Sunday, June 26, 2011

Doing "Hard Time" in a Motel 6

There's an old quote:  "The road to Hell is paved with good intentions."  Sometimes I think it was quoted for me.

I ALWAYS have the best of intentions...and nine times out of ten they don't turn out the way I thought they would.  I think it is my inattention to details, glossing over with my enthusiasm, and never taking the limits of time and energy into consideration.  I want to please everyone - which only brings conflict because it is impossible.  Who am I to take "impossible" for the last word???  There HAS to be a way around that....

Such is the story of my weekend. 

Almost year ago my son was sentenced to 10 years in prison.  Probably only a handful of people know.  Such is the shame level that comes from having someone you love screw up in a huge way.  I've worked through whatever that was. I have never believed in "family secrets."  They breed shame and low self-confidence.  Yet, I succumbed.  It's taken me a year to "come out of the closet."

I don't know what I thought was going to happen.  Maybe people wouldn't notice that he is no longer in our family get-togethers?  Maybe people wouldn't notice he was gone?  Maybe they wouldn't notice the sad look in my eyes, at times, when I spoke of him?  Now I find I can't share the happiest of getting to see him on the limited opportunities I have.  People don't understand the importance of getting a letter from him.  They probably wonder why we don't phone and text like the rest of the world.  Letter-writing is becoming a lost art.

His prison is in a different state from where I live, so face-to-face visits, though possible, don't happen often.  He has been in almost a year and I have only gotten to visit him twice.  Once in February, and the next time was to be this weekend.  He set up a special visit for me, since I DO live out of state; and we were have three consecutive days to see each other.  It didn't turn out QUITE that way.

We arrived safely on Friday, after an eight hour drive, at our motel and settled in for the night.  Early Saturday morning, we got ready to run the errands we needed to before making the trip to the prison.  Surprise!  During the night our van had given up the ghost.  Will not start.  No how.  No way. 

What to do?  What to do? 

My analytical mind snaps into action.  "We'll get a rental car - and life will go on..."  We get a tow truck.  Get the van fixed.  Carefully going down all the logical steps to getting the problem solved and us back on the road.  Right?  Wrong.

Van may not be resurrect-able.  Due to our successful accomplishment of passing the Utah written driver's license test, we are now the proud holders of a TEMPORARY Utah DL.  The rental car companies were not so impressed by our accomplishments.  They don't rent cars to mere "Temporary" drivers license holders.  You must have the actual CARD in your hand - which, by the way, WILL be delivered by mail in about two weeks.  Yippee-I-Ki-Yay!  We followed every lead, reasonable and non, and still found ourselves car- less, stuck in our Motel 6 room.

Now the problem with prisons is that they don't have voicemail for each inmate.  They don't take messages.  My son knew nothing of our frustrations.  I had no way of letting him know WHY I wasn't there for our visit.  He only knew he had set up a visit for me on Saturday and that I did not show up.  He knows I had a long drive.  He doesn't know if there was an accident.  He doesn't know if I changed my mind?  He doesn't know and has no way to check things out.  I felt so bad that he was looking for a visitor and no one was there for him.

Saturday ends with us knowing our car will be visiting with the mechanics at least another 24 hours.  We have no transportation.   We know no one in town.  We don't know what this is all going to cost! I know it is God's hand.  I have to believe it is going to work out - somehow.  (to be continued)

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Geocaching and Pigs

Ever since getting my "smart" phone, I have become addicted to geocaching!  I found my first cache in Tempe with my middle daughter.

Since then, I have shared the experience with the rest of my daughters.  Then I infected my grandkids...and it continues to spread.  This was Faith's first find, but all shared the bounty.

And Cayden's first, again sharing.

I have found a variety of caches and had some great fun, but now I'm excited to create some of my own.  Having seen some different ideas and hiding techniques, I have some ideas of what I want to place in my new home.  Most of mine, to this point, have been urban hides.  My new town seems to focus on the off-road variety.  Of course, with the scenery around here, I know why.

Placing a cache, for the most part, is a way of sharing something or some place special to the one who creates it.  There can be themes, or a series created.  What I have enjoyed the most is the stories of these anonymous people who take me to a location, or a view point that I never would have known about without finding their cache.  It is a good way to discover the  hidden or historical places of interest in an area.

I personally like the ones that have room enough for treasures, called S.W.A.G. (Stuff We All Get).  They are my grandkids favorites too.  SWAG can be whatever you have - marbles, toy cars, little toys, deck of cards, coins, plastic animals, erasers - you get the idea.    When you locate one, you may EXCHANGE treasures.  Try to make them of equal or better value. 

What goes into it is determined by the size of the cache container.  There is always a log book that you sign to prove you found it.  If there is room (some are QUITE small), there will be a pencil - and whatever "trades" you want to include. 

I have found some VERY creative containers in my hunting, which is what brought me to this stage of my "hobby."  I decided, after seeing it done by someone else, that I am going to put out one cache for each of my ten grandkids.  It will be named after them, or something that they like.  I'm starting with my oldest granddaughters (who will be visiting me next month).  I will have the containers ready and, together, we will place them and publish them for other geocachers to locate.

One granddaughter, Faith, loves LOVES pigs!  She claims the nickname of "Pig."  I know not why...She collects pigs.  She draws pigs.  She makes up pig words.  (Source for another WHOLE posting)  So, of course, she wants her cache to have a pig theme.  It's name will be "Pigs of Faith."  Of course.

W--E--L--L......Today I found the perfect container! 

The pig of Faith.
It is a hard plastic pig made by Radio Shack, as a dieting aide.  You put a battery in it, stick it into your refrigerator, and every time you open the door, it OINKS!  LOL!  Well - it won't be oinking long!  I am going to morph it into a hollowed out container and this little porker will go down in geocaching history. 

Oh - and the lady at the consignment shop, where I found it?  I got her too!  She's looking up geocaching tonight.  They called the woman who was an unknowing carrier of typhoid fever "Typhoid Mary."  What would they call someone who spreads a "disease" knowingly???

Monday, June 20, 2011

The Textures of the Desert

Tumbleweeds in the spring.

Dried Foxtails

I don't know its name, but they are in lots of yards, including ours.

Same with this one.  The bees and I love it.

Picking Assignment

Yesterday at church they mentioned an apricot picking assignment for this morning at 6AM.  I was so excited!  I have never lived where they had a church farm.  I have volunteered for the church canneries before, but to be part of getting those fruits to the canneries is just COOL!

I arrived a little after six o'clock and the parking area along the road was already packed!  There were tons of people, whole families, seniors, everybody.  A VERY fun elderly man, an amputee, was directing cars to open parking areas with a big smile.  Told me everyone calls him "Grandpa Rick."  I immediately adopted him.

They had picking baskets that you attached to a shoulder harness, so that your hands could be free.  There were ladders available for the younger folks.  Instructions were given as to what kind of fruit we were picking and what a ripe one looked like, and off I walked. 

This was the first picking, so there were many still not ripe.  We get to go back Wednesday, 6AM.

There were trailers in every other row. 

When our baskets were full, we emptied them in the trailer and went back for more.

As the ripe ones started disappearing, it became like an Easter egg hunt!  Trying to find the elusive ready-to-pick fruit!

When the hunt was over, our foreman "fired" us and we went home.

It went too quickly.  I can't wait for Wednesday!  I would love to start each day like this!

So incredibly beautiful....

So Utah...
if you look closely at the picture, you will see TWO LDS chapels....across the street from each other!  Gotta love it!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Living in Utah

Here I am - an Utah Mormon. How did THIS happen??
Let's see...we've been here a little over a month and there's absolutely nothing here that I hate! Instead, it seems that every morning I wake up happy - and it STAYS that way! What kind of a place have I moved too???
The perfect place - for us!