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A visit to Salem to celebrate my father.

Only my sister and I could turn what should be a sad day into a comedy of chaos.

Our dad would have turned eighty today on the shortest day of the year. He always commented on how he hated winter between the cold and dark and being born on winter solace. He had shared his wishes that he be cremated and have his ashes spread between his brothers. About six years ago my dad took Emily and I down to Salem to visit the cemetery, the farm he grew up on, his parents house they moved too after they retired from cattle farming and his brothers house.

My father was cremated but Brenda expressed she couldn’t part with his ashes. We were fine with that. My creepy sister wanted a necklace with some of his ashes so the funeral home gave us some in a small bag. I almost forgot to grab them this morning. We decided we would spread these.

So we head out at 6:30 swearing Salem was a three hour drive but instead was a short two hours. We drove to house first since we went there a lot when we were young. The carport had been turned into a garage. The back of the house had a sliding glass door and a deck. However the propane tank still in the backyard and I could still envision the trellis that was up that had the climbing roses on them. I could also still see grandmas close line and garden.

We then headed over to Uncle Bobs house. I was one number off of the address and I swear the house didn’t look the same as it did five years ago and the yard seemed much smaller than when I was a kid. The senior apartment center my grandma lived in next was right next door. We drove around trying to remember which was hers and which was our Aunt Gracie’s. I had an address and I was like oh it’s her apartment number. When we drove to the recreation building I was like oh yeah I looked it up on the internet.

Then it was time to go to the cemetery. I mean how big can the place be. Karen had found on a gravesite locator website they were in section B. We couldn’t even find section B so we asked a worker who was clueless. He gave us the number to the county clerk. We finally find section B and are wandering all over the section. I finally say call that lady we are never going to find it. So she calls and the lady takes her number so she can go look it up. As we are walking to the car to warm up I’m like stop, look it’s right there. If we would have only parked in front of the B sign we would have seen it right then.

Karen brought some stuff to leave and I was so distracted I almost forgot the entire reason for the trip. I notice the order of graves is Uncle Tom, Aunt Margie, Aunt Ruth and then Uncle Bob. Now how exactly was I suppose to spread them between his brothers when the wives were in the way. Thanks dad for not thinking this through. Bahahaha. So I spread a little over his two brothers and then his parents.

In the meantime Karen has her crafting glue out and is making a very nice display to add to the grave marker. She was annoyed she only had one memorial card but decided to glue the words side out. She also picked up a hot wheel Camaro that was half blue and half green to represent both his cameros. After she gets it all glued I say too bad we didn’t laminate it because the rain will ruin the memorial card. So she gets all finished and screams happy birthday John Carty and gets in the car.

All of a sudden she remembers she has her laminator in the car. She also has an electrical outlet in the car so we go to the gas station to use the restroom while she also finds laminator sheets. We get back to the gravesite and she now has to carefully peel his memorial card off that she stuck on with gorilla glue. She plugs in the laminator and it’s too much voltage and blows the circuit. So not to be deterred she slides the card in the pouch and cuts it down to size with her straight edge paper cutter. I said it was a good thing she had that as our dad could draw a straight line without a ruler and always had picture edges perfectly straight. She did a perfect job and glued it back to the headstone and it’s now safe in the rain. I wish I could say the rest of the day was uneventful but we were off to find the farm.

There is no written address for the farm. Back in 1962 the address was The Carty’s Doss Missouri. Luckily at some point I think my grandparents saved the newspaper clipping that announced the farm had been sold (it was in the Carty family for almost one hundred years) and said it was located on a highway next to a bridge. (I knew which highway and the name of the bridge but the entire world does not need this information). So off we go. We come to a bridge and I see the house but I’m like I thought it was white so we keep driving. Now I did take pictures of it five years ago which are uploaded to Walgreens. The actual farmhouse burned to the ground sometime in the seventies I think. I remember Aunt Ruth Uncle Bob and grandma talking about it and we even drove out there at that time. So I’m like wait maybe that’s the house and I’m thinking of the white farmhouse. I’m like I’ll look on Walgreens except we are in middle of nowhere with no cell service. So my sister says why didn’t you screen shot the picture. Thanks genius. We go back and I’m like that has to be it except the barn is now gone as it was near collapse six years ago. So my fathers entire family is gone, his childhood home and the barn he did homework all gone. So I snapped a picture, did not see a for sale sign, and we decided to drive over to licking to see the house my uncle grew up in.

The house was as I remembered once we looked at the address correctly. I don’t remember houses being in the back of them. I did remember if you turn left out of driveway a short distance on right was a gravel road or you could keep going straight. Throughout my life I would dream I would turn down the road and it went on and on to a scary place. Guess what I learned it’s just a short distance to a main road. We also went straight and that road goes on forever. So hopefully those stupid dreams are gone forever. The roads seemed much scarier when I was a kid. We drove over to the high school and said I wonder where moms house was that was close to Judy Ellis. She will probably say that was the house but I don’t think so. However I have zero sense of direction so who knows.

We finished our day by stopping into our cousins cafe in Sullivan. Both of our cousins were there so we got to see them for a bit and had a wonderful lunch. It was an ending to a very nice day.

Mole Moral ~ Only a mole could walk all over a graveyard stomping on people when the grave was literally right next to the road. Rest assured I dropped a pin on my map app to be able to find the grave easier the next time.

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Pepsi Cola Hits the Spot

I went on another traveling adventure these past four days. I had not seen my Uncle Larry or Cousin Eddie (yes his name is really Eddie) since Emily and I went to visit in January of 2016. I was shocked when Eddie pointed it out.

I cannot go anywhere without looking on my Roadside America app and seeing what bizarre things I can find along the way. When I saw the drugstore where Pepsi was created was still in business I had to go to New Bern North Carolina to see it. The store was cute with all Pepsi stuff and my sister and I enjoyed looking at it.

We ended up staying to find more roadside America stuff

As the sun dropped all the Christmas lights came on and a band was playing Christmas music. It was seventy degrees outside and I thought to myself this is how warm Christmas should be. Forget snow. Hahaha. So we walked around looking in all the little shops. It was a quaint little town that I’d recommend visiting if you are ever in the area.

Mole Moral ~ Diet Dr. Pepper is actually the best soda. Hmm sounds like it’s time to plan another trip.

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A Diamond in the Rough

If you have ever traveled with me you already know that I have a bad habit of either picking shady hotels or even worse booking two for the same night. I refuse to divulge how many times this has happened. So when I was booking hotels for this trip I was very careful. I purposefully didn’t pick the cheapest on the list either. I had purchased an itinerary guide and it listed what cities and how many nights to stay. It was very helpful and I was so proud of myself. I was batting a thousand until Zion.

I used booking and put the app on my phone to make it easier to keep track of. I made sure all the places had good reviews and at least eight of ten rating. So we are driving to Zions bed and breakfast and I realize two things. First we aren’t even close to Zion and two we are pulling up to someone’s house. My first thought was thank God it was our actual anniversary so Brian can’t off me right here right now. He and I are not airbnb people much less staying in a strangers house. So we both say here goes nothing. The lady that greeted us was super nice and the minute we walked in we were greeted by three awesome dogs and I looked over to the right to see a quilting room. The quilts are amazing and spectacular. I was blown away.

Behind the quilt with the green edges is like quilt batting. You can place your quilt blocks on it and it sticks to see how quilt will look before you piece it together. So freaking cool.

I didn’t notice right away but I’m sure Brian did there were all sorts of animals mounted and hanging on the walls as well as antlers. I told him do not be getting any ideas. She showed us around and then made sure we were ok staying there and then charged us. I felt strangely at home.

Her house has both central heat and wood heat. This was her house growing up. She had an old stove from like the late eighteen hundreds that was cool. She also had a player piano and showed us how that worked. She had a few rolls (the music which makes it play) and said you can still find them on the internet. I knew my mom would love this.

The next morning all the pieces came together when she asked Brian if he knew where he was at. He was like no. She said he was in Colorado City. He was like not ringing a bell. She then asked if he ever heard of Warren Jeffs. I certainly had as I love ID channel. He kind of did and then she went on to explain polygamy. Yes she and her family were in but her father only had one wife. She shared that she was married to the oldest of 52 kids I believe. I have no idea for how long and I don’t ask personal questions. She and her sister did get out of the cult as she called it. She recently moved back to her parents house when it went up for sale and started the bed and breakfast.

As we were driving to Zion that morning he said to me I knew she was Mormon. She fits the look that you see on TV. I said it explains the quilting skills. She also told us the back way into the park so we could see the checkerboard rock formation and the mile long tunnel. Also if we were going to do the hike up the slot canyon with the water to rent the equipment. She said other guests refused because they were too cheap and ended up injured and costing more than the rental equipment. A hotel clerk would not have told us any of it.

Would you look at this detail. These squares are tiny and she has made nine blocks and will be joining them. I just wanted to swipe all of them.

Brian did try to harass me about picking this place until I finally said I really think this is a God thing. He wanted us to be here and meet her so that’s enough. It was pretty awesome to drop in on a totally different culture and to catch a glimpse of the old ways. This gal made home made bread which was yummy. Her cinnamon rolls were very, very good. Her biscuits were almost as good as Grandma Miller’s. I only ate two but could have easily eaten four. I behaved myself.

We are almost home as I’m finishing this blog up. This was probably the most favorite part of my trip. Such nice and interesting people. I’m glad I screwed up on this one (although I blame God) because it makes for even more wonderful memories.

Mole Moral ~ Jumping out of ones comfort zone can turn into a huge blessing.

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An Amazing Friend

Since it has been over two years since I parted ways with Mercy, I can finally write this blog. Mercy has rules about not becoming friends with patients and not allowed to be friends on Facebook. I obviously broke that rule and it was a good one to break.

Nine years ago this November Women’s Health was moving from fifth floor to second floor. I came in that day to do what I always did, take new surgeries and admits. Others came in extra to help move the patients to their new rooms. At some point one of my coworkers said Dr. V is on the phone and wants to talk to you. I was like fuck what did I screw up. He never called people while he was in surgery and would get annoyed if nurses called him during a case as it would deflect his attention from operating and wouldn’t you want his full attention. So since I couldn’t pretend I wasn’t working I picked up the phone. He said to me “I want you to go talk to my patient in 2316.” He’s a man of few words so I said ok and that was it.

Everyone was like what did he want. I wasn’t kidding when I said he never calls from surgery. So I said he wants me to talk to 16 so let me at least see what her name is. I’m pretty sure I walked into Melynda’s room and said hi I’m Rachel a nurse here and Dr V just told me to come talk to you but didn’t say what about. I immediately liked her but I don’t remember how long we talked for. She was the first person moved down to the new floor.

Anytime I talk about mesh or mesh removal most of what I learned has come from Melynda. She is extremely smart and very knowledgeable about this subject and many others. I was horrified to learn that training to put this stuff in was a weekend conference using cadavers. Also that doctors that put it in would get a kickback commission for every single one they placed from the mesh manufacturers. So take poor training and combine with greed and disaster ensues. One of the other shocking things about the FDA is their 501k program in which a company can develop a similar device that is already on the market and be approved without clinical trails. Lastly, the hidden database to report complications that wasn’t available to the public until recently. I could go on and on about mesh as the Dr. V patients are about the only thing I miss about Mercy.

So I visited Melynda a few times before she was discharged and we became friends on Facebook before mercy made that rule. Once they did I was suppose to delete her but that wasn’t happening. She’s been back a couple times to see Dr. V and we’ve made sure to see each other. She lived in Florida for quite some time but I never had time during camp to get together. Within the year she moved back to Utah where her extended family is. So once Brian and I decided to visit Utah, I knew we must meet up. We had a wonderful but too short visit so we need to come back sooner rather than later.

If you know me, you will most likely think I am not shy but I am. It takes a lot to just walk up to someone and start a conversation but it was by far the best thing I’ve ever done. I’ve thanked Dr. V. more than once for calling me that day and freaking me out.

Mole Moral ~ Amazing people are out there if one just opens their eyes and their heart!

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Angel’s Landing

About a month ago I was talking about this trip at work during a case. The CRNA student is from Utah and said if you go to Zion you must do Angel’s landing. He told me that towards the end there are chains to hold onto so you don’t crash one thousand feet down. My high fall risk self vetoed that immediately. And then we arrived at Zion.

First of all, I was not impressed with Zion. It is way too crowded and parking is ridiculous. Our first day we wandered in at ten and there were zero parking places. So we went out of the park to Springdale where they charge forty bucks a spot. Every spot was taken so we parked in the lot for the hotel and risked being towed. The next day we arrived at seven-thirty and the parking lot was two-thirds full. So if you are going to go to Zion get there early.

On our second day I was peer pressured by Brian to do angels landing. When we reached this sign he said I could wait for him.

There was no way he was calling me a chicken for life so we trudged along. The climb up to the point of the chains was intense to say the least but we made it and I didn’t die.

Brian tried to tell me this was wider than five feet. I said sure crackhead and looked straight ahead and at my feet. No way was I looking down.

We made it to the top. The scenery was breathtaking but it was so crowded we didn’t stay long. We feared we’d get shoved off the edge so we headed back down. Going down all that was way scarier than up.

You can see the chains in this photo. This section super narrow and not five feet wide.

This last photo is the switchbacks. Going down was easy, coming up was a workout.

So the question I know everyone is asking, did she fall? And the answer is of course I did. It was at the very end of coming down the chain section. I was literally ten feet from a no fall climb and thinking about the text I was going to send to Dr. Heavey about not falling (he loves to keep track of how many times a trip over stuff )when I hit sand and went sliding lost my balance and fell backwards landing hard on the left side of my butt. My poor left side looks like Brian beat me when in fact I’m just a clumsy bull in a China cabinet.

The reason this hike is so risky is because of the massive amount of people going up and down at the same time. Many get impatient and rock jump and shove around slow people. The crna student told me the park is going to make it a permit only hike which I think is a great idea for safety. They were all set to do it and then guess what? Covid of course.

Mole Moral ~ Amazing things happen when you step out of your comfort zone as the next two blogs will show.

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Disney Day

This week is spirit week at work. This reminded me of when my girls were in grade school. Today was Disney day and the endo girls informed me I was to represent endo. Well Disney is one of my favorite places so I took the challenge and ran with it.

I wore my favorite Disney running shirt from the Disneyland half marathon. Of course it is orange and short sleeves and a favorite. I dug out my monsters inc scrub cap I made during the first few months of covid and my Mickey ears from when Emily and I went three years ago. I was proud of how I looked until Sarah told me I looked like a psycho. Well everyone knows I’m psycho but I try to not look the part so I skipped having my picture taken. I’ll leave it up to your imagination as to how insane I actually looked.

I ended up being assigned to washing all the scopes all day which meant no one would see my ears. They are pretty tight on my head so I avoided a headache. Amanda told me since it’s Disney day I should listen to Disney music so I dialed up Disney sing along songs and had a great time in the scope room. Not only was I singing but dancing as well so I’m sure I looked like a complete psycho but I had a wonderful day.

It dawned on me that when I was young my dad took my sister and I to quite a few Disney movies. Cinderella, The Apple Dumpling gang, Pete’s Dragon and Chitty Chitty Bang Bang all came to mind. This is most likely what led to my love of Disney movies.

I was 17 the first time I went to Disney World. My parents divorced when I was five but remained good friends. My mom called my dad to tell him of her plans and he said he always wanted to go to Disney so how about if he comes with us and pays for it. My favorite memory was conning my mother into riding space mountain. She nearly had a heart attack and never forgave us for talking her into it. The three of us loved it and rode it at least two more times. Epcot was the only other park back then and we were not that impressed. Not enough rides and walking around the world showcase was beyond boring. I know my mom liked that part but us three six flag lovers wanted the rides. I do remember after the trip was over I understood why my parents were friends but not married to each other.

Today was a good day, full of wonderful memories of my childhood and my kids childhoods as well. Before I started endo anytime I got up early to work at seven I would sing “Prince Ali, Ababwa strong as ten regular men check it and see.” I had no idea I even did this until Emily pointed it out. I can’t sing at all so it’s a good thing I stopped this since I’m up for work three to four times a week.

Mole Moral ~ If you don’t have fun at work, perhaps you are not in the right place.

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Once A Dork

It was thirty-nine years ago this week that I first met Gary Lindsay. You see I was a sophomore in high school and our band director Mr. Butler sent a note home stating Fox High School would be hosting an all boy marching band from Johannesburg South Africa and he was looking for host families. Of course I immediately asked my mother if we could host one and she said yes. I knew this would be one of those once in a life time moments but I had no idea at the time how much this one moment would change the course of my life.

I remember telling my mother I hope we get a drummer. The boys either played trumpet or drums. I’m not sure why I wanted a drummer but we got a trumpet player named Gary. If I remember correctly their flight was late getting in so by the time they arrived at the school it was ten at night. Gary was assigned to the Carty girls and I swear we didn’t even make it home before we started fighting like brother and sister.

They were with us for two weeks and it really was an incredible time. Their band was amazing and for the longest time we had a recording of them and also of our band on a vcr tape. Someone broke into our house and stole it with some other stuff. I’m sure they thought it was a sex tape and attempted to watch it and were sorely disappointed. By the time they had left some of the American parents had gotten together and wanted the Fox marching band to go to South Africa. So plans were made and fundraising began and I went to South Africa the following August. I spent the first half of that trip with Gary and his family and the second half with Anton and his family.

After that trip we kept in touch with letters that would take close to three weeks to arrive once sent. Oh the horrors as I can post this blog and within seconds everyone in South Africa could read it. Gary graduated from hotel school having studied hotel management but then joined Covenant Players which is a missionary based theater company that has troops in thirty countries. I believe this is where he met Heidi who eventually became his wife. They then came to America with Covenant Players where they worked on the east coast. However headquarters was located on the West Coast so every summer they had to drive across the entire United States and back. They spent their first Christmas in America with my family. Gary and Heidi were also in town when I gave birth to Kayla. It was always such an exciting time when Gary and Heidi were coming.

They eventually settled down out on the east coast and Gary started working in children’s ministry. They had a couple of kids and have lived in Texas, California and Washington. When Emily took her first travel job as a brand new physical therapist she was close to where Gary and Heidi were living and spent her first Christmas away from home with them. So Christmas came full circle.

Gary and Heidi are two of the most amazing, fun, and free spirited people I’m close with. Brian and I wanted them to raise our kids if we both should die. I can’t tell you how many times they asked if we would just die so they could live with Gary and Heidi. With Allyson being twenty now they escaped the nightmare of life with moles except on vacation.

Im pretty sure I started calling Gary a dork that first night we met. I spent the past four days with him and forgot to say it so I decided a special blog was in order. What a wonderful friend. I’m so thankful the school that was suppose to host them all those years ago backed out and that the band teacher and my mom said yes. Such a life long blessing.

Mole Moral~Once a dork, always a dork!

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Mold-A-Matic

After we came down from the Space Needle I spotted this little gem.

I was instantly transported back to my childhood. I remember these little machines from the St. Louis Zoo and they would make animals. I vaguely remember an orange giraffe. So I texted the girls and told them where I was at as they had to see this. Masks were required inside the space needle so it’s hard to see how thrilled they were at my insanity.

So I put in my five dollars and fired up the machine while reading this was available at the Worlds Fair in 1962. The machine did its magic.

Hot plastic shooting into the mold.
Mold finished.
Our very own Space Needle

The girls were amazed how hot the plastic was when it came out. It took about five minutes to cool down. Emily immediately claimed it to sit on her desk. Her dad tells her that he had a lot of these as a kid and they break easy. He followed that statement up with well I use to throw them and hit stuff with them.

Mole moral ~ Never doubt your mother when she says she has something cool to show you.

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Waldo Park

My obsession with Roadside America continues. As soon as I read about Waldo park, I knew we had to stop and see it. Fortunately Emily had already planned to take us to Silver State Park to do a ten waterfall hike so it was nearby.

Waldo Park is one of the smallest parks in America measuring 12×20 feet. It consists of one giant sequoia tree planted on his property by Marion Waldo in 1872. It was a sapling when he planted it. When he sold his land to the city of Salem a condition was that the tree must be preserved. The tree became a city park in 1936. The tree is currently 85 feet tall.

After our anniversary trip in 2015 to Sequoia National Park Brian brought home sequoia cones determined to grow his own tree and plant it on our property. So old Mr. Waldo fulfilled Brian’s dream but he used a sapling. Brian did in fact get one to grow to about two inches high and he named it the Great Mobowsky (the biggest tree in Sequoia National Park is named General Sherman). Sadly, Brian’s tree got too hot and died. Yes, he was spying cones at this site to try again but none were closed. So no Mobowsky at the property any time soon.

Mole Moral ~ If at first you don’t succeed move to a cooler zone and try try again.

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The Doughnut Adventure

Voodoo doughnuts started in Portland Oregon. Two friends got together and realized there wasn’t a single doughnut shop in Portland so in 2003 they rented a hole-in-the-wall storefront scrunched between two Old Town nightclubs, joked to friends and family about being bent on “world doughnut domination,” and opened Voodoo Doughnut. Their initial pastry offerings were a mix of the classic and the unconventional. (This is from their website). They opened a second location in 2008 and to date have twenty stores in five states.

It was Emily’s idea to go there and since they have a huge wait all day long every day we were smart and ordered for pick up. Or so we thought. First I conned Kayla in to posing for this picture.

Then Emily and I proceed in the door while some kid yells at us and says end of line back there. Emily informs him we ordered online. So we walk in and promptly get yelled at for being inside. This girl asks our name and tells us we are at the wrong store. She even looked at the address and said nope wrong place. So this runs off the rest of our group while Emily calls the number. Are you ready for it….

We were indeed at the correct store. Emily tells the guy on the phone the girl was very rude. He says come back and I’ll bring donuts out. As soon as we walk by another guy in line said they called your name as soon as you left. So the guy comes out super nice. He said they have had a mass exodus so short staffed and everyone tense. I said I totally understand I’m a nurse. Anyway he said no excuse to snap at paying costumers so he’d chat with her.

Michael does research and apparently a bunch left with the heatwave. They do not have AC out here because it normally doesn’t run in the hundreds. The staff wanted the doughnut shop to close during heat wave and they were told no. I get working in heat. Our one GI doc is from Puerto Rico and always has the room at 76. He normally has two shirts and PPE and will still say he’s cold. Sometimes he has long Johns on as well. The dude is crazy.

Mole Moral ~ Never doubt your location when you checked it three times before ordering. Doubt the employees who do not know the address of where they work!!