Monday, May 18, 2009

Cars I Wouldn't Kick Out of My Garage

Eric is a Car Guy. I am not. The girls to varying degrees are Car Girls, having learned some finer details from their father. Ben was not a Car Guy until he got a cool old car for some work done in Alaska, now he can talk the talk, although the car is still in Alaska and he's in New Hampshire.

My only criteria for a cool car is matching hubcaps. Now the fact that the only car that has this feature is a Mercedes Benz puts me in an upscale market, albeit a dated one, since they no longer seem to have matching hubcaps and for the most part the cars are diesels which are loud and have less ambiance. But my love for color and balance makes the hubcaps that match the paint on the car appealing.

I was driving in Laguna Beach a while back when a beautiful car passed me with the requisite matching hubcaps. It also fulfilled other visual stimulus. I snapped pics with my cell phone while we were stopped at a light on PCH. Then I came home and researched the 200 series. Here are some cars I would put on my interested list:

I would also add old Thunderbirds to my preferred list, although there are some new versions I like too.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

RS Cake Challenge 2009

Capo 1st Ward loves contests. The latest competition involved six teams of Relief Society sisters divided by birth months and issued the challenge to create awesome culinary delights. Given the same basic supplies and restrictions on added components, the outcome was delicious. And despite the potential for some intense rivalry, our Stake RS Presidency was able to find something praiseworthy from each team.

Jaws, A Day at the Beach or-The Most Homemade Looking Cake Team-Jan/Feb
Compassionate Service Tissue Box or the Best Use of Fondant Team-March/April

The 'Having Too Much Fun' Team-May/June

Most Patriotic Team-July/August

Holiday Spectacular - Nov/Dec Cake
Overall Winners - Sept/Oct Group

We Were There Shots

Love These Kids!

Whistling Hat Men
This cute video was from the Talent Show I attended last month. Three of the children are friends from the ward. Kudos to Chase, Chance & Gavin for their awesome performance. Thanks to Megan for posting the video.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Dream Weaver

My Mom mentioned that she had been having crazy dreams during her recent illness. I told her to embrace and enjoy the diversion, that a dream is like a mini-vacation. We laughed about that but it has stuck with me today because...

last night I had a dream...

I know there's nothing worse than listening to another person's dreams. But my post isn't so much about analyzing or identifying our sleep filled ramblings

It's about recognizing that sometimes dreams are a way for us to connect the dots beyond our current memory...

Or realizing the validity of the scripture:
  1. 17 And it shall come to pass in the alast days, saith God, I will bpour out of my cSpirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall dprophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall edream dreams:

This dream was based on an experience I had twelve years ago.

In the summer of 1997 I had the opportunity to participate in the building of a neighborhood park. It was a great experience as two communities came together to celebrate the founding of our neighborhood where the first Mormon pioneers entered the Salt Lake Valley and spent a night near 1700 South & 500 East.

(I could go on at length about the awesome park building experience, but that's not the point so I'll move on.)

An event was planned to celebrate the completion of the park. A choir of children from the two communities was invited to sing at the dedication and I was in charge of leading the music. My dream was the remembrance of this experience. There were many children that attended accompanied by primary teachers and leaders who placed their young charges in clusters on the rocks representing the Salt Lake Valley. I remember one particular mother with two beautiful little boys in tow. She didn't seem to be there because she had to be, but seemed to float in a world that revolved around these adorable little ones. She had a lovely voice I quickly realized and a kind disposition as well as she sat on the rocks between her sons, and for some reason I recognized something. She was sweetly hesitant about being placed up front, but she sang out clearly and it helped to have her strong voice among the children, and her sons were so cute and engaged that they added to the group where I was directing and I wanted them where I could see them. I was drawn to this woman for some reason, and attributed it to appreciating a good singer in a setting where it was needed. I never knew their names and didn't see them at subsequent park events.

Ten years later my daughter started dating one of these beautiful boys...

Eleven years later I met his mother and felt that kindred spirit recognition. We have enjoyed a delightful friendship, much of it through our shared appreciation of music and love for our children. Through conversation we realized our shared story...

Twelve years later I dreamed a dream and realized that eternal connections can shine through the muddle of mortality. Those glimmers of recognition exist and bless our lives as we realize that relationships existed before we began this journey and our spiritual self can leap at things our mortal eyes may miss. Old friends can reconnect and the veil seems a little thinner as we 'see' things as they truly are, and even though I later realized that we were kindred spirits reconnecting, I had forgotten those feelings that first stirred within me of unidentified spiritual insight...

Family Strength

Last week I received an early morning phone call from my Mom's home number. When your parents are aging, a familiar number at an unexpected time always makes you jumpy. My concerns were confirmed when it was my brother on the phone instead of 'Mom' as the caller ID identified. Ken and his son Michael live with Gma Hazel, in a mutually beneficial arrangement where Mom has live in help and the guys have room & board. Ken let me know that they had taken Mom to the hospital because she had been having back & neck pain which after being prescribed muscle relaxants proceeded into collapsing and fainting. After a long day and night of assisting Mom in her deteriorating condition, the ambulance was called and she was wheeled off to the new IHC hospital in mid-valley.

Rather than a recounting of the medical aspects of her aging situation I want to reflect on the beauty of the family unit. I called my older brother to let him know what was happening. He was just going into a meeting but he called his wife, Vali who was finishing up at a doctor's appointment in Park City and immediately went to the hospital. During that bleak Thursday she was a ray of help and hope, assisting Mom with paperwork and monitoring and remembering the doctors, nurses and therapists information to share with the rest of the family. Her assistance extended for several days as she coordinated care upon her return home and continued updates to the rest of the family. Her children were quick to come visit in the hospital - son Nick is an EMT and came by on one of his trips through the hospital, other son Jesse lives close by and stopped by to offer love and comfort. Vali was the right person in the right place doing the right thing. The blessing to assist Mom during this challenge strengthened and polished eternal ties. As Vali sweetly shared, 'Hazel has been the Mother figure in my life for so many years. I'm glad to be needed and to serve.'

Other family members also stepped up to offer support. Keileigh's visit and buoyant personality offered enthusiasm when spirits were stretched. Noelle's late night visit while Gma was in a drugged stupor was the source of laughs for days. Hazel asked if she dreamed the beautiful vivid memories of Noelle's wedding. Noelle told her she had brought a book chronicling her Big Day and Grandma had thumbed through it in her delirious state! Ken's comments about The Sisters (Rachel, Noelle & Keileigh) second visit offering loving support and a ray of joy makes me happy that they have the ability to recognize Important Moments and to be a part of and add to Eternity. Matthew's phone calls and long distance love as caring son were appreciated. Natalie's Irish meal was a glimmer of familial love to Mom upon her return home and daughter Mary's spot cleaning perked up the place in addition to Rachel's bi-monthly house cleaning visits which have given the apartment a 'woman's touch'. Kathy's chili was recognized as 'the best ever.' Additional calls, cards & prayers sustained us all.

In talking to Ken yesterday as the immediate needs of hospitalization wane, and the on-going long term care of the woman who cared for us resumes, we reflected on the contributions each person added. Although families tend to be the harshest critics and the greatest allies we recognize that each member of the group is needed and has something to proffer. As we are able to see that one person's offering doesn't diminish our own, and that we each are benefitted by the sharing of a task, we come to realize the beauty and strength of the Family Unit.