Monday, December 31, 2007

My Top Ten Stories for 2007

1. In February, we moved all of my pottery stuff out of the old Paradise post office, which I was renting into an old pig birthing building on our new property. The new building is bigger and better. It had been used as a quilting studio at one time, but it's still possible to figure out where the pigs were kept. Pigs to pots, with quilts in between seems like a pretty good use for a building.

2. In March I did some pottery teaching at an elementary school in Ogden. It went really well. I'd say the students were the best behaved of any that I've ever taught. Once or twice a year, I'm hired to teach kids how to make pots. One of the highlights of the two weeks I was there was seeing the tables and tables worth of pots, animals, and creatures. As part of my pay I always get a lot of kids telling me it was the funnest thing they've ever done, lots of smiles, and a few hugs. While I was teaching my daughter was in Central America. I got a message that she needed some extra money for scuba diving off the coast of Panama. Well, that was the last I heard from her for four days. It was a long four days until I heard from her again. (These pigs were made by 1st graders)

3. On June 21st, Trevor, his wife, Jo, and baby Isaiah came to visit. We went with long time friends Wayne and Julie Dymock to the Sun Tunnels. The cement cylinders were created in the 1970's by land artist Nancy Holt. They are aligned for the summer and winter solstice. Lovers of the earth and sun make the trek to the western desert each year. One interesting guy in his early sixties wearing a "burning man" T-shirt had been there all week to greet visitors and tell his story. We watched as a couple of young women pulled down their pants and relieved themselves in plain view. I thought that was very odd, but then noticed there wasn't much else they could've done. After we all crowded around the cement tube to watch the sun set, we finished our hot dog roast and headed to Grouse Creek. It was great fun.

4. First annual Paradise Spring Artist's Sale. We experimented with holding an art sale at the town hall on Saturday before Memorial Day and then continuing on with it Monday during our Fire Department's breakfast. We had live musicians on Saturday and hardly anyone came. On Monday however, after breakfast a lot of people walked through. Lesson learned: Only people with full stomachs are interested in art, and only if they are already in the vicinity. We'll try again this year though.

5. July 4th weekend in Grouse Creek: Ginger is home! After coming home from Central America, Ginger went to Austria and spent a couple of months there. Then she came home just in time to head out with the family to Grouse Creek, our favorite town of less than 100 full-time residents. We watched the parade, hiked, ate the annual feast, and had an overall good time. Ginger, always the statement of fashion wore a smock. I'd assured her she was too skinny for anyone to think she was pregnant, but one of our favorite older women said, "Looks like you have an announcement to make." She isn't married and I doubt she will be anytime soon.

6. July ? Also towards the end of the month we had the well on our property water witched. Dale Newbrand was over ninety years old and had been among other things, a water witch his whole life. He was a great man with as many tales to tell as years of life. First he asked Mick to find a branch from a pitted fruit tree. We had a choke cherry on our property that did fine. Mick drove Dale over the property, and apparently he could feel something through the truck floor while holding the twig. Then he got out and used straight copper rods and a twisty rod. Using these devices he could tell us where to dig, the strength of the flow, and the depth. He had us mark all this down. It may have been the last well he ever witched. He died in October. We still haven't had a chance to dig our well because we didn't get our permit until a week ago. We hope for his legacy that he was right on.

7. Also in July at the end of the month, our building permit finally came through. Trevor and Joanna had come to live us, worked for a couple of months doing odds and ends while we waited to get started on our house. It came through right after they had to co back home to Colorado. The basement was dug August 3rd! Another great thing that happened on July 14th was Isaiah learned to walk.

8. August 12th: The whole family (Mick, Ginger, and I) went to Avon, Colorado to celebrate Isaiah's first birthday. While there we had an exciting trip to Rocky Mountain National Park. It was beautiful.

9. My 50th Birthday Party: We thought we'd plan just a little get together to celebrate the big one. We had somewhere between 40 and 50 people in our backyard. We made a big barbeque roast and lots of people brought salads. Earlier in the day some of us went on my traditional birthday hike. We climbed to Jardine Juniper, the 3200 year old tree. My first birthday hike in Cache Valley was 12 years ago when I turned 38. How time flies. It's been a great life so far. This was also the first hike this summer of the newly formed Paradise hiking group. We also hiked Richard's Hollow, The Wind Caves, Crimson Trail, Temple Fork, and Rosie's Mine. The tarantula was on the Wind Cave's trail--posed nicely for the photo.

10. The well permit finally came through which means we can have water at our new house. A pretty nice end to a great year!

Bonus story: Ginger cut her hair! Ginger has never had really short hair. We love it.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

If the Shoe Fits . . .

If The Shoe Fits. . .
(The rest of the Story)
by Carole Thayne

Recently in our small town we’ve had a rash of thefts. One of the victims had been watching television downstairs. Val is somewhat hard of hearing and didn't realize that upstairs a robbery was taking place. Meanwhile his wife arrived home from grocery shopping. As she went in the back door and heard her husband head out the front door, she assumed he was going to help carry in the load. However it wasn't her husband going out. It was a young man who had just helped himself to the contents of Val’s wallet. Neither of them saw him fleeing the crime.
Well, not to be robbed lying down, or in this case watching television, Val took photographs of the perfect footprints left in the fresh snow. The detective used the photos, matched them to a particular shoe brand, then working through the on-duty police at our local high school began calling boys from our town out of class. Our high school serves about seven communities in the south end of the valley. It didn't take long for this new version of the Cinderella story to find Cinderella, or in this case Cinderfella. Only the winner of this contest wouldn't be living happily ever after, but would rather be the winner of some tough consequences. Confronted with the evidence, he quickly confessed. Remorse and guilt had probably already been working overtime, but now they crashed together. Two young men from our community were responsible for wreaking fear amongst us.
Then a small miracle happened. Hearts were softened as news that a couple of boys from our own good families were responsible. Just the week before at church, I'd heard talk of loaded guns and cross-bows, and “They'll be sorry if they come in my house,” and ”It will be the last crime they commit” sort of stuff. Now the talk was replaced with compassion, love, and prayers. Val, the main man behind the success of “operation footprint,” urged love to be extended to the families of the responsible boys. Those families had already come around with sorrowful apologies. Val's plea was echoed by other victims as well. The boys were lucky to have been caught before someone got a chance to use one of those loaded guns, and before they got themselves into more serious crimes. My sincere prayer is that the boys are able to use this as a learning experience, to step forward, put their mistakes behind them, and get the help they obviously need.
Christmas is a time for miracles and we've just witnessed a little one in Paradise.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Trouble in Paradise

A couple of days ago I ventured out from our ideal little town to go to Hyrum, four miles away, where the closest grocery store is located. An acquaintance who lives through the block from me was also there. "Lock your doors," she said. Well, I never lock my doors unless I'm going to be gone overnight. "Why?" I asked. "There's been a rash of break-ins," she said. She then rattled off the names of five families, most within a block from me, and the rest within a mile. Prescription medicine and cash were the items most often taken. One guy was home during the time of the robbery, watching television. He didn't hear what was going on upstairs, but you've got to know the thief knew someone was there, which in my mind makes him pretty bold. Fresh snow, also gave a clue--a footprint--which the guy took a photo of. I'm not sure if the police asked for it or not. Another older couple were just out for the evening and when they came home, their door was broken in--again pretty bold. Fresh tracks led away from the scene and they believe he may have still been there when they drove up. One elderly woman's Christmas cash was stolen, a sizable sum too.
My guess is that a drug addict is the culprit, probably young, most likely male (sorry for my presumption). I know that women are addicts much of the time, but they will usually get their drugs by doctor hopping. Which bring us back to the tired argument that addicts only hurt themselves. This is almost never true. The addict has to go to great lengths to feed their habit, no matter what that addiction is, at some point they will most likely find themselves breaking the law, or breaking a heart, or breaking the trust of a friend.
I have a lot of compassion for addicts and can easily say, "there but for the grace of God, go I." And no, I wouldn't care to elaborate. Life is hard, even at its best.
This morning while taking my morning bath, usually my relaxing time to sooth my Fibromyalgia pain, I found myself listening for noises. Finally, I got out of the tub, dripped all the way to the front door, and locked it. I hate that I felt like I needed to do that. On Friday night, the night after the robberies, the turnout to our ward party was extremely small. Is it possible that everyone was home watching their stuff? I don't know.
Back nearly thirty years ago now when I was attending Utah State, I was plagued with headaches (not much has changed) and a doctor had prescribed Valium. Yeah, I know hard stuff back then--his idea was to break the cycle. I only ended up taking one and finding out that it did nothing for my headache, but made me so sleepy I couldn't function. Unfortunately after I had swallowed the pill I had gone to the art barn on campus to throw pottery. One of my art buddies, watched me throwing for a minute, and finally said. "What are you on?" "Nothing." I said. They knew me as the sweet Mormon girl who didn't do drugs. "You're high," he said. Well, I persisted in my argument, but then finally admitted to taking a Valium a doctor had prescribed. He started to hoot with excitement, then asked me if I could give him a couple. I adamantly wouldn't no matter what his persistence and told him it made me feel terrible, so I didn't see why he'd want one. He just told me to take another one or two more and find out.
Well the rest of the year he'd try to get the pills out of me, telling me his back hurt etc. I told him to go see the doctor and he let me know that doctors weren't an option for him. He was a drug abuser and we all knew it. We remained friends in spite of his pressure for my meds, which I never used again, and eventually flushed down the toilet. Another friend of his and mine, a potter with a lot of promise, died of an unintentional overdose that same year. Life in the art barn was never the same.
I hope they catch our Paradise thief--just as much for his sake as ours. There's really good evidence that he's one of our own, someone who knows his victims and knows their habits. And that makes it all the more sad.