Saturday, September 20, 2014

If We All Work Together

This is my neighbor Reza.  He died last night.  He has been in a coma for just over a week after choking on some food.  Reza is my friend.  He came to America hoping for freedom and found that life can be harsh.

He wanted to buy a home and because he had no credit a friend offered his credit.  Reza put $10,000 down and faithfully made payments for 15 years. His friend fell on hard times and borrowed money against the house and also took out bankruptcy.

Reza has been making payments but the payments have not always been passed along to the bank.  Not lately.  Not for a while.  Reza and his sweet Mehri were not notified in a timely manner, because the house is not in their name.

Mehri has trouble of her own.  She has lost her husband.  She will probably lose her home.  She may lose her voice.  Her vocal chord and her windpipe were damaged in surgery more than a year ago.  She is on oxygen and has trouble breathing.  She needs corrective surgery.  She is afraid.

These dear people need our help. Reza is gone and Mehri is a widow.  Now she must pay for a funeral.

You can help. You can make a donation at Mountain America Credit Union.  The account number is 9919851. You can make a donation over the phone at 801-572-5401.  They will waive the processing fee if you ask. You can also donate in person at any Mountain America.

Give what you can.  Every donation makes a difference.  If we all work together...

Linda Garner

Friday, September 12, 2014

But This is America

I learned earlier this week that our immigrant neighbors are about to lose their home, because the person they trusted with their payments has not been honest with them.

Reza came to America 25 years ago after escaping from prison in Iran.  He was a well-known sportscaster and he said some things that the government did not appreciate.  He was imprisoned and possibly going to be executed.  Somehow he escaped with three bullet holes and made it to safety.

Eventually he came to Utah and began working on getting his wife, Mehri here.  He bought a home in our neighborhood about 15 years ago.  He had no credit.  So a friend agreed to help him out. The house would be in the friend's name and Reza would make the payments to him.

Reza paid $10,000 down and made monthly payments.  About five years ago Reza and Mehri decided to sell the house so they could move to a condo as they could no longer manage the yard. They asked to have the home put in their names so that they could sell.

The friend informed them that he had borrowed against the house, and also taken out bankruptcy. They couldn't have the home put in their name so they stayed and continued making payments.

Now they have discovered that no payments have been made for two years and the house is being foreclosed on.  The bank will not negotiate with them because the house is not in their name.

They are no longer able to work, because of their age and health problems. A grandson lives with them and helps support them.  If he can he will buy the home, but he will need a significant down payment, and only if the bank will negotiate.

Mehri is frightened of the future and Reza is despondant.  "But this is America" he keeps repeating.

Yesterday a donation account  was set up at Mountain America.  The account number is 9919851. Anyone can donate over the phone and if they ask, the bank will waive the processing fee.  The phone number is 801-572-5401.  You can also donate in person at any Mountain America.

There is more.  Last night I saw an ambulance on my street and followed it to Reza's door.  Reza had choked on some food and was not breathing.  His heart had stopped.  He was taken to the hospital and is in a coma.  It doesn't look good.

I am afraid the donation fund may be needed to help pay for a funeral.

There is more.  A year ago Mehri had thyroid surgery.  Her recovery was problematic.  Eventually she discovered that the surgeon had nicked her vocal chord.  Her speech has been altered.  Her breathing has been affected.  She needs corrective surgery, but is frightened of losing her voice entirely.

The surgeon did not take responsibility for his error and in fact hid it from her.

There is more:  Two different lawyers have been hired to help them try to keep their home.  Both have given up without much effort.  A third lawyer is now involved.  They don't know if he will be more effective or not.  I don't know how much money has changed hands.

Could you find it in your heart to make a donation to help Reza and Mehri save their home.  If only Mehri is left she will need help even more to carry on alone.  Her Grandson is going to school and working full time.  He can only do so much.

But this is America.

Linda Garner
Sandy, Ut

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Do I Look Suspicious

I walked to the gym one day last week to do my morning workout.  Usually Friend-husband and I go together, but Friend-husband was camping with the scouts.  Usually we drive, but he had my car and I don’t love driving his pickup, so I decided to walk.  I took my car keys because my gym pass is on them.

After my workout I grabbed my keys from the little cubby where I had placed them and walked home.  The keys looked different, and I realized that they were not my car keys after all.  Crazy, huh?  It seems I had brought Friend-husband’s pickup keys.  Is that what his keys look like?  I had never noticed.
Once home, I tossed the keys in my purse without giving it another thought.  Soon I was teaching piano lessons.  I don’t answer the phone while I am teaching piano.  That’s what caller ID is for.
Friend-husband and I share a cell phone which we use mainly for travel and emergencies.  On that particular morning, our cell phone was in Friend-husband’s pocket on a scout inhabited non-signal receiving mountain.    
I don’t know how many times the phone rang, but eventually a well-mannered grandchild answered the phone and dutifully brought it to me.  I tried to hide my irritation as I answered the phone.  It was the gym.  It seems that someone was stuck at the gym with no car keys and my car keys had been found unattended in a neighboring cubby. 
It had been hours.  The police had been called in.  Surveillance tape had been consulted.  Though the guilty person had not been discovered, a suspicious-looking teenager had been spotted on the tape.  They were thinking of questioning him.
Suspicious-looking?  Seriously?
What gave him away?  Shifty eyes? Stocking cap?  A guilty expression? Was he lurking? 
Now remember, the car was still there.  Only the keys were missing.  My keys were the only clue, yet since they weren’t able to reach me, they were considering questioning a suspicious-looking youth.   
What’s wrong with this picture?
Thankfully, I arrived in time to save him.  Mercifully, he’ll never know. 
Do I look suspicious?
Linda Garner

Saturday, July 5, 2014


Ever do anything that is out of your comfort zone? 

I like to stretch myself, and so when I had the chance to ride a zip line last week, I said yes.  The setting was a family reunion at Heber Valley Girls Camp. As a warm-up we had done a couple of  cooperation activities.  Collaboration, trust, problem solving.  I love those kind of activities.  Good skills to learn.

Most of our family was excited about the zip line and I was too.  I wasn't at all scared at the idea, but I knew that it might be more scary when I was on top.  I was right about that.

First up was climbing a 30 foot pole.  Even though I have been working out at the gym for about ten months, it was incredibly hard.  The foot holds were far apart and I have short legs.  I watched my five year old granddaughter climb the pole with ease, but it was a challenge for me.  How did she do it?  It was taxing for me, and scary.  I arrived at the top huffing and puffing.

Next I had to cross a tight rope, sideways.  I had another rope to hang on to, thankfully.  Both ropes were shaking...or was it me.  I was too out of breath to analyze.  I told myself I wasn't scared, but I tried not look down.

Moving from the rope to the platform was another scary moment, but I didn't have much choice.  I was committed.

The helper asked me if I wanted to go down the zip line frontwards or backwards.  "Frontwards," I said bravely.  And then she asked me to stand on the edge of the platform with me toes hanging off. 

My throat constricted as I inched my toes toward the edge of the platform.  A tiny alarm went off in my brain.  My bravery vanished.  "Backward," screamed my brain.

"Backward," I said calmly to the attendant.  "I think I meant to say backward." 

"Good idea," she said as she turned me around and helped me to the edge.  Now my heels hung over the edge instead of my toes, and I felt the tiniest bit safer, mostly because I couldn't see.  She asked me to sit down and then came that moment when she pushed me off the platform.  If she hadn't pushed me, I might still be sitting there.

I had planned to fly like a bird.  I had planned to shout "Towanda," but I only whispered it, and my arms were not outstretched and free but clutching the ropes protectively. 

Nevertheless, I felt triumphant.  It was harder than I imagined, but I can do hard things.

Would I do it again?  I think I would.  I like to stretch myself.


Linda Garner

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Womb Mates

Thirty years ago today, I went to the hospital to be induced.  The nurses all wanted to watch because many had never seen twins born.  I could have sold tickets. 

We started with x-rays to make sure the boys were in a good position.  They were both head down, snuggled together with their arms wrapped around each other.  Since everything looked perfect, it was full steam ahead.
I won’t go into the epidural, because it wasn’t pretty.  Most women love epidurals, but I think if you are short it can be difficult. 
A short time later, Dustin slipped out easily, but things got complicated for Devin.  He had a larger head and just kept bumping up against a wall.   The birth canal had begun to close.  I had a nurse on one side and an anesthesiologist on the other.  Both pushed on my abdomen with every contraction.
The doctor was using suction.  His voice got very quiet.  All those nurses suddenly got very busy preparing for a possible caesarean delivery.  Devin’s heart rate was monitored for signs of stress.
“How long will it take to get her under?” the doctor asked. 
“Ten minutes,” said the anesthesiologist.
“We can’t wait that long,” said the doctor.
And thus my second delivery that day came by caesarean section.  Devin was born about an hour after Dustin, screaming furiously and with a large purple bump on his forehead.  That bump was the first of many forehead bumps, for Devin. 
Thus began a grand adventure.  I loved having twins, and I feel that it would be wonderful if every last baby could be a twin.  They never lacked for companions.  We never lacked for entertainment.
Of course it was overwhelming at times.  I'm no supermom.  If they were both crying, sometimes I cried too.  I was thankful for five older children who were willing to help.  They were my heroes.  They still are.
The boys were as different as two boys can be, yet they have always been close and still look out for each other.  They don’t look alike, but they both have red hair.  
They weighed 7 pounds 4 ounces, and 7 pounds 5 ounces at birth.  There was half an inch difference in their lengths.  Even though they weighed almost the same and were almost the same length, they were built differently, had different shaped heads and different body structure. 
There were so many adventures.  While Devin was acquiring forehead bumps, Dustin was collecting stitches.  Both boys played soccer, both played the violin. 
Though these boys were raised in the same home at the same time, and shared many of the same experiences, they don’t think alike and don’t have the same dreams or interests.  They were a great reminder to me that it’s okay to be different. 
They changed our family forever.  Since they were number 6 and 7, we needed a bigger car, a bigger home, and bigger hearts.  We kept the home, but eventually we added on.
My children have always been my greatest teachers, and these boys have been no exception.  I thank them for the lessons, though I haven’t always been a willing pupil.
I love my boys and wish them a happy birthday.
Linda Garner

Saturday, June 21, 2014

If You're Ever in a Jam...

Our little strawberry patch has been mostly ornamental until this year.  We grew a few token strawberries to taste and probably shared some with the birds.  This year we've had an impressive little bucketful once or twice a week.

I saw a recipe for no-cook strawberry jam that featured honey and chia seeds.  I'm sure I saved it, but could I find it last night when the berries were calling to me?  No surprise. 

I think that's what google is for.  I found a couple of recipes but they were for large amounts, and they called for cooking.  I only had a few cups and I didn't want to cook my jam. 

I decided to do a brave thing with my berries.  Experiment.  I mashed the berries (about 4 generous cups), added honey (raw local honey of course) to taste (about 1/4 cup) and tossed in some chia seeds (about 1/2 cup).

To be honest, I was on the phone with my sister and I may or may not have remembered the proportions accurately. 

The jam, however, is perfectly lovely and tastes delish.  I wasn't sure how much chia to use, and it was still pretty runny when I put it in the fridge, but an hour or so later the chia magic was complete.

So...if you're ever in a jam...

Linda Garner

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Am I Conscientious?

Am I conscientious?

I always thought so.  I am a responsible sort of person.  If you know me, I think you would consider me dependable. 

Yesterday I read a post that has me wondering.

It seems there have been a lot of studies done on conscientiousness.  These are popular studies for employers.  You can see why.  Think of the time and money they could save by only hiring those who are conscientious. 

Boy that’s a hard word to spell.  Tough to pronounce, too.  Who ever thought of it? 

Well anyway, there is a certain behavior that predicts more than any other behavior if a person is conscientious.  It’s something we do or do not do on a daily basis.  What could it be?  Any guesses.

I couldn’t figure it out either. 

It turns out that the behavior that predicts your conscientiousness is ….(wait for it)…making your bed.  That’s it.  Making your bed.   Well, not just making your bed, but making your bed every single day.

Making your bed?  Are you kidding me?  Making your bed?  What’s up with that?  Who makes their bed? I don’t.  I haven’t made my bed since February.   Yeah, February.    I had this spurt of energy around the 12 or so, and I made me bed every single day for about two consecutive days.

Well that’s it.  I’m not conscientious.  Never have been.  Never will be.  I can’t spell it.  I can’t say it.  I certainly can’t be it.

Excuse me.  I’m off to make my bed.

Linda Garner