Sunday, January 15, 2017

What a week!

Many of you know of the struggles Ann was going through this week. I spent the night with her Wednesday night at the Emergency Room at the University of Utah Hospital after she went in to have the pain in her legs checked out and the doctor found out her oxygen level was very low. I ended up getting two hours of sleep that night.
Ann only had to spend one night in the hospital and got some plans for fixing her oxygen troubles, but nothing for the original leg pain. I spoke to the doctor as I was waiting in front of the hospital for the transport people to bring her out. He initially didn't want to prescribe any kind of pain killers, because most of them relax the lungs and make it harder to get the oxygen you need. He finally said that he could prescribe Prednisone, and that if her regular pain remedies of Ibuprofen and Tylenol didn't help, to call him back in a couple of days. This was after hours on Thursday evening.
Later, after we were home, I told Ann about the conversation and she said that I should have told him that she needed it now, not a couple of days from now.
She called the doctor's office on Friday morning, talking to the assistant, and got mixed up and the prescription wasn't called in. Now, of course, it's the weekend and it's not going to happen until they get back into the office tomorrow--that is provided that they aren't taking off MLK Day.
She has still been in a lot of pain, but actually this morning, after I encouraged her to walk more (she has been scooting around on her desk chair), she walked down the hall from the bathroom to her chair in the living room. I was glad to see it. One thing I've noticed with injuries in the past is that if you baby them too much, your muscles begin to atrophy and it's that much more painful to get back to good health.
I'm hoping that this is the beginning of her being healed. Certainly I and others have said enough prayers. I plead with God last night that he would heal her and get her back to normal. Today became a day of praise after she decided to walk instead of scoot the chair. Finally, I think we are seeing some improvement.

Friday, January 06, 2017

Fabulous snow yesterday for skiing!

I had the ticket voucher for several weeks as it's a better deal the further out they are purchased at Liftopia. Snowbird had a lot of pleasant memories for me from my youth as that was the place I actually learned how to ski. My first time skiing had been to Alta, and I had known nothing and had basically pointed my skis down the hill and gone. My second time skiing was with a group of friends from work, and one older girl had taken some of us newbies under her wing and had taught us the basics of snow plowing, stem christies, and how to fall without getting hurt (in other words, she taught us that if you get out of control, fall on purpose). And there was that other time I went to Snowbird when I was younger when the wind chill at the top where the Tram let us off was 50 below. Think about that for a minute.
It was with those thoughts in mind that I anticipated this return to Snowbird after about 40 years. This past week got to be real exciting as the snow storms kept piling up. Wednesday night, another storm rolled in dumping over a foot at the resort and several inches in the valley. Because of avalanche control, the canyon wasn't going to open until 8:00 Thursday morning, so, I thought I'd leave home at 8:00 to avoid the line up of cars. Boy, was that ever a mistake!
The snow storm that had happened the night before had left its effects on commuters and the trip across the valley that normally takes twenty minutes, took an hour and a half. Part way there, while stuck in a slow moving line of cars, I mentioned on Facebook that at this rate, I'd make it to the resort at 11:00. At the time, I didn't realize how prophetic I was.
Still, I was happy, but really anticipating getting up on the slopes.
Snowbird has three places of entry and I had no idea where to go, but both the first and second one had "tickets" on the signs (I needed to exchange my voucher for a ticket). I chose entry two, found a parking place and began getting dressed. I basically had to add layers, and put on my ski boots. When it came time to putting on the boots, I had a hard time with the right one, and the left one was nearly impossible. I began to wonder if my feet had grown a size or two. I had worn some thinner socks, but they weren't really all that slinky, and I just couldn't get that left one to go in. After about five minutes of working on it, I was beginning to think I would have to find the ski shop and rent some equipment. I remembered that I had another pair of socks in my 4runner. They were thicker, but slicker. I put one of them on my left foot and was finally able to get the boot on, though not without a lot of strain. I added "ski socks" to my list of things to buy in the near future, and when I got home, read a bunch of tips on how to get your stubborn boots on.
With my boots finally on, I began hiking up the hill to the ticket office the sign had directed me to. There was a shuttle, but it never came by when I was hiking and it was probably a quarter mile hike to the ticket office from there. Once there, I had the opportunity to look at the map of the resort and decide where I was going to start. I decided to spend my time on the easier runs at first, until I got adjusted to the conditions. Frankly, during all of my recent times skiing, I hadn't ever skied on this much new snow and I remembered how grooves are easily cut in the snow by other skiers and boarders and how I tend to catch an edge of my own skis on these grooves from time to time, and go toppling down the slope.
I exchanged my voucher for a ticket and asked how to get to the lift I wanted to ride up. The easy area was back where I had parked. I had to hike over a bridge and up a hill before putting on my skis and going down. Wow that new snow was affecting me more than I realized! I was all wobbly, just like a newbie. I got to the lift and rode it up (I was on the lift at 11) and my first run was a crazy run of wobbliness.
Halfway down my second run, I figured out that I had failed to buckle my boots. Just try skiing with boots that aren't secured and you'll see how tough it is. The thing is, this is the second  time I have done that. It's easy to do if I'm not thinking because I don't like to walk very far with them tightened, so I loosen them (or in this case, since I was walking a long distance to the ticket office, never did them up in the first place) and then forget to tighten them.
It was cold, and the goggles I had acquired from a yard sale in the summer got ice on them too easily, so I just wore them on my forehead for the rest of the day.
The weather let up for a while and the peaks looked amazing

I had a few really nice runs after that. I had decided that I was going to stick to the easy runs for about ten runs, then move on to the intermediates, but on about my fifth run, I got whacked pretty good in the back of my calf with the chair lift as I was getting on. My very next run, the same thing happened only worse. My leg was hurting like I had a bad charley horse in it. After the 7th run I took a short break to eat the sandwich I had brought for lunch, I had no water with me and it was quite a time consuming hike back to my vehicle for the water, so I went without.
After lunch I put my skis back on and promptly fell. Other people were standing around there, and thankfully pretended not to notice. It was the only spill I took all day.
The skiing was great for the next few runs, though my leg still hurt, and the sun even came out for a few minutes. I made it a point to ask the lift operator where I should stand, because I wasn't sure if I was standing in the right place after getting hit by the lift twice. I guess I had gotten myself a little too far forward. I didn't get hit again for the rest of the day.
It snowed heavily periodically, lightly periodically, and then the fog rolled in. I could look down and see my skis easily, so I knew my glasses weren't fogged up, but seeing down the slope was nearly impossible. There were still other skiers zooming around me, and I had no idea how they could go that fast in the fog. I guess it's the same reasoning of people driving to fast for conditions in fog. I had completed 13 runs, my thighs were burning, and my calf hurt. I wanted to reach my goal of at least twenty, but I had no idea if the fog was going to lift, and I wasn't having fun at that point skiing where I couldn't see.
In the half hour it took me to get to my vehicle and get my stuff off, the fog lifted. I was worried that would be what would happen, but I wasn't going to try and put the boots back on again. I had had a lot of fun, despite all the interesting things that happened. I had learned a little about where things are at Snowbird, in case I get the chance to go there again, and I had been up in my beloved mountains in the fresh snow, feeling gravity pulling at me in a far different way than I had felt in the night before when I had been rock climbing. And that, is what adventure is all about. I can't wait for the next one.


Tuesday, January 03, 2017

John Denver: How can I leave you again?

How Can I Leave You Again? by John Denver is an awesome song. Denver was in his prime at the time this song was performed and you can tell. If you keep watching you get even more great songs by him. Enjoy!

Monday, January 02, 2017

Goals, not resolutions

Years ago I started a family tradition in my household of a meeting in which we decided what we wanted to accomplish, both as a family, and as individuals. And one thing I stressed is that you can never accomplish anything if you only resolve to do it. Accomplishment takes action. If you have goals toward accomplishment, the only way to achieve them is through action.
One way to make sure that action occurs is to write down what needs to be done to achieve the goal. For example, if your goal is becoming a better guitar player, one way to achieve this is to actually practice. Set reasonable goals for the number of minutes you'd like to practice each day, or each week, then make a chart with boxes you can check off. Let's say my goal was to practice thirty minutes a day, every day of the year. In its simplest form, you could use an already printed calendar and just write down how much you practiced on each date. If you want to have a chart dedicated to guitar practice, you can design your own with any number of spread sheets, word processors, etc. You can make it as elaborate as you want, but continue to keep in mind the original goal, to become a better guitar player.
When you keep in mind the original goal, whether it be guitar playing, fitness, or any other goal you might have, it's best to focus on the long-term. This allows for occasional lapses, such as, in our guitar playing example, missing a day. We may have goals, but sometimes life gets in the way and we miss a day or two. That isn't a time to throw our hands in the air and exclaim "I'll never achieve this goal", but a time to reassess and/or recommit. Often we can make up things like practice time by doing double the next day, or adding ten minutes for several days, but that's not even really crucial. What's crucial is that when we miss a day, we get back on the path and practice the day after that and keep going. Your ultimate goal is to become better, and you will. A few years ago, due to the large amount of donut buying that occurred at my place of employment, I made the goal to not eat any more of them. At the time, it was more of a New Year's resolution, although taking it one day at a time is what helped me keep that resolve until July. I mentioned to a friend of mine that I had failed at my goal, and he told me that no I hadn't, because I had succeeded in not eating any donuts for seven months. Till this day, I have had more control over what I eat, and likely, because I found out it was possible.
Actually, it rarely matters whether you set such goals for the new year or whether you start them at some other time. However, the new year does provide a natural break psychologically and that can be a great time to initiate new approaches, new goals, and new ways to accomplish your desires.
The key thing is to forget about the resolutions and make a plan to accomplish all you wish to do.

Sunday, January 01, 2017

2016 wasn't all that bad

Normally, people like to look back at the old year on the last couple of days of it, and to get on with the new one after it turns midnight on January 1st. Traditionally, I'm like that too. Only this year, during the past week, I had a lot of trouble coming up with any blog posts at all, and a lot of that was fueled by not having much time to write. Being a mail carrier in December is not conducive to having huge amounts of leftover time. It is conducive to overtime.
So, I thought I'd sit back and reminisce about 2016. Worldwide, it was fairly sucky. A lot of bad stuff happened in the world. Terrorism, politics, unrest. Things that really tend to get people in an uproar were plentiful.
Personally, I had a lot of good things happen. There were hikes, skiing, picnics, four-wheeling, fishing, friendships, family--far too many good things for me to count. I can even look at lotion being rubbed into my dry mailman hands as one of the great things of the year, things for which I am most grateful.
One thing that happened to me stands out more than most. In December, I got baptized as a Christian. Taking the step to committing to Christ was more important to me than everything else. And though I know some of my LDS friends won't like it, it was something that I had to do, which btw, isn't the same as a Mormon baptism in which you become a member of the church. I was already a member of Christ's church when I decided to believe that faith in Him alone is what saves and I turned myself over to Him.
I won't becoming back to the LDS faith. And I still love all my LDS friends. My biggest hope for them and you is that you will seek the real Christ, the one who saves without requiring anything from us other than our faith that He loved (and still does) us enough to die for us. That belief will lead us to do good works in order honor Him, but those works aren't what saves us, because our personal righteousness is as "filthy rags" to God (Isaiah 64:6). Paul emphasizes this point in Galatians 2:21 when he says, "I do not frustrate the grace of God, for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain."
I thank those who led me to Christ.
2016 was a good year. I believe 2017 will be even better.

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Some things just make you feel good. This letter is tops on my list

As a mailman, I sometimes think that when someone acknowledges you with a tip or a plate of cookies, they are saying, "we really appreciate your service". I picked up a few goodies this year. Five of my 700+ customers thought about it enough to do something about it. I don't feel bad. I nearly didn't get anything out for my own mail carrier. I just got that done this morning. And really there is no requirement for anyone to do so. And, I just started this route in June, so some people don't even know me yet. It is pretty rare that I see most people outside. That being said, I received a letter yesterday from a young girl at a home from which I pick up packages from nearly every day. The letter made my day. Here is what it said:

Dear Post Officer (that's what my little sister calls you)

I just wanted to Thank you for all the work that you do. Especially at this Christmas time. It must be so much work around this time because of everyone sending Christmas packages, or getting presents to wrap for people, or stuff like that. And it also must be really hard at this time because of the cold. And so I just wanted to thank you for all the work you do. I don't know where we would be without your work. My parents send out a lot of packages for work and without you doing your job so well, my family would have a hard time making a living, and so Thank you! You're always so kind when you come to our house too. Even with our crazy dog. It must be hard being so nice. Especially when not everyone is nice back. So I just wanted to say thanks. Thank you for being happy and kind. I am thankful for you and so are many others, even if they don't say it. Always remember that. God loves you and is aware of you. You are doing better than you might think you are. Thank you for being our Post Officer. 

From one of your faithful customers (if you'd call it that).

Monday, December 19, 2016

Christmas goodies made and ready to deliver

Yesterday, I made pumpkin bread, sugar cookie dough, and fudge. Today, with Ann's help I made snickerdoodles (which she shaped and rolled in the cinnamon/sugar) and finished up baking the sugar cookies, which she cut out and frosted (I frosted one and ate one). Then we got them on the plates. We are doing all the homes on our street this year, which we think is 12, plus a couple of other neighbors who have been kind enough to drop stuff off at our door.
I think the plates look kind of festive, don't you?
After the plates were all loaded, we covered them in foil and put our name tags on them so that if we end up dropping them off on the door step because no one is home, they will know who they got them from. Many of them won't even know who we are, so part of the plan was to introduce ourselves (we have been here three years and don't know everyone on our street of 12 homes). For that reason and more, it would be better if we could catch them home.
The only bad thing about making the treats is that I guess I aggravated my dormant plantar fasciitis, and my right foot really hurts. Ah, but it will go away, I think, with ice and rest.
Okay, now I've got to get to the store and back and after that, we'll take them around later so we can catch the most people home. It will be fun!