Sunday, May 31, 2009

My Sunday FHE #4

This is Grant letting his pride and pleasure show in regard to his only-child status finally ending.  He always hoped he’d get a sister.  She pretty much ruled the roost, as you can see.  Next is Jewel opening her presents when she turned two, and the next is a late fall visit to Silver Lake way up the north fork of A.F. Canyon.  I actually made that outfit in the birthday picture, which I thought turned out very cute (she’s checking out her birthday patent leather shoes).  My career ended however after making several shirts for Grant when he went to Kindergarten, the very same cut but with different combinations of fabric (the “stretch n’ sew" era you might recognize in the picture). When he came to contemplating first grade he very carefully and kindly pointed out that he’d sure like to have just store-bought shirts like the rest of the kids.

Grant was always perfectly fine about including Jewel in his activities. If his friends gave him any trouble over it, we never heard about it. Grant is directly behind Jewel in this picture with his friends, two sets of brothers. One set lived through the field north of us and Jewel was friends with their sister Andrea, whom she called “E-a,” and so E-a she became even in her own family. Once through a facing window Grant spied E-a on her back porch clad only in her diaper in the dead of winter. He was very worried. I kept saying I was sure she’d get cold and go back in, or her parents would discover her shortly. Finally he said, “I can’t stand it!” and marched out the door, up the street, to usher her back inside the house. This propensity to care for others never ended. Once, perhaps five years down the road, in another neighborhood, Jewel was as usual tagging after Grant’s crowd and they were out in the field. (You should always try to rear your children by a field - much better choice than a playhouse!) Suddenly the door opened and Grant shoved Jewel inside, advising me to keep her in the house because Jeff and Ray were swearing! Jeff and Ray were brothers, one had “accidentally” shot the other one with his b-b gun and the retaliation got a little out of hand.

Next is Grant, hauling off his Christmas stash, and helping Jewel ride her birthday trike safely.  Then Jewel and Grant posing at some historical marker out west.  The next two pictures are what they chose to wear to the annual Strawberry Days children’s parade.  Jewel is in her gymnastics outfit, and Grant is wearing the cape Norma made him, with his pet rat on his shoulder, and the sign says, “Wilbur, the Amazing Rat.”  (What happens when you take a picture of a picture - I’d love to learn if anyone knows how to flip it short of a picture of a picture of a picture!)  Norma was a talented seamstress, made her daughter’s wedding dress and even made suits for her husband. Grant wanted a certain cape for Halloween, black on the outside and red on the inside, and so she offered to make it.  It was part of several costumes and then I used it for years in Primary (with a heavy cardboard black top hat I made to go with it and we used on the Christmas vacation snowman).  Norma was the best grandma Grant and Jewel could have.  Almost every time she saw Jewel she would give her a hug and say, “Are you as pretty on the inside as you are on the outside?!”  Notice Jewel looking on, in the snake picture -- she was also welcome at cub pack outings.  [Ruth, is that Mark next to Grant?]

The saguaro cactus came from Arizona in 1976, courtesy of their dad who didn’t know he could have been arrested and dramatically fined for bringing it home when it was a few inches tall. When we moved to P.G., it was in the basement apartment and got so it wasn’t doing very well, missing the sunlight, hence the “waistline” from putting it outside and getting sunburned. It survived all of our kids’ growing up years at home, then got sick and died (circa 2003). Missed them, probably! This picture was taken while it lived on the staircase landing. Once, the Rawlinson cousins came to call and the kids were running up and down the stairs, as kids are wont to do. Jewel slipped on the way down, and got a number of spines stuck in her arm. She kept it to herself until they left, figuring her dad would send the company away. Some of the barbs broke off under the skin and we could feel them year after year.

Next installment - last Sunday in June!

Monday, May 25, 2009

Visited the cemeteries today:

(My contribution is on the right,
a small container of her well loved tea roses.)
Houston pictures to add to Ruth's:

Hazel, Lucy & Ruth @ the local park.

Albino crocodile @ zoo.
Hazel on the train.

Rothko Chapel in the Museum District (gnostic texts set to medieval chant music, Coptic Egyptian translation & lecture by Dr. April D. DeConick, professor of biblical studies).

Hazel @ Galveston beach.

Ten C. sign in Galveston (a Grant term paper).
Downtown Houston.
4th largest city in USA, 2.2 million w/i 600 sq. mi.

Bayou Bends Garden (home of Ima Hogg, daughter of first native Texas governor).

The Water Works @ the Children's Museum.

Rice U. opened in 1912 as The William March Rice Institute for the Advancement of Letters, Science and Art, and is a private research university. The studentbody consists of over 3,000 undergraduate, 897 post-graduate and 1,247 doctoral students. The Rice campus is a heavily-wooded 285-acre tract of land. There are about 50 buildings across the campus. It is four miles SW of downtown Houston. (Three miles from Grant & Ruth's apartment.)

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Today marks an overdue posting of gratitudes.  Friday’s temple trip worked it’s usual magic of helping me realign my perspective and I appreciated just missing a session’s departure so I had a full 15 minutes to read the scriptures.  I’d forgotten to take note of where I was at, however, and only one of the five chapters turned out to be “new.”  You get so old, and a lot of it always seems “vaguely familiar,” both for the reason that you’ve read it numerous times and for the reason that the aging brain treats most information like that!  J

Friday night and 95% of Saturday my internet was down.  Qwest came out and swapped out my modem and wireless.  It was interesting to take note of how much I missed it when it was gone.  Back in dial-up days I mostly waited until I got to work re speed issues, but yet was grateful to have it.  NowaDSLdays it would be true withdrawal to go long without it.  The biggest thing I missed was wanting instant answers!  And wondering how I lived before without them!  Are there any medications that use the three pain killers I can take, together, other than Vanquish?  Can I still get Vanquish?  What’s the bus schedule to get from the airport to my friend’s office?  When does the postage price go up?  Is it really true I should unplug my modem when not in use? What does DSL actually mean?

I’m grateful I still have one unoperated upon knee.  I can’t say “good” knee, but it definitely beats the “repaired” one.  I’m grateful I made it into this house before ruining the since “repaired” one, as that is now an impossible consideration unless of course someone else took care of that task.  I’m grateful I have a hoe.  When I moved in I wanted to garden a bit and figured soaker hoses were the best bet, considering I’d be planting up against the foundation and I’d be gone all day.  They were fine, but some of them have worn out and I’m currently too lazy, though I did purchase the supplies, to assess and assemble the parts, so I planted on the edge of the sidewalk and cut a slick furrow as far away from the wall as possible.  It brought back memories of hoeing with my Dad and Mom.

I’m grateful for my sense of smell.  My Dad lost his and I did too for a number of years but got it back as a tender mercy (Weigh Down timeframe, Janeil), and I love this time of year, smelling the lilacs.  I have four types and/or colors in my yard.  Trimming the deadheads off every year I could live without, but I do need the exercise, so that’s good, plus I did get my tender mercy wish of a great reduction in the number of cherry tree blossoms that actually fruited out!  J  I also so enjoy the smell (and taste) of the fruit Jewel sent me for Mother’s Day.  The oranges are from Fresno, CA, and breaking one open smells more like orange blossoms than the smell of your usual grocery store oranges.  Ummmmm.  Reminds me of my Dad’s cantaloupes which were greatly coveted by neighbors and relatives, and made you swear off the store versions.  When he and Norma were on their mission, he gave me a people list to deliver his garden surplus (from Manila to Dr. Nimer's downtown), and one recipient when he answered the door and I proffered a canteloupe, said, “He always brought me two.” !J!  Once I suggested he have a fruit stand because people would flock to it and the delivery part could be x’d, and he said no, he’d have to pay taxes on his produce if he did that.

I’m grateful for my heritage.  And since it’s mother’s day I make mention of just a few.  My mom’s mom I don’t remember.  The most I know about her I learned from Aunt Avera who lived with her the whole of her marriage, after all the other adult children moved out.  She said she was very quiet and unappreciated (the kind you get sometimes when you're long-suffering) but that she did her duty regardless.  She faithfully attended church and she bore her testimony regularly in Relief Society.  She was very ill towards the end of her life and her husband didn’t know it.  She got him off to work, went back to bed until it was time to get his supper ready.  I find that both admirable and disgusting.  I am sure she earned a great reward for her choices.

My dad’s mom was very quiet and unassuming too.  (That's my mom and me on the left.)  Once I commented about her lack of callings in the church which seemed odd to me since she did faithfully attend and therefore must have avoided acquiring any!  My dad immediately came to her defense and chided me, saying “callings” weren’t all there was to life, his mom was particularly shy, and she more importantly raised eight children who were faithful in the church.  Her grandchildren loved her.  She would give them a cookie when they came, a sugar cookie with a hole in the middle to put your finger through while you ate it.  She always seemed happy and pleased to see you.  She never got over worrying, but she was kind through and through and had a sweet sense of humor that made you wonder if she realized she was funny, which made her humor all the more amusing.  All three sons served as missionaries and bishops, two of whom served two missions, two as stake president, and two as stake patriarch; and five daughters, two who also served missions, and all with temple marriages; and all contributing countless missionaries from their posterities.  Grandpa Fugal once said that the best way to make converts was to rear them, and in this they were certainly successful.

I’m also grateful for two moms, both amazingly talented, hard-working and devoted to the gospel.  Both of them well into advanced age, as well as Daddy, accomplished daily more than I ever have in a day.  And I’m grateful for a dad whose patience was extraordinaire.  I used to say he loved me unconditionally, and he did, but that I thought so it dawned on me was more because he kept his mouth shut than any other factor.  He never ever complained about anyone or anything.  He was prompted to say “scrud!” once in awhile, however.  J

It is my prayer that one day I too may “get there.”  Not likely in the talent aspects of life, but improvements in the hard-working, devoted and patient categories.

In looking for these pictures, I found a copy of an undated note Norma wrote to Janeil, which ends with, “DON’T GIVE IN OR GIVE UP, THE ONLY TWO MISTAKES WE CAN MAKE.”

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Nobody could have ever called me a movie junkie, even back in the days when I saw The Great Escape nine times.  J   First viewing was in an outdoor movie theatre with fixed theatre chairs, on Hickam A.F. Base in Hawaii.

 When Janeil gave me a Netflix gift subscription a year and a half ago, I had a hard time coming up with enough movies allowed per month which I wanted to see, and figured by the time it was over I would have  seen every single thing ever worth viewing since time immemorial.  I’ve never seen an R movie since the early 80’s when sworn off after seeing one a guest recommended that when asked what I thought of it, I said, “Well….  Have you ever wished you could turn back the clock?”

Now I can’t really swear to that – I guess I should preface "never seen in a theatre," in that there are a few late 60/early 70's movies I’d seen during my own free spirit days, which eventually earned the R rating, and I watched them again, not realizing.  I remember one, in particular.  Jewel was an older teen and I said she’d love this old movie, and then I died several slow deaths of embarrassment as we watched it, and she kept saying, ‘Maaa-mmm!’ and I kept waiting for the assumed saving grace which never came.  So much for all my good intentions, wiped out in one fell swoop.  I must add, however, that as an adult Jewel is respectful of my sensibilities, so it wasn't a total loss.  I’ve also seen a few TV rerun versions that people tell me are edited.  (And I should trust them!  Just like the guest!)  One I watched in the 90's for the first time on KSL-TV (church owned), I even wrote a letter of protest.  I got a letter back saying mine was the single complaint they received!  It was a sick movie (in my lonely opinion), Blade Runner.

By the time the Netflix gift ended, I was hooked (not unlike a zillion other people no doubt), and I currently have 80ish movies in queue.  No R’s, though I must also admit I’ve watched a few unrated foreign films, only one regret so far.  (A supremely sad movie about children growing up harshly in a pre-communist nĂ© socialist South American country.)  Netflix is amazing.  I usually drop my movie in a 6 p.m. pick-up box and get a received email the very next a.m.

Wasn’t long and I discovered I could watch an additional movie or two per month on my computer as well, and I’ve gotten so I watch the ones that come in the mail on it as well because my TV has some colorization problems that spoil the hi-def-ness.

The thing that’s so cool about watching it on computer is I can have a small internet window up and I can find out all kinds of info that normally would pass me by.  Watching the three Ocean movies was a hoot, finding the definition/history of all their thievery code words.  And the trois-Bourne movies (theme playing), bringing up a world map or what building is topped with a BT sign in London or just typing in a character name and getting a little summary synopsis.  [Looking for this picture, I found out there will be a Bourne quatre in 2011.  Had I known that, I'd have waited.  Same deal reading sequels, I'd rather wait until they're all out, to begin.]

So I’m afraid I am addicted.  Just like all those cyberspace junkies that post character synopses.  All things considered, however, it’s okay.  Pretty good bargain at under six bucks a month for four movies and better than some other entertainment I could pick.  It’s kind of laughable, however, considering how much flak I gave Jewel over movies during her teen years.  If I said it once, I said it bunches, “You’ll be 21 before you ever see a PG-13.”  She managed, of course.  We signed up for a short stint with cable TV.  I liked it because various and sundry could be blocked.  Jewel was intrigued by the movie advertisements, however, which you couldn’t block - so much for that plan.  Once I gave her a Clean Flix version of a movie favorite I found out she shouldn’t have seen, but the gift didn't turn out as funny as I thought it would be.  (You can give it back to me, Jewel, I’d love to watch it, though I doubt you still have it!  J  Probably never made it past the Christmas trash.)  And you can laugh at me for this, Jewel – I recently saw Titanic for the first time.