To read the story of our precious Harlynn Renae, start here and follow the "next" links at the end of each post. Thank you for coming and sharing with us in this journey.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

I Am So Naive.

I know nothing. Seriously. I don't know a daggum thing. And when I'm exposed to new circumstances or situations, I mostly embarrass myself. Case and point:

This week I am away from home. I am in Williston, ND, training for work. I have learned some fantastic things about my job and am anxious to get back to the office to put my newfound knowledge to the test - and do my job well when the rubber meets the road. It's go time. However!

I'm staying in a less-than-five-star hotel. I am so freaked out about the filth of hotels, thanks to those daggum 60-minute specials, that it is hard for me to get comfortable. I found a hair in the tub upon my arrival. You all know how I am with hair - in a TUB. I almost slept in the car. (Not really, and it's not like I ever exaggerate....ever....)

So here I am in a hotel that is chock-full of oil rig workers, machinists, equipment operators....and a wee little naive trust assistant.

This morning I went downstairs to the restaurant for breakfast. I ordered french toast and scrambled eggs, and my eggs came out over easy. Normally I would have said something, but after hearing 30349857034975 f bombs, and hearing the waitress talk to a table about going to the strip club tonight, I just ate it as fast as I could. One restaurant attendee walked by to pay his bill, smiled at me and said, "You need to smile." So I did and said, "Sorry, it's too early for my happy face." I thought it was a nice gesture by the gentleman, however. Who had talked to the waitress about the strip club. Ahem.

Today I had another overwhelming day in training. I am learning so much and it is going to be so beneficial to me in this job, but it is just so much information, that if I don't take a break from it, I start to fry. We all know what happens when I'm fried (refer to horse-passing-gas blog).

Tonight I came back to the hotel, came to my room, and got caught up on my email. I decided to go to dinner earlier tonight than I did last night. Because of the snow and wind outside, I decided to stick it out in the hotel restaurant again. I walked downstairs, took a table, and experienced exemplary service. (There I go exaggerating again!!) I heard someone say, "Hey!" and I looked up - there was Mr. Smiley. I smiled immediately and said, hurriedly, "I smiled a lot today!" He said, "Good. Why are you here by yourself?" "Oh," I replied, "I'm traveling alone. Here for work." He answered, "Where do you work?" "At a bank." I mentally patted myself on the shoulder for not saying which bank, or at what location. "Well you shouldn't be alone!" "Oh, yeah, well, it's only for a little bit." At this point I decided to rub my cheek with my left hand - the hand that proudly displays my wedding ring. I put my hand over my mouth, scratched the right side of my face, looked adoringly at my ring.... He went back in to the bar to finish his meal, but not before telling me I had a beautiful smile, and he was glad to see me again at the end of his day. It was a sweet compliment.

I tried to enjoy my pasta, and finish eating. I heard the f bomb 349875 more times. In the meantime I was texting my friend, Ali, and laughing hysterically at our text conversation. Ali, you're a real card. Thanks for keeping me so entertained tonight.

The waitress finally brought me my bill, and I got up to pay. At the register, another man recognized me from breakfast. "Hey I saw you this morning! You're eating again?" "Well, you know...." (What are you supposed to say? "Excuse me, are you calling me fat?") "What are you doing in a place like this by yourself anyway?" I answered, "I'm here for work. Doing some training." "What line of work?" "Banking." "Oh, what bank?" "I'm actually from Fargo, I'm here, downtown......." Enter text from Ali. Thank goodness. I take a break to text her back. I told her I was making friends. I laughed to myself. "What's your name, Fargo?"


"Deborah. Glad you're from Fargo and you're used to the cold. You try to stay warm by yourself." I smiled. Because that's what you do when you don't know what else to do.

My husband called me a short while later. I told him I was making friends and that some guys from breakfast recognized me. Before I even told him what happened, he said, "You mean some oil rig workers are hitting on you."

I am so stinking naive. Deborah. Really?!

Monday, January 12, 2009


Today I'm changing the spelling of Friday to Frieday. I. Am. Fried. I can't think, I can't even muster up enough strength to push my cat away. She is standing on my chest as I recline in the sofa, and her body is completely against my face and I'm typing blindly. She must be starved for attention. Or something.

Now she's laying on my arm. It's a pretty intense life I live - giving play-by-plays of my cat's quirky behavior.

Here in Nodak, we've been having an exceptionally dreary winter. Record snowfall, record low temps, and hardly any sunshine. I don't care that it's cold. But usually it doesn't get THIS cold until later in January, or mid February. So we've been there, done that, and we're tired of it. We're ready to move on to greener and warmer things. After the last few weeks I've had, I think it's safe to say that I've had a brain freeze, and not from eating ice cream. Ooooh, ice cream sounds good. I digress.

Last night I had one of my lame a-ha! moments. If you're a normal human being, you pass gas - several times a day. (I know. You're wondering where I'm going with this. Frankly, so am I.) It's natural, but so inconvienient, and most times, disturbing to say the least. A lot of the time, if you can just excuse yourself to outside, no one will ever know why, or what you did.

Here's my beef.

It's so stinking cold in Nodak these days. So very cold. When it's not too painful to breathe, you breath becomes very visible. When you take your glove off outside, steam comes pouring out of your hand into the frigid air.

And lo (Ali....I still use that, and it still makes me laugh so hard), if you go outside to pass gas, PEOPLE WILL SEE STEAM EMITTING FROM YOUR BOTTOM! They will know exactly what you're doing, and even though they have to break wind every once in a while too, they can't help but think less of you.

This reminds me of a totally random story. (I told you I was fried) One winter in Wyoming, I was housesitting/dogsitting for a lady and her husband. They lived out in the country on a plot of acreage. Their neighbors had several horses that were always turned out to pasture. I was outside with the dogs one morning, encouraging them to take care of business, and I noticed one of the horses raise it's tail. I thought for sure it was going to make some doo there in the pasture - but lo! No, even! It let a cloud of steam shoot straight out of it's rear. I'm not even joking.

Steamy gas. It happens in the cold. Just be careful the next time you think you're being discreet.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

I Should've Been A Therapist.

Not really. Though it was something I considered at one time, I posses a major character flaw that would prevent me from being a very effective therapist. I tend to personally absorb the problems and struggles of others and, more often than not, place the burden of solving their problems upon my shoulders. I would never be able to leave my work at work - I would internalize the situations of others and carry their situations. I would run myself in to the ground trying to save everyone from further harm and emotional heartache if I were aware of all of the situations and circumstances. I would need to see a therapist just so I could continue being one.

Even still, every once in a while, I come across thoughts and sayings that, if I do say so myself, are pretty insightful. Something a really great therpaist might say.

I don't have long to gloat about those pearls of wisdom, however, because I usually end up eating them later, or humbly remembering them when I'm going through a situation of my own.

Last night was a lot of fun. Even though I had been emotional a good part of the day, as it was my last day at the job I loved, I was able to really enjoy myself last night while spending time with a few of those coworkers. I enjoyed my time out with good friends and it was a much needed outing. Dinner, trivia, lots of laughs, gross garlic-cheese-bread, and some thought-provoking, intense conversations. It really was a great night.

At one point last night, I said something I felt was rather insightful. As the words were coming out of my mouth, however, I thought to myself, "If you know that, then why can't you be okay with that, Val?" What I said was, "Sometimes the things in life we need to hear are the hardest things we'll have to swallow."

I can recall several times I have prayed and prayed and prayed for an answer, a sign, something....and when I get it, I pray harder and harder for a different one. Geez, God, get it right ~ I don't want your answer, I want my answer I've already thought of to spill forth from you. Duh.

Case and point: leaving a job, boss, coworkers, and work environment I absolutely loved for the option of a more stable position and guaranteed income. I still think I might be crazy for that. But I have to believe I got the answer I needed, and as much as I didn't want to, I had to act on that.

Here's where I want to make something perfectly clear. Just because I have faith, and I believe in the God who saves and restores me and who sent his Son for my sins - does not mean I believe I have it "easy". I also don't think I'm any better than the next person. I've done some things in life I'm outright ashamed of. I still do some things that are pretty questionable, I'm sure. It's not easy, and it's not "safe" just is. I don't see myself as having it better than anyone else...but I just might have a bit more hope. With that hope, however, comes the realization that I don't know it all, and I can't come up with all of my own answers. This is where the whole "Lean not on your own understanding" comes in to play.

When I pray and pray for an answer and finally get may be the hardest thing I'll have to swallow. I may prefer the problem over the solution. The answer I'm looking for will sometimes not be the answer I get.

But it will be the answer I need.

Open my heart to what you know. So I can stretch, so I can grow. My feelings toss me to and fro. Open my heart to what you know.
Open my eyes to what you see, to understand what I should be. My feelings get the best of me. Open my eyes to what you see.
Open my ears to what you hear, so I can keep you very near. My feelings make it so unclear. Open my ears to what you hear.
Open my heart to what you know. So I can stretch, so I can grow. My feelings toss me to and fro. Open my heart to what you know.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009


After we moved to Wyoming, my parents bought a house about three miles out of town, in the middle of a 14-acre field. It was a great house, and I find myself missing it quite often.

The house was nestled back about 1/8 of a mile from the road at the end of a long, curvy driveway. There was a turn-about that went around a decorative well right in front of the house. I will draw a picture to illustrate....(that sounds so redundant!)

That picture is completely off-scale, and the turn-about hugged the well much closer, but art is not my forte, and you get the idea...

When I obtained my driver's license, my parents bought a 1971 Chrysler Newport the color of pea-soup-vomit. It was because "cars should be built for safety, not appearance." I think they desired I never ever want to drive. They nicknamed it "The Green Bean". My friend Tiffani and I nicknamed it "The Beast". I don't have any pictures off-hand of our particular car, but here's one similar, complete with a person so you may reference the ginormous size and semi-putred appearance of this car.

The car is so big it can't even fit in a photo! So! After becoming a legal driving citizen, I would often have to take my little sister places in order to maintain my driving privileges. This was fine by me as I loved driving, even if it was in a car the size of a baby whale.

Sometimes after running Sis to and fro, I would drive down our long driveway, and just drive in circles around that well in the turn-about. Around and around and around and around. Every time I make a circle, we would both just laugh so hard. Can you imagine what the neighbors thought, seeing this huge car do laps around a tiny decorative well, for no reason whatsoever? It was a riot!

When I finally parked the car we would have to sit and collect ourselves before going inside.

I have no idea what gave me the bright idea to randomly drive in circles around that well, nor do I remember the two of us ever laughing any harder together, than each time I decided to "go for a spin".

That car is the main character in a lot of my memories from back-in-the-day. One night after the fall high school play, we piled 9 people in that car (don't tell my parents) and drove around town. We stopped at stop signs to do Chinese Fire Drills, but only two of us were able to access the door to get out and run around like crazy. The other people were stuck in their position. I had to beg each of them for financial contributions because in the thirty minutes we cruised around town, I burned half a tank of fuel. After I had dropped everyone except Tiffani off at their house, the two of us drove around the neighborhood by the hospital and did some "Thanksgiving Caroling". I turned the hazards on (you could see them blinking above the hood of the car) and we drove up and down various streets singing, "Happy Thanksgiving, Happy Thanksgiving, On November 27th!" to the tune of Jingle Bells.

I used to cart kids to youth group gatherings in that car and the inside was deemed "The Happy Car" and no one was allowed to complain about or insult anything or anyone inside The Happy Car. Who would want to, while riding in the luxurious 1970s retro pea-soup green fabric-coated interior?

I scraped the side of that car alongside a giant metal dumpster once and I'm pretty sure the dumpster had more damage than the car.

So many fun times in that horrid vehicle. By far, though, my fondest memories are of taking my sister for a spin around that wishing well. It's making me laugh now just remembering how hard she would get to laughing. "Valerie, don't go again, don't go ag---ahahahahahahahahahahaha!!!"

My parents sold that house and now live in the middle of town. There is no long driveway, and there is no decorative well. I have always wanted to take my sister for a drive and go back to that house and drive circles around the well. I'm sure the owners wouldn't get near a kick out of it as we would.

UPDATE....It has been brought to my attention the original picture I posted of the car may not always come up. Here is another for your viewing pleasure.