Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Feelin' Fine for 2009

I decided long ago against New Year's resolutions. The vast majority inevitably end in failure. Just as the freshness of the new year fades, so does the resolve. When something that should be so long term is directly associated with something so fleeting, something must give. Things throughout our lives remind us that the year is no longer anew, yet far less is pushing to keep our commitments enduring. Consequently it's our new undertaking that suffers in substance. For those of you who have or plan to make New Years' resolutions, I wish you the best. Here are some tips that may help you with your goals.

1. Be Decisive - Success is a choice. You must decide what you want, why you want it, and how you plan to achieve it. No one else can, will, or should do that for you.

2. Stay Focused - A close relative to being decisive, but your ability to sustain your focus from beginning to end determines the timing and condition of your outcomes.

3. Welcome Failure - The fundamental question is not whether you should accept failure. You have no choice but to expect it as a temporary condition on the path way of progress. Rather, the question is how to anticipate failure and redirect resources to grow from the experience.

4. Write Down Your Goals - Your mind while blessed with permanent memory is cursed with lousy recall. People forget things. Avoid the temptation of being cute; write down your goals.

5. Plan Thoroughly - Planning saves 10 to 1 in execution. Proper planning prevents poor performance.

6. Involve Others - Nobody goes through life alone. Establish your own "Personal Board of Directors", people whose wisdom, knowledge and character you respect to help you achieve your goals.

7. Take Purposeful Action - Success is not a spectator sport - achievement demands action. You cannot expect to arrive at success without having made the trip.

8. Reward Yourself - Rewards work! Think of what you will give yourself as a result of your hard work, focus and persistence - you deserve it!

9. Inspect What You Expect - The shelf life of all plans is limited. No plan holds up against opposition. Everything changes. Therefore inspect frequently and closely; it's an insurance policy on your success.

10. Maintain Personal Integrity - Maintain your commitment to your commitment. Set your goals, promise yourself that you will achieve them. Eliminate wiggle room and excuses. That's personal integrity!

Monday, December 29, 2008

Cerra - The Handy(not)man

When Dillon clicked on our TV today after work, nothing happened...

I, being the super-cool-handy-one, fixed it! I won't go in to the boring details of the technical things I had to do to fix it (like taking the power cord out and putting it back in) but I fixed it.

Oh yeah!
*blows smoke from cool gun*

Sunday, December 28, 2008

My Latest Living Responsibility

I suck with plants, but my mom assures me I can keep this one alive.
It's from starts off a plant she has. She also made this pot in a pottery class she was taking and gave it to me. I love it! I just hope I don't kill the plant. Wish me luck.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas!

"For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace." (Isaiah 9)

"For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.

"And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.

"And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us. And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger. And when they had seen it, they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child.

"And all they that heard it wondered at those things which were told them by the shepherds. But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart. And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told unto them." (Luke 2)

(Kristen reminded me of this wonderful video)

Sunday, December 21, 2008

I can knit! (kinda, sorta)

Sasha taught me how to knit tonight. I think I got the hang of it pretty quickly. It's really fun. It's one of those things that is just daunting and very difficult (I think anyway) to just pick up a book and teach yourself. I think there needs to be a human touch to get one started off well. Sasha's "knitting mentor," if you will, didn't spend that much time teaching her how to knit. She gave her some basics and Sasha took off from there. Sasha is an amazing knitter. No joke. She makes some of the most beautiful, symmetrical, aesthetically pleasing, nice, stuff I have ever seen. I am not just saying that. She really does have a knack for it. It also helps that she is a (self-proclaimed) "yarn snob." She buys only the nicest stuff and it really does make a better finished product. I really appreciate the time she took to teach me. I feel it's invaluable, and who knows where it will take me.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Mini Hawkins Reunion

We went out tonight with Dillon's entire immediate family, most of his cousins, and their families as well. His cousin Mike treated us to Bonsai Japanese Steakhouse. It's a fun place. I was thoroughly entertained by our chef, Andy.
He liked teasing Liz. He was lobbing shrimp at everyone else and spiking them at her face. She was a really good sport about it though. We were all laughing
Andy also made an onion volcano and set it on fire. I like fire!
We got a lot of pictures together.
Mike played Russian in Nolan's Christmas hat.
Here we are sporting our Christmas presents from Sasha - hat, scarf. She's the best knitter EVER.
And our waitress took a group picture for us.
Thanks Mike and everyone for a great night!

What is this!?

My brother Bill is far too practical to like animals. He just sees them as a pain - something to poop, pee and mess up all his nice things. So imagine my surprise when I got to his house and Brooklyn handed me a baby Shitzu. I thought it was a stuffed animal at first and am glad I didn't just drop it.
(please to be ignoring my double chin)
Her name is Lily. Julie and her mom picked her out for Julie's grandma. Her old dog recently died and needs another one. Lily is just 7 or 8 weeks old so Julie is keeping her for a while to potty train her so her grandmother doesn't have to.
She was so fun to play with and cuddle with. She snorts and grunts because of her super stubby snout. She was playing with this chew thing, barked at it, and scared herself with her bark.
I didn't notice until taking these pics, but her eyes point outward. It's too funny. She seems to be able to only use one and a time to focus on things.
I was just there babysitting Hailey and Brooklyn and they went to bed at 8:30, so I got to spend a couple of hours just playing with the puppy. She was a lot of fun.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Just Follow the Bouncing Ball

Lynne invited me to the 24th annual Christmas Carol Sing-Along. This was the 10 year that Larry H Miller put it on, and this may have been his last. For those of you who don't know, Larry H is a capitalist giant in Utah and recently stepped down from his "empire" due to his health. He's pretty sick. Generally, I like the guy - quite a bit actually.

He and his family had a tradition of going to the tabernacle for the Christmas Carol Sing-Along until there were just too many people to have in that place. Instead of letting it go, he decided to carry on the tradition. He hosts it at his Energy Solutions Arena. He gave out free hot dogs, drinks, tickets to the Bees, tickets to his raceway, free popcorn from his theater. There was a 30 piece orchestra there too. He also gave $$$ to the National Guard and had troops from Iraq and Kuwait join us via satellite. Families of the troops were there with signs for their troop. I guess there were so many more people there this year than last. It was a great time.

This is also a tradition in Lynne's family. They do it every year with family and friends. It was really sweet of her to let me tag along.

It was nice to see Lourine there too. She's Lynne's sister-in-law.

Their daughters are sure cute! (Alexsys and Akaysha)

Yet another tradition is every year after the sing-along they all go to Build a Bear and build a bear (or other animal). It was my first time, but Kaysh and Alex were more than helpful. I now refer to them as my "Build-a-Bear Buddies." I made "Dillon Jr." The real Dillon wasn't impressed.

UTA got in the spirit too and gave free TRAX rides from 5p - 10p, so we took to train there and back. This is Lynne's hubby, Pete, enjoying the ride.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Boys will be... well, just that.

Dillon's boss gave him an early Christmas present Wednesday. His boss was so excited he couldn't wait until the company Christmas dinner to give it to him. He got one for himself last month for Christmas and the next day opened it up. Both he and Dillon have been waiting anxiously for its long-awaited release. What is this thing that has these boys so excited, you ask? It's SPYKEE!

I know, I know, that most likely means nothing to you. Spykee is a robot. You can control it from any computer that has internet access. It has a webcam, speakers, mic, light and through the software you can move it any direction, play noises, take still pics, record video, make VOIP calls, play music. There's even a setting you can have it on where he sits still and makes a noise and takes a picture when something moves in his view, and when he's low on batteries, he finds his base and "plugs" himself in. Yeah, pretty geeky stuff.

I put him together last night. Dillon named him Johnny 5 for me. Dillon seems to really like it - Cevin, not so much. We tied one of her strings to the back of him tonight though, and she chased him around a bit. I have a feeling she is going to get tormented by this thing throughout the weekdays in the hands of Dillon.

I can just see all three of the boys that work at Distinctive bringing their robots in to play together with them. His boss and employee already have. Oooowee!

The downside? Well, now I have a $220 robot sitting in the top of my closet that I need to take back. Yup, I bought him one too, and I would have waited for Christmas. I just really hope they take it back. It's one of those things were 2 are truly too many.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Did you know?

That tonight's full moon was the biggest, brightest full moon since 1993 and will be until 2016? If you missed it, don't feel too bad. I've seen bigger (that's what she said).

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Through the Eyes of a Child

We were the only family with children in the restaurant. I sat Erik in a high chair and noticed everyone was quietly eating and talking. Suddenly, Erik squealed with glee and said, "Hi there!" He pounded his fat baby hands on the highchair tray. His eyes were wide with excitement and his mouth was bared in a toothless grin. He wriggled and giggled with merriment.

I looked around and saw the source of his merriment. It was a man with a tattered rag of a coat, dirty, greasy, and worn. His pants were baggy with a zipper at half-mast and his toes poked out of would-be shoes. His shirt was dirty and his hair was uncombed and unwashed. His whiskers were too short to be called a beard and his nose was so varicose it looked like a road map. We were too far from him to smell, but I was sure he smelled.

His hands waved and flapped on loose wrists. "Hi there, baby! Hi there, big boy! I see ya, buster," the man said to Erik.

My husband and I exchanged looks, What do we do?

Erik continued to laugh and answer, "Hi, hi there!" Everyone in the restaurant noticed and looked at us and then at the man. The old geezer was creating a nuisance with my beautiful baby.

Our meal came and the man began shouting from across the room, "Do ya know patty cake? Do you know peek-a-boo? Hey, look, he knows peek-a-boo!" Nobody thought the old man was cute. He was obviously drunk. My husband and I were embarrassed. We ate in silence, all except for Erik, who was running through his repertoire for the admiring skid-row bum, who in turn, reciprocated with his comments.

We finally got through the meal and headed for the door. My husband went to pay the check and told me to meet him in the parking lot. The old man sat poised between me and the door. Lord, just let me out of here before he speaks to me or Erik, I prayed.

As I drew closer to the man, I turned my back trying to sidestep him and avoid any air he might be breathing. As I did, Erik leaned over my arm, reaching with both arms in a baby's "pick me up" position. Before I could stop him, Erik had propelled himself from my arms to the man's.

Suddenly a very old smelly man and a very young baby expressed their love. Erik in an act of total trust, tenderness, and submission lay his tiny head upon the man's ragged shoulder. The man's eyes closed, and I saw tears hover beneath his lashes. His aged hands full of grime, pain, and hard labor gently, so gently, cradled my baby's bottom and stroked his back. No two beings have ever loved so deeply for so short a time. I stood awestruck. The old man rocked and cradled Erik in his arms for a moment, and then his eyes opened and set squarely on mine. He said in a firm commanding voice, "You take care of this baby."

Somehow I managed, "I will," from a throat that contained a stone.

He pried Erik from his chest, unwillingly, longingly, as though he were in pain. I received my baby, and the man said, "God bless you, ma'am. You've given me my Christmas gift." I said nothing more than a muttered thanks.

With Erik in my arms, I ran for the car. My husband was wondering why I was crying and holding Erik so tightly, and why I was saying, "My God, my God, forgive me." I had just witnessed Christ's love shown through the innocence of a tiny child who saw no sin, who made no judgment, a child who saw a soul, and a mother who saw a suit of clothes.

I had been blind to this man's needs, holding a child who was not. I felt it was God asking, "Are you willing to share your son for a moment?"-when He shared His for all eternity. The ragged old man, unwittingly, had reminded me, "To enter the Kingdom of God, we must become as little children."

Author unknown

"Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me." (Mathew 25:40)

Monday, December 08, 2008

Give to Receive

Our Sunday School lesson was a particularly great yesterday. It covered Mormon 7-9. In chapter 8, Moroni says... "I speak unto you as if ye were present, and yet ye are not. But behold, Jesus Christ hath shown you unto me, and I know your doing." He was talking to us. 1600 years ago he knew our time better than some of us in it may. He also talks about the majority of us - "ye do love money, and your substance, and your fine apparel... more than ye love the poor and the needy, the sick and the afflicted."

Dillon had the best idea for Family (not so) Home Evening today. We went to Cyprus Credit Union and drew a little boy and little girl off the Angel Tree. We spent an hour and got a coat, shoes, socks and toys for each kid. It was the best feeling ever! I can't wait for Christmas now. Although I won't be there, I know our kids are going to have a good day. Dillon really did put it best when he said that if you are having trouble feeling the Christmas Spirit, give to those in need.

Liz Lemon Swindle is one of my favorite artists and painted the image above.

Saturday, December 06, 2008

In my best Schwarzenegger: "It's not a TUMOR!"

I found a lump on Cevin's tail a few months back. Her mortality has been nearer to my conscious mind since the last time we went to the vet and the bill said "Senior Exam." And that was probably two years ago. I was really worried it was cancer, but knew a visit to the vet would be mucho $$$. I finally took her in this morning.

I bought a cat carrier from Costco after her last vet appointment because Dillon didn't think it was safe to just take her in a towel like I always have done. In order for her to get used to it, I put her cat bed inside and opened the big flap so she could use it like a little kitty house. She's really liked it up until today. When I brought it out of the back room and set it on the living room floor, she perked up like, "Ooo, my house! What are we doing?" and rubbed all over it. Her emotions quickly changed as I put her in and zipped it up. She instantly smashed her face against the mesh. It would have been really funny had it not been a little sad. I still laughed though.
The Siamese in her really comes out when she's in the car. This moaning, low yet shrill, painful, groan begins as soon as she sees the car, and continues in intervals of maybe a second between (if that) until she's out again. It used to really stress me out, but I was determined to keep a more than cool attitude so as not to ruin her favorite bed for her.

When we got her in the exam room I opened her carrier. She instantly started purring and rubbing on the outside of it. This purr continued until the very end. They had her in the back for a long time taking samples of the tail, giving her vaccines, and Xraying the tail. The tech told me how everyone was just loving on her back there and how sweet she was. She said she didn't even stop purring when the needles went in. "My mother-in-law won't believe this!" was the first thing that popped into my head.

We lived with her for about three years and Cevin never was nice to her that whole time. She's one of the only people that Cevi hisses at consistently. It's weird. They really don't get along. So when the lady gushed over my cat and told me how much of a sweetheart she is, it made me chuckle inside.
Turns out the bump is a cyst created by oil glands. As is, it's harmless. I just need to watch it and make sure it doesn't grow.
What a relief. I really am not ready to lose my cat. I have had her for almost 9 years now. She is and always has been really special to me.
She was a gift from a boyfriend I had. Her name is a result of a cheesy mesh of both our names, but I have never held that against her. I actually like her name except for the fact that people who failed phonics pronounce it like my ex's name.
When I got her she was so little. They told me she was old enough to be taken from her mommy, but I really don't think she was. She was like a crack baby. She cried no matter what I did. She seemed to do it a little less when I held her so I ended up carrying her around a lot. This quickly turned into an ability for us to hang out no matter what I was doing. I can still throw her over my shoulder and have her stay there while I clean, do laundry or whatever.

She had a rough start. We had a big female Siamese (Sushi) when I got Cevi and she wanted her gone! I tried to keep them separate but far too often I would come running to what sounded like 100 cats being swung by their tails to find my little kitten wedged in some awful crevice in a puddle of her own urine with a giant cat trying to kill her. It was terrible. I think those experiences are what make her HATE most other cats. We ended up getting rid of the other Siamese. She just went absolutely insane and attacked me one time.

A month or so after I got Cevin, one of the bites from Sushi abscessed on her back. I thought she was a goner. I didn't know what was wrong with her. I went to pick her up one day and she screamed, I got startled, and dropped her. Then she proceeded to try to run and her back legs drug behind her like some rigid, dead weight while her front half scrambled in panic. It was a terrible sight. I thought for sure she was paralyzed. The vet put a drain tube in her back that was almost as big as she was. She looked so pathetic.

I wanted her and I to experience kittens once, so I didn't spay her right away. When she was about a year or so old she had 5 kittens. When she went into labor my mom and I took her into the laundry room so she'd have some peace. I went out of the room to get some towels and mom my said she started panicking the whole time I was gone until I got back. She didn't want me to leave her side. She was still in labor at 2am so we put her in a carrier, put it on my bed and went to sleep. At about 3am I heard the first kitten. I was so excited. She purred the entire time she delivered. She was such a good little mommy - except she would drag one of her kittens off (I think he was retarded) and leave him to perish while she would go back to the others. We kept him and one other boy. They both "disappeared" in 2002 under my mother's not so watchful eye.
Cevin very well may have brought Dillon and I together. I was just out of my mom's house and didn't have a place for Cevi to stay. I had just met Dillon, but he offered to let her stay with him. Cevi is very picky when it comes to people she likes, but I didn't have the luxury of thinking about that. I was just happy to have her a temporary home. I have never seen Cevin warm up to a person that quickly. It was love at first sight for her. I could not have been more happy. Looking back, I think Dillon may have seen it as a ransom opportunity, but that's another story... :-)
Our three years in Weiser with Dillon's mom were especially hard on Cevi. She lived there with anywhere from 6 to 16 other cats and 1 to 3 dogs. She hates both, but in completely different ways.
While they are so much bigger than she, she isn't afraid of dogs and actually seems to like to torment them. She runs after them when she sees them. I remember one day in Weiser I heard the dogs Kathleen had at the time yelping and bellowing from the back bedroom like they had each sprung one of those snap traps on their legs. I went running to their aid to find Cevin sitting in the door way starring at these two dogs she had "trapped" in the bedroom like, "You move; you die."

I could have died. These dogs acted like they were going to as well! It was too funny.

Being around dogs also taught her to be a good watch-kitty. When the dogs would hear something out of the ordinary, they would bark, then Cevin would get all excited and start growling at the dogs. Well, Pavlov's conditioned reflex came in to play as now she just growls at what would make dogs bark. It's pretty funny to see a cat start growling and run to the window when noisy children are outside playing.
Dogs have pretty much left Cevi alone, but other cats are a totally different story. She hates most all cats. She is terrified of them and seems to get picked on more than most by them. She never was at peace while we lived in Weiser.
From the second we got to our apartment she started purring and rubbing affectionately on EVERYTHING and still purrs all the time and kneads on the carpet as she walks. It's like she still remembers how happy she is to not have other cats around even though we've lived here for 3 years now.
Cevin likes to play fetch with her strings (draw strings off various clothing items) and little wadded up pieces of paper, eat the tails off her fake mice toys, sleep, drink water from the bathroom faucet, climb to the very top of her floor-to-ceiling scratching post, have me follow her on wild goose chases when I tell her "show me," and cuddle with me when we get home from work.
I must apologize about the agonizingly long post all about my cat. I do love her and am very happy she is healthy and with us for a little while longer at least.