Tuesday, November 25, 2008

The Original Strawberry Shortcake or Why You Should Never Throw Anything Away

If you are annoyingly sentimental or excessively frugal (I'm both), you will see why today is such a happy day for me.
The other day I was looking through the American Doll catalog (such an impressive publication--we save them all and Lili chooses them to fill her literacy needs during Sacrament Meeting). I was thinking how fun all the doll accessories and furniture and clothes looked, and I remembered my Strawberry Shortcake dolls.
For about two years, all I wanted were Strawberry Shortcake dolls, their pets, vehicles, and anything else that came with them. Several times I wished on the first star to have "every Strawberry Shortcake doll in the world" (I think I just wanted one of each). Throughout this time, I collected more than 20 Strawberry Shortcake dolls--each with their fruity name and pet. Raspberry Tart and her monkey Rhubarb and Lime Chiffon and her parrot (whose name I've forgotten!) were the first ones I ever got.
Thelma had a few too and we played with them all the time. Later when we were really into Barbies, the Strawberry Shortcake dolls became the Barbies' children. When the time came to outgrow the Strawberry Shortcake dolls, I couldn't bear it and I insisted on keeping them. I put each of them, with their pet, in individual plastic bags with twist ties. A few shoes, hats, and combs are missing, but for the most part, I have them all.
Lili has been exposed to some of the new Strawberry Shortcake propaganda (which just isn't the same), and I've told her stories about my glory days. The American Doll catalog made me think maybe Lili is old enough for my Strawberry Shortcake dolls. So we made a deal. If she could go ten nights without wetting her pull-up (is this the kind of thing that's too personal to blog about?), she could start playing with them. Four nights came and went without success. Finally I told her that if she could go just one night without wetting, she could get one doll. Last night she did it!
Today I went under the house with Ruben and Lili to search for the Strawberry Shortcake bin. They loved it under there and I wished to be their height. We finally found it. Ruben wanted to be involved and he picked "the boy"--Huckleberry Pie of course with Pupcake. I wasn't surprised that Lili picked Sour Grapes (the villain) and her snake (whose name escapes me). Ruben quickly turned back to cars and they are playing some kind of bad mom/car game. Lili just said, "Let the mom get it--you don't even have arms." I assume she was talking to Lightning McQueen.
By the way, we are holding on to all of these Pixar Cars cars. Someday Ruben Jr. might just love them.

Friday, November 14, 2008


Countless times I have thought I would die because my ears and throat hurt so bad. Countless times I have thought that I just wanted to cut my aching head off because it hurt so bad. Now I have learned, through my own experience, that cutting was not the painless option.

Yesterday I had my tonsillectomy. The prep nurse (she's kind of like a prep cook, but different), Cindy, by name, first asked if I'd had surgery before. I told her I've had three C-sections.

"In which decade?"


"80's, 90's?"

Did I look as hurt as I felt? "THIS decade! My last one was in September." How old do you think I am anyway? The questions remained unanswered and stood there, awkwardly, between us.

I started filling out the paperwork. There was one point on the paper I had to sign that got my attention--whatever tissue, organ, etc. that was removed of me would no longer be my property and would be sent to pathology. Ever since I began fantasizing about cutting off hurtful parts of my body, I thought it would be rather swell to then have that part, in my room. It's always been hard for me to throw anything away. Thanks to me, Ammon's umbilical cord can still be found (unless it's all decomposed or was eaten by a mouse) in the wall between the shower and the storeroom over home.

So I nonchalantly asked Cindy, "So, are there a lot of people who want to save their tissue or body part that is removed?"

Cindy was experienced (she looked like the 80's were her birthing decade) and she took preventative measures before another nutty patient asked to keep her tonsils: "We just have to send everything to pathology."

It was one thing for Cindy to think I was old. Quite another to have her think I was crazy. "Oh, I just thought it was funny that that point even has to be on the paperwork."

"You'd be surprised." Cindy answered.

No, not too surprised. I had thought it would be neat to keep my appendix too, but that darn pathology beat me to it. When you really think about it, though, tonsils probably wouldn't hold up too well. Unless they were pickled. Hmm. That might make a tempting addition to my Ladies' Holiday Brunch. Pickled tonsils, anyone?

Don't worry. I didn't get to keep them. I only get to keep the painful sensation that my tongue has been cut off and a fuzzy sock was stuck in my throat to stop the bleeding. That and my HUGE pain pills that are next to impossible to swallow. The depressing news is that my worst day is supposed to be a week after surgery. ow.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

The End of an Era

As I turned to go up Mama and Daddy's lane today, I saw a white mailbox. It was odd, but I figured they must have gotten too old to keep up with the commitment the mailsack required. Not so.

Daddy informed me that he was "agin it" and that " change is the enemy." Cor explained that the US Postal Service will no longer deal in mailsacks.

Why does that make me sad? Maybe because ever since I can remember someone in my family has been "taking the mailsack down" every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday (the three days the mail is delivered in Starr Valley). We had two mailsacks and the mail deliverer would just switch the sacks, exchanging our sack with outgoing mail for our sack full of incoming mail.

I remember Daddy sewing some mailsacks on the sewing machine. That was the first time I'd ever seen him sew, and I didn't know he knew how. The sacks were off white and canvas and said "Mark Dahl" in bold black letters. Later, when I was a teenager, Thelma decorated our mailsacks--one with a frog and the other with a flower. They still said Mark Dahl.

When I was a preschooler, I'd go down to the end of the lane, put the sack on its hook, and run until I was out of sight of the road. I was afraid of kidnappers, and figured I was safe once they couldn't see me from the road. Later, I'd take the mailsack and put it on its hook while I waited for the school bus to come. When I could drive, I would drop the mailsack off at the post at the end of the lane. I never was a good enough driver to get close enough to just reach out the window and hang the sack on its hook. I always had to get out.

Having a mailsack was a hassle. Even on days that we didn't need to mail anything, we had to take the mailsack down. If we didn't get the mailsack down in time, it messed everything up. The Post Office wouldn't have a sack to put our mail in for the next delivery day unless we drove the six miles to Deeth and dropped the mailsack off at the Post Office. At least once, I picked the outgoing mailsack up before the mail had come. I learned that I had to check inside the sack and see if the newspaper, The Elko Daily Free Press, was inside. If it was there, I could bring the mail home. If not, I had to wait for the mail.

From the time I left home for college until I returned home to be a schoolteacher, I sent a weekly letter home. Mama sent a weekly letter to me, telling all about their week (Daddy usually wrote a short note in pencil on the bottom of her typed letter). My brothers who were home would write--some (Tabor) more faithfully than the others (who shall remain unnamed). From Provo and London and Poland and Mexico, I loved thinking of my family taking the mailsack down with their letters in it. I loved thinking of them getting the mail and walking it up the lane. Whenever the mail came, Daddy would come in from his shop. He'd take the sack and empty it out on the kitchen table while everybody watched. Because I knew of the excitement we'd experience when Marianne and Thelma wrote home, I knew my family was excited to get a letter from me. I pictured Daddy opening it with his pocket knife and Mama reading it aloud. After we'd perused the mail, somebody would fold up the canvas mailsack and put it on top of the dryer in the storeroom until the next delivery day. There's something quaint and uniting about emptying out the mailsack on the kitchen table as a family.

Because having a mailsack was a hassle, I didn't use one when I moved back to Starr Valley after I was married. We have an impersonal mailbox that doesn't care if we check in with it before the mail comes. Now my parents do too, and I'm going to miss their mailsack.

Sunday, November 2, 2008


Three happy kids. Lili and Ruben love having a baby in the house and it shows.

One blessed (and chubby) baby. I hadn't tried his outfit on Marcos until the morning of the blessed event. I had just held it up to him. It looked long enough. It was a little snug though. We couldn't do up the buttons in the back (luckily the vest covered up his embarrassment).

Our happy family. Notice how Lili and I are color coordinated and how Ruben and Marcos are looking at each other and how Edgar is smiling so big. Well, two out three ain't bad.

Marcos was blessed in Church on November 2, 2008. It was such a happy day for us. Almost all of our family was with us (minus the Davises and Edgar's dad). Edgar's mom and Osvaldo's family came to Church.

Edgar blessed Marcos in Spanish and I asked Elder Moreno (a missionary serving in our ward from Mexico City) to write down what he remembered of the blessing. He wrote the whole thing out, bless his heart.

My dad and three brothers and Bishop/Brother-in-law Robert, and Jeff all stood in the circle. (By the way Jeff, Hannah, Maisy, & Laurel stayed with us Saturday night. Among a lot of things, Hannah helped me set up this blog.)

Thanks to a lot of help from everyone, we enjoyed a fall feast of soups and bread, cheese and fruit (and Kool Aid for the Cobians) and cake for dessert. My only sadness was that everyone liked Mama's soup better than mine.

It was one of those days I'll always treasure.