Monday, January 31, 2011

My Impromptu Experience with Open Adoptions

Now, don't get excited. My kids are all too old to give up for adoption like I probably threatened a million times. And there's no way I would ever consider giving up any of my grandkids. This weekend did, however, provide an interesting 'adoption' experience for me.

Back in 1998, after burying a couple of pet dogs in the backyard, Alan and I opted for a Shih-Tzu puppy. It was Alan's idea, too, which came as a double surprise. Alan suggested we name her Candy. I thought it was because he'd bought a bag of caramel taffy things that were caramel and vanilla swirled together and that was what her original puppy-coloring was. Not sure if that was the real reason or not, but Candy she was.

Candy was a crazy dog with a psycho personality {not Alfred Hitchcock Psycho, just wild, weird, crazy psycho; which means she fit right in}. I used to blame her 'unique' personality on the fact that right after we got her and before Joe left on his mission, he would play ball with her. After he threw her ball, she would chase it, grab it in her mouth and then flip end over end, until she would eventually have a head-on with the door or the wall or whatever barrier was just beyond the ball. I purchased her first ball not long after we got her and she was hooked for her lifetime. The only time she was without a ball or squeaky toy after that was if she lost it and it took me awhile to find a replacement. We tried hiding spare balls around the house because she would literally get depressed when she misplaced it. But she could smell them - new or used - and it drove her crazy to know there was a ball close by and she couldn't reach it.

Candy loved to go camping. She loved to work in the garden with Alan. She especially loved to pick peas and beans with everyone - and she ate what she picked, too. She hated car rides and so the actual trek to get to a camping spot or our trips to Flowell were very painful. After Nellie and Carter moved into the basement, there were some boundary issues that needed to be worked out. Carter sported his share of "you're in my space bubble" nip marks and Candy got her hair or her tail pulled more times than she cared to. Eventually they developed an understanding and Carter took very good care of her - especially when we were camping.

Candy couldn't be groomed like the prissy Shih-Tzus you normally think of. She enjoyed chasing her ball into irrigation water and ponds and mud too much to be bothered with a coat of hair that hung down to the ground and was combed between her eyes, up over her head and clipped with a bow or a barrette. But, just because she didn't have the patience to look the part, Candy was every bit the 'entitled' princess Shih-Tzus are famous for being.

Carter and me with Candy right before we left the

house to take Candy to her new home.

 About three years ago, however, it became apparent there were some allergies developing in the family and so I started advertising and looking around for someone who needed a good companion dog. It wasn't long after I started looking that I got a call from a young girl down in the Provo area who had a grandfather in need of a friend. We talked back and forth a couple of times and then it was decided we'd meet up in Provo and she could see if Candy was what they wanted. {Someone had given her grandfather a Jack Russell terrier for a companion dog and it was way too energetic for him}. Of course she liked Candy {what wasn't to like????} and on November 10, 2007, Candy was adopted by Mr. Flint. Candy wasn't a purebred and so there were no official papers to send with her. However, I did send her with unofficial papers, i.e. a letter explaining a little about her personality and her likes/dislikes. And, of course, I put my phone number in the letter. If anything went wrong, I wanted him to be able to get in touch with me so I could take her back.

Mr. Flint, who lived with a son and his family, called me about a month later, right around Christmastime, to let me know how much he loved her. Candy would come and get him and they'd go for walks together and she'd sit by him and curl up next to him. That was the last time I heard anything.

Yesterday I got a bunch of calls on my phone from the Portland, Oregon area. No way was I answering them as I figured it was telemarketers or scams or whatever. Each time a message was left but most of them I couldn't hear any talking - just open air so you knew someone was there. Today the calls started again. There were three of them right in a row - just like yesterday had started out. I listened to the messages and this time there actually were messages. The first message a shaky old voice got his name out and the beginning of his phone number. In the second message, he finished his phone number and said he was the owner of Candy. The third message he said, "So call me back at that number."

My curiosity was peaked so, yes, I called him back. What a sweet old man! He said they loaded up their stuff (I assume the same family members he was living with when he adopted Candy) and their trailer and moved to Portland last October {I always thought addresses and phone numbers and pieces of paper were the first things to get lost during a move}. He said Candy made the move okay but she had already gone blind in the left eye and was going blind in the other eye. Also, she had arthritis pretty bad and had a hard time getting around anymore. He called to tell me that he'd had to let them put her out of her pain yesterday. He cried. I cried. He told me a couple of times how much he'd loved her and that he'd taken good care of her. I regret not answering the phone yesterday. Even though we didn't have to actually dig a hole and bury her in the backyard with the other pets, she's there in spirit. And what a pure act of charity for Mr. Flint to let me know! You have to have loved an animal to understand that! 


May 1998 - January 29, 2011

Friday, January 28, 2011

The Evolution of Transportation

I remember doing a report on a similar topic in middle school or something. I copied pictures of the horse and buggy and trains and the first vehicles and, of course, an Edsel. That was a report on the evolution of transportation over years and years, though. I was just sitting here thinking how things have evolved just over the last few weeks. In my life, anyway. So, here's my report:

This represents my usual mode of transportation for almost six years, up until that fateful Tuesday morning. I have this much in my possession thanks to an observant Nate & Krisy who saw it off the side of the road several days later. If you look closely, there are actually tire tracks across it. I find it interesting someone could run over a significant portion of a car door - my car door, no less - and keep going.

Then, I got to upgrade to Alan's Burgundy Baby. Even when I had to hoist myself up in it with my horrible knees, it was an awesome ride. But, alas, all good things must come to an end or be shared or given back or something like that.

So now I've been downgraded {'downgraded' is too mild - it's more like 'squashed-to-the-root-bottom-of-the-food-chain'} to Alan's Blue Beast. Before he left town, he casually mentioned he'd unintentionally put out a huge chunk of change at the gas station to fill the Beast with gas. I took that as an open invitation to go wherever I dared. So, I made a run to Logan last night. I Am Woman, right??? Did I mention the heater doesn't work? And I had to actually find the switch and manually turn on the headlights! And don't even bring up all the effort and pulled muscles I have from having to actually "roll" down the windows and manually lock the doors! Of course, the beauty-full shell accenting the bed {held there, by the way, with six hardware store caliber C-clamps} is definitely a boost to the feeling of owning the road while I'm behind the wheel . . . that is if you consider not being able to see anything but your reflection reflecting back through layers of glass and Plexiglas prisms fundamental to 'owning the road'!

However, Wednesday's mail brought me a most wonderful surprise. {Surprise probably isn't the best word since I made the selection and placed the order. I obviously knew what it was.}  I'd say it's a more eye-appealing mode of transportation than the Blue Beast! Too bad I'm surrounded by main highways and speeding traffic or I would put these to better, more productive and more consistent use. However, I can already hear - yes, hear - the Fashion Nazi rolling their eyes! Anyway, I ordered this stunning pair of walking shoes, hoping for fruition of all that was promised.

{Shape Ups will get you fit while you walk, work, shop, and can retrain your muscles, helping you walk with a positive impact . . .change the way you approach your daily activities . . .will enhance the way you feel and look; muscles get toned, calories are burned and your posture improves. Shape Ups are designed to: Promote weight loss; Strengthen the back; Firm calf and buttock muscles; Reduce cellulite and tone your thighs; Increase cardiovascular health; Improve posture; and Reduce stress on knee and ankle joints.} 

Honestly who could resist a sales pitch like that? Kind of like "A ring by spring", huh, Amber? As anyone will attest, I have a million pairs of shoes {strategically placed throughout the house} but none of them cost over $10. I spent a little more on these but, let me tell you, so far, it has been worth the investment! And, drum roll please, my new shoes actually came with an instructional DVD!

Yes! Progress being what it is and all, I have always wondered if the right shoe still went on the right foot or if I was tying my shoes in the correct manner {is it the bunny's ears run around the tree or what?}. Actually I haven't watched the DVD yet. Something rubs me wrong when I think of having to have instructions on how to accurately put my shoes on and then how to walk. {Okay, well, maybe the 'how to walk' part.}

That's my evolutionary story of the past couple of weeks. At least I didn't evolve to flying on a pig!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

So . . . Do Pigs Fly?

Just have to share my life's humor from the last few days.

Well, let's see . . . My knees started hurting Saturday morning and got progressively and horribly swollen and sore and immobile as the weekend wore on. {Pop Quiz: If 'cankles' are what it's called when you go straight from your calf to your foot, what's it called when you go straight from your thighs to your feet? Thinkles? That makes them sound way too small!} Anyway, I probably have bruises on my butt from dropping from a standing position to sitting on the toilet. I had to decide I wanted something an hour before the desire actually became a reality because it took me so long to get up and walk to wherever said desire could be satisfied. I might as well have not had anything from my knees down because my knees had literally plugged up the lines of downward communication so everything lower had taken that as a cue to go on vacation.

I must admit there were moments when I thought about the robot {Fender, I think} on Robots who keeps falling apart and having to search for replacement body parts to get up and running again. I actually thought it might not be so bad to be him! And, to add insult to injury, in the middle of all this, I decide I need to go bra shopping! So, we're in Walmart, my knees are killing me and I'm looking for a comfortable bra {yeah, that's a contradiction in terms}! Too late I read the proper procedure for taking correct measurements on one of the boxes. Yeah, well, that totally confused me. I mean how am I supposed to measure the 'fullest part' when they're sagging clear down to my knees? Actually, as swollen as my knees are, that would probably confuse me even more! So, anyway I tried on a couple and then just grabbed some off the clearance rack and came home and emailed Betty for an explanation of the measurement instructions. I'll have to get her permission to re-post her explanation or maybe she'll share them in a comment.

Finally on Monday, after hoisting myself into Alan's truck {the Jimmy's in the shop - probably where I should have been, too}, and taking a  r...e...a...l...l...y  long time to get up the stairs to my work on the 4th floor and getting up and down out of my chair way too many times to count, I broke down and got a doctor's appointment for later that afternoon. Fortunately for me, LOML was getting off early and consented to take me over. SIDE NOTE: LOML has actually been awesome to help. He took me out to dinner Saturday night {before the bra experience}; took me shopping; laughed at me a few times to keep my humor in check; waved the cars on that had stopped for us because he knew how long it was going to take me to cross the parking lot; helped me get dressed; brought the laundry basket to the washer so I could wash the clothes easier; gave me a blessing; let me drive his truck even knowing what the Jimmy looks like; put up with me thrashing around uncomfortably in bed - when I made it to bed - and even pulled the covers over my toes a time or two!

So they call my name and I make my way slowly back with the nurse stopping every so often to look back and make sure she hasn't lost me. The doctor comes in. He is amazed at my lack of mobility, asks a few questions and then says, "Hop up on the table." I look at him. My response: "Do pigs fly?" After a few minutes of trying to maneuver up the little step to even start the process of 'hopping' onto the table, I give up and accept his help. I hate that! So he looks at my knees that are ugly on a good day and says, "There should be knee caps in there somewhere!" "That's what I say everyday," I think to myself! He gets all his syringes and stuff set up and begins to drain the fluid. After he hits 90cc from one knee, he exclaims, "Impressive!" I graciously thank him. He says, "It's not a good thing to be impressive here." Oh. Kind of like the day I realized Grandma Ward referring to me as her little Shit Pot was not a good thing and I should quit doing things so she would call me that.

When all was said and done, he drained approximately 175cc of fluid from both knees combined {still can't see any kneecaps, however} and then filled them up with cortisone. Today I'm actually functioning quite well. The initial rising and falling of the body is still a little shaky but I at least feel like I am connected to my ankles. After he drained all that fluid, I couldn't contain my excitement any longer as I ecstatically verbalized my greatest hope, "Now, I should notice a highly significant weight reduction, right????????" He just snickered. Or snorted. Whatever he did, I took it as his way of saying, "Do pigs fly?"

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Alignments and Other Anomalies

Sometimes I wonder . . .

. . . how the universe is created so it holds together and how it is aligned perfectly so as to prevent planets from colliding with each other and stars from crashing into suns and assure the cow always clears the moon.

. . . why it has to be so cold that I get excited when I hear it's warming up to 4°!


 Sometimes I wonder . . .

. . . how a Sunday School teacher can get sick and the substitute who fills in for him just happens to be kind of cute and has a cool leather belt from Bolivia and then one day I wake up and realize he's the love of my life {LOML} and I've been married to him for 34 years.

. . . why my 3rd grade teacher told us that Main Street would ALWAYS run north and south. {random, I know, but this bit of ill-gotten knowledge really bothers me!}

Sometimes I wonder . . .

. . . how four-way stop intersections were designed so precisely and how cool it is that there is a stop sign facing oncoming cars from each of the four different directions on the compass.

. . . why some mornings my routine falls into place smoother and more efficiently than other mornings. I swear sometimes I honestly wake up to my alarm after only one snooze smack instead of 45 minutes later {Alan would be hard pressed to believe that}, my straightener heats up faster, I select my earrings, get dressed and defrost the windshield and am at the Crossroads by 8:49 am with the very positive affirmation circling in my head, "Yes! I have already put a dent in my day! This day will only get better!"

Sometimes I wonder . . .

. . . if the front fender of a green Envoy will line up with the passenger side of a maroon Jimmy.  

. . . what I was thinking when I called the LOML {obviously to take pictures!} for moral support and bit of compassion. 

. . . if it's warmer in the front seat of UHP car than my own {now uniquely vented} front seat.

. . . why men think food solves everything.

Just thought I'd share some of the things I wonder about on a daily basis. After this morning, some of those wonderings are now knowledge.

Yeah, well, my morning routine did go extremely smooth this morning and I was at the Crossroads at precisely 8:49am. I hadn't put a dent in my day yet, but I was getting close! Thank goodness the windshields weren't icy because, if you remember, I'm not a window scraper - I let the defroster clean the windshield for me - and usually barely enough to see out of. Had that been the case, I may not have had the law so fully on my side.

Anyway, I stopped at the 4-way stop headed west. The green Envoy was rolling to a stop headed south and I was confident it was coming to a full stop. I thought I'd made the typical 'eye contact' with the driver and so I started through the intersection. A split second later, I saw the monster. It was gigantic, with a life all its own with gaping, saliva-dripping teeth and wild, bloodshot eyes rolling back and forth . . . okay. . . maybe that was a bit exaggerated but you get the idea. It wasn't so much the vehicle coming at me that startled me as the force of the impact. I don't think they really came to a complete stop and then she must have gunned the engine. I pulled off the road a little bit - not sure how far I could go before I was going to cross the line into "leaving the scene of an accident" territory.

One of the parts of this whole scenario that lined up in my favor was that there was already a UHP car pulled off the road barely past the Crossroads and so there was immediate assistance - and a witness. I, of course, being in shock and allowing the adrenalin racing through my body to influence my decisions, could think of only one thing to do - call LOML. While I was waiting for him to come, still not having seen who was driving the other vehicle, I prayed the driver wasn't a ward member or a client. I mean, you just can't go around hitting other ward members with your vehicle. Doesn't that require meetings with the Bishop and wearing sack cloth and ashes until forgiveness is meted out? And, if it was a client, chances are they wouldn't be insured and they would probably be under the influence of some sort of medication. My prayer was answered.

So, LOML got there and spent most of his time laughing and snapping pictures. I thought the UHP officer was on my side because he laughed when I said, "And I called him, why????" but then, when he started snapping pictures of me while I was in the UHP car, the officer actually rolled the window down so he could get a better shot and then offered to put the 'silver bracelets' on me! Men can be so fickle sometimes! I sat with LOML in his truck while we were waiting for the paperwork and he, very kindly and compassionately, picked the almonds out of his can of mixed nuts and shared them with me. Problem solved. I had to smile.

So, short story long, it wasn't my fault. There were no injuries. The Jimmy is still drivable, {until they tell us where to take it to get it fixed} but with air conditioning. And, it just so happened I had been inspired to make a batch of Manna a couple of days before so there was comfort food when I got home! It may not have been the morning I had lined up, but a lot of things lined up to keep it from being as bad as it could have been.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

I'm Spoiled!

I try to be appreciative but I'm sure I fall short more times than not, but my husband spoils me! I know this will mean nothing to anyone else but I wanted to make note of it. A few years ago I stumbled upon the coolest snap press {a tool for attaching snaps to jackets, shirts, pjs, doll clothes, etc. or whatever else you so desire to have snaps attached to}. I was actually looking for a cheap place to buy snaps in bulk on the Internet when I stumbled across the press. It uses a different kind of snap - they're actually plastic - but I really like them. However . . . the press is bulky and heavy and in order for me to get that last umph to know the snap is attached, I have had to put the press down on the floor so I could have enough leverage. It's not difficult or sweat-producing, just strategic.

A few days ago I once again stumbled {something I do a lot of when I'm surfing the Internet} upon instructions for building a stand so the snap press could actually be operated with a foot pedal. I printed them off right as Alan was walking by and just off the wall {and so I'd know if it was even worth dreaming about} I showed the pictures to Alan and inquired as to the feasibility of building such a contraption. He looked at it, made a few noncommittal comments and that was that.

 Next thing I know, he's gathering pieces here and there. He spent an evening in Nate's shop welding {thank you Nate for sharing your warm shop with your father} and pretty well his entire day off Saturday out in front of his shed working. There were several trips to the hardware store and the welding shop.

And, wallah, I have a snappy snap press contraption! When it gets warmer, it will need to be taken outside and primed and painted but for now, it works like a charm. Except I don't know my own strength now and have to be careful so I don't break the snaps. Kind of a cool feeling being stronger than you realize! Anyway, like I said, it means nothing to anyone else but I'm thrilled.

Thanks for spoiling me, Alan!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

My Philosophy!

One minute you're having the ride of your life. The next minute . . .

One minute you're leading the pack. The next minute . . .

One minute you're in control. The next minute . . .

Well . . . it's all relative.

But it definitely happens FAST!