Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Hurricane Irma

Since we're getting ready to go help with the aftermath of Hurricane Michael, I figured I should probably get the post from Hurricane Irma finished. Last year we went a couple of times to help in the Florida Keys; this year Florida's Panhandle needs assistance. We're grateful that our county was spared both years!

A Packing List for Hurricane Clean-Up Helpers
  • caution tape & duct tape & safety cones (like soccer cones)
  • reflective vests & Helping Hands shirt
  • first aid kit
  • flashlights
  • walkie talkies
  • work gloves & safety goggles
  • sturdy shoes or work boots
  • hats & sunglasses
  • lots of water & Gatorade
  • chain saws and other saws
  • wheelbarrows
  • camping equipment, including
  • tent, tarp, hammer, stakes
  • sleeping bags, air mattresses, pump
  • lantern, fans, camp chairs
  • clothes, toiletries, towels
  • food & cooking gear (if necessary)
We spent one weekend working in the command center. I helped with first aid (fortunately, not much was needed) and cooking for the volunteers; Wayne directed traffic and helped prepare supplies. While that was a good experience, we enjoyed the next weekend better, when we actually helped chop up trees and muck out basements and got to meet people directly affected by the storm. Here's the story in pictures.
Our first look after returning from our cruise/wedding trip.
Before helping others, we felt we needed to take care of our own property first, so we worked together to remove the shutters. Then while Wayne was at work that week, I chopped up the tree that had fallen in our backyard, leaving the stump for a later date. I never knew that doing so was on my bucket list, but it's not anymore!
Around our neighborhood, a week after the storm had passed.
Slowly the tree grew smaller and the piles of branches grew larger.
Until they were all at the curb.
Then it was off to the Florida Keys!

Our first look at the devastation.

My assignment was to help with food.
And first aid.

Wayne helped prepare supplies.

We both helped clean up the yard of the Marathon Branch meeting house.

It looked 100% better when we left!
We worked with some awesome people, including our missionaries, our bishop, and the Nall's who basically ran the show.

It was an exhausting weekend, but we went back for more!

The first house needed debris hauled to the curb and some limbs from a large tree removed.
A before and after shot of that first house's backyard.
More hauling of debris at the second house.
The third house had more chopping and hauling for us to do.
But we found time to get a group picture of our crew.
The fourth house needed a fence propped up; looking at all of the houses on that block was heart wrenching.
This owner showed us the water line - above four feet!
Our fifth stop was on the same street, with more chopping and hauling. We just loved the resilient attitude of the residents of Marathon Key. So amazing!
The next morning we headed out again! It was an absolutely gorgeous day, but we would have appreciated it a lot more if we had been there for a different reason.

No one was home at the first stop, but it looked like they had already done some gutting and hauling.
We spent several hours at the next house, which received at least 10 feet of storm surge.
It took some muscles, but we were able to move the brand-new refrigerator from laying on a pile of branches to standing upright in the driveway. Too bad it can never be used.
We also spent time at the house next door, mucking out their workshop and clearing off the back patio.
Did you notice the vehicle caught on the hedge across the canal?
Two neighboring cabins at the Scout camp, which was the command center - one still intact, one demolished.
One last hurricane-related chore - removing the stump from our own backyard. Thanks for the help, Jeff!

A year later, the grass has regrown and the back yard is better than ever. (Remember that Wayne never really liked that tree there in the first place.) Give them time and the Florida Keys and Panhandle will recover someday also.

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Halloween 2018

Wayne did take his eyes to work!
This is turning out to be a quiet Halloween season at our house. We missed the annual ward Trunk or Treat because of a last minute trip to California, and the stake youth dance was cancelled because of hurricane clean-up efforts. I didn't even make the time to send treat packages to the grandchildren! However, I did pull out a few decorations.

I can also share some last-minute songs and fingerplays that I sent the oldest ones years ago. Maybe our younger grandchildren will be old enough enjoy them this year.

Our busy bee in Michigan

10 Fall and Halloween Songs and Fingerplays

I’m a Little Spider
(Tune: I’m a Little Teapot)
I'm a little spider,
Watch me spin.
If you'll be my dinner,
I'll let you come in.
Then I'll spin my web,
To hold you tight.
And gobble you up,
In one big bite!

(Tune: Farmer in the Dell)
The owl goes hoo, (cup hands to mouth)
The owl goes hoo,
Hi ho on Halloween, the owl goes hoo.
Other verses:
The ghost goes boo (wave hands out in front)
The bats go eek (flap arms)
The pumpkin rolls around (roll hands)
The scarecrow waves good-bye (wave)

Five Little Pumpkins
(Fingerplay, no tune)
Five little pumpkins sitting on a gate,
The 1st one said, “Oh my, it’s getting late.”
The 2nd one said, “There are witches in the air.”
The 3rd one said, “But we don’t care.”
The 4th one said, “Let’s run and run and run.”
The 5th one said, “I’m ready for some fun.”
Whewwwww went the wind & out went the lights,
And the five little pumpkins rolled out of sight.

Bats Are Sleeping
(Tune: Frere Jacque/Are You Sleeping)
Bats are sleeping, bats are sleeping
Upside down, upside down
Waiting for the night to come
Waiting for the night to come
Then they fly around, then they fly around.

Mother Nature, Did You Sneeze?
(tune: Twinkle Twinkle)
Falling, falling, falling leaves
Mother nature did you sneeze? (Aaachew!)
Red ones, yellow ones, orange and brown,
Big ones, little ones, on the ground
Falling, falling, falling leaves
Mother nature did you sneeze? (aaaachew!)

I'm a Little Scarecrow
(To the tune of I'm a Little Tea Pot)
I'm a little scarecrow (Point to chest and sing)
Stuffed with hay (Move right fist, then left fist across chest out in front of
body as if stuffing)
Here I stand in a field all day (Outstretch arms like a scarecrow)
When I see the black crows (Place right hand over eyes as if looking
I just shout (Cup hands around mouth)
"Hey, you crows! You better get out!"

Five Red Leaves 
(Fingerplay, no tune)
Five red leaves, five and no more (hold up 5 fingers)
The caterpillar ate one, now there are four (thumb down)
Four red leaves, that's easy to see.
Along came a rainstorm, now there are three. (index down)
Three red leaves, nothing much to do.
A big wind blew, now two! (middle down)
Two red leaves, that's not much fun.
I glued one on my paper (ring down)
Now there is one. (hold up pinky)
Hang on, pretty red leaf! Your branches won't break.
You're one less leaf for me to rake!

I’m a Little Pumpkin 
(Tune: I’m a Little Tea Pot)
I’m a little pumpkin, short and fat
I’m going to be a jack o lantern, how about that?
Just carve me out a mouth and nose and eyes
And light me up on Halloween night!

Scarecrow, Scarecrow
(tune: Teddy Bear, Teddy Bear)
Scarecrow, Scarecrow, turn around.
Scarecrow, scarecrow, jump up and down
Scarecrow, scarecrow, arms up high
Scarecrow, Scarecrow, wink one eye
Scarecrow, scarecrow, bend your knee
Scarecrow, scarecrow, flap in the breeze
Scarecrow, scarecrow, climb into bed
Scarecrow, scarecrow, rest your head

The Rolly Polly Pumpkin
(tune: Itsy Bitsy Spider)
The rolly-polly pumpkin went rolling down the hill
Once he started rolling, he couldn’t stay still
He rolled and he rolled until he hit a rock
Then the rolly-polly pumpkin rolled to a stop.

Our 2nd generation Raggedy Ann in Texas
Utah family with friends

Super Heros in Florida

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Remembering George

Just over three weeks ago I learned my brother was hospitalized with an unknown diagnosis, two weeks ago I learned he had stage four cancer, and one week ago I learned he had passed away. It's amazing how quickly circumstances can change.

It's been a whirlwind week, but I was able to make arrangements to come to California and spend time with my parents and many of my siblings. Funerals are definitely cause for family to gather, and it's nice to be able to touch base with loved ones you haven't seen in years if not decades.

Here are the pictures from today, which include the few we gathered to display showcasing George's life. He wasn't fond of having his picture taken - I bet that's a familiar feeling - but we're definitely grateful for the ones we do have.

Family portraits from 1972 to 1982

With the love of his life, Naomi

He was buried at Memorial Park Cemetery in Oroville, California, in a plot between two nice-sized trees and adjacent to the road (Immortality Section C) to make it as wheelchair accessible as possible.

The Oroville 1st Ward Relief Society prepared a delicious luncheon for the family. Thank you so much!

Uncle Thane & Dad, Rhonda & Ben, Karl (cousin) & Scott, Ida, Ben
I'm also grateful that my brothers and sister humored me so that we could get a family picture. We missed you Louise and Holly!

Holly is unable to travel, especially on a plane, but she was with us in spirit, along with the scrapbook she sent. And so was Louise, who stayed in Virginia to care for Holly. Thank you for doing that and allowing Mom and Dad to come to the funeral.

George Cox Beckstrand
18 Dec 1962 - 16 Oct 2018

George was born in Eureka, California to Fred and Ruby Cox and was welcomed by older half-siblings Kay and Tony. He was a quiet child who liked to be alone, eat a lot and run around barefoot. His father died when he was eight and circumstances led to his being adopted, along with younger siblings Ida and Ben, by Shelley and Judith Beckstrand of San Jose, which meant he gained three more siblings, Rebecca, Louise and Scott. Later Holly and Richard joined the family. As he grew, George enjoyed sports, farm work and helping others. After graduating from high school (in Hollister, CA), he began to study auto mechanics before serving a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He returned to his studies, first in California, then in New York, then in Idaho and earned a degree in diesel mechanics. George then moved to Oroville, where he soon met Naomi Gage and they were married on 9 August 1991. He loved driving a long-haul, flat-bed truck but eventually gave that up to become primary caretaker for Naomi. Earlier this year he became licensed as a CNA and was working for OPAC at the time of his death. Cancer came as an unwelcome surprise, but was mercifully short-lived. George's loving, gentle and caring soul will be greatly missed.

Monday, October 15, 2018

A Birthday Party for Sam

We had another new experience this month - an invitation to a grandchild's birthday party. It was great to be able to celebrate with Sam. Guess how old he is now?

I was quite impressed with his choice for birthday dinner - Alphabet Soup (homemade chicken noodle) with French bread and fresh fruit. Isn't he a healthy eater?

He's also an artist, designing his own cake to be an earth with an ark and a blue moon on the side.

Because it was a school night, we didn't stay long, but we did play a quick game of Hungry Hippos before leaving. Happy Birthday to You, Dear Sam! Have a terrific year being 6!!

Their family has a couple of wonderful birthday traditions which I love. One is the number poster made with pictures of the birthday boy during the previous year. The other is a tablecloth, made from a sheet, that gets handprints added each year.