Saturday, December 12, 2009

School of Life

I watch the students at the University as they arrive, fresh-faced, scared, some maybe crying a bit at leaving their home behind. Taking baby steps as they learn to navigate in their new world.

I see some of them plunge whole heartedly into everything that campus life has to offer. They challenge themselves with classes of substance and do everything to earn top marks, they join clubs, they find and cultivate new relationships. They get the most out of being in college.

Then I see some students who sign up for the easiest classes they can find, and maybe only 1 or 2 of those. They sleep til noon, watch tv or play video games and rarely leave their apartments, even to attend class.

And some students go through the motions. They take on a full academic load and then put forth the least amount of effort possible to earn a barely passable grade. Some of these will panic as the semester draws to a close and beg the faculty for "mercy" and show "death-bed repentance" as they realize they are falling short.

I see all these things every semester.

A parable of life.

Friday, December 11, 2009

New York, New York

Andy has been waiting almost 19 years for the letter he received yesterday. A letter to change his life. As a young boy he would say that he hoped the letter would tell him he was going to New Zealand. Why New Zealand? "Because there aren't any snakes in New Zealand." I don't know if that's true, but it always made me smile.

Andy has taken Seminary for 4 years, Sunday School for 16, scripture study, (although that could have been better)and good clean living for his whole life. He was preparing to go serve the Lord, help people in need, and spread the good word.

He was very anxious waiting for THE letter, the one telling him where he was called to serve.

Yesterday it came. Last night the family gathered together to watch him open it up.
He started to read,
"Dear Elder Mitchell:

"You are hereby called to serve as a missionary of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. You are assigned to labor in the New York New York South Mission." Basically all of New York City except Manhattan.

When I heard where he was called I immediately thought, "of course, yes that is where he should go." He leaves Feb. 10. and will be gone for 24 months. It will be a tremendous growing experience for him. Kind of like the "right of passage" to manhood. He will pay his own way, work 6 days a week, and only call home 4 times for the entire mission. We hope he will forget himself and grow to love serving those around him. I'm so happy for him.

How exciting.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Holiday Humbug

It's December.
time for twinkling lights
Bing Crosby on the radio
the smell of pine in my living room

and I'm just going through the motions.
I'm just not feeling it.

Yet.

How can I catch that elusive "Christmas Spirit" when all I'm feeling is a "Christmas Schlump"?

I've tried to become more aware of what makes me feel all warm and jolly and I've come up with a short list:

1. Attend Christmas Productions.

The Nutcracker Ballet was definitely a booster, not a schlumper. I will be attending the Messiah sing-along on Sunday and will embarrass myself whole heartedly, but I'll feel it again I'm sure.

2. Decorate the House for the Holidays.
I'm still only about half decorated. The tree is in my living room, but alas, totally bare. I briefly considered leaving it that way and just enjoying the sweet scent of pine, but I know my kids and grandkids would think I was "lame".

3. Make a Gift.
There is definitely nothing that sparks the Christmas spirit more than making a gift with your own two hands. It brings out the inner elf in you. I did a lot of my Christmas shopping online (another plus I think) but am making a couple of the gifts. I can't say what they are because the recipient might read this, but when I'm working on it I feel like whistling "Jingle Bells" or "12 Days of Christmas". And when the recipient shows up unexpectedly I scramble to hide it. Great fun.

That's it. I can't say much more than that is putting me in the mood. The snow outside is frightful, not holiday-ish. When the high temp doesn't get out of the single digits and the low is always in the negatives it feels more like January than Christmas.

I need help. What puts YOU in the Holiday Spirit?

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

November Gifts



~ My sidewalk is done and I love it! The first day after they took off the tarps I just kept going out there and walking it. It's exactly what I envisioned. I'm so glad Mike let me draw it out the way I wanted. Thanks Honey!

~ That my podiatrist is really helping me with my foot pain. First of the month I couldn't take a step without pain, now I am virtually pain free. I'm thankful for modern medicine.

~ That Andy received his Patriarchal Blessing. It was a special day, and he received some wonderful promises.

~ That Andy's mission papers were sent to SLC. We are waiting to hear where he'll be going. It's exciting and kind of scary.

~ That David and Emily's family were okay after they were in a car accident that demolished their car. What a blessing!

~ That I love my job. I truly feel appreciated and like a contributing member of a valuable team. They are the greatest people to work with.

~ That I went to the movies 3 times! I can go a year without going to the movies, but for some reason this month we just went. It was pretty fun, too. I went with Joni and Abby twice and once with Andy and Mike. When I went with Mike the manager loaded us up with pop and popcorn for free. Sometimes it pays to be married to Mr. Social Butterfly. He has friends where ever we go.

~ I'm blessed to have a warm house, yummy food, a cuddle puppy, 2 feline friends, and so much more. It's been a pretty good month.

Love is in the Air

Recipe for love:
Take a bunch of hormonally-charged young adults.
Immerse their brains in school work.
Overload them with projects, readings, 10-page papers that are due tomorrow.
Squeeze out all spare minutes, make sure they don't have time to hang out at their apartments, go to movies, or chill (after all this is a hot dish).
Intensely mix with other Geology students who are in the same pot of hot water.

...and watch the sproutings of love pop up here and there and every which where.

Maybe its ionic bonding.
Maybe its a magnetic pulling.
Maybe its the theory of "misery likes company".

These are science students, after all.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

I Should Be Dancing, Yeah....Dancing, Yeah

Toe doc took another gander at my tootsies. Surgery is set for Dec. 14th. No big deal. Outpatient stuff that will even allow me to walk on it the same day. Still I'm not looking forward to the actual cutting. I am looking forward to getting something fixed that has caused me pain and discomfort for my entire life.

He also skewered my foot with another shot of cortisone. This one hurt. A Lot! He hit the nerve dead on. That's a good thing I guess. Tomorrow I should feel like dancing again.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

After my last post my pain came back almost full bore. Blech.

I couldn't bring myself to comment on it. I'm depressed.

On the bright side I get to go back to that lovely podiatrist next week. Maybe he'll be able to come up with something that chases the pain away a little more longer term.

It's cold today, but that didn't stop me from going out and working in the yard. I rototilled a small patch of ground. The wind was blowing so hard that I now have a mouthful of dirt. I raked it flat and laid paver brick. It was surprisingly satisfying.

Now I think I'll go brush my teeth.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Pain and No Pain

Over the last month or so walking has become increasingly difficult.

It started in my left foot, my left heel to be more specific.
Every morning walking would be agony. After walking on it for a few minutes the pain would subside and I got along pretty well. Lately, though, the heel pain would come back over and over throughout my day. If I sat at my desk in the office for an hour or so and then try to walk down the hall it would feel like burning hot knives were being stabbed into my heel until I walked it out again.

In addition to my left foot I was having some trouble with my right foot. It started out as a slight pain between my 3rd and 4th toe. If I walked on it very much, like every evening when I would do my exercising it would really start to burn. I started to suspect I may have a fracture there. There were a couple of other painful places on my left foot, but those were the two main complaints.

It took having the pain become so severe that I was starting to hobble around like a crippled old person, both feet in agony before I went to a podiatrist.

That was yesterday.

He listened to my complaints, examined my feet (I apologized for having hot sweaty ones, and he said he's done this for so long he doesn't even notice anymore), and had his nurses x-ray both of them.

Then he came in with the news:
Left foot:
1. Plantar Fascitis
They wrapped it in a splint and it's felt marvelous since. They will probably make an orthotic for me to wear until it heals up.
2. Hammertoe
which will require a small incision underneath to the tendon so it can straighten out. This will be done at a later time.
3. Bunion
which is just starting to form. It causes some swelling and pain in the joint, but isn't too bad. This is another thing that we'll fix at a much later time.

Then on to the Right Foot:
1. The one and only thing wrong with this foot is a Neuroma.

I had a neuroma removed from that same spot 28 years ago, but sometimes they grow back. Mine did. He told me I could have a shot of cortisone into it to help deaden the pain and also to help shrink it back down to where it wouldn't cause me anymore problems. I told him to go for it. He gave me the shot, which seriously didn't hurt as much as the neuroma. He kept saying, "almost done, almost done, are you okay?" Ha ha. He must have thought I was a real pansy.

I couldn't believe how good I felt this morning. I got out of bed and walked, yes WALKED across my floor. I didn't hobble, lurch, or limp. It was so wonderful. All day at work I just kept looking for opportunities to walk. I probably overdid it because tonight I am once again having a lot of pain in the neuroma.

I go back in 2 weeks to see what else needs to be done.

Pain is a very disabling thing. When you're in pain it seems to cloud everything. I had people asking me all the time if I was tired, or upset, or not feeling good. I really didn't realize the extent to which it had affected me.

Today was a revelation. I was more outgoing, I was more energetic, and I was definitely happier. It made me very grateful for doctors who know the healing arts, for medical advances, and that my particular health problem is very treatable and I will recover fully. It made me ponder on those who are so much less fortunate than I. People who have chronic pain for years. People who have illnesses that linger and diseases that they may never conquer.

Through every life a little pain must fall, cause it really makes the painless days shine.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Village Shopping, Pumpkin Carving and a Pretty Puppy

While in Utah we visited Gardener's Village. It was a really fun place to go. Everywhere you looked it was Halloween in all it's fun fantasy-ness. (is that a word?) Here are a few shots from our stay:













Joni and I carved pumpkins today. I did a cat and she did something else. I think it looks like an alien, she thinks it looks like a devil. Mike thought it looked like a cow, ha ha. Whatever it is, its cute!





We had Oscar clipped a few days ago and he's been freezing ever since. Today Joni bought him a sweater. Now he is one happy puppy.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Bomomo

I don't know who puts these things together.

I don't know how it works.

I just know that when I find places like THIS,

I have way too much fun.

And spend way too much time.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Tree Art

These are so cool! I love the people. They are surreal. I would probably be a little bit spooked if I walked in this garden after dark though. Enjoy!










Friday, October 23, 2009

Get Creative!

I found this website.

A total waste of time.

....but it's fun!

You should try it.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Big Scary Baby Mouse

We have a doggy door.
One of those little openings that our puppy can use whenever the urge-to-go-outside hits. I love it. I can work all day and not worry about Oscar dog dancing around with his legs crossed. We also have a underground radio fence, so I don't have to worry about him running away, or getting lost, but that's another story.

That's the good side about having a doggy door.

There's also a bad side.

Cats can also go through the doggy door.
We currently have 2 cats. How we got those 2 cats are also other stories for other days.

Cat #1. Named "Spider-Slayer", "Spike", "Gandalf Salrong Blah Blah the Grey", or more commonly called "Kitty". He is young, easily spooked, and very soft to the touch. He loves to sneak out the doggy door and park himself underneath the bird feeders out on the deck. The good news is that he's not a very good hunter. The bad news is he's getting better.

Cat #2. Named "Burns", not to be confused with "Mr. Burns", another cat we had until last winter. Burns is a pretty old warrior cat. He's been through many a battle. He's had his back leg totally shattered, broken off tooth that abcessed through his lower jaw, has urinary tract disease, and had his eye poked out. (The vet was able to put the eye back in and fix him up pretty good, but we're pretty sure that eye is blind.)

He's also a master hunter.

Every evening like clockwork Burns will announce his arrival with the nightly kill. His meow takes on a different timbre and we immediately know he's got a mouse. We run for the stairs, his favorite mouse eating spot. If we're really fast we can usually grab Burns and throw him outside before he gulps it down. He's learned he needs to eat it really fast before we take it away from him. I don't think he even chews. It just slides down in one long slurp.

We've learned to close up the doggy door every evening about dusk. Once in a while, though, we forget.

The little mouse critters are usually very dead before Burns brings them in, but once in a while he will bring one with a little fight left. That's when things get interesting. Burns has usually wounded them enough that its fairly easy to plop a bucket on top of them and wait until Mike comes home to remove it. I should rephrase that and say it's wounded enough that Joni can plop a bucket on top of it, I'm probably standing on the dining room table cowering in fear.

Me and mice don't jive.

A couple of nights ago I was home alone and I heard "the meow".
Crap.
I run upstairs and don't see Burns anywhere.
I go outside to see if he's ingesting his meal outside (he's learned to do that sometimes so we won't take it away from him).
No Burns.
Oh well, I think, and go into my bedroom.
OH CRAP!!!
Burns has a tiny little baby mouse on my carpet in my bedroom and it's VERY MUCH ALIVE!!!
I'm torn between running down the hall screaming in terror and nervously watching from the doorway. I swallow my bravery pill and watch. Burns lets the mouse run around and then pounces on it. It was a very tiny baby mouse. I just knew Burns was letting that thing have way too much freedom. He was going to lose it. I couldn't take it any more, so I went to close up the doggy door. (Why didn't I do it 15 minutes ago?) I turned around and there was Burns. He really wanted me to let him go back outside.

Wait a minute. Where's the mouse?

I knew it. That mouse was so little Burns didn't think it was worth the effort.
I threw Burns back in my bedroom and shut the door. I really wanted him to catch that mouse! He had totally lost interest.

I didn't think I'd be able to sleep in my bedroom knowing there was a rogue mouse loose, but after putting everything up high and making sure none of my blankets were anywhere near the floor, and, oh yea, after taking a sleeping pill, I managed to sleep pretty good.

Fast forward to the next evening. Joni came into my room and said, "mom, come here". I followed her out to the living room where she pointed at "Kitty". He had his nose buried under the recliner, his tail swishing rhythmically back and forth, just as it does when he's under the bird feeders.

We had located the big scary baby mouse. Mike, Joni, Andy, and I were all home, so I did the sensible thing and retreated to my bedroom. Mike, Joni, and Andy are all experienced mouse catchers. They threw Oscar in my room with me and went to do the deed. (Oscar is no help in mice catching.)

I heard shouts, felt thumps and bumps, and more yelling and shouting. At one point Mike yelled through my bedroom door, "WHATEVER YOU DO, DO NOT OPEN THIS DOOR!"
Like that was going to happen.

Finally the din quieted, Oscar quit barking, I heard the front door open and shut, and then Joni came in.

"we got it."

I knew they would. I thought about helping them, but I would have just gotten in the way. *grin*

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

I'm Getting Cranky.....

Andy's sick and I'm tired. Together we're sick and tired of the Swine.

and the pneumonia.

Andy's been on antibiotics for the pneumonia for 48 hours now and he's no better. He had a temp of 101 a couple of hours ago. If he's not better in the morning I'm calling up the Doc. Maybe he needs some breathing treatments or something.

The Swine came a calling 14 days ago. Blecht.

At work I'm having an issue of another sort. I am in charge of 20+ student employees. When they don't do their job I feel like it reflects on me. Tonight I'm quite unhappy. I just sent 2 buses full of students to hike the Menan Butte. Normally I have 2 of our more senior students lead each bus's field trip. I couldn't get enough to sign up, so I only had one student scheduled per bus. The busses leave 1 hour apart, so as one group gets done, the other starts. The rest of the time is driving to and from the Butte. Well.....I had a no-show student leader on the second bus. One student had to handle 2 busses normally handled by 4 students. I'm disappointed in them. I feel like kicking some butts. It's a good thing I have all night to calm down. By tomorrow I will just be ticked off. By tomorrow I don't think I'll draw blood.

Monday, October 5, 2009

An Apple a Day Doesn't Work

All Andy's eaten for about a week is an apple a day. According to folklore this is supposed to preclude any doctoral visits. Not so.

We ended up taking Andy to the doctor this afternoon. They poked, prodded, listened to, asked questions of, and gave him the royal once-over and stated that they believe he has the Swine Flu. It's just what we believe he has. They had to draw blood for a confirmation. Andy said, "good luck with that". Doc asked him if he was afraid of needles and Andy said, "nope, I just don't have any veins". I think the doctor thought he was exaggerating. After all Andy is a huge 6'3" 230 pound guy. Usually guy's his size have veins that virtually pop out. 30 minutes, 4 tourniquets, 2 warm wet cloth wraps, and 3 needle sticks later they believed. The Doc and nurse both said he was built for self preservation. If a bear attacked he probably wouldn't bleed much. He veins would just dive for cover under his bones and cower there until it was safe to come out. But the Doc did perservere and got a blood sample. We'll find out tomorrow whether or not he has a confirmed case of the Swine.

While doing the body check the Doc noticed he had one lung that was not sounding too good. He sent us for x-rays. Before we got home we got a phone call telling us the x-rays showed pneumonia. Now he's on antibiotics for that. Poor Andy. He's not liking the Swine.

He hates the Swine,
It ain't so fine,
Can't work his job,
Feels like a slob,
When will it end,
When will he mend?

Sorry. I got carried away........

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Snippets

How long can the flu last? I keep thinking he's over it, but no dice. I guess he needs to build back up his strength. He hasn't had anything but apples for days. Don't ask me why he just wanted apples. He said it was the only thing that appealed to him. I did manage to entice him to eat about 2 ounces of steak tonight. He also had a heaping bowl of jello.

Well, that's not quite accurate. He heaped his bowl with jello, and then ate about half of it. I think his eyes were bigger than his tummy. And this is the kid I could never fill up.

It was my kind of day today. Rainy! I went for a walk in it. It was invigorating. Then I came back to a stifling hot house. Joni got at the thermometer again. I swear that girl needs to move to Arizona. Or the equator.

I enjoyed conference. The last two days were full of peace and comfort. I'm glad I could listen to most of it. I finished a necklace I started making yesterday. It's pretty good I think. Joni liked it and she's my fashion consultant, so I guess I did okay. Maybe I'll even post a picture of it. Maybe.

I decided to tackle my drawing again and turn it into an illustration. I scanned it and brought it into Photoshop. Wow! I really forgot how to use Photoshop. I worked on it for an hour, cleaning up the lines and designing it a bit better. Then I printed it out. My big plan was to transfer the pattern to a piece of Bristol paper and ink it. Then I was going to watercolor it. Now that it's on the paper and inked I almost think I might put it back in Photoshop and paint it in there. Who knows, maybe I'll do both. I'm just plugging away at my art, trying to get my groove back. I guess it will get easier, but right now I feel like I'm stuck in mud, straining at each step as I pull my galoshed boot from the sucking mud. I can't wait to get back on the little forest path that winds around in effortless and interesting ways.

Friday, October 2, 2009

It had to be Swine

I found out how they keep the Swine Flue numbers so low for this area.
They don't test anyone to see if they have it!

Andy has been sick for over a week. I've never seen anyone so sick for so long. He really got bad last Friday and Saturday. On Sunday morning we decided we'd better take him up to the hospital. Mike called first and was told, "we wouldn't do anything for him that you can't do at home, and we'd just cost a lot more money".

So we kept him home.

When he first got sick I asked him how he felt.
"I'm dizzy everytime I stand up, I can't quit sweating, I ache all over, my stomach hurts, and it feels like I have tobacco in my throat."
Huh? I said, "I didn't know you knew what having tobacco in your throat feels like."
and he said, "I do now!"

He's had a high fever and a hard time breathing all week. He's sweated buckets. One night he lost 7 pounds. All the blankets sheets, and pillows he's used have been washed and rewashed. Every time I touch something I think, "Andy probably touched/breathed on/coughed on this" and I go wash my hands. My hands feel like dry sandpaper. The house smells like Lysol. I've got 4 cans that I continue to use in copious amounts everytime I think Andy has probably touched/breathed on/coughed on anything. I'm not known for my stellar immune system, but so far I haven't caught anything (knock on wood).

He's looking a lot better this afternoon. I'm glad. I just hope his fever doesn't spike again tonight. Just one morning I would like to wake up and not see a pile of sweat-soaked blankets and Andy-sized clothes strewn all over the bathroom.

Now if you'll excuse me I'm going to go wash my hands and spray down the keyboard.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Just Start

I was in a group of people. We were waiting. I had a pencil and a pad of paper with me. I looked around. There were some very interesting faces. They hardly moved as we waited. I started to draw. It felt pretty good. It's been a long time since I've drawn anything. I was quite startled to realize that what I was drawing was really good! I thought to myself, "why haven't I been drawing for so long? I'm pretty dang good at it!" The faces were captured on my pad, one after another.

The waiting ended. I hurriedly put away my pad and pencil and stood up.

and then I woke up.

I think it was a sign. I need to start drawing again, whether I feel like it or not.

So tonight, after cleaning up another vomit mess and feeling drained that after a week my son was still sick, I went in the studio.

I got out my pad, and my pencil, and I started to draw.

and I thought to myself, "why haven't I been drawing for so long? I'm pretty dang bad at it!..........but I'll get better."

And you know what? It felt pretty dang good.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Fear not, I am with thee

When little Jace was diagnosed with Leukemia last week, his world turned upside down.
And so did his parent's.

Things are never the same after a diagnosis of cancer. When in the thick of the illness you lose touch with the life you led before. Things that used to loom so important barely even register in your conscious mind.

Sports. (Why all the fuss? Did I really care that much? What was I thinking?)
Success. (Don't care about the promotion. Don't care about overtime. Just don't drop me from insurance.)
Popular culture (What new movie? What new book? Who cares what the latest style is as long as my body is covered so I can get to the hospital.)

I remember going to the store for the first time after learning of my Dad's cancer. I felt like everyone was so blind. Don't they all know of the change which has occured? Can't they see it on my face? Can't they see my pain?

And later, when all the treatments had stopped, and my Dad was within days of dying. I couldn't help it. When a store clerk or casual acquainences would ask if I was having a good day I would tell them.
No.
I'm not.

And I would think,
My Dad will most likely be dead by next week.
Thanks for asking.

There's something about learning of another's cancer diagnosis that brings all this back to the forefront. And makes it seem like it's happening all over again.

Even though my Dad was old, and the old are expected to die
It's still hard.

Jace is so young,
and so the pain is compounded.
He's been in my thoughts a lot since I heard.
And so have his parents.

And whenever I think of them, I think of these words:

Fear not, I am with thee; O be not dismayed!
For I am thy God, and will still give thee aid;
I'll strengthen thee, help thee, and cause thee to stand,
Upheld by my righteous, omnipotent hand.


It speaks peace to my soul. I hope it will speak also to them.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Pics from the Coast

He's so cute!



Mike, sucking in for the pic.









If you look really hard you can see people down in the water.







Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Friday:
Drive to Newport Beach, Oregon.

Saturday:
Play, including scouting out the area for future possible retirement location possibilities.
Stay the night at Agate Beach, Oregon

Sunday:
Play, including going to the Dahlia festival and Richardson Rock Ranch.

Monday:
Drive home.

Can't wait.

Can't wait.

Can't

wait.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

The Hike

Upon finding out that Lagoon was closed on Friday........

Joni: (texting Lisa) "what should we do? we could hike Tablerock."
Joni: (immediately upon sending text, thinking) "please say no, please say no..."
Lisa: (upon reading Joni's text, thinking) "how do I get out of this, I don't want to go, its so hard, and hot.."
Lisa: (texting Joni) "sure! Let's do it."
Joni: (reading text from Lisa, thinking) "crap!"

Joni, Abby, Andy, and Lisa and Tyler go hike Tablerock on Friday.
Joni and Andy only got about 3 hours sleep the night before.
Joni kept reminding Andy to prepare, get food ready, Etc.
Abby didn't really want to go. Didn't feel good that day, wanted to go shopping instead. She decided to buck up and go anyway.
I asked Joni to make sure Andy wears shorts and eats breakfast before they leave.

Lisa and Tyler pick them up at 7 am.

Tablerock is a very strenuous hike. My family once took my brother-in-law on it. He is an extremely experienced hiker. Currently he is in Iceland hiking. He couldn't believe how hard it was, and how unprepared he thought we were. He said most experienced hikers would consider it a two-day hike. He insisted they all eat cookies and sugar to avoid altitude sickness. Not only is it an extremely long hike, but it is, in some parts, almost straight up, or straight down depending on which way you're going.

Friday morning arrives.

Andy had 2 pops for breakfast, filled 2 ziploc bags with fish crackers, and pronounced himself ready. He did wear shorts without any prodding from Joni, and was quite offended that I thought she would have to tell him. As he said, "you must not think I have any common sense."

It took them 5 hours.
Just to get to the top.
Andy, being a bit short in the common sense department, has to beg water off of everyone. He didn't bring any. He is sweating buckets. He tries to take shortcuts and instead of doing the switchbacks goes straight up the mountain. I'm told that it's a good thing I didn't see him do it. They all thought we'd have a funeral to plan before Andy got off the mountain.

Joni, being short on sleep, experienced extreme vertigo. She had to look straight at her feet only, crept along, hugging the mountain at times and refused to move. She started to wonder how freaked out she would have to get before they called a helicopter to come and pluck her off the top. When the breeze would gust she felt like the entire valley was swelling up and down, just like the waves of the ocean.
She would most likely still be up there if Tyler hadn't given her his walking stick and helped her along.

Abby was probably one of the smartest people in the group. She went on most of the hike, but then decided she couldn't do the last most difficult part. She stayed back and rested and waited for them to ascend and descend. She felt very badly that she didn't do the whole thing. I'm thinking Abby was one of the few who actually used a little bit of intelligence that day.

The very tired, very sore, hiking group got home about 13 hours after starting.

Walking looked painful.
Toenails may come off.
Sunburns hurt.
Blisters and rashes ached.
Joni's foot had a blister so large it looked like she had a sixth toe.


They all looked like they had so much fun.
I'm really sorry I didn't go with them......NOT!

Pictures from Lisa and Tyler, probably the only 2 who really enjoyed the day.



Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Mama's Wish List

It's not too early to start putting out my Christmas List, is it?
This amazing little wagon thing would really save on my back and my knees while gardening. I would sure love one. hint hint

A couple of my friends have been doing this awesome workout that they say is FUN! I'd like to try it.
Every new child that comes is so unique. It is a grand adventure to discover just who this little person is that came to bless your lives. Some babies just seem so easy. Their little faces are like open books, you can almost hear every little thought and emotion. They hardly ever cry and are "good natured".

Some babies are more mysterious.

My brother was one of these. You didn't really know what he looked like until he was about a year old due to the fact that his mouth was always wide open in "screaming and crying" mode. That auspicious beginning did not in any way foretell a life of moodiness and sullen behaviour though. In fact I would daresay that he is one of the most fascinating funny people I have ever met, (in a weird quirky way!)

My youngest daughter Abby was my little mystery. She cried almost constantly for 6 months, earning her the not very nice nickname "Crabby Abby". Now she is anything but. She is sweet, tender, thoughtfull, and probably the most calm of all my children. I'll admit it was very hard when she was in her crying phase.

And now my youngest 6-month old grandson seems to be following in he great-uncle and aunt's footsteps. He is a very tender little guy. He needs a peaceful calm atmosphere, startles easily, and cries a good deal of the time. As a grandmother I can see how wearing it is on his parents. I know they are doing a good job and nurturing and caring for him very well. I just hope they realize it won't last forever. And that if they will take the time and care to discover the wonderful little personality that is behind the wails it will be well worth it. He is such a precious little gift and I'm so glad he came to our family.

Monday, August 10, 2009

I had big plans for this past weekend. There aren't too many summer weekends left. Our family was going to take a float trip down the river. I was going to babysit my 2 grandbabies while everyone else went. I wanted to set up tents in the back yard, have a camp fire, lots of good bonding time and fun.

It didn't turn out that way. Not at all.
No float trip - too cold
Alternate activity at the gym was a bust.
Andy and I set up the tents in gale force winds, determined to get them up.
Nobody (except one 2-year-old) set foot in them, but I did get a rip in one, courtesy of the wind.
No campfire. But that wasn't due to the wind. Saturday was actually pretty good in the weather department.

It wasn't the best weekend. Not at all.

The one bright spot was that I got to spend a bit of time with the babies. I love those guys so much. I get to see them on Wednesday also, while their mamma plays in the concert at the tabernacle.

I'm not making plans anymore. Everytime I do they fall apart. I need to just fly by the seat of my pants".

It reminds me of the weekend my parent's and siblings decided to have a family reunion. I'd just heard about another family reunion and all the fun activities they had. I decided to take one of those activities to mine. I showed up with all the equipment, visited for a while and then tried to get someone to come do the activity. Everyone just ignored me. I announced a few times that I had this awesome activity for anyone interested. No one was.

This last weekend felt a lot like that.

*sigh*

Friday, August 7, 2009

"It does not do to dwell on dreams and forget to live."
- J.K. Rowling

I was letting so much of living pass me by while immersed in blogs and the world wide web.

That is one reason I haven't had too much to say lately. And one reason I haven't visited my blogging friends more. I'm sorry. I need to be doing more things in the actual world, not the virtual one.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Yesterday

Yesterday I:
~worked 6 hours at my job including making 2 illustrations for my boss to use during his devotional speech next Tuesday.
~picked strawberries
~weeded a flower bed
~power-walked for 30 minutes while watching lightening pop around my head
~made 2 batches of freezer jam
~blanched and froze a quart of peas from my garden
~read 6 chapters in my book
~watched half a movie
~crochet half of a hot pad
~made a loaf of homemade bread
~and worked on organizing my food storage room

No wonder I can't get into the mood to do much art. I don't have the time!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Either Pay Through the Nose or Gum it to Death

I don't go to dentists. I grew up in the era of horrible deadenings, slow drills, smoke rising from the depths of my oral cavity, and PAIN.

I've been very blessed with hard teeth. Thank you Mom and Dad. Genetics can be a good thing. (or a bad thing, see previous post)

In the last 30 years I have been to the dentist 6 times, so you know I was concerned when I called and made the appointment for yesterday.

The good news is that my teeth look surprisingly healthy.

The bad news is that every one of my silver fillings has to be replaced due to decay underneath. Thankfully I only have 7 of them. And I have to replace a crown and have one additional crown.

The dentist said that should set me up for the rest of my life.

And it's only going to cost an arm and a leg, a small price to pay for a flashing great smile.

Joni says just do it. No one takes you seriously after your teeth fall out.

How Depressing

I just finished reading a book.

On one hand it made me feel better because there is nothing more that I can do. I'm doing everything I can

On the other hand I felt terrible because there was nothing I could do about my sorry state of affairs. I'm hopeless.

The book?

Rethinking Thin by Gina Kolata

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Wisdom Words of OSC

"He lay down fully dressed on his bed, not meaning to fall asleep yet. He just needed to think. About what, he wasn't sure.

So instead he thought about nothing. About things in the room. About the athletic trophies in a box in the closet. How much of his life was that? The shelves of books - so much time reading. Neither of them amounted to anything. He ran. He lost or he won. No one remembered a week later. And the books he read - what did that amount to? University people were always so proud of being readers instead of television watchers, but what was the difference, really? It was a one-way transmission. I read, but it made no difference to the writer. He never knew. And when I'm dead, what will it matter the books I read? My memory is where the book ends up, just like the TV show, and when I'm dead, that memory is gone from the world.

Like running the hurdles. Work so hard, jump over every one, fast, high enough but no higher, because you can't afford to hang in the air. And then, when the race is over, you're dripping with sweat, either they beat you or you beat them...and then a couple of guys come out and move the hurdles out of the way. Turns out they were nothing. All that work to jump over them, but now they're gone."

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Thank You, NOT!

On their way home from church Abby and Andy saw a stray dog on the freeway. Being from a crazy-for-animals family they stopped and picked it up. It had a tag on it with a website address and a ID number.

They carted the dog home and put it in the garage. Oscar went CRAZY in the house. Abby got the number and Joni looked up the website. After calling the number listed on the site and giving the ID number they got an address. They Googled the address to find out where to return the wayward pup.

Meanwhile Abby had taken out a dish of dog food. No one will ever accuse the Mitchells of cruelty to animals.

As Joni was looking up the address Andy was saying that he should get the reward for picking up the dog. Abby laughed at him and said, "the dog probably was only missing for an hour. I doubt you'll get a reward."

With address in hand they packed the puppy back into the car and went to return him to his family.

They went up to the door, dog on leash, and rang the doorbell.

The door opened.....

A woman looked at them holding her poor lost puppy dog and said.......



"I'M GONNA KILL YOU!!!" (to the dog, not to Abby and Andy, thank heavens)

She took the dog and Abby and Andy returned home,

without even a thank you,

let alone a reward.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

I don’t mind getting out of bed in the morning.
But after that I don’t much want to do anything.

I don’t want to go to work.
At work I don’t want to work.

I don’t want to paint, or write, or talk, or walk.

I don’t feel well.

I don’t feel social.

Maybe a vacation would help.

Or Cymbalta.

Friday, July 3, 2009

June's Gifts



I had this ready on June 30th, but just wasn't in the mood to list my blessings. I probably should have done it anyway, to quit feeling sorry for myself. But instead I allowed myself a couple of days of self-pity. I'm ready to move on.

In June I was thankful:

~in Joni's last semester of school here, on the last basketball team she played on they finally won the championship. They went undefeated, all got along with each other, no big egos or showboats, and Won the big gold trophy. It was a good way to end her college sports career.

~that we have wild bunnies hopping around our front yard. A nice little bunny family consisting of 2 adults and 3 babies (so far). They are fun to watch.

~that we had a record rainfall for June. I loved the weather in June. The cooler, wet climate always makes me feel the best. I have not felt well for the last few days. It's been hot. Me and hot don't get along.

~that we just decided on the spur of the moment to take Oscar to the lake. We were only there about an hour, but it was fun anyway. We laughed ourselves silly watching him try to swim. Big fat little Lhaso Apso bodies are not made for swimming. His little legs would start paddling furiously in the air as Joni lowered him into the water. His body just kept sinking until just his nose was poking up. Then she would help him get into the shallow water where he stood, belly deep, and enjoyed getting cooled off. The downside to this little outing was that it got me in the mood to go camping. My whole family is so busy that they all say they want to go, but nobody seemed to be able to fit it in.

~for some fun memorable ditcher-times with my daughters.

~for David's family being able to come for a visit. Even though the airshow was a little overwhelming for Nathan it was still a fun time having them here. I love my grandbabies.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Ditcher Time on the Taco Bus

I have a fun tradition with my daughters. Every Tuesday at 2:00 we go to lunch together. We call this "Ditcher Time". The reason for the name is due to the fact that actually all four of us should be going to a meeting during that Tuesday 2:00 hour. We started this tradition about 3 years ago. It's great fun. Sometimes there are just 2 or 3 of us, but quite often we are all able to go. We take turns picking the lunch spot. We've eaten at Applebees, Wingers, Baijio, New York Burrito, Wendy's, Fong's, and a few other places. The problems begin when It's Joni's turn to choose. She would never pick a place. If we pressed her, she would tell us she wasn't hungry and was just going along for the ride.

Well, a couple of weeks ago she said that for the next Ditcher Time she wanted to eat at the Taco Bus. A new eating establishment appeared in town in the shape of a bus.




It has an awesome mural painted on the side.



She wanted to go try it out. I have to admit I was less than enthusiastic about climbing aboard this vehicle to have lunch, but that's part of Ditcher Time, going where-ever.

We pulled up to the bus yesterday at 2:00. As soon as we stopped the car we noticed about 5 guys all lined up at the bus windows staring at us. I felt a little weird, I was in a dress, after all, not exactly dressed for the casual dining a taco bus inspires. We made Joni get on the bus first, since it was her idea, and we all cowered along behind. Joni very bravely got on and said to the gawking guys, "So, how does this thing work?" The guys all pointed to a counter close to the back of the bus that separated the "dining area" from the "kitchen". We all marched back and placed our orders at the counter. Then we found our seats. The original bus seats had been removed and replaced with a long counter right beneath the windows. There was a long bench in front of the counters, so you sat on the bench facing the windows. Now we understood why all those guys seemed to be staring us down.

Since there was a row of bench/counters going down each side of the bus, it was a little cramped. When you finished ordering and tried to make your way back to the bench the other people behind you in line had to try to get out of your way.

As we were sitting on the benches we watched a lady pull up in her car, (now we were the ones gawking at her!), and climb the steps to enter the bus. She immediately started talking to us. "I hear this is a pretty good place to eat." There must be something about the intimacy of sharing a taco bus that breaks down social barriers that inhibit strangers from randomly conversing with each other.

The food was great! And very reasonably priced. And we had a great time. We just may make another trip back to
the taco bus

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Home Again, Home Again, Jiggidy Jig

All right, all right. I will tell the story of the bunnies. You can quit begging. There's only so much of that a person can stand.

I thought about naming this "True Confessions" but I thought I might get a bunch of hits looking for something a little wilder than a bunny tale. The confession will come later. First of all I'll tell you about the baby.

We have "wild" bunnies in our yard. They are loose and fend for themselves. For about 20 years they mostly stayed over in our next door neighbors yard, but for some reason about a month ago a couple of them moved into our front yard.

Last night Mike was mowing the lawn, his favorite past-time since all it involves is sitting and driving. Not too much manual labor involved. All of a sudden he started hollering and yelling. We were all in the house and couldn't understand a thing he was saying, but his tone of voice was very excited and urgent. Of course Oscar picked up on that and began to frantically run around the house barking and pawing at the doors. Finally I understood what Mike was yelling.

"Don't let Oscar out! Whatever you do, don't let Oscar out!!!"
I almost opened the door to ask Mike what he was yelling about, and Oscar surely would have escaped. It's a good thing I went to our big picture window and asked him through the screen instead.

Mike then told us there was a tiny little bunny under Andy's car. After a little while we saw it hop out onto the lawn, keeping close to it's mother. It was so tiny I thought it was just a little bunch of grass where the lawnmower had dropped some. The other rabbits are monster sized. They live the good life feasting on 5 acres of grass.

This morning I really wanted to see the baby up close. I walked around very quietly. I saw the hole which the adults had built a few weeks ago, but no luck with spotting the baby.



I told the girls that if they saw it while I was at work they were to get some pictures with my camera. Sure enough, as soon as I left a baby bunny came out and feasted. Abby got some good close shots of it. It was a different one than I had seen the night before. This one was brown. Last night's baby was grey with spots.



Tonight I thought it might come out again. I took a lawn chair, my camera, a bottle of water, and my sketchbook out to sit quietly and wait. There was one adult munching happily on the grass, not too concerned about the lady in the chair.



I spent some time sketching it as it moved around, changing positions and keeping a watchful eye out for any danger.



Mike saw me out there and brought Oscar out on a leash to keep me company. That was not exactly what I wanted as I knew the mother would never bring out her tiny baby with this excited canine lurking about. But it was still relaxing sitting out in the shade, sketching. I sketched some of Oscar, who never took his eyes off the big bunny 30 feet away.

I never did see the baby. I'm hopeful that I'll get a glimpse and some more pictures tomorrow.

Now for the confession.

The bunnies were originally ours. We got them for our kids for Easter,when they were little, about 20 years ago. The kids kept forgetting to lock the cages and the 2 bunnies kept escaping. I got so tired of catching the dang things and locking them back up that I just let them stay free. They moved to the neighbors back yard and thrived. We never told the neighbors where they came from. They are very protective of them and consider them almost like pets. I can't really see the need to tell them of our part in their origins.

So, I can't really complain when some of our pet's great-great-great-great.............. (well, you get the picture) grandkids, come back to their roots.

So Many Good Stories.....

What should I write about today.

~ About the tiny little bunny that's hopping and eating it's way through my flower garden, and how it's mamma is keeping a close watch for that killer cat that we affectionately call Burns?

~ About the lovely little luncheon I had today with my 3 lovely daughters on the lovely taco bus?

~ About the Indianapolis speedway in my front yard?

~ About Oscar's swimming foray?

~ About having to choose between hot air balloons, a fifer, a death ride or nothing, and nothing may be winning the vote?

Decisions, decisions. What's the vote? What should I write about?

Thursday, June 25, 2009

The Attack of the Potato Vines

We didn't quite get around to dumping the old potatoes from our food storage room this spring until things got a little out of control. Abby insisted I take a photo of the room before we hauled away the boxes.

Poor little things. They were just looking for the sun and soil.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

New York Times interviewed ME!

Yes, they sought me out and interviewed me yesterday. Can you guess why?

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Air Show

On Saturday we went to the air show at the small airport in town. Here are some photos of the day.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

A Morsel from My Art Readings

"Keeping oneself alive is not living."
-Theophile Gautier

Friday, June 12, 2009

Linda completed the quiz "Which Classic Hollywood Actress Are You?" with the result Katharine Hepburn.
You’re Katharine Hepburn! You are independent, intelligent, and extremely successful. You are one of a kind and loved for your unique beauty. Men are drawn to you because of your intensity and quickness of tongue. You have an unparalleled spirit and no woman can upstage a man quite like you. You take control of your future and will never let anyone define you. You will always be devoted to the love of your life, even it means facing scrutiny and ridicule. You really know who you are, and you will be remembered as one the most distinctive women of your time.
Classic Katharine Hepburn Movies: The Philadelphia Story, Woman of the Year, The African Queen.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Hearing A Silent Message

As I was driving into work this morning I found myself stuck behind 2 slow-moving vehicles. They were going 35 in a 50 mph zone. The first one was a farm truck pulling a trailer, the second one was a landscape truck full of trees and shrubs. It was a long stretch and I couldn't see anyone coming. Normally I wouldn't have thought twice about it and I'd have passed them both. For some reason,though, I just stayed back behind them, poking along at 35 miles per hour.

Suddenly up ahead a car came flying out of a residence's yard and came toward us. He didn't stop and check for traffic. He just flew out and sped down the road.

If I'd been in the middle of passing I would have hit him head on.

I love it when my guardian angel can actually get messages through my thick skull.

And I love it when I actually listen.

Can't Lose For Losing

12-15 years ago I was put on Advair. I never had asthmatic attacks, just that awful feeling of hearing gurgling when I breathed. Advair is expensive. I kept wondering if I really needed it.

Then I happened to read something that got me thinking about Advair's side effects. There was a big one.

Weight gain.

Sure the doctor's poo poo that idea. Say it's not a problem. But the more I searched on the internet, the more convinced I was that Advair was an evil sinister entity out to pump me up, and I don't mean with bulging muscles.

I quit taking my Advair. That was a week ago. At first I thought it would be okay. I was a little more short of breath, I couldn't walk as fast as I normally do (I usually almost race-walk) and sure I was so dead tired at the end of the day that I couldn't motivate myself to do anything.

That's not entirely true. I forced myself to take my nightly powerwalk and dragged my butt around the course, thinking the entire time that I should have brought my cell phone so I could have someone come and pick me up.

And I didn't lose a pound.

I gave up last night and inhaled a deep breath of Advair.

It was so invigorating to take a deep cleansing breath this morning. No tightness.
No fatigue.

I may not lose any weight, but at least I won't sleep through life.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

You Know Who You Are......

Just because you didn't want to deal with the last two kittens from the litter.
Just because you were cruel and heartless.
Just because you didn't think of any consequence passed the moment when you tossed those babies from your moving car.
Just because of all that I spent the next 18 hours dealing with your mess.
My eyes aren't swollen from crying anymore.
Not that you care.
Just because you're you.

Monday, June 1, 2009

May's Gifts



I am thankful for:
~That Abby's not a teenager anymore. Whew! What a hard time having a teenage daughter. I'm so glad I lived through it. (see comments below) (Of course I didn't forget you Abby, I wanted to see if anyone else caught it. Way to go Lisa. You win the prize.)
~Andy being ordained an Elder. He's a good young man and I'm proud that he's made such good choices so far.
~That Joni, Mike and I took a little road trip and saw some cool interesting things.
~I'm thankful that Joni was accepted into law school, and even though she made the decision to pursue an advanced nursing degree instead of law, it is very awesome that she had both avenues open to her.
~That mom's cataract surger was a success and she regained the sight in her eye. She was so relieved and happy to be able to get back to her favorite activity.
~That I was released from being the primary chorister. I had fun doing it, but was starting to feel drained and stressed. Now I look forward to new things.
~That Andy graduated from high school with honors. Like I said before, he's a good kid.
~That I was able to watch Andy golf in a tournament. Joni, Abby and I all followed him around 18 holes of golf and had a great day.
~That Grandma Mitchell was able to come for Andy's graduation. We were able to celebrate her 79th birthday while she was here.
~ That we had a fun night roasting marshmallows over a fire in our back yard. There's just something about gathering around a campfire with your family that builds some good lasting memories.

I can't wait to see what June will bring.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Snakes

There are a few snakes around here. The other day on my walk I almost stepped on one that was crossing the road. Last fall I found 2 of them in my garage. It really concerned me as I knew they were heading for a winter nest and I sure didn't want that to be in my garage, house, foundation, or anywhere close to me. I knew some people years ago that had a snake infestation in their house. I thought it was a fluke and not very common, but then I read in the local paper about 2 other houses with the same problem. Then a couple of years ago my neice and her family moved into an old farm house. They also are besot with snakes. She finds them everywhere. She could pull open a drawer to get some silverware and there would be a snake.

I really don't like snakes. They scare me everytime I see one, and it doesn't matter their size or "harmless" ness.

So you can imagine my level of anxiety when I watched as a large lime green colored snake slithered its way toward my front porch. I watched helplessly as it disappeared underneath it. As I was standing there wondering what to do I noticed the grass movement. There was another snake coming. This one was a lot smaller, and brown, but it too slid its elongated body under my front steps. I was starting to panic when I saw 2 or 3 more coming. I ran in the house to warn everyone to stay away from the front porch until we figured out what to do. One of my daughters immediately left the room. In no time flat she was back.......with the largest rattler I had ever seen. She deftly held it, and started taunting one of the other kids with it. I was scared to death and screamed at her to take it outside. She confidently kept holding the snake. I was screaming at her trying to make her see reason and take the snake out, but she continued on.

And then I woke up.

I hate dreams like that. But I'm sure glad it was one. I think there's a message there for me. I'm pretty sure I know what it is. That daughter has a monumental decision to make today. She can't listen to me. She needs to make up her own mind.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

I Don't Know Whether She's Happy or Embarrassed

My daughter's neighbor has a long haired cat.
It gets mighty hot here in the summer. After all, we are in a desert.
The neighbor is trying to keep her poor kitty cool, so she gave her a hair cut,
a lion cut.









Sunday, May 24, 2009

Graduation and other family pictures

Andy graduated from high school on Thursday. He surprised us all when he was given the honors cords. We're pretty proud of him.






David and Emily stayed with us for a couple of days before they went home. Nathan was fascinated with the horses in our back yard and kept wanting to go back to see them. Whenever we took him back there, though, he leaned as far away as he could. I think they were a little more intimidating than he thought they would be.


We gathered in Lisa and Tyler's back yard to celebrate Mike's mother's birthday. We took a group picture before the cake and ice cream.








David and Andy showing a little brotherly love....