Thursday, October 28, 2010


A friend made a post about how much she loathes Halloween. Me too. However, since I don't want to be awfully negative, I'm trying to combat these feelings with POSITIVES. What do I like about Halloween?

First, I'm ever so grateful that Room Mothers walk through the classroom door with a party. They've thought of every detail. They've taken care of everything. I just trouble-shoot, sort of, trying to keep the custodians on my side. They don't understand why I'm not dressed up, but everyone still manages to have a good time. The kids are happy. Hey, I wear black. I call that "compromise."

I like pumpkins. I like carving them and putting a candle inside and turning off the lights. I like toasting the seeds. I like the color orange. I like making pumpkin curry soup. And pumpkin casserole where you stuff it with rice, veggies, and meat and then bake it in the oven, sometimes drawing a face on it with a black Sharpie marker. I like those pumpkin/cream cheese rolls. All those pumpkin desserts. And don't even get me started on the PIE (a huge one for $5.99 at Costco). Whipped cream not necessary!

Autumn weather, colorful leaves, and Harvest--all of these things denote change. They cause me to reflect, make goals, and contemplate. I don't have to wait for the New Year. I get a clean slate with every season!

The Olive Garden. K and I have a tradition of going there on Halloween. Keep this under your lid, but we have never handed out Halloween Candy. We have never attended a Trunk-or-Treat. By the time I'm finished with my fifth graders, I don't care to experience any more Halloween. I also dislike dealing with people (children and adults) who don't feel accountable for their actions because while donning a costume, they forget who they really are! We turn out the lights, lock the door, and head to Italy. One doesn't have to wait to be seated on Halloween. Or served. We're usually the only folks in the whole establishment.

Bah Humbug!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Number Eight

Yesterday found me at American Fork Hospital for my eighth lifetime surgery. It was my fourth foot surgery. It's my fifth walking cast. Including my two hand and elbow surgeries during the last two Christmas vacations, it's my seventh time doing what I call "tricky bathing." It's my fourth surgery during our almost six years of marriage and my sixth surgery since I've been at Snow Springs (teaching can be hard on a body!). I wonder how many more surgeries I may endure in the future. I keep thinking of Kevin, a regular hiker on the cave trail, who has a pace-maker. He's had twenty-six surgeries in his life and he looks young, strong, and healthy! Therefore, I will attempt to count my blessings. Also, I included this picture because according to the nurse, my "toes have TERRIFIC color!" I had to laugh. The yellow iodine or whatever is "terrific." She was just glad they weren't blue from the cast being too tight.

First of all, I have this darling husband. I've mentioned this before, but if you really knew him and knew how much he dislikes anything medical, you would really realize how hard it is for him to go through these things with me. He's a total trooper. He fixes my ice bags, refills my water, runs to the pharmacy, brings me the traditional post-surgery milkshake (he totally detests pumpkin pie milkshakes--sad to have post-surgery traditions in such a short marriage, eh?), and answers my every whim. He made Baked Potato Bar for dinner last night. Delicious! And he continues to sleep in the same bed with me, not knowing if he's going to get kicked by a plaster cast...or not.

I want to say a word about Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. I know that God is real and that He is my Father. I know that Jesus is the Christ and that He is my Savior. He sacrificed and atoned for me. I feel so INCREDIBLY BLESSED as I think how smoothly everything went yesterday as with my previous surgeries. I have no pain (very typical for me). I have not taken a single pain pill. I'm not trying to be tough and I'm not trying to prove anything. I simply have NO pain. Zero. Zilch. Zip. If I had pain, I would totally take the medication. I believe this is part of the priesthood blessing I received before the surgery. I had so much angst about this surgery because I know what it's like to be in a cast for weeks on end. I can't drive until the cast comes off. I have to rely on so many other people. It's all very humbling. But the Lord compensates by taking away the pain. I could probably handle quite a bit of pain, actually, but for some reason, I'm not called upon to suffer the usual post-surgery discomfort that a lot of people do.

I'm very grateful for my job! I love the children I teach. Someone suggested I do lesson plans for two weeks, take some serious time off, and just put my feet up for awhile to heal. Well, I can't. First of all, the doctor said I can teach on Monday. We have fall break today and tomorrow so I only had to miss one day of work for this! K has to miss two days to babysit me. Secondly, I don't want to do two weeks worth of lesson plans. It was hard enough to take time off for a honeymoon! Most importantly, I believe that being with the children will help me to heal. They will make my days go by more quickly. If I were home, I would probably be sad and mopey. And let's not forget health insurance! Because of my job, I have great access to excellent health care. This surgery (tarsal tunnel release) set me back $75. That's it. And do your doctors lean over you and smile and call you "Sweetie?" Dr. Tom and I "go way back" as he likes to say. He's cut me open four times now. When the nurses at the hospital tell me about Dr. Tom doing their surgeries, they talk about it with such reverence--like Dr. Tom is the end-all be-all for foot surgeries! How lucky am I to have someone with so much experience and expertise? So lucky!

I'm grateful I have a walking cast. I don't need crutches, or a wheelchair, or one of those foot surgery scooters that I see people kneeling on. I can walk. Dr. Tom says I can begin exercising again two weeks after the cast comes off and I should be snowshoeing by Christmas.

A little added bonus to surgery this time was the blue paper shorts. Along with the cloth hospital gown, they gave me a pair of paper shorts to put on. So nice! Why didn't somebody think of this before? The podiatrist doesn't need to see my bum, right? I made, Tisha, the nurse anesthetist, laugh heartily as she was tapping my hand and doing everything else in her power to conjure up a vein. I asked, "Are you the Vein Whisperer?" She said she was indeed. Once they inserted the IV, I declared, "I am no longer responsible for my behavior during the next 24 hours." When they wheeled me out of the hosptial to the car, I said, "What great hiking weather!"

When Dr. Tom came to talk to us in the recovery room, he said he found something interesting. My nerve was compressed in THREE different places! Usually it's just in one place. He said sometimes he gets in there and he thinks, "Well, perhaps this surgery was a bit premature." However, in my case, the surgery was totally necessary and he said I made the right choice by having it done. That was the thing I was worried about (am I jumping to surgery too quickly?). I fasted, I prayed, I studied scriptures, I visited three doctors, I went to the temple twice last week, and I exercised faith. Oh, and I shed a lot of tears! Interestingly, the clear answer did not come until after the surgery.

Technically, I'm still under the influence, so I'm not sure how spiffy this blog post will sound, but I just had to record a few of the blessings while they are fresh in my mind. Dr. Tom said the nerve looks good, so we'll see how things turn out. Sometimes, the nerve looks dead and never recovers. The Lord is good to me and so I thank the Lord. All is well. For now anyway. :)

Sunday, October 10, 2010

When the Relatives Came

K's family does a great job of getting out here to see us at least once each year. They like to see how we're doing, where we're living, and if we have any new hikes to show them. We don't take them to the Symphony or Sporting Events or anything like that. We just "Get Out." We hike outside. We cook outside. We enjoy the outdoors together, as a FAMILY. I TOTALLY LUCKED OUT in the in-laws department!

Our very first wreath, ever. We must surely be an old married couple now if we're bothering with all this froo-froo.

Hiking to Horse Flat. Aunt J, Mom P, Hubby K, Dad J. We finally got them all the way to Horse Flat!

Cooking out with the fam. Roles were traditional. Men = Fire. Women = Food Prep.

Grandpa and his foil dinner. We introduced K's family to the concept of putting "different" vegetables in like sweet potatoes and zucchini. They were happily adventurous! We also taught them about Banana Boats. Success!

Grandpa and his Raspberry Cheesecake ice cream before noon! :)

Our Darling Grandpa. He's eighty-seven and still likes to take road trips, see the canyons (Nebo Loop here), and get out and walk a bit. He cracks jokes too! We took him to In-n-Out Burger for his first experience there and as we left the parking lot, he quietly asked, "So how long before it comes out?"

The copper pit is one of the man-made things that can be seen with the naked eye from space. Can you guess the other?

My skirt kept blowing up in the breeze so I borrowed my MIL's windbreaker to kind of hold things down. K kept saying I was doing my best Marilyn Monroe impersonation. Grandpa has wanted to see the copper mine for thirty years! He loved every minute of his time there.

We are very fortunate to have spent time with the relatives! Such good people, nice weather, lovely food, happy memories...these are the moments, these are the times! These are the best days of our lives.

Team Effort

KERSPLASHY! I called out to my hiking buddies, "Was that MEANT to happen???" The answer I got, "I don't think so." A man with twin sons capsized. One boy began to swim off. The father became tired trying to get him back to the sinking boat. We called from shore, offering help. He refused saying everything was "fine." Then he yelled, "Hey! My legs are cramping up out here!" He was the only one NOT wearing his personal flotation device.

To the rescue! The guy in front had never paddled a boat before. These two looked like old crew buddies from college--totally smooth, totally skilled, totally focused and efficient. Bless them! Why was there an empty boat sitting on the shore of the lake? We don't know. Someone was there when the family left it. As they packed up, one of the children asked, "Dad? What about the boat?" And the mystery dad said, "We'll leave it for now. No one will take it." If there had been no boat there or if the boat would have had a hole in it, the day could have turned out quite differently.

Mama is in black. Lady in red is the wife of one of the oarsmen. She told us that little kids in the water needing help were motivating to her husband as their nephew had recently died in a family recreational outing.

Safe return of twin five year old boys. Before they brought the boys to shore, they paddled around to fish the daddy's PFD out of the water and deliver it to him in all his exhaustion. Their mama was one cool-headed chick! Makes me wonder if she let her husband have it when they got home. Makes me wonder if he's pulled at least a hundred other stunts like this one. Her first comment was that she was glad she didn't go out on the water with them because then the tipping of the boat would have been HER fault! Her second comment was that one of the boys really didn't want to go because he was scared. "Now he's REALLY not going to want to go!"

She waited for a better moment to tell the daddy that he should figure out his pants.

Nurse P is treating for shock and possible hypothermia. Since I wasn't needed for my first aid and CPR skills, I kept documenting with the camera.

And here they are with the capsized canoe (whatever the proper term is for this particular model of watercraft)--afloat! The guy with his back to us was pushing his wife around the lake in her wheelchair. He was the one who told the other two guys how to empty the boat and flip it over. Genius!

We told the whole story to Grandpa when we got back to the van. His daughter, my mother-in-law, is always helping people who are lying on the floor in the back of the airplane and stuff like that. When he heard the canoe capsized just as we walked by, Grandpa said, "We'll have to quit bringing her."