Saturday, March 28, 2009

A Hammond Family Get Together in Logan

As promised here are pictures of our recent trip to Utah. We went to witness the sealing of my Sister in Law to her Husband in the Logan temple. My husband has 6 brothers and 1 sister. Everyone was there except for 3 of his brothers. We have not all been together since his dad passed away four years ago. It was good to catch up and spend time together. Most of you reading this will not want to be held captive for my family slide show. That's OK. Run now. So here they are in no particular order:
Here's the whole fam damily. At least those who could be there that day. Quite a large group, huh?
Here are the adults. Nice hat James.
Here we are with my mother in law.
Here I am with my sister-in-law, Ruth. We have been friends since the day we met, 25 years ago. She always wanted a sister, and I was lucky enough to be the first sister to join the family. Six more sister-in-laws have followed. Our own Seven Brides for Seven Brothers.
Me and Diana.
And here are the four of us. Our oldest son had to stay home for school and work. How sad when life makes us miss fun to be responsible.
All the cousin's Diana's age are boys, so she just hung out with the teenagers who were girls. She thinks she is 15 anyway, so it worked out well.

Here we are the morning of check out.

Here is Tandy's family. They are missing their oldest sister, also for work.

On Saturday morning, we took a trip to the Richmond cemetery to visit some loved ones. We got some great pictures of headstones.Adan and Kelly traveled all the way from Mesa with their four little boys. Yes, those are 2 year old twins, and yes they both threw up within 2 minutes of each other on the drive up.

Here are some of the teen boys hangin out at the pool.

At first Diana was shy to get in and swim with cousins she hasn't seen for such a long time, but eventually she was right in there with them and had a great time.

Jared had fun getting to know his cousins again. I think it was a great thing for him to have some company. And he traveled pretty well in the car, even with the cast.

Cute shot of Diana with her aunt Helen. We had six hotel rooms all in a row and on the bottom floor. That was probably lucky for those around us.

Here is Ruth's family. Notice again the shortage of girls.

And another girl less family. Cute matching though, Aaron and Helen.

Diana getting some love from her cousin and buddy.

And look at the pleasant look on my kid's face. It was so good to see. Here he is with a cousin his same age.
All in all it was a great trip, with lots of family, fun, and food. Besides the cemetery, trips were made to Pepperidge Farm factory and Gossners Cheese for cheese curds. Yummo! Good thing I didn't need to take a cholesterol test again like the last time I went to Utah.
Thanks everyone for all the fun. I hope it isn't as long before we can all get together again.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Do Over

Okay, peeps. I didn't really mean to post my home sweet home post, yesterday. I thought I had scheduled it to post this morning. Because I hated to pour down posts upon you. And I thought that I would go back and perhaps add to it or edit it. It wasn't finished and completely presentable. But blogger seemed to think otherwise.

And so let me say a few things that I forgot. Part of the nice thing about being in Seattle visiting my mom, was seeing that she is actually surviving her chemo treatments, even thriving, I would have to say. Last Monday, my sister Kris, who lives in Seattle, took my mom and I to her Chemo treatment. It was interesting to see what it all looks like and how it all worked. It is amazing how knowledge takes away the fear of the unknown.

The next day, I was able to drive my mom to another appointment. She was getting fitted for some compression garments. When she had her surgery, they removed 20 lymph nodes. Apparently those little guys are very necessary to removing fluid from settling under your arm. And so you can massage the fluid over to the other side of the body where she still has lymph nodes. This has helped a lot. But the compression garments will help even more.

Can just say how nice it is to drive a patient to appointments who is a willing participant in the whole thing? I didn't even have to put her shoes on for her, or put a gun to her head to get her to change her shirt or comb her hair. Well, I guess truthfully she doesn't have any hair, so that one doesn't apply. She didn't require me to run up and down the stairs to retrieve different clothing choices or clean socks. Well, it was a refreshing change. Perhaps I should ship Jared to Seattle to get some lessons on how to be the model patient.

Then that night I went with my mom and sister to my mom's enrichment. I saw some old friends, I haven't seen for a very long time. One of these was my mia maid advisor, who is one of my favorite people in the world. It was good to talk of old times. She reminded us that most times during presidency meetings we would get to giggly, I being one of the worst. And then she would make us run around the block to get some energy out. I am so grateful to her and her impact on my life and the person I am today.

Someone asked if I returned rested. The answer is yes and no. It was wonderful to have a break from being in charge. But part of my problem is in my very own head. The thoughts I keep having that I am not doing enough, not to mention feeling overwhelmed by many things going on right now. And the awful dreams I keep having. Actually they are nightmares. I really do think that I have got post traumatic stress disorder. So even when I sleep, it doesn't seem all that restful.

Last Saturday night, I had probably the worst one yet. It had to do with Jared being back in the hospital and they couldn't figure out what was wrong with him. There were other parts that I can not really remember enough to explain. But it was horrific to the extreme. When I woke up, my heart was racing and I was sweating. I think it took me about 3 hours to really accept that it was a dream and try to calm down somewhat.

That is the bad part of vacations, my mind goes with me everywhere. No vacation from thoughts of doom and gloom. Except at the temple. I need to be there more.

I will keep plugging along trying to do things to heal my broken heart, but it seems that there will be no quick fixes for this achey breaky heart of mine. I will keep chasing hope, even though it has managed to elude me so far. Some day this will be in the past. Some day I will look back and think, "Wow that was a rilly, rilly, rilly hard time, I am glad it is over and I am glad that I learned (fill in in the blank)." I need to start thriving instead of just surviving. Someday.

Home Sweet Home

Some of you may or may not have noticed my absence this past week. It turns out that I have been living my life instead of just blogging about it. Sad but true.
In a rather last minute decision, I went to Seattle to visit my parents. It was spring break for my husband, and so he didn't have to teach and could stay home and be the mom/taxi driver. I have been trying to get up to see my mom for the past 3 months. It was so happy that the stars finally aligned to let it happen.

Jared asked why he wasn't going with me. To which I rained on his parade by telling him that his coming would defeat the purpose of my having a break from being his caregiver.

I got there about Noon on Saturday, March 15th. My Mom and I went right to the Seattle temple to witness a sealing of someone in her ward. And the very special part was that my Dad was the sealer. That night, my Dad cooked a wonderful dinner of eggs with sausage, mushrooms, onions, and spinach. It was delicious.

I haven't been home for about a year and a half. My two week visit that was planned for July was canceled when Jared was in the hospital. My parents live in the same house we moved to when I was in fourth grade.

Some remodeling has been done, but the bare bones are the same. I wandered around and looked at pictures and remembered good times. It was also a very rare experience because I was alone. With seven brothers and sisters and 18 grandchildren, one on one time with my parents is not common. It was so good to have such great one on one time with both of them.

It came as quite a shock to wake up Sunday morning and see that it had snowed. I don't ever remember it snowing in March when I was a kid. Very strange. And cold.

Here is a not very glamorous shot of me and my mom. This was taken on my way to the airport. We are both still trying to wake up. But still it is documentation.

And here I am with my Dad.

And here is a shot of my airplane before I boarded it. Traveling by air is always so strange and surreal. I left Seattle where it was 55 and grey, and landed in Vegas where it was 85 and sunny.

And then less than 24 hours we loaded up the car and drove to Utah. But that will be a topic for another post.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Sitting Pretty

You may or may not remember the near catastrophe about a month ago, when I sent Diana to school unaware of it being picture day. A call from her, sent me speeding to the school to fill out the form. You could read about that fun here. Or not. No pressure. Just know that I was not involved in any way in how this child looked for her picture.

Well, here is evidence that it worked out just fine. In fact, in what I am sure is an unbiased opinion, I think she looks down right adorable. She borrowed a brush from someone else and managed to make here hair look quite presentable. Go her. Also, she is wearing her favorite of the 4 pair of glasses she owns. Good they were documented, because they are currently MIA, probably enjoying a Caribbean cruise in the Bermuda Triangle that inhabits my house.
And just in case you missed it, school pictures have oft times been a source of drama at our house. Remember this picture day which resulted in this picture, which then resulted in this retake. Rereading about past picture days, made me wonder how Picture Day can be so good at landing on days when my life is crazy. But then it occurs to me that it is not Picture Day's physic powers, but any day in my life is pretty much a day of insanity.

And so another year of school pictures comes to a close. Hallelujah!!!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Phase II of Project Straight Leg

Yesterday was our follow up appointment with our surgeon. Jared has done pretty well with his cast for the past two weeks. It only really hurt for the first night. Everyone had fun signing it. Here is what it looked like:First, they cut off the old cast. Jared was a bit nervous about this, but there was no screaming, so it couldn't have been that bad. After the cast was off, they let his skin breathe for a few minutes. The surgeon even had him get up and walk around a little bit. He was wobbly as newborn Bambi, but he can walk, kind of. It is progress.
After the walking, four people came into our closet like room. They brought in the big guns with that guy in the blue shirt. First, the guy in the white coat named Pete, stretched and pulled on Jared's leg and knee.
Next they prepared his leg for the cast.

While Pete held the leg straight, blue shirt guy applied the cast.

Finally, they both pushed on the cast to help it stay as straight as possible while the cast hardened. They did a good job. The old cast had his leg at 30 degrees, and the new one has it down to about 8 degrees. It is practically straight.
So it was a very successful trip and made even better by the fact that I remembered to bring my camera to document the whole thing.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Cyber Salon

A friend of mine has a daughter who has graduated from beauty school. A week ago, Friday, this daughter came to Vegas and set up a beauty shop at my friend’s house. I was one of the lucky people who received her services.

Just to be clear, usually I get my hair cut at super cuts for $12.99. And I color my own hair with supplies from Sally’s Beauty, that usually cost about $6. For these reasons, it was a huge treat to have someone else color my hair and give me a professional hair cut.

But better than the new doo, was the fun of sitting in someone’s kitchen while several others filed through the hair cutting process. Visiting and catching up with others was so much fun. It reminded me of the beauty shop in Steel Magnolias.

It is sad that times have changed and it is no longer a habit for most of us to go and get our hair done once a week.

But it occurred to me that blogging is kind of a cyber space beauty shop. We all meet together in comment boxes and share each other’s joys and pains. I have no other constant source of comfort and support, and for this I am extremely grateful to my blogging soul sistas.

And it is great that there are an unlimited number of hair dryers for us all to sit under. So while Crash is getting her nails done, Shelle can get a shampoo, Anjeny can get a cut, Funny Farmer can get her brows waxed, Heidi can get a pedi, Kristina can get a facial whilst wearing her snuggie. Annie can get whatever you get for hair extensions. Jen can get a deep conditioning treatment for soft and silky hair. Kritta, Melanie, Eliza, Shauna, there is room for everyone. That is the beauty of the blogoparlor. Get it...Beauty of the beauty parlor. Ha Ha Ha

Every one is invited and welcome.

Keep it up everyone, and I will join you for some pampering at the Cyber Salon.

So come in and set a spell. What's the latest?

Friday, March 13, 2009


I am HOME ALONE. It is a miracle worth celebrating and hence blogging about. And who says Friday the 13th is bad luck. It appears to be one of my luckiest days, ever. (like anyone could even know that, Napoleon)

And how did this miracle come to be. Well, it took some effort on my part and the universe chipped in as well

My husband, the young men's president is up on Mt. Charleston with a tour bus full of young men and young women. It will be cold. There will be snow. The bus ride will be loud and rival any elementary school field trip in its horrors, I am sure. He made a bit of a mess in my freshly cleaned/mopped kitchen as he prepared the hot chocolate for the trip. But I have chosen to ignore it for now, and only filled one pot with water to soak.

My oldest son, is busy being gainfully employed by Wendy's. Bless his heart. And bless his manager's heart for scheduling him to work until 8 pm this evening.

My second son, also known as the cripple was forced at gun point to go on the bus full of youths. (my cousin vinny, anyone?) He came up with every reason under the sun for why he should not go. From not thinking he could not stand it, to being sure that his casted leg would not fit in the seats on the bus, to not wanting to go if his dad did. He gave it a valiant effort, but I was a force to be reckoned with. All week long I have been informing him that HE WOULD BE GOING. And all week long he has been retorting that NO HE WOULD NOT. Well, this is one battle I was determined to win. And win I did. It did involve many sprints up and down the stairs to find the necessary/acceptable clothing. But, that was worth it as well.

My daughter is at a birthday party. She was home after school, but left at 6 o'clock. So I have had 2 whole hours of complete solitary silence.

It is true when they say silence is golden. It is silver, diamond, nickel, and pearly also. And priceless. Did I mention how much I yearn to be alone?

So when my daughter left to the party with our next door neighbor, I actually shouted for joy. OUT LOUD!!! Because when you are alone, you can do that and no one cares. Because NO ONE IS HERE. It is a thing of beauty, I tell ya.

I contemplated doing cartwheels, but reconsidered given my current out of shapeness and the shortness of my hall ceiling. Not to mention the family pictures, I would most likely destroy.

Instead, I have spent my time luxuriously on the computer. When others are here, I seem to find myself always at the end of the line for cyber time. I need to work on changing that. It has been glorious. I also did fold some laundry. But mostly I just enjoyed uninterrupted computer time.

Those of you with young children know that feeling of needing some alone time, I am sure. I have taken it for granted, seeing as how all my kids have been in school full time for 3 years. Normally I get at least 6 hours of kid free time during the week. Those days are long gone, my friends. And I miss them more than I can say.

But I treasure aloneness now. And covet. Oh, the coveting that goes on. Not good.

So I had my dream date Friday night. Just me and my computer. I wonder what this says about me. Probably some statement on the lameness of my life. But that's OK with me.

Thank you Universe for that two hour gift. And the six hour break from Jared. You'll never know how much I appreciate it.

Something Old, Something New, Nothing Borrowed, Something Blue

Recently a good friend recommended that I get a new purse. She was not trying to be mean or critical, only giving me advice on things I could do to try and improve my outlook on life.

Here is a picture of my sad, forlorn purse. I loved this purse when I first got it two years ago. It was a super purchase and impulse buy at Payless Shoe source that only cost $5.

Before this purse I had a very small, boring black purse. When I purchased this one, I loved the turquoise accent. In fact I always meant to write a post about how much I loved this purse. How everything fit just perfectly in it. And how I loved the pockets on the outside that could hold my cell phone or keys. When I bought this purse, it was a huge boost in my attitude towards life. And I loved this purse even more for all that it did for me.
But as you can see the past two years have not been kind to this purse. The handles are starting to crack, and there is a whole grayish shade going on that must be due to dirt. But still, this is the purse that sat with me through all my hospital stays. It provided me with a place for my beloved and lifesaving MP3 player. Also, it supplied me with Kleenex for those really bad days. And we can not underestimate the importance of the over used credit and insurance cards. The pen to fill out forms. The envelope overfilling with medical receipts saved for tax purposes. My camera even fit nicely in one corner. It has been a good friend and companion.

So when my friend first mentioned replacing it, I reacted as if she had suggested replacing a cherished family pet. I couldn't imagine life with out it. But then I took a good look at my aging friend, and one could not deny that it is looking a bit, well depressing.

One day I was at Target for something else, and I just perused through the purse section. Nothing jumped out at me saying "Pick me to be your new best friend." Plus everything was like $30. How could I replace me bargain best friend with something I didn't really love, and paid full price for?

Several days later, I was again at Payless Shoe. Again buying shoes for my daughter. I looked through the purses there. They had many on sale, but the one I fell in love with was not included. I looked at it and felt the smooth leather beneath my finger tips. I admired the shiny nickel embellishments. I tried it on my shoulder to see how it would feel. I even took it up to the register to check to see if it might be on sale. No, it was the full $25. I told the sales girl that I would not get it, telling myself I could always come back to get it later.

My daughter told me I should get it because she liked it. She said "Get it, Get it." And so I let her push me over indecision edge and I gave in and bought it that very day.

What do you think? My boss told me it looked very classy.

I could have taken this opportune time to carefully go through everything in my old purse and purging the unnecessary junk. But that would have required energy on my part. Instead, I just held the old purse upside down and dumped everything into the new one. Much less effort.

I do like the way the new purse looks, well new. It has added a spring to my step that I was doubtful about. It is requiring an adjustment period, which I am not a fan of. Why am I so resistant to change, I wonder? And it does have something of a black hole nature, that could prove challenging at times. But overall, I am happy with the choice. It is bigger and can thus hold more junk, which I am sure I will accumulate soon.

And just so my vacuum cleaner doesn't feel persecuted, here is a shot of my old and new purse getting acquainted. I still haven't had the heart to dispose of the old purse.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Sometimes You Do Get What You Want

Yesterday we went back to see the surgeon that did the hip replacement on Jared. I went with fear and trepidation and came home smiling and chuckling to myself.

Let's just recap the past few weeks. Jared has not been faithfully wearing his brace. He will put it on for about 30 mins at a time, but then take it off. I have not sat with a gun pointed to his head, which I suppose was my part of the failure. Jared has also become less willing to go to physical therapy, as in "You really can't make me go, nani nani boo boo to you." And he does have a point there. If only he were three and I could just pick him up and put him in the car, but no I do need him to cooperate and walk to the car.

So when we went to the doctor yesterday, he examined Jared and before we knew it, there was a guy in there pulling as hard as he could on Jared's leg to stretch it out. After about ten minutes of pulling, the nurse held the leg and the guy put a cast on his leg from his hip to his ankle. At one point my husband had to help hold Jared from being pulled off the table. And now his leg is straighter than it has been in months and he has NO CHOICE whatsoever. It is genius, I tell you. I may need to hide all the saws in the house, but it is so perfect that it is forcing him to keep that leg straight.

Of course this is quite painful for Jared. Hee hee hee. (did I just say that out loud?) What a horrible mom, am I? Last night he was suffering quite a bit, but I realize that it is his own fault. At one point he said to me, hold my leg up in this position. I said "No way, no how." Sorry dude, you have burned all your bridges with me. So good luck with that and hold your own leg up.

And so he will wear this cast for two weeks, and then we go back and they will cut it off and straighten his leg some more and cast it again. I am not sure how many times it will take to get it straightened. In the mean time we will stop physical therapy three times a week. I feel like I have been given a new life.

And it was so lucky that Jared showered the day before we went to the doctor, because no water for that cast.

Finally a medical solution that will require absolutely no effort on my part. Just ear plugs to help me ignore all the wailing and gnashing of teeth.

I guess Karma can really come back to bite you, huh?

Friday, March 6, 2009


If I put Nutty Hamster Chick into the anagram it says:

Sketchy Manic Truth

Well what the heck does that mean? Wow these things are really freaking me out.

The Universe may be sending me a message, but nobody's home.

I was thrilled when I saw the latest post from Funny Farmer. She shared with us this fascinating anagram website. At first I couldn't remember what an anagram was, but then I accessed my useless information I learned from movies file in my brain. In National Treasure, Nicolas Cage uses an anagram as the password to get in and steal the Constitution.

Just as this website touts, I typed in my full name to find out what lurks within my name. What hidden message could be contained within the letters of my moniker?

Do you want to know?


Damnation, charmed pain

Well, all righty then. Thank you universe for that lovely uplifting message. And actually it might explain a lot.

Like why the education system has to be so difficult and cause me so much pain and suffering. Like when I went to the high school to see about getting Jared set up in the home bound program and I went to the registration office, only to be sent to the attendance office, but that person wasn't there, so they said go to the registration office. And stop by the nurses office, and the counselors office. And I ran around the high school hamster wheel for about an hour before I gave up and decided to come back when the people who actually know what to do, were there.

Or why last week I was in a minor traffic altercation, when the light turned green and I was trying to organize Jared's paper work for home bound schooling, and so I stepped on the gas while looking down at said papers, but the lady in the car in front of me had put her car in park so she could scratch her foot and did not proceed to drive when the light turned green, so I bumped into her pretty hard. No damage to the cars, just my heart and nervous system. So, no worries.

Or why when I went to the ATM to make a deposit, the machine decided to just eat my envelope without crediting me for the $1300 check, and so I went inside to the bank and waited for an hour whilst they retrieved my check.

And this was just one of my days last week. Sometimes I wonder if it would just be easier to give myself a paper cut and pour lemon juice in it, just to save the universe from some of its trouble.

Then, I could send the universe an email, informing it that I had been tortured and tormented already that day, and it could check me off the list of people needing to be afflicted that day.

Just a thought. But seriously knowing the hidden message in my name explains a lot about my life. Don't ya think?

Monday, March 2, 2009

Another medical person promises me the moon, if I can pay for it.

I wrote this last Wednesday at the Physical therapy office. We were there for 3 hours. Glad I don't have a life or anything. Plus I probably infected everyone there with my cold. I hope I didn't kill any old people. They can be fragile, you know. Here is an update on situation Jared.

I have a cold today. Everything seems swollen and throbbing. I am sitting at physical therapy while they are working on Jared. His stomach seems to be doing better and his appetite is returning. He ate a whole pound of bacon and two glasses of orange juice for breakfast. Actually if I would cook it for him, he would eat a pound of bacon for every meal. This will help to fatten him up, but I am not that fond of cooking bacon. Not to mention it does not sound like a very well balanced diet.

Soon another medical person will come and fit Jared for special splint that will work on getting his leg straight. Over the past few weeks he has not been to PT and has kept his knee bent. When we came last week the therapist was very dismayed to find that his knee will not straighten more than 60 degrees. They did have it down to 10 degrees at one point in January.

This brace will cost me $276 a month to rent. Holy bankruptcy batman! But at this point I will and would pay any price to get this child walking without crutches.

My insurance, although great for catastrophic medical situations, not so good when it comes to prosthetic type of things. We must look at the medical insurance cup as being half full. Truth be told I would prefer to pay $275 a month than pay for the $350,000 hospital stay that saved my son's life. I only had to pay $275 for that, and I am truly grateful. And hey this company takes Discover, so more cash back bonus for me.

But I can’t help feeling skeptical. Here is another medical device that is supposed to help my son heal. I paid $110 for a traction device that did nothing. Next, I paid $70 to have my sons shoe built up. He only wore that for a month before surgery. And now he needs new shoes, which we still have not purchased. Finally, the AFO that cost me a mere $475. Yea, he has worn that about 10 times maybe. Now it is no good because if you can’t straighten your leg, you can’t wear it. It will be used again though, so it is not a total waste.

Perhaps this will be the thing that will finally make the difference. It is going to constantly stretch his leg, but will not be painful. It is suppose to do the same thing as if a therapist was stretching his leg for 8 hours a day.

Before this whole experience, I had thought of the medical system as being an exact science. But it has been more about trial and error for us. Something between voodoo and a dart board. Too their credit, they did save his life. He is alive and kicking, if not walking.

So another opportunity for me to practice my patience skills. And a chance to tackle what seems like mission impossible: get a fourteen year old to do something he doesn't want to do. When we first got home, he only wore it for a few minutes, but over the weekend it is getting better, and so perhaps it will not be failure yet. I just read something in the Ensign that said that there is no time table for perfection. I need to stop have unrealistic expectations of the timing of his total recovery, then maybe I won't be disappointed so often.

So time will tell.