Monday, December 22, 2008

I Had a Blast . . .

There's nothing like getting up at 5 a.m. just so you can be at the hospital by 6. But it really is much better to be first on the surgery schedule because it means you can get home sooner. My lithotripsy went well--both kidneys got blasted quite a bit, apparently, and the doctor put a stent in one to keep the ureter open. When the doctor got started, he discovered that both sides were blocked with stones, in addition to the stones sitting in the kidneys. So now I'm home, trying to recover quickly. The stone pain is gone, but there is the discomfort of the stent, and I feel like I've been kidney-punched multiple times. And to top it all off, it took the nurse three tries to get my IV in.
I'm grateful for the miracle of modern medicine and equipment, for skilled doctors, for kind nurses and hospital staff, and for a wonderful, supportive husband. And I'm thankful to be forced to relax these days before Christmas--so peaceful!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

A Holiday Tradition I Can do Without

December 22, 2006 - slipped on ice in work parking lot; drove self to hospital with broken shoulder; 3 months in sling

December 22, 2008 - scheduled for lithotripsy to blast 6-8 stones stuck in my kidneys and ureters

Have a holly, jolly Christmas--it's the best time of the year.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Winter Wonderland

This is what we were surprised with this morning! You can either feel sorry for me because I hate the cold and snow (only when I have to be outside in it), or you can be thrilled because I get to enjoy the beauty of winter in Utah.

Look at how much snow is piled on top of the deck railings. And you'll notice Reid's car at the bottom of the driveway--no chance of getting up our steep slab of concrete!

Monday, December 15, 2008

Heiss Happenings 2008

With school now long over and our traveling all done,
Thanksgiving’s forgotten and the poem’s begun.
And oh, this past year has been filled with some drama—
A lot of it starts with a man named Obama.

I couldn’t resist. Yes, I tried to abstain
From bringing up this year’s presidential campaign.
But after eight years of George Bush and Dick Cheney
It was nice to see someone a little more brainy.

But no more Bush-bashing the rest of this rhyme,
For some of my readers may want equal time.
Enough of those matters about politics.
It’s time to review what we did just for kicks.

Each year, as I read your kind letters to us
I whine and complain and put up such a fuss.
I’m jealous. I know, it’s not right, I agree,
But most of you travel the world more than we.

Well this year with Karen, my wife, as you know,
To quite distant lands on this globe we did go.
She flew out to Egypt, to Cairo to stay,
So she and her granddaughter Rachel could play.

They laughed and they played and they saw many things
Like pyramids, mosques, and the tombs of old kings.
They traveled by camel and taxi and boat;
They walked past those shops sporting heads of young goats.

While she played in Cairo, I was far, far away
From Chicago through Delhi to a place called Pune (poo nay).
It’s a city just east of a place called Mumbai (moom bye)
That was once called Bombay, but I’m not quite sure why.

I was there for my work. At the end of my stay
Karen arrived and we toured for six days.
We saw Taj Mahal, temples, mosques, and old forts
But it felt great to return to the Salt Lake airport.

Besides travels abroad and some closer to home
The Heisses did more than just endlessly roam.
There were three graduations that took place this year.
Andrew’s was first and mine brought up the rear.

Andrew finished college with a bachelor’s degree
In Arabic language and Islamic studies.
And what do you do with a degree so arcane?
You fly off to Egypt with your wife on a plane

And not just with Nancy, they took Rachel, too.
So we went to the airport and bid them adieu.
With their luggage in tow and their stroller at hand
They flew for two days to that grand ancient land.

While Andrew’s at school, Nancy stays back at home
Where she’s caught a bad case of that blogger’s syndrome.
If you want funny stories and snapshots to see is where you should be.

With one grandchild gone, we have one still quite near—
Katharine and Todd’s baby Kayl’s now one year.
He thinks about walking though he’d much rather crawl.
It’s safer that way ‘cause it’s a much shorter fall.

But walking and talking will come to him soon.
Like all parents of young kids they won’t be immune
To the crayons on the wall and sharp toys on the floor
And the little boy fingers that get caught in the door.

For part of this year Sarah lived on her own,
But now she is here with her cat and her phone.
Not really a phone, more a growth on her ear,
And she texts and she texts to all of her peers.

Besides texting and calling, she is now into school.
She’s a full-time student, which we think is cool.
While math is a struggle and science for geeks,
I am proud to announce that it’s history she seeks.

In May came the next graduation this year.
Emily finished high school (with not a few tears).
She had a great year with the band and her cello
And marching at games and performing her solos.

She is now at the Y and in marching band,
And like good little parents we sat in the stands
For all the home games, in the rain, heat or snow
So we could see Emily play her cute piccolo.

And speaking of watching a child while it’s raining
Jacob, our senior, spent half the year training
To run in St. George in the marathon race
Where he hoped he would cross the line in first place.

Well, he didn’t come first, but he ran to the end
In four hours and three minutes; not too bad, my friends.
So we sat in the rain and we sat in the cold
To cheer on our son who’s now 17 years old.

Diana and Richard, who started this year
As expectant parents, now have reason to cheer.
They had a new baby and Michael's his name.
But before we could know him, they moved—now how lame.

They live in Seattle where Richard attends
An art school and hopes that he soon will ascend
To the top of his class, to a job that will pay.
Diana just hopes that he'll finish one day.

Well, our last graduation, as mentioned above,
Was mine, and it’s one that I’m fairly proud of.
A Masters Degree in Public Administration!
In August I endured our third graduation.

I have written and said all I can in this rhyme.
Now I send it to you during this Christmas time.
May your season be joyous, your lives free from trauma.
My thanks to all who elected Obama!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008


Does anyone else find this clock just a bit creepy? However, maybe it would work for Andrew!

Monday, November 17, 2008


Nancy "tagged" me a while back about quirks, and I've been feeling obligated ever since--but not overly enthused. She explained the rules: A - People who are tagged need to post these rules and 8 random habits, facts, quirks about themselves. B - At the end of the post you need to choose 8 people to get tagged and list their names. I'm going to be rebellious and only do part A. If anyone out there feels so inclined, go ahead and consider yourself tagged!

1. I like to stay up late. It became a really bad habit when the kids were younger and around me all day. Late nights were my only refuge from the noise. Reid goes to bed fairly early, so I get to enjoy a couple of hours to myself. Now that I have the house to myself almost all day now, I really should get rid of this habit!

2. I cannot leave a jigsaw puzzle unfinished. If I get one started, I will practically drop everything else until the puzzle is done. I've been known to work on puzzles all night long (again with the late-night thing). And I want to be the person who connects the final piece.

3. I handle all the power tools in our house. Reid doesn't know how and doesn't want to learn, and I learned from my Dad, so projects are up to me. You should see the great picnic table and benches I made. I'd go outside and take a picture, but (you guessed it) it's the middle of the night right now.

4. I tried playing the clarinet and the trombone in elementary school, but thankfully stuck with the piano and organ. I've wanted to take organ lessons for years but have never gotten around to it.

5. Two and a half weeks after I met my husband, Reid, we were engaged. And we got married just two months after that!

6. I can type 100 words a minute.

7. When I was young, a constant fight with my parents was over making my bed every day. I figured, what's the use? You're just going to get back in it that night! Now, however, it really bothers me if the bed isn't made. I guess it just feels better to have at least one thing in my house organized.

8. I'm an administrative assistant by profession/education and can organize and reorganize practically any office, but you should see the mess in my home office! I keep telling Reid that it's easy to organize for someone who's paying me to do it, but at home there isn't that tangible reward. You'd think he'd get the hint and start throwing a little cash my way.

There, Nancy, I did it.

Monday, November 10, 2008


The reason Clark & Lynnea are visiting is to see our older sister Dorothy and her husband Raymond. They are preparing to serve an 18-month mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the South Africa Cape Town Mission. We all gathered yesterday at their ward to hear them speak, and then had a wonderful time eating and chatting at their home in Wales, Utah. All six of their children were there, as well as our youngest sister Linda and many other relatives and friends. I'm very proud of them and excited about the opportunities they will have to serve others in Port Elizabeth, the city to which they have been assigned. I'm jealous, and I'm going to miss them!

Bon voyage, Elder and Sister Miller!

Hooray for Visitors!

We're very excited to have visitors this weekend! My brother Clark, his wife Lynnea, their daughter Jessica, and Jessica's brand-new baby Leah are here from Colorado. Leah is just 6 weeks old, and it's so much fun to hold such a tiny baby again. Reid, of course, is in heaven to have a baby in the house again!

Sarah just had to find a way to get in the picture!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

I Never Thought I'd . . .

turn 50

use Facebook

ride a camel

love being a grandma so much

be a world traveler

see history being made (congratulations, President Obama!)

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Last Day in Delhi, Part 5

This is the Parliament building. We were hoping it was open to the public like the U.S. Capitol or England's Parliament, but nothing doing. We did go through a security gate to a visitor reception center, which was just a glorified snack bar. There were some official looking desks on one side, and we asked about being able to go inside the Parliament building--no deal. Security is very tight here, or maybe it's just that they're not used to having tourists even want to see their government buildings. I was glad for the chance to rest for a little bit, especially since the reception center had a bit of air conditioning. I was getting hotter and hotter as the afternoon wore on.

After not seeing Parliament, we caught a rickshaw and asked to be taken to the National Museum. Uh-oh, it's closed on Mondays, too! With nothing else on our plan of things to do, we just headed back to Connaught Place, the shopping area near our hotel. It was only about 2:30, so we wanted to get some lunch and maybe spend the last of our rupees on some final souvenirs. We managed to find a McDonald's--that was the best strawberry shake I've had in ages, probably because I was so hot and tired. Then we just walked around for what seemed like forever. There was no way I could do that until 8 p.m., so we just gave up and went to the hotel, arriving there at about 4:00.

So what do you do while waiting in a hotel lobby for four hours? I sat and cooled off while Reid worked on his computer (he was lucky enough to find an electrical outlet near one of the couches) and then I did a little reading until he was done. Then we put in a DVD (a two-hour episode of Star Trek: Voyager). We had to share one set of ear buds in order to listen to it, so we must have looked pretty funny sitting there staring at a computer, each of us with a wire dangling from one ear. After the movie, we retrieved some clean clothes from our suitcases and were able to freshen up in the lobby restrooms. By 7:00, we were getting antsy and just asked if the car could take us to the airport early. They looked at us funny, but said it would be okay.

We arrived at the airport by about 8:15 and discovered that you can't even go inside the front doors until approximately three hours before your flight time. So we were technically an hour early and had to wait outside. Maybe that's why the hotel staff looked at us funny when we wanted to leave earlier than planned!

As my farewell to India, may I just say how much I enjoyed experiencing this country and its culture and people. It has helped me appreciate all I have; I am truly blessed. I will probably never be able to come back here, so I'm glad for the chance I had to make this trip. So goodbye, Delhi, and Happy Diwali to everyone!

Last Day in Delhi, Part 4

The Presidential Palace (the equivalent of our White House), sits at the top of the hill. It looks a little like our Capitol Building, don't you think? Unlike the White House, there are no tours, so all you can do is look through the gate.

I just love the stonework on this gate post!

Last Day in Delhi, Part 3

Next stop was over to the government buildings near Parliament and the Presidential Palace. They are set on a hill looking down the Raj Path towards the India Arch. (If you look closely at the last photo, you can see the arch far away in the smog.) We didn't see many tourists milling around; in fact, the only people I saw for a while were guards with their guns and rifles. We just kept walking up the hill and right past the buildings. We were waved away by a guard when we got close to the Ministry of Defense, so we just walked in the street instead of on the sidewalk next to the building. We did see some visitors when we got close to the Presidential Palace, but they seemed to be Indian. There certainly weren't any other Americans anywhere near!

Last Day in Delhi, Part 2

After not seeing the Red Fort, we made our way by auto-rickshaw to the nearby Jama Masjid, which just happens to be the largest mosque in India. Massive!

This last photo is looking down the steps of the mosque at a very busy street. All of India was crazy this day because it was the day before Diwali, a huge annual celebration also known as the Festival of Lights. It reminded me of Christmas with all the lights, candles, and gifts. It also reminded me of New Year's Eve with all the fireworks and partying. The streets were packed with people buying presents and fireworks--kinda cool.

Last Day in Delhi, Part 1

There was no rush to get up on Monday, our last day in India, since our flight wasn't leaving until midnight. It was nice to sleep in a little, enjoy breakfast, and finish packing. We had everything ready by about 11, so we checked out of the hotel and left our suitcases with the hotel staff and went out to see more of Delhi. We arranged to have a hotel car take us to the airport at 8 p.m., so that gave us eight hours of free time.

Our first stop was the Red Fort, another World Heritage Site. It's just too bad that it's closed on Mondays!

It looks like an amazing place, and I wish we'd been able to go inside.

Maybe next time!

Our Last Night

The end of a very busy Sunday brought some much needed rest. We stayed in Delhi at the Hans Hotel, very conveniently located in the business district near Connaught Place. If you need to stay in Delhi, I highly recommend it for its location, cleanliness, and service.

The India Arch

Delhi is the capital of India and has an impressive area that is very similar to the Mall in Washington, D.C. The India Arch is situated near one end of what is called the Raj Path. You can look far up the path and see the government buildings and the presidential palace (if it weren't so smoggy). This is the India Arch, a monument to their fallen soldiers. We just happened to be there on Sunday, a couple of days before Diwali (like New Year's), so it was very crowded with families, beggars, and vendors. We even got to see a man with a cobra. I didn't even want to get close for two reasons: I hate snakes, and I didn't want to have to pay the guy to take a picture.

The view through this side is to another monument nearby

One of many fountains along the path

Isa Khan

Also part of the Humayun site is the impressive Isa Khan Tomb.

Friday, October 31, 2008

We were Ruined!

On the grounds of the Humayun complex, we found this building. From what we could figure, it's some sort of garden building (maybe the gardener's living quarters?). Reid said climbing the steps reminded him of the Mayan pyramids--steep and narrow--which explains why I stayed at the bottom!

Humayun's Tomb

Our next stop on Sunday's tour was Humayun's Tomb, the precursor to the Taj Mahal. This was a monument built by a queen for her husband and is 100 years older than the Taj Mahal but is almost as spectacular.

This is one of several gates leading to the courtyard and gardens before you actually get to the monument holding the tomb.

See the resemblance to the Taj Mahal?

Cool stairs leading up to the monument

Humayun's Tomb

Red sandstone with marble inlays