Monday, December 22, 2008

If I Die...

It won't be because I slid off the road. It will be because I'm mesmerized by the size of the snowflakes falling right now. They're huge! And when I'm in the car and they are falling from the sky, I just look at them. Forget the other cars or the traffic lights...just watch the snowflakes...until someone slides into me from behind because I didn't see that the light was green. Focus Noelle, focus.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

According to the Calendar Today Is:

"Happy Amanda is My Sister Day"


I have a suspicion that not all calendars say the same thing. I'm guessing that Amanda snuck into my office one night and declared her own holiday on my calendar. I'm happy to oblige. I even have a gift for her special day.


For the record: I AM happy Amanda is my sister. She's a great sister to have. She is a great secretary, she is a great computer tech, she is great to borrow any CD ever made from, she has her own DVD library...any movie in the world I want to watch? She's got it.

She makes me laugh, she hides herself when I want to get on the computer (sorry, Amanda is the only one who will get this one), she can speak Spanish like a pro, and she could supply the country of Beliz with socks.

In one word, Amanda is FABULOUS and I love her.



Thursday, December 18, 2008

I Double Dog Dare You...

...to leave a comment...just one...just one little itsy bitsy comment...

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Words To Live By

I have a friend...yes, it's true, I have a friend. He's from California and he personifies the "surfer dude" image we see in so many movies. He makes me laugh almost more than anyone else does, and he's one of the nicest people I have ever known. He would do anything for anyone.

A few weeks ago he stopped by my work to say hi. At some point in the conversation he came up with this gem:

"If I didn't think about things, I'd have time for so much more stuff."

I tried not to laugh too hard because he was serious, but I did write it down, and now on occasion I ponder his words. There must be a deeper meaning somewhere...I'll keep looking for it.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Meet Dave

THIS IS DAVE (the guy on the left)

DAVE IS THE ONLY REASON SOME PEOPLE READ MY BLOG (they think he writes funny comments)

SOMETIMES DAVE BREAKS WATER PIPES IN GUATEMALA (leaving entire villages without water)

DAVE IS A WORLD-FAMOUS AUTHOR (if you're interested I'll give you more info about his books)

DAVE LOVES LOVES LOVES SOCCER (I think Dave is addicted to soccer)

DAVE LOVES LOVES LOVES LOVES ALL THINGS SUGAR (It's my blog Dave, I can say what I want)


SOMETIMES DAVE SAYS THINGS THAT TOTALLY SURPRISE ME:

"Today was supposed to be hair color day. Its a lot cheaper to do the home version than the beauty salon version. We set out all the plastic covering, plastic gloves, application bottle, the works. And I am the master color man who applies the color to my mom's hair. So she's all bibbed up and ready to go and I'm all set with plastic gloves when she realizes she doesn't have any of the hair color stuff. Such a funny scene. "

DAVE IS SINGLE AND LOOKING FOR THAT SOMEONE (Again, it's my blog Dave, I can say what I want)

SO WHAT I'M WONDERING MR. WOOLLEY IS THIS:

1. Do you do hair for people besides your mother?

2. How much do you charge?

3. Is there anyone out there in the blogging world in need of Dave's services? (I might could get you a discount, assuming Dave doesn't kill me for this post)

THE END

Thursday, December 11, 2008

A Love Story

Main Characters:

Becca


Erika (Age 5)



And Micky Mouse

Erika: "Noelle, is Micky Mouse still Becca's boyfriend?"
Noelle: "Yes, I think he is."
Erika: "Noelle, do you think Becca will marry Micky Mouse?"
Noelle: "Well, what do you think Erika?"
Erika: "No. Becca is a human and humans can't marry Disney people."
Erika: "I guess she'll have to find someone else to marry."

Hey, I never promised it was a love story with a happy ending!




Friday, December 5, 2008

Kids Say the Darndest Things

Meet Gabi. Gabi will be 4 on Sunday. Gabi told me I have to be at her birthday party. Gabi is in love with the idea of being in love. Everything is weddings or boyfriends or something in-between. When asked the very important question of "How do you show Jesus you love him?" Gabi's response was "When you love Jesus you get married." (Her answer graced the front page of the sacrament program.)

A few nights ago I was cuddling with Gabi in front of the fireplace. "Guess who I love," I said to Gabi. She looked up me and said all seriously, "Brian?" (Brian is a friend of mine who Gabi hadn't seen in MONTHS. I think Gabi is in love with Brian.) I laughed and said, "I love YOU Gabi."

Gabi looked frustrated and threw her hands up in the air and said rather loudly and with a tone, "If everybody loves somebody why doesn't anybody EVER get married???"

A very good question my adorable niece, a very good question indeed.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Traditions

Every year for the past 15-ish years we have gone to our mountain property to cut down Christmas trees. Some years the trees are beautiful, some years not so much. The three years Dad and Mom were in Brazil, our trees were amazing! (Dad wasn't there to prevent us from picking the perfect tree. He has such strict rules about what we can and can't cut down!)

Last year I said, "Tradition or not, I QUIT!" ...until I get a husband who will put the lights on the tree for me. I HATE putting lights on the Christmas tree and last year I refused to do it. Seeing as how Becca refuses as well, we were in a no-win situation. So we committed the #1 sin in the Ed Platt book of sins: we bought a fake tree. PRE-LIT! It was well worth the money spent! I didn't get ornery and we didn't have to worry about our tree drying up, catching on fire, and burning our house to the ground.

Last night we got the tree out from storage and went to set it up. The key piece was missing. You know, the part that makes the tree stand up straight...the one piece that secures the entire 7.5' Norway Pine to the stand...gone, vanished, nowhere to be found. Not at our house, not at our sister's house where we store our Christmas decorations, and all 12 million of Becca's snowmen. (Really, during the month of December we have a snowman explosion at our casa.)

Now, had we had some smart man there, I'm sure he would have been able to figure out a solution. Had we not been soooo tired, perhaps we would have been able to figure out a solution. As it was, we went to Roberts and just bought another tree. And set it up. And it looks beautiful.

Kevin, my amazingly smart man-brother-in-law is now in possession of the old tree, and I'm sure that by tonight it will be standing straight and tall, lit and decorated, in some corner of his living room......next to the real tree we cut down, because my sister is not yet ready to give up on tradition. (She doesn't have to. She's got that husband to put lights on the tree for her!)


Monday, December 1, 2008

What The World Needs:

Is more little girls, freshly bathed, full of love and smiles.


And more snuggling.




Monday, November 24, 2008

One Week Later

It's now a week after my surgery and I've finally moved from my mom's couch to my own bed. Things are looking up!!! Here are some things I've learned during the last week:

-My parent's house is way more chaotic now than it ever was when we seven kids were growing up! My mom said one day, "I need to install a revolving door." She's not kidding! In one day all seven kids and the three in-laws will undoubtedly show up at least once. My mom will have at least one of her 8 grandkids (but usually more than one) at her house at nearly all hours of the day.

One night my brother (who lives across the street) walked in the door with his 2 year old son Josh. After a greeting of "What's up?" my brother said "Josh is on a mission." And boy was he ever. He NEEDED to go to Grandma's house because he NEEDED a package of Nemo Fruit Snacks. Good thing Grandma didn't let Josh down!

-My parents will probably always have to take care of their kids ouchies. My mom has been the world's best nurse and I love her for it!!! My sister who is married with three kids of her own, has a staff infection. Well maybe...we're waiting for the test results. As a result of the infection she has had a very large boil on her arm. (Who knew people still got those?) My sister still comes home for medical treatment. It's rather cute. The doctor did some damage to the boil (but in the long run it will not be considered damage) and my sister needed her arm to be re-bandaged. I wish I had a picture of her being doctored by my mom and my other sister. And it was Dad who had to take the drain out of her arm. Not her big, strong, very capable husband...nope, it had to be Dad. My sis isn't so good at taking her medication. Last night as she was leaving she told my dad she wanted to go somewhere with him today. "Please Daddy, I'll be good and take my pill." My dad or my mom bug her at least twice a day: "Did you take your medicine yet???" Makes me laugh a lot.

-Grandkids couldn't have better grandparents!!! Grandkids run this house. Sorry Dad, it's not you...it's the grandkids. Whether it's 7 year old Allie who comes every day to practice the piano, or Josh who needs his fruit snacks, or 1 year old Samantha who smiles and gets away with WHATEVER she wants, the grandkids have it made!!!

Heather's kids (the sister I just talked about) would go through serious withdrawal if they didn't come to Grandma's and Grandpa's house every day. They have NO PROBLEM being at Grandma's house, even if their mom isn't here. They are as much at home at Grandma's as they are in their own house. Funny...I think my mom and dad would go through as much withdrawal without seeing the kids every day.

-I have the best sisters in the world! Saturday I had a tiny little melt down. Being stuck inside, mostly immobile will do that to anyone. I was whining...just a little...about how I couldn't even clean my bathroom floor. Last night I went home to a sparkling bathroom floor...and bedroom...and house. My sisters cleaned my room better than I ever have. They did my laundry, did my ironing, changed the sheets on my bed...I was so happy I almost cried. Thanks girls!!!

I could go on and on but I won't. Let me just end with this: A few weeks ago we were all at Heather's house for Sunday dinner (all means 2 parents, seven kids, three in-laws, and the 8 grandkids.) We had finished our meal and were sitting around the table talking...and flossing our teeth. Yep, that's the kind of family we are. My sister-in-law said something about "the family that flosses together stays together" and I said maybe I should write a blog about that. I've thought a lot about that. With as much as my family spends their time together...flossing or otherwise...I think we're going to be just fine.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Ummm...I'll take the pain meds please.

This will be short and sweet. Hernia surgery is not for the faint of heart...nor is it for those who can't handle pain. Rats...I am faint of heart and I can't handle pain. I'll do my best not to whine too much during the healing process, and I'll be grateful to sisters who braid my hair and my mom who keeps me medicated.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Random Bits of Stuff

Random Bit #1

Every year we have a family Halloween party. We're not entirely festive. Only one of my sisters dresses up, and we don't pig out on tons of junk food. But we do have fun and we laugh a lot and we carve pumpkins. This year my brother was carving his pumpkin and I commented on it. "That's sure a lot of guts for one small pumpkin." (He was pulling seeds out forever.)

His response is still making me laugh: "Once, when I was in grade school, someone said the same thing about Heather 'that's sure a lot of guts for one small pumpkin.'" Ha ha ha...

Ben and Heather are twins and their relationship makes me laugh a lot.


Random Bit #2

Tomorrow afternoon will find me on a beach in Cancun. I'll be on that beach for about 5 days. I'm only slightly excited. It will be such a sacrifice to leave behind the cold and the mud and work and stuff.

Random Bit #3

A few days after I get home from Cancun I have to have surgery to repair some rather painful hernias. Yes, hernias...and yes more than one. When I do something I have to do it right.

Random Bit #4

What good is a DVR if it randomly decides to not record one of your programmed shows? And why is it that it ALWAYS records Becca's shows? It's just my shows it messes with...and it's usually Survivor. Grr...


That's enough randomness for now. I'll think of you while I'm swimming with the dolphins. (We better get to swim with the dolphins.)

Thursday, November 6, 2008

I've Been Tagged...

Here you go: Everything you ever wanted to know about my childhood. Trust me, you wanted to know this stuff!

FOUR SONGS I LOVED AS A CHILD AND STILL ADORE:

1. Manic Monday - The Bangels

*One year we took my dad's business partner's mini-van and drove to Disneyland. We didn't have a car big enough for the entire family to ride comfortably for that long. Thanks to Lon we were on our way to bigger and better adventures! Lon had a Bangels tape in the tape deck and we listened to that tape OVER and OVER again. Manic Monday became my favorite song. That Christmas I got my very own Bangels tape and a new tape player! I was one happy kid!!!

2. Cathy's Clown - Reba McIntire

*I'll be honest. I have NO recollection of this song being my favorite song. However, my dear sister Becca swears that this was my favorite song. She claims I sang it all the time. Out of the two of us, I have a much better memory and I thought I had won this battle...until my mom said that Becca was right and I was wrong. This is me admitting that I guess I might possibly have maybe been wrong.

3. Barry Manilow - any song.

*My mom had this old, old, old pea green radio that sat in the corner of her kitchen counter for years. Saturday -cleaning day- she would turn the volume up and sing along with Barry Manilow. One of my most vivid memories is of my mom mopping the floor. She always used Pinesol and to this day I can't hear a Barry Manilow song without smelling Pinesol and seeing a mop bucket filled with dirty water and Cheerios.

4. Platt Men - singing any song, any time.

*My dad and his brothers have amazing voices. They can harmonize better than anyone I've heard. One of my very favorite things is to sit and listen to them sing. We have family songs that have been passed down through a few generations, and our family reunions just aren't complete without an hour or two spent singing. It makes my heart happy.


FOUR FRIENDS I HAD AS A CHILD THAT I STILL KEEP IN TOUCH WITH:

Oh dear...I didn't have any friends. I don't say that thinking 'poor picked on little ol' me'. My greatest friends, and the ones I did everything with were my brothers and sisters. We were all really close in age (my mom had 6 of us under the age of 4 - triplets and twins will do that for a person) and so we did everything together. We had neighbor kids we played with and I still see some of them from time to time, but my siblings were the only real friends I had. UNLESS...can I count 'things' as friends? Sure I can, this is my blog.

1. Cheer Bear Care Bear - The pink one with the rainbow on his stomach. My grandma gave it to me. I LOVED LOVED LOVED that silly little bear and I still have it.

2. Pink Blanket - Lovingly made by the same grandma. It's old and threadbare but when I'm sick or feeling sad, I wrap myself up in that blanket and the world always seems like a little better place.

3. Punky Brewster - Can you honestly tell me that she didn't feel like your friend too?

4. Grandma Rasmussen - I realized that besides my siblings, she was my very best friend. (Yep, same grandma who made the blanket and gave me the care bear.) I had sleepovers at her house nearly every weekend. We talked on the phone many times a week, and my childhood was blessed because of her.


FOUR WEAKNESSES I HAD AS A CHILD:

1. I was nosey. I hated not being part of every conversation and not knowing everything about everyone. I wouldn't say that I purposefully listened in on conversations - I was just incredibly observant. I saw and heard things that no one else ever knew anything about. As a child this was a weakness because I didn't have the ability to put some things in their proper perspective and it caused me a lot of angst. And by default, that caused my mom a lot of angst. Sorry Mom.

2. I was afraid of living. I would never allow myself to try new things, or experience much, because of my fears. As long as something was within my comfort zone I was fine, but the minute it went beyond that comfort zone I would freeze and refuse to do anything.

I have tried extremely hard to overcome fear. And I think for the most part I have accomplished that. I will do things now that I AM afraid of, to prove to myself that I can do it.

3. Hmmm...my dad would tell you I didn't like to admit when I was wrong. But from my very mature 10 year old view point, neither did he. When we were in trouble for something it was ALWAYS me who stood up for our rights...who defended our actions...who told Dad that this time he was wrong, not us. Ha ha ha...made for some lovely times growing up.

4. I was a clean freak. Perhaps you're saying that is not a weakness...but when you're 12 and you haven't figured out how to have patience with those around you who aren't clean freaks...trust me, it's a weakness.


FOUR STRENGTHS I HAD AS A CHILD:

1. I was the world's greatest second mother. I know, that could be a weakness, but I choose to see it as a strength. My poor siblings put up with a lot from me. But at least we weren't late for school, and we usually had our homework done...right?

2. I was a clean freak. Ask my mom, she will tell you this was a strength!

3. I could talk any babysitter, any time, into letting me stay up later than the rest of my siblings. The most frequent babysitter we had was kind of afraid of our big, dark house, and I could usually convince her that my staying up late was her greatest source of protection. I'm laughing at the memories.

4. I knew what I was getting for Christmas every year...before Christmas day. That I can recall, there was only one year where my mom won the game. She found a hiding place that I didn't. Well done Mom...well done.

FOUR PEOPLE I WANT TO ANSWER THESE QUESTIONS:

1. Tia
2. JaLae
3. the esteemed Mr. Woolley (will he stoop this low?)
4. anyone who reads my blog but never leaves a comment

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Sleep Issues

I can't sleep. Ever. Okay, ever might be an exaggeration. Let me rephrase. I can't sleep soundly, or solidly, through an entire night. Ever. And this time the ever is not an exaggeration. My sleep issues have been years in the making. When I was really young, maybe two or three, we had bats that lived in the attic of our house. There were a few times the bats escaped the attic and flew into my bedroom. I remember burying myself beneath the blankets, crying for my dad. What kid wouldn't have trouble sleeping after that?

When I got a little older my mom would tuck us into bed and leave our radio on, with FM 100 playing softly. When she went to bed she would turn the radio off. This happened every night, without fail. One night she and my dad went to a meeting and said they would be back 'soon.' We had gone to bed, and the radio was on. I woke up about midnight and the radio was STILL ON. As a kid I worried about everything, EVERYTHING, and when I realized the radio was still on, I was sure my parents had died in some horribly tragic accident. I got out of bed and confirmed what I already knew: my parents weren't home. I'll spare you the dramatic details of what happened next, it was pathetic really. The experience traumatized me enough that it was years before I could fall asleep with music playing. And by years I mean that even now I can't completely fall asleep with music playing.

As I got older I couldn't sleep because I was certain every bad man in the world was out to get ME...not my sister who shared a bunk bed - in my mind she was always going to be safe, it was just me they were after. Thankfully I got over that fear...(I think it was when I found out that Ted Bundy had finally died).

I couldn't sleep if there were lights on - anywhere. Our radio had this little light that blinked and I would have to cover that light every night. My sister thought I was psychotic. Hmmm...maybe I shouldn't have put that in past tense.

Anyway...where we live now I get it all: lights, noise, train tracks, loud neighbors, music...everything except the bats. I've tried covering the windows with black paper but it doesn't last because ironically, I like waking up to the sunlight. I've tried sleeping with an eye mask - I'm not a fan. I use ear plugs on occasion and I think they actually help.

I envy those people who can close their eyes and be out in two minutes. I think all of my siblings have that ability. It takes me an average of two hours before I can finally drift off to sleep. (And no, it's not a guilty conscious, for those of you who are going to suggest that.) Sadly, the idea of a nap is a foreign one to me. IF I do fall asleep in my attempt at napping, it lasts for maybe 10 minutes.

About once or twice a month my lack of sleep catches up to me and I crash. I can go to bed at 9 or 10 and sleep the entire night. I love those nights. Last week I took a sleeping pill two nights in a row; I loved those nights too. (I am not generally a pill popper but because of all of my bruises from the fall, I needed some extra help in the sleep department.)

Last night I had all the classic symptoms of "it's going to be a good sleep night." I was super excited to get home and get to bed. Alas...and alas again...Becca chose last night to bake her pumpkin seeds she's been saving since Halloween. My bedroom is above the kitchen and all smells - good and bad - float upward. Baked pumpkin seeds? Not such a great smell. And it was STRONG...and didn't fade the entire night. I think I awoke three or four times thinking our house was on fire.

Sigh...my next "it's going to be a good sleep night" probably won't come around again for a few weeks. Sigh again.

Friday, October 31, 2008

"We Love You Miss Hannigan"

Have you ever had a neighbor that just drives you batty? Here at work we've got one. I'm going to call her Miss Hannigan. She doesn't look a thing like Carol Burnett, but in actions alone, they could be twin sisters. Before I say anything else I would like to point out that we were here first. Our nursery was here years before she built her house, and there should be a grandfather clause somewhere that allows us to plug our ears and ignore her.

Back in the beginning she complained about little things:

"Umm...there is a tiny bit of water from your sprinklers that is getting on the roof of my goat's pen. Could you adjust the water?" - We adjusted the water.

"I saw a drop of water this morning on my kid's playhouse. Remember I asked you to adjust the water?" - We adjust the water again.

"I think my goat has a cold from the sprinkler water." - We turn the sprinkler head completely off.

"The music your crew plays is too loud." - I talk to the hombres and tell them to please keep the music down.

"...It's just that the music is giving me a headache." - Guys, turn down the music!

"You know, if you had to listen to that music all the time it would make you a bit touchy too." - Guys, the neighbor is loca I realize that, but turn your dang music down!!!

"Are you ever going to do anything about the music?" - That's it. I'm sorry. I realize it's your culture, and you would rather DIE than not listen to this ranchero stuff you call music, but new rule: No music allowed, unless you have earphones. End of discussion.

***In Miss Hannigan's defense, she did bring over a treat basket filled with all sorts of Latin goodies...her way of making nice. It was too late. The biggest treat basket in the WORLD wouldn't make up for the fact that the guys now have to spend ALL DAY in silence.

"Can you build a new fence? I don't like that you can see into my yard." - A request we ignore initially.

"Seriously, I want a new fence. And I want it to be white vinyl." - We laugh a little, because does she not know that Dad is 150% opposed to anything vinyl? And we ignore her request.

She sends a letter respectfully requesting a new fence. "I don't like my kids to sleep in the playhouse at night because of the fence issue." - Why? Are they afraid of trees? That's all they see from their side of the fence. Rows and rows of trees. No customers ever wander down that far, we don't even wander down that far. "Trees are the answer." Just ask anyone...except Miss Hannigan.

"Okay, if you don't want a vinyl fence maybe we can do a wood fence."

One day I was out in the nursery and I saw a goat...HER goat, eating some of our plants. I sent it on it's way and didn't say anything about it. A few days later I saw the goat again. I threw something at it and it disappeared to his side of the fence. The third time I saw the goat I called Miss Hannigan.

"Miss Hannigan, I'm calling because I'm concerned about your goat. I worry for it's safety. I'm afraid that if it keeps coming over to our side of the fence, my guys might kill it and eat it for lunch." - Yes I really said that. And it gave me great pleasure. I think I may have pushed her over the edge though.

We eventually replaced the fence. She bought the materials and my guys installed it. She had a vine growing through and around the old fence and there was no way the guys could get rid of the fence without taking out the vine as well.

"BUT MY VINE!!! THEY KILLED MY VINE!!!" - Miss Hannigan was not happy. "WHAT WILL I EVER DO NOW? THEY KILLED MY VINE!"

My response: "Miss Hannigan I don't know if you remember this, but we are a nursery. I happen to have access to more vines. If it's that important to you, I think I know where you can get another one."

"Oh..." she said in a small voice. I never heard anything else about the vine.

Her latest complaint is the most petty one yet. In a two week time period we heard this from Miss Hannigan:

"The fan on greenhouse 3 is too loud and it's disturbing my sleep." - That was a message left on the answering machine.

"I really wish you would do something about that fan." - That was a conversation she had face to face with my brother."

"I've respectfully asked you to do something about the fan. If you had to listen to it at night maybe you would be more inclined to fix it." - This in a hand written letter taped to our office door.

***Now, here's the thing. It's not THAT loud!!! Cars driving by her house at night are louder than the fan. Kids squealing are louder than the fan. Her husband probably snores louder than the fan.

We adjusted the fan, tweaked some things, and made it so that it barely hums. If you stand in front of her fence you can barely hear a thing. The guys' music is louder than the fan. (I no longer tell them to turn it down. In fact, maybe I'll encourage them to turn it up!)

Miss Hannigan is still not pleased. She went to the city office building to complain. We got an email from Mr. Lindon City himself telling us that they had a woman who was "visibly upset and distraught...the noise is obviously a problem for her" or something like that. Umm...hello? Maybe she should move to Brooklyn, give her a little perspective on noise levels.

We have enough problems with Mr. Lindon City as it is (I swear he's out to get us), we do not need Miss Hannigan feeding the fire.

A few days ago I listened to a message from Miss Hannigan: "Maybe you could plant some trees all along my fence line. That way the trees will block out the noise." THERE IS NO NOISE!!!

Mr. Lindon City paid us a visit. He went and stood in front of Miss Hannigan's fence and said, "You're kidding right? THIS is what she's complaining about?"

Mr. Lindon City's boss called us yesterday. "We are getting complaints..." Sure you are. Have you talked to Mr. Lindon City? Well, no. Why don't you talk to him before you get in our face again.

So...here's what I'm wondering. Would it be too obvious if I bought a pack of ear plugs and left them on her porch? I'd even create a cute treat basket to go with them!

Monday, October 27, 2008

OUCHHHHH!!!!!

"Noelle, when will you learn you aren't that young anymore?"

"Noelle, you have got to stop acting like a teeny bopper."

"Noelle, I swear I'm going to wrap you in bubble wrap and keep you inside at all times."

These are the comments I've heard the last few days. I would like to say they aren't warranted, but alas, they probably are.

One day at work the following things happened:

My pants got caught on a wire, causing me to trip and fall. I twisted my ankle, and the wire cut up my leg. Five minutes later I stepped in a sink hole of sorts, twisted the same ankle again, and fell on my knee. Later, I was loading some plants onto a trailer and didn't see that a side light was broken. The screw that holds the light in place was exposed and when I walked past it, it gouged my leg. I came in to the office to recover and bent to pick something up. When I stood back up I smacked my head on the counter and with that, I called it a day.

Saturday my sister and I hiked another mountain. The weather was beautiful and we managed the 8 mile hike with no serious mishaps. I was feeling pretty confident that my unlucky streak was over. I am NOT normally a klutz and I was looking forward to being normal again.

After we finished our hike I went to my brother's house to talk to my cute 2 year old nephew. (My brother lives across the street from my parents.) Josh wanted to show me something and so he led me past the house, around a big tree, and over into the neighbor's field. There is a cinder block wall that separates my brother's house from the neighbor's field. The wall is built like a staircase for a few feet, before it levels out and becomes just a solid wall. Josh climbed the 'stairs' with my help and was standing on top of the wall looking at the roof of an old shed. "Noelle, come see up here! Come see this!" I was never very good at resisting cute 2-year-olds and so I climbed up onto the second of the four 'stairs'. As I went to put my foot on the 4th block, the block I was standing on fell off, taking me with it. (Guess it wasn't cemented like it should have been.)

I fell backwards off the wall and landed on the ground. It wasn't a soft landing. The back of one leg smacked against one of the cinder blocks as I was falling, and then my back and head were the next to make contact with the ground. As luck would have it, I landed right on top of an old bed frame that had been left there for who knows how long. I could feel myself starting to pass out, and I could hear Josh crying. My fall scared him to death and he was still on top of the wall, holding on to the roof of the shed. I willed myself to not pass out and then stood up and got Josh off the wall.

"Noelle fall and get a red ouchy?" were the first words Josh said. He took my hand and started to pull me. "Let's find Mommy. Let's find Mommy." Thankfully my mommy was outside and so as we rounded the big tree I stopped and called for my mom.

By this point I had gone into shock a little bit and because I had smacked my head so hard my ears were ringing and everything was fuzzy. My mom and sister helped me into the house and we assessed the damage.

Damage:

One very BIG goose egg on the back of my head, possible concussion.
Big bruise and cut where the cinder block wall made contact with the back of my leg.
Bigger bruise (12" or so) where my back made contact with the bed frame.
Even bigger goose egg and bigger bruise on thigh of other leg, with some scratches and cuts.
Bruises and cuts on the backs of both arms.
BIGGEST bruises and cuts on my poor ... ummm ... searching for a word here ... I'll just say I can't sit comfortably. Direct contact with the end of a bed frame will do that.
Stiff, stiff, stiff neck. Did I mention my neck was stiff? Maybe it's whiplash...don't really know.
General aches and pains EVERYWHERE.

Now, with all of that said, I'm very lucky. It could have been worse. If I had fallen even 8 inches the other way I would have landed on top of some rebar stakes sticking up. Just think of how traumatized Josh would have been then!

Ice packs are my new best friends.

I promise to not climb any more cinder block walls! Ever!!!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

A Bicycle Built for Two

There is a lady who comes into work once or twice a year. She has been coming into work for as long as I can remember. She is somewhat crippled from what I'm guessing was a stroke many years ago. She walks dragging one leg behind her, one side of her face is deformed and although she can speak, she is really hard to understand, and as far as I can tell she has very limited use of one arm. Whenever she comes into the nursery, she is with one of her children. They are her lifeline. Every few years, when another child turns 16, chauffeur duties change. Never once in all of the years that I've helped this family, have I ever heard one of the kids say an unkind, or an impatient thing towards their mother. I've been amazed at the apparent unending love they have for their mother.

I should know her name, but I don't. I have always thought she is an incredibly beautiful woman. I saw her a few months ago, at lunch with some friends. They were helping to feed her. I was touched by their love as well. I only remember seeing her husband once or twice. The first time I saw him I was impressed by him. He is a tall and very handsome man. I remember wondering what it must be like for him...to have a wife with so many obvious disabilities. I remember hoping that he loved her...the undying kind of love that overcomes any disability.

A few weeks ago I was walking along a trail in Provo Canyon. When the weather is nice the trail is crowded with bike riders and runners, and those of us who pretend to be runners. I noticed a bike rider coming my way. He was going slower than most, and I realized that it was because he was pulling something - and someone - behind him. As he got closer I recognized him. It was the husband of my customer. And behind him, in a custom built wagon of sorts, was his wife. She was bundled in a blanket, and she was as happy as I've ever seen her. Her smile was beautiful and the whole scene made me just a little teary-eyed.

In that moment I knew that he did love her...the undying kind of love that overcomes any disability.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

You Have an Hour and a Half...

Have you ever, in your entire life, gone into a restaurant and been told by the hostess, "You have an hour and a half to be done. If you're going to take longer than that we won't be able to seat you"? Seriously, that happened to me this past weekend.

I went to dinner with a friend Friday night. We went early to avoid the crowd - or so we thought. At 6:30 pm I put my name on the waiting list and was told "the wait is about an hour." In most restaurants they tell you the longest possible time, and then seat you before the time is up thus assuring happy customers. With that assumption I figured an hour wasn't that bad of a wait.

While patiently waiting out the hour I met a nice couple who had called to make a reservation for 6:00ish. At 6:30 they were still waiting. At 6:45 they were still waiting. At 7:10 I think they finally got seated. They had a concert to be to at 8:00 pm. I'll bet they didn't get to savor much of their meal.

The conversation I had at 7:30pm with the hostess went something like this:

Me: "Can you tell me how much longer the wait is please?"

Her: "It looks like it will be another half an hour."

Me: "When I came in an hour ago you told me it would be an hour."

Her: "I know, it's just that we're really busy" (said in a somewhat whiny voice)

Me: "I can see you're really busy, and I'm not mad...yet. But I want to make sure that you don't forget that I'm sitting there in the corner, and have been FOR AN HOUR."

Her: "Oh don't worry...you're name really is on the list."

Me: "I would hope that my name is near the very top of that list."

Random guy standing at the counter: Looks at me and gives me this look that says something like 'I feel your pain. If you yell, I'll yell.'

I went to sit back down and about 10 minutes later they called my name. My friend and I stood up to be led to our table. But before we took 5 steps the hostess stopped us and said, "You have an hour and a half to be done. If you're going to take longer than that we won't be able to seat you. We have a reservation for ..." I can't remember the exact time but what I wanted to say was "Since when do you take your reservations seriously?"

What I did say was this: "Well, if you're capable of speeding up your service, we'll be done in an hour and a half." The hostess said something else about our time limit, and I said again, "We can only be as fast as your service is." You know how restaurants are. They bring you your drinks and then you wait 20 years before they take your order. You order and then you're dead from starvation by the time they bring you the meal. (I'm not dramatic at all.)

Neither my friend nor I paid much attention to the time but when the waiter asked us if we would like dessert I said, "I'm not sure...do we have time?" Do you want to know his response??? "Oh...I'm not sure. Let me check on that for you." A few minutes later someone else came to the table and said, "You have time still for dessert. What would you like?" We did order the dessert and then about half way through it we started getting the evil eye.

They were setting tables all around us for a big group, and we were clearly in their way. However, our waiter had disappeared and we didn't have our bill. The evil eyes intensified and still no check. How can we keep our end of the deal if they don't keep theirs? I figured at that point they owed us our meal for free. It's the least they could have done. We finally got the check, paid the bill, and rolled our eyes as we walked out the door.

Friday, October 10, 2008

What Is It About Pizza?

We had pizza for lunch yesterday. We haven't had pizza for months. The guys in my office prefer the modernized pizza: BBQ chicken pizza for example. I prefer the $5.00 pepperoni pizza from Little Ceasars. Because I picked it up I got to choose.

When I pulled into the parking lot of Little Ceasars I noticed the car that pulled up next to me. An older lady got out, while an even older lady (she may have been in her mid 90's) stayed in the car. I imagined the older of the two saying to perhaps her daughter, "Dear, let's eat pizza today. It sounds good to me."

I thought of my grandma who is 92. She lives in a town too small for any kind of pizza place and yet if you happen to be visiting her during a meal time, there's an 85% chance you'll get pizza - the frozen kind.

During the last year of my grandpa's life he lived on three things: potato chips - all kinds - root beer, and you guessed it, pizza. Well meaning neighbors brought him meals and suggested that I try harder to give him a well-balanced diet. "He's 93," I thought, "let him eat what he wants. He's earned it." He wanted pizza, I bought him pizza...at least once a week. His last meal before he slipped into a coma and died: pizza and root beer.

Maybe it's something in the sauce.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Conquering Mt. Timpanogos


This is Mt. Timpanogos, the second highest peak in Utah's Wasatch range. It reaches nearly 12,000 feet in elevation. I live at the base of this mountain. Every day I look up at this mountain and say to myself, "One day I am going to hike this mountain again."
Yes, again. I hiked Timp for the first and only time when I was 12 or 13. The experience traumatized me and I have been unwilling to hike the mountain again. My dad is a mountain man. He would spend every waking hour in the mountains if he could, and when we were young our family outings and vacations were always spent hiking and camping. My mom is not such a mountain woman, but for the sake of love and family she followed my dad on his adventures - even to the top of Timp. The hike is 18 miles round trip, and depending on the time of year, you may have to cross several glaciers to reach the top. (What were my parents thinking?)





I don't remember much of that first hike...I've blocked it from my memory I think. However, I do remember reaching the top and being sure that I was going to fall to my death! I have a thing with heights as it is, but to be that high up, on a tiny trail, it was almost more than I could do to not curl up in a tiny ball and cry forever!

Once you reach the 'saddle' of Timp you have another 1/2 hour hike in order to reach the summit. The trail to the summit is hard to describe, and for a bunch of young kids it seemed near impossible to survive. My dad gave us the option of going to the summit or turning back. None of us were too inclined to go back from where we had just come from and we knew that if we made it to the summit, we could slide down a glacier and avoid the trail from you know where. We chose to climb to the summit. Again, what were my parents thinking???





Thanks to a million guardian angels we survived that hike, and until this past weekend, I've never gone back. I made a goal to hike Timp this year, and I've waited and waited until someone could hike it with me. My dad, who will always be my first choice for a hiking partner, injured his back and hasn't been able to do much of any hiking lately. I waited, hoping that his back would heal, but when I heard a weather report say that we would get snow soon in the higher elevations, I knew it was now or never. Two of my sisters were willing to drop what they were were doing and agreed to hike the mountain. We started hiking at 7 am, and after about four hours we began to wonder if we were "ever going to get there."






The view along the way was spectacular, and we quoted one of our favorite movie lines over and over again: "Beautiful, beautiful, wish you were here." We laughed and laughed and blamed our shortness of breath on the altitude, and just kept hiking.





When we finally did reach the saddle we could see that a storm was moving in rather quickly. We made the decision to keep hiking. We were SO close to the summit and didn't want to turn back. We set out on the trail from you know where and what do you know, it was as scary as I remembered it! My sisters were a lot more confident than I was, but I just kept putting one foot in front of the other.

We were somewhere between the saddle and the summit when the storm hit with full force. We were covered in clouds, we were being pelted with hail and we could no longer see the trail. Really, it disappeared. Heather climbed up a rock slide to see if the trail happened to connect on the other side, but because of the storm couldn't see a thing. At that moment, we made the decision to turn back. Before we set out on the hike our brother sent a text that said, "Have fun, be safe, and BE SMART." Turning back was us being smart. We were frozen by the time we made it off the face of Timp but we were safe and we knew we had been protected.











About 20 minutes after we got off the face the storm stopped and the clouds cleared. The rest of the hike was uneventful and by the time we made it to the trail head I could feel my fingers. The entire hike took a little over 7 hours, and it was the best 7 hours I've spent in a long time. Thanks hermanas, for being willing to help me accomplish a goal! Next year we'll do the hike again, and this time we WILL make it to the summit. Unless of course there's a storm.



Saturday, September 27, 2008

Happy Birthday to me...and to Becca...and to Jared


It's not too many people who celebrate their birthday with a sibling, let alone two siblings. I am one of the lucky few whose birthday has never been about 'me', only 'us.'
Growing up we weren't individuals, we were the Platts. And when we weren't the Platts we were the triplets. "Oh...you're one of the triplets," people would say, and that lasted until we graduated from high school.
Even now on occasion someone will still say, "Now which one are you?" Funny...because we don't look anything alike.
The best question Jared and I were ever asked was this: "Are you identical?" My response: "Yes, yes we are." Their response: "Cool." If you don't understand the humor here, maybe you should do some homework on how identical twins work.
I love 'us'. I love that I have two best friends. I love that no matter where I go, or what I do in my life, I will always have Jared and Becca.
Happy to you Jared and Becca!!!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

27 Shirts

The other night my sister said, "Someone should write a blog about the 27 shirts I have to iron." She wasn't kidding - she really does have 27 shirts to iron. She DID have 27 shirts to iron, now I think she is down to 15 or 16.

Want to know the craziest part of all? All 27 of those shirts are work shirts. Either she gets really dirty at work and has to change shirts often, or she doesn't do enough laundry.

In honor of Becca and her 27 shirts, I want to list 27 reasons why I love her:
1. She loves me, even when I'm ornery.
2. She makes the best bread in the world!
3. Her favorite thing in the world is Splash Mountain at Disneyland.
4. Her nighttime routine: leave the light switch on, pull the fan string 2.5 times, shut the door so the clocks don't tick off beat...you probably just have to experience it.
5. She does her best to make our backyard beautiful.
6. She sprays hornets nests. (Except for the big ones, she makes me do that.)
7. Cathy's Clown (whatever Bec)
8. She watched 8 hours of Dances with Wolves with me...all at one time.
9. She is the world's best "Disney's Scene It" player
10. When we have sleepovers with the kids she lets me have the couch.
11. She knows to pull the bedspread over the sheets before she sits on my bed.
12. She keeps the freezer stocked with yummy treats.
13. She keeps me from starving.
14. She drives me home at night when I'm tired.
15. She rescued me from the mall parking lot when I thought I was going to die!
16. She's rock solid in the things that matter most.
17. She beat ovarian cancer... twice.
18. Sometimes she has to re-wash the clothes in the washer two or three times because who has time to rotate the laundry?
19. She has some really great couches!
20. She made me a really great CD.
21. She is a duck.
22. She has a duck.
23. Her duck is still wearing it's winter outfit.
24. Yes, she buys outfits for the duck.
25. She is Ohio State's football team's biggest fan....even though she's never watched a game.
26. She'll watch Crossroads with me.
27. She's the best twin sister a girl could ask for!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Bubble Gum and Bird Poop

Last night I was out walking along the Provo River. I was enjoying the tranquility - listening to the river, which was flowing faster than usual, and breathing in the scents of nature. Oh...and I was chewing bubble gum.

I blew a bubble but wasn't satisfied with the results. I blew another bubble and it was nearly perfect. I had just finished forming this nearly perfect bubble when I walked right into a swarm of gnats - a BIG swarm.

It was a close call but I managed to pop the bubble before it and the gnats made contact. Note to self: keep your gum in your mouth. (Sounds like something my mom would say.)

My close encounter reminded me of another encounter: this one with more traumatic results. In what seems like another life, I was a missionary in NYC. My companion and I spent most of our meager allowance on subway tokens, but one day we decided to splurge. Instead of subway tokens we bought Subway sandwiches.

We didn't have time to eat in the restaurant and so we headed out onto a busy street in Jamaica, Queens. I had taken just one bite of my highly anticipated sandwich when out of nowhere I heard a "PLOP."

I looked down and saw that some stinkin' bird had managed to aim his 'business' right in the middle of my 6" turkey and cheese on wheat, everything but peppers and onions, EXPENSIVE $5.00 sandwich.

I'm still bitter and my companion still laughs.

Honeysuckle Anyone?

Welcome to my home. (Not my home away from home, that would be the place where I sometimes eat a meal and sleep a few hours.) During the months of March to whenever the snow falls, Linden Nursery is my home.

I joke often about retiring. Today that thought is not such a joke. Let me give you an example of just one of the many things that leaves me wishing for early retirement, or at the very least, a winning lottery ticket.

Several months ago I had a conversation with my brother Ben. This is how it went:

Ben: Noelle, I need you to find some plants for me. I can't find them from my suppliers.

Noelle: Okay, give me the list and I'll see what I can do.

The List: 200 Honeysuckle, 150 Forsythia

Noelle: Ben I found the shrubs. They aren't coming from one of our normal growers so I need to make sure the quantity is correct. Once I order them, they are ours. End of story.

Ben: The numbers are a go.

*** Fast forward a few weeks ***

Ben: Noelle, what did you say you had coming from that grower?

Noelle: The honeysuckle and the forsythia.

Ben: Okay.

*** Fast forward a few weeks ***

Ben: Noelle, remind me AGAIN what you have coming from that grower?

Noelle: (still patient) The honeysuckle and the forsythia.

*** Fast forward a few weeks ***

Ben: Noelle, I found some honeysuckle from a grower, and you have the forsythia right?

Noelle: (not so patient) I have the honeysuckle AND the forsythia.

Ben: Oh right, I forgot.

*** Fast forward a few weeks ***

Ben: We are ready for the plants to ship.

Noelle: Great, I'll get them here.

*** I make the call, I arrange the truck, I get the address for where the plants are going, I call the customer and let him know the ship date, and I tell Ben it's taken care of.

The 200 Honeysuckle will be delivered to BYU tomorrow - coming straight from Oregon. Everything is taken care of and I am feeling pretty good about life. Until.....

Today we got a shipment of plants from a regular grower, and I was checking it in when all of a sudden I realized that my guys were unloading not 10, not 20, but 200 HONEYSUCKLE!!!

I made a call to Ben (he's out of town) and said something about him being in BIG TROUBLE. "Why?" he wants to know.

Noelle: Ben, I told you over and over again that I ordered the honeysuckle.

Ben: No you didn't. You only ordered the forsythia.

I reminded him of our conversations...the many that we had concerning this dumb plant, and his comment was:

"Hmmm...I guess what you said didn't stick." Hmmm...I guess not.

As I said earlier, Honeysuckle anyone?

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

My Happy Place

My Happy Place: The jungle villages of Guatemala. It was fairly recently, just last winter, that I discovered that my happiest place so far was in Guatemala. There were several factors that played into this becoming my happiest place.

* The jungles of Guatemala are BEAUTIFUL! And besides being beautiful, they are peaceful and serene and they leave me feeling as if I have just walked into what I imagine heaven will be.

* My trips to Guatemala have been because of humanitarian service. I am my best self when I am involved in these humanitarian projects. I find a part of myself on these trips to Latin America - a part that is absent here, a part that is left behind when I come home.

* On these humanitarian trips I meet some of the best people I will ever know, people who are working together to better someone else's life, and people who will be friends for life.

About a month ago two of my dearest friends, who have been the heart and soul of our humanitarian efforts in Guatemala, were killed in a plane crash. They were just 15 minutes away from once again rendering the service they have given their lives for.

Their death touched that part of me that was left behind in Guatemala, and recovering from that hasn't been easy.

I'm not sure now whether there will be other opportunities for me to go to my happiest of places. However, I am sure that I will be blessed with other happy places, and I am sure that my dear friends are in the very happiest place of all...doing what they lived and died to do - serving others.