Friday, February 27, 2009


Today is the second anniversary of a very tragic event for our daughter-in-law's family. Two years ago today, Judianne's niece and two of her nephews were riding to school with two of their friends when their car slid off an icy road into a reservoir. All five of the teenagers drowned. This was quite a blow to the community, and an incomprehensible loss to the Walker and Probst families. Each year on the 27th of February, the residents of Sweet, Idaho remember these five children by tying balloons to their mailboxes -- one for the favorite color of each child. We wanted to add our balloons to the hundreds of others that will be flying today in memory of Megan, Kyle, and Tyler. We have not forgotten!
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Thursday, February 26, 2009

Persian Pickles

Tonight was our book club. We read The Persian Pickle Club. I've read the book many times, and love it each time I read it. It's a wonderful story of friendship, loyalty, and "real" life. I think our group is a lot like the Persian Pickles. Some of us have been coming for at least 30 years, and there's a great feeling of love and support.

Barbara led the discussion. She put together a little quilt. We all signed it and made it into a "Celebrity" quilt. We raffled it off and guess who got the quilt -- I DID.

It was during last month's book club that I had my stroke. This was certainly a better night for me! Love you, Pickles!
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Wednesday, February 25, 2009

The Retreat

Hi, Everyone! I'm home from the Retreat. I had such a wonderful time and there is so much to show and tell, but for some reason I'm so tired that I'm having a hard time wanting to write about it. I guess getting back to regular life is more taxing than I imagined.

I joined my sister and her five daughters. We shared two adjoining rooms at Ruby's Inn (near the entrance to Bryce Canyon). Our little rooms were a bevy of activity, as you can see from the picture. We set up seven sewing machines, two ironing boards, and everywhere you looked there were cutting boards, rulers, beautiful fabrics, and fun projects. Sleep was almost impossible, as every bed was covered with quilt blocks being laid out into patterns. Here is one of the projects that I finished.
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Monday, February 16, 2009


I’m a person who has always liked words. One of my favorite books is Ex Libris: Confessions of a Common Reader, by Anne Fadiman. Ex Libris literally means “from books.” I wish I were better at using words – then I would do a better job of communicating how much I appreciate all the kind things others have done for me over the past few weeks.

For example, just today three different friends have extended themselves to me. One dear friend came first thing this morning to help me mark my quilt fabric. Another friend took me to run errands this afternoon. A third friend invited us to have dinner with them this evening. I feel so spoiled. Isn’t there anyone out there who could peel me a grape?!

Last night when Randy and I arrived home late there was a gift bag by the back door. Inside was a book that I am so excited about – Language of the Mormon Pioneers, by George W. Givens. Did you know that a Furlong is equal to 40 poles (rods) or 660 feet. The term is still used in England, but is obsolete in ordinary language in the U.S. George Q. Cannon described the attack on the Prophet Joseph at the Johnson home in 1832: “Then they seized his throat and choked him until he ceased to breathe. When he recovered his senses from this inhuman attack he was nearly a furlong from the house.”

Another recent gift I am loving is the 1828 edition of Noah Webster’s Dictionary. I use it regularly while reading my scriptures and find it very helpful So if you happen to need to know the meaning of a mizzy, or plashing, or furbelows, just give me a call.
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Thursday, February 12, 2009

Looking on the Bright Side

Almost everything has its perks!
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Wednesday, February 11, 2009

For a Rainy Day

It’s a grey and rainy day today so I decided to work on a project that was bright and cheery. Since I’ve been cleared to go out to Utah for the quilt retreat next week I thought this would be a good day to do my quilt prep. I just love the fabrics for this quilt – they make me want to fill a tall glass with lemonade, sit on the patio, and read a good book.
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Sunday, February 8, 2009

Heart Attack

How would you like to have a stroke and then less than two weeks later have a heart attack? It happened to me. Randy had interviews at the church, and since I was alone that night he put me to bed before he left -- TV on, phone close by, water and snacks on the nightstand. I was doing fine. Suddenly the doorbell rang several times. I debated about whether I should try to get up. The door was open. Why didn't they just come in? But they didn't, and it sounded so urgent. I managed to get to the closet to get a robe and then made my way carefully downstairs. That's when I realized that I had just had a heart attack.
I don't know for sure who it was, but I think it may have been our ward Young Women and Young Men. They left a box of delicious homemade frosted heart cookies -- my all-time favorite! Man, what a way to go!

Friday, February 6, 2009

The Good, the Bad, and . . .

Four times a year, Randy hosts a meeting for our Area Authority, Mission President, and other stake presidents in our area. As some of them travel quite a distance before and after the meeting, he takes some things for them to snack on or to take with them on their return trip. We picked up a bunch of Costco snacks, but I always try to make something homemade to send along. So, I got up before anyone else this morning to make gingersnaps, all by myself. Good!

The Good

After I got the cookie dough all made I remembered that our oven blew up three days after I came home from the hospital. This meant making arrangements to haul everything to the neighbors for baking. Bad! (Later, we went to look for a new oven).

The Bad

No way to photograph this, but it was very ugly! Somehow, while I was in the hospital, somebody figured out a way to turn cookie-making into a “terrible, horrible, no good, very bad” process. I dropped a five pound bag of sugar on the basement steps, breaking it open and creating a huge mess. I tried to measure the shortening in water and ended up spilling the whole thing on the floor. In the process of measuring out half a cup of molasses I managed to drip, smear, pour, or drizzle molasses on everything on the entire countertop. After adding the flour I didn’t get the lid on properly and caused a flour volcano that left a coating of flour dust everywhere. The kitchen looked as if a ten-year-old had been at work unsupervised. It took three times as long as it should have, and by the time Randy came down the cook was in tears.

The Resolution

After cleaning up the kitchen, Randy and I went to physical therapy. My regular therapist was on vacation. I really liked the girl who worked with me and thought it was a very productive day. We worked on balance, walking, marching, side-stepping, catching balls, hopping. As I looked around the room at all those stroke patients trying so hard to move their leg, or hold a pencil, or step over a stick, or hold themselves up using the parallel bars, I was filled with a profound sense of gratitude. I can make cookies – all by myself!

Thursday, February 5, 2009


Here you get a glimpse of that "fish hand" I've been talking about. Nice, huh?!

It's well after midnight, but I just realized that I haven't posted anything for a couple of days. Here's an abbreviated version of what's been going on:

1. I saw the doctor yesterday. She said she has been working with stroke patients for 30 years and has never seen a case like mine where recovery has been so fast and spontaneous.

2. The doctor said I don't have to use my cane. The physical therapist says she knows better and I do have to use it outside the home.

3. I got a crown on my tooth yesterday.

4. My internist said I can travel in two weeks.

5. Kristin and I went to the mall today. She threw away all my clothes during a recent fashion intervention and promised to buy me a new outfit. I have continued to remind her. Today she bought me new pants, a shirt, and a jacket. I'll model it soon.

6. We went to Costco and stocked up on things for the freezer. I'm prepared with lots of easy meals to fix after she goes home.

7. Dr. Chadhuri wrote me an order to begin the process of getting permission to drive. I had to take a bunch of tests similar to an IQ test. I have to take more tomorrow, then be tested in some kind of an auto simulator. If I pass those tests I have to take a 1 1/2 hour road test on Friday (and pay $238). I'm as nervous as if I were 16. And almost as anxious for the day to come.

8. Tomorrow will be my second physical therapy session. When did it get to be so hard just to stand on a little foam pad?!

Monday, February 2, 2009

Looking Forward

Here's the latest update from the Peterson re-hab center.

I went to church yesterday! I was a little bit frightened and self-conscious about my first public appearance and about seeing all the people I love for the first time. I confess that my pride was raising a huge fuss about arriving with a cane--even if it was a "sassy" cane. I would have much preferred to be a fly on the wall rather than the center of attention. But what an outpouring of love! So many welcoming arms, hugs, smiles and expressions of love and concern. To me, I imagined it much like our heavenly return might be.

This is the first time (to my knowledge) that other people have fasted on my behalf. I do believe in faith and prayer and although this may sound childish and naive, I really believe I'm stronger today, happier, more at peace, more confident of the future. I'm walking better, I put the laundry in by myself, and I'm actually typing this blog (painstakingly, but nevertheless by myself). Kristin says I should tell you that I even threatened to throw the cane away today.
We are heading out to get a Portillo's hot dog, stopping at the grocery store and then cooking dinner for the missionaries. How normal is that?!

Last night I read Elder Holland's talk Remember Lot's Wife, which was a great reminder not to look back, but to the future. Elder Holland said, "I plead with you not to dwell on days now gone, nor to yearn vainly for yesterdays, however good those yesterdays may have been. The past is to be learned from, but not lived in. We look back to claim the embers from glowing experiences, but not the ashes. And when we have learned what we need to learn, and have brought back with us the best that we have experienced, then we look ahead, we remember that faith is always pointed toward the future."

Never mind what I could do two weeks ago, I'm grateful for what I can do today and look forward to the challenges of the future.