Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Fireworks, Mosquito bites, and thunder storms

Whenever I get a mosquito bite, I think about a story I used to read in an old set of children's encyclopedias that sat on the bottom shelf of the massive white bookcases in our living room. The 5 ft wide and 7 ft tall shelves were homemade, but well crafted, and they were a source of endless wonder for me as a child. Besides the dual treasures of the World Book Children's encyclopedia with its colorful covers and intricate illustrations, and the burgundy, gold bound Encyclopedia Britannica, there were hundreds of other books on everything from World War Two to LDS Church History, to self help books on raising boys (There were, after all four in our home). Most of the books I never opened, but I remember their bindings. There was the Fourth Thousand Years by W. Cleon Skousen. I never could read the title quite right, the "TH" in "fourth" always tripping over the "TH" in "Thousand." Even at seven or eight years old, I knew something wasn't right about that title.

There was a set of full color, hard cover picture books about famous Americans like Jim Thorpe, J.C. Penny, and George Washington Carver. the set came with audio tapes and in the winter, I used to lie out in the living room in
front of the bookshelf with a tape recorder and one of those books, and I'd lay my blanket over the heater vent, letting the air fill my blanket as I read.

One entire shelf was dedicated to war books--hard cover with glossy dust jackets covered in black and white photos of battleships, tanks, soldiers marching--decades of father's day and Christmas gifts to my Dad, a man who would be happy to live the rest of his life in front of the history channel.

There were other books, two old Books of Mormon, identical, hard bound, and dark blue, printed in double columns with a several color page in the front showing artifacts, artwork, and architecture from mesoamerica. One picture showed an elderly man in a suit stepping down into what appeared to be a stone baptismal font, his elderly wife watching on. Another picture showed an ancient mural of dark light skinned natives enslaved by dark skinned natives.

On the very top of the bookcase were two desk atlases, both too large to fit on the shelves, and both too old to be of any real use. By the time I was in high school many of the geopolitical boundaries of Eurasia, middle east, and some parts of Africa had changed so much that using the Atlas was problematic, not to mention they each weighed twenty pounds and was kept on the top of the bookcase, seven feet in the air.

The children's encyclopedias were my favorite, and there were certain stories I always went back to. A fact that makes my inability to remember the details of the following story somewhat embarrassing . . . so there is a story from, I think, Roman or Greek mythology about an evil monster of some kind who drank the blood of his
victims. The good guys succeed in killing the monster, but then from his wounds spill out swarms of mosquitoes. That's the story I think of every time I get a mosquito bite, and that's the story I thought of the other night when Callan, Melissa, and I went outside to light a few fireworks (one pack of ground bloom flowers and a 36 pack of sparklers). Melissa lasted about two sparklers and two ground bloom flowers before the Mosquitoes found her and she ended up going back in side and letting Callan and me finish ALL 36 sparklers. Mosquitoes don't bother me much, and Callan must be too young to care for the most part, so we lit all the sparklers off and took some fun pictures.

Then later that night, after Callan was asleep and I was in the living room reading, Callan woke up and came out into the living room scratching his back. He hadn't gotten any bites during the fireworks, but a mosquito had gotten into his room and had his fill of Callan while he slept. He had
two huge bites right in the middle
of his back where he couldn't scratch them and he was very sad.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Happy Mother's Day Mom (Belated!)

I told my mom for Mother's Day I would take her to lunch, just the two of us with no other fun but distracting family members included. It took a while and we switched plans to pedicures, but we finally went! I have never had one before, I can see how some could get addicted! It was just a little local place, but still relaxing. We joked about eating Bon bons while we soaked. Now that would have been relaxing, especially since we discovered the soaking chairs were massage. Oooh! It was great.

What could be more fun than a massage chair, foot soak, cute flowers on your toenails and spending time with your daughter. That's one happy mom!

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Come and Get It!

Well, don't really come because it's all gone now! But this is what our front lawn looked like at 6:30 last Friday (minus a few couches). It's an odd feeling to have most of your stuff out on the lawn with price tags on it, just waiting for someone else to cart it off to their own house. I suppose I would rather willingly detach myself from some of my materials possessions than endure a fire that destroys all of them.
It was fun to sell brownies and popsicles on Saturday, although we ate far too many ourselves. I'm grateful it's overwith though! It was physically and emotionally exhausting to get rid of that much stuff.

The night before the sale we put our "watchdog" out to keep an eye or a bark on the stuff. She did a great job! No stuff stolen and no barking... The sad part is that she needs to find a new home, no room for her in the Ohio apartment. She will be missed!

Monday, July 9, 2007

REAL Space Invaders

What a great idea. It sounds like a lot of work, but hey it's cool!

Friday, July 6, 2007

blue skies and big balloons make little boys happy!
Just as we walked up to the field where the balloon games were being held, a family stood up, folded up their blanket, and left a perfect patch of grass for us to sit on and eat our breakfast. Even at 7:30 though, the sun was hot. Nolan's sweat shirt only lasted a few more minutes.
Callan liked the strawberry balloon the best.
Keeping Nolan from eating the grass, spilling the orange juice, grabbing the knife, and pulling peoples hair was full time job during breakfast.
Later, at the parade, we were visited by a giant floating Bob the Builder from outer space.

Thursday, July 5, 2007

Hot Air

The fourth of July was great! Hot air balloons in the early morning, then the parade, then a trip to the hardware store followed by a trip to the grocery store for traditional 4th of July food stuffs, then a little home improvement, followed by dinner with the family, an Orem Owls baseball game, and then fireworks, only a little traffic, and we were all in bed before midnight. Woo hoo.

We got to the park a little late, but we still got to see lots of balloons.

We had bagels and cream cheese with orange juice for breakfast.

Hot air balloons have a way of sneaking up on you. This one did, right on top of us.

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

"Going Camping is Fun to do, Fun to do, to do, to do

Fun things to do when camping:

Sleep in a tent

wake up with your hair on top of your head

Make a plan to steal your cousin's toys when he's smiling for the camera


Play Chubby Bunny!

Cousins are fun to camp out with, especially when it's most of the Montgomery cousins! (Melissa's Mom's side). It used to be the "no one over 30" crowd, but now that we have some among us nearing the top of the hill, it's just "cousins".
Thanks everybody, it was fun!

Funniest Home (Camping) Video

Sometimes you just fall over!

Goodbye Sister Elma

I know few people who have rendered as much service as my dear Great-Aunt Elma. She passed away yesterday at the age of 90. Growing up I didn't see her that often because she was in Lesotho, and only now I realize how long she was there and how she served! St. Mary's Academy in Oregon honored her in 2004 for her service and commitment to their values. This is what they wrote,

"Sr. Elma Fitzgerald has lived her life answering God's call to service, as a Sister of the Holy Names both in this country and in Lesotho in southern Africa.

In 1941, she received word that she would perform missionary work in Lesotho but her plan was thwarted by World War II. Instead she was sent to Tampa, Florida to continue teaching. In 1946 Sr. Elma finally traveled to Lesotho to teach, and she was soon asked to study nursing to replace an ill sister who needed to return home. During her nursing training she was invited to build a maternity center to help reduce the number of deaths during childbirth. Elma accepted the challenge and finished her nursing education in the US. She began the new maternity center in 1960 and provided thousands of women and children medical care through all phases of pregnancy. The Sisters also established clinics where mothers and children could receive immunizations, instruction on nutrition, and handouts of food staples.

In 1971 Sr. Elma was asked to start a nurses' training school. She found herself in a building that was an abandoned hospital in terrible disrepair with no money for supplies or teacher salaries. Sr. Elma returned to the US and spent six weeks fundraising for her new school. When she returned she witnessed extraordinary demonstrations of generosity that she calls "miracles", which provided the rest of the needed supplies. After seventeen years Sr. Elma left the school in the charge of one of her former students. Next Sr. Elma built a Health Center to provide outpatient care, a maternity ward, and living quarters for resident nurses. She found funding, hired a contractor, and opened the doors. After five years at the Health Center and 48 years in Lesotho, Sr. Elma came home to Marylhurst, where in "retirement" she teaches Mary's Woods residents computer skills."

I will always remember her work ethic, she told me once about repairing the washer and dryer at their facility for the Nuns because no one new how to fix it. I believe she was in her upper 70's then! Thank-you for your exemplary life of service. You will be missed Aunt Elma!