Sunday, December 21, 2008

Hayden is Most Amusing (cont'd. thru C-mas)

Hayden actually likes to 'help.'  I told him, "When you grow up, you're going to be a hard worker - I can tell!"  "I know," he responded confidently, "and I'll have my own shovel."

Hayden said he didn't have germs.  I said everybody has germs.  "Boy's don't."  "Who told you that?"   "Johnny."

H. seems to be developing well in the formal manners department.  That, and/or he's spontaneously thoughtful.  When Uncle Grant left, he ran to the door and hollered, "Thanks for the snowman!"  On one of our trips to the fruit room to get more decorations, he said, "You have nice Christmas stuff!"

When I unveiled a heavy box and Hayden and I slowly pushed it from the closet to the living room, it was a few more minutes before he realized it contained a train and his excitement grew.  By the time we cranked it up, he said, "This is the BEST Christmas!"  And in a few minutes, "I speak the next turn!", so I said he'd not be having a 'turn,' only grown-ups could run the train.  He continued to be a tad too friendly for the train's health, so we had a 'talk' about its history and how the cousins have had to follow the rules too, and he's been totally fine since.

Jewel bought some kosher dill pickle halves.  Hayden asked for one.  After he ate it, he asked for another one and Jewel said at this rate she'd need to buy another jar for Christmas dinner.  He cheerfully said as if he'd solved everything, "Just buy two!" (Holding up two fingers.)

After lunch and the snowman, Hazel and Hayden had cookies and 'lukewarm' chocolate.  I handed Hazel a wipe when she was done and it dipped slightly into her cup.  Hayden cautioned her not to use it now and I said it was okay.  "It's poison."  I said, "Who says!" guessed it ... "Johnny."

Playing with He-Man figures and wanting arms reattached, I said he'd just take them off again.  Passing the buck blame, he said, "My sisters took it off."  (Meaning Hazel and Lucy.)

[FYI, Johnny's in the same scapegoat family as Hazel and Lucy.]

Jewel left the room for a moment and Johnny asked Hayden to get a certain gift from under the tree.  He wasn't sure so I picked it up and handed it to him, as Jewel came in.  So then she thought it was from me and Johnny said it was from Hayden.  (J&J had "agreed" not to buy gifts for each other.)  Hayden piped up, "It's not from me, I can't buy anything!"

Jewel made lots of yummy things for Christmas, and Hayden was impressed with the desserts - red velvet cupcakes and frosted sugar cookies.  He said, giving her legs a hug, "Wow, Mom's amazing!"  By now he was catching on that I was keeping this list and as I repeated it to make sure I got it right, he said in a stage-whisper, "... and you're not."  (Made me laugh as well as fondly think back to Grant's lack of enthusiasm over my posterity note-taking habits.)

And lastly, it's a Christmas miracle!!  Hayden asked me where Hazel and Lucy were going and I said to see your Grandpa Larry, the grandpa who gave you the rifle, remember the rifle?  He said sadly, "The rifle broke," then cheerfully as he bounced off, "Maybe he'll give me a new gun!"  And sure, enough, he did.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Christmas 2008

Grant brought in the tracks & erected the tree.
Jewel fluffed.
Hayden and GG trimmed.
Jewel topped w/Angel.
Roscoe admired.
                                        Johnny bringing more presents!
Santa too!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Jest 'fore Christmas

When I was in junior Primary I memorized a long poem, Mom dressed me up for the part and had me recite it at a ward party.  I can remember standing on the stage in the old 3rd Ward upstairs cultural hall, and she sat down in front and would mouth the next word if I got stuck. It was written by Eugene Field, 1850-1895 (Wynken, Blynken, and Nod). I’m betting it took many hours of patience for her to teach it to me, as much of it I wouldn’t have had a clue as to it’s meaning and she’d have been determined I pronounce it well enough that the adults could. Unfortunately it didn’t “stick” in my brain (sad to say, Daddy’s memory skill didn’t pass down to me!), and by the time I started searching, it took me forever to find it on the internet.  All I could remember was it had to do with so-and-so “calls me” the various varieties of the name Bill. Not remembering who the “so-and-so’s” were, complicated the search.


Father calls me William, sister calls me Will,
Mother calls me Willie, but the fellers call me Bill!

Mighty glad I ain't a girl---ruther be a boy,
Without them sashes, curls, an' things that's worn by Fauntleroy!
Love to chawnk green apples an' go swimmin' in the lake---

Hate to take the castor-ile they give for bellyache!

'Most all the time, the whole year round, there ain't no flies on me,

But jest 'fore Christmas I'm as good as I kin be!

Got a yeller dog named Sport, sick him on the cat;

First thing she knows she doesn't know where she is at!

Got a clipper sled, an' when us kids goes out to slide,

'Long comes the grocery cart, an' we all hook a ride!

But sometimes when the grocery man is worrited an' cross,

He reaches at us with his whip, an' larrups up his hoss,

An' then I laff an' holler, "Oh, ye never teched me!"

But jest 'fore Christmas I'm as good as I kin be!

Gran'ma says she hopes that when I git to be a man,

I'll be a missionarer like her oldest brother, Dan,

As was et up by the cannibuls that lives in Ceylon's Isle,

Where every prospeck pleases, an' only man is vile!

But gran'ma she has never been to see a Wild West show,

Nor read the Life of Daniel Boone, or else I guess she'd know

That Buff'lo Bill an' cowboys is good enough for me!

Excep' jest 'fore Christmas, when I'm good as I kin be!

[I think she modified the above paragraph, as I can't remember a thing about a
"missonarer" or "cannibuls" or "Ceylon's Isle." 
The last four lines ring bells, though, as does the rest of the poem.]

And then old Sport he hangs around, so solemnlike an' still,
His eyes they seem a-sayin': "What's the matter, little Bill?"

The old cat sneaks down off her perch an' wonders what's become

Of them two enemies of hern that used to make things hum!

But I am so perlite an' tend so earnestly to biz,

That mother says to father: "How improved our Willie is!"

But father, havin' been a boy hisself, suspicions me

When, jest 'fore Christmas, I'm as good as I kin be! 

For Christmas, with its lots an' lots of candies, cakes, an' toys,

Was made, they say, for proper kids an' not for naughty boys;

So wash yer face an' bresh yer hair, an' mind yer p's and q's,

An' don't bust out yer pantaloons, and don't wear out yer shoes;

Say "Yessum" to the ladies, and "Yessur" to the men,

An' when they's company, don't pass yer plate for pie again;

But, thinkin' of the things yer'd like to see upon that tree,

Jest 'fore Christmas be as good as yer kin be!

I must mention that this poem would have been descriptive of the years of her parents’ youth (both born 1882), and that her late teen/young adult years coincided with the Great Depression. Her family was very poor, as were many, even pre-depression. Her father made their shoes, and the children were expected to make them last a year. She said she tore hers somehow, beyond repair, and whenever he was around, she kept that shoe hidden - more out of recognition of the necessity for the anniversary date to arrive, than that she’d be in trouble. If she’d had a pantaloon problem, it would have been minor in comparison, as she was a skilled seamstress and designed her own patterns. She hired herself out to hoe beet fields. Once she walked to the lake (which was a lot further than she guessed), to fish, caught a catfish, which she proudly brought home and was informed it was too small to eat. So she put it in the cow’s trough where it grew to an approved edible size. She made hardship her friend, was remarkably industrious, and was valedictorian the year her high school class graduated. Once I accused her of being spoiled (by my Dad) and in truth she was, but she earned it. (So if you don’t get what you want, or what you figure you deserve, for Christmas, remember the hardships and hope of your heritage, and take heart.)

Sunday, December 7, 2008

The Good, The Bad (but not necessarily The Ugly)

Those of you who really know me -- all two of you  who would ever read this -- know I have a bizarre sense of humor. Of late I’ve been fending off BP issues. I’ve actually done quite well in that department, given history, but the last few weeks I’ve “cracked myself up,” as one of our kitchen managers would say. I must also say that having Jewel and her loved ones here for Thanksgiving gave me a much appreciated reprieve which goes on the Good List. But, unfortunately, some days are just plain Bad.

I go to the temple most Fridays and recently I ended up puttering at work late enough that it unsuspectingly put me in the heart of the date crowd. It was most annoying. Not that the crowd was that crowd, just that it was big which translated into getting there at 6:15 and home at t-e-n-f-o-r-t-y-f-i-v-e-! I managed to remain relatively calm in the temple, but when I got in my car and was waiting for neighborhood traffic, which one would think nonexistent at that time of night, to let me in, I said, out loud, “Come onnnnnn, get a move on, would ya!!” Arrived at the MTC roadway and a car was sitting there, in no hurry to venture forward, and I continued to vocally bellyache. Then it dawned on me, light bulb time - I’d just left the temple and my elevated BP was already “back” which made me laugh out loud and continue chuckling for several blocks. (It’s a good thing, even better if it is humorous [wacky or otherwise], to realize you are behaving badly.)

Then a few days after that, I was late leaving work again, heading up the diagonal, got in line to turn right on 8th East. Now a few years ago, I got pulled over on that corner. Until recently, the white lane divider lines were very faded, I’d forgotten there was more than one lane (there isn’t on that street, the other side of that intersection) and the cop warned me I couldn’t turn directly into the “inside” lane. It would have been pointless of course to mention the practically invisible markings, which were even worse in the dark. Nowadays they are totally noticeable, no excuses allowed. I was second in line to turn, the left-hand turn lane in front of us was flowing, and I was loudly advising that car to “GET going, there are TWO lanes you know,” and then I commented, instantly, calmly, at the same time the 18-wheeler made the turn and was hogging the “outside” lane, “Well… maybe not … if you would actually rather not get squashed,” and then laughed and laughed for miles at my so-called BP-induced observation.

Actually, it may not all be BP. At work they’ve finally converted from an ancient boiler to more modern HVAC methods and mucked out the furnace room which is nearby our department. It has been definitely on my irritation list, the noise, the stink, the mess, the ineptness (permanently there will be no heat in the restrooms for one thing; muck missing the mark in tossing it onto the truck at the bottom of the ramp, left for days, and the masses tracking the filth back in, which would have been a mud flood had it rained). They created a gas leak that lasted forever before they finally figured out how to stop it, amid macho/lame explanations such as it takes awhile to dissipate (8 days?!) or the gas monitor always goes wild when you enter a building. In BP-complimentary frustration, I commented that it was Phil’s way of finishing us off, which cracked up the rest of the department. You’d have to know Phil to get that one. And hopefully, there is NO ONE out there in the reading audience who … actually, I CAN think of one… . I, lacking faith in our own people, finally called the gas company. If he said it six, he said it seven times (just like Proverbs!), natural gas can kill you from the explosion but it can’t make you sick. We were all feeling sickish, extra ornery, respiratory symptoms. Well, duh, it’s the stuff IN the gas that does that (per the MSDS sheet [not per the gas company]), and I don’t think very many people split distinguishing between “natural” gas and methyl mercaptan when they are complaining about leakage!

Some days are just so very Good. (And it’s a good thing or you’d just give up.) Just make the assumption upon arrival at church every week that you will be asked to give the closing prayer, and see how great it makes your day, actually paying attention in anticipation of that. It is going on five years I’ve attended Sacrament meeting, sans or as caboose. Of late it bothers me.  Well. It's bothered me, but of late it bothers me.  (BP "speaking," I'm sure.)  The week before, the nicest elderly sister came in late, sat beside me, whisper-chatted amiably. Came time for the next meeting which would be in the same room. A sister who has taken to ‘tending’ her wanted her to move and sit by her. She uses a walker and protested, the ‘tender’ persisted, so I got up and moved so she could have my seat and not make her move. Sigh. Once in Sacrament meeting the family who came after me and sat in the same row and then had more visitor family arrive, asked me to move. Double sigh. Once a married couple came along, two empty seats to the side of me and the husband took the one next to me. The wife chewed on his ear a moment and they switched seats. Triple sigh. (I suppose I should have been flattered at my age/appearance to be perceived as a threat.) But as I said, some days are extra Good.

I was not hep at going the following week, knowing I was going to purposefully put myself outside the possibility of having to move (or exacerbate my current sensitivities). I was asked to give the closing prayer. The theme was treating Sacrament meetings and the sacrament with more sacredness. It was good for my temporarily tender soul to have to pay better attention. The next meeting (still safe in my corner of the room), I was in a better position and frame of mind to notice things. Other things beside how I-I-I felt about life. The prior bishop who so kindly gave me such a good start in this ward, stopped to congratulate a sister who is about my age and has just gotten her recommend after 13 years. It was a joy, observing both their joy, and thinking back of his kindness to me and the great callings he gave me to help me adjust.

My growing up neighbor came in late and sat beside me (hopefully he dares do that in future should his wife hear about it! ). At one point the people who sit by the audio knobs were fiddling and the teacher asked what the problem was. His dad, who is rather crotchety, said he couldn’t hear a word and his son gave a big sigh. Me, I thought that as confirming the crotchety-ness, but then he whispered - ‘Watch, she’ll tone her voice down to offset the upped mike’ and sure enough. So his sigh was in sympathy, not criticism of his dad, which was a tender revelation.

The lesson was the book of Mormon. We summarized the signs of those times with the question, which ones apply to this day? …wars, wickedness, unbelief, sorceries, witchcraft. One of the older folks commented in a very matter of fact nonconfrontational way, the possibly potential stepping stone of all the book/movie hype that of the last few years consumes the “popular” interest. (The “vice is a monster” adage.) I thought of all the older folks I get to mingle with, many of them still hanging in from my growing up years, and what a blessing that is, even for me, if not aged myself, for sure old.

We talked about being worthy of having the Holy Ghost as a constant companion, and concluded from D&C 121:44-46, that to get it, we must have charity towards all men and unceasingly virtuous thoughts. I always appreciate the concepts that are covenants; do this=get this. Another question, who were Mormon’s words written for? Sister Bastian, probably the oldest woman in the ward, said, “Me!” Who else, was the question, “Raymond!” (Her husband.) We all laughed.

Then sacrament meeting was the icing on the cake, the HC speaker was our prior bishopric counselor, which was a treat. (Both former bc’s are HC’s.) He talked about how blessed we were that in this day our meetings let out at a set time, that they often droned on in “the olden days.” Once when J. Golden Kimball was partnered with an apostle, it was a fast Sunday and the meeting went way over, and the apostle instead of closing the meeting, asked him to get up and speak of the virtues of the newly published Era magazine, to boost subscriptions. He got up and said, ‘If all of you will raise your hands that you will subscribe to the Era, we will conclude this meeting,’ to which they did, and he sat down. The HCman also stated (quoting) that “The Lord is in the details,” meaning He knows, don’t ever think He doesn’t, and that the details do matter. He told of a farmer who lost his peach crop and quit coming to church, thinking God didn’t care about him so why should he. The bishop paid him a visit and said he didn’t know if God sent the frost to kill his peaches, but he knew God sent the frost to firm the farmer’s spiritual commitment. The farmer came back. Soul food, all of it, just because I walked in the door and was handed a need to pay better attention. And reconfirm that my spiritual commitment matters … it’s all in the details.

Last year's card from Jewel & Hayden:

"There's only one thing better than what we find on our Thanksgiving table...

(Plays the Charlie Brown theme when you open it.)

...It's what we find around it!"

(And now it's part of the centerpiece tradition.)

Sunday, November 16, 2008

In Honor of the Season...

... I’m posting my latest set of thanksgivings:

I love sunny Saturdays and Sundays when I can spend a bit of the day reading in the “sunroom.” (South addition my Mom had my Dad build on grandpa’s house, when they moved in, because she found it harder to deal with the cold the older she got. And what a considerate man he was to do that for her.) I also look forward to hopefully retiring one day and have plenty of daylight to putter in the yard and have a larger portion left over to spend in the sunroom. I’m also grateful for Norma’s pastels as opposed to the former hues. ☺ I can still fondly visualize Daddy napping on the floor, in the sun, with a newspaper page over his face.

I’m grateful Jewel’s shelter is a bit more secure (house she was renting ended up in foreclosure as a consequence of the owner’s inability to keep up with three mortgages!), and that her pantries aren’t bare (from the economy taking its inevitable hit in her corner of the employment world).

I’m grateful Hayden has fond memories of visits here (though little does he know Utah trips will be considerably less exciting what with our diminished numbers here). Every time we talk on the phone he asks me when he’s coming up, the sweetheart!, and is disgruntled in response to my ambiguity! Jewel says they’ll be in the car and he’ll ask to hit the road for my house. He’s been on enough road trips at his young age, back and forth, that it’s also nice to know he still thinks those long drives are worth it!

I’m grateful for the internet. I was able to follow the possibilities in housing re Jewel’s move and take some vicarious enjoyment therein. I’ve gotten better acquainted with Janeil’s posterity by joining the blogging world. I found a childhood poem I’ve been searching for, for years! (I’m going to post it for Christmas.) I bookmarked the t.v. fall schedule so I can waste less time in general and less time hunting and pecking with the remote. I have been able to follow my Dad’s Wells Fargo stock daily (if not hourly!) the last few months. ☺ I’ve been following the FDIC receiver failed bank list, three in 2007, 19 so far in 2008. Odd thing to be grateful for, I know, but it’s always good to widen one’s view, and that particular item takes the economy’s pulse rather dramatically. Even that provides a bit of amusement (at the expense of many I’m sure): Integrity Bank and First Integrity Bank bit the dust. Hummm, think the i-word had anything to do with it?? “Freedom” Bank recently joined the ranks - another foretelling hummm? I signed up for Google alerts and learned I’m grateful I didn’t develop my blood disease in childbearing years as my chances were already ifish without adding an extra live birth reduction rate of 50-70%! From watching Accuweather during Ike I developed a broader interest in weather patterns. Just never occurred to me that something going on so far away in the deep Atlantic can effect weather in Utah, etc. (I can’t, however, recommend being thankful for Google severe weather alerts - received 11 emails re one piddling storm that left an inch of snow which promptly melted - but, interestingly, was from Norbert! [and other interaction].)

I’m grateful for an occasional small raspberry shake from Purple Turtle (which they conveniently make it easy to spread over two days). And, that my cholesterol is 168 in spite of it! (So far.) Which prompts an apology to Grant and Jewel who used to occasionally desire their own P.T. shake to which I’d always reply that I’d rather buy Russell’s ice cream by the gallon from the grocery story, as it would be cheaper (but I don’t think I actually ever did that!).

And lastly, I’m grateful for obtaining and retaining my testimony, for it is the greatest gift I’ve ever received, and I perch on the verge of having it longer than not. I was (truly) converted to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints by Sterling W. Sill in 1977, when he was 74 years old and I was 32. My favorite church calling of all time was Primary music, which I was blessed to be able to do five times in four different wards, for approximately 12 years. And what fun that was, doing it in my childhood Primary room with the SMP in my childhood chapel.

Have a great holiday, everyone! And be sure not to take any wooden nickels (nor ditch any unpopped kernels of corn).

Sunday, November 9, 2008

The Faith of our Forefathers (steps included!)

N.C.W.F. died 25 Aug 2004 at the age of 87.  She was reading the Book of Mormon for the 49th time that summer.  She was a pillar in every community she ever lived.  She was stake R.S. president at the age of 78.  I was blessed to know her and know that she loved me.  She was the only maternal grandmother my children ever knew. Almost every time she saw Jewel, she would hug her and say, "Are you as pretty on the inside as you are on the outside?"  That this house exists is a tribute to her love and honor of our family heritage.  [Grant, note the remnants of your huge painting project that mostly and promptly fed the flames.]  I often think of her but today's S.S. lesson reminded me once more of her example.  

President Marion G. Romney said "the efficacy of our prayers depends upon our liberality to the poor."  Norma was actually famous for the faith and power of her prayers.  I discovered that in detail when I moved into her house just over four years ago, and dealt with her "junk" mail.  She not only forever paid a full tithe and constantly had a humanitarian project in progress, she donated to a dozen by-mail charities.  One of them, a convent,  called and upon learning she had died, immediately and sincerely said, "We'll pray for her!"  It was kind and sweet but also amusing, considering, I'm sure, Norma prayed for t-h-e-m, as well as untold others.

Her eldest son, a BYU veep as well as a stake president at the time of her passing, said they all turned to her in time of need.   One of her grandsons had the desire but lacked the grades to be admitted into dental school, and he said she prayed him in and prayed his success to completion.  The year before she died, she prayed away the need for Jewel's scheduled pre-cancer cell procedure.

The peace I found the very night I moved in, and still find, I attribute to her 18 years here, 13 alone, as well of course to all the relatives who were residents throughout the 75 years before, since my grandpa and his brothers built this house.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Halloween Past

In 1978 we had a seven-year-old foster son who though he’d had a hard life, had a tender heart. His mom visited him once in the year we had him. She told him she’d be coming to get him and take him trick-or-treating. I doubted it so prepared behind the scenes and along about 8 p.m. and he’d given up the wait, I unveiled a costume and we set out to the relatives’ houses so he’d not totally miss out. When we got back home he got ready for bed and as I tucked him in he (optimistically but so sadly) said, “She must have meant next year.”

One evening visiting my parents, the subject of respecting elders came up, reminding my dad of a long poem he’d learned years before, which he then recited. Dale listened “respectfully” and didn’t let on that he was “moved” by it until the first words out of his mouth the next morning when he woke up were, with much relief, “Well, them Black Things didn’t get me!”

LITTLE ORPHANT ANNIE by James Whitcomb Riley (1849-1916)

LITTLE Orphant Annie's come to our house to stay,
An' wash the cups an' saucers up, an' brush the crumbs away,
An' shoo the chickens off the porch, an' dust the hearth, an' sweep,
An' make the fire, an' bake the bread, an' earn her board-an'-keep;
An' all us other childern, when the supper-things is done,
We set around the kitchen fire an' has the mostest fun
A-list'nin' to the witch-tales 'at Annie tells about,
An' the Gobble-uns 'at gits you 
Ef you 

Wunst they wuz a little boy wouldn't say his prayers,--
An' when he went to bed at night, away up-stairs,
His Mammy heerd him holler, an' his Daddy heerd him bawl,
An' when they turn't the kivvers down, he wuzn't there at all!
An' they seeked him in the rafter-room, an' cubby-hole, an' press,
An' seeked him up the chimbly-flue, an' ever'-wheres, I guess;
But all they ever found wuz thist his pants an' roundabout:--
An' the Gobble-uns 'll git you 
Ef you 

An' one time a little girl 'ud allus laugh an' grin,
An' make fun of ever' one, an' all her blood-an'-kin;
An' wunst, when they was "company," an' ole folks wuz there,
She mocked 'em an' shocked 'em, an' said she didn't care!
An' thist as she kicked her heels, an' turn't to run an' hide,
They wuz two great big Black Things a-standin' by her side,
An' they snatched her through the ceilin' 'fore she knowed what she's about!
An' the Gobble-uns 'll git you 
Ef you 

An' little Orphant Annie says, when the blaze is blue,
An' the lamp-wick sputters, an' the wind goes woo-oo!
An' you hear the crickets quit, an' the moon is gray,
An' the lightnin'-bugs in dew is all squenched away,--
You better mind yer parunts, an' yer teachurs fond an' dear,
An' churish them 'at loves you, an' dry the orphant's tear,
An' he'p the pore an' needy ones 'at clusters all about,
Er the Gobble-uns 'll git you 
Ef you 

To all the little children: -- The happy ones; and sad ones;
The sober and the silent ones; the boisterous and glad ones;
The good ones -- Yes, the good ones, too; and all the lovely bad ones.

Saturday, October 4, 2008


Today is a good day, in spite of my headache (a few too many work hours but which will be ending soon).

Got the work I brought home done just before conference started. Don and Lois came in between sessions to get Italian prunes so I had him leave the ladder out there and I got a batch to put up during the second session. Ummmm. Stewed prunes. Sweet. Lovely. Yummy. (Takes longer but tastier than just bottling the halves.) I'll do another batch this afternoon (if the rain slows to a drizzle). And now I feel energized to continue a batch a day next week until I get them done. Juice to follow stewed. Grape juice to follow prune juice.

I was a tad worried they might go to waste. I've found there are many people who are grateful to have me share them, but few who will come pick their own! (Many called but few chosen?) Last year I didn't have time to do them, but was determined to get them picked and delivered. This year, what with the state of economy woes, it seems extremely foolish to not get them put up.

Mom would be proud of me. Well... appalled actually. An eensy-weensy bit pleased, perhaps? (She'd have had the whole tree done by now, no matter what other irons were in her fire.) My parents' gardening efforts bring back fond memories. I well remember wheelbarrows of corn, shucking them on this very back porch, to then be cut and frozen, and so much corn juice running down my arms, a rash developed. Being the youngest and acknowledgingly spoiled, my mom was innovative in her attempts to get me to actually "work." She'd tell me the Black-eyed Susans needed a haircut. Or that the carrots needed thinning and how'd I like to pretend I was a rabbit. My favorite was climbing the apricot tree and eating to my heart's content. Or taking the salt-shaker along up the green-apple tree. I didn't care to be sent out to the garden after dark to get a tomato for the dinner table. (We often ate late due to her "other-iron" approach to life.) I remember expressing my boredom one late summer day. She sent me to the garden to pick the largest squash I could find, and then suggested I carve it like a Halloween pumpkin! She used to make our costumes. One year she bought a soft rubber pumpkin head mask and then made me a circle skirt to go around my neck with a vine and leaf pattern. I'd go out in the garden, sit down cross legged, fully outfitted, spread out my "skirt" and pretend I was one of them. Which also reminds me of her talent when she was involved with the Central School spook alley. It was in the subbasement among the pipes. She took a sheet and made a hole in it so that my head fit through it as it hung smoothly down from upper pipes, and I sat comfortably on a lower pipe behind the sheet as the children came through. She even - annoying perfectionist that she was - face stitched the opening. She tied my hair to the pipe above and then poured (home-canned, of course) beet juice down the front of the sheet. You get the idea. I'd have my eyes closed and in the dimness the kids would comment, "Is it real?" and I'd open my eyes, which caused them to scream and scatter.

Hearing the lids seal yields confirming pleasure. I need to get my shelves lined with grip rubber to give my bottles a chance of survival should there be a trembling. I got the upstairs done but put off the fruit room. Don suggested bungie cords to accommodate a bit more of a jiggling. Great idea! Thanks, Don! I'm off to Wal-mart! after ending this with my grateful expression that I can bring a lot of my work home to do, thanks to a VPN connection to the district. That way, I'm home before dark to pick next week, and get back to the job's odds and ends after. We are very blessed, technologically. To be able to reach my Houston-IKE's was very comforting. Well, I can't say I'm grateful for my cherry trees ;-), but I extend much gratitude to my Heavenly Father for the rest of my little "harvest."

Sunday, September 7, 2008


It’s my turn for the next Relief Society presidency message. I picked the theme a long time ago, then kept it on the back burner for if/when I would be able to use it just pre Thanksgiving. (Which, I might add, in and of itself [the back-burner plan], is totally inappropriate. [Read on and you’ll see why….])

When I was in the Primary years ago I found enough scriptures on gratitude for all the senior Primary kids to come to the podium (had them line up in a circle around the room - maybe 50 of them) and read one. Fifty-ish that they would ‘get’ as they read them. (There are MANY more than that!) Did you know that we are commanded to be grateful? Did you know that we are commanded to express that to our Father in Heaven? Did you know that as with all covenants, it too holds a promise?

D&C 59:21 And in nothing doth man offend God, or against none is his wrath kindled, save those who confess not his hand in all things, and obey not his commandments.

1 Thes. 5: 18
 In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.

Alma 37: 37
 Counsel with the Lord in all thy doings, and he will direct thee for good; yea, when thou liest down at night lie down unto the Lord, that he may watch over you in your sleep; and when thou risest in the morning let thy heart be full of thanks unto God; and if ye do these things, ye shall be lifted up at the last day.

I’ve been so buried at work (thoughts far distant from planning a lesson) I decided I’d better ramp up my own obedience and start noting it in writing on a daily basis, or I could hardly presume to give a lesson on it!

So these are my Gratitudes to God of late -

Harvested corn from Uncle Boyd, left Friday 8/29 and again Wednesday 9/3.
Skiff, more than a dusting of snow, on Timp, observed in all its glory, Monday morning 9/1.
Cooler weather so the lawn grows slower, since I don’t have time to mow it! (Turned off the AC on 8/29 with no need since to turn it back on.)
A well insulated house (or I’d have turned on the heat a couple times, like some of my neighbors!).
Salmon-colored raspberries to pick and eat each evening. (And the red ones are almost as tasty.)
Garden produce shared at Enrichment, of which mine to take home and savor was a peach, a small zucchini, and a green pepper.
Humor along the path of life, such as observing the older couple arriving for church, parking near the dumpster and depositing three large bags before going on in.
I’m grateful … for a competent BYU intern!! (Who got me out of the work woods by Friday, 9/5.)
… for a supportive and courageous boss!! (Who has a great work ethic and demands OT pay for me from a government system which would just as soon, and used to, turn a blind eye!)
… for passing a test on Saturday 9/6 based on a 260-page textbook, after working over 200 hours in less than three weeks, with questions like this:
“Foodhandlers can’t work in their operation if they have an illness caused by which pathogen? Vibrio vulnificus, Salmonella Typhi, Clostridium botulinum, or Clostridium perfringens.” (The correct answer is Salmonella Typhi.)
… that when your eyeballs feel like they’ll fall out of your head, they really won’t.
… that when the rest of your tiny family moves over 2,000 miles away, taking the last of your grandchildren with them (how rude!), you are (almost) too busy to cry much.
… for a yummy Sunday morning breakfast consisting of whole wheat pancakes topped with syrup and real blue berries. (But no, lest you think I actually cook - they’re Eggo’s.)
… that my knee is up to walking me down to and back from the stake center (north of the cemetery) for the Saturday and Sunday conference sessions.
… that I was actually glad I went (in lieu of sleeping!).
… for the large length of grass surrounding the junior high to feel between my toes on the way home.
… for a few wild potawatomi plums to gather along the ditch bank above the tennis courts.
… for a daughter who is like a cat (does what it takes to land productively on her feet in difficult times).
… for a daughter-in-law who loves me. (And doesn’t let on if/when I ever bug her.)
… for a son who gets the big picture.
… for a Father in Heaven I know loves me as He loves all of his children, but also lets me know in many comforting ways that He actually cares.

Alma 34: 38 …worship God, in whatsoever place ye may be in, in spirit and in truth; and … live in thanksgiving daily, for the many mercies and blessings which he doth bestow upon you. 

Ps. 63: 3 Because thy lovingkindness is better than life, my lips shall praise thee.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Music is Life

The first two songs are among those "we" always sang when Hazel and I were in the car together every Friday, so hopefully that jogs a memory for her (but they're not the same versions - J.J. does get softer in both.)
The Living Years, I'm beyond that "theory" but I think most of us go through it, and for me it was my mom, I came to realize I HAD been and WASN'T, any more, blaming.
The western songs were my Dad's favorites.  He loved LOTS of music but little of it is available on this playlist.  My Dad had few vices and few hobbies, but the latest in sound equipment was one.  It was second to his love of reading/learning.  And because I love and admire him so, I feel the same about his music.
When You Wish and Que Sera were songs he sang to the three of us as children, and Grant remembers him singing When You Wish.  Once I started to sing it after he died and Grant asked me to stop because it made him miss him.  This is the same version (Doris Day) I heard as a preteen, other than my Dad singing it in response to my worries.
I'm Proud my Dad heard for the first time at an early birthday party for Grant at Chucky Cheese - the bear sang it, and he found it so touching tears ran down his cheeks.
Battle Hymn by MoTab was on the national top 20 list when I was in my 20's, living in Michigan.  (It's "broken" and they're fixing it.)
A-Ha, Grant and Jewel's babysitter wanted to go to their concert at Abravanel Hall and her mom said she could go if she could find an adult to take her.  I was worried about hearing loss for several hours after!
Listen to the Rhythm was a favorite the summer I was 15.  Night on Bald Mountain by Massorgsky has been a favorite since college.  The Mariner's Revenge I'll blame on Grant getting me hooked due to our mutual sick humor "appreciation."  Most of those I share it with look at me askance (if they look at all).  MTA I used to sing the Kingston Trio version (which is a tad better than this one) as a teen at the top of my voice (when alone).
Short People - what can I say.
Spirit in the Sky - Grant teases me about my funeral (pine box and the obit will say ONLY "She died."), so I told him this is my requested song (which is a no, of course).

(I love to put Janeil's blog music on, a quiet Sunday evening.  She says mine's more for energizing her while cleaning house!)