Saturday, August 30, 2008

You Make the Call

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Wednesday, August 20, 2008

The Bears Surgery Day

Today, the Bear finally had his surgery to lengthen the tendons at the back of his legs so he will be able to walk flat footed more easily.

We woke up about three minutes after we went to sleep. At least it felt like that. We had to get up at 4:00 to meet the 5:30 arrival time at St. Joseph's hospital.

Kayden had his Pooh Bear to keep him company.
DramaMama has more pictures and tells the story well.

I took along my "Man Bag" which contains all my writing gunk. You can see me in the pictures with my clipboard making notes for the end of my latest book writing project.

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Saturday, August 09, 2008

The Bear - Budding Palaeontologist

Last week the Bear was at Grammy's house for a little vacation before school starts. One day they were out on a walk when the Bear made a great discovery. He discovered "Dinosaur Bones".

"What kind of dinosaur is it?" I asked in that knowing parent voice.

"It's a Tyrannosaurus."

"WOW! That must be huge!"

"No it's a baby one."

"It's a baby T-Rex?"

"Yeah, and it leg is poking out so I call it Karate Dinosaur." A short pause. "When do I get to go to Karate class again?"

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Sunday, August 03, 2008

The Military Honor Night

Last night was the evening that DramaMama planned to honor servicemen from the past and present. This was inspired by a man from our ward (Brother Vincent) getting notice that he is going to be deployed to Afganistan. He will be leaving this Tuesday.

We have been gathering photos and stories from members of our ward, and I took 2 days and put together a video that showed the pictures and told their stories.

The night came off extremely well. DramaMama was stressed out of her mind worrying that it would be a failure, but as usual, she pulled off an amazing evening.

We had the old pictures set out on a table, and one of the men (Brother Boushley) brought some memorabilia from his days on a submarine. We had posters from the different branches of the military. My favorite had an aircraft carrier on it with the words "Life, liberty, and the pursuit of anyone that threatens it."

We had the Boy Scouts do a flag ceremony and the Pledge of Allegiance. Then a young girl, whose father served in the Navy, sang The Star Spangled Banner. Then we had the dinner which consisted of fried chicken, baked beans, potato salad, and rolls. After dinner, we had another musical number by three young girls. They sang God Bless the USA. Then we had a man from the ward who had served in the British armed forces speak about patriotism. THen we showed the video.

The video started out with a sign reading "The Brimhall Ward honors those who have served and are serving in the armed services."

Following that, we had this quote from Abraham Lincoln's second inaugural address:

"With malice toward none, with charity for all, with firmness in the right as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in, to bind up the nation's wounds, to care for him who shall have borne the battle and for his widow and his orphan, to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace among ourselves and with all nations."

Then we went through the photos. The ending was rather poignant. Erica chose 3 songs: He's a Hero, Where Stars and Stripes and Eagles Fly, and American Soldier by Toby Keith. At the end, we had all of the pictures that Brother Vincent had given us. One of which was of him kneeling at a grave with his head bowed. It was a touching image. He also supplied a poster of a kneeling soldier with a message and a scripture. I made a transition between his picture and the poster. With the words of American Soldier over this, it was hard to hold back the emotion.

After the poster, the music faded out, and another sign appeared:

"Please join with us in a moment of silence to honor those who fought bravely and gave their lives to ensure our freedom." After that it ended with "Thank you from the members of the Brimhall Ward."

Once the lights came up, we could see that several people were wiping tears. Everyone stood up and applauded. Not for the video, but for those present who were in it. It was all very touching. Many people came up to me later, with looks on their faces that I had never seen before. They were truly grateful to be honored like that. They thanked me over and over for doing the video. Many people asked for a copy. I discovered that I made a couple errors, so I need to patch it up, then I will make copies for everyone. I will try to put up a link to it once we get it fixed up a bit. After it was over, several people in attendance let us know that they also had served. We didn't know. So after we get them in, fluff up some of the stories, add more pictures, etc.

It was rather sobering making the video, and seeing all of the people who served, some of whom died. We heard some neat stories. Brother Boushley told us that his sub had the distinction of firing the first guided missle launched from a sub. Another one was of a linguist who listened in on Russian conversations in Cuba, who accidentally pushed a wrong button and shutdown a major operation. It went clear back up to the Joint Chiefs. One man served in Patton's 3rd Army, another served as a personal aide to the Joint Chief of Staff of the Army.

My favorite of the stories though was of a group of 6 brothers that all served in World War 2. Before each of them left, their father laid his hands on their head and gave them a father's blessing. All 6 of the brothers returned home unharmed. I will admit that when DramaMama told me that one over the phone that it choked me up good.

It was a fantastic evening, and DramaMama did herself proud. Today at church, several people mentioned it. Good job honey.

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Time is an Enigma - the James Saga

Once a year, my son James comes to visit for a month in the summer. All too soon, I find myself back in the airport with him watching him fly away back home.

This year was no exception. July simply vanished. Granted, we did manage more one-on-one time than previous years, but still...

I did some figuring the other day. The actual amount of time that I have had James with me is still less than 3 years, and he is now 14.

This time, he told us that he wished he could stay here with us for 6 months, then stay 6 months with his mom. I wish that too, but it is very unlikely that this will ever happen.

Over a month ago, I filled out paperwork to have this past week off of work so that all-told, I would be able to spend 9 days with him before he left. 2 weeks before my time off, I scheduled a day for the Bear's surgery. That was cancelled but I tool the day anyway to spend with James. Half-way through the day, I got a call from my boss asking why I wasn't at work. I told him that I put in for that day a month earlier. I asked if he was aware of my week off... no, he wasn't.

They held a meeting at work with the full sales team to see what projects were coming so they could figure out if I could have my days. That was on Monday, and they decided in there, that I could have Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, and then the next Monday and Tuesday. Well, okay... still 5 days, but not surround by weekends for the full 9.

It played out that I still ended up going in on Wednesday and Thursday. I managed Friday off, but had to go in for half the day on Monday. Tuesday they left me alone. So out of the original 9 days planned, I only got 4, and 2 of those were the weekend. I was/am pretty bugged about that. Also, the main reason they said I need to be there for Wednesday through Friday never happened.

Friday night, we went to Broadway Palm with him and the Bear, then very early Saturday, I drove him to the airport to see him off. I really hate that part. When he was 2 and I would leave him and fly away, I would often fight back emotion. Now watching him fly away, it isn't a whole lot easier. WHERE DOES THE TIME GO?

Money issues on this trip kiboshed several things I had planned to do. Our transmission on the van croaked on July 4th. It is finally fixed, and now we have to wait for payday before we can go get it. We did have a coupon for "Real Bowling" as the Bear calls it (Not Wii bowling). We only had to pay for shoes.

While James was here, I transcribed a few of the songs I wrote years ago. One of them was the song I wrote for his mom and played for her at our reception. Another was the one I wrote for DramaMama and played at OUR reception. He set about learning those and some other songs that I have played over the years. He is really quite talented. He drew a picture of the Bear as a baby that was pretty impressive.

Delta threw us a curve-ball on James' flight down here. Because he was under 15, they charged his mom $100. Southwest let him fly alone after he was 12. So to circumvent this stupid fee that we couldn't afford, we celebrated James' 15th birthday a bit early. I take full credit for the lie to Delta Airlines, I have already confessed to God, I have accepted my punishment of 40 lashes with a wet noodle. I figure since James has been travbelling alone on Southwest since he was 12, he didn't need a baby-sitter. The $100 fee would have been a big waste of money.

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