Sunday, April 15, 2012

Aunt Wilma - What a Gal

The following are some notes I wrote on Tuesday, March 6, 2012 and am just now getting around to blogging...

Sometimes you get news that stops you in your tracks. I got some news like that from my mom this morning in the form of an email. It was a forward from a cousin, Sherron, letting us know that her mother, Aunt Wilma, is now in a hospice after a fall and is not expected to live past this weekend. 

Back up a few years...

In 2007 my family headed to Logan, UT for a Yeates family reunion/95th birthday party for Aunt Wilma. Wilma is my great grandmother, Reta Yeates Stanton's sister and from the moment we walked into the reunion I was impressed with her. She looked a good 20 years younger than her 95 years, was sharp as a tack, energetic and hilarious. When asked to say a few words she jumped out of her chair and started telling us stories - like the time a few years earlier that she had walked into a car dealership and promptly pointed to the red sports car on display as the one she wanted to buy. Her family second guessed her, but she was sure she wanted that car and wasn't going to settle for anything else. Then when the young salesman asked Wilma if she wanted a 10 year warranty she incredulously replied, "10 year warranty? I'm 95 years old! What do you think I want a 10 year warranty for?" They didn't believe her age and IDed her :). She also told us that she is often asked the secret to her long life. She said she always responds, "Attitude!" That having a positive attitude and a sense of humor can get you through any rough spots in your life.

A few years later in 2010 I started really getting into family history and especially wanted to know more about my great grandfather, Claudius G. Stanton. He died in a drowning accident at work when he was just 52 years old and only 2 weeks after my grandmother, his daughter, was married. I can't imagine how hard that must have been. Well, Wilma is one of only 3 people alive (that I know of) that knew Claud. So I called her up to ask her some questions about what she remembered of him. She was so fun and always ready to answer any questions I had. (And apparently she was a fan of Dancing with the Stars because one time I had to call back when my first call interfered with the show haha). I really enjoyed each and every conversation with her. She would joke about how little she could remember and how 'long ago it was,' but she could actually remember quite a bit.

At the end of our last conversation I told her how inspiring she was to me. How I really admired her spunk and attitude, and how I always bragged to my friends about her. Then, almost out of nowhere, she said, "You know, I've been taking a class over at Del Webb Hospital that's all about how to deal with death -- because I'm terrified." I didn't know what to say. How could a 25 year old girl possibly know how to comfort a woman in the sunset of her life? But I desperately wanted to.

So when I got the news that she was so close to death, I cried, because I knew how scared she must be.

I called her daughter Sherron to see if she could let her mom know how much I enjoyed our conversations and that I'd never forget her and her fun personality. Then I told Sherron about my last conversation with her mother and she told me, "Well, she used to be afraid, but I think she's at peace with it now. She's ready to go. She's ready to go and dance with her partner."

A few days later Sherron reported that her mom was telling them she could see people in the room, her parents, husband, siblings, and others that loved her in life.

Wilma passed away a week later on March 13. I know she had a wonderful reunion with family and friends and that she is dancing again.

I'm grateful for Wilma. Not only am I grateful for her memories of Claud, but for her part in helping me learn that our loved ones that have passed on are closer than we think, and that our Heavenly Father will always be there to help and comfort us through any trial or fear we face no matter how small it may seem - even until the very end.

Wilma Yeates Gallagher, 99, was born August 11, 1912 in Millville, UT and passed away March 13, 2012 in Peoria, AZ. As a young adult she moved to California where she married Jackson Myers Allen and had two children, Jack Lynn (deceased), and daughter Sherron Ann. Having been widowed, she married Cecil Gallagher in 1981 and gained four step children: John (deceased), Jill Palozzi (John), Paul (Donna), and Christy Mayo (David). She is survived by 24 grand, great, and great-great grandchildren. Services will be held Monday, March 19 in the LDS Church located at 22034 N. 83rd Ave. Peoria. Visitation will begin at 9am, followed by the funeral at 10am. In lieu of flowers, please make a memorial contribution in Mrs. Gallagher's honor to Hospice of the Valley .

I know, she's blinking in this picture haha, but she's so cute right?!

Monday, March 5, 2012

About 6 months ago I was 'spotlighted' at work and thought it might be fun to share...

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Adventure Is Out There!

August 14, 2011
(You'll probably notice I have to put dates on top of my posts because the events happened way before I actually got around to posting about them. I'm lazy, I know.)

I had a pretty awesome adventure last summer, nay, a WAY awesome adventure. I went white water rafting!  It's one of those experiences I wasn't sure I'd ever have.

Well ... enter my friend Erin with an offer I just couldn't refuse. Camping. Whitewater rafting. The Colorado River. Everything provided. $40.


In 5 words or less -- It was a blast!

I drove down to Moab-ish area Friday night with Erin, her dad, step-mom, and her step-mom's sister. We camped right next to the river. It was absolutely gorgeous with a full moon to boot. Erin and I sat on some rocks and chatted for probably an hour. Oh and there were these little desert frogs everywhere! (sorry BJ for not knowing their scientific name). I thought they were so cute until I picked one up. Bad idea. I had forgotten about the little buggars' ''defense mechanism'' which is to pee on it's attacker.

The next morning we were up bright and early and prepared to head down river. The guys in charge got the boats ready and then gathered everyone together to give us a little run down of the days activities. We'd float about 2 hours, then hit about 10 rapids spread over about an hour and a half, stop at a beach for lunch, then float another couple hours until we got to the take-out point.

After that little shpeal they told us they were going to offer a prayer. I'm thinking ::well this is Utah, prayer before everything, alright, normal:: Aaaaaaannnnnd...

You put your right foot in,
you put your right foot out,
you put your right foot in,
and you shake it all about.
You do the hokey pokey and you turn yourself around,
that's what it's all a-bout.

So that just give you a little taste of the awesome group we were in. We had 3 rafts as well as another supply raft, and 2 kayakers. In my raft were myself, Erin's family, and another really cool couple, Dan and Megan (Dan used to be in Erin's dad's scout troop which is how we got hooked up with this awesome adventure).

Our group ready to go rafting!
And we're on our way!

The kayakers

Another picture (not mine) of the river and beautiful black rocks

Going for a little swim before the rapids start. It was awesome! It was like a natural 'lazy river' and the water was so warm.

After about 1 1/2 hrs of floating we stopped at 'Outlaw Cave' for a snack and some last minute instructions for navigating the rapids. I didn't get my own picture, but Outlaw Cabin was pretty cool and had a bunch of old stuff - shoes, bottles, ovens. The story goes that these guys robbed a bank and hid out there for years. Then they were discovered, a scuffle ensued, and two of them were killed. We saw what is supposed to be one of their graves a little bit down stream. The other guy was never found. I just love Wild West stories :)

Instructions for the rapids:

1. Listen to your captain (the 'director' on each raft who sat in the back and yelled instructions - right, left, ROW!, stop, etc)
2. If you fall out of the raft, DON'T PANIC, 99% of the time you'll end up coming out of the water right next to the boat. Just grab onto the rope attached to the side and hang on. And don't try to get back in before the rest of your team is ready to get you in. 

I'll just say...this information came in handy for me later :)

Coming up on our first rapid
And here...we...go.
Ok, I have to stop here and talk about what a rush whitewater rafting is. It's sort of like the rush you get on a roller coaster as you hit the crest of that first hill and start the freefall down the other side. Only with this, you're not safely buckled into a seat, and you can't see the 'track' in front of you. You do your best to control your course (and it's actually pretty amazing how much control you can have of the raft), but you really don't know which way you're going to end up, or if the boat will tip over, or whatever. It was so exciting. Each time we came up to a rapid it was like a new adventure.

Watching the other raft prepare for 'Skull Rapid' - This one was CRAZY, yet so fun!
So...Skull Rapid...we went into it heading the right direction, but then at the last minute got turned to the side and went into it sideways! I was sitting on the left side with the seat in between my legs and my foot jammed into the side. I felt pretty secure, but after we came out of the first rapid, my side of the raft went up in air at what felt like a 45 degree angle. It was so weird and felt like it was happening in slow motion, but I could feel myself slipping out. I tried to hang on but just couldn't do it, and into the Colorado River I went haha. But they were right, I came up right next to the raft, hung on, and just listened to the captain who kept just telling me to hang on. So not only did we survive Skull Rapid, I did it outside the raft!

Looking back on Skull Rapid after we made it out alive 
Erin and I (this is right after I took a dive in the water, not really looking cute, but who cares, right?!)
On our way down the river we found this cliff to jump off. Erin said she was doing it so of course I had to :). Believe it or not though, the scariest part wasn't the was the climb up! We had to climb up that rock on the right of the picture and those rocks were slippery! I was seriously nervous I'd slip and go tumbling down it, but this nice guy was behind me and said he'd catch me if I fell haha. Can you see me??

When we got to our take-out point a few of the group had to go back and get the cars which would take about an hour and a half. Were we just going to sit around and do nothing? No way! Not us. The guys flipped one of the rafts over to use as a kind of slip 'n' slide catapult. It was awesome, we would run down the boat loading ramp then jump onto the raft. Once you slid to the other end they'd lift it up and you'd go shooting into the air. So fun! Here's me about to be catapulted.
Fellow whitewater rafters

Whitewater rafting is such a blast. So go ahead and take the plunge. ADVENTURE IS OUT THERE!!

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

"An Advocate For Dressing Like a Lady"

Ok, so anyone who knows me knows that I'm big into sports. I love my soccer shorts, t-shirts, and running shoes. But I also like to dress up and look nice. When I'm wearing a pencil skirt and 3 inch sassy heels, I feel confident and pretty.

That being said, I'm not exactly a fashion guru, and I've never once purchased a fashion magazine. However, with Pinterest and other websites available, I've started noticing a few celebs whose style I really like and that I try my best to emulate.

One of those is Kate Middleton. I love her beautiful, yet conservative and classy style.

Here's what Anne Hathaway said about her and I totally agree.
"Can I tell you how grateful I am to Kate Middleton?" said Hathaway. "Because she is such an advocate for dressing like a lady. I think for a few years that kind of slightly dirty look was adopted by Hollywood - you know, the stringy hair, homeless thing. And I really tried," she laughs, "I was like ok I'm going to give that a go. (But) it doesn't suit me, I don't suit it."
"I'm just very grateful to Kate Middleton for making looking appropriate really fun again," she says.

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And while I'm at it, here's another one that seems to have it together (hopefully it stays that way).

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

You know how I get really in to things?

So, remember in January/February last year when I was obsessed with The King's Speech and King George VI? Poor Brittany, that's all I talked about for probably 2 months! I read books and articles, looked up pictures, wrote blog posts, listened to and watched any old news reels I could get my hands on. I was just fascinated with the story.

I'm telling you, when I get in to things. I get in to things.

My latest obsession?

Here's PBS's ynopsis of the show for newbies -- After a tragedy at sea claims the life of the presumed heir, Lord Crawley is faced with the possibility that the house he's loved his whole life might someday belong to a distant cousin he's never met. But before that can happen he must deal with his scandalous daughter, Lady Mary - considered by many to be the rightful heir to Downton. Even the staff has opinions on the family's affairs. And while most are devoted to the Crawleys, there are others whose selfishness and scheming do more than simply disrupt the well-oiled inner workings of the estate. As the servants' mischief escalates, even the most faithful employees begin to imagine a different life. 
Pitting hundreds of years of British aristocracy against the tides of social upheaval and technical progress, under the looming shadow of World War I, will the fate of Downton and its family - above and below stairs - be resolved? Or will life be altered so dramatically that its master no longer matters? " - PBS website 

I love it so much! I eagerly await each and every episode and when we're finished watching it, all I want to do is talk about what happened, who I'm happy or disappointed with, who is still being their nasty old self, and why oh why can't they just get together?!!

So, without further adieu, here are 5 of the many reasons I love Downton Abbey:

  1. The time period - "The half century from around 1890 to 1940 seems to me to form a bridge from the old world into the new," said writer Julian Fellowes, "For those who were young adults at the turn of the last century, the world they would die in would bear almost no resemblance to the world of their beginnings." Downton Abbey takes place in that time frame and depicts such historical events as the sinking of the Titanic and World War I (which is often overlooked in favor of WWII), as well as societal and technological shifts such as the feminist movement, the introduction of electricity, the telephone, gramaphone, and motorized cars.

    Season 2 ends in 1920, the year my Grandfather Mathews was born. I talk to him almost every week, which reminds me that 'history' is not so very long ago.

     da_wounded.jpg WilliamGrave.jpg
  2. It's beautiful in every way - the house, the people, the costumes, hair and jewelry, the language. Everything.

  3. Sometimes I long for a different era or culture, when people dressed and acted like ladies and gentleman and spoke to each other with civility and decorum even when disagreeing. Don't get me wrong, as a modern woman, I definitely don't want to go back to a time when women's options were so limited, but it's nice to escape into that elegant and graceful world every once in a while.

  4. Story lines that are rich and engaging (except for that Patrick Crawley mess, that was annoying). There are multiple story lines going on at once and, for the most part, I am equally interested in all of them. As one writer said, "[Downton Abbey] has plots that assume we can pay attention for more than 22 minutes."

  5. Interesting characters - Downton Abbey has an enormous cast of characters including those characters you love, those characters you hate, and those characters you're not sure what to think about. Even the good characters aren't immune to disaster or mistake, and the bad ones may prove to have a heart after all. You just never know.
    The Dowager Countess - I love her sharp, witty tongue and I laugh at her shock and dismay at the introduction of anything new (electricity, telephones, weekends), and especially, anything American.
    Matthew Crawley - Oh, the handsome Matthew Crawley and his unfailing integrity.
    Lady Mary Crawley - Sure she can be catty, but she's a passionate, strong-willed woman who speaks her mind and I can appreciate that. And the struggles she endures change her and she proves to be more unselfish in the second season than we thought her capable of in the first.
    Anna Smith- you can always count on her to do the right thing. She sees the good in people and is kind, but never to the point that she doesn't stand up for herself or fail to bring wrongdoing to light.
    John Bates - He is the epitome of the 'duty vs. desire' theme seen throughout the show. He's almost annoyingly closed off and personal. He is able to set aside deeply held feelings in order to do his duty.
    Thomas Barrow and Sarah O'Brien - They are unquestioningly selfish and mean  (well, Thomas more so than O'Brien. She's had a few redeeming scenes). But hey, they spice things up a bit. Plus, they're worth sticking around for because you just know that one day they'll get what's coming to them and you don't want to miss it.
    Carson and Mrs. Hughes - They are tough and strict, but when circumstances call for it, they show their tender and loving side as well.
    Lady Edith Crawley - I've enjoyed watching Edith's character grow from a victimized, misunderstood, witchy middle child to the nicer, more hard working, caring version of her we see in the second season. Hers is a transition not unlike what many of us go through from selfish child to mature adult. And just as she does, we sometimes slip into our old habits.
    Lady Sybil Crawley - She is a woman who knows her own mind and wants more out of life than eating fancy dinners, changing outfits five times a day, and entertaining guests. 
      Lord Grantham - I love him. He's a man that's always, always trying to do the right thing. And just as we all do, he sometimes fails in his efforts. But, one thing you can count on, when he does mess up or unintentionally hurts another person, Lord Grantham is very quick to do all he can to make things right again. He is real, and I like that.

      And a bonus/very important reason:

      And this is just a pretty picture of the Crawley sisters from Vogue UK

      Oh, and I bought this to further feed my hunger for all things Downton: 

      If you haven't already, go watch Downton Abbey. That is all.