Writing My Life

Now and Then


44 Years and Counting!

How can a type A personality and a type Z stick together for 44 years? Such a good question, but G.E. is a BIG “A”, and yours truly is far beyond type B, C, D, etc. And yet, here we are – an old couple who have been together for four-plus decades; that’s two-thirds of our lives! Surprising?

My friend and colleague, who is also a scientist, says, “Not so.” Opposites do attract and for good reason. According to studies she has perused, humans are often drawn to those who say “poTAYto” when their personal preference is “poTAHto”. (You have to be pretty old to understand that reference.)

It seems that this is Mother Nature’s way of producing “normal” offspring; otherwise, the youngsters would all be busy cleaning, organizing, calculating, and so forth. Or they would be in a constant state of  spilling “stuff”, stumbling over “things”, and searching for lost items, people, and places.

There are some who may doubt our sons are “normal,” but the boys do have some of both of us mixed in with a lot of “them”. Which is a great thing. I’d like to say they inherited the best of their dad and mom, but that’s wishful thinking. Instead, they’ve combined everything together to be A.MAZ.ING people that we love so darn much.

But, I have to say, the best decision this crazy lady made o-so-long-ago was to marry her crush! He was adorable then and even cuter now. In between have been trials and tears, laughter and LOTS OF LOVE!!!!

Before this starts sounding like a Hallmark card, I’m wishing for NOTHING more than many many days of continued adventure.

I love you, my Gar! (not GAHR).

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Week 3 of G.E.’s Retirement

UNbeLIEVable! I have NEVER gone so long without posting! What happened to the summer? What happened to me? Summer flew by and I apparently flew the coop! And I have SO many happenings to share with those who drop by this site to see what’s up with RBS.

I need to describe  some great and some not-so-great occasions that occurred over the last 3 months, but right now, I think I’ll just let you know the biggest change in the lives of G.E. and me has happened. My husband of 43 years turned 65 on the last day of August – the very day he retired from his job. This is HUGE, I tell you. ALL kinds of implications here. But he is EXcitED, and so am I – even though I am still punching the clock for at least another year, and maybe longer.

When asked, “What’re you going to do?”, his answer is “Whatever I want!” Isn’t that cool?

NO MORE Suits and Ties!

Yesterday we celebrated G.E.’s retirement with most of our family at my favorite Wines Park in Lehi – it has LOTS of big, shady trees. Ahhh. Anyway, between eating and visiting, volleyball and lawn darts, swings and slides, I shared my husband’s work history. I had been thinking about it a lot, AND I realized there were lessons to be learned. So here it is – more or less.

  • 9 Years-Old: Fuller Brush PRE-salesman. Went door to door with is his older sister giving away Fuller Brush gifts – like potato scrubbers – in an attempt to line up appointments for his dad.
  • 11: Corn-Thinner on LDS Church Welfare Farm in Elberta. Now that was a blast! NOT!
  • 11 or 12: Sweeper at Fisher Drugstore. Job expanded from sweeping out a neighborhood drug store to caring for the owner’s yard
  • 14: Golf course grounds keeper at Willow Creek Golf Course. G.E. also claimed the maintenance shed for his home at one time when he ran away for a couple of days!
  • 15-going-on-16: Builder. Spent a summer building the Scout Camp up at Bear Lake. Woke up to rattle snakes, had to kill one, and so he skinned it and mounted the epidermis on a wooden plaque we had for years! Also, worked without a shirt next to the lake and suffered a 3rd degree SUN BURN. G.E. still has remains of that summer scarred on his left arm. Crazy kid!
  • 16: Bag-boy the new Albertson’s Grocer Store only to be laid off after the grand opening. Management kept his buddy Jim, but “pink-slipped” G.E. (That still ticks him off.)
  • 16-19: Part-time ware-houseman.  Unloaded boxcars where he froze in the winters and sweltered in the summers. Pretty good pay for a teenager during the 60s but it was hard and dirty work. Eventually became an order-picker, a step above unloading boxcars. Greatly disliked this job and swore NEVER to work there again.
  • 17: Horse-breaker. After being kicked out of the LDS Seminary (classes of religious study for secondary school students), his teacher agreed to pass him if he and his trouble-making buddy would help break his Appaloosa horses. Now THAT was fun!
  • 19-21: LDS missionary. Worked for the Lord in Virginia and North Carolina.
  • 21-22: Ware-houseman again. Back to the warehouse while attending college and providing for me, his new wife!
  • 22: Parts Manager at Telemation, a job that only lasted during the summer of 1969 because G.E. was DRAFTED! To reduce the chances of being sent to Vietnam, G.E. enlisted so he’d have a few more choices.
  • 22-24: Soldier – worked for Uncle Sam in the U.S. Army in Frankfurt, Germany. The gamble paid off. We felt so fortunate in being sent to Europe vs. Vietnam!
  • 22-23: Weapons-Cleaner. While serving as supply sergeant, G.E. cleaned M14s and M16s for GIs who didn’t want to care for their own weapons. For $4 a month from each participating soldier, he kept them “inspection-ready” – guaranteed!
  • 24:  Ware-houseman. Back again to supplement our income from G.I. Bill because now there was a wife AND baby to support.
  • 25-29: Army Reservist and member of the ROTC – Yep, G.E. decided to join the ROTC as a back-up plan in case he couldn’t find a job after graduation, but he was assigned a position in artillery; so said, “No thanks,” and resigned. Which he could do because he’d already served his time.
  • 25: Data Miner. The firm with no name. We can’t remember the company.. One day I called him at work to ask him something and was told my husband no longer worked there! He was laid off but didn’t want to tell me because I was expecting number 2, and he didn’t want to worry me. Guess where he found a job ….
  • 26-28: Ware-houseman. See a pattern here?
  • 28-29: Manager at Minit Mart, a  gas station and little grocery store owned by my cousin.
  • 29-31: Assistant, assistant, assistant manager-in-training. Recruited out of college for the management program at Sav-on Drug store which meant a move to San Jose, CA. LONG, LONG hours and LITTLE pay. Started at $11,000. And baby #3 was en-route.
  • 31-32: Area manager at Imperial Valet. Oversaw the maintenance of Mervyn’s Department Stores throughout northern California. A difficult job because if the cleaning crews didn’t show up in the middle of the night, G.E. had to find out why, arrange substitutes OR go clean the store himself!!!!
  • 32-42: General foreman, supervisor, trainer at National Semi-Conductor in CA and UT: Best job he’d had up until then. Opportunity to grow and eventually provided the experience in management that he needed to progress.
  • 42-46: Lawn caretaker, custodian at A&K Railroad, Yellow Pages deliveryman. WHAT HAPPENED? Laid off from National, and while looking for a job, G.E. started his own lawn service company and worked at any other job he could find. Our growing boys helped him, and also helped me. I had returned to college, and G.E. didn’t want me to quit. I applied for every grant, scholarship, and loan I could find and he and my sons helped me graduate! I still cry when I think about it. I LOVE YOU GUYS!
  • 42-44: Human Resource Manager and  then Sr. VP of Benefits at First Security Bank. After four and a half months, G.E. found this position. Grateful for the work, we had to stretch an income that was just over a third of what he’d been earning at National Semi-Conductor. So he and the boys kept up the lawn jobs, and I kept going to school.
  • 44-46: Human Resource Manager at RC Willey Furniture Store. Wells Fargo was in the process of taking over First Security, and G.E. was unemployed again until he was able to hire on at the largest chain of furniture stores in Utah.
  • 46-47: HR Manager at Health Rider. Seeing little future at RCW, G.E. took a chance and joined a new and upcoming company. Not a great decision. He was laid off once more when the “growing” company sold out to a “grown” company.
  • 47-65: HR Manager, HR Director, Business Analyst at LDS Church. The best career G.E. ever had. Even though this experience centered on the secular side of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, he still felt a part of something important in helping the kingdom grow. His work in Human Resources enabled him to help others in a multitude of ways. He had opportunities to rub shoulders with so many fine men and women, to travel and work in areas of the U.S., Mexico, and the Caribbean. It was a tremendous blessing in our lives.

Reflecting upon my husband’s work history helped me appreciate him even more than I already do. I always realized that he would do whatever needed to take care of his family. We had decided that I would work at being a stay-at-home mom, especially when the boys were young. No matter how rough it was,  my sweet husband never pressured me to abandon that decision.

I remember when G.E. was out of work, a neighbor invited him to leave his lawn care service and janitorial work to sell Amway. When G.E. turned him down, the man was flabbergasted, and he said he would never do manual work like my husband did. It’s not that G.E. had anything against selling Amway, he just knew we needed the income that moment, and we couldn’t wait for him to build a clientele or depend upon the uncertainty of commissions.

At one point we realized that a lay-off was in National Semi-conductor’s future that would affect us. The boys were older and reaching mission and college ages. We knew it was time for me to finish my education so that I could help with these heavy expenses as a school teacher. I will forever appreciate the sacrifice he and our sons made to not only keep food on the table but to keep Mom in school. I love you, Gary Eugene. And I always will. 

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… summer lovers …

Okay, these snaps were captured LAST summer.

We had an EX.TREME.LY late spring this year.

And so I’m not really sure WHEN or IF I will catch these huggers kissing and doing other romantic stuff. 

Zuch Smackers!

Ahhh. Must be a first kiss!

Now you know why one zucchini and/or one crookneck plant can feed the entire neighborhood.



… SO thankful for my less-than-perfect hubby …

The love of my life for more than 42 YEARS!

Today is Father’s Day, and besides being grateful for a most wonderful daddy – whom I miss SO VERY MUCH – I am more than appreciative for G.E. – the IMperfect husband. Why? Because it would be difficult for IMPERFECT me to live with the epitome of perfection. Besides, it would NOT be nearly as fun.

Of course, it wasn’t and isn’t always fun, but what irritated me as a young wife, I’ve learned to pretty much ignore. Yes, he is a type A, right-brained, A.R. personality – almost obsessive compulsive at times. (I mean how many men do you know who not only REPLACE the toilet paper but who also have the back-up sitting near by when squares on the roll are down to 50?!?!?!?)

But he has SO many redeeming qualities that I cannot fault him for his Felix (as in The Odd Couple) tendencies when I am his Oscar (not as in “the Grouch.”) G.E. can be a grumpy husband and a GRUMPa, but beneath his sometimes prickly exterior is a tender heart that would do “almost” ANYTHING and EVERYTHING for me and for our children – I mean the man does have his limits.

Our boys know that they can turn to their dad in an emergency or what they think is an emergency, and he is ALWAYS there. Oft times they don’t have to approach him because he sees the need and extends the help without being prompted by them or me. In fact, MissOblivious here occasionally fails to see their problems, but their “hawk-eye” father can spot them from miles away.

In addition to some of his quirks, I learned early on in our whirlwind courtship that G.E. is a MAJOR tease. This characteristic might be intolerable for many women, but not for me. Of course, it wears thin at times, but on the whole, it endears him to me. Omigosh, the man can make me laugh and visa versa. I love that I make him laugh WITH and AT me. I mean, I am infamous for inadvertent craziness that cracks up family AND friends.

Naturally, these incidents of insanity did NOT always amuse him, but just as I’ve learned to work with his issues, he has learned to accept mine. We’ve stopped trying to change each other. And in the course of that acceptance of one another, our love and appreciation grows.

I’ve also learned to return his grumpy remarks with kind answers – most of the time – and he has learned to shake his head, roll his eyes, and laugh out loud at my MANY mishaps, mistakes, misplacements, etc. And in evening of our on-earth togetherness, we find joy in the morning, the noon, and the night.

I love you, my darling.


… weary of bad weather? maybe blossoms are the cure for the grumps …

Utahns have been griping for weeks, maybe even MONTHS,  because of WAY below-normal temperatures and WAY above-normal rainfall. At the slightest ray of sunshine, we run out to play or work in the yard – so thrilled to feel even the tiniest bit of warmth on our faces.

I love this representation of spring in Utah: snow in the mountains, trees in bloom, and trees struggling to bud.

Yesterday – while waiting for the Rapture – I, too, rushed lumbered to the front yard to pull up spent tulips and to plant pale pink petunias and lavender creeping flox. It was the perfect time to weed and plant because the soil had been softened by so much moisture.

Our flowering crab apple tree surrounded by pink petunias worshiping at its feet/roots??? Pansies peeking from the background may last the entire summer if temperatures stay this cool!

Because of the other “bucket-list” plans on the day to end all days, I didn’t have much time to bask in the handiwork of my gardening. But after lunch with Mom and Connie B, and after attending the wonderful heart-warming play at the Hale Theatre, I drove up to my yard with a greater appreciation for all that was blooming!

"In the leafy tree tops the blossoms are blooming!"

This is my favorite tree in bloom is this little Japanese flowering tree – whose full name I can’t remember. Grrrrr. It is also the tree-of-choice for our little yellow-feathered friend. He finds something yummy to eat among the branches and blossoms. I hope he returns to dine soon.

It amazes me that this delicate little tree survives and thrives - showing up bigger and heartier looking kin.

Not all that long ago snow covered our young snowball bushes. Soon the little green blossoms will burst into big puffs of white!

I wish I had the memory to remember the names of everything I plant, but I don’t. If any readers can tell me what this pretty pink flowering perennial is, I will be ever so grateful.

The plant reminds me of bleeding hearts, but those don't thrive out here on the western desert like this nameless beauty does.

While this montage may bore many, I am thankful I took these pictures and posted them because a rather nasty thunder storm – complete with HAIL – descended upon my lovelies and stripped some of their beautiful blossoms. The remnants lie scattered upon the green lawn much like strands of hair piles up on the floor at the barber shop.


… word clouds ~ may be a spin on love stories …

While looking back through some of my earlier posts last night, I re-read my tribute to my mom and dad on the 65th anniversary of the day they wed. Nearly a year has passed and so I thought of another way to honor their love story. Hope you like it! 

P. S. Tagxedo is sort of like wordle.net but I like it better because you can “shape” your words. Most of my Wordle creations looked like potatoes; whereas Tagxedo shapes the story!!

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… maybe Hallmark cards hit the mark sometimes …

I read this remark when perusing a column in a London online paper of sorts:

There would be no Hallmark cards or fancy brunches for her on this day. She claimed that Mother’s Day was a manufactured holiday and that she would only ever accept one gift: flowers plucked from the field and plunked into a jelly jar, along with a homemade card. My sisters and I were happy to oblige. ~ Amy Dickinson

And while I agree in the beauty of simplicity, I have to appreciate my darling husband’s diligence in finding just the right card, and yes, it’s often a Hallmark. He spends a fair amount of time reading the verses, and doesn’t stop until he finds one that either brings him to tears or makes him laugh out loud.

This year’s Mother’s Day card brought forth tears:

Love means trusting myself with someone 

who has seen me at my worst

and loves me anyway. It means teasing each other

and laughing at inside jokes

nobody but us understands.

It means feeling safe enough to talk about anything

and having the patience to work out disagreements.

Love means counting on someone who sympathizes when I’ve had a bad day, 

worries about me when I’m gone too long,

and always welcomes me with open arms.

Love means so many things 

because to me, love is you.

He added, “I love you in so many ways! You are my life and purpose for living.”

And I am a most fortunate woman.