Monday, November 25, 2013

Monday Memory: Glasses

Lana got glasses last week. Dan got them when he was 8 and I got glasses at 7, so we expected this sometime for our daughter. It's tough for a care-free 4 year old to deal with the responsibility of wearing glasses, but that was far outweighed by our desire for her to see well. So far, so good. Lana's taken to wearing them daily and we haven't yet had any mishaps.

This got Dan and I talking about each of our glasses-wearing experiences. I think I've already shown my history to be none-too-pretty.

My first set was obtained when I was seven years old. We re-arranged seats in the second grade, and while sitting near the back of the classroom, I had a hard time seeing the chalkboard and that was that. These oversized blue plastic numbers (with the super cool transitions lenses that darkened not only in sunlight, but in florescent lights and also with camera flashes) were my signature for about 4 years.

Partway through 5th grade, my blue plastic glasses needed to be retired, and I got these ones. Still oversized, still not right for my face shape, but a definite improvement.

In 8th grade the brown glasses literally fell apart (duct tape and glue only held them together for so long) so I got silver wire-framed ones. Again, not entirely suitable, but a vast improvement. (Is anyone else seeing a trend here? The older I get the better glasses-choosing decisions I make.)
Fortunately, as a high school junior, I moved on to contacts full-time. Thank you contact lenses, you made one dorky and awkward girl at least look less the part. 

Dan wore glasses too and his can't-see-the-chalkboard story happened in 3rd grade. I couldn't find any pictures of him as a grade schooler, but I've been told his glasses style remained fairly constant. Here he is in high school:
Don't you just think Danny Lenssen was the cutest? Dan got magical laser eye surgery as an adult and has not worn specs since.

Well, now it's Lana's turn. Due to the poor eyewear choices of my past, Dan and I had a discussion about what was and was not okay for our baby girl. Nothing oversized, no transitions lenses, and nothing too bright or overwhelming. Well, in the end, Lana chose out her own glasses (after Mommy narrowed it down to three selections) and I think she did a fabulous job.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Monday Memory: The time my sister got hit by a car (and ruined my party).

(When I started this Monday Memory series nearly a year ago, I thought it was important that every post have an accompanying photograph. I've really liked have a picture to go with every story and give me a visual reminder of the event I'm sharing. However, this story needs to be told, and no picture can be found. I trust you'll all use your imaginations.) 

The 4th grade at our elementary school marked the change from being a "little kid" to being a "big kid." Fourth graders sometimes got to serve lunch in the cafeteria, had less-supervised recesses, and (most exciting of all for us little nerds) had an Honor Roll displayed in the hallway after grades came out every quarter. It should come as a shock to no one that getting my name on that Honor Roll was a challenge I took very seriously. Not only did high marks get you bragging rights in the hall, but all Honor Roll members were also invited to stay after school one day for pizza, ice cream, and roller skating in the school's multipurpose room. All of these things were the ultimate treat for a sorta-dorky 9 year-old and I was so, so very excited to go.

The party was everything I'd hoped it would be. Plenty of room for showing off my mad skating skills, tri-colored ice cream sandwiches (the best kind), and two pieces of cardboard pizza. My bliss was suddenly and rudely interrupted when one of the teachers pulled me aside. He was usually one of the friendlier, jokier teachers, but at this point he was very serious. He explained to me that he'd just gotten a call and that my little sister, Jen, had been hit by a car. After witnessing my shock, he must have figured I needed more information, and finally told me that although she'd been in a accident, she was just fine. (Lesson learned people. When telling serious stuff to kids, get to the point and give the ending first.) I wanted to leave and walk home immediately, but the teacher told me I was instructed to stay for the rest of the party and someone would come and get me. I couldn't believe it; not only had I been given very crappy and confusing news about my family, but I couldn't even leave to see them and make sure everyone was okay. I had to keep skating around in a circle to cheesy music with all these happy dorks and pretend nothing was wrong. I don't remember how long the party was scheduled to last, but it certainly felt like days passed by before my grandma picked me up.

Just like the teacher told me earlier, Jen turned out to be fine. I learned that she wasn't hit by a car so much as a very slow-moving car ran over her foot as she walked across the street while blatantly not paying attention. I don't know how anyone (even my 6-year old sister) could be so incredibly distracted that they completely miss a car driving by slowly, but somehow Jen accomplished this feat. (We later found out the driver of the car was equally distracted and driving so slowly because she was lost and looking down at directions in her lap.)

Jen didn't break anything and wasn't really hurt. The car did knock her over and her foot still has scars from some friction burns from the tire. Emergency personnel had been called in and EMTs checked her out and transported her to the hospital. When she came home later, her foot was wrapped in a giant bandage. She didn't even need a cast or a boot or anything. I suppose as far as my-sister-got-hit-by-a-car stories go, this one is pretty tame and has a happy ending. Sadly, most don't end this way.

Because Jen got hit by a car during my 4th grade Honor Roll party, no one really asked me about the party that night, or really, ever. Well family, in case you've been wondering for 25 years, the party was really great, ya know, up until the point it was ruined because my sister got hit by a car, then it pretty much sucked.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Monday Memory: Tinkerbell

This is my little sister, Jen, in 7th or 8th grade, and that adorable Holstein calf is Tinkerbell, her pet heifer for several months. Yep, most kids have pets that are cats or dogs, but Jen had a pet heifer. Tinkerbell was born a tiny twin calf and probably weighed 45 pounds when Jen adopted her from the local dairy. Odds were not in the little calf's favor, but Jen dutifully and faithfully bottle-fed Tinkerbell and she ended up thriving and doing quite well.
As Tinkerbell grew, it was obvious she wasn't going to be bothered with acting like a regular cow. She couldn't be pushed or corralled, and instead, when we needed her to move to a different pen or load on the trailer, Jen would simply walk up to her, tell her what to do, and then show her where to move and the heifer would do as she was told. It was really quite funny and amazing to see. Tinkerbell put up with the rest of the family, but she knew she belonged to Jen and had a clear favorite.

Due to Tinkerbell's status as a free-martin (heifer calf with a bull twin, usually infertile and does not have typical dairy-type characteristics)she did not show well at our local livestock shows and fairs. She led perfectly and Jen could get her to do anything in showmanship classes, but it was obvious Tinkerbell was never going to develop into even an average milking cow. So, when Tinkerbell was to butchering weight, our dad decided she should be our freezer beef for the year. Jen adamantly refused to have her calf be the one in our freezer. She fully understood that Tinkerbell couldn't live a long and full life on a dairy, but she also was not going to eat her all winter either. Dad gave into his daughter's emotional pleas and instead of butchering Tinkerbell, he picked another calf for our freezer and took Tinkerbell to the livestock auction with some other calves.

Jen raised other calves after Tinkerbell, and one Holstein heifer actually entered a milking herd and did quite well, being a top milker and producer of quality heifers, but none of them would ever come close to pulling at Jen's heartstrings like little Tinkerbell.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Monday Memory: My Last Livestock Show

My brother and sister and I all showed livestock in 4-H and FFA. Usually we competed in 3 shows per year and showed beef cattle, sheep, or pigs. The last summer I showed was the summer before I left for college. As the schedule turned out, my very last show was the day before I needed to report for freshman orientation. My parents knew we'd be cutting it close, but decided to let me show anyway.
(My last show was the only one where all three of us, me, Kasey, and Jen, were in the same class. I think our steers weighed in within 20 pounds of each other, making this photograph possible.)

For this show, not only did I need to have my steer as ready as possible, I needed to have my mom's car packed with everything I needed for college. I remember the day before the show alternating between packing the cattle show tack box and packing boxes with dorm supplies. I'm sure my little brother and sister got stuck with most of the show prep work as my mind was more in college-land and less in livestock-land that day.

The Pendleton Junior Livestock Show is a single-day event. All animals are judged, and kids' showing abilities are judged on the same day, and that evening is the livestock auction. Other shows spread all these events out over three or four days, so this single day is long and exhausting. My steer placed near the middle of his market class, but I had my best showmanship day ever. Apparently being nervous about college made me less nervous about showing and I did really well, winning the senior division and (finally, finally, finally) winning Grand Champion Steer Showman. Even though it turned a long day into an even longer one, I was grateful and relieved to finally have reached a goal I'd wanted since my first show as a freshman.

My celebration couldn't last long though. After my steer was auctioned off and led onto the livestock trailer, my mom and I had to leave in order to get to Logan, Utah in time for the next morning's freshman orientation. There was no time for tears or drawn-out goodbyes. My dad, brother, and sister, all got quick hugs and Mom and I left. I didn't even take my awards with me, figuring (rightly) that my dorm room was going to be small, and I wouldn't have a lot of room for ribbons and plaques. We drove all night, surprising ourselves with how good we were doing despite the tiring day we'd just had. We actually pulled into the parking garage on campus about two hours before registration opened and took a nap in the car. I reported that morning still wearing my black jeans, boots, and starched white shirt from the show the day before. It wasn't until a few boxes got unpacked in my new room that I had access to fresh clothes and could change.

I don't recommend anyone cram as much into two days as we did that weekend. However, I'm really glad I got to do it, and the money earned from that steer surely went towards a future tuition payment.