Thursday, December 11, 2008
I have been called as the ward organist (woo-hoo!!!) and the bulletin/newsletter person. As most of you know, that is exactly the kind of thing I love doing so I couldn't be happier. Ok, I could be happier teaching in RS - Teachings For Our Times. But this is the next best thing!!! I've already got my template ready for the newsletter and it is so pretty and yet appropriately masculine at the same time. It's all about ratio's! : ) I bet you never knew creativity was all about mathematical relationships...
The only thing that could make this calling better is if the newsletter came out on "PRETTY" paper instead of plain jane stock. : ) This totally feeds into my love of making invitations/letters/cards/etc.
So, if any of you were in church Sunday, you'll see that there is much to be desired when it comes to the organ. Apparently, there is a DVD that accompanies the organ and I will be watching it!
So mom, because I know you're curious, we couldn't figure out how to go from the preset prelude setting to a normal setting without the organ turning off after the first chord each time. And yes, I tried multiple times on the opening song with only the first chord sounding for a split second before nothing. I finally moved to the piano for the opening song. Bro. Winters then was able to restart the organ while the opening song was being sung and we figured all would be good for the sacrament song. Not so ... Because the organ is brand spanking new and I've never played on it before, I am unfamiliar with the stops. I chose a stop setting that I felt by the looks of what lit up would be appropriate for the more reverent hymn. What I didn't realize was that the third pedal (you know, the furthest to the right) added more stops until all you heard was a horrible muddy yuckiness. In panic, I switched up to the swell for the second verse hoping to have a cleaner sounds and all that came out was two measures of muted air with a hint of the notes that only the Winters on the stand with me and the bishopric could hear. I went right back to the muddy yuckiness to finish out the hymn. (Our organ at the Coit building only has two pedals so this has been a learning curve for me. Of course I didn't realize this was the issue until after the Sacrament hymn was over and I could look more closely at the offending organ.) Now come time for the closing hymn I'm terrified out of my mind with what is next going to go wrong. Amazingly, it was perfect. I was feeling pretty confident again and wasn't worried about the dismissal hymn. But that's when things fell apart again. In my playing around with the stops, I have found a bass coupler stop hidden below the keyboards and well camouflaged. I had used it and the great to pedal stop on the closing hymn and hadn't thought to check to see if the stops had remained lit for the dismissal hymn. With my tweaking of the stops, I didn't think to check those two and they were most definitely missing for the dismissal hymn which came out all mousy. Oh the frustrations of an unfamiliar organ!!!!
So the story doesn't end there, mom. The "piano" (I use this term in the loosest of contexts) in the RS room is really a player organ with a setting for a bright piano and one for a mellow grand piano. Well, I prefer a mellow sounding piano to a bright so I chose that setting to play in RS. I don't care how fancy or expensive or necessary a player organ is for the RS room, I hate it!!! It sounded like electronic garbage instead of a piano. I tried both piano settings and they sound the same. So here's my solution ... everyone needs to learn how to play one hymn. You don't need to learn any more than one, just one. That way, you can switch out each week and have a different song and not worry that there is no one that can play the piano so the need for a player organ isn't necessary. See, easy solution and a whole lot cheaper and better sounding than the monstrosity I was trying to make pretty on Sunday. Obviously this was invented by a man!
But, I do love my callings and next time you visit, mom, you can laugh at me in my antics to provide beautiful music. : )
Seriously, Ryleigh went in for surgery Wednesday morning (WWWAAAYYYY early - we started at 4:30am). She had her Tonsils and Adenoids (sp?) removed. Grandma, you'll be pleased to find out that they went down her throat and checked it and her voice box and all is normal and well, she just has a sexy voice (or at least did). Right now she sounds like she's been sucking on helium. Scott and I both hope her voice returns to normal shortly!!!
We spent the night and returned home just now. She has been a champ and really is drinking like a rock star. So the pics in this post are to describe where the tonsils and adenoids are located. The second one shows a bad tonsil area and a good (meaning cleared) tonsil area. The third is not Ryleigh, but her tonsils were described by her ENT as monstrous and these look very similar to hers. Where you would normally see a dangling thingy in the center and nice big openings leading down the throat, hers had no dangling thingy and only a circle no bigger than a #2 pencil eraser leading down the throat. They truly were monstrous!!!! There is now a "cavernous" opening going down her throat as the doctor described it and that is why her voice is changed but it should return to normal and if it doesn't (which occasionally happens) we'll get used to her new voice.
As I've said in earlier posts, 'tis the season for speed and non-stop activity, so tonight (yes, you read correct ... the very same night that we returned from the hospital) we go to Colbey's band concert, tomorrow is the Hooten farewell/graduation party and the combined ward Christmas party. Saturday I think is designated for catching up on my sleep. (I've gotten 10 hours in the last 72. I am surely not as young as I used to be because I'm hurting right now!!!) : )
PS - The tooth fairy left Pokemon cards for Landon's second tooth. He was thrilled!!
Monday, December 1, 2008
3. Lullaby - Bond
4. Meadowlark - Sarah Brightman
5. Somewhere Over the Rainbow - Faith Hill
6. In My Arms - Plumb
7. Dear Jessie - Madonna
8. Happy Working Song - Amy Adams
9. The Love Cats - The Cure
10. Jump Jive 'n' Wail - Brian Setzer
11. Cartoon Heroes - Aqua
12. There She Goes - The La's
13. Park's Place - Royal Crown Revue
14. Dreams - The Cranberries
15. A Fairy Tale - Plumb
16. Happy Boys and Girls - Aqua
17. Hey Pachuco! - Royal Crown Revue
Sunday, November 23, 2008
So, as a result of yesterday, I have decided to put my foot down and declutter my life by eliminating the unnecessary and taking care of what truly matters.
I resigned from the Advisory Committee just 10 minutes ago and I feel great! Thank you for all the kind words that you gave in response to my blog about wanting to resign. I love you all, and you were all right and I was blind to let other thoughts cloud my mind with doubt.
Thursday, November 20, 2008
He just walked up to me and said, "This is a special day for me because I had my teeth fall out." He cracks me up!
He just said, "Now I can put straws between my teeth and drink."
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
So here's where my head is leaning towards. I think I want to resign from the Advisory Committee. I've been unhappy with the workings (or lack of) with the management company and the general sense of turning in circles. Just when I think we should be making headway, someone decides to change the rules and we start from scratch all over again. People don't follow through with what they have committed to do and I'm tired of having to literally drag anything into fruition.
I am still waiting for reimbursement for nearly $1100.00. I've been waiting for a number of weeks. I used cash so as not to incur interest expenses which turns out to have been smart as the interest would still be accruing. Tick, tock, tick, tock. This money is from my Christmas fund and our meager savings account so until that check arrives, Christmas is on hold for our family. And if any of you know me, I like to be done by Thanksgiving.
I've been wanting to leave the committee for the last year and a half and if I hadn't felt a real sense of duty and commitment to this community, I would have walked away after my first year.
One of the committee members knows how I feel and has asked me to keep on going as this is my first flop, but I'm tired of the stress and the time it takes away from my family and home. I'm tired of the immense work it takes to get anything done. I'm tired of not being appreciated for the work that I put in, for the 100's of hours I've been donating each month to this community. I'm tired of looking at my "to do" list getting ever longer with little hope of catching up on it while my time is being dedicated to this community. And frankly, I'm tired of the other committee members questioning my decisions about my budget when they aren't willing to step up and participate in the planning process and implementation.
So what do you think I should do? Keep plugging it out until January of 2010 (that's when this session is scheduled to conclude), or resign now? And if I resign now, is that considered failure?
Leave a comment and vote on the poll!!!!
Wednesday, November 12, 2008
Thursday, November 6, 2008
So, after much mulling, (my brain works slower now that OLD age is setting in) I decided I would make my own registry. Hence, if you look in the family links column, you'll see a new link, The Thompson Wish List. Ta da!!!
As this is a new venture, only Ryleigh's birthday is listed so far, but I hope to shortly have list's for everyone with the holiday season fast approaching. So if you are just randomly looking at people's blogs and come across ours, feel free to send us something from off the list. : )
Keep in mind, this is a dream wish list and I already know that some of the listed items would require the death of some unknown extraordinarily wealthy relative. So for any of you out there doing genealogy whose rich beyond measure and find a link in family ties to us, kindly add us to your will. : ) I can wait for a natural death, no pressure!!!
Monday, October 27, 2008
So let me tell you what's going on. I am now the committee chair over Homeowner Functions. That means, I get to plan parties for the rest of this year and all of next year. Our dates of working on the HOA board changed within the past month to run from January to December instead of September to September (which I think makes a ton more sense). So I'll have completed 3.5 years on the HOA when I'm through, and I truly plan on being through after 2009. But just to boast a little, check out our website ... carterranchactivities.blogspot.com. (I'll put a link to it on the side board with the other links.)
Right now, we've got the Fall Festival this Thursday. It's followed up with a Chili Cook-off in November and Flag Football Thanksgiving morning with a couple of Dallas Cowboys. Thank you to Sharon for having the contacts to provide our football pros! Then in December we are having a cookie exchange and Christmas party. As you can see, my plate is more than full.
I'm also volunteering at the elementary school in the Arts in Education program. I can't say I'm very impressed with it, but maybe it will get better as the year progresses. My first project with them is this Wednesday.
Colbey is still shaggy and it's driving me crazy, but apparently, that's the style right now. It doesn't get too bad because he needs to look presentable to pass the sacrament on Sunday's but why can't he yearn to be trendy with a close cut?!?!?
Landon is flourishing in kindergarten this year. He is head and shoulders above the rest of the class in comprehension. Reading is coming so much easier for him and I think he's happier that he's accomplishing so much in school. It was the best thing we could have ever done to hold him back a year! I know his teacher was terrified to tell me she felt he should be, and was more than amazed when I said, "I kind of was expecting that. I'm all for it. Let him repeat kindergarten so that he isn't struggling for the rest of his school career."
Ryleigh is the pink of perfection. Ok, maybe not perfection, but pretty darn close! I think it's a combination of her being the only girl and our last, but I enjoy her like I never did the boys. Don't get me wrong, I certainly enjoyed the boys, but she is VERY different! Even when she's being a pill, you just want to hold and love on her. Oh to have that power over people! Wouldn't we all be happier if everyone just loved you no matter what? : )
Scott is still working with ACS, which we are so grateful for in this current economy. So many of our friends are struggling with work and so we count our blessings for Scott's job. He's not real thrilled with the work itself (something to do with computers - see how knowledgeable I am about his occupation!) but it supports our family and even occasionally sends us to the dollar theater for a date! Of course, I think he should be paid for being so super sexy, but sadly, we haven't found the employer out there looking for Scott's talents in that field. : )
We are all happy and healthy right now. It's the best time of year in my opinion. Cooler weather, warm scents, food, memories and the promise of more to come. I love the fall!!!
Quickly, on a more expanded family note ... my sister and her husband closed on their first house together and on the same day found out they are expecting their first baby. My brother and his wife had their second little one. Scott's brother was married. And if I missed anything else gi-normous in the family, I'm sorry.... My brains still smoking from all the other things I'm in the middle of so remind me and I'll try to remember better in the future! : )
PS - Don't forget to vote! PLEASE PRAY ABOUT WHO TO VOTE FOR!!!
Wednesday, September 10, 2008
It was the loudest, angriest annual meeting I've ever attended in my four years here. The homeowners are ticked, for good reason, and they let it be known last night. I got to sit there and try not to laugh out loud. Only one or two snarfs escaped my lips, I'm proud to say.
My struggle with the new management company, Essex, was herald in on everyone's lips and at one point, (I couldn't stop myself) I asked the developer why did we even keep the management company when the developer was farming out his duties to homeowners. Essex didn't have a snappy comeback for that question.
In the end, I was walking out with Scott, ready and prepared for some serious celebrating that my duty was complete, when who should walk up to me but the developer himself. He stopped me and said he wanted me to continue on another year. I told him absolutely not! He asked me why and I explained that I couldn't work with Essex and specifically the company owner, Ron. Things were promised by him and then nothing done. Questions were asked and he couldn't answer them, etc.
So I'm thinking, whew, crisis adverted .... Not so, my friend! Mehrdad, the developer, paused me again, and posed this suggestion. "What if I work with Ron and if he doesn't improve, then I'll replace him?"
I hate being tempted like this ...
How I'd love to be able to create some true benefit and change for the community ...
Evil man, knew exactly which button to push ...
What to do? ...
So in the end, I told him I needed 24 hours to think it over. (Can you say "wuss"?)
So I've just finished composing a masterpiece of a letter to Merhdad in which I said ... drum roll please ... Yes ... with 2 stipulations.
1. The organization of the Committee needs to be changed. I fleshed it all out on paper for him to institute.
2. I am to be the chair for Homeowner Functions. I've already lined up my vice-pres. and treasurer.
So in the end, it's a win situation for me no matter what. Either I get exactly what I want in way of the running of the committee, or I'm off with my two years served honorably.
Crisis, truly, adverted!
Friday, August 29, 2008
Tuesday, August 5, 2008
Since we've been back, Scott has spent a week in New Jersey for two Disaster Recovery exercises and is leaving in the morning for another in Philadelphia. I've spent the time re-decorating Landon's room, which looks fantastic, and cleaning out the garage. That was a HOT job!!!
Scott will get home just in time to leave once again for David's wedding. (His brother.)
I'm hoping to see Scott for approximately one week this month. I don't think either of us realized how much he would end up traveling with this position. Hopefully this is the worst of it, although I know there are two more trips coming up shortly.
The kids are doing well. Ryleigh just finished her session in gymnastics. We've decided to take some time off. It's getting a little crowded since they did away with her original class and combined it with another. Landon is thrilled with his bedroom and has been spending alot of time with Ryleigh, and Colbey. Colbey is the same as always. Playing games, skateboarding and spending as much time as he can with Brock, his best friend. (Brock's been unofficially adopted into the family and spends as much time with the rest of us as with Colbey.)
We were given a little surprise yesterday. Our neighbor who has been living in Florida for the past several years, came back and offered to give us her living room set. So now we have a new couch and love seat. They are beautiful and I'm thrilled to have them. I'm still working on the rearrangement of the other furniture. I still need to figure out where to put two chairs. Don't worry, I'll figure it out eventually. I feel very blessed to love all our furniture especially since very little of it was purchased together. Somehow, we've been able to find, buy and inherit pieces that all work well together and please the eye. (Well, my eye anyway.)
So this was on the bland side for a post, I know. I'm just overwhelmed with the work I've been doing and will continue to do so my mind is not up to cute quips and catchy phrases. After a little recovery time, (you know, once school starts and Scott's here for more than two days at a time) I'll get back to trying to entertain.
BTW - Breaking Dawn was wonderful. I got my happily ever after and feel good about the series ending. Looking forward to Midnight Sun (Twilight from Edwards perspective) and even the next two books in the Host series. Who would have ever guessed that I'd get into Sci-Fi?!?!?
Thursday, June 26, 2008
Landon has become a pro and antagonizing Ryleigh and visa versa. The boys never annoyed each other to the extent that the youngest two do.
Scott is working horrible hours! He pulled a 20 hour shift last week and ... worked the following day with only three hours sleep. He leaves in July for NJ for two different DR (disaster recovery). Hopefully he'll be able to have dinner with Shaundra while he's there. Wish it were me! : )
I've spent the last 3 days trying to figure out where the hideous smell in the kitchen is coming from. Found it last night. Landon had placed a cup of chocolate milk behind on of my cook books and it had rotted and congealed into a solid mass. P-U!!! I'm still missing my curtains for the kitchen which I should have sewn weeks ago and never got around to. And two days ago, when I went to mop my kitchen floor, found that the mop had become so deteriorated that I had to get down on my hands and knees to hand wash it. It took more time and effort than going to Walmart and buying a new mop. But who has money for a new mop with gas prices so high?!?!?!
We leave Sunday for CO and will spend two glorious weeks away from this muggy, hot state. My laundry is nearly completed and just needs folding, Mom I'm waiting for you to show up to fold. My kitchen look fantastic and the family rooms will only take an hour to get beautiful. My bedroom was looking pretty good until Scott decided to start a mass project in there so now it only looks so-so. (He better have it all tidy before we leave because I'm no fun if I come home from vacation to a messy house.) I'm hoping to do a thorough cleaning out of the kids bedrooms on Saturday and make one large donation run to GW. (One big trip means less money spent on gas.)
Scott and Holly and Ryan are coming to dinner on Saturday which will ensure that the house is in tip top shape for the trip. Thanks for being my motivator, guys!!!
Will blog more when I have time.
PS - I came in second place for the gyms "Biggest Loser" contest. I don't win anything, but it never was about winning for me, just feeling better about myself.
Wednesday, June 4, 2008
1. My OCD consists of numbers. I count for no reason. Half the time I don't even realize I'm doing it until I'm around 67 or so. Then I try to remember what it was that set me off. I'm most often counting in the car as I drive. I count when I walk, when I do just about anything. I even count in my head when I'm talking to someone. Sorry if any of you have suddenly found me losing the thread of the conversation because I lost track of what number I was on.
2. I like the feel of tape as it pulls on my skin. For different gift occasions, my husband has been known to buy me a box of scotch tape. And I'm particular about the type I like. It has to be the Scotch Tape brand. It's the stickiest.
3. I have horrible stage fright! I can't control my heart, my knees shake and worst of all, my face starts to convulse. It only happens when I play the flute or sing, which is ridiculous because I've had training in these two instruments and have been performing nearly all my life in front of audiences. On the other hand, it doesn't faze me at all to play the piano. This is even crazier since I've never been trained on the piano. Maybe it's because I'm okay not knowing what I'm doing and figure the audience should be happy with whatever comes out as they're lucky to be getting anything from me in the first place. Whereas, I know what I'm doing on the flute and singing and I cringe and berate myself with every mistake. Who knows.
4. I don't like to hear noise. I don't like the radio on in the car (unless it a CD of my choosing), I don't like the TV on at all. I don't like any man-made sound ... except the tick of a clock. I know it's strange for that to be the only extra sound I like but there you go, one of my quirks.
5. I don't like to talk in the morning, or to be talked to. I used to be a morning person, and I still get up and start my day early, but now, instead of singing or chatting, I prefer silence. I need a good 30 minutes before I'm up to any kind of conversation.
6. I hate breakfast food. I'm not even partial to eating at that time, however I understand the importance of that particular meal. I force myself to eat in the morning, but you won't find typical breakfast food on my plate.
7. I can't expose myself to just anything media wise. I am too easily involved. I can be watching something I would normally never even think twice about, such as rowing, and just like that I'm screaming at the TV for one of the teams to push harder and win. I can't watch or read anything to do with kids because, although most of you know I don't even like kids so this is really weird, I empathize too much and am depressed for days afterward. There was this once when Scott and I were watching a movie with our best friend, Brandon, and suddenly Scott grabbed me and I stood up at the same time and rushed from the room because this little boy was drowning. It took a really long time for me to get over that and Scott and Brandon kept apologizing for letting me see. (Ray - the name of the movie) I can't listen to just anything, because I feel it too much. It enters my soul and changes me. Sometimes, I'm fine with the music because it's soothing but there is so much out there that changes me for the worse. I have to be VERY picky about the exposure I allow myself.
And for a bonus - because you all know that I am definitely weird and have soooo many quirks ...
8. I hate movie theaters. I don't like to think of the people in them. I don't like the volume of the sound in them. I despise the PRICE of them. I would rather watch in the comfort of my own home where I can pause to go to the bathroom, and pay pennies for a treat from the grocery store instead of the exorbitant amount at the theater.
9. I don't like crowds. I'm fine with small groups or one on one, but mass chaos just makes me angry. I don't go to the mall ever, or shopping around Christmas time. (I do my Christmas shopping months in advance.) My preferred time to shop at Walmart is at 2am because there are fewer people there.
And finally ...
10. I talk big, but I am the most un-confrontational person I know. It takes ALOT to rile me up enough for me to speak out. Usually, I do because it is affecting one of my family. DON'T MESS WITH MY FAMILY!!! I'll vent and rage in private, but when it comes right down to it, I'd rather hide in a corner because I want everyone to be happy, even if it's at my expense. Lookie there, you got two for the price of one. I am a pleaser. It's both good and bad. Please don't abuse this, eventually I'll get riled enough that you'll be sorry. (BTY - when I do speak up, watch out! I'm very good at confrontation when it finally occurs.)
Sunday, June 1, 2008
So now you're wondering what exactly he's punished with, well, I'll tell you ... NO ELECTRONICS is the big one. And no friends. You can see how well that is working out. Why, oh why am I such a pushover?!?!?!
Now don't you go telling him how easy it is for him to get what he wants! I'll deny it BIG TIME!!! He probably wouldn't believe you anyway.
He's allowed on family outings even if they involve friends so he's not missing much. I think he's bored, but all kids tend to get bored during the summer. Once we get to Colorado, he'll be in heaven. Look out Grandma and Grandpa!!! We're coming in force. : )
Guess what, they came!!! : )
That's right, Thursday she had a temperature and the normal sleepiness with the fever. I assumed it was the same thing that was bothering Landon. The flu from sun poisoning. Of course, Ryleigh didn't have sun poisoning because we don't go outside that much but I figured she could have picked up the fever/flu from Landon's sun poisoning. Well, Friday afternoon, I learned differently.
All the sudden, her little body was covered in chicken pox. Scott didn't believe me until he came home from work and saw them for himself. She's doing better than I would have expected in the no scratching arena, and we lucked out that there are only four pox on her face in case of scarring (three on the tip of her nose and one on her cheek). She's very proud of her chicken pox and Landon seems to be a little jealous that he's the only one not to have had them. I don't think he understands that we are the jealous ones of him. : )
So I'm the one staying home from church with her today. Scott's been on call and out of town so I felt he should go to church with the boys this week as I haven't missed in I don't know how long and I just went to the temple yesterday, so ... this is why the update is during regular church hours.
Monday, May 26, 2008
Thank you to the parents and siblings and spouses and children who sacrificed their own for the benefit of this country and all those that live in it.
The Littlest Marine
The following comes from the book Swift, Silent and Surrounded, a compilation of stories about the Corps, written and collected by Andy Bufalo, a former Force Recon Marine.
On a spring day in 1983, Marine Staff Sergeant Robert Menke was waiting for a hot enlistment prospect he had talked to on the phone. Hunched over paperwork in the Corps' Huntington Beach California recruiting station, Menke heard the front door open and looked up. In came a boy in a motorized wheelchair, followed by his father. Menke noted the boy's frail body and thin arms. "Can I help you?" he asked.
"Yes," the boy answered firmly. "My name is John Zimmerman."
It took the startled Marine a moment to realize that this was indeed his prospect. "I'm Staff Sergeant Menke," he said, shaking his visitor's small hand. "Come on in."
Menke, a shy man, uncomfortable with recruiting, quickly found himself captured by the articulate thirteen year old youth with an easy, gap-toothed grin. For more than an hour they spoke -- of training and overseas assignments and facing danger. The kid loved the Marine Corps. Not a word was exchanged about the younger Zimmerman's condition or the wheelchair.
There was one basic reason behind the visit to the Marine Corps recruiting office that day. From the moment Richard and Sandra Zimmerman learned their fourteen-month-old son had Werdnig-Hoffman syndrome, a rare neurological disease, they vowed to treat him like a normal child. Told that John probably would not live past age two, they refused to believe he would die.
Despite tremendous weakness in his legs and back and susceptibility to colds, John simply looked well. They had him fitted with a rigid body jacket to help him sit upright and took him on vacation trips all over the country. They didn't get a wheelchair for him until he was three. Even then, Richard Zimmerman often carried his son, who weighed around thirty pounds, lugging him through amusement parks, into restaurants and to movies.
Werdnig-Hoffman syndrome victims have difficulty fighting off upper of respiratory problems. Before the age of five John was hospitalized three times with pneumonia, with each bout putting him on the edge of death. Richard Zimmerman believed Chicago's cold winter climate was partly to blame, and in 1975 he arranged a job transfer so the family could move to Southern California. There, the boy suffered fewer bouts with respiratory illness.
John, then six, was enrolled in classes for orthopedically handicapped children at the Plavan School in Fountain Valley. About this time he became aware of the Marine Corps at a week-long summer camp for disabled children. Many of his counselors at the camp in Cuyamaca Rancho State Park near San Diego were Marine volunteers. Each summer John would get to know another Marine through the camp's one-to-one counseling program. This sparked an interest that evolved into a passion.
While other children worshipped athletic heroes and rock stars, John gathered every bit of material about the Marines he could find. He plastered his room with Corps recruiting posters, his wheelchair with Marine stickers. His hero was John Wayne. He even dressed like a Marine and, much to his mother's consternation, got a Corps "burr" haircut.
After his initial visit to the Huntington Beach recruiting center, John kept in contact with Menke and Menke's boss, 31-year old Gunnery Sergeant John Gorsuch. Occasionally he dropped by with his father; more often, he phoned to ask questions or just to talk. He frequently devoted his school reports to Marine tactics, campaigns or equipment.
When new recruiting posters arrived, Menke or Gorsuch would mail or personally deliver one to John. In turn John built model airplanes, trucks and tanks for his Marine buddies. Though delicate and intricate chores were difficult -- and even painful -- for him, John would work night after night on the models.
While Marines inspired John, he gave back as much as he got. One afternoon Gorsuch had scheduled seven appointments for potential recruits. Five hadn't shown up, and the other two had to be disqualified. John called to ask questions for a school report.
"What's wrong, Gunny," John asked. "You don't sound right."
"Ah, come on Gunny," John said. "Look, you're a smooth operator, and for every one you lose you'll get two more." Gorsuch began to laugh. "You're right Johnny," he said. "You know...you're right."
An attempt to move John into a standard fourth-grade class at Plavan failed; because he could not write quickly, he could not keep up. But he made it in the sixth grade after his teachers allowed him to dictate some of his work.
John's family also benefited from his forceful personality. When told something couldn't be done, he would respond, "But did you ask?" Although he realized he probably never could hold a regular job he had no fear of talking with strangers, and figured one day he could help his father, a commercial real estate broker, by making the "cold" call the elder Zimmerman dreaded. As close as he was to his Marine friends, he was even closer to his father. Richard Zimmerman helped his son dress in the morning, helped him with baths and put him to bed each evening.
John rarely talked about the consequences of his disease, but he understood. On a trip to Hawaii in 1982, as the family visited the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific, the famed "Punchbowl," John whispered to his father, "I want to be buried here when I die. Can we do it?" Richard Zimmerman was taken aback. "I don't know if it's possible. But sure, John. Sure."
In the spring of 1984, not long before John was to graduate from the eighth grade, his condition began to worsen. His twisted spine was pressing into his internal organs, pinching nerves that sent searing pain through his back and legs. He had difficulty digesting food, and he began to lose weight. But he was determined to attend graduation.
On the night of the ceremony John was weak and nauseated, but to his surprise a Marine sergeant was there to escort him. He and the sergeant led the procession of students into the auditorium. John, thin and twisted, had to use the armrest of his wheelchair to prop himself up. His head, normal size, looked much too large for a body that was deserting an able mind. But to a rousing ovation, he flashed his biggest smile. Then another surprise: it was announced that John was a co-recipient of Plavan's Sergio Duran award, given annually to the handicapped graduate who best overcomes his limitations.
That summer John's condition improved slightly, and he entered Fountain Valley High School in the fall of 1984. During the first semester, however, his condition began to decline again, and his weight dropped to less than forty pounds. While he would have preferred to stay home and sleep, he attended school, confiding to his sister that he went "mainly because it makes Mom and Dad happy."
On New Year's Eve John went into respiratory failure and was rushed to the hospital. Gorsuch and Menke visited daily. Realizing their fifteen-year old friend's remaining days would be few, they set out to make him a Marine. Menke secured permission to name John an honorary member of the Corps. Then one of Menke's friends penned a one-of-a- kind proclamation. On January 15, in a hospital room crowded with family and Marines, Major Robert Robichaud, area-recruiting director, read the document. "By reposing special trust and confidence in the fidelity and abilities of John Zimmerman, I do hereby appoint him an Honorary Marine."
Two days later John looked at Sandra and said, "I'm a fighter, Mom. A helluva fighter." That night, he spoke to his nurses about dying, saying that his only fear was how his parents and sister would fare without him. In the early hours of January 18, John Zimmerman, U.S. Marine, passed on.
In a eulogy at John's memorial service Gorsuch, his voice cracking, said, "Marines learn never to give up, and John definitely had that quality. We have a motto in the Marines, the Latin words for always faithful. This is for Johnny Zimmerman," he concluded. "Semper Fi."
After the service the two Marines approached John's casket. Slowly, Menke and Gorsuch unpinned the Marine emblems from their coat collars and gently placed these symbols of fidelity into the casket with their friend.
During the final week of his life, no longer able to talk, John had scrawled a note to his father, reminding him of a promise made nearly three years before. "Punch bowl -- will you visit me?" His father nodded. "If that's what you want, we'll do it," he said. In reality, Richard had no idea if it would even be possible. Yet his son's favorite phrase kept coming back to him: "But Dad, did you ask?" Richard looked into the matter and discovered that such cemeteries are reserved for military personnel and their families. Even though Menke had volunteered to give up his cemetery plot, the Veterans Administration would not permit it, or grant John's wish. Richard decided to try again. This time he wrote to California Senator Pete Wilson and learned that to circumvent the rules he would need authorization from the President. The Senator, a former Marine, was willing to help.
"He never had the opportunity to serve his country in the Marine Corps as he so wished he could have," Wilson wrote to President Reagan. "However, his dedication and courage no doubt had very positive effects on many young Marines and civilians..." The President granted the request, and the Marine Corps went into action. At Camp Smith on Oahu, about thirty Marines volunteered for the funeral detail. And on a windy day in the Punch bowl, with the cemetery's flag at half-staff, John Zimmerman was put to rest with full military honors. Prior to a 21-gun salute, U.S. Navy Chaplain Jack Graham spoke. "Courage isn't limited to battlefields," he said. "The Marines have a saying: 'The Marines need a few good men.' They found one in John Zimmerman.
Thursday, May 22, 2008
Sunday, May 18, 2008
The first Armed Forces Day was celebrated by parades, open houses, receptions and air shows. Armed Forces Day is celebrated annually on the third Saturday of May, and Armed Forces Week begins on the second Saturday of May and ends on the third Sunday of May. Because of their unique training schedules, National Guard and Reserve units may celebrate Armed Forces Day/Week over any period in May. The purpose of Armed Forces day is to honor Americans serving in the five services - the Army, Navy, Marines, Air Force, and Coast Guard.
Well, I'll tell you, it's not only the blog that's suffering. I took Scott to the airport Wed. morning (waaaaay too early) and that just put me off my entire schedule! I completely forgot about mutual (Scouts) for Colbey that night and I've been getting to sleep at crazy times. (2am, 5am, 11pm - an early night for me, etc.) I blame it all on Scott for messing me up Wed. morning! OK, so it's hard to blame him when he's 1000 miles away, but what sane person wants to blame themselves when they've got such an accommodating husband that will bear the brunt of it?
So this past week has been a sad and lonely existence for me. My sweetheart has left me for greener pastures in the form of parents and sister. Oh the torment! The agony of the parting! So what if Sarah has rocketed to a higher echelon of existence with a degree in Pharmaceuticals, does that lower my appeal? I have skills you know. I can shave my legs in 30 seconds flat and still have most of my skin in tact. I can hug any one of our children and let them snuggle into me knowing full well that my top will be smeared with snot when they are done. I can check the caller id and decide NOT to answer my phone. That one's an especially hard skill to acquire. I'm a talented individual, don't you agree?
Speaking of talent, Colbey's band award ceremony was this past week. He came home with a gold medal for his solo performance. He's very proud of his achievements! So are we. We told him to ham it up for a picture of he and his friends. Notice how thoroughly he hams it up. Obviously, he didn't get his outgoing personality from me.
On a sadder note, he has lost most of his privileges until Scout camp in a month. He's not allowed to touch anything electronic, nor play with friends. We had a long talk about why this came to be and I asked him if he thought I was being unfair. He didn't respond. I asked him if he thought that his actions were appropriate and again met with no response. So I told him if he wanted to talk to me about it, I was always available. Boys are such a pain!!! Open your mouths and talk for heavens sake! I'm looking for an apology. I understand that he has reached a point in his life that is hailed as the teenage years and sullenness and rebellion are considered normal, but I don't think it NEEDS to be normal. We are good friends and able to talk, but I am also his mom and deserve the respect that comes with this calling. So there! Now you know.
Landon is loving the forced banishment of nearly all of Colbey's outside interests. Yesterday they made a very elaborate castle out of legos. It was pretty cool. They all went out to splash in the pool last night. We should have done it before the sun was heading down because the water was pretty chilly, but they had a really good time. All three of them in red bathing suits. I wish I had gotten a picture.
So my VERY exciting news was a phone call I received last night. As I was talking with Scott before going to bed, the other line rang. I couldn't tell who it was so asked Scott to wait for a minute while I checked to see. It was an inactive member who I've gotten close with. In the condensed version of the conversation, I was asked to pick up her daughter and take her to church today. She asked if I would mind doing that every now and then. DO I MIND?!?!?! I can't even tell you how THRILLED I am!!!!! I don't know which of her daughters, but I don't care. One soul at a time.
The family is doing well. Less than two weeks left of school. The boys are thrilled, me - not so much. I will enjoy sleeping past 6:30 every morning, but I'm dreading the inevitable ... "I'm bored!" which always comes shortly after their release from the school torture chambers.
So if I can end on a question ... I have MORE than thoroughly enjoyed Stephanie Meyer's Twilight series (although I am not happy how the third book ended and her forth is still several months out before being released - @*&!*!*%). I like the tension in the book without all the sex and foul language. So I'm looking for a new book or series that holds the same excitement with a higher moral standard than most writers are using. If you have a book or series that you think might fit this, please let me know in a comment. By the way, I empathize way too much so if there is anything about the death of a child in it or abuse of a child, I will not read it so don't suggest it. I need my heart in tact. Anything dealing with children shreds it and I'm depressed for days.
Saturday, May 10, 2008
We've been busy.
Scott watched the three kids ALONE this past weekend (Thursday through Sunday) as I went to AZ for ... keep up ... a baby shower, a retirement party, and a sealing all in two days. Mom and papa Pheel were sealed Saturday morning in the Mesa Temple which left us all on a high. Shaundra flew in from NY for the activities and Marilyn from UT also. The three of us girls put on Liz's baby shower Friday afternoon and then we all hustled over for mom's retirement party that night. We had a hilarious Saturday night playing barnyard rummy (thank you Annedria's Scott for your somewhat successful memory on how to play) at Dad and Kim's place. Sadly, I flew back to real life Sunday morning getting home in time to find out that our section of the stake has been made it's own stake. We now belong to the Frisco Stake instead of the Carollton Stake. What an exciting way to get home. The growth of the gospel here has been phenomenal!
Scott fly's to AZ next weekend for his sister Sarah's graduation from UofA in pharmaceuticals. He gets 5 days for one event and I got 3 days for 3 events ... that just doesn't seem very fair!!!!
Scott's been busy at work. 'Tis the season for Disaster Recovery and it has kept him on his toes for the last month and will continue for another one or two months. We should have him back by mid June. (By the way, if I haven't said it recently, I HATE salary. Each time he's salary, we make less money because of no overtime and we see him less, less, less!!!) Anyway, the one benefit is that with his crossover seniority, he'll be coming up on 10 years next year and we will be enjoying 4 weeks of vacation a year from here on out. Of course, just as soon as we get it, we'll invariably move to a different company and have to start from scratch again. So goes life!! : )
Colbey's end of the year concert was this past week and he and another sax were the only soloist for all the groups that played. He is truly talented on the sax! He plays in the regular band group and also in the Jazz group. His solo was in the Jazz group performance. He stood up in front of the group playing during an entire song. It was so fun to see him!!! My quiet techno is turning into a little stud!!
Landon makes me laugh everyday (there is also some internal swearing nearly every day also)! This little ball of energy keeps us all on our toes and giggling. I swear, I should be losing more weight just trying to keep up with him! He currently is enamored by volcanoes. He has made several and one even exploded (thankfully not in the house). He loves to write and make laptops. This is a departure from the skate parks he was making and "selling" prior. He runs hysterically around the house chasing or running from Ryleigh just to hear her laugh and he just told me this week when I told him I wouldn't be purchasing his spring school pictures because we had just had much better pictures taken, that he hated those pictures and liked the school pictures because he was wearing his glasses in the school pictures. To be fair, he is sooooo cute in his glasses and I prefer him wearing them. He's such a lovebug! He's the one that I want to hold (tight to keep him from Tasmanian Devilling around the world) and squeeze. I imagine that confetti, popping sparkles and silly sounds would erupt from him as he burst in my arms. What a crazy nut he is!!!
Ryleigh has allowed me to put my clips in her hair, and .... she leaves them it!!!! We make such a big deal about how pretty she is wearing them and she loves to be pretty so they stay. Look mom, no need for a haircut! Scott and I are both adamant about her not cutting her hair. (Colbey would love for us to say the same for him!) We've indoctrinated her into the world of Veggie Tales this week and now she has a hard time deciding between Scooby-Doo and Orange (that's what she calls Veggie Tales). She and Landon had their yearly physicals last week and the doctor said she was worried about Ryleigh's vocal cords because they were so raspy and low sounding. It was hard not to snort with laughter when I told the doctor that she hadn't been yelling or crying to produce that sound (I should let you know this was not our normal doctor, he was on vacation) but that she always sounded like that. She's going to have a Kathleen Turner voice. I've always said she was an alto! The doctor definitely didn't believe me but praised our household for not having and watching television. I explained that even though we don't watch television, we still watch movies and she said that was fine because it was a family thing to do together and monitored unlike "filthy" television. (Ok, so I put in the word "filthy" but that's the word that her face was saying.)
On to me! I finished the 100 miles a day early! As you can see on the left hand side of the blog. 100 miles, 15 pounds, 3 blisters and 1 pulled muscle. I feel great! Ok, a little sore in the right calf which is still tender, but otherwise great. For those of you who remember my "Grumpies" entry from last month, I want you to know that I have been angelic on my eating! In fact, it's not even hard anymore. I'm on the road to conquering my biggest challenge in my life right now. I probably shouldn't have written that because now Satan will be looking for a different chink in the armor. On the flight to AZ last week, I was reading in the BofM and the story of Ether got me thinking. Why is it that I've never asked the Lord for certain blessings? I got through something like 12 chapters and thoughts and ideas were swirling around through my little brain that I had never considered before. It was a real pleasure for me to have that time to do a large block of reading all at once! All this to say, I'm not as good as Ether YET but I'm feeling pretty good and working on perfection (surpassing Mary Poppins at nearly perfect)!
I'm grateful for the gospel and the truth that I know and the knowledge that the Lord loves me even with all my shortcomings. I know that all things are possible through God and someday, all my questions will be answered, but until then, I'm happy where I am and where I'm going.
I (Scott just ribbed me about blogging on a Saturday instead of a Thursday and shame on me for keeping our public waiting : )) so now promise to get back onto my Thursday schedule!
BTW - I just bought Twilight by Stephanie Meyer and started reading around 5pm Thursday evening. I couldn't put it down until I finished it. No sex, no swearing, and HOLY COW a good book for some fun reading!!!!!!! So let me tell you to buy it in the morning and start reading right away, otherwise you'll have a late night. (Shaundra, I still blame you for my lack of sleep!!!!)
Friday, April 25, 2008
He gave his first talk in Sacrament Meeting! He did really well, and I can prove it. I recorded him for posterity's sake. (You can check out his talk at the bottom of the blog.) He was given the topic of becoming like a little child. He asked how to research the topic as I was heading out the door so I told him to go to LDS.org and play around to see what he could find.
When I got back, he showed me what he'd found and what he wanted to use. I organized it and put in the small sentences between what he wanted to present and he practiced saying it over and over. I was so proud of him! He took this opportunity seriously and put his all into it.
The following Saturday, he attended Solo and Ensemble for the University Interscholastic League. We walked up and were told that the people before him hadn't shown up so he could go right in. He didn't have a chance to warm up but he handled it like a pro. He asked the adjudicator to help him tune to the keyboard I was playing and after playing a couple of notes to "warm up", he played his solo fabulously. The adjudicator asked how long he had been playing and then said he had a very mature sound for his age.
He got a copy of her adjucation sheet on Monday. It said,
"Hi, Colbey -
Thank you for being here today! Good opening! Nice choice of tempo! Good control on upper notes! Good maturity of sound. I'm very impressed with your playing. You are very well-prepared! You have lots of potential on saxophone!
He received a rating of 1. (For those of you who are unfamiliar with this type of thing, a 1 is the absolute top score available.)