Friday, May 30, 2008

LOST party!

Yesterday was a day for two big events--Heidi's birthday and the season finale of LOST. We decided to celebrate them together so we had a LOST bbq and then watched the finale. Everyone was assigned to dress up as a different character and it was pretty awesome. I know, I know...we're LOST geeks, what can I say? And thanks to those who aren't LOST fans but still played along. Besides, every adult needs a good excuse to dress up in costume more than just on Halloween! So here are some pics from last night. You'll see the real character on followed by the person in costume :












Sunday, May 18, 2008

Pelican Lake

You may be asking yourself, "Where is Pelican Lake?" Well, after having been there I don't know that I can answer that much better except to say that it is pretty much in the middle of nowhere. In this case, the middle of nowhere turns out to be 20 some odd miles from Vernal and Roosevelt. This weekend I made the trek out with Heidi's family for their annual fishing excursion.

Ok, let's set the scene. I have only been "fishing" maybe a handful of times...all of them at or before about age 8. I have a strong memory of a fishing trip I took with my Grandpa and Grandma Wilson when I was 5. I remember my grandpa heading off downstream in his waders. I also remember me screaming and scrambling away up a hill when my grandma actually pulled a fish out of the water. When I was about 8 my Grandpa Bea was visiting me from Florida and took me fishing at some trout farm near Ogden. My strongest memory of that experience was getting the hook stuck in one of my fingers and being too afraid to tell my grandpa because I didn't want to look stupid.

So with that wealth of experience behind me, I purchased my first official fishing license at Wal-Mart and headed out with the fishing pole Heidi had given me as a gift a few months ago. Oh, and lest I forget, my special fishing hat that you will see in the pictures. We got out to Pelican pretty late on Friday night and basically only had time to set up our tent and get settled a bit before heading to bed. Hurley had an interesting night as it was his first camping experience and I don't think he was a big fan of the whole tent idea.

In the morning we loaded up the boat (complete with Hurley in his life vest) and headed out. We spent about 4 hours or so out on the lake but it didn't seem like that long. I really enjoyed being out on the water in the boat and I must admit I actually liked the act of fishing. I say the act, because I certainly have no desire to touch the fish--or have them touch me for that matter. Nor do I have any desire to eat said fish. In fact, I was actually quite traumatized to see that I could be the cause of an animal dying so I was very happy to practice the catch and release method. I know, I'm a total wuss!

Not very far into the morning I heard a snap and watched as the top part of my fishing pole broke off. I'm not sure what exactly happened but I think it may have had something to do with it being a telescopic pole. Or maybe that I have no idea what I'm doing?! Fortunately there were some extra poles so I was able to continue fishing. Shortly after that problem I reeled in my first catch of the day. I was quite pleased that I actually caught something as I feared I would be the only one to come up empty handed.

The rest of the morning was spent alternating between dragging in lake reeds and catching a few fish here and there. I cast out and thought I had hit a big snag of reeds so I kept pulling and pulling trying to get my hook and lure free when lo and behold we discovered that I was actually reeling in a fish. And a big one at that!! Call it beginner's luck, but I had the biggest catch of the morning! Heidi was really encouraging me to take some "trophy" shots with it, but as previously mentioned I do NOT like touching fish. The solution was to double glove with some surgical gloves and try to smile for the camera while secretly freaking out about holding the fish. But I was happy to let my little friend "Billy" (as named by Heidi's soon-to-be sister-in-law) back into his watery habitat.

Hurley had his first chance to try "swimming" in his life jacket. He really looked cute doing his best doggie paddle next to the boat. We dunked him a couple of other times to try to keep him cool. Pelican Lake is freaking HOT!! As in--located in a desert complete with lizards and scorpions--hot.

We spent the rest of the afternoon at the campsite trying to find shade (a rare commodity in the area) and packing up while the afternoon fishing group headed out on the lake. It was soooooo hot and I was very happy when the time came for us to load up and head home. It was a long trip there and back for a few short hours of fishing, but enjoyable nonetheless. And before I forget, I really do have to thank Heidi for being patient with my fish issues and helping me free all of my catches from the hook so they could be released. Here is a slide show with some pictures for your enjoyment:

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Thanks Uncle Sam!!

There are varying opinions on whether George W's economic stimulus package was the right thing to do or whether it will actually help boost our economy. All I know is that yesterday I got $600 buckaroos deposited to my bank account by good ol' Uncle Sam and I, for one, ain't gonna complain. COSTA RICA HERE I COME!!!!

Monday, May 12, 2008

The last few weeks

I recognize I have been absent from posting for a while. In an attempt to excuse myself, and also catch you up on the happenings in my life, I've decided to give a brief synopsis of the recent events that have kept me so busy.

Wed 4/23: Time to head down to El Paso for the Juarez clinic. I dragged my coworker (and friend) Kristen with me so we could attend a Juanes concert. For all of you who don't know Juanes let me just say that he is a super hot Columbian rocker. We had a great time at the concert although I can guarantee you that I was the only full white person there (Kristen is 1/2 Guatemalan.) Doesn't matter though, this "gringa" rocked it out with the best of them.
Thu 4/24: We held our wheelchair clinic in the truck bay of the fire station. It was a miracle as all 11 scheduled patients showed up. We kept busy with them and were able to see 3 additional patients before heading back across the border. I also did a TV interview with local media. Did the usual pre-clinic preps in El Paso and Kristen and I braved the super cold pool at the hotel...quickly opting for the lukewarm hot tub instead!
Fri 4/25: Juarez clinic in full force. This is the biggest clinic we've had in the 5+ years I have been working there. It ran surprisingly well though. We accepted 35 new patients (a record #) and saw 177 patients on the Shriners side (also a record!) In addition to that, we probably screened another 75-100 potential patients that were not accepted. This is the hardest part of the clinic. For the first time at clinic I was really sick! And trust me, the fire station in Juarez is not where you want to be sick. I actually had to go lay down in the van for a while but finally perked up by early afternoon. Just in time to do a live radio interview via telephone! Yes, I am a celebrity of sorts in good ol' Mexico. :)
Sat 4/26: After getting back late the previous night I then had to get up and head over to the SL temple to attend the sealing of Patti, a Chilean friend of mine from the BYU days. It had been a while since I had seen her but she looked very beautiful. Unfortunately, after this I had to head up and put in a few hours of post-clinic work at the hospital.
Mon 4/28: Analee and Jose had a housewarming/ birthday/graduation party at their new place up by the Capitol. It was good times and I really love how they decorated their place. I'm pretty sure Jose is studying the wrong thing...he should be an interior decorator!
Thu 5/1: Is it really May 1st if it is snowing and your first golf game of the season gets cancelled? I am so sick of the crazy Utah weather. On a brighter note, we were able to attend graduation at the U for Analee (and Jessie). Welcome to the world of underpaid social workers my friends! We capped off the night with dessert at the Freaky Dee's on 21st and 7th. Always a good time!
Fri 5/2: I got together with my friends Maree and April for a late celebration of April's birthday. I think she likes to make holidays stretch out for as long as possible! Anyway, we headed out to the driving range to hit a bucket of balls. I think there was more talking than hitting but we had a good time. Afterwards we went to dinner at Mama's Southern Plantation (on W Temple near the Franklin Covey Ballpark). The food was good, but again we were the only white people there. Oh well, we wanted to try something new. I wish I had pictures but they are on Maree's camera. We then hit Sawadee Thai restaurant on S Temple for sticky rice and mango and fried banana desserts. It doesn't get much better than that!
Sat 5/3: Ok, now I really had the first golf game of the season. Candice, Heidi and I headed up to the course at the U and it was a perfect day for golf. Not too hot, not too cold and not too busy. Man am I out of practice! I need to get out there more often. We had fun though. After that I had some errands to run, including a visit to the REI annual sale but lo and behold REI closes at 7 p.m. on Saturday. Who ever heard of such a stupid closing time on what is likely their busiest day?! Lame!!
Sun 5/4: Elder Richard G. Scott of the Quorum of the 12 Apostles randomly decides to come to our ward. He spends Sacrament Meeting with us and shares his testimony at the end. Awesome spirit!! I was able to shake his hand. Another monumental occasion--I taught my last Sunday School lesson (and was very grateful that Elder Scott didn't stick around for that!) I have learned a lot in this calling over the last 18 months but I am grateful for a break and a new opportunity to serve elsewhere in the future.
Mon 5/5: Feliz 5 de Mayo!! We celebrated with a yummy potluck at Jose and Analee's place, complete with a showing of "Three Amigos"--what a classic!
Tue 5/6: Fed up with gas prices and hoping to force myself into some exercise, I took the bus to work. It's actually a snap except for the fact that I have to be at the bus stop by 7:15 (some days I'm not even awake by then) and it takes 3 times as long as just driving. But I actually enjoyed it. I had a change of clothes and walked home after work. 3 miles seems like 30 when you are walking instead of driving. :)
5/7 Wed: I'm a public transit user again, along with the guy at my stop who has a full-on conversation with himself every morning. Walking home doesn't seem quite as bad this time and I actually enjoy walking through the Avenues looking at all of the cool old houses. I make it home in the exact same amount of time so I guess I now know what my exact slow pace is! Maybe it will get faster if I keep doing it.
Thu 5/8: The HOA has arranged for everyone to have their radiant heating/cooling, thermostats and washer water connections checked. The guys come to my place this morning and spend 3 hours working on my stuff. I am not crazy...I truly have had NO control over the temperature in my unit since I moved in. I now have a new thermostat that works for heating AND cooling (what a novel idea). My radiant tubing stuff is halfway fixed but my "manifold" (say what?) is completely shot and the part used is so old it is not even manufactured any more. The guys will now have to custom make it in their shop and come back to finish the job. I didn't have the heart to tell them that the washer connections, which they didn't have time to even look at, leak like crazy! Guess we should plan on at least another 3 hour visit the next time. Maybe I should make cookies?
I went into work for a few hours and then it was time to head to the airport for another work trip. This time to Phoenix, and as usual, I ditched the rest of the group to go back to the hotel. I swam in the nice pool and had it all to myself. The hot tub was excellent. Relaxed in my room to watch Grey's and LOST. Aaaaahhhh!
Fri 5/9: Phoenix clinic is always a good time. Half of my kid from Mexico don't show up and I'm not sure why. I need to talk to the social worker down there when I get back. The awesome P & O people order in pizza for lunch. This is a most welcome relief from the box lunches the Shriners usually provide us...complete with a sandwich that tastes like it's been wrapped up in a mildewy dishrag. There was a nice, new, pretty cute resident with us. I keep my hopes up until clinic is over and I hear him call his wife to say that he will be home on time. WHY DON'T MARRIED MEN WEAR WEDDING RINGS?! One of my pet peeves...oh well.
I fly from Phoenix to Burbank and spend 1/2 an hour freezing on the curb waiting to be picked up. My mom's Chilean nurse lady doesn't see well at night and got on the wrong freeway to come to the airport. Somehow my sister helps her figure out where to go. We have a white-knuckled drive home and I make my mom promise that she will never send Tina alone again!
Sat 5/10--present: Nice to be home with the fam in Cali. We have had a mostly relaxing weekend with a few errands here and there. I was glad to be able to spend Mother's Day with my mom and tell her how much I love her. I am also very glad to have a comp day (from clinic) and stay an extra day today.
So that's the wrap-up on what I've been doing. Maybe now you'll forgive me for not posting sooner. I wish I had more pictures to share but some places I didn't have my camera and other places the pics ended up on someone else's camera. Here are a few from El Paso though:

My coworker Kristen looking oh-so-lovely on the plane!

My hotty Juanes--you can listen to one of his songs on my playlist.

Our "wheelchair shop" in the fire station truck bay.

One of my favorite Juarez families (check out the lady in the background trying to be in the picture!)