Friday, September 02, 2011

Thank you!

I just want to give a big thank you to all those wonderful nurses and other staff members that work at nursing homes, particularly at Garden Terrace. Allow me to explain.

When I was in elementary, the coolest person I wanted to spend my time with was my grandpa Deano. Anything and everything we did together was the best, such as:

Sleep overs almost every weekend

Whatever I wanted for breakfast after said sleepovers- Eggo waffles, perfectly poached eggs, McDonald's pancakes, brand name sugar cereals we didn't have at home

Always having chocolate milk for lunch at HAFB

Driving home from school while standing up through the sunroof as though I was someone famous riding in a limo

Spotting the fire first when passing the North Salt Lake refineries and then being declared the "Eagle Eye"

An annual week swimming and sleeping at Circle J

New Years Eve parties

Lighting giant fires with his giant matches and shielding my face from the heat with old boxes

Visiting Grandma Edy's grave

Playing at the playground for hours and hours

Dressing up and taking pictures around the house


Going to Lagoon every summer

Sponge curlers


Those were some great times. Over time though, I moved onto junior high, high school, and college where it was no longer cool to hang out with old people, even if they were your grandparents. Requests for the Young Women to help residents at Highland Care Center were dreaded. So I became distant and felt myself simply avoid talking or spending time with Deano. But he was getting older too, losing his mobility, eyesight, memory, and many other characteristics that made him so awesome before. As horrible as this sounds, I felt like I didn't love him anymore.

Thankfully, my perspective has vastly changed.

While in Utah in August, my mom asked that K.C. and I drive down to visit Deano for a little bit. Understanding that this might be the last time I see him alive (even though we have been thinking this for almost 10 years now...he refuses to quit on us!), I willingly drove down to Garden Terrace preparing myself for the awkward situation I would soon be in.

However, that was the best visit I could have ever asked for.

Sitting in that wheelchair was the grandpa I had always remembered. He looked awesome! Instead of being very frail and thin, he looked robust and well fed. Instead of having messy hair, it was perfectly combed, although not in his traditional perm. Instead of having sores covering various parts of his body from falling around his house, his skin looked bright and refreshed!

When I asked about a photograph of a mountain in his room that he took, without a moments hesitation he perfectly recalled the location and event that brought him to that distant country. He told us about playing Yahtzee and how fun it had been, even though he said he needed to keep practicing. Showing off the progress he had made through physical therapy, he clapped his hands, yet no sound was created as he curved fingers prevents his palms from making contact with each other. I will never forget the way his eyes lit up and how happy he was when my mom took his hands in hers, turned them sideways, clapped them together, and a sound was produced. He was ecstatic and immediately asked her to do it again.

I seriously think those few minutes spent visiting with him were the most important we ever had together.

Leaving Garden Terrace and all the way home, I cried because my grandpa was back. I used to think senior citizens were simply old and in the way. Now, whenever I see someone else's grandparent I realize how wonderful they truly are. I didn't get to know three of my grandparents really well before they passed away, so now I find myself cherishing every memory I have of Deano.

So thank you nurses and caregivers. You have dedicated your life to helping my grandpa's life be better and through that service, you brought back my grandpa, and have reminded me of the love I have for him. From the bottom of my heart,

Thank you.

I love you Deano.

Monday, June 06, 2011


After four years, one of which was spent apart from K.C., I have officially graduated from Utah State University! 123 credit hours managed to earn me a Bachelors degree in Public Health, emphasis in Environmental Health, and a minor in Chemistry. K.C. was able to drive out to Utah to attend my graduation before we loaded all my stuff into the car for the long drive back home. Here are a few pictures from the graduation ceremonies that managed to turn out. We REALLY need a new camera. Stat.

The procession of graduates to the Spectrum.

Mom and me after the University-wide commencement ceremony. We definitely had a much better speaker than K.C.'s year!

K.C. and I in front of the fountains on campus.

The Bell Family after the College of Science Ceremony with Landon being the typical jokester :)

Tom's and Shalaun's family was able to come up for the College of Science Ceremony and my adorable nieces loved my funny hat and strands of golden hair coming out of it. They are too cute!

On top of the "A" in front of Old Main. I had so many great memories from living in Logan. I will definitely miss living there, except for the terrible winters that is.

Monday, January 03, 2011

Olive Garden's Zuppa Toscana

K.C. and I had this for dinner one night when we were over at a friend's house and we absolutely loved it. Since I have been back in Logan finishing school, I didn't feel justified making a ton of soup just for me so being home for the holidays was the perfect excuse to break out the recipe and try making it for ourselves.

Zuppa Toscana
1 lb Italian sausage
1 1/2 t crushed red pepper (skip if using hot sausage)
1 large yellow onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
10 c water
5 t chicken bouillon
3 large potatoes, halved and sliced
1/2 bunch kale
1 c heavy whipping cream
1/4 lb bacon, cooked and crumbled

1. Brown Italian sausage in a large pot along with red pepper. Remove meat from pot and drain most of the grease.

2. Put onion and garlic into same pot and saute until onions are soft. Add water and bouillon and bring to a boil over high heat.

3. Reduce heat and add potatoes. Cook until soft (our potatoes were sliced really thin (~1/8 of an inch) and I only cooked them for about 5 minutes at which time they were perfect).

4. Prepare kale by removing stem from the leaf (it is rather chewy otherwise) and tearing into salad size pieces. Add to pot and cook until tender.

5. Return sausage to pot and pour in whipping cream. Heat through making sure not to boil or else the cream will curdle.

6. Serve with bacon on top as a garnish.

You can put the bacon in the soup along with the sausage, but we found that the bacon gets soft and loses its crunch so we will be simply putting it on top from now on. We also decided to double the recipe since we had no idea what to do with the rest of the kale. It makes a ton of soup (wouldn't all fit in our 8 quart pot) but we are definitely happy to have leftovers! Enjoy and let me know what you think if you try making it yourself!