Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Poetry Wednesday: Mundane Things

The Russian Sage is now in full glory and dominating the garden. But the little orange hummingbird trumpets are putting on a pretty nice little show of their own.

Visit Jacqui's Multi-Blog Poetry Wednesday.

Never Underestimate the Therapeutic Value
in Mundane Things

. . .
Ah, the smell of
Freshly laundered sheets
Reminds me of something.
Way in the past.
A carefree time.

There is a way to fold fitted sheets.
I know how.
A simple joy,
Tidy stacks of fragrant linens.
I hurry through nothing
These days.

Weeding along the pavement
Thinking only of those weeds.
How do they grow so tall?
Between those baking rocks
With no water?
Living things
Surviving harsh conditions.

Breathe in and out.

Watering the yard
And the neighbor’s lawn, too,
While they are away
As their sprinkling system stopped
And their lawn is on life support.
I have to try
To save it.

Deep breaths . . .

Sometimes they live,
The doctor told me,
For many years to come.
We have to try.
Though sometimes
They don’t survive.
I’m sorry . . .

I will go to work today,
After first sitting quietly
With my coffee,
Breathing in and out,
Watching the little hummingbirds
Who have found the feeder
Installed by Art,
In lieu of flowers.

There is no rush.
I hurry through nothing
These days.

Becky Stauffer
July 2009

From across the street in the pre-sunrise light, my own lawn looks pretty dry. But the temps have been in the 100s and I am stingy with the water. It will green up more as temps cool down. Tough love for the lawn.

UPDATE: Kwika in the comments has asked me how to fold a fitted sheet. And I have tried with a little drawing program to make an illustration (argh, I'm a terrible graphic artist). Of course, you can improvise on this. The key is tucking the corners inside one another and folding all the non-flat parts toward the middle and inside.
Fold the sheet in half by turning the the bottom rounded corners inside out and tucking them into the right-side-out top corners. The 'sides' (the part of the sheet that goes on the sides of the bed) will naturally fold inward; straighten and smooth these parts. There will be wrinkles and lumps, just smooth as best you can. This gives you a sort-of rectangle as seen in the illustration. Now fold the left and right edges in, meeting at the center. Now none of the fitted corners or sides are showing. Continue folding in halves or thirds to achieve the size you like.

Tip: Lay the sheet on the bed to fold as you'll need a large flat surface.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Jay Douglas Stauffer; 11/13/48 – 07/03/09

Whether you knew him as Doug, Jay, or JD, you knew him as a kind man with a generous heart. In the end, it was his heart that failed him. Jay Douglas Stauffer died July 3, 2009, of a heart attack.

Doug was born November 13, 1948 in Ogden Utah to Lee H. and Helen Rouse Stauffer. He grew up in South Ogden where he forged life-long friendships. He graduated from Bonneville High School and from Weber State College. He served an LDS mission to France and served in the U.S. Army. Doug was employed by Rocky Mountain Power and worked most of his career until retirement at the Gadsby Power Plant as a steam operator and then as a board operator. Like everything else Doug did, he formed lasting friendships among his co-workers.

Doug never met a sport he didn’t like. His passions early in life were baseball and football. Later on he became a fanatic for hockey, both as a player, a team organizer, a coach, and as a fan. Doug held an equal passion for music of all sorts, including a surprising love for and knowledge of opera.

Doug was married to Becky Griffin Stauffer on July 5, 1979. They were recently divorced, but remained friends to the end of his life. Doug and Becky were the parents of one daughter, Jennifer, who was the light and joy of his life. Doug also helped to raise his stepsons and was a loving kind father to them as if they were his own. Not enough can be said of those good years filled with fun and adventure for the kids.

Doug made no enemies in life. Everyone loved him. The world loses a good soul in his passing. He is survived by his daughter, Jennifer Lynn Stauffer, his brother Robert David Stauffer (Terol), his step-sons Jeffery Strate, Steven Strate (Simone), and Eric Strate, five grandchildren, his ex-wife Becky, his friend Jayme, many nieces and nephews, extended family and friends. He was preceded in death by his mother, father, and older brother, Richard.

Per Doug’s wishes there will be no public viewing or funeral. A public gathering will be held on Wednesday, July 8, 2009 at Larkin Mortuary, 260 E. South Temple, Salt Lake City, from 6 to 8 p.m. where anyone who desires may meet with the family and share reminiscences of this good man. To honor Doug’s memory, he always asked that people do something fun instead of a funeral or flowers for him. Attend a hockey game or an opera in his memory.

(Published in the Salt Lake Tribune and the Ogden Standard Examiner on July 7, 2009)

Sunday, July 5, 2009



Today I held the hand
Of a man as he lay dying.
His chest, rising and falling
In rhythm with the machine
He would have abhorred
Which forced his body to carry on
In his absence.
Without his consent.

Today I held the hand
Of a man I once loved,
Who loved me back.
And thought of our years
Many good ones,
Some not so good.
All part of our history now.

Today I held the hand
Of the father of my daughter.
A father for my three sons.
A good man
With a big heart
That in the end failed him.
And oddly the pain seemed transferred
To my own strong heart.

Today I held the hand
Of a man slowly slipping
Into the eternities
Unaware of time
Until all the digits turned to zero
And the nurse said
“He is gone.”

And still I held your hand.
Feeling you must know
Despite all that went before
I stood by you in the end
To the very end
So you would not be alone
I stood by your side
And held your hand.

For Doug
Jay Douglas Stauffer, 11/13/48--07/03/09.
Today, July 5th, would be our 30th anniversary.

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Thursday, July 2, 2009

It's all in the details

I had to fill out an information form from the county recorder who is apparently doing a reassessment of property values in Davis County (how is that even possible while real estate values are in such a state of flux?).

The form included current information and asked me to correct and update anything that had changed. I was intrigued to read that my lot size is .29999999999999999 acres. That's right. Not .3, but exactly .29999999999999999. Seventeen decimal places, sixteen nines. Such precision!

It made me wonder, could I acquire a bit of land from my neighbor so I might have that nice round number of .3? And if so, how would you measure that miniscule piece and what would it cost? Would it be so small as to be populated with only Who folks such as found by Horton the Elephant?

What number is the 17th decimal anyway? I think 12 decimals would be quadrillionths. A tiny piece of land, smaller than a quadrillionth of an acre!

I won't attempt the calculation. I'll wait until my daughter, the math whiz, gets home from vacation.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

In the cool, cool, cool of the evening

Just took a few minutes to sit on the deck with a glass of wine and watch the day come to an end. We've had gray clouds off and on all day, but no rain. But as I sat there, splash, splash, large drops began falling and I was forced to take cover on the covered patio. A warmish evening cooled down quickly in that brief rain that offered a great deal more in thunder and lightning than in actual water. No pictures tonight. Just a happy feeling.

Incidentally, I learned while watching the news that the colorful sunsets we are enjoying are thanks to a volcano that erupted recently in Russia. It has sent a plume literally around the world, and we are in its path, providing us with photo-worthy displays every evening.

If it's July, it must be time for a new LOTTD

I do my lists of things to do by month. At the end of the month, I check the list and either transfer any unfinished items to the new list or drop them altogether. July's list will be more about indoors than outdoors. I had to carry the 'wash windows' forward. All the rain in June kept me holding off on that task. But I'll get to those soon now as the windows are pathetic. Outdoors will be down to maintenance now: mowing, weeding, dead-heading the flowers. Too hot now for planting. Indoors, I have three major items: each room in the upstairs will get a true "spring" cleaning including walls, carpets, furniture, drawers and shelves, and freshening up of decor. I'll also get all those large items hauled away from garage and inside that are of no value. And the real biggie, I'll take steps to start remodeling my kitchen.

I'm driven by lists. Writing these things down at the first of the month helps me remember all month long what I want to do, and each day I can pick from the list as I wish.

I didn't take Oprah's advice and put myself on the list, but I am making a conscientious effort to work in some fun every week. This Friday it is an outing with girlfriends, Saturday is a family reunion. Monday, an extra day off to extend the weekend. The following Monday, we have tickets to see Joan Baez. And then, oh no, the month is halfway over! Soon to be followed by Pioneer Days on the 24th--another holiday.

Whew! No wonder I feel like time flies.