Sunday, August 25, 2013

Manti, Meniscus tear, Max and Missionaries

I wanted to blog about several things, so this is a conglomeration of things that have no correlation with each other.  That being said, I am all over the place with my life and mind, so this should make sense even though it doesn't!

   In June we went to the Manti Pageant with Bethany, Emily and the Bubbergirl (Ruby).  It was going to be our "vacation" if only for two days.  Jerry had gone online and had reserved us a charming bed and breakfast house known as the "Ephraim House".  This was owned by a polygamist with three wives, and we thought it would be lovely to stay in an authentic, historical house.  Its amenities included the cellar with a hidden door know as the polygamist pit.    I am going to have my daughter, Emily be the Guest Blogger and she will relate our experience:

Some point earlier this year, the family all had the idea to head down to the Manti pageant.  I myself was quite excited, as I was in elementary school the last time I saw it, just a nerdy little girl with glasses... that I had forgotten to bring.  Thus, that first trip was was a meaningless blur.  But now, now I could truly have a worthy Manti Pageant experience.  So we packed up the car with all things necessary for an overnight excursion and headed down to Ephraim.  If you have never been there, it's a nice little town--my sister-in-law and her family live there and quite enjoy it.  There's a main street, a candy store, all sorts of cute little things.  After driving up and down that Main Street a few times, we finally saw the Ephraim House, pulled over, and checked in.

The Ephraim House is run by a very nice family.  They greeted us with charm and smiles.  I barely saw the husband of the family, but Tiffany and her son were downright friendly.  They were dressed in what I assumed were period-inspired clothing, son Izzy (Isaiah Elijah) with a classic bowl haircut, and barely gave us time to toss our luggage somewhere before we were given a tour of the house.  

The house was beautiful.  I have a thing for old houses, and therefore I liked this one.  I enjoyed hearing the history and I enjoyed looking at all the old odds and ends scattered about. However, this house was updated not just with a big flat-screen tv but all sorts of tributes to Mormonism.  Pictures of temples, church magazines, coloring books, novels, etc.  Tiffany was sure proud of it, and spoke of the spiritual nature of her home.  The Spirit was meant to dwell in this house, and apparently some family members who came to visit were unable to deal with the overwhelming spirit and snuck out early one morning before Tiffany and her family could greet them with a nourishing breakfast burrito.  

All I could think was "This ain't the temple".  

Yes, I know the home is meant to be a temple of sorts, but I couldn't help but find the zealotry a tad overwhelming.

Eventually we headed to the pageant.  We arrived early and were disappointed to find only a few protestors, none particularly interesting save for a certain young preacher Bethany found quite handsome.  The cast was wandering about, so we took the opportunity to toss Ruby at them for a collection of pictures.  I worried she would fuss through the pageant, but she fell asleep soon and, hooray, slept through the entire thing.

I loved the pageant.  The cast did a fantastic job, the volcano effects were awesome, and it was nice to see it clearly for the first time in my life.  

We then returned to the Ephraim House where, thankfully, the family was asleep and we could sneak into our beds.  In my room, aside from my super-comfy bed, was a pioneer cradle.  Tossing out all crib warnings and regulations out the window, that is where I placed my precious daughter for the night.  I figured if pioneer babies didn't die regularly in them, my baby wouldn't after one night.  And she lived and now I have the story of her sleeping in a pioneer cradle.

Ruby woke up early, which was fine with me, as I was hoping to sit with her and perhaps do some yoga and take in the atmosphere of this beautiful house.  This was interrupted by my parents telling me to hurry and get downstairs for breakfast.  It was still quite early, but breakfast was served and that was that.  So, despite having returned very late, the sleeping members of my family were invited at the break of dawn to go downstairs and eat breakfast burritos.  In detail, Mom was lying in what truly was the best bed she had ever slept in having the best sleep of her life when Tiffany threw open the door and called "Breakfast is served!"  So we trudged downstairs for burritos.  I appreciate the sentiment, but mine was filled with cream, I was not eating dairy for Ruby's sake, and we had all kind of hoped for a classic American McDonald's breakfast.  

The rest of the morning was spent with Tiffany and Izzy running about in their friendly manner, chatting us up.  With all due respect to homeschooling families, Izzy was homeschooled and, well, rather odd.  He didn't seem to have any friends his age, including in Primary, and instead wrote letters and sent pictures to the Prophet.  His social skills were also awkward. Please keep in mind, these were very, very nice and wonderful people, BUT... not quite what we were used to.  The visits became odd when I was nursing Ruby.  I've discovered I have very little modesty in that regard, but still, it was odd having some stranger chatting and a little boy popping his head in while I'm feeding my daughter.  During this time, Tiffany also mentioned her fear of lifting heavy things as she felt she was "expecting" despite having confessed to having conception trouble the night before.  Ah, the words of strangers!

Later that morning, we checked out, but not without complimentary taffy and a missionary card and the appreciation of the family with the titles "Sister" and "Brother".

The house was beautiful, the family nice and without guile;  but I think I prefer my hosts to be a little more distant and a little more worldly.

  Thanks, Emily, I think your portrayal of that trip was very accurate.

 Another member has left the Taylor family.  Four years ago a sweet, black and white Tabby came to live with us.  I picked him up from Petco when an employee placed him in my arms and he clung to me like a lost baby.  I thought Ben needed a cat at his townhouse, but was not surprised when he said, "you've got to be kidding, I don't want or need a cat!"  I guess I was banking on his tender heart, but even as I admitted defeat and kept Max, Ben really did grow to like him. Jess,  who is more of a dog person liked him a lot.  Everyone did.  What was not to like?  A more congenial and affectionate cat never lived.  He loved people, and never met a stranger.  He loved to visit with you especially if you had on black pants.  Max had an odd habit of dangling one fore leg about when perched, and it was quite endearing.  Not quite as endearing was his habit of coughing up hairballs.  It was not so much as a hairball, but a slimy piece of wormlike fur that he would deposit at your feet after a short fit of coughing.  We tried some remedies, bought some hairball cat food , and I was really going to take that cat in to the vet.  Last Wednesday he disappeared without a trace.  We checked his favorite hiding places, closets, beds, neighbor's garages....but no Max.  We are sad even though we have too many cats.  Marty, who was born here at the house, and Sam, Emily's cat.  Contrary to some people's opinions, cats are wonderful creatures who are smart and just don't always elect to come when you want them.  We loved him on his terms, and every time the door rings, there is a small burst of hope that someone has found him and is bringing him home.  We have notified the animal shelter, and made trips around the neighborhood, but to no avail.  I hope he is not hurt, and is living it up with a loving family who adores him as much as we did....

     I had surgery for a meniscus tear, (knee scope) and have been gingerly hobbling around.  I am down to one crutch and made it to school last week, and gave a Relief Society lesson today.  I think it will feel better when it stops hurting!  Actually it is coming along, and perhaps I can start exercising again someday.

  The missionaries are great.  Matthew has a baptism scheduled for the end of August, and is happy most days.  He says that he is now reading "Jesus The Christ" which makes me happy!!  Mark has been transferred to a small town in Texas where he will be opening a new district.  He is excited but sad to leave the people he has been with since arriving in Oklahoma.  Rachel is loving her new companion and the work she is doing.  I am excited and grateful for the experiences they are having right now.  I am not sure whether to tell them about our Max.  He was, by far, the nicest cat we have ever had and was considered a beloved family member.  Do I mention it?  I can't decide.

I count my blessings, and rejoice in them.   Yes,  my knee hurts, and my cat is missing, but I think you can still mourn one of our Heavenly Father's creations----and be grateful at the same time.  If any of you see Max, let me know!!

Monday, August 12, 2013

Summer successes and losses

As the summer simpers to a close, I find myself reconciled to the fact that I did not accomplish great things the last two months.  I had big plans for organization, and weight loss.  Alas, the house is still messy, and I am up ten pounds.  Emily, my married daughter who lived with me this summer, was going to help me.  She did clean out cupboards and urge me towards healthier eating habits.  Thanks, Emily, for remaining your cheerful self during your husband's absence.  He serves in the Army Reserves and has been in Missouri since Ruby was six weeks old.  He returns home next month to whisk wife and baby away!

 In the meantime I have hurt my knee and spend a lot of time moaning and feeling sorry for myself.  I had an MRI and will report to Dr. Watson on Wednesday morning.  However, I have read the MRI report and looked up all the terms on the internet, and I am not encouraged.  I may have to have some surgery or bear the pain.  Maybe both!

 I have had lots of time to reflect on life.  Just the other day I ate some Cracker Jacks at three in the morning while I mused about my life.  This has always been one of my best times for pondering the mysteries of the Universe.  Perhaps I should start leaving out the "Cracker Jacks" part.

  Perhaps I didn't get my house as clean as I or my neighbor and friend, Dorma would have liked, but I sure had fun reconnecting with friends.  I had needy friends this summer.  Poor Dorma fell down her steps in June, hitting her Gluteus Maximus squarely on the step.  She called me almost immediately, and I inspected her rear, which looked as if it had been artificially padded.  She called it her "Kardashian Butt".  I was almost sure that it was a huge hematoma, but we went to the Doctor where he confirmed my suspicions.  Nothing but time would absorb all that blood.  Dorm  could not even sit on a chair, and spend lots of time leaning on furniture.  I found it hysterically funny that she also took pictures of her injured part, but did not text them to anyone!!  She just wanted to follow the progression of her injury....!  Dorma is sixty-six, but acts and looks like she is fifty (or younger).

   We went out to the Munks last weekend where SueAnn continues to be remarkable at remodeling two houses at once.  It was fun to visit with Kylie and Jeff, and to see Kyle's new boat!
    As the summer progressed, so many of my friends had trials.  I commiserated with each one of them while giving thanks for my blessings and knowing full well that my time would come again!  Still, I am thankful for a little reprieve (excepting the knee injury) from some of the problems my friends have experienced.  I have relished each and every day with Ruby (my bubbergirl) and having an adult relationship with my daughters, Emily and Bethany.  Jerry and I celebrated our 30th anniversary on the 30th of July.  We spent some time at Bear Lake and attended the "famous" Pickleville theatre.  I had a picture taken by some Japanese tourists that I really do not want to post, but Debbie insisted it was the picture of a middle aged couple who had raised seven kids, and that the picture was "sweet".  I am not sure I see the "sweet" part, but the middle-aged part is definitely showing through.

                                               This is "us"  (one of us is trying to hold in their stomach) - with little

   The Missionaries are great, and I am thankful every day for their service.  They are great kids and are having wonderful adventures!  Rachel is a trainer as is Matthew and enjoying it very much.  Mark believes that he may be transferred soon.

                                            Elder Mark Taylor signing "Oklahoma" (I had to ask Alex)

Elder Matthew Taylor standing in a random field?

Sister Rachel Taylor, Dearborn, Michigan

  Perhaps accomplishment can come in the little ways in which you go about your daily activities and relationships with family and friends.  I hope so because that underwear drawer is not getting organized this summer!!!