Friday, June 29, 2012

True Friends

I have been sick for the past two days.  A lot of bed time and misery makes me introspective, and I've been thinking about friends.

Sami is kind and sweet and good.  We can go months without seeing one another.  We can sometimes not even really know what is going on in one another's lives.  But no matter how long it's been, she loves me, and I love her.  I know that if I need anything I can call her, and she will be there.  She is family, and she has blessed me by allowing her own family to become part of mine and by loving my family in return.

My friend Amber was sick, too.  But when I texted her, she just kindly answered my question.  She didn't act like I was a burden.  I didn't know she was sick till the next day.  She accepted but brushed off my apologies.  Sometimes that's what friends do for each other.

My friend Janece asked about me when I came back to work.  Then she kindly asked about our dog. She is not an animal lover, but she loves me enough to know that I love our Bella and that Bella's condition would surely be on my mind and heart.

My friend Dean asked about me.  After listening, he got busy laughing (and making me laugh) and just being normal.  He also brought me a chocolate-chocolate muffin. 

My friend Amy has 400,000,000 friends (give or take a few thousand).  That's because she's so lovable and funny and smart and good.  But when she's with me, she makes me feel like I am the most special and important friend she has.  I'm pretty certain all of her friends think they are the most special and important, but they must be wrong.

My best friend Spencer came to work and took me to lunch.  We visited about a lot of different things.  Sometimes we were just quiet.  I know that Spencer has heartaches, too, so sometimes we just hold hands and help each other ache for a few minutes.  Sometimes one of us sleeps on the couch so the other can sleep without interruption.  Sometimes we leave kisses by putting a big "X" on the paper (also so the other person can sleep without interruption).  Sometimes we laugh till we can't breathe.  Sometimes we don't know what to do, but we know we'll do it together.

Vicky calls me "Honey."  I don't like it when strangers call me that, but when Vicky calls me "Honey," I think just maybe she really thinks I'm sweet.

When Karleen sees me, her eyes not only light up with delight, but sometimes she just looks relieved.  I imagine that I look the same way when I see her.  Karleen has been my sounding board on many occasions, and sometimes I just sit and listen to her.  Either way, I am blessed beyond measure.  She's been a mentor in many, many aspects of my life.

Carol always greets me with a hug and a sigh.  I think she cherishes me almost as much as I cherish her.   She laughs.  She simmers.  She cries.  We hug.  We share kleenex.  We laugh at people (but only if they really deserve it).  We thank Heaven for our quirky lives.

Mark randomly sends me pictures of his family.  He knows that I will get a kick out of seeing the kids grow and hearing of the accomplishments of his children.  I send him things, too, and I know he will celebrate my life with me.

Jen and I served together.  I have "presided" over her.  She's "presided" over me. We blend.  We work.  We laugh.  She is an example.  She is a peer.

Courtney saw some pictures of me (as a child) that my brother posted on FB.  Why?  I don't know.  But she told me I was cute.  Since she's in her early 20's and definitely adorable on many levels, I cherish that compliment.

Annette and Kim and Shana miss me and tell me so when I don't come to lunch.  It's nice to know that someone is thinking about you.

Some people are friends for the few minutes you know them.  They touch your life--often profoundly--during that season, and then they are gone.  Others are friends forever. 

Some friends are so much like you that you think you must have been raised in the same family on the other side of the veil.  Some friends are so different from you that you wonder how in the world you ever found common ground.

I am so thankful for friends!

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Sharing a Memory -- 80's Rock

When Tay was about 6, my brother came to visit from California.  He brought a LOT of music with him, because, you know, a lot of CD's can fit in one little carrying case.  He was playing something, and Taylor was not interested.  Finally Brant said, "What music do you like, Tay?"  Taylor said, "I like 'We Built This City.'"  Brant looked at me, and I said, "Yes.  That would be Starship."  He looked at Tay and said, "I bet I can hook you up."

Sure enough, within minutes, we were blasting WE BUILT THIS CITY ON ROCK AND ROLL.

Now Brant and his family live in our basement apartment-of-sorts.  Taylor lets Brant's boys come up and use his computer to download music to their iPods.  Here is the conversation I just heard:

K:  Do you have any 80's rock?
T:  Dude, rock 'n' roll is the BEST.
K:  I know, right?  But do you have any?
T:  Dude, my iPod is full of it.  It's all on my iTunes.  Take what you want.

What goes around comes around, even if it's evolved somewhat in 13 years.  Maybe when T gets home from his mission he will go to Kandon for music tips.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Sometimes I Actually Learn

About 10 years ago, I got sick.  I was so miserable, and when I get sick I get really stupid.  I don't think to take a temperature.  I don't think to take medicine.  All I can do is roll over in bed and play dead.  After three days of misery--chills, aches, sore throat, hot and cold flashes--my friend said, "Do you think you might have strep?"  As soon as she said it, I knew that was what it was.  Sure enough, the strep test came back positive.

The doctor asked if I wanted a prescription or a shot.  I was so sick, and he explained that the shot would have me feeling better within hours.  But oh, how I hate shots!  I said, "Is it subcutaneous or intramuscular?"  He said, "Are you a nurse?"  I said, "No, just a shot connoisseur."

In the end, I had the shot, administered by a WONDERFUL assistant who gave me a really smooth shot.  And sure enough, I was better by that afternoon.  Blessed, wonderful 21st century medicine!!!

Last night my throat got more and more sore as the evening progressed.  We went to the vet clinic, home, to the pet ER (Bella had to spend the night in the hospital), to dinner, and to a movie.  By the end of the movie all I could think was, "I HAVE to get in my bed!"  See?  Stupid!

I got up this morning and turned off my alarm.  I slept for another 4 hours.  When I got up, stiff and sore, I thought, "I wonder if I have strep?"  Amazing, right?  Yes.  Yes, it is.

And yes, I do.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Not Even FIVE Years

In 2007 I stopped teaching preschool, GG moved out, and I ran out of excuses for not having a dog.  Taylor had been begging for a dog for couple of years, Spencer was on his side, and before I knew what had happened, we had Abby.  That makes it sound like I didn't want her.  I will be honest:  I did not want a dog.  But when I could see I was beaten, I went looking at dogs with the family, and I really did want Abby.  She was a sweet dog.

Abby was fiercely protective of our family, so guests in our house were not treated very well by Abby.  But she was wonderful with us.  She was smart and obedient.  Eight months after we got her, Abby got suddenly ill.  Within days she was retaining huge amounts of water and she could hardly walk.  We knew the humane thing to do was to put her down.  So one evening we told the kids, and they cried and cried and cried.  They hugged and loved on Abby. 

The next day Spencer sent me an email that simply said, "Today.  1:00."  I called him to see if he was OK, and he wasn't.  So I left work to be with my family, whose hearts were breaking.  The kids got home from school just as we were leaving the house, so we had waterworks again before we left.  And again when we came home, of course.

At the vet they told us that they would give Abby a dose of a sedative, then when she was very calm they would give her the euthanizing shot.  They told us we could stay with her or wait in the waiting room.  You guys, I could not leave her.  I just felt like I was totally abandoning her, and she would know it, so I couldn't leave.  The problems came with the sedative.  Because she was retaining so much water, they had to sedate her three different times, and it never did really do what it was supposed to do.  By the time the third sedative started to kick in, she was still trying to walk around, and she was upset, but she lost bowel control and her legs would buckle.  It was the saddest thing I have ever seen, and I wanted to yell, "Just put her out of her misery!  You're making it worse by trying to make it better!"

Finally they decided that even though she wasn't as sedated as they'd like, they would give her the euthanizing shot.  The whole thing was a terrible experience, except for the moment when she passed.  It was fast and sweet.  They then sweetly closed her eyes and positioned her body in a quiet sleeping position, and we got to spend some personal time with her little body.  We cried and cried and cried.  We cried all the way home.  Then we cried some more.

Well, you guessed it, two days later, Taylor tearfully asked if we could get another dog.  Spencer did his normal shopping thing, and within another week we had Bella.

Bella is the exact opposite of Abby:  Bella is all white, Abby was all black.  Bella loves to play, Abby didn't care about it.  Bella is a doofus, Abby was brilliant.  Bella eats like a pig and will eat anything put in front of her, Abby had more discriminating tastes.  Abby was all business, Bella is fun and games.  Abby didn't like anyone but us, Bella loves anyone and everyone--especiallyBut Bella has been a love, right from the beginning.  Whoever lost her was sad, I'm sure, but she has been a blessing to us.

When we first got her I told our family, "This dog better live for 10 years, at least till Landon is on his mission.  Because if anything happens to her, my heart will be broken, and I don't know if I can do it again."

You can see what's coming, right?

For the past couple of weeks Bella has not been 100% herself.  She's not been eating well.  Sometimes she'd look drunk while she was walking.  She hasn't had the energy to run and play.  June and December are when we give her a de-worming medication, so we did that, hoping that that was going to help her. 

When I was coming home from work last night, I called Spencer, and he said that he was going to take her to the vet first thing in the morning.  But about an hour after I got home, Bella went completely berserk.  She started yiping like she was afraid.  She'd try to run, but she fell down.  She'd turn in circles, and she acted like she couldn't even see or hear us.  We scooped her up, and within minutes we were at the veterinary hospital.

The doctor did a preliminary check and couldn't find anything noticably wrong.  He was baffled by what we told him had happened.  And then it happened again.  We all just stood and watched her as she went a little nuts and calmed down about a minute later.  It happened twice more while we were there.  The doc did an ultrasound and found nothing, so he told us she probably had a neurological issue of some kind.  Then they did some blood work, and they found that her blood sugar level was quite low.  He thought that Bella might have an insulin-secreting tumor on her pancreas.  If it's small we might be able to treat her with prednisone for a while.  We can have surgery to remove the tumor, but often there are micro-tumors that just grow anyway.

So really?  The writing is on the wall.  There is a very good possibility that in the near future we will have to do the kind thing for Bella and have her put to sleep.

And once again, my heart is breaking.  The truth is that I love our dog.  Even more, though, I hate that the hearts of my family are breaking.  This dog was supposed to live till everyone was an adult.  How do I tell Briana that her sweet Bella is dying?  And if we have to put her down, do we do it before or after Taylor leaves?  Ugh.

Friday, June 22, 2012

The Day We Went to the Temple

I am not a good mom, because I didn't even think to take Taylor OUTSIDE the Salt Lake Temple for pictures.

I am a happy mom, though.  It counts.

Yesterday Taylor received his endowment in the Salt Lake Temple.  It was a sweet, sweet experience.  I took him the night before (Wednesday) to purchase his special clothing.  As the sister was asking what he'd want, I'd kinda make the choice for him.  He said, "Y'all are speaking Chinese." 

After the session, Spencer asked him how he was feeling.  He said that he was excited.  He said he had lots of questions, and he wanted to raise his hand and ask them a dozen times during the ceremony.  But he also said that it felt calm and good.  So, overall, he said, "I'd say I feel 'Meh.'"  We think it is a good sign that everything was calm.

Taylor has worked very hard to be worthy to enter the house of the Lord.  He's had to cross many obstacles to get there.  At one point he forgot something and gave a wrong answer.  It confused the worker, who pulled Tay away so they could look into it.  Poor T!  He looked absolutely heartsick and worried and stressed.  I wanted to go put my arms around him and tell him everything was going to be OK, because they don't kick you out of the temple.  But I had a strong impression that there were some things a man has to work through on his own, so I let him sit.  I knew the temple workers would take care of him and he would be just fine.  And sure enough, he was.  (This is probably some kind of foreshadowing for the future.  *sigh*)

We were joined in the temple by both of Tay's paternal grandmothers, his Aunt Becky, and our sweet friend, Sami.  It was a lovely, lovely time of worship and learning and service.

Afterward, we went home and picked up Landon and Ashtyn, and we all went to lunch.  Taylor got to pick the spot, and we got Salt City Burgers--yum!  We thought we might see if anything good was at the dollar movies, but the kids voted for Nickelcade instead.  We had a lot of fun playing together.  You oughtta see us going at it at the air hockey table!  In the end, we won enough tickets to each get a wonderful (cheap) treat before we headed home.

When we got home, Landon went to hang out with Kandon, Ashtyn went to hang out with Charissa, and Taylor went to the temple with Chris.  So Spencer and I had some quiet time together with both of us awake!  Amazing!  (This second shift thing is hard.)  After a snooze we ran to Walmart together for a few items.

Later Tay went to institute and Landon went to Logan's baseball game.  Ashtyn and I went to the rose festival at Thanksgiving Point and watched "Tangled" in the park there.  Spencer spent a quiet evening at home watching "Sherlock Holmes" and "Top Gear."  We all came home and dropped into bed to begin another day.

But this day was wonderful, from top to bottom!

Friday, June 15, 2012

Random Happenings at Our House

Taylor has scheduled with the Salt Lake Temple to receive his endowment at the 9:00 a.m. session on Thursday, June 21st.

I made a seriously awesome lasagna for dinner last night.

I've been spending some time watching "Cheers" on Netflix.  It makes me LOL.

Spencer is working a second (swing) shift through the end of the year--have I mentioned that?  It's hard.  We never see each other.  I purposely don't blot my lipstick before I kiss him goodbye in the mornings.  :)

Ash and Lando have been in Idaho with their grandparents this week.  They'll be home today.  Hooray!

I had my first stake Primary presidency meeting this week.

Bountiful Baskets gave us a fruit, and I have no idea what it is.  But it's really good!

Spencer got a little Mazda Miata.  It's black  The name choices are:  Black Pearl, Jafar, Frozone, or Zurg.  Any votes?

Friday, June 8, 2012

Sharing a Memory

Children's songs were a huge part of my childhood.  My dad is definitely a music man, and there was always music of all kinds at our house. 

My husband did not have the music experience (our version of "The Classics" is very different), and at first he thought all of the silly songs we sang at my parents' home were stupid.  But he's always been a really good sport, and it wasn't long before he was a professional children's song singer.

We continued the tradition of singing songs with our children, especially when we were in the car.  Our children have always been good travelers, but like anyone, they grew weary of long drives.  So we would sing songs.  To this day they call it "The Song Game."  It's not really a game; everyone gets to take turns choosing the song we will sing.  With six family members, three "rounds" of the song game can get you pretty far down the road.  Our songs range from Primary songs to rounds to silly songs to repeat-after-me songs, and our repertoire has grown as the kids have gone to Scout and YW camps.

One of the rounds I learned as a child goes like this:

As a little boy, Taylor loved this song.  T's birthday is in January, so he was in nursery from the time he was 18 months till he was nearly 4.  He could talk really well, but he just thought the song was "Swink-Swink da Donkey."  One day the nursery leader came to me, looking exasperated.  She said, "You have to help me.  Taylor gets so upset if we can't sing his favorite song, but I don't know what it is!  I can't understand what he's saying."  I started laughing, and said, "Is it 'Swink, Swink da Donkey'?"  She looked instantly relieved and said, "Yes!  That's what he's saying!  What is that?"  So I taught her the song.  And everyone lived happily ever after.**

*You have to make sure to do the hand movements, too.
**Because who wouldn't be happier when they know that song?

Thursday, June 7, 2012

How Shoes Remind Me of My Grandma

I have some really cute sandals that are beaded.  They make noise when I walk.  This morning I was walking along, and I thought of my Grandma Atkinson.  Every time I wore something that made noise (which probably drove her nuts), she would quote the nursery rhyme: 

"Rings on her fingers and bells on her toes.
She will have music wherever she goes."

When I was a little girl, my grandma had boxes of clothing that she had kept for Halloween costumes.  Some of the costumes she had created for herself and my grandpa were quite elaborate.  She had a really fabulous Cowardly Lion made from corduroy and yarn. 

Besides the Lion, the article I remember the most was this pair of silver stilettos.  At the time that I saw them I was a child in the 1970's, when no one wore stilettos.  I thought they were the funniest shoes I had ever seen.  Now I wish I had them.  :)  I've seen pictures of my stylish grandma when she was a young woman in the 1940's, and I can picture her 40's curls, her hose with a back seam, and her pin skirt, wearing those fabulous stilettos.

In another 20 or 40 years, when stilettos are in style and my grandma has been gone for decades, I will see a random young woman and remember my grandma.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Have You Ever Seen A More Beautiful Graduate?

The answer is NO.

So proud of this girl!

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Parenting Payback -or- You Can't Beat This Week

Sister Hill just finished her 2nd "transfer."  Sister Williams was transferred.  Bri was not.  I'm anxious to hear from her tomorrow and know how things are going.  She is loving her mission and the wonderful people in Indiana!

Landon completed 9th grade, which means we just left middle school for the final time.  I think I've died and gone to heaven.  He finished on a high, too.  That boy earned straight A's for 4th quarter! 

Ashtyn's commencement exercises were on Thursday afternoon.  You should have seen her.  Not only was she beautiful (duh!), but she was glowing with happiness.  It was a great day.

And our Taylor received his mission call!  He is going to the Canada Calgary mission, reporting to the Provo MTC on August 1.

What a wonderful, wonderful week!