Saturday, April 30, 2016

Deciding What to Have for Dinner

We were in the car today when I asked my husband what he would like to eat for dinner tomorrow after Church. He said he didn't know. I made several suggestions: Lasagna, Vegetable Beef and Barley Soup, Mexican Lasagna, Chicken Enchiladas, etc. He just didn't know what he would like to eat. I kept trying, "Should we have some chef's salads? Big chunks of turkey, ham, and cheese?"

His face wrinkled up and he said, "I've already had lettuce this week."

Well, I found that comment hysterical.

Later, while cleaning the bathroom, I called out, "When did you have lettuce this week?"

He said, "On my tacos."

Is any of this funny to you? We wouldn't want the poor boy to have even one actual serving of greens in a week would we???

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Cleared for Exercise, Again

Went to my post-op look-see this afternoon. The PA came in. Friendly, warm, nurturing. He initialed my knee just prior to surgery. He said I had "a lot going on in there" before surgery. He seemed delighted that I feel so well after surgery. The surgeon popped in and I asked him about exercise. He gave me the green light but advised me to build up slowly.

This surgeon...not a chit-chat sort of person, but an EXCELLENT surgeon. I made up a little rhyme about him: rough, tough, but KNOWS his STUFF! True story. And the PA? Lovey, dovey, and ends the visit with a huggy. Seriously. The surgeon popped out soon after popping in, never looking at my knee. The PA, however, looked at my knee, touched my knee, explained everything while showing me the model of a knee, and said it looked "really" good!

I need no further appointments, but as we exited the room, the PA put his arm around me and said, "Don't hesitate to call at ANY time if you experience pain or any other issues."

These two men work together and couldn't be more different!

I've had quite a few faculty members tell me they can't believe how much better I'm walking. And when I went to the surgeon's office for my appointment, I approached the front desk to check in as anyone would. I gave my name, etc. and she asked, "Are you here for a follow-up?" Yes. "When did you have surgery?" The 15th. "The fifteenth of April?" Yes. "Boy! You walked in here like a normal, healthy person!"

And while waiting, a woman younger than I hobbled in with her knee wrapped. A 96 year old man chatted her up and I heard her say, "I had a scope." I thought to myself, "Yeah, me too, and I'm not limping like that."

I give all the credit to Heavenly Father and the power of priesthood blessings. It's because of Him that I can walk at all. I pray I can use my legs to serve others and become a better person. I am so blessed to have mobility.

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Surgery #9

So yesterday was my first knee surgery. Meniscus tear=Meniscus repair. The surgeon was in my knee for about 20 minutes. I have had no pain medication since leaving the hospital. I am amazed! Yes, I'm limping for now, but I am walking on my own with no wheelchair, no walker, no scooter, and no crutches. K is so good to me. I slept for about four hours in the afternoon and I read half a book. I will take it easy, but I was blessed to heal quickly which is something that's been consistent for me with all of my surgeries. I guess I might have to slow down a touch in the hiking department, but hey, I can still walk and I am ever so grateful to be mobile. Some people go their entire lives without that, you know? I praise Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ and the Holy Ghost for blessing me, guiding me, and being involved in the small details of my life.

Our lives are meant to have obstacles and we are meant to learn how to overcome challenges. I just can't believe that my challenges have been okay. I am not sitting in my car (because the house is too scary) in Kumamoto, Japan wondering when the earthquakes will stop, but my dear friend, Sachiko, is. I keep wondering if she has water storage. The water is not clean and the electricity is out. She posted once that she's okay, but we haven't heard from her since. I have not had to make the choice to climb into a flimsy boat with my children and risk drowning in order to escape a worse circumstance found in my country, not knowing if we'll even make the trip across the water or how we'll survive once we get to the other shore. I suppose the older I get the worse my health with get because that's how it works for humans. I suppose there will be other challenges which will help me to turn to the Lord with more humility. But whatever happens, I know God is watching over me and doing His best to bless me according to His will. I just hope I can give back, pay it forward, and serve others. My heart has been so full thinking of all the people who suffer and struggle. It makes my knee surgery nothing. Nothing at all.

Thursday, April 14, 2016

9:16 p.m.

I am perpetually perplexed at how other teachers manage to have clean desks. I work at school. I don't usually bring work home because I am seldom home and when I am home, I have this distraction called a husband who deserves a little conversation and I have other work to do like laundry and cleaning and church work.

I am sometimes befuddled at how people actually get home from work. For example, yesterday I left my school at 4:04 p.m., just four minutes after my contract time. I went to my hair appointment which is scheduled every two months. Immediately after that I did drive to my home, but I didn't go in because I texted my husband that I was leaving the salon and would pick him up. I never turned the car off. I just texted, "Here." He came down and we went straight to the temple to do sealings for our family cards. I needed to get those done while I could still kneel. We finished with that and got back to my car in the temple parking lot around 8:30 p.m. We were both starving so we stopped at the State Street Grill for burgers (our first visit there). Walked into our for the first time all day at 9:16 p.m.

Getting my hair done is no crime. Going to the temple is a good thing. Eating dinner is somewhat essential. When do other people accomplish these tasks and still manage to correct papers at home?

Not only did I not work overtime without compensation by correcting papers and making lesson plans, I also ditched my four Scouting units as Unit Commissioner. Both Cub Scout units and both Eleven Year Old Scout Units meeting at 6:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m. on Wednesday evenings (in two separate buildings). I can only be in so many places at once.

At least the Lord has things for me to do. Keeps me out of trouble I suppose.

I know. They probably don't spend time blogging.

Topaz Museum and Internment Camp Site

Topaz is located where ancient Lake Bonneville was. The Japanese women found seashells in the ashy dirt, cleaned them, painted them, and created works of art from them. A wonderful art professor was interned there so he started teaching art classes and people painted. All of this is on display at the museum and they have a barrack out back. Again, they did the best they could to make beauty out of their surroundings. The boys played baseball. They had church. There were two elementary schools, one junior high, and one high school. The elementary schools were Mountain View and Desert View.

T & D's Diner, Baker, Nevada

On the way from Nevada to Utah, we stopped off at Great Basin National Park. And then we looked for lunch. The lady at the park's VC suggested T & D's. We parked and walked in to what looked like a restaurant. Nope. It's just where you eat the food. The sign said we had to go back out and go into the STORE to order food. So we went into this little dark store and a woman told us we could find a menu at the end of the counter. I ordered a cheeseburger and K ordered a Mexican Salad. The man wrote everything down by hand and began to tally up by hand as well. He told us to go to the cooler to choose our drinks while he figured the numbers. The woman heard our order and went to the freezer to get already cooked meat out to thaw/heat/cook/whatever. We then left the store and went back into the dining area to wait. There's a window-counter that connects the two rooms, the store room and the dining room...all in the same building. You're just not allowed to order through that window. We could hear the people who came after us ordering from the store even though we were in the dining room.

Our food was ready so K stepped up to the window-counter and grabbed it. The pickles on my burger were sweet, not dill. Hm. K had a hard time with his salad. Some other customers were ordering pizza which looked great so I guess we messed up there...perhaps next time we'll get a pizza. There's another window-counter in that dining area. That's where you're supposed to put your tray and stuff when finished. The man came out of that window by shoving the counter away from it's position.

Oh well, they have a system and they're making a living. Oh and they're painting a mural of a bristlecone pine on the wall. They had a ladder next to it and the one table over there was roped off with a sign that said, "This section closed." There were five tables total I think. I found it slightly humorous that one table being roped off was considered a whole section of the dining area. I'm from rural Montana so I get the whole small town vibe. People just make it all work somehow, wherever they are.

Cemetery at Manzanar

Cemeteries are such poignant places. They really make you think. More rocks were arranged to remember and honor their dead. An obelisk. A fence. Paper cranes. I wanted to leave an apple, but K wouldn't let me.

Manzanar National Historic Site

Culturally, Japanese people love nature, beauty, and harmony. In an attempt to beautify Manzanar, while surrounded by a barbed wire fence, they made little rock gardens and tried planting some vegetables and trees. I just snapped a few photos of these little rock piles and old tree stumps. Under harsh circumstances they did what they could to enhance their living environment and to enjoy fresh food from gardening.

Japanese Internment Camps

I have learned a lot about Japanese Internment from history classes, reading books, and visiting sites. A summer or two ago we had the pleasure of visiting a place not too far from Cody, Wyoming called Heart Mountain. The visitor center there is well-done. I don't remember, but I think it's managed by the Wyoming Historical Society, but I could actually be way off on that. One of the impactful things I remember from that site is that the visitor center itself is built in the shape of barracks. They have a guard tower. And when you use the restroom...they've installed mirrors on the side walls of each stall to make you feel a little uncomfortable because there were no stall walls for the internees and this is the same thing they mention at other sites.

We visited the Japanese gardens (Japanese Tea Garden?) in San Francisco and learned that some other people took care of that beautiful place for the 3.5 years that their Japanese friends and neighbors had to be away. I can't imagine being ripped away from my current life. What would I pack with only 48 hours notice? Where would I go once released? How would I start over?

And yet the Japanese were model citizens and model internees (prisoners, if you will) and even model soldiers. I just can't imagine the injustice of it all.

And yet...I am able to see the other side. We've just been bombed, the fleet was destroyed, panic has set in. Snap decisions were made and I suppose leaders were doing the best they could at the time. My own dad says that he used to have nightmares as a child that German soldiers would break into their home in the middle of the night, so he had a few good hiding spots planned out to save himself should something like that ever happen. I have been spared from so much throughout my easy life and my thanks goes to everyone who has sacrificed something to make that happen to me.

Anyway, on the way back from Death Valley, we visited Manzanar National Historic Site in California. They had a great film, museum with wonderful exhibits, and barracks out on the grounds to visit.

Then we stopped in Delta, Utah on the way home to visit the Topaz Museum on Main Street. Wonderful! You should go.

And then we drove out to the Topaz Internment Camp a few miles out of town. We drove around following an auto tour guide, reading aloud to each other at each stop. We got out and walked around. K said, "It's like a ghost town."

Heart Mountain. Manzanar. Topaz. Three Japanese Internment Camps down and seven to go.

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Pete Aguereberry's Eureka Mine in Death Valley

While up there in the Wild Rose area, we stopped off at this mine to explore a bit. The wayside signs said Pete lived there for forty years! A good rate of return was to get one ounce of gold for every ton of ore mined. Can you imagine? Two thousand pounds of ore dug out of the earth and you get to keep one ounce of it as gold? The going rate was $20 per ounce. They say Pete made $175,000 in those forty years.

Can you imagine what we would get if we mined for spiritual riches? What if we spent forty years consistently reading the scriptures? Going to church? Weekly temple attendance? Prayer? The return would be worth so much more than one ounce of gold. This little stop made me think more about how I choose to spend my time.

Rain in Death Valley

Sometimes Death Valley receives no rain in an entire year, but we got to witness rain on Friday 8 April 2016 and it kind of lasted all morning. As we worked our way west through the park, we drove to Wild Rose Canyon (surprise drop down after going up, up, up). It was raining the whole time. It wasn't torrential or anything, but steady. We just feel lucky we got to experience it.

Salt Creek Pupfish in Death Valley

Like the sign says, "You have to be tough to make it in Death Valley!" These little pupfish are their own species left from ancient Lake Manly which used to be in Death Valley. They live in this Salty Creek that most animals couldn't abide. They race around feeding and breeding because their life expectancy maxes out at one year so they have to fill the measure of their creation while they have the chance.

When I think of all the ways plants and animals have survived and adapted, I know there's always a way for me to survive and adapt as well. Thanks to the atonement of Jesus Christ and the Gift of the Holy Ghost, I have the tools I need to progress. These are some of the deep thoughts I have while meandering around in national parks.