Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Ditching the floaties

When Littlest Ms. was born in 2005 there was no warning about what kind of terror she would bring to my life. Long before her first birthday I had a suspicion that she was part feline. They say cats have nine lives and she had already used almost all of hers. From tumbling down my stairs to having Little Ms. tip a marble table over missing her little head by mere inches it seemed that crisis was just a heartbeat away whenever she was in the house. She went through physical therapy as a baby and claimed a broken hand last year. A CT head scan was done after she fell and hit her head. Unexplained high fevers were common, especially on holidays or weekends.

Two years ago this child decided to sneak away from us to take a swim in the pool with her big sister. Problem: no life jacket. The lifeguard pulled her out coughing and crying. After ten minutes she was back in the pool having a great time. Unfortunately, the memory of that experience continues to haunt both me and Eris.

Bribery works. Last week the proposition was made that when she could successfully swim the width of the pool (30 feet?) by herself I would take her for a milkshake, any flavor, any place, any size. She got her milkshake tonight, chocolate with whipped cream and sprinkles.

It is scary to watch her in the pool because she is still learning. Within a month I expect to see her jumping off the diving board and freaking out the lifeguards just like Little did at this same age.

Littlest Ms., congratulations on ditching the floaties!

$2.50 plus a silver dime and a coin from Qatar

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Sunday services

Church was fabulous today. Zeus and I had a great time.

Sorry the rest of you missed it.


Friday, June 26, 2009


Impermanence is a concept that is talked about often at church. I have a pretty good grasp of this, I think. Nothing stays the same. Everything changes constantly.

The bees pollinate the flowers while they are gathering honey resulting in more flowers and fruits. The dandelion blooms, goes to seed and makes more dandelions. The tadpoles change into a frogs that eventually make more tadpoles that make more frogs.....

Impermanent. Except for the damn rain! When will it stop??????

(Sorry bleason, I wish I could send some your way.)

Note: Photos were taken on a recent Grandma Tuesday Field Trip to the Nature Center. More images posted at the Shooting Blog.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

A day gone awry

Sometimes a well-planned day just doesn't work out the way you expected. For instance, I left the house this morning expecting to gather pocketfuls of coins from post-rain car washes. Instead, the ralking was a dismal failure, at least as far as coinage was concerned. All of the construction has basically shut down about half of my usual pickup areas. I was about 15 minutes behind schedule and I'm guessing that the rest of my hot spots got scooped by the guy on the bike who was watching my route two days ago. Grand total for 90 minutes of ralking, a lousy 32 cents. Note to self: set alarm for 5:30 AM. On the plus side, it was warm enough that I was able to ditch the sweat jacket and do more running than walking.

With summer finally here and our first temps in the 90s we were all looking forward to the relief of the pool. Yes, we've been a few times already but you don't fully appreciate the water until it's hot, hot, hot. So we were all very disappointed when word reached us that a pump at the pool had gone down and it would be closed for the day.

Luckily, Eris pulled out her $5 slip-n-slide from Target. The kids, including the clan from Idaho who were visiting for the day had lots of fun playing in the water for a few hours. Sitting under the large tree in her front yard and letting the little ones play to their hearts content was a fair alternative to the pool.

The last change of plans was the postponement of Little Ms.' final softball game. That left me with nothing to do tonight except edit a few photos and go to bed early. The photos are done and I'm off to work on my crossword puzzle before falling asleep. G'night!

$ .32 plus
.25 this afternoon.

Total: $.57 (still a lousy total)

Monday, June 22, 2009

Take me out to the ball game

Another sports season is winding down. For the last two months Monday and Wednesday evenings have been spent watching Little Ms. Eris play Coachpitch softball.

These six-year-olds haven't yet developed the true love of the game and often can be found sitting in the outfield filling their little pink mitts with dirt and paying no attention to the game.

But still, the games are fun to watch, each in his own way. Jr. brings his video games, Eris grades papers and Littlest, well, she just takes a nap.

$2.52 3/4 plus a small wrench and a spark plug tool

Saturday, June 20, 2009

More hair, or lack of it

Okay, the post yesterday was probably boring to everyone except for three of you who are fellow camera geeks.

This one is for the rest of you who love Zeus' new hairdo and his pointy little head (his description, not mine). He loves it and after a month I am now used to it.

$2.30 (with a little help from Zeus)

Friday, June 19, 2009

Prime time

On my cameras you will almost always find a telephoto lens, one that will allow me to zoom in close or shoot wide angle. These lenses are very convenient for everyday walk-around shooting and do a nice job. Last week one of the photography forums that I read issued a challenge to put a prime lens on and learn to zoom in with your feet instead of the lens.

Prime lenses (sometimes called fixed lenses) result in a sharper focus than zooms simply because of the way they are constructed (I'll spare you the details). Depending on the lens it is sometimes possible to get very close to the subject and also to shoot in extremely low light situations.

I took this photo while at the pool this afternoon. It is closely cropped (love those 12 MP). All of those dots in the water droplets are reflections of the sun. To see the full photo go to the Shooting Blog.

$.34 (lousy day on the streets two days ago)

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Here lies Numi

A few days ago I spent some time in our city cemetery. This is a place that I rarely visit. My personal feelings about graveyards aside, there was something there that I had to see for myself. Recently my mother had expressed an odd mixture of surprise and confusion after visiting her brother's final resting place. The designer of his headstone had a farm scene engraved on it, complete with a barn and cows.

My uncle was a successful, wealthy man. In spite of this, his life was one long tragedy. However, he often expressed his love for Bessy the cow and the country homestead where he grew up. The headstone made perfect sense to me and I commend his family for what I consider to be very appropriate under the circumstances.

As I wandered around the cemetery trying to locate the grave I read some of the epitaphs and looked at dates. What struck me was the number of people who had died at a young age. As I get older the number of "young age" gets higher. That is a sobering thought. I am close to making a commitment as to what is to be done should I become traxified tomorrow. There is a small space reserved for me but I'm not sure that's where I want to go.

But back to the artwork. I saw the grave of a trap shooter, complete with gun, ammo and a clay pigeon. An eleven year old boy had various sports designs engraved. There were dirt bike riders, skiers, books and military insignia. Many contained scriptures, temples or comforting thoughts.

It made me wonder what would represent my life. Music notes? A piano? A pile of neatly folded fabric? Maybe a camera? A pile of coins? Computer? Surely there would be a some reference to grandchildren?

So what would be on your headstone?


Monday, June 15, 2009

Pieces of Paper

The most important dates in my life are documented by pieces of paper. Some of the papers are symbolic, such as the hospital certificate that shows my date of birth along with a photo of my young mother proudly showing off her new daughter. It is not my official birth certificate but is nonetheless, very important to me.

In the last few days I have thought about other pieces of paper that represent achievements, loss or life changing events. Some of these are:

Driver's license, obtained at age 16 and ushered in a new independence in my life.

Birth certificates of Athena and Eris. With these came the responsibilities of two little babies who would remain dependent on me for 18 years.

Court document changing my legal name back to my maiden name. Freedom.

College degree. Oh yes, this one was important for a number of reasons, the biggest was proving that yes, I could really do it in spite of what others believed.

Passport that has allowed me to travel to places that I never thought possible.

Death certificate of my father. Thirteen years have passed and I still miss him.

Marriage certificate. I signed on the dotted line 18 years ago today. A simple piece of paper that means so much. Life gets better with each added year.

I love you, Zeus. Hurry home.


Saturday, June 13, 2009

(sing along..) Little Girls, Little Girls..

The sun came out, but only long enough to enjoy the wonderful play in a spectacular amphitheater. Each time I go to Tuacahn I love it even more, not only for the productions but also the breathtaking scenery.

Our experience seeing Annie more than surpassed my expectations. The girls loved every second of it! The adorable orphans stole the show and kept us entertained for nearly three hours. And there wasn't a dry eye in the house when the dog Sandy took his solitary walk across the stage after Annie was taken back to the orphanage.

It was after midnight when we got back to the motel. Littlest didn't move a muscle all night after the long day. I finally woke the kids up at 8:30 so we could get on the road for very rainy ride home.

In the last three days the girls have seen the stage play, watched the movie twice and listened to the soundtrack three times. They also spontaneously break into Annie songs every few minutes. My ears are bleeding The Sun'll come out, tomorrow, etc...

Thanks girls for going with me! You were great! Next year they are doing Disney's Tarzan. I'm debating... do we let the boys come or not?


A couple more photos are at the Shooting Blog.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

The Sun will come out... Tomorrow...

Sing along with me now:

The sun will come out, tomorrow.
Bet your bottom dollar that tomorrow
There'll be sun....

Just thinkin' about.. tomorrow
Clears away the cobwebs and the sorrow
Till there's none...

Tomorrow morning I'll pick up Jubee, Little and Littlest Ms. Eris. Then we will escape the endless rains and lack of sunshine that has plagued the northern part of this state for days. We are heading south to St. George to see the musical and enjoy sunshine, swimming, entertainment and especially each other! (No boys allowed.)


Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Toadally Awesome

Today was Toadally Frog day. The Utah Museum of Natural History at the U of U had an exhibit of rare live frogs. On a gray and dreary Grandma Tuesday we decided to travel by train to the big SLC to take a look. Jodi, Little Man and the Princess joined me and the little Erises.

We spent an hour and a half at the museum where the kids saw orange frogs, yellow frogs, tiny frogs and large frogs. In other parts of the museum they looked at dinosaur bones, spiders, displays of native Utah animals and rocks. We all had a good time.

Eris met us for picnic lunch at the large park in front of the museum and the kids had fun running around for a little while. The Princess is accustomed to a harness but Little Man had a tougher time at first. Little Ms. did pretty good keeping them reigned in. In our family we are firm believers in harnesses.

Another ride on the trains and we were all home, ready for naps and to recuperate from the excitement of the day.

One last thing. Today I experienced what was probably the most frightening 10 minutes of my life. I won't go into detail but I will just say that I'm glad that I know how to run fast, probably faster than I ever will run again in my life. Also, you should all give a great big shout-out to Mr. Eris, Jr. This eleven year old young man kept his cool and did exactly what he needed to do in an emergency to protect three little girls. And Jodi, thanks for being there with me!!


More photos at the Shooting Blog.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Did I deserve it?

Last night, 1:30 AM, Zeus and I were sleeping soundly when we were rudely awakened by a crashing sound somewhere in the house. After quickly looking around the house I turned on the light in our closet to find that the upper rod bracket that holds all of Zeus' neatly starched and pressed shirts had broken. There was a two foot pile of shirts, ties, belts and other items piled on the floor. It took about ten minutes to move the shirts into another part of the room and (hopefully) stack them so that they wouldn't wrinkle. Then the unpleasant task of going back to sleep started which took another 20 minutes and some crossword puzzle frustration.

Needless to say, I was relieved at 5:45 AM when I awoke to the sound of a downpour, a good excuse for no ralking and to go back to sleep. At 6:25 AM Zeus woke me again to tell me that it was no longer raining hard and if I put on a windbreaker it should be a nice morning. Ten minutes later I was in the car headed south for my usual hot spot when I had to turn on the windshield wipers, FULL SPEED! Zeus must have been expecting the cell phone call that I made to him because his first words were "I'm sorry, it wasn't doing this when I woke you".

The ralking was mostly running this morning, partly to keep warm. By the time I got home two hours later I was soaked through my lined windbreaker and my shoes were sloshing with each step. Wet clothing is hanging out to dry all over the garage and bathroom.

On the positive side, the roads were void of cars and the smell of rain was wonderful. Also, the numismatising was good. The weird find this morning was at a 7-11. Two quarters, a dime and a nickel, all stacked neatly on a sidewalk right in front of a Highway Patrol car in the parking lot.

Now I need to get that closet rod repaired. Zeus told me this morning that he is going to pare down the number of shirts that go back in the closet. That means a trip to the DI tomorrow! Yippee!

$4.13 1/2

Friday, June 5, 2009


The other night I watched the new Tonight Show with Conan O'Brien. I've been a fan of his for a long time but didn't watch often because his 11:30 time slot didn't work well with my 5:45 AM alarm clock. Anyway, one of his jokes was about what happens if you post to YouTube, Twitter and Facebook. Hence, the title of this post.

This morning on my way home from the pool I stopped to see Athena at her office. (My post-run aroma might still be assaulting her nostrils!) The outcome of the visit, other than the opportunity to enjoy her always-cheery personality and the uplifting conversations that happen at her workplace, was the realization that I needed to do a Facebook Page. (I think that's what you call it.) When I asked her about the status of Bubba's new job she told me what he had posted on Facebook. Right then I knew that there was stuff that I was missing in lots of lives that I care about.

So.... while eating my breakfast of shredded wheat dipped in yogurt... mmmm... I started one. The Duchess has promised that she will tutor me in the fine points of Facebooking tonight at Eris' house.

All day I kept thinking back to Athena's expression when said I was going to join in the Facebook fun. Her face went kind of an ashen color and there was a minute or two of what looked like panic. I reassured her quickly that there probably wasn't much that would shock me if I looked at her page. She must not have believed me because she still hasn't responded to my invitation to be a friend.

Oh well.

$1.42 3/4

Note: The photo is Little Ms, the Princess and Littlest Ms. They are truly BFF!

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Welcome back Poco Verde

One week into summer and we have already settled into our comfortable backyard routine. Afternoon naps on the lounge are one of my favorite (in)activities. Zeus has already read a couple of books in the last week. Dinners and sometimes other meals are usually served outside. The neighbors have come out of hibernation and can be seen gathering on the sidewalks or planting bright annuals in their yards.

The wild roses are in full bloom again. My little "farm" has been planted in the backyard and requires irrigating twice a week. This year I have pumpkins, squash, watermelon, a tomato plant and a pepper. These plants are not as much for eating as for ground cover. Hopefully in a few more weeks they will start spilling over the troughs and providing green leaves where it is now dirt. Last year we thought that by now there would have a house behind us so we are enjoying our magnificent mountains for a bonus year.

But the funnest thing that has happened is the return of my little friend Poco Verde and his mate, Ms. Poco. It is well known that hummingbirds often return to their past homes for the summer and we are fairly sure that this pair is the same one that spent last year with us. The routine is exactly the same. Each morning and afternoon around five or six they take turns flying between the three feeders in the backyard and then perching on the cage that is filled with flowers. The cage is about 10 feet from the deck and they don't seem to be afraid of us. This afternoon at 5:45 I set up the camera hoping to get a photo. By 6:15 I had my shot.

If you come to visit and we don't answer the door check the deck in the back. But please, don't wake me if I'm sleeping!