We Are Moms Who Think: Story Collection

Yes, we are Moms Who Think…


And when you blog for business most times, there are other times you must blog and write for fun. Below is a collection of stories from me and Betina that are just personal favorites that we brought together in one place, mostly for our own enjoyment of blogging, but you might enjoy them as well, and getting to know us better…


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moms who thinkMoms Who Think Story #1:


“I Am The Rock Lady”…

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I Am The Rock Lady.


That’s what I’m known as, and what all of our neighbors call me.


My 90 something year old neighbor calls me the Rock Gal, and I like that.  


You see those rocks in the photo of my niece modeling one of our Feeder Frock nursing covers?  Those are my rocks and my walls…each rock carefully selected to be placed, locked on top of the one below, and angled back and up, with dirt and gravel packed behind each one just so.  


Those sharp and designated steps are created with sliver rocks. Sliver rocks are very flat and small to be able to fit under the leveled string, that I run across the top for a perfect line and finish.


Just for reference, my niece the model is about 6′ 5″ in those heels.


I actually have a wall taller than that without any steps that is about 15 feet tall, and there are many of these giant “rock islands” as I like to call them of various shapes and sizes, because you can basically shape rock and dirt into anything you want.  I look at rocks and dirt differently from most people.


I like to joke that my rock work is my Machu Picchu del Norte.



Another rock island…


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You can curve it…

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I made steps down, and carved out a niche to keep the cypress tree alive…


So how and why am I The Rock Lady?


There are a number of factors culminating together…



1. I am a project person:


My husband and I do big and bold projects together.  I had a few warm ups to this one, that I’ll have to post about another time. My husband wanted more garage, and so we planned to dig out our property, and make a space for it. All of that dirt had to go somewhere.



2.  Location and access: 


All of this rock comes from the roll off of the our Mountains that shot up from the ground thousands of years ago, and caused many rocks of many sizes(huge boulders too) to roll off. Our dirt is full of these roll off rocks, so when you dig it up, you have rocks galore.



3.  Timing:


This project came up just about the time the housing market crashed.  I am the Designated Broker of my own Real Estate Brokerage, which I am tucking away for awhile.  As things really started to slow back in 2007 & 2008, I had time on my hands to man a shovel and rake for most of the day, and even got to the point of moving dirt and rock for 8-9 hours.  If I needed to meet a client, I cleaned up, and was a Broker again, instead of The Rock Lady.


All of our neighbors stopped by frequently to see the progress.  


We bought a back hoe for the project, and my husband drove and dug and scooped dirt and rock to bring to me and my particular island I was creating.  I used a shovel, rake, my gloved hands and my stomping feet to shape everything.  


It was a bit like a race, because I needed to get the scoop of dirt down in its place before the next scoop came on top of it to mess everything up.


If you ever want to get in shape, you could try this rock building, shoveling all day tactic.  Needless to say, I was pretty lean and mean during those years.  I would look at a big boulder, and wonder if I could pick it up, and I would surprise myself with it off the ground and into my body.



4.  Genetics:


These were also the times I thought about my great-great grandmother, who walked across America all by herself after leaving Sweden, then getting on a boat from Hamburg, and crossing the Atlantic, to arrive after walking all the way to Utah. 


Thanks for the guts, strength and stamina grandma!



5.  More Genetics:


I also got a kick out of a neighbor who approached and asked if I were Scottish.  “Why yes, I am 1/4 Scottish in fact”, and this neighbor told me, this is what they do over there…build dry slab walls.


Some day I will have to track down these Scottish ancestors of mine.  I must have gotten something from one of them.



Being The Rock Lady cultivated my designing skills.


I never really got into designing and sewing younger with my Mom.  I just didn’t like using those thin paper patterns and directions. It felt so confining. 


After placing all of those rocks, and fitting shapes together, I realized at the late age of 39 that I can just see the patterns and shapes in my head, and fit them together. When I design something, I think of all  the pieces that have to make the finished whole, after some manipulation. I just cut shapes, and then sew…no directions and no paper patterns to follow.  It’s much more fun that way.


In the end, I wouldn’t have ever discovered this about myself, without taking on that huge task of being The Rock Lady. 



Thanks to The Rock Lady, LaDy LaDuke exists!


Every day I get to look at my rocks, and there are many times still I can’t believe I did all of that.  When big storms come as a test of my construction skills, I’m proud to say they survive every time.



I Am The Rock Lady still.


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moms who thinkMoms Who Think Story #2:


“A Handgun Was All I Had”…


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Courtesy of vvalpaper


I awoke from a deep sleep to the sound of the house alarm, and felt for my husband in bed next to me, forgetting he was working his night shift…a handgun was all I had…


I purposely selected the photo above, because this is not what it is like AT ALL when you find yourself in a panic, not only from the piercing noise of an alarm, and the struggle of functioning from a deep sleep, but from the realization that there could be 





And I’m all alone.  And does the possible intruder know I’m alone?  Does the intruder know my husband is gone?


There were many things that ran through my mind, but I knew first to get the handgun, chamber it like my husband taught me, and how I practiced at the shooting range. I listened for anyone approaching my bedroom door, or any of the other doors or windows that led outside, and most of all I prepared myself physically and mentally.  


This was difficult through the alarm sound, but that alarm was hopefully the thing that sent someone running, instead of intruding.


I surprised myself at the ease of handling the handgun, which I usually struggled with awkwardly…


It’s heavy, and there are sharp edges that can catch my fingers and skin. I have to use a very hard and quick motion to slide it back to be chambered and ready for firing.  Firing it is also awkward.  It has a tremendous kick that lowers my confidence in having any decent aim at my target, and I have to control my squeeze and ease of the trigger, while at the same time holding the gun very firmly with both hands and all of my arm strength.


At the shooting range, I’m nervous just touching that handgun, and anticipate that awful sound and kick of it firing off. It makes me jump and my ears ring, even when I have ear protection. 


In my bedroom, with the adrenaline kicked in, and definitely in “fight” mode, I had control of that scary gun.


The idea of “flight” at the time was ridiculous, because I didn’t know if it was safe anywhere I run, it was record-cold freezing outside, and I needed to wait for the alarm company to call, and to send the police if I said so. My best and safest chance was to stay put by the phone, and where I had the most advantage over anyone coming my way.


I also knew in the back of my mind that the record cold temperatures could have caused expansion and shrinking of the window glass to set it off, and wind could knock open a window as well.  It all depended on which entry the girl from the alarm company said it was to call the police.


Unfortunately, it was the one window that is ideally situated for a burglar or intruder, never had a short or fault, and previously had a hole in the screen and a footprint in the flower bed a few years back–the only other time it went off.



“Yes, send the police!” I said. 


I told her I was home alone, and at the other end of the house.  She hung up quickly to call the police, and it occurred to me that I’d better call her back for her to also tell the police that I’m armed in my bedroom, I’m not going anywhere, and if anyone comes through that door I’m shooting. This didn’t phase her at all.  


“Of course, she said…don’t worry!”


The Police Officer arrived about 10 minutes later.  He rang the doorbell after already making his way around the property, finding nothing.  I had to make that terrifying trek to the front door, not knowing if anyone was in my house or not.  I made sure the Officer could see my handgun pointed down at my side and away clearly, to know I had it.



He said, “It’s OK, you can put your gun down.”


I asked him to check inside the house, and I let him go down the hallway to the designated window by himself with his gun, checking the corners and closets.  It was all clear.


The Officer had to tell me that a neighbor recently made a call that she saw 3 people, but he also had to say that she called them ghosts, and he wasn’t sure about her mental stability.  He had an obligation to inform me for my safety and knowledge. He was terribly nice, and I asked him if he would be mad if he had to come again if the alarm went off again?  



He chuckled, and said, “Not at all.”


There is a real luxury in our country of having an opinion and being free to voice it, but there’s no luxury in having to take action with a handgun to protect yourself if you have to.  After my personal experience, and truly having to prepare myself to be ready for necessary action, I find a stark difference between the luxury of opinion on guns, and the primitive necessity of using them.


All I know now more than ever before, is that I’m grateful for that gun.  I’m grateful my husband made me practice, and I made myself practice. I’m grateful I had the resolve to prepare myself for whatever might come my way, and that I had given myself a chance in that deep-dark moment, when a handgun was all I had.




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moms who thinkMoms Who Think Story #3:


Guest Blogging with Shenkitup: “3 Differences Between Americans and Europeans”…

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Today, I’m over guest blogging on Nate Shenk’s Shenk it with 3 Differences Between Americans and Europeans.


If you don’t know Shenk it Up, you’re in for a real treat of reading pleasure. Nate’s blog is right up there at the top for me on my weekly reading list, and I’m sure you’ll feel the same after a visit…



Excellent writing…pure entertainment!


The photo above is Sheamus, the WWF Wrestler who plays the role of the 20 something year old American guy in my guest post tale.


My 20 something year old American guy character meets up with some grouchy French men, a very pretty and young British girl, the British/Indian Flight Attendant and some Germans.  I always enjoy watching other Americans interact with Europeans, being a seasoned traveller.  The clash and mix of cultures are just so interesting, and I find our fascinating differences as something to celebrate.


After all, it takes all kinds of people to make the world go ’round.  I know someone said that or something similar, but it’s true, isn’t it?


OK everyone, please head over and give Nate some support by reading and leaving a comment, and by all means, prepare yourselves to “Get Shenked”!





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Moms Who Think Story #3:


“Pay it Forward”…


An Inside View As the Beneficiary:


Have you seen the movie “Pay it Forward”?  I have not actually, but can assume from the phrase the basic principle of giving to have more giving continue, or to create good Karma.


I actually believe in Karma, and practice it every day, from things I do for my customers, to liking someone’s Facebook page, to giving that extra dollar at the grocery line.  These actions although seemingly benefit the receiver, are actually done for the giver to feel good, not get jinxed, or have cancer start growing or something.


I’m serious!  When I’m maintaining my good Karma, I’m actually thinking about myself and not others.  I’m just being honest.  Yes, of course you are thinking of the beneficiaries to complete an action, but ultimately the drive comes from the desire to protect your own good fortune, right?


So, selfishness is the impetus for good deeds.  The truth is always cold and hard, and by being truthful here in my post, I’m keeping my good Karma in check even as I write.


The other day, I happened to be the beneficiary of a Pay it Forward deed.  I was in line at Dunkin’ Donuts drive through to get coffee, and got to the window to hear that the woman in front of me paid for me.



(So that’s why she was eyeing me so much in her rear view mirror.)


My gut reaction was total embarrassment.  I asked the girl at the window, “Do I look like I need someone to buy me coffee?” Sure, I had rushed to get out the door, hair still wet, no makeup, but am I looking that rough to look so needy?  Also, coffee is not a necessity in any way.  This is my addiction in the morning, and I will pay for it myself!


The girl at the window explained to me that “Pay it Forward” was very popular there at their Dunkin’ Donuts.


I have to say, I didn’t like this beneficiary stuff one bit. 


Not to mention, this was in Gilbert, AZ which has a large Mormon population, and most likely this woman who bought my coffee was Mormon, and Mormons do not believe in drinking coffee.  It actually goes against their religion.


Do you see how bad this is now?  A Mormon bought me my addictive habit as a Pay it Forward deed…This is so wrong on so many levels!


All I could do was suck it up.  I asked the girl at the window if she accepts tips.



She said, “no.”

What do you all think of this Pay it Forward stuff?  Great in theory of course, but did the practice get a little wacky in my case?




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moms who thinkMoms Who Think Story #4:


“The Cause of My Hiccups…My Grandmother”…

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My grandmother is the Cause of My Hiccups…


My grandmother to me, always stood out in a crowd. She looked like her Swedish father, with piercing blue eyes and a small, up-turned nose.  She was born in 1900, and grew up on a homestead in Northern Arizona, just two days by team and wagon from the Hopi village of Walpi, where snake priests and antelope priests gathered every August to perform their Snake Dance ritual to bring rain.


Her neighbors were cowboys, who wore Levi pants and jumpers, because they were functional for working all day, and the word, “rodeo” was private property of the Mexicans.


She lost her mother to illness when she was only 19, and worked as a court reporter, or stenographer then, at a time women didn’t work.  She traveled, married late in life, and had her two children in her 40’s.  She raised my Mom and Uncle on her own after divorcing.  To me, she broke the mold…always stylish, poised and reserved.


What I remember most, is that she was a storyteller, and would take note of things, like being born into the age of technology and bobbed hair around the corner.  She would notice her birthday made her a “Saturday’s child…works hard for a living”. She published her auto-biography in 1980.


My Grandma thought of herself as a writer and listener, instead of a talker, and would relay how all the talkers were drawn to her.  One of my favorite stories she had, was about her gabby neighbor, who would call on the phone and talk all day long. Grandma would just put the phone down, do all of her housework, and occasionally pick up the receiver to say, “uh, huh…uh, huh”, and then set it down again.


When we visited my Grandma’s cabin in the Summers, on that same homestead, I’d see her phone resting on its side in the kitchen, and hear that long winded neighbor’s voice coming through, and here would come Grandma to give her, “uh, huh”. We’d all die laughing that she could actually get away with it.


The other thing that tickled me so about my Grandma were her hiccups.  She produced the strangest, loudest sound out of her body…like something halfway between a bird squawking and a monkey screeching, yet totally alien at the same time. I’d hear that squawk ring through her cabin walls, and just giggle away. How could that noise come out of her like that, I thought!?


I always wondered if I got any of my Grandmother’s traits.  I don’t look like she did, but can see a bit of her Mom in me.  My Mom says I must have gotten great-grandma’s ability to design. She designed and sewed all of her and her family’s clothes on the homestead.


I’m definitely not a talker either.  I love putting the phone down, and really don’t like it touching my ear.  I’ll never own an i pod for this reason.  I guess you could say that I’m living in the same age of technology that Grandma was born into.


I will always have strong memories of my grandma, who made her mark and lasting impression.  The nice thing, is that I can open her auto-biography, and read as if she’s still here. And best of all, when that identical squawk/screech/shriek/alien sound comes out of me hiccuping, it’s as if she’s right next to me. I then chuckle through the physical discomfort and warm, knowing comfort, thinking to myself…”thanks Grandma.”  “I am your granddaughter.” 


This post was written for one of my favorite bloggers, Elisabeth of The Crazy Life of a Writing Mom and her Nov. 18th memoir release of “The Golden Sky”.


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moms who thinkMoms Who Think Story #5:


“I’m Still a Girl!”…


Here’s my little story, and here’s a photo to compliment it…


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When I was a little girl, I used to notice a few of the older women at church sitting next to their husbands, and they looked like a pair of older men, one with a wig.  So, I asked my Mom why this was, and she tried to tactfully explain menopause to me, and how some women can lose their feminine traits…my poor mother!  

This stuck with me though, and then when I grew 4 inches in the summer of my 16th birthday, from 5’4” to 5’8”, I was suddenly a tall person and still without my period.  That came later that year. 


Fast forward to growing a couple inches taller after 18, with some athletic physicality, and now I was watching Maude on Golden Girls, (and I apologize to Bea Arthur for this), thinking I would eventually be a big, tall man one day!


This is my joke I share with my husband, who is a bit older than I, and says he’ll be too blind to notice anything at that point in time, and laughs when I ask about people thinking I’m his younger, taller brother.  I know…I go overboard on this.


I’m afraid I’m on the final menstrual cycling countdown now, and possibly earlier than usual, because I started late(I’ve heard that, but don’t really know if it’s true)?  Who knows if it will last a couple more months or for 10 more years?  

Sometimes it comes, sometimes not.  Sometimes, I get all of the PMS, and then nothing.  Maybe it comes for a day and goes, but when it does come, it is certainly irregular and unpredictable. 


Not like the good old days, when I could stock my purse with tampons appropriately, easily schedule a doctor’s appointment knowing my last month’s day.  I could count on the light and heavy days like clockwork.  I also knew that all of the swelling and irritability would pass once it came–popped like a balloon with immediate release and relief, excluding cramps of course. 

I must prepare myself for the end now, and try not to fret over this inevitable change.  But for now, while it is still here with me, I will cherish and embrace my old friend, and shout as if from the rooftops, but actually just to my husband…

                                                     “I’m still a girl!!”


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moms who thinkStay tuned for more Moms Who Think Stories, and more from Betina!


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