passed over the freeway...twice..I was lost so hit the address I hoped was "Go Home"  

The road began to look a little familiar and then I saw a cute little girl walking along and called out Katie!!!! She thought I had forgotten! "Oh No!" I said,  just got a little lost. 

Soon, after a repast of corn dogs with ketchup--- it was off to soccer, I think I took so many wrong turns the 10 min ride took 30 min..."got stuck in traffic," was my excuse (and I'm sticking to that answer should anyone ask) Needless to say, Josh was 30 min late.... No! wait it wasn't all my fault. Josh couldn't find his uniform, yea..that's it, or at least part of "it"

Now after watching three sponge Bob's, and six Finnias and Ferb shows...my brain has rotted and I am going to bed, hoping the grey cells will regenerate. I sure hope the kids go to bed sometime before dawn. They have declared on the weekends they are up until 10...not on my watch!

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Empty Middle Seat Nirvana!

I've been travelling a lot since our reunion at the end of the summer and I've decided plane trips, when you are alone, are a turkey shoot! When I was younger I know I enjoyed the mystery of a trip. Now, I want absolutes...like WHO THE HECK IS THAT PERSON SITTING NEXT TO ME!

You never know who or what will be seated next to you. It could be a Yeti, Mr Crisco, or something out of a tale by the Grimm brothers.  The worst is when you bid for a ticket and end up with 4-5 connections before you get to your destination.  When you do that I can assure you that your fate will be the dreaded middle seat.  Who ever decided that the three seat configuration was the way to go should be shot. I remember as a kid travelling by plane to New York each summer and the planes had a two seat on each side deal going on...so at least one side of you could breathe, and not be crushed by a person sitting on each side.

Ahhh. "The Middle Seat". Who will get that seat????  If you are in a row without a couple to take two of the seats, you have to worry if you will be seated next to characters from an alien movie. Not fun. I have experienced that several times when travelling to meetings and conferences for my School Board Position.  I would go alone as none of the other board members, (mostly men) had schedules that meshed with mine. Never the less, I pressed on...and was often squished in that middle seat by rotund passengers on each side of me.

If you look at the arm rests of plane seats you discover that under the arm rest there is an opening. Quite easy for the person sitting beside you to slop their adipose tissue through the opening and on to your lap.  On one unfortunate trip I was the bologna in the sandwich of two large men who had lots of fat pushing into my side and onto my lap from both sides. I remember they were seated before I arrived and I almost cried when I saw them. After I was somewhat situated I looked for the seat belt, no way was I going to fish around the tissue for the restraining device, and really there was no need as I was so packed into my seat I couldn't move if I wanted to... I had my own dualie-air-bags, already deployed sitting on both sides of me. Interesting that the Stewardess seat belt-Nazi did not even notice or call to my attention to the fact that I was not...OH NO...buckled.  I guess she did not want to fish around for the seat belt either.  So there I sat for 3 hours not able to move as both sets of shoulders extended into my space along with everything else, and I was pinned there like a bug specimine...unable to move.

On one of my recent trips two young teen boys had the middle and aisle seat while I had the window seat. Okay I thought not too bad. The one in the middle had not hit his growth spurt so there was no fighting for posession of space going on. I noticed the two parents were across the aisle...blissfully removed of parental duties.  And they were also away from the unusual smell that began to waft toward me like a green cloud. They must have know the kids has some sort of gaseous food the night before and that's why they abandoned the kids and emancipated them...for as long as the flight, at least.  Within 15 minutes I was gasping for breath wishing the air bags would drop from the ceilling...for at very very frequent intervals various bowel eruptions produced a blasting hot wet-poopie smell.  I cranked up my air vent to full and had it hitting on my face, then would lean forward to breathe the air from between the seat in front of me and the window. I was doing all within my power to get some relief. I was wishing I could open the window. Of course that is ridiculous but by then I'm sure many brain cells had died, and all reason was lost.

So AHHHHH! The middle seat, If it is empty, it's nirvana. Yes, the vacant middle seat is the wish of us all as we travel alone. We hold our breath (even without air cheese happening) pray, and await the closing of the cabin door. We lone passengers are dreading the arrival of the third in the row to spoil our flight, our air, our space, or our sanity.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

"Why Does the Phone Ring When I'm On the Ladder," or "DON'T PUT THAT POTATO IN THE POT! and I don't mean the one on the stove...."

So, I'm not done painting the doors yet because the phone keeps ringing. (see previous blog..."I kicked down the door") Now my adult kids all say I never answer the phone. That is an exaggeration of sorts. I do answer it...when I can. I certainly don't run to get the phone anymore, that is true, those days are in the past...and climbing down a ladder with a paintbrush in hand...that's out of the question...In my younger days, when trapped at home with small children I was so anxious for any contact with the outer world I would run happily to the phone to hear an adult voice. You can get a bit batty when you only hear cartoons, big bird, or a house full of little ones running about.

And as batty as you get watching children day after day, you can't ignore them when they're in action, you must have eyes on all the time, I found out the hard way. Longing for an adult conversation, without diapers or sippy cups as the major topic I was talking to a dear friend who had abandoned me and moved away. I was keeping an eye on the little ones...well...sort of...while I was absorbed in the phone conversation and I saw my oldest son Patrick, yes, my husband and I are Pats, and so is our oldest son. Rather fun as he got older and we answered the phone. We sounded like we were a new age religion or something "Do you want...Pat the father, Pat the mom, or Pat the son."

But I digress, I saw Patrick running around with a potato. So cute, trying to be like mom, pretending to be cooking...(to this day he is a wonderful cook...) It was cute until I saw him walking by with the squash I had under the sink for dinner the next night...I followed him to discover the toilet filled with my brand new 10 pound bag of potatoes topped off with the squash. Luckily I was able to retrieve them before my (then) plumber husband got home, (he has now moved on to Superintendent of general construction of very large projects) Anyway, he told me if he ever had to pull a diaper out of the toilet I was in big trouble...but then again he never mentioned potatoes! or squash... That day to check I had rescued all the potatoes and the toilet was not clogged or would run over on the next flush. I used the handy bathroom scale to make sure I pulled out all of the 10 pounds, now that's the creative mom in me...just ask.

Anyway back to the ladder thing, you all know it's true. Paintbrush in hand at my age....social security age, sort of...I don't rush for many things, but old habits die hard, and a few times while during my door painting sojourn I have found myself hopping down and running to the instrument of communication. Each time chiding myself for not putting the thing in my pocket, and frequently I found a telemarketer on the line, the dreaded 800 number and now there is added the 799 telemarketer number, but all the same they ultimately want your money for something, some politician, phone service, Internet, or my favorite some illness or ailment.

Now with over 40 years under my belt caring for the sick and not so sick...I have certainly given my pound of flesh, (bad feet and two back surgeries) to the ill and infirm...so feel that no matter what ailment they represent, "I've already given" so get off my phone...and don't ask me for a donation in the market either where I ran in for a gallon of milk, or any store for that matter. Considering the number of times I've gone to the store with a family of seven If I gave just a dollar each time I entered a store, within a very short time I would be flat broke...

Here are early photos of the Hanrions.
Yes Virginia, Big Pat at one time had dark curly hair and sported Elvis sideburns. 
How 'bout my hair on the day we blessed Rebecca?
Little Pat (the potato culprit) is in the toy box...along with Colleen in the last picture.
So my advice, "I gave at the office" is a good reply, then of course a fun follow up is to ask the person on the line if they think painting the wall blue, or pale yellow would be best with a west facing living room according to the fen-shui method....and request them to come over and help paint since they wasted your time and now you're behind in your project! I asked the person on the line to come over and help paint once...and they HUNG UP! The nerve! 

Monday, October 1, 2012

Nail It To The Floor If It Stinks!

I never considered Pop Hanrion a tease or particularly funny. He was serious and a hard worker who would join in when the fooling around started. He was not much of an instigator. So how did five boys turn out to be class clowns and cut-ups ready for a challenge? How did they find a way to turn every task into a game and like Tom Sawyer scam others to work while they sat back and watched?
The only culprit could have been Ruth, the mom of the house. How can that be? I know she was shy in school and didn’t have much confidence. She told me it took an astute teacher to recognize her talents and encourage her to attend college and become a teacher. From time to time, however, I could glimpse the gremlin inside this quiet woman and knew the smile on her face hid her true character. When I heard the story about dirty clothes, I knew I was right.
With six men to pick-up after, poor Ruth must have cleaned with a bulldozer to keep the health inspectors away. Now I know when they first moved to California they lived in a chicken coop because no one would rent to a family with four boys. Luckily, soon after that, they were able to buy a home with twenty acres, plenty of room for the boys to keep busy. I wonder if living in a chicken coop squelched any attempt to persuade the men to be tidy or neat…but I know many years later when Patrick was in high school she was still urging the family to change their messy habits.
One day in total frustration she took a handful of ten-penny nails, then pounded the array of underwear, shirts, pants, and socks to the floor. When the boys returned to discover all their clothing firmly attached to the floor and questioned her about their predicament. She responded, “Well if you can’t get your clothes hanging on a hook, or in the hamper, I’ll just have to hang them myself…right where they lay!”
She became a notorious heroine in the neighborhood and her story was told far and wide. I know she made an impact on many with her creative mothering, and recently when Patrick went to church in Arizona a woman approached him to ask, “Are you the Hanrion who had his clothes nailed to the floor?” He had to admit the story was true and he was the messy culprit.
I also had a moment of mom frustration when our oldest son Patrick was doing two-a-day football practice and another player was staying with us because the parents were out of town. The boys would come home, eat their way through the refrigerator and take a nap on the floor of Pat’s bedroom between practices. They would plop their sweaty stinky football pads and uniforms in the doorway ready to put them on again for the evening practice. Soon the end of the hall had a foul sour smell wafting from the bedroom.
The girls and I were assaulted with the odor and I attempted to spray away enough of the fumes to keep down the gags as we watched TV in the upstairs family room. Finally the girls and I came up with a plan. The third day when the boys were at morning practice we dumped the laundry from the entire family on top of the growing pile. Dad’s work clothes, muddy socks, girly underwear and bras joined the football pads and uniforms.
A few minutes after the boys had gone upstairs to have their nap, a yelp escaped from the room. “What is this?” They asked, emerging with girl undergarments and several of dad’s size 13 stinky socks.
“Oh that, the hampers were full and since your room had so much junk and smelly stuff, I didn’t think a few more items would make a difference. Maybe I’ll get around to washing next week.”
“Okay, we get the message; we’ll leave our stuff in the garage from now on…next to the washing machine.”
“Better would be in the washing machine with some soap!” I said, trying to push my luck.
From then on they washed their football stuff between practices, but strangely the smell lingered in that room for several months, in fact it has been many years but on humid nights I could swear there is that same sour smell emerging from the bedroom like a phantom.
Scott, Leon, & Don, three of the four brothers who taught my husband, (the fifth son) the way they kept their clothes organized...on the floor! 

Friday, September 7, 2012

"Oh My Brother Lucifer"

“Oh my Brother Lucifer”  

Lucifer, son of the morning and master of all lies
Do not tempt with wicked flattery, to deceive me and beguile
Or cheat me of my soul as you gently lead the way to hell
I will not submit to chains or go where fallen angels dwell
What a crafty devil you are selling misery and giving sin appeal
Yet still, some are caught within your web believing evil is not real

Sacrifice is for fools," you say, “you’ll prosper and wear my crown."
But I know you will delight as you stand back and watch me drown
So do not waste your time with whispers to pull me to your lair
It’s much too late for all your tricks to entrap me in your snare
You know you will be judged like all, accountable for what you do
Yet you chose the path of darkness and from the light withdrew
The battle fought some time ago was led by righteousness
Our armor gold with truth our sword, our army victorious
Did you forget we won that fight against ones we cherished dear?
Or how we wished our love would heal and bring those lost ones near
How dare you think I’d trade my life or listen to your voice?
When the promise is near my grasp and I am waiting to rejoice
Patricia Hanrion 2012       2 Nephi 28:21

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Prologue: "Mystery of the Chiasmus Cipher"

Spring, 1778
Bagootsoo Mesa
Territory of Spain

      NeZhoni sat atop the towering pillar of stone drinking in the sight of swaying spring grass.  
     “Finally, the treasure is hidden ̶ ̶ the duty done.” 
     Her gaze went to the embers of the dying fire and settled on the baby nestled in her lap. She put him to her shoulder, patted his broad back and secured the front of the leather wrap over her creamy skin. A lone hawk circled in the warm updraft and squawked in surprise at the intruder invading his realm.
     The many years of hiding secrets from the man of my heart are over and my spirit can lie still.
     The cavern had been cool for most of the work, but now after the steep climb to the mouth of the hidden shaft, she was hot and red dirt dusted her hair and filled her ears. She finished the task by dropping strings of garnet stones into the burial tube. Then after she levered the heavy capstone into place, NeZhoni arranged cactus and sifted fine dirt into the seams.  The fire burning atop the stone would add ash to the camouflage and finish the disguise.
    The plump baby in her arms looked up with his dark green eyes flecked with gold. They were her eyes, the ones that had attracted the men who took her from her family. She knew she was treated better than most taken to be of service. Yet she had no regret about keeping the secret of her theft.
     “Dulce hijo, all is in place to follow the guide I’ve preserved for them. Only the hidden message has knowledge of the way to obtain this legacy. Those who come after us must follow carefully or they will meet their end." I must have faith it will be found, for I shall never see this land again nor shall you. 
     For ten springs, because of the agreement with travelling men, NeZhoni had been brought back to spend time at her father's hearth. Always, on one of  those days, she put on her ceremonial robe and went to Bison Mesa to mediatate. Diego, the man who had claimed her, honored the pledge and allowed her this time.
     When the strangely dressed traveling men came to winter camp she was afraid. The tribal council had long ago learned they could fight the men with shining hats, lose many braves, end up with nothing—or they could barter, trade and gain new tools and weapons for their people.
     On that day long ago, as she peeked out from behind her father she was noticed by one of the men. He longingly admired her fair skin, and emerald eyes. Several weeks later as the caravan of horses and wagons prepared to leave, the bargain was made.
     “NeZhoni, you will go with these men as payment for the mustangs we gain for the hunt. One man has promised to care for you. If you serve him well he will return to this place so you may see your family. Escalante, a man of God, has promised this to me.”
     There was no choice. NeZhoni knew she had to go. She walked slowly over to the man, Diego, and stood behind him. He, from that day had treated her kindly, and after some time had made her his woman. He taught her his language and ways of worship. He also taught her to read so she could study his holy book. In return, she taught him the medicine of plants and bore him many sons. During their travels she saw lands—amazing and precious things that she had never seen before.
     As she went quietly about her duties, the men of the quest ignored her as if she was mist. Not realizing she had learned their language they spoke freely and NeZhoni discovered the hiding place of their treasure. At first, she took only a few coins to cut into trinkets for hair adornments. Later she stole larger amounts and hid it among her belongings. There was so much. No one ever missed what she removed.
     As the days and weeks became years  she forgot many of the ways of her people, so making the trips of renewal to her homeland became important. Along with women’s learning and ceremony, each time she returned NeZhoni deposited the growing golden treasure in a hiding place she had discovered. Always silent to Diego and telling no one of her theft—ever firm in resolution NeZhoni never knew why she felt so compelled to carry out such a deception. Today was the last of her trickery, and she was glad she no longer had to fear discovery.
     Gently she placed her fifth son on the carrying board and wrapped the soft straps around the wriggling bundle to secure him. His eyes were closing as she put the sun cover above his head and lifted him upon her back. Shielding her eyes from the brightness, she took one last look at the mountains across the valley to ensure she had all the signs precisely written on the underside of her gown.
     The setting sun had turned the hills blood red and the sky violet by the time she reached the encampment. Her man was patiently waiting with their sons at spring camp on the prairie.
     “Diego, por favor toma tu hijo that I may take leave with my father”
     She gave him the sleeping child, and gestured she was going to the structure across the clearing. Her father, Chief Toohoo-Bagootsoo sat cross-legged on the dirt.
     In the corner of the enclosure, she changed back into the woven cloth dress and bonnet that made her look like the other women traveling in the wagon train. She laid her ceremonial gown out across the stone used to grind grain. Then she took out a knife, and carefully cut around the part of the soft leather where she had written the guide. 
     On the day of her vision, six years ago in the women’s sweat house, she had eaten the ‘Flesh of the Gods’ mushroom, and asked the spirits how she could help her suffering people. In her waking dream, she saw a future where a spider spun its web across the land, white roads were made tall on stilts and people traveled in metal boxes. Homes were shut from the sky and everyone sat entranced before flickering lights. She also saw how to conceal her stolen gold.
     “Do this,” the spirits said, “Or, your people will fade to nothing from illness and greed. You can save them from this suffering with a great gift from the past—your gift.”
     She saw the way to prepare a guide and asked faithful ones to assist in following the plan she was given. None of them could understand the reasons for the peculiar work, but trusted in NeZhoni's vision to ensure the treasure would be found at the right time. They were saving their hope-dream for children unborn.
     Now the task was finished. Only she and her infant son knew the final secrets. She twisted the hide into a roll, positioned it within a Bagootsoo horn and gave it to her father. "Honored father, I have done as the spirits wish.
     As she placed the horn in his hands she said, "This will show the way to the gift for those who seek. But who ever attempts the quest must do so with a pure heart. I give warning  to follow only when the time is right and the sign is true or the journey shall end in tragedy.”
     She saw sadness in his eyes, “Father, have not sorrow in your heart, for my life of exile has become a blessing to our people, and also to me.”
     NeZhoni reached out to touch her father’s hand and stroked his sunken cheek. They both knew their next meeting would be in sky-clouds. The parting was heavy and silent.
     Overhead there was only a slice of moon and few stars. She could barely see the children in the wagon entwined in the rhythmic unity of sleep. Diego saw her coming, rose quickly and with one motion was in the wagon seat with the reins in his hands.
     NeZhoni lithely climbed the wheel and slid across the smooth board to be at his side. She felt the warmth of him and looked up at the wide shoulders and strong profile of the man she had learned to love. He slapped the reins and urged on the horses.
     The wagon pulled free of the muddy ruts with a jolt. They had many miles of travel to join the others for their journey across the rolling waters. NeZhoni did not look back. There was no need—her world was with her in the wagon.