Friday, November 23, 2012

Thanksgiving - Mitchell Style


 Pre-Meal Activity:

 Nathan - Puzzle doing
 Emily and David - Food preparing
 Zach - finger pointing
 Tyler - book reading
 Lisa and Zach - supervising
 Oscar - turkey begging
Table - plate and pop setting
 Plate - fancy dish making
 Abby - camera smiling
 Burns - Allergy banning

Dinner activities:

 Nathan - olive balancing
 All the peoples - food passing
 David - camera smiling
Andy - camera dodging
 All the peoples - face stuffing
 and more face stuffing.

After dinner activities:

 Game playing
 Pig bombing
and hat wearing.

Happy Thanksgiving!!!

Sunday, October 21, 2012


I must have been exhausted!

This morning I looked at a little sign and thought I saw my name.  I told my mom that I didn't know my name was on that sign and she said it wasn't.  I looked again and I couldn't find my name anywhere.  I tried tilting it every which way, to get an angle where I could see my name again.  Every time I tilted the sign I saw different words.  I thought that was really odd and put the sign down and just sat there puzzled.  Then it hit me.  I was dreaming!

I woke up and started getting out of bed.  I saw something move across the floor and little kitty pounced after it.  I thought, "oh great, a mouse!"  Only when I really opened my bleary eyes I could see that it wasn't a mouse, but a spider.  I got a stick and whacked it.  Then I saw another spider over in the other corner.  I whacked that and then I saw that I must have hit a spider egg sack because there were hundreds of tiny spiders all pouring out.  I thought I'd better hurry and get the vacuum cleaner to suck them all up before they disappeared under everything. I'm not afraid of spiders, so I didn't mind.  I started vacuuming and vacuuming.  I kept thinking I got them all, but then I'd see more.   I couldn't figure out where all the spiders were coming from, and then I realized I was still dreaming.

I woke up and got out of bed and walked out into the living room.  Mike was out there and he showed me some improvements he had made to the house.  There was an added kitchen on the back of our kitchen that was just for catering.  I was puzzled about why we needed another kitchen because I didn't want to do any catering. Then I saw that this kitchen was set up for my friend's catering business.  Her name was even engravened on the stop top.  I, of course, realized I was still dreaming and tried to get up. 

It was like I was stuck in a dream warp.  I would see another scene that didn't make any sense, realize I was dreaming and then try to wake up only to immediately find myself in another dream scene.  I finally was able to open my eyes and stumble out of bed.  I've been up for an hour and I'm just now starting to feel awake.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Pinterest - Tool or Obsession

I'll admit it.  I Pinterest.

When I saw all those other people raving about Pinterest and excitedly talking about all the great things that were no where else to be found I felt like a kid who hadn't been invited to the neighborhood birthday party. Add to that illusion by the fact that you had to be invited to join! I asked to be invited and gingerly held my breath, hoping I would make the grade and become one with that elite group, known as Pinteresters.
It was about 60 grueling minutes later that I got an e-mail congratulating me on the fact that I had passed the bar.  I could now Pinterest at my leisure.

At first it was a few quick peaks.  I didn't understand the format.  Why were there repin buttons and like buttons?  What is that deal about "boards"?  So I chalked it up to another one of those fads that I didn't see myself getting caught up in. And I quit trying.

But I kept seeing all these people I knew, intelligent creative people, who kept posting links to fabulous finds they discovered using Pinterest.  Finally I caved, and went knocking back on the Pinterest door.

And that's when I started to figure things out.

I am in charge of organizing my own pins. 
I create Boards (like bulletin boards) to pin my ideas onto.

My Hints and Helps for Pinterest Happiness and Success:
  • If I don't want to just keep recycling all the stuff that all my relatives and close personal friends have been repinning from each other over and over until all of us have the same exact pins on all of our same exact boards, THEN I go to the top where it says "Categories" and choose a new subject that I want to explore.  THEN I see a whole lot of unrelated random people's pins that I can then clam for my own and pin onto my own wall and I can feel unique for about a half a day which is about how long it will take for all my relatives and close personal friends to see my new item and repin it onto their own walls.
  • There are always those items that I REALLY want to try, but I'd rather there not be that exact same item in every house on my block, so instead of repinning, I save that website to Favorites.  That's right.  Sometimes I don't share.  I'm selfish like that.
  • Sometimes I actually DO the stuff I find on Pinterest!!!! 
  • Just because someone takes a beautiful wood cabinet and sands it down and paints it with pastel swirlies and polka dots and calls for comments on how much better it looks, I do not usually agree. It's okay to not think everything on there is "to die for".
  • Don't judge what's going on in people's lives but what they're pinning.  I am currently pinning baby ideas, but I assure you, I am not pregnant.
  • Before I repin, I will click on the link that shows where the pin came from.  Sometimes I see a repin from a repin from a repin before I actually get to the place that originated the whole idea.  Then I will use my OWN Pin It link to mark the page. I know later people will thank me.
  • Dont try to scroll back up to the top.  Your computer will freeze.  Hit that "Scroll to top" button instead.
  • Don't freak out when you click on something to have a closer look and then go back to the main page and everything looks different.  Pinterest seems to randomly change the order of things you see so that everyone gets an equal chance to be on the top of the list, I guess.
  • Don't judge the quality of the pin by the repinner's apparent lack of grammar. No one uses the pronoun "I" in Pinterest.  You are immediately branded a newby if you say "I love this" instead of "Love this". Check out the pin anyway.  You can enjoy something cute without having to talk about it.

And that, my friends, is how I use Pinterest.

Friday, July 27, 2012

MRI's - Not For The Faint of Heart (actually fainting might be a good thing!)

I'd been having some health issues that the doctor thought should be checked out. He ordered a head and neck MRI. I thought, "not a big deal". The procedure was scheduled for the next morning at 9:00.

I really wasn't that nervous about having it.  I had done my homework and googled and YouTubed MRI's until I felt fairly confident I knew what was going to take place.

YouTube videos, can I just say, are either brutally honest or propoganda.  I think the MRI videos were all propoganda.

.....fade in...... you see a smiling child wearing scrubs.  She is sitting on a bed next to a large circular tube.  The tube looks like a giant life preserver.  I swear I could see the attached rope through the rings on the side. A technician hands the child a pair of headphones and she laughingly puts them on.

(voiceover) "You will be asked to remove all metal, including jewelry, clothes with rivets, and glasses. Your technician will give you a pair of headphones and ask you what kind of music you would like to listen to."

The child then giddily lays back on the table and blissfully closes her eyes as if to take a nap.

That's where the video usually ends.

and that's not exactly what my experience was.

I arrived at a couple of minutes before 9 and was asked to fill out a questionaire that was at least 3 type-written pages long.  They wanted to make DARN sure I didn't have any metal in my body.
     "do you have any body piercings (hidden or visible)?
     "do you have a knee or hip replacement?"
     "do you listen to heavy metal music?"
Just kidding on that last one, but I'll bet they would have refused me the MRI if I'd asked for heavy metal to be piped through the headphones.
The last question caused me pause for a minute.
     "Are you claustrophobic?"
I am.  I felt a bit panicky the last time I went to the dentist and he put the little gas tent thing over my nose.  I had to have it removed and for-go the gas.  I answered yes and wondered what accomodations they would make for this.

Next a very pleasant nurse took me back and gave me some scrubs to put on.

Okay!  This is going just like the YouTube video.  I can do this.

After donning the scrubs, (and may I say they were so comfortable that I may get several pair and wear them daily), I was escorted into a large open room.  In the center was a narrow table that was next to the oversized life-preserver tube machine-thing!  I was so relieved. Why did they ask me if I was claustrophobic?  Phewy, this was nothing. 

The nurse had me lay on the table which was VERY narrow. If I relaxed my arms they hung downward and my hands rested on the floor and I felt like a monkey. Now I know why they used a child in the video!  It made the table look normal sized, comparatively.  Miss Nurse took my blood sample which she said had to be tested for kidney function before they injected the contrasting dye into my arm.  She said they would run the first part of the MRI while the blood was being tested because they didn't inject the dye until close to the end.

Next a male technician came into the room and said, "okay, are you ready?" I replied that I was.  He then said, "well, let's go."  I said "okay, let's go".  He just stood there above me as my monkey hands rested on the floor, and looked at me like I was a bit mentally deficient or something.  Again he said, "let's go" and I started to cotton-on to the fact that he wanted me to sit up, which I did.  He turned and started to walk out of the room.  Then I deduced that he wanted me to follow him, which I did.  We left that nice cheery big open room with the life preserver and entered a darkened noisy one. This thing had a humongous, noisy, long, large, intimidating-looking contraption in it, which took up most of the room. Right in front of it was another narrow bed, which he indicated that I should lay upon.  He handed me a pair of headphones and asked me what kind of music I wanted to listed to. I was tempted to say "heavy metal" just to see his reaction, but ended up saying "classical". I put the "phones" on my ears and heard, what I swear was, "Brahams Lullaby".  It was so soft and sweet.  Maybe I would drift off to sleep like that cherubic child in the YouTube video. The tech had me stretch my head up  as I lay down so that the headphones would fit into a slot in the head brace.  Then he lowered a football mask-like grid thing over my face. I started to think that now would be a good time to go to the happy place in my head and closed my eyes. He placed a blanket over me, told me not to move or cough and then I felt the table move into the machine.

I thought to myself, "this is stupid.  I'm paying big bucks for this experience.  I should really EXPERIENCE it."  So I opened my eyes to see what was going on. 

My eyes were only open for about .005 of a second.  Just long enough for me to KNOW that if I kept them open any longer than that I would have a major freakout.

About an inch from the face mask was "the machine".  It wasn't like being in a box, either.  I think coffins are roomier. at least they are rectangles and you have those corners for a bit of "breathing space".  This was more like a mummy coffin. or maybe a giant piece of non flexible or breakable rigatoni, or maybe a roach motel ("they check in, but they can't check out").  All I knew was that I had no room.  If I relaxed my arms they touched both sides of "the machine". 

Thankfully there was a steady stream of air being pumped in.  I think that's the only thing that saved me.  I lay there with my eyes closed, feeling the breeze on my face and imagined laying in an open field with daisies swaying gently around me.

I tried really really hard to hold onto that image, but it was quite hard with "the machine" doing it's thing.  MRI's are not timid things.  They let you know they are in charge and can do with you what they will.  Their instruments of torture include jack-hammers, wood-peckers, sirens, and earthquakes.  It's kind of hard to imagine the gentle meadow when you are being shaken up and hammered. That lovely classical music is a memory that surfaces ever so briefly in between the barrages that "the machine" will inflict upon you.

And it will inflict those things on you over and over and over.

A lot of things went through my mind. 
     How badly do I need to freak out before they will let me out of here.
     If I freak out they will make me do this whole thing over again.
     My FILLINGS!  I didn't tell them I had metal fillings!!!
     My nose itches but if I try to scratch it I will realize how confined I am and have a major freakout.
     I HAVE TO COUGH!!!  Why did he tell me I can't cough!  (I actually snuck a few coughs in hoping it wouldn't screw up the whole test.)
     My mouth feels like cotton.  I really need to swallow.  Will swallowing mess up the whole test?
     Get me out of here!  No, I can do this.  Breath, big breaths, not so fast, don't hyperventilate.
And in between every series of bangings and thumpings I would hear soft little wafts of Brahams.  The contrast almost made me laugh, but if I laughed I would have jiggled and that would have messed up the test and I would have had to do it all over again.
     so I just thought about smiling instead.

After forever I felt myself being moved out of the tube.  It was time to inject the dye.  I really didn't think I could stand going back into the tube again.  I asked him how much longer.  He said 2 series of 7 minutes each, so I would be done in 15 minutes. And then he once again fed me into the mouth of "the machine".  It was at this point when I realized I really had to go to the bathroom.
I started counting slowly to 60.
I held up my thumb to mark one minute.
I started again.  1...2...3...4  (whew, I really gotta go) 5....6....
and again,
1.....2.....3.....(what's the matter girl, can't you hold your liquid?) 4....5.....  Three fingers/minutes up.
and again.

Well, you get the picture.  I counted every second of every one of those 15 minutes, interjecting anti-wetting-myself pep-talks at regular intervals.

The test ended at my 14 minute and 45 second count.  I was so eternally grateful it ended prior to, not post the 15 minute mark.

I think I know why they asked if I was claustrophobic.  They have a pool going that predicts when the big freakout will happen.  The closest time takes the pot.  I showed them.  No freakout.  They should have given the kitty to me.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Cemetery AND Chicken Tales

Yesterday the weather was perfect for a bit of cemetery work.  Cloudy and rainy.  Not rain, really, just misty.  Ideal.

I went to work on the Lewisville Cemetery, thinking I might be able to finish it up.  No such luck.  I don't know if it was because of the cloudy overcast sky or my well-used camera, but the GPS wasn't working very well and the app kept freezing up.  I probably force-stopped it and restarted about 20 times.  Normally I get between 300-500 headstones photographed on a Sunday afternoon.  Yesterday I barely topped 100.

But I did find quite a gem among the headstones there in that quiet, out of the way, cemetery.
Here's a hint:

The headstone right next to this one was the gem.  It was the  marking for Caroline Harris, wife of Martin Harris who was one of the three witnesses to the Book of Mormon.  This was Martin's second wife, not the notorious Lucy, who demanded that Martin borrow the manuscript from Joseph Smith. 
Anyway, I guess Caroline really appreciates her privacy because my camera froze up numerous times and then I finally thought I got the photo, only to come home and discover that it was not saved.  I will have to sneak up on the old gal next time and take that photo before she knows what's happening.

Last night Mike was going to shut the door on the chicken run.  He called to me and asked me if I knew where the 2 white leghorns were.  In a moment of sassy annoyance I said, "yes, they're right here in my pocket."  He was outside with the hens and I was lying down on the bed inside the house, after all.  Of COURSE I didn't know where they were.  I wasn't worried though.  I knew they were probably just roosting somewhere.

After a few minutes I got up and went outside to hunt for them.  I walked through the back yard, around the house and was in the garage when I heard Mike call from the deck.  He had found them.

They were so high up that we used a rake and could barely pull down the branch under them to knock them out of the tree.

Silly chickens.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Trip Fun for Bruno

Mike went with his friend and colleague, Bruno, to Utah on Friday.  They each checked into their motel rooms and then went on about a 4-5 mile walk around Salt Lake City. When they retired for the night  they agreed to meet at 7:00 the following morning to get a start on the day.  Mike, an avid reader,  lay in bed and read his book until about 1:00 am. Then he took out his hearing aid and went to sleep.  All night long he kept waking up and glancing at the clock, not wanting to oversleep.

The next morning at 7:00 Bruno was awake and ready to go.  He looked out into the hall to see if Mike was there.  No Mike.

He tried calling him on his phone.  No answer.

He tried knocking on his door.  No answer.

Bruno was getting agitated.  Maybe Mike died in the middle of the night.  He knew about the sleep apnea.  This was not good.  How was he going to tell Linda that Mike died?

Bruno tracked down a member of housekeeping and talked them into opening Mike's door.  I'm sure it was with dread as they turned the knob and entered the room. The alarm was beeping, without any movement from Mike to turn it off.

Mike, blissfully sleeping away, was started by someone shaking him. "What, what, what?" He sputtered.

I don't know if Bruno was more annoyed that he was given such a fright, or relieved that he didn't have a deceased friend.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Too Much Chicken on the Brain????

Sunday morning I decide to go to a chicken conference.  I tell Mike about it and he says he'll come too.  I get my rooster, Crow, and we head off for the conference.  We arrive at a well kept old time farm-stead.  The buildings are utilitarian and large.  As we stand in line with a moderately large group of bib-coveralled farmers with weathered faces I am holding Crow in my arms.  I notice there are other roosters off to the side, in another building.  I take Crow over and drop him off, telling him to go play with the other roosters.  We then sign into the conference and attend some classes. 

I realize that we need to get going back home so that I won't be late for church.  I go to collect Crow from the rooster nursery.  One of the farmer's daughters seems to be in charge of this and goes off to find Crow.  She is dressed really nice!  Like she is on her way to college or something, and she's really beautiful. I am astonished at how tall she is.  She brings Crow out to me and then gives me a hug as she is sad to see me leaving early. I hug her legs. Her hips are at the level of my head.  I think to myself two quick thoughts.  "Poor girl, she'll probably never get married." and "Wow, all that good farm nutrition really does make you grow better."

The other farmers realize that we are leaving and all come over and give us warm hugs and wishes for safe travel and thanking us for coming. 

And then I wake up.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Home Sweet New Home

 I went along for the ride when David and his family went to check out Pinedale, Wyoming, where they will be moving in a bit over a month.  David did some paperwork with the district office and then we checked out the area a bit. Here is Nathan gazing at the fun that will soon be his!
 Pinedale has a great aquatics recreation center that features an indoor water park, climbing wall, raised suspended jogging track, lap swimming pool, exercise equipment, Etc.  I think this place will make the cold snowy winters much more tolerable.
 Then we drove over to check out the apartment they are moving into.  This is owned by the school district and rented at a subsidized rate to new employees.  That way they have a bit of breathing room in finding where they really want to settle.  It was a pretty nice 4-plex.  This is the shot of their front door.
 And a wider angle shot so you can see how it sets with the other three apartments. 
 I asked David if he was going to carry Emily across the threshold of their new home, but I guess he wasn't into that kind of nonsense cause he went in first leaving Emily to bring up the rear.
 The layout of this place was kind of similar to their apartment in Pocatello, only more square feet. Here you see part of the kitchen, down the hall towards the front door on the left and the family room on the right.  That white door goes right into the garage.  The brown door is kind of a large storage pantry room, and has a cool crawl space underneath for storage. The boys head upstairs to check out the rest.

 Nathan is trying to decide which bedroom he would rather have.  These windows face out the front.  That is a large hotel in the window view.  Out in the back, about the same distance away as the hotel is in the front, is the 9th hole of the golf course.
 I took this photo while standing in the family room.  You can see more of the kitchen and down the hall towards the front door.  There is a living room just inside the front door and a bathroom half way down the hall on the left. There are 3 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms, and a great walk-in closet in the master bedroom.  It's a great place to start out their lives there in Pinedale.
 We next did a couple of little jobs, like trying to set up their post office box (there is no home delivery of the mail, and no available post office boxes.  All mail will have to be addressed to the Mitchell's at General Delivery, Pinedale, Wyoming. Then we took a little trip over to the elementary school to let them know Nathan would be attending Kindergarten next year.

Once we got those jobs out of the way we went on a little sight-seeing escapade.  First to the big lake........
 They all hiked down to it and I stayed up top and took some photos.  It's a very nice large lake and has a marina on one end with cabins and a lodge.  We just kind of stopped beside the road and took a quick look around.

While they were down at the lake I took a few photos of some pretty wildflowers growing.  David thought these pictures were "lame".

 The family returns.

We loved the sign.
Welcome to Pinedale....
All the Civilization You Need!

 Before heading back to Idaho we stopped at a city park so the kids could play.

 Zach is showing some effects of a long day......
  A group of kids from a day care showed up about the same time we did.  Nathan really wanted to swing and sat on this bench for quite a while waiting for one of them to open up.  They never did.

There was an awesome little pond in this park.  It had a sign that said, "13 and under, limit 6 fish per day".  Cool!

It was fun to go over and see where my kids would be settling.  We'll all go over in July to help them get moved in.  I'm so excited to have them 11 hours closer to us!

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Cemetery Tales - Joy and Sorrow

I heard some extremely good and some extremely bad news this week.

The good news is........


What a great pairing.  Now when people go in and look for their ancestors they can also search for photos of the headstones.  This month Billion Graves had a goal for 1 million new records for the month of May.  We have all been encouraged and bribed (smile) to get out there and photograph, photograph, photograph.  The top 30 people who do photos or transcriptions will win fabulous prizes.  I think currently I am sitting at about number 15 with over 5000 uploads for May.  Not too shabby when you consider I took a trip to New Mexico in there.  If I can stay between number 11 and 20 I will win a Billion Graves plus account for a year and a t-shirt!  I would really like the plus account.  It will allow me to submit many of our family surnames and whenever anyone in the world takes a photo of the headstone and submit it, I would get a notification.  That would be sweet.  I already have a t-shirt from them that I don't wear.  I'm just not a t-shirt kind of gal, I guess.

Now for the very bad news.

A very good friend of ours who has been battling cancer has been sent home from the hospital to hospice care. He probably has a couple of weeks left. He teaches with Mike and he and his wife have been friends of ours for many many years.  What a talented man. He is funny, a magician, and artist, and has a fantastic singing voice.  I heard him sing "Oh My Father" at a funeral once and told him I wanted him to sing it at mine.  I guess that won't be happening.  I pray for his peaceful passing and for comfort and peace to his family.  Love you, Kyle and Julie.

Cemetery Tales - Joy and Sorrow

I have been trying to finish up photographing a cemetery that I started in March.  This place has a personality all it's own. 

Most cemeteries I do draw the curious.  Invariably I will have someone come up and talk to me about what I'm doing.  It's a rare cemetery that I photo that this doesn't happen.  The one I'm trying to complete is just such a place.  I've spent a few hours there over the last week, during the height of the Memorial Day grave-decorating ritual, and have seen hundreds of people dutifully cleaning off headstones, arranging flowers, and standing around with heads bowed silently contemplating.  And not one of these people has come up to me to ask what I'm doing.  Not even when I walk right past them or around them. Sure I can see them looking at me with curiosity, but they must have a strict code of privacy and respect everyone's right to do their own thing. That's one issue with this place that has been a bit different. 

Today I took a couple of photos that almost made me cry. There were pictures on 2 headstones, a young couple and their 1 and 3 year old daughters.  The dates told a story.  All three females died on the same day in January. Probably a car accident due to slick roads.  On the back of the headstones was a letter written from the lone family survivor, the husband and father.  It was very touching and made me choke up.  I hope he did okay in the 12 years since that happened.

The other thing I noticed was the abundance of VERY COOL NAMES!!!!  I kind of collect these cool names in case I ever want to write a book.  These would make very cool characters.
Names like:
  • Mahonri Moriancumr Jones
  • Curney Carlson
  • Trilba Lowder
  • Electa Oram
  • Claxton Foster
  • Darsel Morgan
  • Della Ouldhouse
  • Nephi Dansie
  • Emery Hubbard
  • Stillman Campbell
  • Parley Tall
But my favorite of all time has to be a guy whose first name was "Part"

Yes, his name was Part.  And his last name was "Ball".  That's right.  His name was Part Ball. and the best part was his wife.  She went by the moniker "Chestie".  I really think I want to meet these people after I pass over. 

I'll bet they're awesome.  You'd have to be to pull off the names Chestie and Part Ball.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Cemetery Tales - The Ones I Leave Behind

The best part about photographing cemeteries?   The history. 
     I love seeing the names, dates, family groupings, headstone designs through the ages, other people paying their respects to loved ones.

The worst part about it?  Passing by without taking a photo. 
     Sometimes the stone is just too worn out to read anything.  I hate not taking a photo.  I really really hate it. I feel like I'm letting the person down.  Like they weren't worth the effort.  Sometimes I take a photo anyway because I just hate all that guilt from NOT taking it.  But I don't really think anyone is going to be able to decipher it.  And usually they are half buried and I just don't have the energy to dig it out.  Then I feel like I'm being lazy.

Anyway, I passed by many of these kinds of headstones today.  Each time I would whisper a "sorry" and move on to the next.  What do you think?  Should I take them or not?

Sunday, May 13, 2012


On our way home from Albuquerque our little group stopped for the night in Monticello, Utah.  We arrived late, about 10:00 pm. The motel we stopped at was surprised that we required 4 rooms for the 4 of us.  He looked a little concerned and went to look at his available vacancies.  Finally he reluctantly came back with 4 keys. These were actual keys, it was not a new motel. I took one of the keys and went to my room.

As I opened the door, a musty, funky smell hit me in the face.  It was as if this room was not used very often.  I turned on the air conditioning full blast to try and blow some fresher air into the room.  I plugged in the mini fridge and was glad that it started to get cold. I placed my drink and yogurt inside.  Next I went in the bathroom and started a bath.  I was looking forward to relaxing in the hot water.  I had sore muscles from a few days of hiking through zoos, aquariums, parks, and museums.  I was not used to that much walking.

As I was soaking in the tub I was kind of annoyed at the overhead light in the bathroom.  It kept flickering on and off, on and off. I thought it must have a short in the wire and someone walking on the floor above must be jiggling the wires enough to disrupt the circuit. But no one was walking upstairs.  I could hear the tv upstairs clearly, the walls were thin. No walking.

After I got out and dressed for night, I climbed in bed and started to read my book.  I kept seeing flashes of shadow out of the corner of my eye, so I got out of bed and pinned the curtain shut with a needle I had.  No outside light was entering my room.  I got back in bed and again saw shadows.   I started to get a "feeling".  I wasn't scared.  I don't get scared easily, but it was an uneasiness.  I turned off the light and tried to go to sleep.  It was difficult to relax and fall asleep, even though I had taken a sleeping pill. Finally I drifted off and slept for about an hour.  My dreams were fitful and unsettling.  I can't remember what they were, but I remember feeling anxious in them. Then I remembered standing in a room and having an icy cold blast of air go through me, not like air going around my body in a wind, but right through me and I suddenly bolted awake as I exhaled frigid air from my mouth. I was wide awake when I felt the cold air come out of my mouth.

I had been humming and singing a particular hymn the day before, "Praise God from whom all blessings flow", and immediately started softly singing it again.  That was not unusual.  I often find myself singing hymns in the middle of the night when I wake up for various reasons.  The uneasy feeling went away and I went right back to sleep.

About 30 minutes passed when "something" woke me up with a start.  My eyes popped open.  I fully expected to see someone or something standing right above me. That's when I said a very quick prayer.  "Heavenly Father, please protect me and give me peace and help me get the sleep I need for tomorrow's drive."  That's all I said and then I fell asleep immediately.

I woke in the morning without any further interruptions. 

At no time was I really afraid.  I could tell something was trying to frighten me.  Fear is what gives power to darkness. I knew God's power was more powerful and that gave me peace. The dark side has the power to try to bother us, but we have full access to God's power to make them leave.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Cemetery Tales - Hints and Helps

I know there are so many people just dying to hear my hints and helps pertaining to cemeteries. (Sorry about the pun, NOT!)
Here they are in no particular order:
  • When you are blue, buy Grey!

When you find yourself in the market for a headstone go for gray.

(Notice that I spelled grey two different ways. It's because I think gray is right, but grey FEELS right.)

Back to headstone selection.....although burnished brown, rosy rose and slick black look awesome brand new, it doesn't take very long before hard water deposits build up a yucky scum. Unless you want to go out weekly and remove the buildup, or hire someone to do the job after you are laying under it, it's going to look bad. Think shower doors scum.

I've seen headstones that are 50-75 years old that look relatively new because you can't really see all the hard water deposits that have built up, whereas I've also seen black or any other color look pretty beat up after only a year or two.

  • If you live in a zone where your water is not so hard that you chip teeth taking a drink of it, then disregard the first help and hint.

Yes, aren't you lucky. Don't rub it in. If you DO want to rub it in you'll find me outside scrubbing the hard water deposits off my brown brick on the front of my house. (Why didn't I get grey?)

  • Don't plant a tree next to your beloved's headstone.

Although you may think it the ultimate homage to pay to your dearly departed, what you are actually doing is creating the perfect environment for little birdies to besmirch the headstone for decades to come. Birds are not discriminating poopers. They don't really care where it lands. If they are sitting in a tree that some kind soul planted, and they feel the slightest urge to "let it all go", they are not going to scooch over on their branch even a little to avoid hitting that rectangular stone directly beneath them.

.... and related to this help and hint,

  • If you stand under a tree looking at a headstone, don't look up.

You don't want to get it in the face if there happens to be a little birdie there who feels the slightest urge to "let it all go".

No, this has not happened to me, but it's only a matter of time.

  • Pay for granite.

I know, it's expensive. It's also hard and won't deteriorate. I've seen some lovely homemade headstones. The work gone into these labours (labors?)of love is tender. It makes me sad when I see one of these do-it-yourself jobs and can barely read the name or the date, even though it's less than 10 years old. Even the small metal plates that the funeral home puts on lasts longer than most of the wood or cement markers I've seen, and those lose letters quickly. Hold a bake or garage sale and get something that will last.

  • No Falsifying

I know you really wanted to have dad included in your family photo, but he died before the new baby was born. Whatever you do DON'T photoshop dad into the picture and put said picture on the headstone. Geneologist for ages to come will scratch their heads and doubt the dates of the new baby's birth. (yes, I've seen this)

  • Break Out the Big Boots

If you haunt cemeteries like I do (sorry for the pun, a little) and have wrecked the ligaments in your feet because of all that hiking over uneven ground, put on your combat boots before you do one more headstone. So what if you look like a zombie because of the way the boots make you have a lurching gait. Wait.......... um, well.... what better place for you to look like a zombie than in a cemetery! :) I promise that your feet will thank you later.

Friday, March 30, 2012


I had to sit in for one of the teachers all week and listen to and grade student presentations. The class was Natural Disasters, 3 sections worth. The students projects were on some of the natural disasters that we've had in the U.S. in the last 100 years or so, like Galvaston Hurricane, Peshtigo Fires, Tri-State Tornados, and Hurricane Katrina.

I listened to stats of death, destruction and mayhem. I saw video clips and heard human interest stories. It was quite sobering.

Today we talked in class about what is the very most important kind of preparation that anyone can do to prepare for these kinds of events. Some students suggested education, and although this is very important we decided that it really wasn't number 1.

You can be as educated as is humanly possible about how to protect yourself against disaster. You can have supplies stored up, know the safest places to go, and how to best protect yourself.

But that is no guarantee that you won't die if a flood, volcano, hurricane or tornado hits. The best kind of protection ultimately is spiritual protection. If the worst happens and you don't make it through the disaster, if you are spiritually prepared to meet God, then everything will be okay.

"If ye are prepared, ye shall not fear." D&C 38:30

Sunday, March 18, 2012


Other families probably don't do this, but the topic of conversation at our house is occasionally about cemeteries. This could be due to the fact that I spend a lot of time in them doing my hobby.

One particular conversation was about epitaphs. These are the little snippets that are insights into the life of the one interred. Little glimpses into what was important to them, what they were like, or what they were remembered for.

These can be humorous, like the one I read at the Rose Hill Cemetery that said,
"See, I Told You I Was Sick!",
"I'd Rather Be Fishing",

to solemn
"Here Lies A Good Man"

They are glimpses into what the deceased did for a living,
"A Woodman of the World"
"Teacher of All"

and to what kind of a person they were in life,
"Loved By All"
"Loving Mother, Wife, Grandmother"

Sometimes they are messages from the family to the departed,
"You Will Be Missed"
"I Love You More, ha ha, I Said It Last!"

One day I was talking with some of my kids about what I might want on my headstone after I pass. I considered something like, "I'd Rather Be Painting" or maybe, "At last I have time to Paint". We were being silly, and having a good time.

About this time Mike called me on the phone. I told him what we were doing and asked him what he wanted to have on his headstone.

Mike's big belief in life is to render service as much as is humanly possible. He is always looking for ways to help people out. When people thank him for the help he usually says,
"If I can't help you out during the week, then what's the use of going to church on Sunday?"

And so that's what he said he wants to have on his headstone.

We hung up the phone and I told the kids what dad said. We agreed that was way too long and were trying to figure out a way to shorten it. We came up with this,
"What's the Use Of Going to Church?"

Mike was not amused.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Ouch----Foot and Car

I took a little trip down to my podiatrist this morning.
The good news is my tendonitis is slowly starting to heal.
The bad news is that I have to wear the boot another 3 weeks and then go back down to be evaluated.

Then he gave me some MORE good news and bad news.
The good news was that he was going to do something to help it heal even faster.
The bad news was that it involved 2 painful shots.

The first shot was into the heel of my right foot. Let me just say..........
IT HURT!!!!!!
As he's pushing in the potent cortisone through the needle it felt kind of like someone was holding a hot curling iron to my bare flesh and then every second or two, while leaving the curling iron in place, stabbing that same spot with an exacto knife.
Then he said, "on the count of five it will all be over".
I thought, "FIVE!!!!!" I don't know if I can take it to the count of ONE.
I did jerk pretty good a couple of times.

When he finished he told me that was the worst one and then gave me a shot in the tendon on the side of my foot. Honestly, I didn't hardly even feel that one.

When I finished with the appointment I clomped out to the car and drove to work. It was just starting to snow. After yesterday's spring weather it was kind of depressing. It snowed all day. Hopefully tomorrow we'll be back to spring.

After work and class I went out to my car to go home. I wasn't feeling the best, my thumbs hurt a lot (arthritis) and my foot hurt (curling irons and exacto knives) and my hair was hanging in my face (wet snow), and I just wanted to do something to lift my spirits up. I'd been contemplating taking a bee-keeping class, (part of my being self-sufficient kick), and knew there was a class next Monday. So before I started my car to go home I pulled out the flyer and called the number to sign up for the class. This took about 10 minutes. After hanging up the phone I started my car and then looked behind me to back up. A car was sitting there looking like he was waiting for my parking spot. Parking on campus is notoriously bad and it's not uncommon for this to happen. I had no idea how long he'd been waiting there, and hurried a little more than I should have in backing out. Well, unbeknownst to me he was actually waiting for the car to back out that was directly behind me. We both backed out at the same time and, well, backed into each other! I pulled forward and got out to check out the damage, stepping my battered and booted foot right into a big puddle of water, soaking it thoroughly. The other driver also got out and we determined that no damage had been done to either car. Hallelujah!!!
Now I'm home and not real anxious to go out again.
But we'll see....... the Republican caucus is tonight.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Evening Song

Late at night,
when the house is quiet, and I'm just about to log off the computer and go to bed
I hear the strangest sound.
My refrigerator.
It sings to me.
Well, singing isn't the exact word....
plays music for me.
I know what you're all thinking.
You are thinking I can't control my hungers.
I know you.
But that's not the case.
My fridge plays a few musical notes.
like plucking harp strings.
I swear it's true.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Cemetery Tales - Celebrating a Life

I drove into the Teton Cemetery after work one evening last fall. It was about 5:00. At that time of day I was used to seeing an occasional car and maybe the sexton. I was surprised when I saw a large number of cars lining the narrow road on the far side. A large group of people were circled around typical of a graveside service. I eased my car to a stop to wait. I did not want to be a distraction for the service.

It was a warm evening, so I rolled down my window to get some air. I leaned back in my seat and just relaxed, watching the group from afar. Gradually I started noticing some oddities about this gathering. Snippets of laughter came, not once, but over and over. A lot of children were in the group and they were all holding brightly colored balloons. And then the singing started. They sang a few unfamiliar songs and then ended with "Happy Birthday to You". As one, they all let go and 50 bright balloons floated upward and away. It was beautiful.

Immediately afterward the group began to disburse. I heard one small child ask excitedly, "are we going to go watch the movie, now?" The cars all loaded and drove away as one.

I was extremely curious. After the last car had pulled out I went to the spot where the celebration had taken place. Small trinkets and tokens had been left on the headstone, and the date revealed that yes, today was this lady's 56th birthday.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Cemetery Tales: A Love Story

I had just about finished photographing the entire cemetery. It was one of the larger ones I'd done and had taken me almost 2 weeks. I was on my last section.

An older gentleman was mowing the lawns and keeping his eye on me. I'd seen him on and off for a few days. Finally he came over to me and asked me what I was doing. I told him about billiongraves and he was quite interested. He got out his cell phone and I helped him find the app. Then he told me a story.

"See that grave right there? I need to tell you 'bout that one. Many years ago there was this feller who just loved his wife so much. He was, what you might call, obsessed with her. Well, that there lady done take sick, and well.... she ended up dyin'.

"That feller was so heartsick. He just couldn't stand the thought of never seeing his sweetie again, so he buried her right there, and left off the lid of the coffin. Then he went and got a big piece of glass and put it over the top. That poor feller was here every minute he could be so he could gaze down at his beloved.

"Well, time started passin' and that poor lady started goin' bad. The cemetery board had a little meetin' about it and had to tell that poor feller that he was goin' to have to cover her up.

"With a heavy heart he consented and put on the lid. I don't think the board trusted him none, though, cause look what they did."

And with that I looked and saw a weathered cement slab covering.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Cemetery Tales: A Broken Man

One evening after work I decided to go photograph one of the smaller outlying cemeteries. I wasn't positive where it was, but trusted my GPS to get me there. When I arrived I was a little nervous to discover that it was at the edge of civilization. Miles of sand dunes on one side, a sagebrush dessert on another. I pulled in and got out of my car.

As I was halfway through the first section I noticed an old beat up car pull in. The car slowly drove around the entire cemetery before moving over to the section where I was working. It stopped right next to me. A man of about 30 got out of the car. He had an open beer can in one hand and a lit cigarette in the other. He was dirty, unshaven, and was wearing tattered clothes. And he just stood there watching me.

I was acutely aware of how vulnerable I was. I was in an isolated place, no one knew where I was, and I was a bit scared. I tried not to show my nervousness and kept moving from headstone to headstone, pausing to take the photo. I said hi to him and he mumbled a hi. Then he said, "are you getting ideas?" I told him then what I was doing. I said, "is your family buried here?" and he said yes. I told him his family would be able to go to and look up pictures and information about his family that was buried there. He said that was cool and then I moved off down the row, snapping photos.

When I got a ways away I glanced back to where I'd spoken with him, and was shocked to see that he was down on the ground. He was crying and obviously in great emotional pain. I discreetly moved off to a farther section of the cemetery to give him privacy. After about 20 minutes I saw his car drive out.

I was curious. I went back to the spot where we'd spoken and looked again at the headstone. There was a photo on this one. A photo of a very lovely little family. All shiny and clean and happy; man, wife and child. The wife was the one buried there. The man in the photo spoke volumes of how far down the slippery slope of grief that poor broken man had come.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Cemetery Tales - Telling a Story

Whenever I go to a new cemetery I feel like I'm meeting a new friend. Each one has a unique personality.

The Rexburg Cemetery is very traditional and stable, Sugar City is family centered and active. The Annis Little Butte Cemetery is sentimental. I could go on. Archer, Burton, Plano, Teton, Ammon, Rosehill. Each one has a "feel". Some of them have valuable momentos left behind by loved ones, some are as decorated as main street at Christmas. There are little notes and letters tucked in crevices for parents and toys left for children who have passed. I haven't met a cemetery yet that I haven't liked. So far they have all been friendly.

As I enter a new cemetery I look around for a place to start. Usually I start on one side and work across, but not always. If I have family buried in a particular cemetery I always do my family first. It just seems more polite.

I always read the name on the headstone. I am very aware that each one represents a real person. A lot of the time I also read the dates. They sure tell a story. When I see a family plot where many children have died at tender ages I feel a twinge of sadness and sympathy for the parents that they had to endure so much heartache while on earth. I'm always happy to see names of people I knew. Not happy that they have died. Just a remembrance of my interaction with them while they were alive. I've found former teachers, parents of friends, classmates, distant family, local "celebrities", and just plain old aquaintences. I find myself talking to them.

"Oh, so that's why I haven't seen you around for so long."
"I wondered what happened to you."

Every so often I come across someone who has a birthday on the day I'm there. I know it's weird, but I always sing a quick little "happy birthday to you" song for them.

I've seen, multiple family deaths on the same day, which reminded me of the bad car accident that I read about, a mother who died the same day as her stillborn baby, and a local man who died at the Pentagon on 9-11. I've seen historical figures from our local pioneer heritage and pauper's graves with hardly more than a rotting wood cross.

It always makes me feel like I'm connected to the whole of the human race, and to each individual.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Cemetery Tales #1

There is a great app that I found on my smart phone. It's called BillionGraves. I was just browsing through the apps one day and saw this one. I've always kind of had a thing for trompsing through cemeteries, so my interest was peaked.

With this application you can go to a headstone and take a picture using your GPS capable smartphone. The picture is then linked to a GPS coordinate so that anyone finding the picture will know exactly where it is. You can also link the picture of the front of the headstone with the picture of the back with just a little tap on the screen. These pictures are then uploaded to the website On the website you can go in and transcribe the words of the headstone. This will go into a searchable database that anyone can access. If you just want to take photos and upload them, other volunteers can go in and do the transcriptions. If you don't want to get tendonitis of the foot you can just go to the website and start transcribing. There are people all over the world contributing to this. It's kind of fun to go in and see where the latest uploads are coming from.

I got really excited about helping with the project. I got my phone all set up, read all the helpful hints (which weren't totally necessary as I ignore a lot of them) and took off for my local cemetery.

Now do you want to know what happened on my very first day? Something very syncronistic. I was walking from grave to grave, pausing briefly to lean over and snap the photo and I saw out of the corner of my eye this large group of people walking down the road next to the cemetery. I was feeling a little bit self-conscious and foolish and tried to not look at them.

One of the guys in the group called over to me, "hey, do you mind me asking what you're doing?" So I swallowed my pride and told him. He said, "I thought that's what you were doing, but I thought, Noooo, what are the chances?" Apparently this guy was one of the developers of the app and was just in town visiting family.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Tennis Foot?

It's official. I have tennis elbow of the foot.

It all started last summer. I spent some time in cemeteries.

A LOT of time.

I tromped over the uneven ground and took photos of over 17,000 headstones. And my foot has been hurting ever since. I thought maybe I gave myself a stress fracture. I just kept taping up my own foot, trying to ignore the pain, and hoped it would heal on it's own. After 6 months of this I decided it was time to visit my favorite podiatrist. The x-rays were clear. In fact my bones looked pretty darn good!

When he started twisting and poking at my foot, though, the problem became pretty obvious. I had overworked the tendon going to the outside of one of my right tarsals. It was inflamed and angry.

The treatment? A nice long painful shot of cortizone right into the offending tendon, and nice wrap job on the foot, and was told to keep it immobilized as much as possible for 2 months.

... right.

I'll do my best to hasten the healing. I need to get in top cemetery form before all the snow melts and I can hit the headstones again. I'm just dying to get out there!

The doc was asking me how I think I had injured myself and I started telling him about my propensity for haunting cemeteries. (ha ha ha) That led to telling him a few of the really interesting stories that I really feel like I need to write down before I forget.

Those stories will be great for another blog on another day.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Eggs-actly What I Meant

I'm in a pottery class. It's definitely a relaxed fun time with Abby and Lisa. We don't get a grade, we don't have any assignments, and we just do what we want.

The first week we were all just playing around with the clay, pinching it into pots and shapes, and I decided to make an egg. It took me quite a while to get it all smooth and egg-shaped, all hollowed out so that it wasn't too heavy, and flat on the bottom so it would stand.

I should have taken a picture of it at that stage, but I didn't. Sorry.

I told Lisa that I wanted to carve a design in it, but didn't know what to do. She suggested a paisley pattern, so I googled "paisley" from my phone and started carving.

It stands about 5 inches tall. I can't wait to get it fired. But then I've got a new problem. What kind of finish am I going to put on it? Any suggestions?

Monday, January 23, 2012

Time Well-Spent

There are two very dangerous places on the internet.


You should stay far far away from these two very very dangerous places.

You should.

I should.

But I can't.

I'm talking about StumbleUpon and Pinterest.

I've literally wasted HOURS mindlessly clicking through and marking hundreds of things that I find interesting, would like to try, want to look at again, or just like.



One night after spending 3 hours pinning I felt totally disgusted with myself.
I decided to make a list.

Things I Love To DO:
1. Make pottery
2. Work on my Picture Calendar
3. Knit
4. Crochet
5. Draw
6. Make jewelry
7. Practice Piano
8. Read
9. Blog
10. Fix or mend something
11. Sew
12. Quilt
13. Organize something
14. Paint
15. Walk the dog
16. Bake something
17. Try a new recipe
18. Take photos
19. Carve something
20. Cross stitch

Time constructively spent creating the list: 5 minutes

Next time I spend more than 5 minutes on either danger zone (Pinterest or Stumbleupon), I'm going to break out my list and DO something!