Our Digital Footprints

I read an article today on leaving our own digital footprints on AmericanFootprints.com. They offer a framework for creating your own digital memoir. While I’m not ready to sign-up it did get me thinking about what I’m leaving behind that really shares about who I am and what my life was like. Are there small adjustments in the way I live life everyday that would change the stories, feelings and memories that will still be around when I’m gone? I don’t know the answers but I agree with the idea that we need to keep things like this simple or they just don’t get done at all. Simple and incomplete is so much better than nothing at all. I remember hearing someone say once “what do you wish your great-grandmother had record?” What do I want my great-great nieces and nephews to know about me and why I made the choices I’ve made in my life?

I spend a chunk of time everyday organizing and tracking what I need to get done. I wonder if with a bit of a shift I could be recording simple stories about my day? The facts of my life are not what is important, it is the stories that make me who I am. Just some random thoughts for today. What are you doing to record your own stories?


Shutterfly Book

my 50 for 50 book cover

I received a free 8×8 hardcover book coupon for Shutterfly recently and decided I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to try it out. I’ve never even been the Shutterfly site before so things were a bit rough to start. After a few false starts I figured out how to get a book started and upload photos for the book. Even though I choose their customized book path I found myself wanting more control over what I could do. But then I’m used to have complete control over my projects in Adobe InDesign. I spent 4 or 5 hours putting together a 20 page book. Having done it once it would probably take about half that time the second time around.

I was able to export it to a pdf but as you can see from above (and below) it has a watermark on each page. The link below will take you to Shutterfly’s preview of the book.

I can see how Shutterfly would be a good option for many people. They have lots of ways to share your photos and they are geared to really put together projects without too much thought on the customer’s part. I can’t see me ever using them as my primary source for books though. I’m too picky about wanting things the way I want them. I’m looking forward to getting the book and see what it looks like. I’ll post again after in comes.

Click here to view this photo book larger


50 for 50 #30 – Popsicles

Meadow Gold Twin Pops

I’ve loved Popsicles for as long as a can remember so they are another perfect way to celebrate my 50th year. I love all kinds and shapes and colors but the classic “twin pop” is the one with the most memories. I don’t know how many times I’ve bought a bag of twin pops and eaten all of them in just a day or two. One particular summer comes to mind that I ate lots and lots of Popsicles. Bill was doing an internship at INEL in Idaho and staying with my parents. So after work, all alone in our hot apartment I would eat Popsicles one after another, after another. The apartment was littered with wrappers and Popsicle sticks.

me enjoying a rootbeer twin pop

As a child I made Popsicles in ice-cube trays with toothpicks for sticks. I made them with Wylers or Flavor-aid. Koolaid was more expensive so I rarely used that. I mixed them up using less water than for a drink so the Popsicles had more flavor. I actually put up a sign on the door and sold Popsicles to my neighbors. My mom was very good at teaching me about profit. I paid her for the supplies out of my sales.

As an adult I’ve made Popsicles in small paper cups out of everything from fruit juice to homemade yogurt with fruit for added flavor. If I didn’t have enough Popsicle sticks I would use plastic spoons or even forks. They work surprisingly well. I think there is nothing better on a hot day than an ice cold Popsicle! Unless it is three or four Popsicles!

50 for 50 #25 – Knocking Out Teeth

Me with my missing teeth

When I was three years old I knocked out two of my front teeth while playing on the swings. Here is what my mom wrote in her diary:

Our three-year old Raelyn recently tried to copy the big kids by jumping out of the swing before it stopped. Result: She is eligible to sing all I want for Christmas is my two front teeth.

It is funny how memory works. I thought I was swinging on my stomach and fell out face first. But that note of my mom makes it sound like I was trying to jump out of the swing and didn’t navigate the landing. Now I wonder what really happened. Usually the closer to the time something happened the more likely correct. I also thought that it was my two front teeth but the one photo I found it show one front tooth and then the tooth next to it. I guess this is also a lesson in how facts can get shifted around in time.

I also remember getting really sick and tire of the song, “All I want for Christmas is my Two Front Teeth.” It was several years before my permanent teeth came in so every Christmas it was the same old thing.

I did have celebrating this incident in my early childhood on my 50 for 50 list but I thought that I would celebrate it by finding a swing set and having a swing. But instead I knocked off part of my tooth eating a sandwich with crusty sourdough bread. At first I thought that somehow a rock got into my bread. But the truth came out a few bites later when I realized a chunk of my tooth was missing. I think the dentist called it number 12. So my 50 for 50 this week was getting a crown on tooth #12. I’m guessing it was a lot less painful this time around.

50 for 50 #6 – Provo

While I was in Provo this week I thought it would be a goo time to go by all the places I lived during my many years there. Besides the years I went to school at BYU, there were also the years while Bill went to BYU plus we lived there for several more years after he graduated. I was able to remember where all of them were except one. It was one that had been torn down. There were two corners that were possibles so I had to look up the address and then go back again.
Of the ten places I lived in Provo, three of them have been torn down. One, “The Red Uglies” was torn down while I still lived in the area. I took a bunch of pictures of it at the time. It was kind of a special place because my mom had lived there too, when she was going to BYU. Another place “The Brick Oven”, an old apartment building, was the second place we lived after we got married. One of our neighbors was Tag Romney and his wife. They lived there because his parents had lived there when Tag was born. Funny that his dad, Mitt is now running for President of the United States. It is kind of a small world.

The Elms - the first place I lived in Provo in 1980 - 29 East 700 North


Taylor Apartments - 25 East 900 North #5


78 East 700 North - where the Red Uglies once stood


50 East 600 North - I lived one summer in the attic of an old house that once stood here


331 North 100 East


584 North 300 East - I lived in the house that was here


Willowbrook Condos - 1790 Willowbrook


50 East 900 North - this is the first place we lived after Bill and I got married.
We entered in through what was the garage then most of the apartment was in the basement.


"Brick Oven" - 511 North 100 West #4 & #2


210 South 600 West - This is the first home we bought.
It was built in 1864 for the youngest wife of a Squire Whipple who was in the same pioneer company as Brigham Young.

50 for 50 #5 – Sugar, Sugar

Sugar, Sugar

Sugar, Sugar (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I remember the song “Sugar, Sugar” (1969 – Archies) from when we lived in Ogden. The main memory that comes to mind is the record of the song that came on the back of a cereal box. This was the only record we got this way and I all the other records in the house were my parents, not us kid’s. Well we played it over and over so much that my mom helped the record into the garbage can. The other memory is having the radio on and some one saying something about sugar, sugar and then the song “Sugar, Sugar” came on the radio. My memory says it was the first time I had heard the song and I thought it was so funny to say the words and then have a song with those words come on the radio.
So to celebrate my 50th year I got on the internet on Monday and found a recording of the song “Sugar, Sugar” and listened to it a few times. The really cool thing is that on Friday I was eating lunch in Hagerman’s Bakehouse Cafe in downtown Salt Lake when what to my surprise “Sugar, Sugar” comes on over the speaker system. I don’t know when the last time I heard it on the radio but it was a sweet little serendipity for my 50 for 50.

50 for 50 #4 – Feeding Willow

Feeding Willow Carrots

Today I took some carrots with me and fed them to my niece’s horse, Willow. Will could smell the carrots and came over to the fence and was waiting for them. She was a good girl and took them very gently. I picked this as one of my 50 for 50 things in honor of the horses that lived in the pasture behind our house in Ogden. Sometime we would feed them carrots through a hole in our wooden fence. There was also a beautiful old barn with a the classic “barn” roof line. When I imagine the prefect place to live, I dream of a view out one of my windows with a pasture with horses and a similar barn. Maybe that all stems back to the years we lived with a horse pasture behind us. This pasture and barn are long gone, being replace with modern developments.

50 for 50 #3 – Peanuts

This week I went to the library and checked out a Peanuts book. I thought there would be more to choose from but it seems the Peanuts are now “classic.” Does that make me a classic too? I checked out “You’ve Come A Long Way, Charlie Brown.” I have one specific memory of a Peanuts Cookbook that we got from the library while we were living in Seattle. We tried to make some lemon suckers but we burned them and they tasted awful. We decided to go around the neighborhood and entice other kids to eat our suckers by pretending that they tasted good.
I really enjoyed reading “You’ve Come A Long Way, Charlie Brown.” Snoopy is my favorite. But I am most struck by the creativity of Charles Schulz in the sheer volume of work he did with Peanuts and his insight into their world.

Two Wonderful Yet Event Filled Years

Sue and Apex from our trip to Florida – January 2011

Today marks two years since Apex met his handler at Guide Dogs for the Blind in Boring, Oregon. Sue sent out the following email about her life so far with Apex.

Today marks a wonderful milestone in my lifethat I wanted to share with you all.  2 years ago last week I received acall giving me the flight information to go to a cold and wet Portland toget my guide dog.  As I finished the final preparations and packing, I wasnervous and worried how this would all play out.  Amanda, mydaughter, was only months from graduating high school and I needed to finda new way to get around.  How would he fit into my office life? Would Istill be working? What and where life would take me in these last 2 years hasbeen remarkable and totally unthought of at that time. I took a plane flightacross the US changing planes several times – it would be the last time I wouldbe so scared to travel alone.  It was 2 years ago today that I metApex for the very 1st time.  His birth date is the same as my kitten’s, andhe was the tall, dark and handsome man I prayed for since I was in high school(so… he came on 4 legs instead of 2 – I had to compromise somewhere – haha).He and I hit it off within minutes and we have been unstoppable ever since. He does not mind shopping as long as lunch is included and he loves to traveland see many new faces and places. As I type this, he lays next to me sleeping(and snoring) in the warm Florida afternoon sun.
I have traveled all over (Eastern Caribbean/Bahamas/Virgin Islands/ Massachusetts/Connecticut/Vermont/Florida/Texas/Georgia just to name afew) with my tall, dark and handsome guiding my footsteps, we watched asAmanda graduated high school and we partied the night away (I had earned it !),we worked several full military honor funerals with out a flinch from my guideduring the honor gun salutes, we tackled and attended a movie premier (Lettersto God– it was filmed at my office just before I got Apex), we survived 2long endless months with dad in CCU/ICU/PCU and then his death and funeral, wegot caught in the October snow/ice storm in the northeast, and we stillcontinue to work, travel and shop on our own.  We have found anew church home and attend every chance we can.  I still remainindependent although my brother refuses to let me mow the yard, fix theplumbing, or hang pictures (things blind folks don’t do so well at anyway).
We (Apex and I) are currentlyplanning more trips: to the Caribbean in early 2013, another to go skiingin Utah in the fall of 2012, and then I am starting the process ofplanning my dream trip to Alaska to see the Arura Borelis and Hawaiito see the volcano and black beaches (both states are on my bucketlist and I can not believe they will actually become reality in the summer/fallof 2013) as well as a trip, or two, to see family and friends all acrossthis land.  Laying down my drivers license was very hard as I thought itwould be the end of my working and traveling days but instead God traded me -my driving a car for my wonderful guide dog. 
Apex has truly lived up to the meaning of hisname and been the pinnacle of my life even thru the health scares we haveboth endured.  Two and a half years ago it took me nearly an hour to go 1block with my white cane finding every crack in the sidewalk and more oftenthan not, I sat at home totally frustrated and exhausted by trying to travel orwalk. Yesterday, Apex and I did 2 miles in 30 minutes without thinking aboutit – what a joy to be able to walk like a sighted person again.  Heloves children and so I am getting back into working with them more andmore.  He also loves to entertain the crowd while I (attempt to) sing, soI am once again beginning to sing on stage ( I always hated being taken and ledlike a small child so I stopped singing when I started loosing myvision.).  I also have begun pursuing things that interest Sue as I beginto enjoy the “empty nest” now that Amanda has moved out.  It isamazing how much less house cleaning there is to do when there are no childrenaround…humm  (I had forgotten that part of being single…)
Thank you all for your prayers and emotionalsupport over these last 2 wonderful and event filled years and continue to prayfor us as I have no intentions of slowing down anytime soon. Who knows- you maysee me at your door or even hear me as I go by.  God truly does give usriches beyond measure and often more than we can think of.
Celebrate today – it is all we know we have -tomorrow is simply hoped for and yesterday was.  
on our Happy “Puppy Day” 
Sue and Guide Apex

50 for 50 #2 – Tarantula

Today I did my second thing to celebrate my 50th year. I didn’t have a clear idea of what I was going to choose to do this week but as I looked at my idea list, the second thing I had listed way sugar cane fields and cane spiders. Behind our house in Hawaii was a big sugar cane field. And before they could harvest the sugar cane they have to burn the fields. And when they burn the field these big hairy spiders come out and would get in our yard and in our play house. I had a vague idea of trying to find some actual sugar cane to eat but then I got some inspiration. How about finding a tarantula and hold it!
I don’t have an actual phobia of spiders but I do have some fear issues with them. If I’m alone I can deal with a spider in the house but it is hard. If Bill is home I always have him come and take care of a spider. The worst though is my spider dreams. From time to time I have a very vivid dream of a spider in my bed with me. I wake up (sort of) and have to turn on the lights and pull back all the covers and make sure their is no spider. I can’t see at all well without glasses or contacts and so I usually in list Bill to help me, tell him to check very carefully. About this time I finish waking up and realize it was just a dream and there is no spider or spiders to be found. Finally the light goes back out and we drift back to sleep.
So this afternoon Bill wanted to run an errand and we used his phone to see if there was a pet store in the area. We found one just three miles down the road that sounded like a possibility. We found Living Safari to be a very interesting pet store. They have lots of lizards, snakes and other reptiles. Eventually we were directed to their tarantulas and I explained to a very helpful employee what I wanted to do. She pick their most docile variety, a rose-hair from South America. She said that it was important to not move while I was hold the tarantula and if she (the tarantula) moved quickly not to panic and drop her or she might be killed by the impact. But she was a perfect tarantula and she hardly moved around at all which I really appreciated. Bill to photos and I’ll get them posted very soon. While I chatted with the employee learning lots of things about tarantulas.
I don’t know if the experience will change my feelings about spiders but I’m glad I did it. It wasn’t too scary and It was fun to do something very different to celebrate my 50th year.