Monday, June 30, 2008
Friday, June 27, 2008
After overcoming my fear that they might all be rabid (lasting effects of working at CDC) I decided to work on figuring out how close I could get to them. I didn't have much luck until I got a pair of sunglasses. I didn't get them to help me better approach bunnies, but it has made the biggest difference. I think that since the bunnies can't see your eyes, they think that you aren't looking at them. Then as long as you don't walk directly towards them, they don't think that you pose any threat to them so you can get quite close.
If I were a bunny, I would want to live at UC Merced too. There is a big hill right next to a pond that is absolutely riddled with bunny holes. It seems like a scenic place to live and there is a lot of grass and clover all around. I have watched them eat the clover and unlike Thumper, they seem to prefer the green part to the blossums... but maybe they are just responsible.
Monday, June 23, 2008
Man! How are you guys doing? That was sure a bunch of quick new you told me. I'll pray for Bronson and Dad. I got transferred to Paris Illinois. The town names here are silly. I guess I might be a small branch elder cause right now this is just seemingly Canton #2. HAHA. The ward members are more loving and unified though so it is an upgrade. My new address is:
227 W. Madison apt #2
Paris, IL 61944
Yup! Yeah I can transfer my money for myself. I still know my online code for UCCU. I need a bike for this area so don't be suprised when 200 or a little more dissapears. :/
My companion is Elder Skaggs, He's really great. I'm starting to be known as a very fun yet hardworking/obedient elder. He's pretty much the same so we hook up good. He's from california. No one cleans though except me. The paris apartment is trashed and the canton one was beautiful due to my OCD stewardship of it. So I'll just have to mary poppins paris too!
Oh! The biggest news is I got to fill sandbags in quincy (near nauvoo) for 3 days! It was so fun! The Ap's called us: "Elder Barlow, Nauvoo area is flooding, meet in the nauvoo stake center ASAP."
We were on the news! Did you guys miss it? They showed us some utah news and I saw me (I think)! I'm popular! We put on those bright yellow 'mormons helping hands' shirts and it was great stuff. As soon as we put those deals on we realized half of the crowd was mormon. There were quite a few normal civilian helpers too. It worked like this- The performing nauvoo senior couples hosted us (ours were real nice) We worked 'til 4 p.m. (7 hours work) showered up, ate the visitors center senior couples food and then PLAYED IN NAUVOO! It was so fun. The church made a deal with the town to build the temple so we cant proselyte anyway. We just watched some performances and threw frisbees. FUN! It felt good to just work my can off in manual labor. And then blow all my energy and excitement into frisbee. Oh! we can only go to the temple every six months but we got a freebee! It was good to go to the temple. It's only been 5 months but it felt really long.The bad part is that, with the situation how it was and the introduction of lots of new young nauvoo sisters there was quite a bit of showing off and flirting going on. Therefore, we got RAILED ON at transfer meeting. President listed off a ton of recent abuses and things and restricted stuff even tighter again. I hadn't done anything that he talked about so that's good. but there was a huge guilt aura in the room. He kind of set a guilt tone so we could re-analyze ourselves. President gave us a talk by spencer w. kimball called "Lock your heart" and we have to commit in writing to be obedient once again. Anyway. I'm in paris things are good. My companion is capable of working hard and having fun so we'll be good. Man! Nauvoo was so good for unity though. I'm pals with a ton of people now. Lot's of kids I worked sandbags with were like "MAN! It'd be a dream to serve with Elder Barlow! I hope I get to before I go home." It was pretty cool I'd better not let it get to my head though. haha! I'm pretty loud when I can be, (I had people start singing songs and telling me their 'special talents' and I'd pretend to be really shy and ask elders to hold sandbags open for me) so the really "too cool for school" kids don't love me much. Sorry, That's really long but Bottom Line=It was so fun and rewarding too! Taking breaks like that really help me re-focus on the work too! Knocking on doors almost felt soothing after breaking my back in sand piles. Well that's way too much info for one little email. I still can't think of anything I need. I don't know our investigators yet, I got here friday night. It's 9000 people big (a little smaller than canton) but it's not as burnt out so it will be fun.
Once again my address is: 227 W. Madison apt #2
Paris, IL 61944
Love y'all. Sorry I haven't written you laura (too busy(for real)) Have heaps of fun with that lady in your lab mim. Read yoru scriptures all!
Tuesday, June 17, 2008
It was shortly after my social explosion that Rebecca informed me:
"I seriously never even knew what your voice sounded like."
And this is after growing up our entire lives on the same farm road, only a half-mile apart; after attending the same nursery, primary, and Sunday school classes for thirteen years. To say that I was shy as a child feels like an understatement.
But it's not like I didn't have good reasons. My mom dressed me only in D.I. clothes, I lived at the very end of a three mile, dead-end, farm road (Rebecca was my closest neighbor), and I attended a private school fifteen miles away, with a bunch of rich kids, who lived in rich neighborhoods, very far away.
But I guess those things don't speak to the real root of the problem, the insurmountable catalyst resulting in my shy behavior: chronic urinary tract infections hacked at my immunity starting at age four. I felt like an alien attending kindergarten with a portable I.V. strapped to my arm. I used to imagine that my portable I.V. was a fish while I was in the bathtub. The draining sack of medication floated in what seemed to me, such a buoyant and graceful way on the surface of the water among the bubbles. This inspired me to draw a picture of a fish on each new sack of medication. Once a boy in my kindergarten class approached me and pointed to the sack. "What's that?" I just couldn't get the words out," Oh. . . it's a fish . . . uh, I mean . . . really a bag with medicine . . ." He walked away giggling.
Incomparably worse than that-- was the enduring embarrassment of peeing my pants on a fairly regular basis. In the case of urinary tract infections, you simply don't experience the sensation of needing to use the bathroom until it hits you all at once and you think you're going to explode. It's like no matter how hard you try to hold it, you could still use a count-down as some kind of prediction method. You feel like you need to go and you may as well start counting: "10 . . . 9 . . . 8 . . . 7 . . . 6 . . ." And you erupt at "1" no matter what location you're in. It could be the playground, your desk, the hall, your chair during primary class, wherever. I always felt guilty at having some adult clean up after my "accidents" but the harassment from my peers often seemed unbearable.
The worst of all was someone I called my “evil twin” but her real name was Kelsey Frazier. We were born in the same hospital, on the same day, within the same hour. We also shared the similarities of curly hair and blue eyes. She would, however, not share her half of the primary classroom with me.
“Hey, Rebecca, Emily, come sit over here . . .” and she would prance to the corner of the room near the window. “. . . but Laura can’t sit over here. Nobody who pees their pants gets to sit with us.” I didn’t say a word or even look in her direction. I thought of possible retorts, like, "Your dumb!" or "You're ugly!" but I think of them too late, and I know they're not very clever.
So I just hold it in.
One of our first Young Women’s activities when we turned twelve was country square dancing in the church gym. There was a part of the dance where you had to link arms with your dance partner for a “dosie-doe,” or something like that. And everyone had to take turns being partners with everyone else. Kelsey refused to touch me, and messed up the order of the dance, confusing everyone else. After I link arms with Rebecca for our “dosie-doe,” Kelsey whispers in her ear, to set her straight, and then nobody touches me for the rest of the night.
I almost cry, but I just keep holding it in.
Just after we turn thirteen there’s a scrap-booking activity. We’re cutting things out of magazines that are supposed to represent us or our hobbies. I’m cutting out a picture of an easel and paintbrush. Rebecca’s cutting out a picture of a deer and some rainbow trout. But Kelsey’s squeezing a glob of Elmer’s glue in the palm of her hand. She waits for it to dry a little bit and she peels up the edges so that it looks like dead skin. She squeezes another glob as I stand up to grab some more magazines to flip through. “10 . . . 9 . . . 8 . . . 7 . . .” She spits in her palms as I’m sorting through the stack and starts rubbing her hands together. “ 6 . . . 5 . . . 4 . . . “As I am looking down at some pages, she walks toward me, smacks her sticky hands on both of my cheeks, and starts giggling in my face like she’s going to get away with this. “3 . . . 2 . . . 1” I explode. It isn't my bladder this time. No. It's like the whole person I am in that instant comes rushing through me and I can't keep her in anymore. It's like a dam breaking under the pressure of the water it's supposed to hold back. Everything I’d restrained for so long came out in an uncontrollable burst.
Without thinking, I push her away by thrusting both of her shoulders down as hard as I can. My cheeks burn from how quickly her hands tear from my skin. She’s on the ground now, not sitting, but all laid out. Nobody says a word. I can feel my face turn hot as I stalk out of the room. I’m scared to call my mom to ask her pick me up, so I decide to leave on foot.
I start running home, full of energy and smiling. I’m not even afraid to talk about it by the time I arrive. The person I am is flowing freely. My voice, locked away for so long is suddenly there, pouring out of my mouth. "Mom, you will never believe what happened . . . I kinda got in a fight . . ." and I go on for a half and hour without taking a breath explaining everything. I'm surprised that my mom isn't mad. She justs listens carefully and hugs me when I'm finished. "I hope it doesn't happen again, but she probably deserved it," she says. And I feel so warm, so validated.
The next time I attend Sunday school, I just can’t stop talking and I'm drawing on my sacrament meeting program and showing everyone: "This is a picture of my mom, who's a little fat--this one with the poofy hair; this is a picture of my dad, who's really fat and he has a pocket protector 'cause he's a nerd; and this is my brother, who's medium fat, 'cause he hides cake under his pillow at night. . ."
The other kids are surprised, and laughing, but Kelsey is silent. The teacher seems surprised and lets me go on for a while, but finally interjects:
"Uh . . . Laura, we really need to get on with the lesson; and maybe your family wouldn't appreciate that very much."
It was so hard to stay quiet during the lesson that I had to concentrate on keeping my top and bottom lips touching in order to stay silent.
The funny thing is, around that time, my urinary tract infections dissipated. Just as I gradually gained control over my bladder, I lost control over my mouth. I basked in the liberation of saying anything, anywhere, anytime I wanted. But I kept blurting things out and getting myself in trouble.
With my mom: “Do you really like your hair all poofy like that?”
With my brother: “Your Tetris high score is seriously only 86?!”
With my math teacher at school: “Man, this class is so boring I’d rather be doing heavy labor.”
Just like with my explosive bladder, my explosive mouth caused a lot of “accidents”, only this time no adult would clean them up for me.
Big suprise! I'm getting transfered, that was pretty expected. The big suprise is that elder ramirez is too! :S They usually leave one elder to pass on knowledge and things like that. Often they pull two because of a lack of work ethic and disobedience, that's usually the reason to pull two. Luckily we were extra re-assured that that wasn't the case this time. This is about exactly how it went: "I want you to know that it's not because of disobedience or that your not working hard, there's just a bigger plan." Yesterday we jsut went around and said goodbye to our investigators and the members that worked with us. One suprise is we have been teaching one big tough dude that self proclaimed he doesn't get attached to anyone except his wife and kid but when we went to visit him to say goodbye his heart was broken! He was all: "man! Thats dumb! I like you guys! Why does your mission president say you HAVE to go?" I hope that's a good sign. I hope he wasn't just converted to me. I hate it when investigators drop cause they loved one elder. That happened alot when I first came out. Everyone was converted to elder nelson and not Tanner. My first week we had 5 people drop us cause elder nelson was gone. I just hope that doesn't happen with the investigators that I found and have right now. Anyway, I have a new niece! and Eric will be married with a kid when I get home . . . Is she a cutie? Did he find her at snow? I'm leaving canton. I'll miss the Oliversons :( They're the best senior couple ever. They're getting frusterated with the branch but they're toughing through it. He's been called to the branch presidency so He's in the extra thick of it. Elder ramirez is real good elder. It's too bad we just went for one transfer. I spent some money on my home debit card. Sorry. We went out to eat shakes and then I bought a frisbee golf driver for p-day and I pulled some money just in case. Well I'll tell you where I am next monday. We don't get told where on our transfer call we just get told to meet in peoria wednesday! It makes it exciting! Plus you don't get the dirt on your next area before you go there. President Erickson is smart! I've done pretty good here in canton though. I hope the new elders reap what I sowed. Well I'm out of stuff. Hope you guys are playing tennis! First one to get decent get's to be my doubles partner! (Enticing!)
:)Talk to you later(:
Sunday, June 15, 2008
The first moments of life... The delivering doctor was Dr. Ling. I do think he can catch flies with chopsticks, but he didn't threaten to squish anything like a grape.
Tuesday, June 10, 2008
robert doesn't come to church cause he "can't find a babysitter" :(
The rest are our less actives and they're going alright. Just a game of eliminating excuses I can tell you the key excuses around here
1. I'm not worthy to take the sacrament and that's why you go to church.
2. I can't afford gas to go to church (but I drive somewhere else unneccesary multiple times a week)
3. Sister so-and-so hurt my feelings 30(slightly exagurated) years ago and I'm still offended.
4. Sleeping in feels better than church.
5.I'm too fat for my old dresses and you HAVE to dress up.
So maybe you guys can pre-determine some doctrinal answers for those Less-active concerns for when you run into them! :D
Man! That's a bad deal about your cancer Dad, I'll be praying for you. I hope the new treatment works. That'd be good!
well, I got to go TKO the little town st. david.
Have a good week,
Monday, June 9, 2008
Here is a recent picture of me at a RS retreat!
We went to Twain Hart and stayed in a cabin. It was a nice note to leave on. A funny story that goes along with my departure is that the RS decided to throw me a surprise b-day party. However the surprise was on them because I was in Irvine giving a talk that day. I hear it was a great party anyway. : P.
I am officially in a family ward and I was officially released as RSP yesterday. It is nice. I have more time for myself and my house. We'll see how long that lasts. I was already asked to give a talk in church and we'll see what calling they come up with for me.
Also, I got 2 papers accepted for publication last week!!!! Wahoo!!!
Sorry for misspellings and poor punctuation and hanging words, hopefully I'll do better next time.
Thank you Laura for setting up this blog, it's great.
Thanks Keriann for starting such projects.
Oh, Keriann I did have a wonderful time with you guys. I loved it! Thanks to you and Tom for you graciousness.
I thought I would give you an update on dad. he went to the oncologist last week and they did come up with a plan for him. Last Thursday he went to Utah Valley Regional Medical Hospital and had his body "mapped". This mapping determines the location of his guts so that when he receives radiation they can avoid nuking important parts like his bladder and rectum. The machine can pinpoint direct radiation to the bed of his prostate where likely cancer cell are growing. Pretty nifty machine wouldn't you agree? the bad part of it is that he will have to go into that hospital 5 times a week for 2 months, Monday through Friday. so he will be tied up for a couple of months. His treatments start June 17. As inconvenient as this is, think of others that must travel many miles each day to receive such treatment. Miriam reminded me of this in reference to those that live in Merced and surrounding areas. His daily time is 3:45 , Monday-Friday. this does interfere with supposed vacation dates to the Northwest, those dates will have to be set back or we will have to wait 'til next year for that family vacation. Dad and I are stil panning to go up and see a new little baby after the treatments. It is our desire to be with you all in our beloved former home. we would like to experience this with you.
The good part (hopefully) is that there is very little pain with these treatments. This is what the oncologist claims, however speaking to some who have gone through such treatment, their report is different. I'm sure it must be better than chemo . Pray for dad. He needs your prayers. He is a little nervous and we sure hopes this does the trick. Nervous as he is, he is upbeat and feels it's not his time to leave mortality. Let's be a praying family! All of you stay close to your Heavenly Father. Each of you without exception can bear witness to the fact that your prayers have been answered. I have kept a little journal just writing down my prayers that have been answered. I am amazed! Your greatest blessings come from obedience to the gospel. That fact has been proven over and over again through the ages to our own personal family.
God has revealed His great plan of salvation to us, that knowledge gives us purpose and is a guides to us. Remember! Remember! (Alma 62:49) pray often, read your scriptures, obey the commandments, we must do these things to counteract the influence of evil in our world today, Satan would have you if he could, don't give him a chance. I love each and everyone of you so much! You are the greatest blessings I have and each of you are continually in my heart.
Sunday, June 8, 2008
Any name suggestions would be welcome. We are trying to find a name that would work well in a Limerick. Last night we kind of ruled out a few names...
"There was a young lady named Abby,
Whose thighs were quite notably flabby..."
"There once was a girl named Pearl,
Whose face quite resembled a squirrel..."
We similarly ruled out Ellie, Matt, Tipper, and Frankie. (You may mentally compose those lines of verse yourselves). Keriann did point out to me that if I had tried to rule out previous names based on silly limericks, we might not have a Mattie or a Sam. I guess that's true.
Now, onto what is happening. After 1.5 months homeless, we finally found a nice little home to rent. The children were happy to have a place to call home. While our new stomping grounds are not as warm as we have been used to, Everything around us is very pretty.
These and the picture at the top were taken at Rosario Beach. It's about 10 minutes from home, and on my way to work every day. No white sandy shores where we can lay and accumulate actinic damage quite like Florida, but there are great tide pools, and fun places we could explore if we had kayaks (Father's day hint?)
Other local highlights include a huge forest trail system, several small lakes, and Deception Pass. The trails begin right across the street. When we went there with mom we found a newt, a cool tree frog, and all the banana slugs one could ever desire. We have not yet done the hike at the pass, nor been out on the lakes, but we will soon.
The kid's are very cute, of course. Sam recently celebrated his third birthday, and has started, just in the last couple of days, going pee pee on the potty. Check out the movie of his birthday pre-song celebration. Sorry that the file is a little big.
We were recently fortunate enough to have mother visit us for a week. We enjoyed her visit very much and we think she enjoyed herself, too, although her quarters were rather spartan. Before she left, we hung out in Seattle a bit. We went to Pike's Place Market, checked out the old beach house, and went up the Space Needle.
That's about it for our update. We will try to post again soon once our yet nameless child is born. If possible I will try to get close up video of the child's grand entrance onto the world stage, just in case any of you still doubt that child birth is a beautiful thing. Oh, wait. Maybe posting that would violate Blogger's user agreement. Maybe an audio recording will suffice. We will look forward to soon being updated on each of the rest of you.
Tom, Keriann, and family
Saturday, June 7, 2008
As I (Laura) was the one to come up with the great idea of creating a family blog (admittedly inspired by the Kartchners), I am honored to write the first entry and welcome you all. I hope that we can all use this to invite one another to up-coming events, post pictures, and keep in touch. As you can see, I've posted a Michael mission pic for you all to enjoy. Barlows Rule!