Tag Archives: friends

How Does One Make the Perfect Life Choices?

I’m sitting in an airport waiting for a delayed flight, wearing bright orange compression socks, thinking about the latest book I’m writing. It’s been harder to write.

The main character is divorced. She was pregnant when her husband left her for her friend and she had to quickly get a job. She goes back to school to get a secondary education degree because her bachelor’s was in English.  

She had planned on getting a Master’s and possibly a Doctorate in English but then she met John. They fell in love. He got a job and they got married and she didn’t get a Master’s. When she got pregnant with their first child, she kept working. Then the two of them together decided she would stay home with their son. After childcare costs, it made more sense. And he made enough. Plus, she believed her kids would be better off if one of them could stay home. He made more, so she stayed home. She often thought about getting her Master’s, but then a kid would get sick and she wondered how she would do it all. She kept putting it off.

Until the day her husband came home and said he wanted a divorce.

She doesn’t think much about her choices (Why bother? It won’t help) until she has to work with a graduate of hers who has just finished her bachelors and wants to go get her Master’s. But she met this guy….

So Grace looks over at all of her decisions.

And this is where I’m stumped.  

Of course women should get an education and support themselves. Of course they should accomplish all they want to accomplish. But what if the two spouses decide that one parent could stay home. They think it would be better for the kids. But then the spouse who stays home loses potential income. Loses years of experience. May pass up on education that would help because they put their trust in their spouse.

Is this possible anymore?

Do both parents need to always work because relationships seem to be so fluid these days?

I stay home. Yes, I’ve had different jobs and done different things, but when I thought of applying to be a substitute teacher and saw they wanted 3 professional references, I started to cry and didn’t finish the application. I couldn’t think of a professional reference. Sure, I had people who would give me a reference, but I hadn’t worked for anyone in years.  

At the same time, I think having one parent able to stay home is great for a family. I think I’m slowly going insane, but besides that, I think it’s a good idea. If possible.

I had a parent home until I was about 12 or 13 and then I would come home and be alone for about an hour. It wasn’t that big a deal. I would do my homework and watch Days of Our Lives. The worst thing I did was eat a whole box of Kudos and then throw up. I never ate another Kudos again and I’m not even sure they make them anymore. They probably heard my story and realized they didn’t have a future.

But I remember when I missed the bus and I couldn’t get a hold of anyone. I was scared. I thought I’d have to stay at the school over night. My neighbor came and got me and it wasn’t a big deal except for the 30 minutes when it was.

I’m around if my kids forget their lunches or nice clothes for a presentation. I pick them up for appointments and make sure things generally run smoothly.

Except for those times when I mix appointments up and I show up at the right time a day late. Or when I give each kid a different kid’s lunch so when I see one on the counter and it says my youngest’s name but I know I gave him something, I just eat that lunch myself.

I’m not a very domestic stay at home mom but I’m a “I’m here if you need me” one.  

As I write from my character’s point of view, I wonder if this is still a good idea.

If I went back into the workforce and actually used my law degree, I would never make the money I would’ve made had I stayed working. I’m so far out of the game, I wonder if I could get a job.  

Some people volunteer and keep up their resume that way. I haven’t kept a file of what I’ve done. I think I was taught you don’t get credit for volunteer work. It’s a service. (And if it gets around that I’m a helpful person, people may actually ask me for help. No one wants that.)  

So what’s the answer?

Is staying home still a viable option?  

How does one make the perfect choices in life? And never regret them?

I would love to hear your views.

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Karen Hatch: A Truly Remarkable Woman

A dear friend and remarkable person passed away recently and I’m including her obituary.  I hope to be like her.  She was one of my favorite people to talk with at church and I will always be grateful for her example to me.  She was an accomplished woman who never regretted giving it all up to stay home with her children.  She was and is remarkable.

The following obituary with a picture can be found here.

Karen Frances Parker Hatch died January 22nd from head injuries suffered in a fall on the ice on January 14th. She was born on January 9, 1935 to Edna Maughan Parker and Fred Cooper Parker at home on the ranch near Hall, Montana, the 7th of eight children.

She attended the two room school in Hall, graduating from the 8th grade in 1948, and then attended Drummond High School, graduating in 1952. She received a B.S Degree in English education from Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah, in 1956, and taught high school English in Oakdale, California, and Ely, Nevada until 1960 when she returned to BYU to pursue an M.A. Degree in English which she received in 1962. She then taught English at BYU until 1968.

In the summer of 1964 she attended the University of London, in London, England, for a six week course in 20th Century English Literature, and received a certificate of completion in August 1964. While in London she attended a play at which Queen Elizabeth II was also present.

For the academic year 1967-68 she studied at UCLA at Los Angeles, California, and successfully completed a specialized course of post graduate studies in teaching English as a second language.

On September 13, 1968, Karen married Carl A. Hatch in the Logan Utah Temple of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and lived in Helena, Montana since then. For the next 30 years she focused on raising their six children, which she considered her most important work. Karen was an avid reader, and enjoyed traveling, opera, and classical and jazz music, but was always looking for an adventure whether it was riding in a hot air balloon in Albuquerque, on camels in China and Egypt, on elephants in Thailand and Myanmar, or snorkeling in the Caribbean at Cancun, Mexico, to celebrate her 80th birthday. However, she found homemaking, marriage and being a mother and grandmother the most fulfilling of all her life experiences. She loved her fifteen grandchildren and used her sewing skills to make each a unique blanket.

When her children were grown she worked for the Federal Government and the State of Montana in gathering labor and census information.

She and her husband taught English at Shandong Normal University in Jinan, China for the academic years 2003 and 2004. From 2006 – 2008 she and her husband were called by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to serve a humanitarian mission in the Thailand Bangkok Mission as country directors of LDS Charities in Myanmar, living in Yangon. During this mission she was involved in providing clean water to villages, education and medical institutions; in furnishing wheelchairs and prosthetics to the disabled; in having specialists from the United States, Japan, and other countries, train Myanmar doctors, nurses and other medical professionals neo-natal resuscitation; and in teaching English to governmental officials, young adults pursuing advanced education and hotel service employees.

Her devoted, lifelong membership in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints provided her opportunities to serve in many callings: teacher, choir director, Young Women’s President, Primary President and Relief Society President. Since October 2001 to the present she has served as an ordinance worker in the Billings Montana Temple. She followed the invitation of Moroni, the last of the Book of Mormon prophets, who wrote: “Come unto Christ, and be perfected in Him.”

Karen is survived by her husband, Carl, and their six children and fifteen grandchildren: Emily and James Lynn (Brendan, Connor, Ian and Erin) of Lethbridge, Alberta; Maureen Hatch of West Jordan, Utah; Jonathan and Tara Hatch (Caleb, Alyssa and Natalie) of Auburn, Washington; Jennifer and Christopher Childers (Ansel, Jonas, Owen and Sadie) of Richland, Washington; Lucy and Jay Johnson (Seth, Samuel, Henry and Daniel) of Durango, Colorado; and Sarah Hatch of West Jordan, Utah.

The Question of an Affair

For about a month, I was paralyzed when I tried to write. I wasn’t sure if I should write fiction or personal essay or what.  
I always seem to write about women and things women deal with. I think this is because I’m a woman dealing with things.
But I could be wrong.
So I’m writing about women dealing with life based on some real life experiences. It’s a huge miss-mash and mostly dialogue, but I’m writing. And that’s the point.
But I don’t understand the motivations for one character and I don’t know what to do about it
One of my characters had an affair. I am not happy about this. I don’t know if I’m mad she had an affair because she was married and the guy she had an affair with was married and that’s just wrong or if I’m mad because I don’t like her as a character. Is there something wrong with her innately? Or am I upset at her actions? If I were friends with her when she had the affair, would I be more understanding? Or am I more upset because I’m friends with the character who was married to the guy she chose to hook up with? Or is it all 3? Or was that 4?
I have no idea.
But I do know that the words are coming and I look forward to writing. I am going to have to edit out quite a few “I wanted to punch her in the face” sentence fragments, but that’s not for a while.  

(Before you think I’m overly violent, I am borrowing that phrase from a friend who will punch you in the face if you tell her you are eating clean. I don’t think she likes the phrase “eating clean.” But maybe she just likes punching people in the face. Hard to know.)
In fact, there is going to be so much editing, I’m not thinking about it. Half of what I’m writing will end up on the cutting room floor. The subject of the piece has already changed from the affair being the central theme to being a stay at home mom being more the central theme… And how vulnerable stay at home moms are.
And because that’s becoming a central theme, I think the affair upsets me even more.
What do you think about affairs? Do you think it would matter if you were friends with someone who had one? Would you be more understanding? Would you end the friendship? Would you maintain the friendship to try to “help” your friend? Would it matter if your friend was single and the guy was married or if your friend was married and the guy was single? If both were married? Is there ever a reason to make it okay?
It’s all just so confusing. I’m going to watch The Bachelor and see if it enlightens me.

My Sisters Finally Listened to Me

And lived to regret it.

Last week I went with my two older sisters to Disneyland

this is a horrid picture of us before being abused on the Matterhorn

 

do we look related? (the bear totally photobombed)

I am the youngest by a lot.  My sisters were basically in college by the time I could actually speak full sentences. It’s hard to take someone seriously when they are that much younger than you.

But I’d finally done it. I’d gotten them to believe me when I told them the swinging carriages on the Ferris wheel at California Disney weren’t a big deal. They barely moved. I’d been on them once and I remember feeling disappointed.

And the line was half as long.

So we should just do those.

And they believed me.

And I was just fine.

Underwhelmed once again in fact.

They were not. They did not enjoy rocking back and forth and the two guys from Mexico in the carriage with us had horror in their eyes.

My sisters yelled to get off but due to a malfunction, they couldn’t. So we went around. And my sisters threatened to kill me.

Which is kind of immature for their age if you ask me.

But we got off and they got a free pass to any ride for the inconvenience of almost vomitting due to a malfunction.

So I say it was a total win.

But I don’t think they will ever listen to me again.

( At least I got to skip the Peter Pan line. )

 

It’s been a Heavy Summer

Have I mentioned this summer has been difficult to blog?

After I had my miscarriage, there was an ill timed pregnancy announcement.  It hurt.

I wanted to make sure I didn’t do something similar here.

There has been a difficult death in the family.  Trying to find humor in life or finding the irony in situations just seemed wrong.  There is no humor or irony in death sometimes.  And I don’t want anyone to think it doesn’t matter by carrying on as if nothing happened.

Because something happened and it was important.

My other problem this summer is due to my desire to write a scathing blog about a couple who divorced their spouses to be together.  I don’t believe in public shaming.  And I know I don’t know the whole story.  I just know the end result and it’s sad.

So many people are affected by two people’s decisions.  Or just one person’s.  It’s been hard to wrap my head around it.

Don’t get me wrong.  We’ve had fun this summer.  We’ve been to camp and seen family and gone swimming and just chilled.

It’s just also been a heavy summer that needed some quiet time.

I think I’ll be grateful for school to start.

When my kids start asking me if I knew Sacagawea when I was a child.

At least Build A Bear wasn't a complete waste.

At least Build A Bear is having a resurgence.

California. 

The title should be sung like the OC theme song by Phantom Planet. It makes it better. 

I escaped Montana for the CA. (I’m not in Orange County and this blog post obviously has a theme)

My friend Kelli and I are staying off of Venice Beach. I was supposed to spend my time alone writing. But I may have slept 12 hours. Hard to know. I was unconscious. 

My husband is coming for the weekend when Kelli leaves (this isn’t a literal episode of The OC where she would’ve stayed) so I was looking for a place that would be easy to switch occupents. Two large beds in other words. 

I couldn’t find any close to the beach and not lots and lots of money. Until I found a vacation rental. 

It ended up not quite looking like the photos online.

  
It’s a nice entrance. At least it’s nice and safe. 

But I do wish I’d known there wouldn’t be any soap. 

I guess I should pretend I’m on the episode where the group goes to Mexico. But then Marissa sees her boyfriend cheat and OD’s and Ryan steals her from the hospital and her parents hate him and don’t like him until Marissa dies and Ryan offers to kill the guy responsible. 

Maybe I should choose a new series to compare my life to. 

Suggestions?

The Set Up

Would you set up two friends? Is it a good idea to set up friends? What about a friend and someone you know fairly well but haven’t seen for a long time? Or two people who have rhyming names you’ve never met?

I’ve had two successes. They got married because I was in their lives. I’m amazing. At the same time, I’m still friends with only one of those couples. So there may be more to the story than I know.

But I’ve had many, many, many, many failures. I may actually be quite horrible at setting people up. If it were a college class, according to my percentage, I would’ve failed. Maybe even been asked to leave the university.

And yet I keep going.

Why?

I think my main problem is that I think all of my friends should be friends. I think if you hang out with me, you have things in common.

I’m beginning to think that some people only have the fact they hang out with me in common. That might not be enough for a relationship.

It’s enough for all of my relationships. It should be enough for every relationship.

If it’s not, I think you’re just too picky.

Everyone should lower their standards.

Have just one.

“Do you get along with Marianne? You do? Let’s get married.”

I think I just solved a major international issue.

I’m running for President next.

 

This statue was made after I introduced two people and they realized they both knew me.

This statue was made after I introduced two people and they realized they both knew me.