Planned Obsolescence

We are T minus four days and counting until Aaron and Abbey’s wedding reception in our back yard.  Today something bad happened.  Our trusty 20-something year old lawn mower’s transmission went out.  The mower still runs, but it no longer propels itself, it must be PUSHED.

For those of you who know our property, you know we have a lot of lawn to mow–the front yard, the back yard, the playground, the farm house front yard, the farm house backyard and the mow strip along Main Street.  It usually takes a good part of a full day to mow everything.  And John’s been timing this last mow before the events to take place right before the big day.

What to do??  John called our neighbor, Dale Cutler, who owns the best lawnmower shop in Orem and he came by on his way to work to take a look at things.  He told us our mower is one of the best mowers ever made, perhaps his favorite, but that they no longer make them.  “They lasted too long,” he said.  Mowers today are built to die after a few years.  He called it “Planned Obsolescence.”

He said it would cost hundreds of dollars to replace the parts IF he could find them.  He said a new comparable mower would cost more than $1000, but it wouldn’t be as solid as this machine.  What to do???

Kind Dale said we could borrow his own home mower to prepare for our wedding reception, a nice new self-propelling electric mower.  You plug it in to charge it.  The charge would run out before we’d be able to mow all of our grass, but we had time to keep recharging it.  He told us that kind of mower is great for smaller yards, but maybe not the best for our situation.  Still, we had a mower and were grateful to be able to get the grass cut.

John PUSHING the mower to finish one of the back yards.

I’ve been thinking of what Dale said all day.

planned ob·so·les·cence

/ˌpland ˌäbsəˈlesəns/

    1. a policy of producing consumer goods that rapidly become obsolete and so require replacing, achieved by frequent changes in design, termination of the supply of spare parts, and the use of nondurable materials.

What are the three types of planned obsolescence?

Planned obsolescence is when various strategies are used to make a product seem undesirable, useless, and unwanted.

4 Types Of Planned Obsolescence
  • contrived durability,
  • software updates,
  • perceived obsolescence,
  • and prevention of repair.

More about this here:

It just doesn’t seem right that manufacturers PURPOSEFULLY design products to wear out so we’ll have to buy new ones.  The more I thought about it, the more examples came to mind of things that really shouldn’t wear out or need to be updated, but do.   Built to fail.  Cars, phones, laptops, lightbulbs, shoes, appliances, even branding on food.

Then I thought about my body and Heavenly Father’s Plan for me.  It’s not so different.  Knees can be replaced, hair can be dyed, cataracts can be removed, vitamins might boost our energy a bit, but all in all, we are all wearing out, and there’s not all that much we can do about it.

So what’s the alternative?  We die.  We move on.  We return to our Heavenly Home.  I’m good with that!  He has planned our obsolescence!

In our October 1996 General Conference, Elder Russell M. Nelson, a world-renown heart surgeon said:

“Even though our creator endowed us with this incredible power. . . the ability of the body to heal and repair itself from injury and illness. . . he consigned a counterbalancing gift to our bodies. It is the blessing of aging, with visual reminders that we are mortal beings, destined one day to leave this frail existence. Our bodies change every day. As we grow older, our broad chests and narrow waists have a tendency to trade places. We get wrinkles, lose color in our hair–even hair itself–to remind us that we are the mortal children of an immortal God, with a manufacture’s guarantee that we shall not be stranded on earth forever.”

I’m good with His plan.  Sometimes even excited about wearing out and being closer to the Return to His Presence.   It will be glorious when we get there.  But for now, I suppose finding replacement parts and dealing with the wearing out is just part of our plan and something we must each deal with.  I’m glad we’re all in it together.

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Brigham Young University Campus Diorama

We were on campus today for a friend’s retirement party in the Hinckley Center.  There is a new diorama of the campus that was really fun to look at.  I’ve spent about 15 years as a student here and John was a BYU employee for about 23 years.  This place was our other home.  It continues to grow and change.  When I first arrived in 1977, there were so many large grassy quads between the buildings.  Very few of those remain.

In the next year, the current Provo Temple will be taken down and a newer model will replace it.  Here’s what it will look like:

Here is a photo of the new Orem Temple.   I took this pic from the car as I got on the freeway last week.  It’s exciting to watch it change and grow.  We are surrounded by the blessings of heaven.

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Building Dresden Plates

I’ve cut, sewn and pressed more than 600 Dresden blades or petals these last couple of weeks.  Today I organized them by color so I could start building each block.

This quilt will have 30 finished blocks, with 20 blades in each.  I set out 30 paper plates, then started distributing the colors.  This is not my norm.  When I do a scrappy quilt, I usually just grab the next piece, at random.  My quilting friends talked me into being more organized with this one!

I now have 30 plates ready to sew, with a few leftovers.  Perhaps they’ll turn into doll quilts.

In the meantime, my Flea Market Flowers (Lori Holt design) is well underway.  I stitch in the evenings or when I’m waiting for someone or something.

This week I pulled out some boxes of Dresdens I made about 20 years ago.  They are still waiting to be born into a quilt.   Maybe I’ll get to them this year.

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Preparing for Garden Receptions and Parties

We are 10 days away from Aaron and Abbey’s wedding reception in our backyard.  There is still plenty of work to do to get ready.  We’ve been working hard, tackling one garden bed after the next.

Once upon a time, I planted a few Lily of the Valley bulbs here in one of my favorite garden beds.  Over the years, they’ve taken over and choked out almost everything else planted there.  I hate to see them go, but they aren’t playing well with the others anymore.  Their roots have filled almost every inch of this soil.

Gardens, like people, need constant upkeep and pruning to thin out the dead wood and baggage we carry.  If only repentance and change were as easy as digging up and hauling away.

The earth shifts and smooth river rocks work their way to the top.  It’s always surprising to see how many are down there in the dirt.

Some of my favorites right now:

There is another project underway in the Lewis compound–in the mow strip at the Farm House.  The grass here always struggles under the Lindon trees.  We’ve decided to eventually take it all out and replace it with pavers and a nice flowering ground cover like Vinca.  This week a back hoe came to prepare for the pavers.

We’ll wait until we have more energy to take out the rest of the grass!

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Mavis Hutchison, The Galloping Granny, Dies at Age 97

South African ultrarunning legend Mavis Hutchison dies

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Grandma Elsa’s Unfinished House Dress Quilt

When Grandma died, she left a few unfinished quilt tops.  This was one.  It’s nothing fancy.  No one wanted it.  I think it’s charming because when I pull it out, I remember Grandma’s dresses.  She sewed almost all of her clothing, down to her undergarments.

Grandma always wore dresses.  This quilt is made from the fabric of 3 of her practical house dresses.  She always wore an apron with pockets  over her dresses, pinned at the top to her chest.  I wish I had some pictures of Grandma in those every-day dresses and aprons.  No one ever thought to take those kinds of pictures back then.

Grandma had this quilt marked and ready to hand quilt.  I loved turning this corner to see how she mitered and pieced the corners, even using different muslin fabrics.  This is a true practical utility quilt that I will have quilted and completed in honor of true and practical Grandma Elsa.

Here’s a closer look at the fabrics:

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The Cookie Walk Tradition Takes Hold

We had our second Cookie Walk this evening, on this second Sunday of the month.  This has quickly turned into a favorite neighborhood activity that I suspect will carry on far into our future.

We were so busy hosting here at our home, we didn’t even get to the other 3 hosting families.

We’re meeting so many of the new neighbors who have moved into The Farm, the new development in our neighborhood.  This is so fun!

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Adam Lewis, Medical Doctor! KCU Graduation

Adam graduated from medical school today.  Just writing those words brings tears to my eyes.  Not only did he graduate, he matched and will get to continue his training at St. Louis University.  We are all so happy and proud.  Way to go, Adam!!

There’s our Adam, in the center–the tall one with the raised victory fist!

I’ll bet he’s the only one in this group that did this with 4 children.  Amazing.

Proud parents:

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Kansas City University Graduate Picnic

Baby Vivy came 7 days early.  A perfect child, not wanting to interfere too much with Adam’s graduation from medical school this week.  Today was the BBQ picnic on campus for the graduating class.  Adam has spent his last 5 years here in this place, learning and working So Hard.  This is a lovely campus, old red brick buildings, nice landscaping. The school is 106 years old this year. It feels well-established, one of the older medical schools in the country. It was nice to be here.

Adam’s class started with about 440 students. About 390 will graduate tomorrow.  Adam is the only student from KCU who has ever matched for ophthalmology.  He’s made his school proud!  It was so fun to see fellow students greeting each other today, wishing each other well as they start their 4-5 year residencies in hospitals all over the country.

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Vivian Lewis Has Arrived!

Oh my!  We went to bed late last night, ready to go watch the kids in the morning while Heidi and Adam went to the hospital for her induction.  At 12:37 the phone rang.  Heidi was in labor, headed to the hospital!  They arrived at the ER at 12:50, checked in and got to the delivery room by 1:10.  Twelve minutes later, Vivian made her appearance!  There was not even time for Heidi to put on a hospital gown!

The handoff from heaven to earth has happened. We have received a beautiful perfect little granddaughter named Vivian. 6 lbs 11 oz. 18 3/4″ long.

We left our hotel to sleep with the kids.  When they woke this morning, we showed them a picture of their new baby sister, Vivy.  This afternoon we all got to go visit Vivian at the hosptial.

Last night we talked with the kids about names for the baby. Josie wanted to name her “Purple Flower” and Clark’s favorite names were “Crystal” and “Ice Cube.” Ice Cube has been on his list for some time now. He’s been talking about it for a few weeks. When we asked why that name, why not “Root Beer,” he said “that’s a boy’s name!”

Good bye for now kisses.

I think often about how to leave myself behind as my hair turns gray and as I move into the later years of my life.  There is nothing more powerful than holding a new grandchild, blood of my blood, knowing this child will walk into a future I will never see or experience.  Somehow, some part of me will walk with this child and my legacy will live on, in her.  And I will know her and love her then from There as I will here, on earth.

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