Wednesday, November 30, 2005

The Ericksen Sisters

Mom recently went digging through a box of audio cassette tapes that my grandmother, Ella left in her possession when she passed away. In this box was the object that motivated Mom's search, a copy, on tape of a record that Grandma and her sisters, Pearl and Ruby recorded back in 1935 in Salem, Oregon. Grandma would have been 16 or 17 years old in '35, depending on the month the recording was made. The original recording was most likely engraved on a shellac disk, as vinyl disks were not widely available at the time. Due to the material used and the age of the record, the recording has quite a bit of noise on it (lots of pops and hisses). I've digitized the recording and I'm currently working on cleaning up the noise. The Ericksen sisters recorded three songs. The second song: Twilight on the Trail, is the only title I'm confident about. I thought someone might be able to help me put a name to the first and third tracks, and that you all might be curious to hear what I have so far, so I've uploaded all three songs to the web. Take a moment to listen by clicking the links below, and please help me out if you know any of the missing titles!
  1. June and Roses (???)
  2. Twilight on the Trail
  3. Tonight (???)

Thursday, November 24, 2005


It's something we all share
Whether we realize it or not
Every man, woman, child
The poor, the sick, the afflicted
The wise, the blessed, the successful
The wicked, the proud, the ignorant
The peaceful, the merry, the giving
The slothful, the melancholy, the angry
The loving, the willing, the wealthy
Any soul that has breathed this earth's sweet air

Is a debt of gratitude
To Him we owe
If a man could see what is potentially his
He would gladly suffer the worst this world has to offer
This wonderful plan
Has only our eternal happiness in mind
Truly all
The good, the bad, the indifferent
Is a gift from God

Cerra Hawkins

Saturday, November 19, 2005

Nothing Too Small

Today brought about a miracle provoked thanksgiving. At about 10:30 this morning, I went outside to feed the kittens, and one was missing. I called and called for him, checked every car - they get locked unknowingly in cars sometimes - and looked all over for him. I couldn't find him anywhere. Kathleen got up about 11:00am and I told her that Baloo was missing. She gave me suggestions to look - places I had already searched. A moment latter, Kathleen was gazing out the sliding, glass door, like she does so often, when she said, "I can't see very well right now, but I think I just found your missing cat."

I ran outside to behold a black spot in the lawn. I knew it was him and I knew he was dead. He looked like a dirty, black dishrag lying in the grass. As I approached him, I looked for signs of life. There weren’t any, no noticeable chest movements, nothing. When I got up to him, he was wet head to toe and had by then frozen. I put my hand on him - cold as ice. I picked up his body by the knap of the neck to examine him before taking him to his "final resting place" - the trash can. I looked at his face - his eyes were half open along with his mouth and his tongue was hanging slightly out - and thought to myself, "I hate looking at lifeless faces."

Just then, he whimpered and cried a little. "He's alive!" I cried to mom as I bolted toward the house; he started screaming a horrible scream by then. We both ran inside with him. Mom grabbed a towel and we wrapped him in it. I started vigorously rubbing him - he would scream with pain every now and then and then return to a seemingly lifeless state. We warmed my rice-packs in the microwave. Kathleen then put him under her shirt to try to get him warm. In the five minutes it took for the rice-packs to heat up, her chest was as if she were holding an ice pack against her. We got the rice-packs ready and then pulled him out from under her shirt and put him under mine. I then put the rice-packs on top of him.

In a matter of ten minutes, he had the rice-packs cold - I mean cold. I put them back in the microwave to warm them again. Up to this point, he would start wailing an ear piercing cry but for a moment, and then return to a state of labored breathing and limpness. After about ten or fifteen more minutes, he started shivering and crying a little less often. Mom back came in the house at about 11:30 and we put 45cc of warm saline under his skin. He was very slowly, but surely "coming back to life". We also put an electric heating pad under him, on top of my skin. About five minutes later, mom had me get her stethoscope and she listened to his heart and lungs. His heart was 120bpm (normal for a kitten is about 160bpm), but he had stopped skipping beats and they were strong beats. His left lung sounded clear but his right was crackly – he was lying on his right side when I found him. He was still limper than a rag-doll and a little touch and go.

By 1:30, he was starting to try to crawl out of his blankets and heating pads and lose the look of shock in his eyes (glazed over, partly opened). At 2:00, he climbed down from the couch and drank quite a bit of formula and water. We took him to the vet a little after 3:00 to get some antibiotics to prevent pneumonia. He has slept most of the day – understandable – and is still not walking very well, but he is alive, eating, drinking and going potty. I think he’s going to make it.

His life is small and insignificant in the “great scheme.” We would have been just fine with the loss of this cat, but, for some reason, God touched this little creature and let him live. This brought great joy into this house today. Mom and I both feel like we were a part of a miracle. I felt peace, joy and love knowing that brief sadness I would have felt was spared because I am a child of God. I know that He hurts when we do and pains to see His children suffer – even if but a little. I truly feel that we were blessed to be reminded of His great mercy and love.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Bus Driver Cerra!

I am training to get my CDL at work so that I can be a substitute bus driver. I haven't taken any tests yet; I have only been reading and attending trainings. Next week I am going to take a general knowledge test.

On Monday's "Staff Training Day," I was with the bus drivers all day going to their trainings. The last part of the day we all loaded onto a bus to practice/brush up on techniques learned that day in a big, empty parking lot. I didn't think that I was allowed to get behind the wheel. Then the transportation specialist said, "Cerra, it's your turn."

I was excited. The first thing we did was pick a reference point from a given distance and then move the bus and stop that distance from something using your reference point. I was right on. Which wasn't very exciting because it's a fairly easy task, once you know the concept.

After that, we practiced the serpentine course. That is a line of cones that are 3-6 feet longer than the bus you are driving and you slalom the cones and get as close as you can to them without knocking them over.

(I found this picture on the www. It kind of gives you an idea.)

You go through the course backwards and forwards. Surprisingly enough, the course in reverse is much easier than forward.

We use small buses at our school, but the distance between the wheels are pretty close comparing the overall length of the two. The tailswing on the bigger buses is greater though.

Anyway, I got to try this course too. I didn't knock over a single cone nor have to change directions to make it. I did it both in reverse and going forward. I had a lot of coaching, but it was still a great learning experience.

It was my first time behind the wheel of a bus. It was super fun! Soon I will make you all call me "Bus Driver Cerra" like the children will.

Yet another blog...

So, anyone tired of the word "blog" yet? Well for those of you with a geeky streak, I've launched a new effort in this arena. Digital Jet-Pack is dedicated to my ranting about all thinks tech. I'm hoping to spare Dillon & Cerra readers from involuntary exposure to my techno-babble and to use the site as a marketing tool for my development services (can you say "will work for food"?). Because Digital Jet-Pack will be listed in the directory, it will not be linking to sites like Farm Fancy or Sasha's Window to avoid risk of their comment system being abused. For the time being, I've also disabled comments on DJP to avoid having to spend time moderating them. So all you tweakers and closet nerds, drop by to get the straight dope on the latest geek-chic.

Saturday, November 05, 2005

Gym Membership

I got a gym membership yesterday! Ever since daylight savings ended, I haven't been able to run outside; it's dark by the time I get home.

I convinced my work to sign up for a corporate membership with a local gym a couple of months ago. It drastically reduces the monthly fees for the employees. I am only paying $15/month for 24 hour access.

I want to start going every day before work, but even if I miss a morning, I can go at lunch or after work that day. They have locations in Weiser and Ontario (where I live and where I work). I am going to get into great shape! YAY!