Saturday, May 21, 2011

Hayden, Hazel, Lucy, Raygen!

I'm all ready for you when you come to visit me this summer!

(gg has a new shed)
(open the door to see table #1 with giant pictures to color)

(table #2, and a bench along the wall for mom and dad and me to visit)
(some puzzles and sidewalk chalk)
(a shopping cart with all of gg's toys from the office)
(the view from the window)
(climb the ladder to the carpeted loft – if mom will let you!)
(and a handle is coming to help at the top)
(push over the board, which runs from wall to wall)

(every minute you're inside, the board must be up!)
(can't tip over forward – studs won't let it)

(the trusty tramp made it though another winter)
(a bench – for mom to read while you play on the swings, slide and glider)
(yard toys inside the bench)
(what's this! sandbox toys inside the bench?)
(the sandbox! - keep it covered when you're not using it)
(rinse off the sand! old/scoured tub with a bucket and water toys)

(teeter-totter – even for a single rider and can't toss anyone off)

(parental control toys) :0)

And! Surprise riding toys for all of you!
Have to wait until you get here to see them!

Friday, May 20, 2011

The Shed Is Dead She Said

just slats-short of being done

The old north shed was actually two sheds bound together by heavy siding. The back one was built first. I kinda doubt it goes back as far as Niels days but it definitely goes back to early (at this address) Neil days. I wouldn’t be surprised if the front got added in the heyday of the jimungous garden he kept in the 70’s and early 80’s, which had beautiful and yummy green and red apples, peaches, apricots, cherries, nectarines, pears, watermelons, cantaloupes, parsnips, turnips, radishes, raspberries, black berries, strawberries, grapes, chard, carrots, peas, corn, squash, pumpkins, beets, tomatoes, onions, potatoes. I have fond memories of inserting/tending tender shoots in the vastness of the Visqueen, and going down in the dark of night to help, by flashlight, with the irrigation.

It was a couple of years once the garden was paved over before I could bring myself to buy a watermelon or cantaloupe from the grocery store – had to wait until taste bud memories subsided.

When Daddy and Norma were on their mission, he gave me a list of people from Uncle Boyd's house in Manila to Dr. Nimer's house (200 S 100 E), to deliver his produce. I remember stopping at Lee Brown's the first crop, and when I handed him a cantaloupe he informed me Daddy always gave him two! I also remember Aunt Venice coming by to remind me, as apparently she thought I wasn't paying proper attention, that the raspberries were due for a picking!

Once I told Daddy he ought to build a fruit stand and save himself all that delivering, that it was so good people would flock to pay to get it. He said then he'd have to pay taxes on it and it wouldn't be worth the hassle. (This coming from an accountant.) It was a good thing, just as it was. I can't picture him socializing at length with "customers" but I can visualize him thoroughly enjoying the brief mutual pleasure created as he rang doorbells and handed out his crop. He wasn't much a talker, and we nontalkers (outside circles as to me; in/out as to him) need to "get out of ourselves," and that is a perfect way to do so. Would that I had something somebody would like to receive "two" of, from me!

100% compost

(& what's left of the shed contents - the fireplace wood now on skids)

At any rate, the 18 years Norma lived here after Daddy died, took a toll, as it took the fire to generate required repairs. I replaced the shingles the year I moved in, to stop the water damage. A few more years and the warping door frames needed dire attention.

One of the bishopric counselors is a contractor and he fell on hard times what with the economy downturn. I have no doubt he's exactly what the bishop wants as a counselor but he's one of those souls of that gender that lean towards heavy thumb usage (as in pressing in a downward direction) which I've more than had my fill of in my life. I mulled it over prayerfully though and felt I should offer the project to him. He said he'd be glad to do it, and since he'd have access to contractor pricing I figured he'd make decent money and no doubt do a decent job as well. I wanted either a replacement or a major remodel.

It took a couple months for him to get around to coming to look at it, late summer. Pretty much tricked him into it, announcing I was on the verge of buying a certain shed whose sale price would soon be expiring (which was true/created a tad of my own pressure). He told me a replacement was out of the question – the city wouldn't allow it due to code restrictions and I'd be very happy with a major remodel. I knew he was still worried about finding enough work to cover his bills, told him I'd pay for all supplies up front, yet time went by. He finally said he'd do it late fall. Late fall he said someone else was going to do it in the spring. The someone else was in the ward, I'd see him most every week, he never mentioned it. He too is a contractor so I figured I still could expect a quality outcome. Never did get a price from either one of them, though purportedly they both came out to glean the info to do so.

Interestingly (to me), the name of the first guy's company is FANAFI – find a need and fill it. So apparently there was something about my falling down shed that didn't qualify....

Finally gave up and found a nonward contractor who actually would do the job. He said I could have a new shed due to grandfathering rules if he kept a small percentage of the old, or he could haul it entirely away and build one on skids. Decided it would be fun to design it so it could be a grandkid playhouse for a few years (then move it over to replace the tin shed and finish off the fence), and added a few other kid-friendly features. VoilĂ ! ... Well, VoilĂ ! next post when I've added the final touches.

I must say, it's really nice to have it gone - pretty much an eyesore! Oh, and P.S., Visqueen lasts indefinitely apparently - the dusty box of it I thought would be rotted when pulled from the shelf, contained a shiny, as if newly purchased, roll which Grant would have loved to line his manmade pond, up G Mountain way.

*its new home in the root cellar

Other than that, the only other garden item from those sheds I kept was this *. And I just might use it one day.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Wish You Were Here...

... so you could smell my beautiful lilacs!

The lavender one is called French Lilac.
How long have I lived here? When I moved in, the French Lilac had been kept trimmed like a hedge. Some years it looked great and some years not so great, which I figured was the guesswork on when it was too early/late to trim. (Buds form the year before.) Finally studied the subject enough to learn that shaping it was not preferred for best bloom, so this year I let it be, and it definitely looks the best. It grows to 15 feet tall.
The porch plant is from PHS greenhouse, everything cultivated by students. The student who helped me didn't know the name of it, and said they'd been offered extra credit if anyone figured it out. Too bad the greenhouse is now closed to the public, or I'd go back and give her the answer: Red Apple Aptenia. It flowers early spring through the summer. I'll bring it in if it's worth keeping when it drops into the mid 20's, as it's a perennial but colder than that would kill it.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

The "M" Word

There's something about Mother's Day that migraines are made of.... Just kidding. (Sort of.) ;^)

I've been blessed beyond measure to have two moms in my life. And technically speaking the correct wording is I've been blessed beyond measure to have a second mom in my life. I don't say that in any way mocking of my first mom. I just say it was an immeasurable blessing to get to have another 23+ years on this earth with another mom, Norma Cranney Webb Fugal. Just as it was an immeasurable blessing for Grant and Jewel to have her as their Grandma Norma on this earth until they made it into adulthood.

I love her best, of course, because of the five+ years she devoted to Daddy. She was a great example in many many ways, but she started it off with that.

And this is how Daddy felt about her–their courtship song:

(Turn off the playlist and click on the link above to hear it sung by Bing Crosby.)

My heart went leaping the day you came along,
Forgot my weeping the day you came along,
Before I knew it I hummed a little song
The day you came along.

I only drifted before you came along,
The fog was lifted because you came along,
I sent the blackbirds right back where they belong
The day you came along.

Men have conquered nations,
Other men have set them free,
Pioneers have crossed the sea–
You can turn the pages through the ages but to me
Twas the most eventful day in history.

Two souls were mated the day you came along,
A world created the day you came along,
One glance convinced me, I knew I wasn’t wrong
The day you came along.

I was a very solitary sort,
Just like a ship that seeks a friendly port–
Just when I thought my hopes had taken flight
You came in sight like a beacon light.

Men have conquered nations,
Other men have set them free,
Pioneers have crossed the sea–
You can turn the pages through the ages but to me
Twas the most eventful day in history.

Two souls were mated the day you came along,
A world created because you came along,
One glance convinced me, I knew I wasn’t wrong
The day you came along.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

I Sinned in NOLA! ...

... 'cause I couldn't find Fox news so I watched CNN! ;^)

Arrived in New Orleans Monday afternoon. The cab driver described the area that was flooded by Katrina, showing us high water marks and told her personal story. (Husband completed four months of intensive cancer treatments and the levees broke the very next day after he was strong enough and they'd got back home. So then they lived with friends in Baton Rouge for six months, came back to rebuild and found everything of any value stolen from their house, including the fridge. Even after rebuilding, the thievery was still rampant, and they were burglarized one night while they slept, lost even money from the bedside table. She said many people got taken by rebuilders, and had to go through it a second time. She lost an adult nephew and several child relations in the flood.)

Checked into the Hilton Riverside. It's a huge hotel and some parts of it aren't reviewed very highly, but the part we were in was great (and their Diamond Club members rate it highly based on where they are housed). We definitely lucked out because we heard some VIPs complain about being wakened by trains and we slept like rocks–the little sleep we got! The worse problem we had was internet was outrageous so we elected to not take our laptops–not totally unwelcome in that it was nice not to have to lug them, and we really had little time to check email.
We went to the opening mixer, listened to jazz by the Storyville Stompers on the Mississippi Riverwalk, and felt totally out of place in our interpretation of business casual. Met the rest of the Muir family. Jenny was nominated for the Excellence in K-12 category by Muir Copper Canyon Farms, and won out of 150 nominees (in the K-12 category). The only other Utah winner, years ago, was a chef from BYU. We also met a few of the upper crust of Pro*Act, the company that sponsored (paid for) the part of the convention involving Jenny and five other outstanding chefs in the nation–two from California (Seasons 52 restaurant and a large hospital), one over Harvard foodservices, one from Georgia (Moe's SW Grill), and one from Pittsburg (Eat'n'Park). They all couldn't have been nicer. Muir, of course, is basking in having their first ever nominee picked (all the United Fresh member organizations nominate yearly). We loved the hors d'oeuvres, served by black tuxed men (both ethnicity and attire) wearing white gloves–various delectables which included tiny alligator meat pies. [Turns out this was a fib told with a straight face. The alligator part - whatever it was, it was delish.]

After that we took a grain of salt in what people "said" was proper attire, and fit right in (though on the modest side of course). Muir took us to a club called Snug Harbor on Frenchman Street in the Faubourg Marigny district and at $20 a piece we listened to Charmaine Neville sing jazz, with drums, bass, horn and piano. Her band dissembled as a result of Katrina, and is just back in business and have cut an album called "After the Storm." They were excellent but not exactly my cup of tea (in that Daddy indoctrinated our jazz tastes with Brubeck and Dixieland Band). Extremely entertaining to watch of course. A lady joined them on a number playing tambourine and brought the house down with her enthusiasm.

"We get a kick from Charmaine. She's not just handing out history lessons. She's overlayed a bed of springy Mardi Gras rhythms with the heady intelligence of the jazz avant-garde." VOGUE

"There were simply no limits to her skills. Charmaine Neville performs blues, jazz, funk, rhythm & blues, rock and World Beat with astonishing range. She sang with open-hearted brilliance, switching voices (a mean impression of Louis Armstrong), scatting like a jazz diva & rocking like no tomorrow." BOSTON GLOBE
It was a hole-in-the-wall place, which is what NOLA is all about. (Not a place to take your children on vacation.) We waited an hour to get in–Muirs wanted to make sure we didn't miss out. One very nice thing about these evenings of entertainment, there were six Muir people there, all LDS, so that made nine of us, and we always sat us together, so it was "easy" (and a lot more fun) to behave in The Big Easy. Kinda droll though in that here we are sharing LDS apps on smart phones, at Snug Harbor, while we wait for the show to start. The top dog Muir guy showed us his speech notes he keeps on his phone, used when called upon to speak at the spur of the moment (recently in a U of U branch presidency).
(Our hotel in the background)

Tuesday morning we caught the shuttle to the convention center which is
h-u-g-e–I'm betting well more than a mile long, and extends under the Pontchartrain Bridge. We ate breakfast in the ballroom with a zillion other people and heard Archie Manning speak. After that we dashed to the streetcar station and spent a few hours in the French Quarter until Jenny had to be at an orientation meeting.

(40 cents for seniors! Of which besides me there were many!)

We had melt-in-your-mouth hot beignets for "lunch" in the Cafe Du Monde (open air).
(No time for a buggy ride at Jackson Square [founded by the Creoles in 1718]
–the next block down from Cafe Du Monde.)

We walked up to Bourbon Street, just so we could say we'd seen it, but we were on the nonbar end (which was beautiful).

We passed several voodoo stores, and I thought this snap might remind Grant of Brazil.
(I just about bought one of these for you Grant,
it was labeled, "Get that Job,"
but I thought it might run out of juice before you'd get to use it.)

The weather was wonderful throughout–a cold front, so in the high sixties, and very little rain. I bought a hair cream which effectively controlled the humidity frizz. ;^) I must say the newsprint was outstanding–we had the industry's lead papers left at our room doors each day, along with USA Today. They had photogs circulating, and each day we saw ourselves on the big screen. They even had an app for that and contests to download on smart phones.

While Jenny was in orientation, Colleen and I speed-walked the convention floor which was amazing. Produce processing machines we'd never dream of, fabulous fruit and veggie displays. A picture which reminded me of my very own Jewel. :)
(I can't even imagine the cost/effort to bring this
gadget into the convention center.)
(Shipped "live"–roots and all in water.)
(Way bigger than a Xerox box, both length and width!)
Tuesday night Pro*Act took us to dinner and to the bar end of Bourbon Street, so we got to see it after all. We went to Muriel's and then the tour bus took us to Pat O'Brien's. We had Filet Mignon at Muriel's, a delicious bread pudding and Bananas Foster at O'Brien's. I asked Jacques, one of the chefs, if they did the Bananas Foster correctly (had trouble keeping it lit) and he said they did not, and life was much too short to waste it on any food that wasn't good.

(Gas flamed lights in the chandeliers.)
(The view from Muriel's balcony.)

I sat next to United Fresh's federal policy writer, and had a deep conversation about regs. He said they have an office two blocks from the White House and there are 23 of them in that office!
Little did I ever imagine I would ever be found on a Bourbon Street balcony, pitching out beads along with the inebriated! The California hospital chef was the most entertaining of the lot. These are the fountains in the courtyard before O'Brien's doorway, which didn't show up very well, but I think you can tell they are both fire and water.
We decided about midnight that it was time to go, and the tour bus was no where near scheduled to return for us, so we took a taxi back to the hotel. The windows were open in the cab, we're on our way to wash the smoke out of our hair, so we were fine leaving them open. I have no idea why, but he drove double speed and every intersection we hit, our hair would go flying forward, then back to the opposite in between!

The next morning we took the shuttle to the breakfast learning session which was James Carville. An hour later:

Jenny had two hours after the chefs filmed before reporting to the awards ceremony walk-through, and we took the streetcar back to the French Quarter. I was hoping we'd have time to take the one going another direction, where you pass a lot of old architecture and southern mansions, but Colleen and Jenny had souvenirs to find. The best part of that trip was another "lunch" of beignets and samples of–

New Orleans Pralines
  • 1 cup light brown sugar, packed
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • ½ cup light cream
  • 1 ½ cups pecans, halved
  • 2 tablespoons butter

Combine sugars and cream in a heavy 2-quart saucepan and bring to boil over medium heat, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon, until mixture forms a thick syrup.

Add pecans and butter and continue to cook over medium heat, stirring frequently.

Remove sauce pan to a heatproof surface (such as a wire rack) and let cool for 10 minutes.

Use a tablespoon to drop rounded balls of the mixture onto sheet wax paper or foil, leaving about 3 inches between each ball for pralines to spread. Allow to cool.

Took the street car back to the hotel for Jenny to get ready, and Colleen and I went for a boat ride on the Mississippi.
(This is the riverboat which everyone recommended [The Natchez].)
(This is what we took ... the free [to pedestrians] car ferry. ;^)
It was fun and fit the fact that we only had 45 minutes to devote to it
–a ride under the Pontchartrain Bridge to Gretna and back.)
("Union, Justice & Confidence") [Interesting logo.]
Came back and got ready for the banquet. Sat at the Pro*Act tables, and after another gourmet meal with genetically modified broccoli (40% more vitamin A), awards for one and all, lots of pictures, and back getting packed by 9:30 p.m.
(Next year's United Fresh Conference will be in Dallas.)

On the road by 6 a.m., traffic light, which was a good thing because our flight was so late we'd have missed our connection in Houston. Sweated getting all the t's crossed and i's dotted to make the earlier switch. Saw a food court in Houston named "Real Food," we were starved, so we all had one thick french toast smothered in powdered sugar, butter and syrup. It would have done New Orleans proud!