A Mid-day Updateby Angie

12:02 pm

Mom is very peaceful and quiet – more so than a few days ago, I think. She curled up with Dad on the couch for quite a while yesterday, and we’ve been having a difficult time uncurling her since then – she continues to lean way to the right. She has seemed almost sleepy much of the day, but “Smiles for Life” made her smile again last night, and she even tapped her toes to the music.

Rachel and I have been writing in Mom’s new journal. I’ll pick a designated place to leave it, so whenever someone is visiting they can add to it, too.

Yesterday I helped with some phone calls and visited a couple of hospice agencies. Today we got the ball rolling with Gentiva Hospice, and they should be sending out an RN to do a preliminary evaluation today if they can get the referral from Dr. Curtis processed within the next few hours.

Pam and Tom Dozier arrived last night, and it’s so wonderful to have them here. Rachel went home early this morning. We’ve watched some Olympics and Studio C, and then we took Mom out into the beautiful sunshine for her exercising. Pam is helping her eat lunch now.  I’m sure we’ll have more to add in a bit.

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Chest tube outby Jim

5:10 pm

They just took out the chest tube since her drainage had been so low and it has been in a while.  It means she can move around a little easier, but besides that, there isn’t much difference.  Not much has changed, she is getting a little restless, though.  Tough to have to sit reclined like this for so long.

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Kayleigh’s Wedding in San Diegoby Angie

2:09 pm

The beautiful San Diego Temple

We had a wonderful experience this weekend in San Deigo for the wedding of a dear friend, Kayleigh Rose Torres…now Mrs. Evan Kidwell. We carpooled down with the Mills family: Kelly & Joleen, their daughter Amber, and Kelly’s mother Edna. Kelly has a brother living in Upland (~2 hours north of San Diego), so we drove that far Friday night and were welcomed by Dean and his family. It was so kind and gracious of them to let us stay!

Saturday morning, we left early and made it to San Diego with plenty of time. The temple is absolutely beautiful and built in a fascinating way: lots of angles, huge windows and skylights, and even a lovely little atrium in the central hallway of the third floor. The Sealing Room was small but full, and the Sealing itself was one of the most insightful I’ve ever attended. I took away several principles that I hope to apply more fully in my own life and marriage. Here are a few of my favorites:

– “If you want the best husband in the world, be the best wife in the world…and vice versa.”
– “You can’t be in the temple every day, but you can have a temple experience every day of your life – every time you get dressed to begin your day.”
– “We need to be spiritually nourished on a daily basis, and so do our marriages: We nourish one another not only with prayers and scripture study, but also with words and notes of love and encouragement, especially “Please,” “Thank You,” “I’m sorry,” and “I love you.”

That evening, at a lovely country club in the hills above the city, Kayleigh’s YSA bishop led their ring ceremony. He had wonderful, fun counsel to give as well, including the injunction to treat their marriage like a brand new car: Take good care of it, fix it up when things go wrong, and patch it up when it gets little scrapes & dings. If you do, down the road you won’t have a run-down old beater, you’ll have a pristine classic worth even more than when you first got it.

A reception followed, including dinner, toasts, and dancing. When the DJ announced the “Anniversary Dance,” he asked all married couples to come to the floor. About 30 seconds apart, he dismissed first the couple married less than one day, then those less than five years, then those less than ten years, and so on until they narrowed it down to the longest-married couple in the room, who had been married for 53 years. The DJ asked what was the secret to being happily married so long. The husband said, “My wife’s grandmother told her on the morning of their wedding that all she needed to do was treat her husband like he was her favorite little boy: love him, take care of him, and give him milk and cookies sometimes…That sure worked for me!” His wife then replied, “Also, you keep a good sense of humor.”

We spent that night in a nearby Marriott Residence Inn, then visited a 9:00 Sacrament Meeting on Sunday morning.  It was a combined meeting for a regular ward and the local Deaf Branch, so there was an interpreter on the stand for the talks, and an ASL conductor to lead us in signing the hymns. And, who should be speaking that day in that ward but the San Diego Temple President and his wife!  Sister Yeager told a story about a man who took his two grandsons for a drive in the nearby hills. After an hour of circuitous travel, they stopped to take in the view. He asked the boys, “Do you boys know where we are?” They shook their heads. He said, “Do you think we’re lost?” One of the boys pointed out over the valley to the bright building that was the temple and answered, “Grandpa, you are never lost when you can see the temple!” It is really true.  Also, she brought up the Bible Dictionary reference that only a home compares to a temple in sacredness, and continued on the idea of our homes being like the temple: Ideally, they will be a place of love and peace, clean and orderly, filled with uplifting images and music. She ended by quoting President Monson, “Temples are more than stone & mortar…They are the all-important, crowning blessing of membership in Christ’s Church.” My testimony of the blessings of the temple has been strengthened in so many ways over this weekend.

Amber, Joleen, & Edna

We returned to the hotel to have a late breakfast, pack up, and check out (and report the ants in our hotel room – ew), before driving to Upland once more. We spent a couple of hours with the Mills’ family again and enjoyed a delicious dinner of homemade fajitas before finally heading home. Despite the break in our driving, we all started to go a little stir crazy after a while, so Jim spent some time helping Amber with her Calculus homework, amazing us all with his Mathmagician skills and tricks. At one point, Edna said, “He’s speaking an entirely different language, I’m sure of it!”  We finally arrived home as the sky was darkening, and were welcomed by a sleepy, purring cat who was thrilled to no longer be home alone.

Salad Gardenby Angie

4:03 pm

The heat wave in January that I posted about didn’t last, and it’s been very cold and wet here. However, I’ve still managed to make some progress in my backyard! In addition to my herb garden, I now have a little “salad garden” right outside our back door. Between the two containers, I have 6 baby romaine, 6 sierra lettuce (a variety of red leaf), 6 sugar snap pea plants, and one each of arugula, sorrel, and stevia.

Confession time… At the nursery, i actually went over the whole table of lettuce-like seedlings and tasted each one so I would only be buying things I would actually eat. I just pulled off little leaves near the edge – in a couple of cases, I picked one that was starting to come off anyway! And, yeah, I ate them right there in the nursery. They’re really good about organic growing and no pesticides on veggies and stuff, so I don’t think I’m in danger of dying… There were only two that I tasted and didn’t buy, one of which was radicchio, which I now know I REALLY don’t like. I wanted to get spinach, too, but they didn’t have any seedlings. I may start some spinach from seed.

It’s funny – growing up, I somehow thought that all kinds of lettuce just tasted the same – like a whole lot of nothing. Like it was just a neutral canvas for THE REST of the salad to sit in. The only considerations were how green it was (Mom says greener is healthier) and how crispy it was (Dad likes it crunchier). I guess my taste buds are finally growing up!

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Tomato Surpriseby Angie

4:03 pm

I have a wonderful, darling friend named Kjelene who thought of me on Friday when she heard that a nursery in Sunol was giving away free tomato seedlings. She drove down and picked up a bunch for herself and several friends, and came by my house to share the bounty. She dropped off seven little seedlings, each about 6-8 inches tall with an inch or so of roots, all packed into some wet potting soil in a plastic sandwich bag (I wish I had taken a picture). They were unlabeled, too, so besides knowing that they are all heirloom varieties and that there were a variety of sizes, colors, and types available… I have no idea what I’m getting!

It’s still pretty cold, so I really should have waited until next week to put them into the ground, but they just looked so miserable in their little plastic bag that I couldn’t help myself: the rain had stopped and the sun was shining weakly, so I spent that evening planting them all in a row. I’m glad my soil was already prepared, since I had turned it over twice and added some manure, peat moss, and topsoil already – it was perfect for planting. I pulled off the lower leaves and planted them quite deep, so now they’re just tiny little things poking out of the ground. It’s not likely to freeze anymore, but It’s still cold enough that I’ll be covering them at night for another week or so. I got pretty creative… between garbage bags and plastic drop cloths, they should be nice and snug. With so many plants this year, I’m going to try a year of severe pruning and training. It will mean fewer tomatoes, but I’ve been reading that it’s good for the roots and makes for higher quality fruit. I look forward to lots of canning this fall – who wants to come help??? :)

For my Dad’s benefit – at his request – here are also pics of my perennials: The strawberries are starting to get their buds, and my raspberries are doing great, too; you can’t really tell, but there are several new shoots mixed in with the strawberries. My poor little artichoke plant is kind of hanging on for dear life. I think it must just not get enough sun in its little corner: the fence blocks it from both the south and the west. I thought it had died completely last fall, but since it seems to be hanging in there, I’ll give it some more time.

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Happy Pi Day!by Jim

7:03 pm

To celebrate Pi Day, we decided to statistically calculate Pi using nothing but nails, sidewalk chalk, a straight edge, and a pen and pad of paper.  After 100 tosses, we calculated Pi as 3.278688524590164, which is within 5%.  Not bad, if you ask for my opinion.

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Waking Up The Gardenby Angie

4:01 pm

My garden has been dormant for the last several months (as has the blog – sorry about that!), having been abandoned in the middle of the harvest season because of my surgery in October. From the surgery up until our Thanksgiving trip to Atlanta, I kept looking outside, meaning to get back out there, as soon as I felt “up to it.” Well, when we returned from Georgia, the frost had come and completely demolished what was left of my struggling plants. It was very demoralizing. I never even got up the gumption to winterize everything, so the backyard has looked awful all winter.

Finally, this week, I’m getting back in the groove. The weather has been gorgeous – hovering between mid-40s and mid-60s during the day, with lovely clear skies. I can hardly believe it’s January! Over the past few days, I’ve pulled down all the dead plants from last year, pruned and tied back my raspberries, thinned the strawberries, weeded the herb plot, built a compost container, and turned over the dirt in my garden strip along the fence. Whew! THIS is what it should have looked like all winter. Now, though, it’s time to set up some trellis lines, clean up the lawn, and get some peas, lettuce, spinach, and carrots in the ground!

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