Tonight Joe and I started out Family Home evening by delivering a meal to a friend's family who just had the cutest baby girl. Joe plays football with her brother so we have been there through most of the pregnancy. We gave the Uloth family some ham, mac and cheese with a special bacon and bread crumb topping, mashed sweet potatoes, a loaf of french bread, and a dozen donuts. I made a double portion so we had the same thing, except the Muirs skipped the donuts. I put our dinner in the oven on an automatic timer while we delivered the meal, then we headed over to the church for a 6:00 baptism where we met Bob.
A young, 22 year old woman was being baptized this evening and we wanted to be there to support her decision. It was also her birthday so there was a wonderful Costco cake for the refreshments. I am glad Joe had fun up to this point. Because the remainder of FHE was his nightmare.
He has been sick for several days with a fever, chills, weakness, tiredness and I thought he was having a strange case of the flu. He had a sore throat, his mouth hurt, his testicle hurt, his ear hurt...then his mouth hurt again last night. I decided that maybe his mouth was the problem. I looked in his mouth and saw a horrible infection near a tooth that had been loose for over a year. I helped him pull that tooth out last night and noticed that the tooth next to it was loose also. I started him on an antibiotic and gave him Tylenol. I called the dentist this morning and he advised me to have Joe pull out the loose tooth so that the infection could stop its spread. That was tonight's family Home Evening physical activity. Joe was thinking he should go in and have the dentist remove the tooth but I had to remind him that would come at the cost of one of those lovely, painful shots that you get at the dentist's office. For some reason he thought we should wait until he felt better about it. We tried dental floss but the dental floss just broke. I ended up putting my thumb behind the tooth and giving it a good upward, cracking push to loosen it up. Then we put floss around it and I gave it a good yank and it came out. All of the time Joe kept begging to just go to bed and put it off for another day. When it was all over Joe felt better and he thanked me for his dental work.
I don't know why so many of my kids have had trouble pulling out their baby teeth. I used to love pulling out my baby teeth. If I felt even the smallest amount of give I wiggled and worried the tooth until it was under my pillow. I knew how to get rich! Oh well, I am hoping Joe will feel better tomorrow. I am going to give his baby teeth regular tests to determine which ones he needs to work on because I do not want him to go through this experience again.
About every two or three days Joe asks me the same question, "If USNA were to play BYU in football who would win?" Gosh, I really don't know. Has Navy ever played BYU? I know BYU always beats Air Force and Navy always beats Air Force so that proves nothing except that Air Force sucks at football. My guess is that BYU would wallop on Navy, but I have no basis for that other than I was at BYU during the really good years (1979-1983) and I can't imagine BYU losing. Who remembers the Hail Mary pass in the 1980 Miracle Bowl against SMU? I believe it was replayed in the Wilk a few times, but that is just what I have heard.
So which is the better school? There is always some fun bantering between the BYU alums at the Muir house and the John, the Navy Plebe. I like the way Navy emphasises duty, honor and country but I think it falls short on teaching spirituality. It is hard to convey the spirit in an environment in which the f-word is used as a noun, a verb, an adjective, and an adverb. The only f-words I heard at BYU were flip and fetch. To tell the truth, I think these words were used mostly by guys who were trying to stop using the big bad f-word and so replaced them with these dumb words which they used as adjectives, adverbs, nouns and verbs so they wouldn't be brought up on standards violations. It is probably hard to have the spirit when you are thinking the big bad f-word but saying flip or fetch.
Students struggle academically at both schools. I think that one of the big challenges of being at school is the relentless demands, particularly as the semester draws to a close. So what should the struggling student pray for if he attends BYU, USNA, U of Michigan, Eastern Michigan, or even the U of Utah? I guess he could pray for relief from the demands of papers, projects and tests. I really doubt that most teachers will let up and make it easy for their students. Just think about it. If you really want relief from these demands you should just quit school and there you are. He could pray that he do well on papers, tests and projects on which he puts forth a minimal effort. This would have a doubtful outcome also. Do you really think Heavenly Father would put a fog on your teachers' brains so that they would lose all of their judgment and standards? Most college teachers are pretty good at identifying poor, sloppy or junior high level work. Besides, when you think about it, do you really want to get paid top dollar for a shoddy job? Muir's have way too much pride for that. Do you really want to pay top dollar when someone does shoddy work for you? He could also pray to know the answers on questions he has never heard of before. The Holy Ghost doesn't work that way either. The Holy Ghost can bring things back to your memory, but you have to put the info into your brain before He can help you to have recall.
He could pray that his study would be effective, that he could go through the work and reading quickly and have maximum retention with an open mind. This has always been one of my favorite pre-study prayers. You are not asking for a shortcut, but for the best learning methods, basically that the fog would be lifted from your own mind and that you would be able to understand. He could pray that his capacity be increased beyond the current confines. This is another good prayer. It shows your humility that you are at a certain level and that in order to accomplish the necessary tasks you really need to be at a higher level. Don't you think Heavenly Father wants you to want to improve? One of the big challenges we face in prayer is figuring out what we need to ask for.
I have probably lost all of the my readers by now. But if you have hung on as I have waxed philosophical I want you to know that I pray for all of the students in my life and I hope they will figure out these hard earned lessons. Good luck in finishing up the term.
So, who wins, BYU or Navy? I don't know. I guess it just depends on what sort of person you grow to be.
One week ago, on St. Patrick's Day we joined in a game of Never Ever. For those Lost fans, this is the drinking game Kate played with Sawyer while camping in the jungle. The person who is up says I have never, ever_______________. Fill in the blank with what you think is something everyone else has done that you have never done. Since we are a rare, non-drinking Irish clan we played with pennies instead of a bottle of whiskey. It helps to be young, or really different, or else you lose all of your pennies pretty fast.
Sarah D., The Italian foreign exchange student living with my sister had two really good ones. The first was, "I have never ever been skiing." Everyone playing the game had to give her a penny. We were in Utah, for crying out loud. We were there on a ski vacation. Her next turn was even better, "I have never ever kissed an American." That was another big ka-ching for her bank account. Even Joey has kissed his American mother. I went broke early. Joe did pretty well. Bob prompted him to say things like, "I have never, ever been to 6th grade." Who says the littlest guy doesn't have the advantage?
Fast forward two days. On Thursday Deanna and her family went skiing with us. The group included Sarah D., who can no longer claim to be a non-skier. On the last run of the day we headed to the Great Western Lift. Joe Caringella wanted to ride the lift with me because I have gummy bears which I give out to those who ride the lift with me. Bob gives chocolate covered raisins. We know how to get people to like us. Sarah D. and John took the chair behind us. I looked back to take a picture and noticed Sarah snuggled up next to John who had his arm around her. What the heck were those two up to?
Fortunately, in a family such as ours no one can keep his or her lips locked very long with out details coming out. We now know what the heck was going on back there. According to a compilation of comments from Sarah C., Joe C., and Deanna the conversation went something like this, "So, Sarah, You went skiing today and that takes care of one of your never, evers. Let me help you take care of that problem of having never kissed and American. Smack". Smooth Operator!
This was our last day of skiing before heading home. We were feeling pretty lucky that no one was injured and that we are all still pretty good friends after spending so much time together. Just when I started thinking this way something happened. I took a tumble at the bottom of the Sunshine Bowl and pulled a muscle in my upper right arm. Fortunately, arms are not really important in skiing so the day wasn't over. Unfortunately there are a lot of places at Solitude that require the skier to use his poles and arms to get to the last 10 feet of the lifts. This was where I had to pop a ski and walk over because my Right arm didn't have the strength to pull me up hill at all. I am feeling okay and I can tell there is no serious injury.
Joe decided that waiting around for Mom to find her way down the runs was not very fun so he decided to spend the day skiing with John. Joe is good enough and brave enough now that there were no mountain meltdowns so they were okay together. They went all over the mountain on black ad blue runs. The only place they could not go was the Honey comb Canyon because of avalanche danger.
Bob and I had this picture taken right before we went down a really steep, long black diamond run off of the Powderhorn Lift. This is my fault. I had never been on Powderhorn and I figured how bad could it be? I had been up to the Summit several times. Right after this picture I tried to find the blue run down only to discover that there were no blue runs. But I had my choice of two black diamond runs. I felt like I was being asked if I wanted to die by taking Hemlock or Cyanide. When I get to the really steep and challenging runs I figure my first priority is to stay alive even if this comes at the expense of looking like a complete dork by skiing really slowly and making an excessive amount of turns down a black run.So I turned my skis down the cliff and started skiing the best I could. I did not fall! I had to take a few courage breaks but I didn't fall apart.
This is me at the bottom of the black run. The good thing about this is that all of the runs I went on the rest of the day were a piece of cake.
It was a pretty warm day on the mountain. Too many more days like this and spring skiing will be history.
On Thursday we went to Brighton with Deanna, Joe and the Italian foreign exchange student who is living with them for the year, Sarah D.
Sarah had never been skiing even though she lives in Northern Italy, not more than 20 minutes from a ski resort. We gave her some lessons on making pizza and french fries on the bunny hill then we took her up the Majestic Lift which has a lot of green runs going down. I caught this picture of Deanna and Sarah on the lift.
Unfortunately, Sarah spent a lot of time recovering from falls. Fortunately, she wasn't going very fast when she found the trees. She was a quick learner! I think I spent ten years learning what she learned on the first day!
We took an all girl picture at the top of Snake Creek. Bonnie, Deanna, and Sarah.
This is a picture of Bob, Joe Muir, Joe C., Sarah D., and John at the top of the Snake Creek Lift. Joe C had not been skiing for a few years but he is a really good skater so he has some good athletic skills. He and Joe M. encouraged each other to go down hard runs accompanied by John. They were doing black runs by the end of the day.
Lunch at the picnic pavilion. Am I detecting a theme of who is sitting by whom at lunch?
Sorry about the quality of this picture. It is everyone in the party altogether.
Deanna and I have sick little twisted ritual when we take a new skier up the Snake Creek Lift. As we pass over the rock in the background of this picture on Doyle's Dive we point out the obstacle to new skier and warn them that they need to be careful for unmarked obstacles. The new skier usually freaks out at the thought of this kind of run. Some of Deanna's daughters have cried in terror. We usually wait until we get to the top of the lift to tell them that we can take the green run down. On our third time up this lift Sarah got ahead of me on the way down. and took a wrong turn and we actually ended up going down Doyle's Dive, a really difficult black run. I had to have Sarah take a picture of me standing by this rock to prove that we were really there.
We stopped at the Fisher's home on our way down. They live close to the 7-11 at the base of Big Cottonwood Canyon. What a cute picture of Joe, John, Alyse, and Annie.
Today we went to Solitude and had a really good day. The sun was shining. The lift lines were short. Perfection! John gets a little tired of spending his time skiing slowly and skiing down blue runs, so he went off to do the hard stuff. Solitude is small enough that we could cross paths once in a while.
I included two similar pictures just to show the back ground. This is at the top of the Summit lift.
Getting on a lift with Joe is often a hazard. I sent Joe up with Bob because there is less of a chance of a tangle when we get off the lift. I took the next chair and took this picture.
It seems like when we go skiing I can always get some good lunch pictures.
Joe actually did pretty good at skiing today. He only had one meltdown and that was during the first iteration of Summit. During the second iteration I told Joe that if he threw a screaming fit that Bob and I would just ski down the mountain because we didn't feel in the mood to listen to him screaming and we weren't going to give him an audience. He told me that he could ski down faster than me if we tried to ski away from him and I let him know that he would have to get up off the ground and stop tantruming to catch up. We didn't have anymore trouble out of that kid.
I am doing better at skiing too. I made it down Sunshine Bowl without taking off my skis and walking down the last half. That is a first. I am really working on being more parallel. My main problem is that I feel very little control of my uphill ski and I feel easily unbalanced. When I do a really steep run I often lose my resolve to not make pizza. Also when I get tired at the end of the day I tend to get pretty sloppy in my technique. But I was able to go up to the Summit several times!
Tomorrow we are going to Brighton with Deanna, Joe and Sarah D.
Joe is getting better and better at skiing. He even attempted a black run yesterday. I told him to wait until I skied down the blue run and I would take a video of him from the bottom as he went down. When I got down to the bottom he was sliding down the mountain on his stomach. At least he attempted a black run.
Look at all of that healthy food for lunch! The weather has been great.
John and Joe are pretty happy after enjoying lunch at the Gold Miner's Daughter Lodge picnic area. This was our meeting spot. In case anyone gets lost, meet at the Gold Miner's Daughter.
John and Joe look so happy in this picture but on the last run down the mountain John decided to challenge Joe to do a black run. When Joe refused, John used the techniques he has learned at the USNA of intimidation and humiliation. The result was a complete meltdown on the mountain. Joe was in tears and John eventually skied off by himself yelling something about a fag gay baby boy. Yes, If you were at Alta yesterday you got to witness on of the Muir family's finest moments.
The only problem with Bob and me is that we wear out pretty quickly. We thought the lifts closed at 4:00 but, lucky us, we found out the lifts closed at 4:30. That would have been good news 20 years ago. This allowed us to do two more runs! I have been trying to work on my parallel skiing but on those last runs I just felt lucky to keep my balance. I couldn't concentrate on balance and keeping my skis together. Maybe an ace bandage around my knees could keep me from making pizza when I am tired.
I have figured out how to prevent some of the exhaustion sickness I usually experience when I come down from the mountain. I take off my ski gear and immediately dope up with a massive dose of ibuprofen.
When we got back to Deanna's house we had a wonderful treat of corned beef and cabbage with several green side dishes. For dessert we had lime Popsicles. The leprechauns came and delivered toys and presents for all of the good little Irish children at the house. We got to see Kate and Eric and Taylor and Rachael.
When Bob was in junior high his PE coach had a motivational game to inspire the boys to run faster. They would all start out the lap at the same time and when they got to the starting point they would get to wait around until the last kid crossed the line, then they all had to start racing again. The last kid was called the Fart-licker. The incentive was to run fast and rest. The slow kid never got to rest.
This kind of describes our day of skiing. Fortunately, Joe was usually slower than me so I got a few minutes of precious rest while waiting for him to get down the mountain. I am pretty sure his skiing ability will pass me by in a day or two and I will be the slow kid who never gets to rest. We went to Brighton and it was a great day! I love spring skiing when the sun is shining. I feel really lucky. It seems that for the last few years we always hit stormy, snowy, cold weather on the slopes.
Deanna drove out and had lunch with us at the lodge.
I am not sure where we are going to ski tomorrow. I hope we can get a hold of the Fisher family so that we can drop by and see them on our way down.
We have had some really nice days in a row and I decided that we needed to get the flower beds planted and the garden planted. There was rain in the forecast for tomorrow so that was the big hurry. If it rains in Dallas I have to postpone any garden work for about 5 days until the ground dries out. We have a nasty, thick, black clay to work with. Good news, not a rock to be found. Bad news, no sand to lighten the clay or help with drainage.
I got the flowers in Saturday. It sure looks nice to have flowers growing in the beds instead of weeds. I usually buy the flowers then work on the beds but I decided to do it a little differently this time. I dug up the beds first then went to go buy the flowers. Sometimes when I buy the flowers first, I get distracted and I don't get the flowers planted for days or even a week. It is pretty hard to keep them alive when they are not in the ground. I planted pink begonias with bronze leaves. I also planted a row of daffodils. I hope most of the perennials come up this spring. I always lose a little something each year.
Yesterday I decided that Joe needed to learn some of the gardening skills I have attained over the years. This involves a lot of work and he was not too happy to participate. I responded in my usual fashion. I told him he was going to continue to work until he stopped whining and actually did a good job. I had to give him a good two and a half hours of chores for him to get to the point where he wasn't whining and he had an acceptable work quality. He was helping me break up the hard soil with a shovel when he got to this point. It was really hard work! We started talking about how originally the Earth naturally produced fruits and vegetables until after the fall, and Adam was cursed to have to work all of the days of his life. We discussed how it was really a blessing to be able to work because that meant you have a strong body and are able. Work allows you to get money and progress. It keeps you busy and helps you not to worry about things you really don't have control over. I asked Joe if he ever thought that he would consider hard work to be a blessing. I was surprised that he said that he thought it was a blessing that very day! We talked about what we were going to plant and how nice it would be to eat fresh vegetables this summer. He really wanted to plant a tomato plant that would produce large tomatoes. I usually plant small and medium tomatoes but today I bought a Beef Steak tomato plant for Joe.
It would be nice if the work ethic could be instilled in one session but my kids aren't like that. Today while cleaning up the grass trimmings in the backyard I had to tell Joe that he needed to redo a section. "You're never happy with anything I do!" I think my kids say this because they are trying to get out of work. Like I am supposed to be happy with any half hearted effort on their part. I put it in words that he could understand. "You are doing a C- job instead of an A job." He started to do a little better. Maybe I would give him a B. I know it is going to take years to train him to be a good worker.
I planted 5 tomato plants:
Sweet 100's Early girls Beef Steak Husky red cherry tomatoes BF40 (I think) It is a new hybrid that is supposed to do well in Texas.
After I planted the tomatoes I put the huge five foot cages up around them. It seems kind of like dressing a baby in adult sized clothes. The trouble is that if you don't put up the big cages when you have the infant plant you end up tearing them apart when they need to be staked. It is just easier to start out with the end in mind. The Early Girls should be ready about the first of May!
I planted zucchini and yellow crooked neck squash. I hope I can keep the bugs off this year.
I planted a Jumbo Jalapeno plant and a Fajita green pepper plant.
I decide not to plant eggplant this year because I'm just not into all of the eggplant that one plant will produce.
I planted Sweet basil and Thai basil.
My cilantro and flat Italian parsley made it through the winter so they are still there. It has been nice to have fresh herbs all winter.
After I got the plants in, the backyard cleaned up, and the new plants mulched I started to put the leaves on the bare dirt to hold in moisture and keep down the weeds. That is when it started to rain. I decided to just finish the job and take a shower at the end. The leaf pile would be more painful to put in the garden after it gets soaked with rain for a few days. Make hay while the sun shines, and even if there is a downpour.
Joe and I ran the Richardson High School 5 K yesterday. Sorry, no pictures. It was a beautiful day. The weather was perfect, not too hot, not too cold. This is Texas so the ground is pretty level. Only 3 miles, what is the big deal?
I saw a lot of friends and it would have been great to run or walk with them but I just couldn't keep up. I gave up walking back in November when I got pneumonia so that is my excuse. I came in 412 out of a field of about 460 participants, only a short 52 minutes after I started the race. At least I came in before the asthmatics and the participants using walkers from the Happy Acres Retirement Center, but just barely. Joe finished up about 17 minutes before I did. I would like to say that I just took it slow but that would be a lie. That was the best I could do and I was sucking air! I am really embarrassed about my time. I plan to do this thing again next year and improve my time. The bar is pretty low. I can't imagine doing worse unless I end up having hip replacement surgery and I am actually using a walker. If I finish in about 30 minutes I will have to think of some great reward for myself. Maybe a trip to Disneyland would motivate me.
Last night Joe was talking to Dad and told him how good he felt after the race, kind of like he could do anything! Bob tried to explain the runner's high to him because that seemed to be what he was experiencing. I, on the other hand had to take 4 ibuprofen and a calcium supplement. About thirty minutes after doping myself up I realized that I would have been better served by a morphine drip. That is the only way I will experience a runner's high. My hip joints just wouldn't stop aching. Not only that, but I got a cramp in each foot. My big toe and the toe next to it were cramped together and the other three toes were cramped together. It was kind of like I was making the Vulcan Live Long and Prosper sign with both of my feet. I had to wrap them in a heating pad for about an hour for them to loosen up.
I am feeling a little better today. No more excuses! No more humiliating race times! If I don't exercise regularly for the next year then I am going to have to recruit 300-400 more nursing home participants so that I can at least finish in the middle of the pack.
Have you ever noticed that when Mom leaves home and Dad is in charge, that the planned menu is almost always altered. I am the mom, so I haven't been around to hear the conversation between father and child, but I imagine it goes something like this, "Hey Joe, do you want me to warm up that nasty, left-over meatloaf Mom has in the fridge or do you want to go to CiCi's?" You can substitute tuna casserole, beef stew, brisket, or anything else that might be put in the fridge out of love and concern about a husband and child's nutritional needs for the meatloaf. You can also substitute McDonald's, Burger King, Cafe China, or any low end, fast food restaurant for Cici's. And you can guess the answer to the question.
I just got in town a few hours ago after going up to Arkansas to help my father after hernia repair surgery. I knew I was going a couple weeks in advance so I planned to have a few things in the fridge that could be easily cooked. I guess I do this to prove my love to the family even though I am deserting them. I know one of the questions Bob asks when I leave town is what I have planned for them for dinner while I am gone. I am not sure why he asks about the planned meals when he has no intention of eating them. I was thinking about this today while warming up the brisket for dinner tonight. I could just wrap up Styrofoam bricks with aluminum foil and label them with the usual fare the next time I leave. That way, they will know that I love them and have thought about them, but I won't waste food or time or money. The only waste will be refrigerator space, and that is wasted with the real food I might have put in there for them if I thought there was a chance that they would eat it. The result will be the same, they will go out every night.
When Bob is out of town I usually make something like mac and cheese, canned soup, or tuna sandwiches. I can guarantee the Dad is out of town food is definitely not fast food. Maybe this is why Mom is not cool. The trouble is, if I take the clue from Dad and do fast food, then it is no longer a special treat. I would feel like a failure if I called out dinnertime and the kids all ran to get their coats.
The good news is that tomorrow's dinner is already cooked! Meat loaf, mashed potatoes, gravy, peas and salad. All I have to do is warm it up. I don't ask who wants to eat my nasty meat loaf. I just put it on the table and smile and tell them how lucky they are that Dad is home and that they are not eating Kroger brand instant mac and cheese.
Bob, the popular parent with two of our all too eager to ditch the meat loaf kids.
Last week I found a DVD of The Sandlot at Best Buy. I figured it would be a good buy for $5.00. Joe Muir had never seen it, but he watched it several times last week and he has it on now. It is really fun to see a kid discover a great older movie. I love some of the quotes and scenes from the movie. I think Joe's favorite part is when Squints tricks Wendy Pethercorn into giving him mouth to mouth. What is so appealing to Joe about this movie is the lifestyle of going outside and playing with friends all day, everyday for an entire summer. This is just not the lifestyle kids lead anymore and I think that is sad, but I understand why life could not continue this way.
This was how I spent my summers as a kid, not playing ball, but playing outside. My at-home time was spent sleeping, eating or doing the dishes. That was it. I think my mother was grateful that we were out of the house and not under foot, making messes. This life just sounds so much more fun than playing video games or watching TV.
I didn't live in the country but there was a rustic, undeveloped, rural feel in the place we lived. We had a wooded area past our backyard that provided endless hours of fun for tree climbing and fort building, a blackberry patch for snacking and an apple tree for climbing and snacking. There was a giant hill on which to ride and crash our bikes. I don't remember not having scabs on my knees when I was a kid, mainly because I would lose control on the way down that darn hill. There was a creek at the bottom of the hill that we would explore. We didn't spend as much time exploring the creek as we would have liked because it was haunted. I am not sure why we knew the creek was haunted. But now that I think about it, the rumor was probably started by a mom trying to keep her kids from getting muddy at the creek. I have no doubt that the boys were out playing ball somewhere when they weren't chasing the girls because they decided we would make great Germans, Koreans, Japanese, or Viet Kong combatants in their war games. The neighborhood girls were always busy in never ending games of house, school, hospital, zookeepers, or office. Can you believe that the boys didn't want to join our games, especially school?
After dinner and dishes were done we would go outside again until the streetlights went on. This was when the boys and girls would play together. We would play hide and seek or red light-green light, or cowboys and Indians. We would catch fireflies and try to tame June bugs. What made us so congenial to each other after dinner? I'm not exactly sure why we could get along in the twilight hours but I think it had something to do with the fact that some of the dads were on their back porches, socializing, and keeping half and eye on the kids.
The down side of this lifestyle was the unseen dangers, the things that could go wrong. When I was 5 I was partially responsible, along with my six year old sister, to see that my three year old sister, Deanna, could play outside with us and not get hurt. I remember getting in trouble if she ever did get hurt. Think about how that would fly now. Fortunately, I don't remember any kid getting seriously injured or lost. We had very little adult supervision. The only thing that stopped us from really getting in trouble was that we were a big group of tattle tales. Honestly, you couldn't find a bat in the neighbor's cellar and try to have a funeral for it with out a goody-two-shoes running to tell your mom you had touched a dead animal. We were afraid of getting spanked because that seems like the only punishment ever given to the kids in the neighborhood. Just think about it. If we were put on restriction, we were underfoot, making messes and more work for our moms.