Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Don't You Forget About Me....

Hello Friends!
I am sharing an article I recently wrote for my company's January news letter.  I am on the Diversity & Inclusion Council and so this is my personal story about how this issue impacts my life.  If you want to, please share your story.  I received so many emails from all across the country after my article was published, and that is just within my company.  Trust me, you are not alone.

Don't You Forget About Me....

As the holidays come to a close, we put away the decorations that remind us of such a happy time of year, and say goodbye to loved ones, I often get a little sad. Mostly because it is so much work, and I live in Utah where January and February are very cold and snowy and the skies are gray.

This year was even more emotional for my siblings and me. My dad is suffering from severe, degenerative Dementia, or Alzheimer’s disease. It has been just over three years. My mother is the primary caregiver, but in the last year, her physical and emotional health has degenerated from the stress of taking care of my dad. 

It is estimated that as many as 5.1 million Americans may have some form of Dementia or Alzheimer’s disease. And that number increases as the population ages. Alzheimer’s is not a part of the normal aging process, but the risk of developing the illness increases with advanced age.

My dad is 77. In June 2007, he and my mom moved to Barbados to serve on a religious Mormon mission. He had just retired after 46 years working at Hill Air force Base managing the online Military Defense Department. He had also just retired from the Army National Guard as a Full Bird Colonel. My dad was a planner. He had made good investments, their home was paid off, and he had two pensions coming in plus social security. My mother had worked teaching school for over 30 years, and she retired before they went and had her pension and Social Security coming. They were thrilled to be moving to the Caribbean for the next three years. Frankly, so were we!

Our first trip down to the island was for Thanksgiving in 2008, and they were thriving among the very diverse environment on the island of Barbados and loved the people and their way of life. My dad was becoming quite the local photographer, and my mother was speaking a combined form of English and Rastafarian; she still does. “We be comin’ for suppa ‘round say 6pm. Now you all be havin’ a bless-ed Sabbath,” my 72-year-old mother will say in a voicemail. She loves those people with all her heart.

We visited again in April 2009, falling more in love with Barbados with every trip. Their time on the island was coming to an end, and they had mixed feelings about coming home. We decided as a family to take one last trip to the island in April 2010 before they came back to Utah in June 2010. However, when we got there, things were very different. My Dad was very quiet. While he had always been quiet with three daughters yapping away all the time, this was different. He had always driven when we were on the island, but during this trip, he got us hopelessly lost several times. My mom’s left knee was now bone on bone and would have to be replaced when she returned home, so she was walking with a cane. I watched as my dad got out of the car, shut his door, and walked right into the restaurant, church, or wherever we were and let my mom struggle to get out; something did not feel right.

When they returned home at the end of June, it was worse. He could not find the bank or the grocery store or any of our homes. He could not drive anymore. Within the last three years, my dad has rarely recognized friends and neighbors. He knows I am his daughter – but not which one. I have a twin sister, a younger sister, and we all look similar. When I see him, I just say, “Hi, Dad!  It’s DeeAnn!”

I’m the only sibling who still wears glasses, and I keep wearing them because every once in a while, my dad will recognize me by my name because of them. In fact, this past Christmas Day my Dad said, “Merry Christmas, DeeAnn! When did you start wearing glasses?” I just said, “Merry Christmas, dad. I love you!” and took a moment to compose myself. I often get emotional after receiving a very special gift. I hold it close to my heart as a memory because I really do not know if I will ever get another one.

Alzheimer’s is cruel. Most of us, just like my dad, work all our lives for our families. My dad worked for 45 years. He took the van pool to Hill AFB every morning at 5 a.m. for work, was gone one weekend a month and two weeks in the summer, and did four years of active duty for the military so he and my mom could travel and enjoy their home, family, and grandchildren debt-free after retiring.

My dad took us to summer camp with him to California each year, and we spent two weeks on the beach and went to Disneyland and Sea World. We were with the other army moms and our summer “army brat” friends. We stayed in family housing and went to the chow line to eat and loved every minute of it. All you take with you are your memories – unless you have Alzheimer’s.

I took a trip to New York last year and went to Ground Zero. I brought my dad a book about the tragedy and the memorial reconstruction. He must have asked me 10 times as we looked through the book, “Who did this?” “Why did they do this?” and “Where did this happen?” He remembers nothing about 9/11. Remember, he’s a retired Full Bird Colonel from the Army.

Now, my dad rarely speaks and barely leaves his home. Crowds make him feel anxious, chaotic, and afraid. He is frail and thin and does not remember what it is like to feel hungry or thirsty. He does not remember what regular items (toothbrush, razor, soap, or shampoo) are for. He also needs a home health care nurse, which my mother takes to mean that she’s somehow a ‘failure’ as a caretaker. That is the rock and the hard place my sisters, brother, and I are facing right now.

I know I am not alone. I am certain there are many team members going through similar life experiences. If so, reach out. Hey, you play the cards you are dealt, but that does not mean I could not use a tip or two.

Finally, keeping a sense of humor is crucial. My dad wears a patch for his memory. When I take care of him, he always asks why he needs that patch. I tell him that it’s to keep him from smoking. He says, “I’ve never smoked in day in my life!” and I say, “Good thing you wear the patch!” He laughs, every single time.
You can find many resources regarding

 Dementia and Alzheimer’s disease a
Alzheimer’s Foundation of America.        

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Plan B: Everyone is a little Autistic...

Plan B: Everyone is a little Autistic...: Hello Friends! It's me, the inconsistent blogger, back again!   Half of 2013 is gone, can you stand it?  As you may remember Summer is ...

Everyone is a little Autistic...

Hello Friends!
It's me, the inconsistent blogger, back again!   Half of 2013 is gone, can you stand it?  As you may remember Summer is my favorite time of year and so I hope everyone is having a super summer so far. 

April was Autism Awareness month and I was asked to participate in a Diversity presentation in Fort Worth Texas in May that included some Autism Awareness and how Autism impacts my life and my daughters life and the life of our family day to day and how we cope.  The event was to be held for my company and all of my peers and our partners and management from across the country.  That's a lot of people.  There was a definite "Yikes" factor at work for me this time.  I have spoken to large groups before but in my business and among my peers I have never been asked to speak about how a topic impacts me and my family on a personal level.

But, 'Yikes" factor aside, I am an Autism Advocate for parents and kids and will speak to anyone that will listen about my life and my daughters life with autism, cards on the table man.  Ask me anything and I'll give you more information than you every wanted in the first place.  My middle name is "TMI" and that is fine by me.   The presentation went very well and I had many people want to talk afterwards about their son or daughter, or a grandchild or niece or nephew or friend.. The fact is that when I spoke the word Autism I instantly made a connection with over half of the audience.  But if I had more time, I would have had the other half no problem...because everyone is a little Autistic. 

First, don't panic, being Autistic, a little or a lot, is not even close to the end of the world.   In fact, didn't we all survive the end of the Mayan Calendar world?  It was just like the day before the end of the world wasn't it?  So we can learn a valuable lesson from the Mayan's;   a)  Maybe what feels like the end of your world, is just another beginning, remember that today, the present, is a gift, and 2)  Maybe the Mayans are just like regular people and just ran out of space on that calendar. How would they know how serious everyone would take it.  Mountain and molehill...who knows?

In fact, the older I get the less I see a need to actually panic.  I find that when I catch myself feeling panicky (if that's even a word)  I feel silly.  My inside my head voice says "Oh for heavens sake, stop this.  Calm your damn self down and carry on with what you need to do to address the situation within the limits of your control.   Unfortunately, many times it takes longer than I would hope to catch myself and usually do or say at least one very silly or hysterical thing before the "smart cookie" side of my brain kicks in.   Exception - if I am being chased by a big dog or other large animal, wait I take that back because if a chicken or a goose was chasing me, that would merit valid panic. See everybody has a thing.

This is why we are all a little Autistic.  ANXIETY!  With children (and adults) who are diagnosed with Autism you may not find a single symptom the same in every case.  There are many commonalities you might see, but way more differences. Just like people without Autism.  I find the common factor to be what causes an individuals anxiety level to rise (big dog, aggressive chicken) and how they are able to cope with that anxiety...or not.  (Run away willy nilly!)

For example, why do you think so many stores and designers are making shirts and tops and blouses that are tag less?   Do you think it's because a good portion of Autistic folks cannot cope with a tag in their shirt scratching or even touching the back of their neck?  While this is true, of course not!  Although Holland, my daughter will cut the entire piece of the shirt with the tag out of the back with those nubby school scissors leaving a big scraggy hole or 'notch' in the shirt to alleviate that particular anxiety. 
But the point is, almost everyone in the world gets bugged by tags in the back of their shirt!  It causes them a certain level of anxiety they don't like.  The difference between a little Autistic and diagnosed Autism (among other things) is how high that level of anxiety goes (I cannot think about or focus on anything else because this tag in my shirt is making me feel crazy, literally) and how well we are able to cope or progress forward with the task or situation at hand in spite of our anxiety.  ('I'm cutting up my stupid shirt while my teacher is in the rest room.)   

Holland hates tights. She has hated them since she was a baby.  She would cry and pull on the toes of the tights trying to get them off for the duration of church, or the wedding or funeral etc.  At about two years old I was pleased to realize that Holland had inherited at least part of  the 'smart cookie' gene when she just started snagging her tights wither finger until she could rip a ginormous hole in them and step right out of her tights and carry on!   So, it's been leggings ever since.   But her ability to find a way to keep on moving, however destructive (holey shirts and ruined tights) told me that she could learn to cope and that for her in her life, we can find a way. 
Now frankly, tights and tags have been the least of our issues as most parents or folks who work with Autistic kids would agree.  But the principle is the same. Unlike many disabilities, Autism does discriminate.  Some children are super high functioning and can respond, adapt and learn more quickly.  Others have more severe delays and their anxieties can stay locked inside making it nearly impossible for them to speak, which makes learning and coping extremely difficult and challenging.  But many of our Autistic brothers and sisters are just somewhere in between. Trying to live in a very socially dominated world that no matter how high functioning, they simply don't understand.  None of that comes naturally and learning it and practicing it, and I mean accepted and expected social behavior, takes a lot of work and effort for these kids AND it makes their level of anxiety shoot the moon.

Remember how you felt the very first day of Jr High School?  Or the first day of any new school?  Imagine feeling that way every day of your life about several things during those days.  Now imagine not being able to articulate why you are feeling that way to anyone, even your Mom.  How frustrating would that be for you?  If you think "a lot frustrating"  you may start to understand Autism. 

So all I can tell you now is what I have learned so far in my journey called life, that just so happens to include Autism.   I cannot stand ear buds, they hurt and so I prefer head phones.  I use a Blackberry Bold because I cannot tolerate the touch screen key pad, it makes me...yes...it makes me mad to use it so I don't.  I will not eat zucchini in anything but zucchini bread.  Just thinking about it makes me have a dry heave.  In fact, I have avoided the squash family altogether until just last year ( I am 47) and now I only eat spaghetti squash on my own terms.  I refuse to shave my husbands back, neck or chest no matter how many times he has asked me in 25 years of marriage.  I think it's gross and just thinking about it makes me have a dry heave.  I could go on and on.  Because we all have a thing...or three.

But I can identify these things and find my way around them in my world and carry on with no problem except a hairy husband.  (Still gross.)  Most of us do this every day.  That is the difference between being a little Autistic and having Autism.

Last story.  One April day before her 5th birthday, Holland and I were in TJ Maxx in the check out line.  Holland had found some Polly Pockets she wanted and I agreed to buy.  While in line she was pretending with the dolls and talking to herself and all of a sudden she became aware that some people in the line had turned and were looking at her.  She stopped and came close to me and said  "Mom, am I weird?"  I prayed a little prayer and then said "Little one, everyone is a little weird."  AND THEN, I kid you not, this kid came up to stand behind us in the check out line.  I glanced around and saw him, who was probably 6 or 7, wearing Woody pajamas and a full cowl Batman mask and his snow boots.  Holland turned and was face to...well...mask with this Lone Dark Knight Ranger and they just looked at each other for probably a full minute, saying nothing.  Holland's face was serious...for Woody the Batman I can't say.  Then slowly, Holland turned  back around and reached up to whisper to me.  "Yeah Mom, everyone is a little weird huh?"  I said "See I told you." and we smiled at each other and went to the check out. 

Whoever dares say that God doesn't answer our prayers...or have a sense of humor...is 100% wrong!  I thanked Him for that little miracle in a mask and snow boots who appeared at just the right moment all the way home. 

Every once in a while it really does go your way, if you look at it from the right perspective.

Later, Dee

Friday, December 21, 2012

Christmas Letter 2012

Hi again,
I am back to post our 2012  Christmas Letter!   I wish you all a happy 2013!  I will try to blog more this year.  I do like to write and I do like the blog thing it's just I already have a full time job and the blog could be a full time job.  Both of which I like.  :)  Take care and remember life isn't always what you expected but it's how you look at it.  It's mostly hilarious...

So another year has gone by too quickly. We sure hope you are all happy and fine. As for us, we have had another year of happy times and challenges and that’s about right for life. So here is a little bit about what is going on with us.

2012 was a big year for Zachary! He turned 19 in October and graduated from Hillcrest High School in June and also from Hillcrest High’s Seminary. We were very proud of him (because Lord, that was painful!) and he was very ready to be finished with school. He worked very hard on his grades (not a moment too soon) and was able to wrestle for Hillcrest for half the season until he had to have his wisdom teeth out over the holiday break last year. Unfortunately, Zach had huge wisdom teeth (ironic as he seems to lack wisdom) and the holes left after his teeth were out left his jaw too fragile to wrestle. But he traveled and conditioned with the team until the end of the season and had a super experience. Currently Zach is driving his beloved Jeep and working full time on the press at Hudson Printing and dating a new girl every weekend. Making up for lost time in High School it seems. He is a miser with his money (except with the girls) and if you can get him to pry open his wallet and after the moths fly out, you will find it full. This is a good thing because if he doesn’t get registered for school soon, he will be paying for his own gas, car, food, cell phone and underpants.

Holland is 13 and in the eighth grade. This will be her second and last year in Middle School since she will go to Hillcrest High in the 9th Grade. (Don’t even get me started) She loves school except she actually forgets that school is for ...well… school, rather than a place to hang out with her friends. She gets awfully crabby when I remind her about Math homework and Reading logs and she actually called me a nag. A nag, rude. I never knew I was such an irritating person until Holland brought it to my attention. This was my favorite line, “Mom, your voice is hurting my ears.” Actually Keith told me that years ago and I didn’t believe him. Holland loves Art…the class, not the boy. The boy would be Chris, or maybe it’s Chase or someone else, I can’t keep up. She is already planning to join the Golf Team and the Tennis Team at Hillcrest and she is also registered for Drama…trust me, she’s a natural. No braces, no zits, no worries…13.

Keith has had has another great year at Hudson Printing which is good since we have recently gone credit card free! Yes, you read that right! As of October first we went to debit card and cash only. Keith and I have both had to really watch our spending. Regrettably, we watch each other’s spending and peck each other to death like ducks. I must say, Keith is getting more anxiety and excessively grumpy as he ages. He is obsessed with the cleanliness of our house. Unfortunately, I am getting less anxious and somewhat lax about the cleanliness of our house in my old age which severely compounds Keith’s OCD issues. Rats! (Not literally…not yet anyway.) Bless his heart, he golfs and works in the yard and cleans house like his mother to try not to be mad at me. But in the end, he will fuss and fume like Yosemite Sam. To his credit, he is a very good golfer and our yard is beautiful! To be fair, I’m not like a pig in a wig or anything when it comes to housekeeping, but I’m no Patty Beltz either.

In fact, I admit I’m getting older. I have symptoms of the MEN-On-PAUSE and it’s no day at the beach. Although it feels like one sometimes IF that beach was so hot and sweaty all of a sudden that it made your underwear stick to your skin and your upper lip sweat just because you tried to put a 12 pack of diet coke into your grocery cart. Or all you had to do was look at the security line in the airport and your head started to sweat so bad that your hair was dripping wet and by the time you got to taking off your shoes you were afraid to walk through the scanner for fear of electrocution. I might be a little moody. I recently had the opportunity to take a trip with my friend to New York City and see the Rocketts. I brought a snow globe home from the show for Holland, she collects them. I didn’t check it because its glass (fra-gee-lay) and I didn’t want it to break in my luggage so I carried it on. When I got through the security line (see me sweating profusely) they stopped me because…yes…I had too much liquid in my snow globe! The snow globe that is packed in my carry on…in a box…packed in styrofoam. It is a rare occasion that I am speechless, but now I just stopped and looked at her. She said I had to leave it with her or go back out and check it. Then she took it out of my bag and said…get this…”did you really want it?” Are you frigging kidding me? I said “Of course I want it I wouldn’t have bought it if I didn’t want it.” So I gathered my dolls and dishes and went back out of the security line and took everything out of my purse that zipped shut and stood in line again to check the snow globe for a small fee of $35.00 for the second bag. :/ Then I got back into the security line and if you think I was sweating before trust me when I tell you that “mad as a wet hen” does not even begin to cover it. I feel really bad for whoever had to sit next to me at the gate because I was probably giving off toxic fumes by the time I hoofed it all the way to D45. But I digress…

As a family we took a trip to Las Vegas (Zach’s choice) this summer. We love Las Vegas and are able to find a lot of family friendly things to do there. This year we went to Fremont Street in Old Las Vegas. It’s a fun place to go and shop and eat. There are lots of crazy people who dress up as cartoon characters, Transformers, Elvis, Spiderman, Superman, Batman, Showgirls, you name it. You can get your picture with them for a tip. Of course there are some racy characters there too. (“racy”… shades if my mother) We walked by one lady who was very well endowed, maybe he most well endowed lady any of us had ever seen, who was taking pictures with people. Keith and I and my sister watched our kids. Holland immediately put her little fan up to the side of her face to hide so she couldn’t see her. She has done this with her hand like that since she was little when she is uncomfortable. Zach just walked on by, cool as a cucumber. Once we had all passed by we started to laugh and kid a little. When we teased Zach he smiled his half smile and said, “Honestly you guys, I saw Batman first.” Classic Zach. Life is hilarious.

Hope your new year is hilarious. Have a very Happy Holiday Season! All our love Keith, DeeAnn, Zach and Holland Beltz…and Bayja.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

2011 Christmas Letter

Well here we are at the close of another year. Hopefully you are all healthy and happy and ready for 2012!

We have had a busy year as usual. Last Christmas Santa Claus brought us a new addition to our family! A little tiny puppy! Her name is Bayja (sounds like Asia) and she is a Yorkie and she is lots of fun and the kids love her! She is also a spoiled princess that thinks she is a person that should be able to sit on the couch and eat at the table and never be left alone. Mommy loves her but until she can pee in the potty and wipe her own bum she can sit on the floor and eat her dog food and hang out at home by herself while everyone is out during the day.

We were also fortunate to be able to take a family vacation to Cancun this year where we spent a day in the Yucatan jungle snorkeling in the Cenote's. These are underground cave's filled with fresh water...and a great big boa constrictor...trust me, after seeing that snake I did not leave the water in that particular cave as fresh as I found it! We zip lined through the tops of the trees (well most of us, Holland climbed the tower and then cried at the top and had to climb down with the guide). Then we repelled back down to the jungle floor. It was an "Extreme Adventure" and extremely fun and reminded me that I am extremely out of shape and I went back to the resort extremely sweaty and dirty. I love it when you get back and you have had a dirt mustache for hours that no one bothered to tell you about. Those pictures are keepers.

Speaking of Holland, she is 12 and in the 7th grade at Union Middle School. She loves Middle School. Her favorite subjects are Art and Lunch. She is a social butterfly and an academic butterfly as well, a little flighty. But I have done very well on her assignments. Yeah, you read that right. Holland tells me all the time what a great job I do. Holland has several crushes and is a little flirt...I just had a dry heave...pardon me.

Zach is 18 and a senior at Hillcrest. He has been making near straight A's this year and is on the Honor Roll. Yep, not a moment too soon there bud. Don't get me wrong, we will take it, everyday, all day long. He decided to join the wrestling team at Hillcrest this year. So we are learning a lot about wrestling! He seems to like it, except for that little outfit they have to wear. I have to say I'm not a fan of the little outfit...yeah...not a fan.

Keith and I are still married. I know! 23 years! We celebrated by going to Las Vegas to see Bon Jovi in concert and Keith screamed like a little girl. Okay...that was me. But it was fun. We both still have jobs and are heavily medicated and in too much debt...but it seems to work for us and everything balances out at the end of the day.

Don't get me wrong, the 23 years are hard fought and hard won and we have our moments for sure. In fact just recently we had one regarding the Christmas lights on the outside of our house. So one Saturday a week or so ago Keith set out to put up lights on the house. We usually put up white icicle lights, I love those. They are twinkly and bright. He came inside all huffy and said that we had several strands out and couldn't we get new lights this year so he wouldn't have to sort through the strand to find the bad light etc. He was really quite worked up. Being flexible and able to adapt, I said of course, go get new lights, no worries. So off him and Zach went to the Home Depot. So after about 2 hours they are back and Keith is back up on the roof putting up lights. This takes some time but he finishes and comes in to watch the football game. After a while it is dark and out of the corner of my eye I see blinking lights outside my front window and my heart stops. NO! It can't be! After 23 years he knows better than to do that...he did not put blinking lights on my house. Oh Mother of all that is Holy, please tell me he did not do this. I call for Holland and say "please go out and look at Dad's lights and tell me if they are blinking." I am desperate to know but can't bear to look for myself. She runs out to the front walk and I watch her from the front window. "Yes!" she calls, "They are blinking! They look nice!" Oh my heavens! I run out to the walk to see for myself and I am horrified at the scene. My entire house is outlined in LED computer lights. They do not twinkle brightly; they glow with the eerie blue of a touch screen. And they are not just blinking, they are randomly flashing on and off to some techno beat no one can hear. I feel like I am about to have a freaking seizure. How could he have done this to me? This is not merry and bright, this is an ADD disco nightmare! I fly back into the house in a panic. What will the neighbors think? We will never be invited to a progressive dinner now. "Keith!" I call, "come up! I have big issues with the lights!" He calls back "I don't want to talk about it now!" I pause for a moment. He knows! Holy crap, he knows! Now I am about to have an out of body experience. I sit on the couch with the princess dog and fume. My heart is beating erratically just like the ADD lights on my house. Finally he makes his appearance and all I can say is "I hate them!" And he is brave enough to say to me, "But why??" It is all I can do not to attack him like a feral cat but I don't. "Blinking lights? After 23 years?" I say. "I didn't know they were blinking, they said light show." He says. I shoot him the look and let the expletives fly! Long story short, within 48 hours I had twinkly bright lights on my house...and to all a good night.

So my friends, compromise when you can and stand your ground when you think you might have a frigging seizure if you don't. Words to live by. Have a Fabulous Holiday and a great 2012!! Love, The Beltz's. Keith, DeeAnn Zach & Holland...and Bayja.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Xtreme Vacation

So I just got back from vacation with my family.  Anyone that knows me knows I am a beach girl.  I am not a camper, though I will camp but not usually for relaxation.  I am not big into sight seeing, however I will do that if that is everyone's vote and there is shopping some where nearby.  But my preference is to be in the sun and by the pool and near a beach.  I also must make a confession here, as much as I love the beach, I am not crazy about sand.  I like to walk on the sand and I like to swim and snorkle in the ocean.  However, I am not a fan of sand in my bathing suit.  I do not like that one bit and I do not like having to clean sand out of my kids' bathing suits either.  But if there is sunshine, a pool and a beach involved, that is my kind of vacation.   This time we spent a week on the Mexican Rivera in Playa Del Carmen.  One day we took an excursion called "Xteme Mayan" where we spent the day in the Mayan Jungle snorkeling in their underground caves and fresh water rivers, zip lining over the jungle and repelling down into the rain forest.  It was a pretty extreme day and I was proud of my kids and myself for doing everything we did.  My husband said he was surprised I did any of it.  I was offfended.  So that night while I was putting aloe vera on the place where the harness pinched my bottom, I started thinking about our vacations.  My husband is not remembering anything right!!  In my younger days before I had kids my husband and I took some beach vacations and did some sporty things which bordered on 'xtreme' activities.  Snorkleing boat trips, biking the crater in Maui after getting up at 3:00am to see the sunrise.  Then with the kids we did the some what different trips, but still extreme in other ways.  Disney extravanganzas and Six Flagg excursions, beach vacations etc.  These trips included a binky over the side of the Jungle Cruise in Disneyland as we watched any hope of an afternoon nap sink into the murky water.  Flip flops thrown into the Small World topiary garden when she didn't get what she wanted in the gift shop.  Melting eskimo pies shaped like Shamu and the souvenier cup with a shark on the top you will never use again.  Pouting teenagers that think the San Diego Zoo is for babies and why can't I buy a shirt with a maijuana leaf on it in Barbados??   Don't poop in your swim suit, that is so gross.  Will you buy me another hat because I forgot to take mine off and I lost it on Space Mountain and I think I left my Ipod on the plane in Dallas.  Someone just thew up on the hotel shuttle and we need to find an ATM.   I forgot to take my phone out of my pocket before I got in the pool and I have wet pants after the log ride.  Yes you need sunscreen on your feet and we are all going to dinner together, table for 19 please.  We missed the connection so here is your Delta courtesy kit and we'll have to come back in the morning.   Your bag is 3 pounds over so open it up and switch some things around right now.  I thought you had the passports.  No, don't eat that after it fell in the sand.  Could you just act like your having a good time, for me?  Please?   Xtreme is not the word for it.  I'm tired just recalling it.  I'll snorkle a cave in the Yucatan any day.  Later. 

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Livin' The Dream

School is out! Summer is finally here. Summer is my favorite season. I love the sun, I love vacations, I love the water. I remember growing up that our favorite thing to do every day of the summer was anything in the water. We would run through the sprinklers or fill up one of those plastic pools in the back yard and hang out. Every once in a while we would get to go to a pool. Boy was that the best or what. My sisters and I would be so excited when we would get to go to a swimming pool. My Dad was in the National Guard and a few times each summer my Mom would takes us to the outdoor pool at Camp Williams' Officers Club. This was so great. We loved this. We usually had the pool to ourselves or maybe one other family was there and we would pretend it was 'our pool'. Because that would just be the dream, to have your own pool in your own back yard right? We would stay and play in that pool at Camp Williams all day long. My Mom would pack a lunch for us and we would get to buy a pop out of the machine they had there and it was heaven. We stayed so long that we had little sores on our toes from the bottom of the pool. We were so tired by the time we got in the car to go home we all fell asleep on the way. I remember it was dusk when we got home and I always felt a tiny bit sunburned. (who wore sunscreen then?) I loved that feeling and could not wait to go again. That is the memory that came back to me when we had the opportunity to buy a house with a pool in the backyard. My dream could really come true. I could walk right out my back door all summer and my kids could have that experience all day every day. You would think. So what is it, day 4 of summer vacation? I am already hearing "I'm bored", "There is nothing to do". This infuriates me. I took a few days off to spend that quality time out by the pool with my kids this week. My sister and I were sitting by the pool discussing those days at Camp Williams when my 12 year old informed me that she needed me to find her and her friend something interesting to do. Now, I looked around. The sun was shining, the pool was sparkling, there was a cooler full of drinks under an umbrella. I looked at my sister, then again at my daughter and smiled, "Honey" I said, "We are livin' the dream!" My sister and I laughed hard and loud and long. My daughter was not amused. That night I fell asleep exhausted and a little bit sunburned. Later.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

The Glamorous Life...

So I just returned from San Diego where I have been working recently. This is the last in what has been about five months of pretty consistent travel for me. My job has required more business trips than usual this year so far. When I first began traveling for business about 13 years ago the trips were few and far between and I enjoyed them. It was kind of fun to get away and work some where else for a few days. Everyone thinks it's so glamorous to travel. The more I do it the less fabulous it gets. Don't get me wrong, it's a privilege and I enjoy my work and there are some great people I get to work with all over the country. But it's probably not what you might think. When I am out of town and I call my husband to check in at home he will ask me every time if I am having fun. It is at this point that I am usually sitting on my bed in the hotel room eating a Wendy's hamburger and working my email while watching a rerun of Law & Order. "Yes" I say, "I am having fun". I recently had the opportunity to work back east for 4 days. I had a great experience but I was ready to get home. I boarded the plane and sat down in my window seat and buckled in. Soon my seat mate joined me. Now I am not a tiny person, I take up my seat. But my seat mate took up more than their seat, if you know what I mean. Well, no worries. My plan was to read my Nook and maybe sleep on the 5 hour plane ride home. So off we go. Once we get up high enough I turn on my reader and promptly the gal in front of me pulls up her hoodie hood, plugs in her ear buds and reclines her seat all the way back. My Nook hits my chin. Really?? I look up at my seat mate who is really too close for comfort but it is what it is. At this point my right arm rest has disappeared, I can't put a tray table down and I can't move my legs. I read, I try to sleep. No beverage for me thank you. Then about 3 and a half hours in I panic. I can't move, I can't get out, I can't straighten my legs. I start to hyperventilate a little. So I start to breathe into my hands...in and out...in and out. I talk to myself in my head..."You are fine! You will be fine! Stop this silliness! Your seat mate can't move either! Just calm down for heavens sake!" It helps. But I am too hot and I am too far back in the plane, 23A, 23A, too far back. I can't read, I can't rest. I just sit there waiting to get off for 90 minutes. We land and I wait patiently, I am sweating and clammy. No one knows I am losing my mind. I am finally off and I shoot for the rest room. I sit in the stall taking big breaths. My life is soooo glamorous!! Before I go home I go to Starbucks in the airport and order a Chai Frappachino, Venti size. I sit on the bench by the security check point and take a few sips before I hit the baggage claim. I think that next week when I come back here to go to San Diego I will be able to wear capri's and sandals. One more trip and then I will have a break in traveling for work. Maybe I'll go to Wendy's on the way home....later.

Monday, April 4, 2011

The Spicy Marriage

Okay, so don't let the title of this blog fool you. In May my husband (hate that word) and I will celebrate 23 years of marriage. I am telling you now that I would not use the spicy to describe my marriage. In fact I would say "please pass the salt". Now I'll also confess it's not all his fault. I'm 45 this year. I'm carrying a few extra pounds than I'd like, I take a few more pills than I'd like for a myriad of frailties having to do with older age. Acid reflux doesn't make you feel like the sexiest girl at the party I'll have to admit, especially when the party is dinner at the IHOP after a viewing. So my huuusband and I decided we needed a trip out of town. We bought ourselves an early anniversary gift and got tickets to see Bon Jovi in concert at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas in March this year. We planned a long weekend for just the two of us in Vegas and left the kids home. We flew down so we wouldn't have any time to argue in the car if we drove. (Smart thinking huh!) Here's the thing, I don't feel any sexier in Las Vegas than I do in Utah. I'm still chubby and I still have the acid reflux etc. But I decided to try to make the best of it and try to spice it up. But apparently my huuusband didn't feel any sexier in Vegas either. Good Lord, we are so old! Finally I just said, "We are married and out of town staying in a hotel without the kids. I'm not going to say no." That was all the sweet talk he needed I guess. So the concert was great. The weather was bad and the company was mildy spicy. I'll take it. Some times I'd rather just watch a rerun of CSI. But I'm already thinking of ways to bring on the spice. I've heard of people wrapping themselves in saran wrap and meeting their spouse at the door. That sounds like a lot of work and considering the potential for a hot flash I have, I think I'll pass. But we have this Halloween costume my son wore a few years back. It's a toilet. I could wear that with nothing underneath. When my husband came home I could tell him that if he scrubbed a toilet I would take it off. Everybody wins! Very spicy! Later

Wednesday, January 26, 2011


So here's the big news. We got a puppy for Christmas. I know. Some of you that know me from childhood will be stunned because you know I am not a pet person. There are people, Lord love them, who are pet people and have dogs and cats and hamsters and a pig and who knows what all. Then there are people like me who have to be persuaded to get their kids a fish and then cannot stand the gross yucky fish bowl on the kitchen counter. It's not all my fault. I am allergic to cats, so no cats and now I will make my confession, I am afraid of dogs. I have been afraid of dogs my whole life. Little dogs, big dogs (heaven help me) I am afraid of dogs. Now when I was in Jr High School my family got a dog. His name was Alex. He was a Maltese that my parents never neutered and he never potty trained so he had to stay outside all the time. I did not like Alex and I felt sorry for Alex all at the same time. I did not like Alex because 1) I was afraid of him and 2) he would hump your leg every time you tried to lay out in the back yard. I felt sorry for him because he would turn into a huge snowball every winter because all the snow would stick to his fur and he had runny eyes. So I basically stayed away from Alex. But my fear started when I was a little girl. I can remember being about 5 and all dressed up for Halloween with my sister ready to go trick or treating with my Dad and crying, not wanting to go because there was a big, black dog in our driveway. My Dad got so mad he punched a hole in the wall in our basement. As I got older I learned to ignore little yippy dogs. Although the only dog bite I ever received was by a miniature collie when I was about 7. It's name was Dillon and it bit the back of my ankle. A few years later he got hit by a car. I won't say I was happy, but I don't think I shed any tears for Dillon. But big dogs scare the crap out of me. In high school I dated a guy who's family had golden retrievers. Big beautiful dogs. BIG dogs, very friendly! When I would come over to their house the doggie would jump right up on me and put her paws right on my shoulders. She was as big as me, looking me right in the face. I tried not to show it but every time I nearly fell over and hyperventilated. My boyfriend thought this was hilarious. When I was about 20 I really got into running. I would go running outside and always run into a big dog. It would scare the &@#! right out of me and I would scream GO HOME! and try hard not to run away so the dog wouldn't chase me. Over the years I have built up a tolerance to big dogs because people in my life insist on having big dogs and I like those people. But my heart beats a whole lot faster when the big doggies are around. But I will admit...if there is big strange dog wandering around outside that I am not familiar with, I do not go outside until the dog is gone. That's my story and I am sticking to it. So, to the new puppy. My kids, including my significant other, have been wanting a dog forever. Being the non pet person I have been, I have said no, no, no for years and years. At Christmas time I gave in. I told Santa he could bring us a doggie if she was a she, and tiny, and didn't shed. So on Christmas morning a tiny teacup yorkie was sitting in a velvet box under the tree. She was 8 weeks old. I thought my kids were going to faint they were so excited. Her name is Bayja. (sounds like Asia) Now she is 12 weeks old and this weekend she finally started going potty outside. We are so proud of her. She is lots of fun. When I walk in the door she does jump up on me...and her paws hit me just below my knees. I think it is hilarious. Later.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Our Christmas Letter

In case you want to catch up with my family for 2010. Here is our annual Christmas letter. If you like the blog, you'll like the letter....

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from our family to yours! 2010 has been a big blur for us! Big changes were in store and we didn’t even know it. After 16 years on Handcart Way we moved! In the spring of this year we found a home about 7 blocks east and we made an offer and to our surprise they accepted it and we were off and running! Our new address is:
946 Peregrine Lane, Sandy Utah 84094
We closed on July 22, 2010 and moved in August 22, 2010. We decided to remodel the house too! Unfortunately, considering my anxiety and Keith’s ADD, this decision, however necessary, was probably not wise. Between us we have created a new disorder. We call it “Marital Anxiety Attention Deficit Disorder” or M.A.A.D.D. You may draw your own conclusions here and every single one would be right. We have found that no matter how much medication you are on, none of it helps cure M.A.A.D.D completely. The up side is our new house is just that much bigger and we can go to separate places to sort things out or “let the expletives fly” if you will. Since we are on the subject, while we are enjoying our bigger home, we find there is now at least one light bulb burned out every damn day and someone around here better get working on their house keeping skills immediately.
Thankfully Keith and I still enjoy employment at Hudson Printing and Wells Fargo, respectfully. However Keith is contemplating mowing lawns this summer to make ends meet. No really, I’m serious. House poor does not begin to describe it. If I could bake, I’d be selling cupcakes after church. Pre-purchase, our family enjoyed a trip to Barbados in the spring of this year to visit my Mom and Dad a few months before they returned home from their mission and a week at our family cabin in the mountains above Midway, Utah this summer to celebrate their return.
Our Holland is 11 years old and in the 6th grade and is very busy. In addition to her schoolwork, golf and swimming activities Holland has discovered a love for cooking! We watch the Food Network together all the time. She aspires to be an Iron Chef when she grows up. She is enrolled in the Young Chef’s Academy and cooks in classes two night a week. She loves it. She cooks all sorts of yummy things but eats none of it. She still keeps Pizza Hut, McDonalds and the Training Table in business. She has also come to the stage in her life where she is extremely embarrassed by just about anything and everything, especially her Dad, much to my delight. “Dad stop singing, Dad stop doing that. Dad STOP!” HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!
Zach is 17 and a junior at Hillcrest High School. His extracurricular activities have dwindled to games and TV and movies much to my chagrin, in addition to chores around the house, much to his chagrin. But he has chosen to focus on getting good grades and is doing quite well this year so we’ll take that as a win. He is also a very good care taker for his sister which is a load off my mind. He has a fabulous new room in our new house with a ginormous TV that he enjoys immensely. I know – no one to blame but ourselves.
Besides the new house, the highlight of my year was having my deviated septum fixed and both my sinuses routed. Yeah, it’s as fabulous as it sounds. While it is very nice to be able to breathe and sleep better, I find the icy cold air of the Utah winter is very painful on my sinus cavities and I have to say I sometimes miss all the snot that kept me nice and warm up there. The whole thing was a bigger ordeal than I had anticipated and I am still recovering. I don’t think I have had a year in some time where I didn’t enjoy some kind of surgery or procedure. I used to think I had bad luck. Then I got a speeding ticket AT the airport when I was picking up my parents and then I locked my hotel key in my room four times on a four day trip and then I pulled through to the drive up window at Crown Burger without ordering. Now I know that’s just the way it is and it’s all fine. When that stuff happens I try to laugh. Heee Haaaw! (There may be a little sarcasm there.) But we continue to count our blessings! We hope you will too!
Love to all! Keith and DeeAnn, Zach and Holland Beltz