Friday, May 29, 2009

Is It Swine Flu?

Well, what I thought was a 12-hour viral infection is going on its third day now. I will cycle through feeling not too bad and then almost all of a sudden, I have no energy, am dizzy and feel like I am going to collapse. I have all the symptoms of a flu, but I really don't want to go into the doctor so that I can pay him to tell me what I already know and that there is nothing to treat it. I realize that I just have to let it run its course. Yesterday I went home from work a couple of hours early because I was really starting to feel sick. I went right to bed and slept for about 3 hours. When Sherrie arrived at home she wanted to go to Walmart. We did need to pick up some things at the store so I went with her. Walking around the store for a few minutes just about did me in. I didn't know if I was going to make it back out to the car. When we got back home, I laid on the couch for a couple of hours watching So You Think You Can Dance waiting for the Ibuprofen to kick in. About 10:00pm I was feeling much better. I had energy and was sweating rather than freezing. I went to bed and slept the whole night. I awoke feeling better. But after sitting at work for about 3 hours, I am really starting to feel sick again. I must have the fever back, because I am feeling chilled and it is almost 80 degrees in my office (the air conditioning in my hallway doesn't work so we swelter all summer long). I can feel that my body is telling me to go to bed and sleep. I guess I will see if I can make it to lunch time. I probably should have just stayed home today, but I always feel guilty when I stay home sick. I would rather at least try to go into work (and infect everyone else in the process) than call in sick. Well, I hope that it isn't the swine flu and I hope that I am feeling better tomorrow.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

A 12-Hour Virus

Sarah had a viral infection which she apparently passed on to me. My symptoms were almost exactly the same as hers. Yesterday afternoon I started feeling dizzy and even somewhat confused. I laid down on the couch to wait for it to pass. I then began taking chills and couldn't get warm. I watched So You Think You Can Dance with a heavy blanket wrapped around me. I decided to go to bed early so I loaded up on decongestant, tylenol and vitamin C. About midnight I woke up and was burning up, but I was too weak to get out of bed and into the shower. I passed in and out of sleep until the alarm went off. This morning I feel very tired and my muscles ache. I wonder if it is the "swine" flu. I didn't miss any work and was able to get the balusters painted last night before I started to feel sick. I hope I have more energy the weekend or it will be another Saturday lost with nothing accomplished.

Jared Wednesday Update - 05/28/09

The Williams had a pogo stick so Cassinat and I had some fun on it.

Here is a picture of those magnolia trees. I remember we used to have these in the front of our house in Tennessee. They have beautiful white blossoms.

It was good to heard from Jared again. He is very busy in Gadsden - that is good for the Bible Belt in the deep south. He writes, "[w]e have been having a wonderful week so far. We continue to be super busy and are trying our hardest to stay focused and get everything done."

It looks as if Jared will be able to participate in another baptism. "Friday night we taught Wayne again at the William's home. We taught him more of the commandments and will finish teaching him this Thursday. His baptismal interview is Friday and we are pumped for his baptism on Sunday."

As a District Leader, Jared holds training meetings with his district. "I had each companionship prepare part of it so everyone gave a little bit of a training. I did it on the scripture Alma 26:22 “Yea, he that repenteth and exerciseth faith, and bringeth forth good works, and prayeth continually without ceasing,... and it shall be given unto such to bring thousands of souls to repentance.” I was mainly focusing on preparing a lesson plan. Missionaries tend to get stuck in ruts and do the same lesson over and over again. It's not good to be robotic. We need to spice up our lessons with stories, questions, object lessons, etc. I think it will really help a lot."

I see a lot of growth and maturing taking place on his mission. It is really a blessing to see your children mature into capable, responsible and spiritual adults.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

It's Tuesday

The Monday holiday has left me date-confused all day long. Given that I get confused rather easily it is no great surprise. But now that I understand tomorrow is Wednesday I am happy because the work week will be half over. It isn't that I don't like going to work. I actually do enjoy my work and really like the company that employees me. It is just that I have so much to do that I feel I need more weekends or just a week off to get caught up. It enjoyed the trip to the cabin this past weekend, but that left me with another weekend that home fixup projects were at a stand still. I have tried to get motivated to work on the staircase during the week. But by the time I get all my gardens watered and the laundry done and the dishes washed, there really just isn't much time left over. Tonight I even debated on whether I would blog or just go finish my book. I usually finish a book in a few days. I have been nibbling at this one for several weeks. If I don't finish it soon, I won't remember how it started! (I am reading the Camel Club - which is a good book, especially for the conspiracy theorists.) I guess since I have fueled the cars, checked the oil in the van, visited the ATM for lunch money and blogged for a few minutes I can now retire to bed and hopefully finish my book. At least that will be something off the list of projects to complete.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Memorial Day

We had perfect weather for Memorial Day. We spent most of the day in the yard and got a lot done. I finally planted the grapes by the arbor going into the vegetable garden. I planted the dogwood tree and azaleas in the front garden. Sherrie planted several perennials that we bought and she went through and weeded the entire front side garden (not an easy task to take on). Jonathan and Jordan mowed the lawns (which had grown too much since the last mowing due to the nice rains that we have had). With everything done the yard looks beautiful. Jonathan wanted to take some pictures of the flowers so he took my camera and shot some really nice photos of different flowers. I took a few more and they are posted as the slide show. There are a number of flowers blooming now. It is as if summer has arrived early. We had a nice lunch on the patio. Sherrie made salads and Jordan grilled ribs. Sarah raised the umbrella on the table and I just sat back and enjoyed my meal. I am really tired tonight after doing so much in the yard and my nose hurts because it got sunburned.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Memorial Weekend Getaway

Sherrie and I took advantage of the long Memorial Day weekend to head north to Island Park and Yellowstone to spend some time together (sans children), check on the cabin and checkout Old Faithful in Yellowstone Park. Albeit fast, it was a fun get away. We headed out a little later than planned on Friday afternoon so we arrived in the dark at about 11:00 pm. We would have arrived about 15 minutes sooner, but an Island Park officer pulled me over 5 miles from the cabin to let me know that I had a burned out headlight - after which he spent 15 minutes checking my license and registration. Fortunately there was no ticket involved and I didn't have to drive in the dark again, so I will get it promptly repaired in the morning. It had been a while since we had been to the cabin and I had all the power turned off so I couldn't see to get into the bedroom to switch the power on. I finally located the blow torch used to light the pellet stove and used it as a light to find the electrical breaker. After the lights were turned on I found that I had left a flashlight on the table by the front door for that very purpose. Next time I will know that it is there. I also had instructions to turn off all the faucets before turning on the water (glad I had those instructions and found them before turning on the water). Everything was in good shape. The boards over the windows had protected them. The water came on with only one small leak in the system drain valve (which I will fix next time I go up). We lit the pellet stove and enjoyed a nice hour with a fire and a quiet forest around us. In the morning we enjoyed breakfast on the front porch and listened to all the birds singing. There was still a little snow on the ground and the only flowers in bloom were the glacier lilies and a little white flower that I sadly don't know the name of (yet).

We spend a lazy morning checking out the cabin and land around it and then headed up to West Yellowstone. We made our regular trip to the local hardware store to pick up a few supplies. We went to Homeroom to look at the furniture, cabin decor and unique toys they carry. I didn't find anything I couldn't live without. Sherrie made a few purchases from the toy department. We found there was quite a line of cars heading into the park. We had to wait about 30 minutes. Once we were in the park there wasn't bad traffic to speak of. There was the occasional slow down so everybody could take a picture of a bison or elk. We opted to bypass all the interim stops and head straight to Old Faithful. We were able to see the geyser blow twice while we were there. We made the hike up to the observation point. It was really a beautiful day in the park. We left the park and headed back into West Yellowstone to get some fudge at the local candy store. They make the best Huckleberry fudge (and I am sure that with Huckleberries in it, it must be low calorie).

We had a date to go to Pond's Lodge for dinner (and yes, old married couples still enjoy romantic dates). They have really good food at Pond's Lodge, although it looks otherwise. I had the best barbecue ribs with a delicious bean and bacon soup. Sherrie had a chicken breast and a green salad. It is a fun place to go. When we made it back to the cabin we did a little cleaning to get ready for the next time we go up and hit the sack early as a day of hiking left us exhausted (yes, we are getting older and are slightly out of shape).

Sunday morning was another lazy morning. We ate some breakfast on the front porch and then it was getting ready to head home. We left the cabin at about noon with our first stop in Sugar City, Idaho. We stopped to see our oldest son's grave and leave some flowers for Memorial Day. We hit rain in St. Anthony and weren't even sure we would be able to get out and get some pictures at the grave. The weather smiled favorably on us and we were able to put flowers on the grave and get some pictures. While we were there we ran into Sherrie's Aunt Sonja and Uncle Sheryl from Pocatello. That was a very pleasant surprise. It had been a couple of years since Sherrie had seen them (the last time I saw them we were still living in Idaho Falls). We had a really nice visit with them in the cemetery. The graves looked really nice. After leaving the cemetery we drove up on the Rexburg hill to see the new temple there. We had seen it under construction on our trips up and back from Island Park but had never driven up to it. It is beautiful sitting on the hill, but it does look like it needs some bigger trees around it (they are there but just need to grow a little).

Our next stop on the way home was to see Sherrie's dad in Pocatello. We found the care center thanks to directions from Sherrie's Uncle Sheryl. Jim was surprised to see us. He is looking good and has lost a lot of weight. He seemed to like the care facility, but didn't think the food was very good (I guess next time we will have to sneak a hamburger and fries in for him). We had a really nice visit with him.

From Pocatello we headed home arriving at about 9:00 pm. It was a tiring weekend, but a fun one.

Monday, May 18, 2009

May Flowers Arrive - Thank You April Showers

With all the nice warm weather we are having here in Tooele, more flowers are opening up to enjoy the sun. I have been waiting, somewhat unpatiently, for the Himilayan Poppy to open. Last year it was just a second year plant and didn't put on a very good show. This spring it has been covered with large healthy buds. Well, the wait was worth it. As can be seen in the pictures, it has large healty blossoms with an incredible peach and maroon coloring. The irises have also started to bloom. While the flowers don't last long, they are also spectacular. The alliums have been up out of the ground for a while and are now bursting into bloom with their large spherical blossoms (they are a relative of the onion). We first saw these flowers in the gardens at the Lion House and decided we needed them in our gardens. Sherrie loaded the gardens front and back with plenty of allium. I also found some time this weekend to finally install the sprinkler line on the west side of the house. The grass that has been suffering there for two years with an occasional hand watering will be glad to see regular moisture. That should improve the look of that side yard dramatically. Now I just need to find the time and energy to plant the grapes and the dogwood tree. I seem to put off planting the plants that are in the large pots because that means I have to dig a larger hole. My experience is that about 3 inches down I run into river rock which, with the clay, makes digging a large hole difficult at best. However, if I don't get on it soon, I might lose the plants - so I guess there isn't much choice but to find the energy and make the time.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

The Hidden Trekkie in Me

I've never considered myself a Trekkie. I don't know that I've ever seen any of the Star Trek movies that have come out. I did, however, watch Star Trek (the original Star Trek) on TV religiously as a child. I have to say that it was my favorite of all shows. I even remember being bothered for weeks after watching an episode where a female character is imprisoned in an ice cave and could never leave it. Well, last night, after hearing good reviews, I ended my long-standing dismissal of Trek wannabie movies and took my kids to see the newest Star Trek movie. It came with high regards from my Bishop who took his wife and they really enjoyed it. We worked in the yard too long so we had to take in the late showing. Jordan went to the store beforehand and bought each of us a "theater" size candy (they even came in boxes). Needless to say, I had my box of candy finished before the previews were over. After spending a small fortune to admit four people to the movie theater, I wasn't up to taking out a loan to buy popcorn and drinks (I always think that I could just buy the movie DVD for less than a large popcorn and drink). We did all enjoy the movie. I am kind of like Simon Cowell on this one. I'm not sure that I would give it all the rave reviews that I had heard. The actors did an adequate job of representing the true Star Trek characters. I think Bones and Chekov did the best. I really didn't get the two Spock think except that it was a way to bring Leonard Nimoy into the movie. At any rate, we all had a fun time together and Sherrie won't have to endure it until it comes out on DVD and we watch it again. I am still asking myself it we should have seen Angels and Demons. I guess that question will remain unanswered since it is unprecedented for me to attend to full-price movies in any three month period (I really liked the dollar theater in Oregon. We could get in for 0.50 each on Monday nights, so we went to the movies often.)

Friday, May 15, 2009

Mother's Day 2009

We had a nice Mother's Day last Sunday. Sherrie enjoyed her gifts. She received a delphinium from Sarah, a sculpture from Jordan (he made in one of his art classes at SUU), a color bowl from Jonathan, a rose and balloon from Britney and a fountain for the patio from me. I believe he best gift was the call from Jared who she hadn't been able to talk to since Christmas. It was exciting to get Jared's call. Britney was up for the weekend and was able to talk to Jared also. It was an exciting and emotional day.

Jared Update - May 13, 2009

one with Elder Semar and me on his shoulders.
Allred got a flat, i helped him on it.

Allred and I at Noccolula falls

I received Jared's email on Wednesday. However, I have been so busy with other family activities that I haven't had a chance to post anything until today. He continues to love life in Alabama. Here are a couple of excerpts from his letter:

"We also ended up mowing an older lady’s lawn, who is homebound. It was my first time mowing the lawn with a riding lawn mower. I think everyone here in the south has one of them things. It’s hilarious, even if they have 20 square feet of lawn. I just don’t get it."

I remember the riding lawn mowers in Tennessee. Jared is right, everybody has one. In fact, I remember the riding lawn mower club that rode in the annual 4th of July parade in Farragut. With my half acre lot in Farragut I should have invested in one. Now my yard is so small that I don't think I could turn one around in it.

"I accompanied a mother and daughter who sang. It was kinda funny because they came rushing in when we were teaching Kristen and said, “We can’t find anyone to play for us, the lady who was supposed to do it can’t play the second half of the piece! Will you play for us?” I was liked sure. We went through it a couple of times and that’s all the practice I got. It went really well when we played it for reals. I was kinda nervous because I was stumbling on different parts and stuff since we had 10 minutes to practice but we said a prayer and I played it perfectly. That was cool. I’m glad Mrs. Beard taught me how to sight read really well."

I am sure that Jared is glad now that his mother made him practice every morning. He is a very accomplished pianist and probably could have sight read the piece during the service if necessary (after playing Rachmoninoff and Listz, this one would have been a piece of cake).

"oh yea, i almost fogot!! Thursday was my year mark and I burned one of my shirts. That was pretty fun. We have a grill on our balcony that we burn our anti material in and i burned my shirt in it. We had a fun time. Whoo hoo!!!! It's a bitter sweet thing."

Yes, it is hard to believe that Jared has been in Alabama for over a year now. The first couple of months went by quite slowly, however, the time seems to be really flying by now (I'm not sure that Britney would agree the time is flying by).

We are glad that Jared is enjoying his mission and that he continues to work hard. I have been a lot of growth in him and I can certainly say that I am a proud father!
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Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Bumper Sticker Philosophy

I actually saw this bumper sticker on a car a few days ago. It gave me a chuckle initially. It was, however, one of those things that continue to bounce around in my brain cavity causing me to pursue deeper meanings in it. I have found it peculiar how much insight can be found in bumper sticker sayings and this one gave me cause for more thought. Certainly based on my belief system, I do believe that all humankind are children of God - a being who is omnipotent, omniscient (I love those words) and of perfect love in that his children are of all equal importance to him (and in speaking of God I include both God the Father and Jesus Christ in that I am a Christian with a belief in a separate Father and Christ). However, regardless of the specifics of my belief system, it appears to be a common theme amongst the monotheistic religions and the individuals within those religions that while we must conceded to the fact that God loves all his children, we want to believe He loves us better than the rest. This is what I believe sets up the hostilities between faiths and individuals within similar faiths. "I am going to win." "I am going to be the favorite child." To be truly Christ-like (based on my Christian belief system), one must set aside that feeling of the need for superiority to any other human being and recognize the true intrinsic value of all human beings; be willing to not only accept but embrace that truth that God loves all his children equally, regardless of race or creed.
While living in Oregon I saw the bumper sticker "God Bless Everyone - No Exceptions", which I also loved. While we may feel nationalistic pride, which is not bad, true Christian belief is without nationalistic ties and our prayer should be to invoke the blessing of God on all humankind.

Well, I guess my bloggish ramblings are exhibiting my liberal leanings. I guess this is just (at least I hope) wisdom that come with age (there has to be something to balance the losses that come with age).

Monday, May 11, 2009

Flower Power

WOW, I can't believe that it has been so long since I last blogged. I hurt my shoulder and had to take muscle relaxers for a couple of weeks so that must be the ultimate cause. I lost a couple of weeks of my life in a prescription drug induced stupor. Today was such a beautiful day that I had to get out and take pictures of the flowers that are blooming now. I have learned that many of the flowers send up their beautiful colors and textures for only a short time and you can't wait until mid-summer to enjoy the flowers. They start as soon as the snow starts to melt and continue until the snow starts to fall months later. I worked with my youngest son on the veggie garden this past weekend. We put in a trellis gate and a small paver entry to the garden. It doesn't look like much, but it required a lot of work (well, a lot of heavy lifting). Now I just have to plant the grapes that are going to grow up over the trellis, clean out the garden area and plant the veggies and I am done with that project. I got Sherrie a new fountain for the garden near the back patio so I need to get it situated and operational. Then it is on to the big project for the summer which is putting in a pond garden. I have the plants. I have the supplies. I just need the muscle strength to dig the holes and carry the fill dirt. I am really anxious to get that project done. Sherrie is really anxious for me to finish the stair project. I kind of lost my momentum on that project. I guess I should finish the installation this week and then I can put the polyurethane one it this weekend. When will all the projects end???? Right now it seems that I can't even see the light at the end of the tunnel. I don't know how I was able to accomplish so much more on our previous homes. I installed floors and moved walls and ... Now it is all I can to to just install a simple railing. Oh, the difficulty of growing old. As much as I tell myself that I will not grow old and slow down, it is inevitable. I try to force myself and I end up injured. I guess one shouldn't challenge the body because the body will prevail. Again, time is running short and I need to tidy the house before I get off to bed. So until next time (which I hope will be tomorrow), Adieu.