28 February 2011

"Darwin E. Jensen" by his grandson Darwin A. Jensen

This morning I received a text from Dad that Grandpa Jensen had returned to be with his eternal companion.  Yesterday evening I felt that I should contact Dad and ask how Grandpa was doing; all I could do was ask the question on Facebook and this morning my impression that his passing was soon was confirmed.

May 13, 2007
Darwin and Julia Jensen

Grandpa Jensen had a great impact on me throughout my life.  From the days that we lived on the farm to family reunions (where what seemed like hundreds of family members) crowed his house during the holidays.  When I reflect on the time that we spent together I think I had a unique opportunity when Grandpa would come and visit at our home to go fishing in Alaska.  I found that my love for nature and the wonders that are in it came from this great man.  I will always remember looking into Grandpa's eyes during his last trip to Alaska and seeing the love that he had in his eyes for the beauty of the area that we were in.  Bundled up on a bouncing boat in Southeast Alaska watching the whales and catching halibut or salmon with a light in his eyes that will fill my soul forever.

Grandpa and Uncle Mark in Juneau.
July 2002

There are a lot of people who will say that they love this planet but there is special bond between Grandpa and this land.  As a farmer he learned to draw life giving food from the ground and learned to love the animals that he raised to make a living by drawing on the earth.  My kids will always remember the flying mule that Grandpa trained jump over them.  My favorite picture is when I was not on Kodiak but Grandpa and some of the other family members were visiting my wife and kids.  While everyone was hard at work trying to catch fish, Grandpa took some time to help his great-granddaughter by showing her how to fish and sitting with her on the bank.  Melissa took a picture and sent it to me and it is an image that will live with me forever.

Brooklin with her Great-Grandpa Jensen
June 1999

I don't know how my Dad got the name Darwin, he was not the oldest, I am not sure how the name got passed down to me but I know that having this name has brought great reflection in my life of men that I love and respect.  I know that that is why this name was passed down another generation.  Each year when we were able to take another four generation picture of the Darwin's it filled my soul with happiness.

Four-Generations pictures

Darwin Caleb's baby blessing.
March 1998

July 2002

Summer 2002

June 2009
(grandpa's last fishing trip to Alaska)

My love for the natural world, the wonder and awe that I have; come from a humble farmer who love to be in its beauty and reap from the ground and the life on it all that it had and share that with everyone that he loved.  A man that loved this world I have no doubt will create worlds without end with the beauty that we have around us.

Darwin A. Jensen

June 2009

The last picture...
This picture was taken on July 22, 2010.
It was the last time we said good-bye to Great-Grandpa Jensen

27 February 2011

Journal Jar #9

Were you ever made fun of in school?  About what?

I don't remember being teased too much at school.  I remember in about 4th grade a girl asked me why I kept coming to school with chicken pox.  I had acne really early and I guess she just thought I had chicken pox.

A few of my friends in high school teased me a little about being really skinny.  My nickname was "Bone"...partly because my friend Holly called me that (she had just moved to Idaho from Washington and said that "bone" was what people there called their best friends) and partly because I was 5'3" and only 95 lbs.  I got called "chicken legs" a few times and people used to say if I turned sideways and stuck out my tongue, I'd look like a zipper...  but it was mostly just in fun and I didn't feel teased.  

20 February 2011

Journal Jar #8

How many scars do you have and how did you get them?

I can think of five scars.  I'll start at the top and work my way down.

1. I have a scar in my right eyebrow.  When I was in elementary school (I can't remember how old I was) my parents took all of us to the Piercy's house for game night.  The Piercy's had a son that was close to my age named Perry...Perry Piercy.  They had other kids too, but I don't remember their names...wait, I think one of them's name was Noel.  Anyway, we were being kids...making a huge mess, jumping on things, yelling, that type of playing and things got out of control.  Perry picked up a chalkboard that was shaped like a black cat (and probably 2 ft. tall and a foot wide) and threw it like a frisbee across the room...and it hit me right on my right brow bone and started bleeding like crazy!  Things were crazy for a minute while the appropriate actions were taken...but after getting cleaned up and having a washcloth filled with ice for the bump, I think we watched Lady and the Tramp and had "quiet time" while the parents finished their game.  And Perry, if you ever google your name and find this post...don't worry, it's all good and you are forgiven. =)

2. I also have a scar right on the outside corner of my right eye...not even a half inch from the one in my eyebrow!  I got this scar much earlier.  I really don't remember much about this one, but of the eight kids in my family...there was only me and my brother Micah around, which would have put me under the age of 4.  (Cody was born two weeks before my fourth birthday).  I was sitting on the floor near a coffee table, and Micah was behind me....and he may have been crawling then...but anyway, he shoved me into the corner of the coffee table and cut my eye open.  I remember laying on a table with a big light above it, but the doctors wouldn't put stitches in it since it was too close to my eye.  My mom remembers more about that part...maybe...lol.  I don't remember if I had a patch or some kind of bandage or anything, but I still have a scar from the coffee table near my right eye.

3. I have a scar along the outside edge of  my right index finger.  We were living in Kodiak and were days away from moving to Washington DC.  We invited our neighbors, the Mumfords, over for dinner...halibut I think, we were trying to get rid of it since we couldn't take it with us.  Our house in Kodiak didn't have a dishwasher so we had to wash everything by hand.  I was washing a tall, clear glass...and the glass cracked and sliced from the middle of my right index finger down to my knuckle as I was pushing the washcloth into the glass to clean it.  No stitches...it wasn't very deep, but it did leave a mark!

4. I have a tiny cluster of scars on my right shin.  When I was 13 or 14 my mom was driving me through the neighborhood to a babysitting job.  I was going to babysitting my brother's friend Cody Holford (aka "Dope").  We approached an unmarked intersection and slowly proceeded through...since we had the right-of-way.  The truck on our left did not yield and smashed into the front of our car going about 30 miles an hour.  I had my legs crossed and my right shin ran into something in the center console area and I bumped my head.  After the accident, the guy got out and told the police that he was super tired and didn't know if he was very awake.  I think I got $100 for "pain and suffering" or something like that.

5. I have a scar on the top of my left big toe from having a bunionectomy.  I just wrote about that last week, so I don't need to do it again. =)

18 February 2011

Brooklin has braces!

We took Brooklin in today to get braces.  She is supposed to have them for 20 months.  She is missing both of her second top teeth, so the braces are going to pull her front teeth together (which have never touched in her entire life) and pull her canine teeth back...and of course straighten everything else out.  Next, she will be fitted with two new fake teeth in the holes created by the braces.  After awhile, she will have permanent fake teeth (I can't remember the correct term for this) put in.

The amazing thing about this is, here in Hawaii the bill came up to around $3200.  In Alaska, the bill was going to be $7000 for the same procedure!!  I'm so glad we waited!!

13 February 2011

Journal Jar #7

Have you ever had any operations?  What kind?

I know of three.  One was very minor...the other two were fairly involved, but all of them were out-patient procedures.

When I was in 7th or 8th grade, I had a frenectomy of my lower labial frenum.   (hahaha!  I typed "What is that thing that attaches your lip to your gums" into Google...I totally had to look up what it was called, and here is what that means).

The Labial Frenum is a little tag of tissue in the center of the upper and the lower lip that attaches the lip to the gums.  It too is not especially useful, and sometimes causes orthodontic or periodontal problems if the attachment on the gums is too close to the teeth.  If it becomes a problem, we usually simply cut it .  This is most often done on children if the attachment of the frenum is too "high" and causes a diastema (space) between the adult teeth.  The procedure is called a "frenectomy".  An interesting thing to note is that a glancing blow to the face will generally rip this structure, and a ripped labial frenum, in combination with other "recurrent" bodily injuries is considered to be a legal indication of child abuse.  (http://www.doctorspiller.com/oral%20anatomy.htm)

My lower frenum was too high, causing my gums to recede from my bottom teeth, so the dentist (?) clipped it and then cut out a small piece of my gums from the back of my mouth and sewed it over the clipped area.  I had a few stitches in my mouth that they covered with what looked like silly putty (that hardened after it was applied) to keep the area clean while it healed.  I remember that some of the silly putty stuff came off while I was playing my saxophone in band class one day...lol.  Today, you can still kind of see that I have a slight discoloration of my gums right under my two front bottom teeth.

The second operation I had was a bunionectomy on my left foot.  I was 19 years old (and had JUST met Darwin).  I was about to be booted-off my parent's insurance (since I wasn't in school and was over 18) so I had a choice to have my wisdom teeth removed or my bunion fixed.  I was to the point of wearing isotoner slippers to work (JCPenney) because all of my regular dress shoes were too painful, so I kept my wisdom teeth and went in to have my ugly/painful toe fixed.

I remember starting to count backwards from 100... and then waking up on the operating table with my arms taped to my chest!  I could see the doctors still working on my foot, so I was worried that the pain blockers were wearing off.  They weren't...I couldn't feel anything.  I was just flopping around too much for them to keep me totally "under" for the entire operation.  They tried just taping my arms down so I would quit flailing around, but decided to just reduce whatever medicine that knocked me out, so I would settle down!  hahaha!  They broke my big toe knuckle, shaved off part of it with a file, and then used two screws to hold it in place.  While they had me out, they also removed a huge cluster of planter warts from the bottom of my big toe as well.  (I told you it was ugly!) 

It took several weeks for my foot to heal.  I had to walk around with one of those lovely blue velcro shoes for quite awhile...which remember, I was 19 and still pretty worried about how I looked...so it was amazing to me that my husband still asked me to marry him...hahaha!  I lost some of my range of motion with the surgery and also the ability to drive a stick shift car for more than a few stoplights.  (it gets pretty sore if I hold down the clutch for very long).

My final surgery was when I got my wisdom teeth removed at the age of 33!  I would not recommend waiting this long to get them removed.  Not fun!  I think I blogged about this experience... let me check...  I did!  You can read about it here...4 less teeth for me

 Here are some pictures not included in that blog post.

a before shot

These are from two days later...

06 February 2011

Journal Jar #6

Tell about your first date.

My first date was with Wally Birch.  I was 15 years, 11 months and 3 weeks old...and not allowed to date until I was 16.   I tricked my mom into letting me go on a date before I was officially 16.  Each November, our school held a Harvest dance.  It was a girl-ask-guy dance and you were supposed to buy matching shirts to wear at the dance.  The dance was scheduled for exactly one week before I turned 16.  I was talking to my mom at Albertsons a few weeks before the dance and said something like, "So, if someone asks me to the dance...I have to tell them no because I'm one week away from being 16!  That is so unfair!"  She (totally not knowing that it was a girl's choice dance) told me that if someone actually asked me, then I could go.  As soon as the words were out of her mouth, I ran to the back of the store and found Wally (he worked at Albertsons) and asked him if he wanted to go with me!  hahahaha!  I don't remember too much about the actual date.  I know we went out and bought shirts together sometime before the dance and went to eat at The Brick Oven Beanery in downtown Boise the night of the dance. I think that was the only date we went on!  hahaha!   He was a senior and I was a sophomore, so we didn't have too much in common.  He was in band and played the alto saxophone...and I had played the alto sax my freshman year, but moved over to the drum corp for the rest of my high school years.  There was a huge group of people from band and drum corp that went to the dance, so it was more of a match-everyone-up and go have fun together kind of group.  He was a gentleman and I had fun on my very first date.