Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Butts & Grudges

Since my mom was in town for part of the weekend to spend time with the grand kids, Jeff and I got a chance to head out on a Southern Utah daytrip.

In total we drove down south about 4-5 hours to Calf Creek which is between Boulder and Escalante. It is a beautiful trail that follows a creek back a couple of miles to a waterfall. Before we even drove down I knew I wouldn't make it the entire way to the waterfall because unfortunately a 4 mile round trip hike in sand is too much for me. Jeff and I hiked around a bit and then drove on a back country road called the "Devil's Backbone". Even though I've never lived here this desert country feels like home, and it was good to be back even if only for a few hours. We initially left home at 5:45am and arrived back around 7:30pm.

On these long drives we usually don't talk a ton but will listen to a book on tape. This trip wasn't any different, although there were a couple of conversations which stood out.

One story Jeff shared came from a mission companion. While this guy was in high school he was on the basketball team. One day the coach was really upset and was just chewing the team out. In his frustration the coach yelled, "you've got to pull your butts out of your heads!!!" Jeff's friend thought this was funny (although he wisely didn't laugh) because of course what the angry coach meant to say was "you've got to pull your head out of your butt." Which is a rather rude way of saying "get your act together."

Later on I was relating to Jeff an experience I had last summer. I was visiting my parents and sister and we took the kids to a place called Willow Park. While there I saw an individual I hadn't seen in years. Background: This person and I were 2 people out of 5 who had worked for an extended time period on a group project during college. Short story is that there was a tremendous amount of unnecessary DRAMA surrounding this group. In the end I was quite happy to have moved on. Or I thought I had moved on. But 11 years later, once my brain registered who it was, I played the "I don't see you game" and tried to avoid her. Turns out I had been holding a grudge FOR YEARS and never realized it until that moment. In looking back I really wish we would have talked.

I have done a fair amount of grudge holding in my life...and I'm trying to get past it.

This story has an end!
And it is this: Holding a grudge and the phrase
"pull your butt out of your head!"
have 3 things in common:
1- Both take a lot of effort.
2- Both are a waste of time.
3- Neither one really makes any sense.

In the center of this photo you can see a teenage kid standing on a rock. He and some family had spent the previous 4 days riding 4-wheelers around Utah back country. They were visiting from Kansas.

Thursday, August 20, 2009


Yesterday, August 19th, was initially set aside for a clinic day. But in early August I decided to push the appointment back a couple of months. I rescheduled. So instead my day was spent offering landscape suggestions to a friend, picking Claire up from kindergarten, errands, birthday party carpool, talking to distant friends on the phone, doing some dishes, reading books with all 3 kids and eating a bowl of ice cream with Jeff. It was a good day.

I look at my body and think that there have not been a lot of changes since my last clinic day. While there have not been any significant changes, muscle atrophy remains my ever constant (and always unwelcome) companion. One big example would be how much more difficult the same hikes are this year compared to last year. And despite my new poles I still manage to trip at least once per hike. One small example would be how I can't push open safety pins with my thumb.

There has been another change which is: I don't mind talking about als when people have questions. I think I realized this when one day Jeff's brother sat down next to me, took my hand and examined it. He then compared it to his wife's. Later he said something along the lines of how there wasn't much muscle left at all in my hand.

Don't you think that any of us are alive at the end of the day is a miracle? There are so many things which can go wrong on any given day. Considering that, I have over 33 years worth of miracles as it is. I love being able to laugh, cheer, scream, cry, hurt, forgive, be forgiven, heal, pray, love, and laugh some more.

And at the end of the day I love being grateful for one more miracle.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Casa de Pollo

For the past three years I have taken my kids to the local IFA store in early spring when the baby chickens come in. Every year Erik and Claire ask for one. And every year I say no. Well this was the year of the chicken, so for Easter I surprised both Erik and Claire with two chicks.

(It isn't really "the year of the chicken", I think the correct animal for the chinese calendar is the ox/bull/cow...but frankly considering the size of our backyard the bovine just weren't an option.)

Erik named his chick Rocko (yes Rocko is a reoccurring pet name in our family) and Claire named hers Sarah. They turned out to be great pets. After they were a month or so old they would spend the entire day in the backyard scratching in the dirt and eating bugs. They would take naps on our lap, and would run to us when they saw us carrying their bag of chicken feed.

When we got them there was an "exit strategy" in place. Erik and Claire knew that they would be temporary pets and after 5 or 6 weeks they would go to a different home. That 2nd home turned out to be that of Jeff's uncle and aunt, Randy and Marie. During the day these chickens are still free range, running around keeping Randy's enormous garden pest free. At night they have a fancy little coop to keep them safe. I'm telling you they have the good life.

Photos from when we visited the chickens last month.

Megan holding Sarah.

Erik and Rocko.

This third chicken belonged to our neighbor Ben, but it also joined the others at Randy & Marie's. Here is Ben reunited with 'Chicken Nugget'. The bird is MUCH larger than when Ben saw him last and it appears he is not quite sure what to think!

Chickens before...
...and after.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Yup, I love him.

In looking for a picture for this post it was hard to find one of just Jeff.

The pictures I came across were Jeff and Meg making breakfast for us. Jeff reading books to Claire. Jeff and Erik fishing. Jeff giving Meg a ride in the baby backpack. Jeff and Claire on the beach. Jeff and Erik pruning trees. This photo I used comes from February 2009. I took it just before Jeff took Claire to a Daddy/Daughter Dance. Claire was so excited to go out with her Dad and Jeff was looking all handsome in his suit (he cleans up nice).

There are plenty of things Jeff does and things I do which the other person finds annoying. But without a doubt we are good for each other. I love him. A lot.