Hi Everyone...I just received a call from Jen this morning and Hazel is in the hospital with a high fever, high white blood cell count and no answers as to what may be causing it yet. They thought when she took her to the doctor yesterday that it was a urinary tract infection but that does not seem to be the case. So they are checking everything else. Jen has that motherly instinct thing going that it might be the shunt. I am hoping not as that will mean another shunt surgery. She had this one placed in her head to drain off the excess cranial fluid at five days old and everyone had hoped it would last several years. But the threat of her body rejecting it as a foreign object is always there. So we are praying over here and they are praying over there. Thanks for joining in with us! For now she is in the hospital in Provo but may have to be taken to Children's in SLC depending on the outcome of the tests. Thank you Missy for taking Chloe this morning and thank you Kim for all the help you always give so willingly.
Thursday, January 31, 2008
Wednesday, January 30, 2008
This is so weird that you would post this on your blog so I could pirate it, Jen. I have been thinking about how much I enjoy ...the B word... and have been thinking about addiction vs. passion. I think addiction is an overused word in our day and culture. Of course there are many serious and terrible addictions and I do admit to a few of them...but blogging is not one of them.
The web dictionary defines addiction as: "A chronic, relapsing disease characterized by compulsive drug-seeking and use and by neurochemical and molecular changes in the brain."
I do not feel addicted to blogging but I do feel passionate about it. I feel this way about blogging for the following reasons: It connects our family in ways I have been searching for for over 10 years. I feel one of an empty nest mom's primary duties and responsibilities is to keep the family together as children become adults and have families of their own. E-mail was not working for us very well and blogging is so much better. It is topical, personal, sometimes funny, sometimes sad and it helps us learn more about each other. A little feeding and nurturing each day or so is healthy for the soul and rhythm of close families. For me, blogging is the glue, and for that I love it! People can contribute as much or as little as they like, or they can just read them to stay close and that is a blessing. Family members that are too busy or have other interests do not have to read the blogs. So it is a win/win for everyone. I have also seen that its intrigue spans as many generations as you have. The 80 year old down to the little ones love to see their family photos and hear stories about themselves and others. It is a great way to preserve your family history and it is very gratifying to feel like you accomplished a little of that each day. It is a lot of fun, it's free, it distracts me from less productive things, and it also keeps us in touch with friends. So then, what's not to love?
All that aside, I do notice that I am just a little obnoxious about wanting people to participate. So I have come up with my own word for this phenomenon. The word is "blognausous. " You will not find it in the web dictionary as it is my very own word...but I did check before posting this.. as Google knows all. So I can safely say it is my very own word.
Blognausous is defined as someone who will not stop talking about it to everyone, someone who begs for people to make comments on their blog although lurking is fine too and someone who wants everyone to make their own blog because it is so gratifying.
By definition I confess I am blognausous. I am sorry!
Today I had a funny experience while getting a manicure. The guy who does my nails is of course, Vietnamese. He is a great guy of few words (English that is) but when he was applying for his citizenship a few years ago he asked me lots of questions about our government, as I recall.
So we are into the process of great nails in 43 minutes which incidentally, I love. Where else can go and come out feeling lovely in just 43 minutes? For "jus 3 dolla mo" who knows what you can come out with? (That was for those of you that have seen that hilarious video on Utube about getting your nails done!) Sorry for the digression.
Anyway, we are watching John Edward suspend his candidacy and Vince goes,
"Bonnie, what GOP?" Well, that stand for Grand Old Party, Vince."
" Huh?" What means that?" " Oh it is a nickname for the Republican Party that originated after the civil war."
" Really a party?" The quizzical look on his face was priceless.
"No, Vince, it is not a party, it is a group." " Oh...slience.
" You know it's like saying the Good Old Guys."
Long pause...I see, ummm, old guy party?"
" Well, now that you mention it...
" OK, let's see... it is like a gang name. "
Ohhhhh, OK , OK, OK.......no problem...I got it!"
I am so glad Vince didn't ask me about the elephant and the donkey!
It was very funny. Our language is so weird sometimes. These lovely hands are forming a big W for a reason!
Tuesday, January 29, 2008
I forgot to send you a card with your package so here is something else instead. We wish you the very best, Honey, for a fabulous new year. You are missed today and every day! I know that Robert and the boys will make your day special. It is not easy to be so far away from your extended family and friends on such a big day. I want to invite everyone who sees this to wish Laura a Happy 30th Birthday right here on the blog! We love you with all of our hearts! Daddy & Mom
Monday, January 28, 2008
After the blessing we all went to Barb's for a wonderful brunch prepared by Barb & Beth. Along with Ed, Sy, Ilse, the Frosts who are in the slide show, the Frenso Leals were there and Mark and Theresa and Ari and all of Beth's family so it was quite a nice group.
Who would have known then that Will would be blessed on such an historic day in the Church as well as in their family.
From Jennifer's Blog post this morning...
"I think my Julia said it best: "Oh no! I have a broken heart and it won't get back together!" That was her reaction to the news last night. Very sweet."
June 23, 1910~January 27, 2008
Last night our stake had the traditional annual fireside for the women when the Stake President and his wife speak. It is looked forward to with great anticipation by all and is always well attended. Shortly before the meeting began, President H was handed a note informing him of the passing of President Hinckley. After conferring with one of his counselors they decided to share the news with the sisters immediately rather than wait until after the meeting. When it was announced that he had passed away there was an audible gasp through out the building and everyone's heart was touched at so great a loss for the world. Poor Faye had to give her prepared talk right after the announcement which was very difficult for her. I don't think anyone heard a word she said for the first five minutes all of us were so lost in thought about the personal impact this great leader had in our lives. I truly cannot think of a single person who has had as much influence for good in the world that has lived during my life time.
For years I have remembered when President Kimball passed away and the thousands who walked past his casket paying their last respects and thought that when President Hinckley passed away I wanted to be able to do that. I am thankful that we will be able to see the proceedings on BYU TV as I am sure there is no earthly way to get a ticket into SLC this week. I hope all of you that can do this will. He has been the prophet of your generation and the only modern day prophet your kids have known. I am so thankful for his teachings and counsel over these past many years and Dad and I will miss him very much. I waited up last night to call Laura and let them know. Of course President Hinckley passed during the night in Italy so they had not heard. This will have a big impact on Robert's family and our hearts go out to them and all the Hinckleys at this time. When something like this occurs it is a huge reminder of the unity of the church membership throughout the world. President Monson must be feeling such a great loss at this time. Our prayers are with us all that we will remember him and heed his good counsel throughout our lives.
Sunday, January 27, 2008
I thought this was a great article so decided to include it today on my blog. Maybe this is why monkeys seem so happy and energetic! Eat more bananas! I am going to try harder in the banana department. I am a banana snob. I only like them when they are all yellow on the outside and just barely ripe...no freckles please. :-)
Bananas contain three natural sugars - sucrose, fructose and glucose combined with fiber. A banana gives an instant, sustained and substantial boost of energy.
Research has proven that just two bananas provide enough energy for a strenuous 90-minute workout. No wonder the banana is the number one fruit with the world's leading athletes.
But energy isn't the only way a banana can help us keep fit. It can also help overcome or prevent a substantial number of illnesses and conditions, making it a must to add to our daily diet.
Depression: Bananas contain tryptophan, a protein that is converted into serotonin, known to make you relax, improve your mood and generally make you feel happier.
PMS: Forget the pills - eat a banana. The vitamin B6 it contains regulates blood glucose levels, which can affect your mood.
Anemia: High in iron, bananas can stimulate the production of hemoglobin in the blood and so helps in cases of anemia.
Blood Pressure: This unique tropical fruit is extremely high in potassium yet low in salt, making it perfect to beat blood pressure. So much so, the US Food and Drug Administration has just allowed the banana industry to make official claims for the fruit's ability to reduce the risk of blood pressure and stroke.
Brain Power: 200 students at a Twickenham (Middlesex) school (
Constipation: High in fiber, including bananas in the diet can help restore normal bowel action, helping to overcome the problem without resorting to laxatives.
Heartburn: Bananas have a natural antacid effect in the body, so if you suffer from heartburn, try eating a banana for soothing relief.
Morning Sickness: Snacking on bananas between meals helps to keep blood sugar levels up and avoid morning sickness.
Mosquito bites: Before reaching for the insect bite cream, try rubbing the affected area with the inside of a banana skin. Many people find it amazingly successful at reducing swelling and irritation.
Nerves: Bananas are high in B vitamins that help calm the nervous system.
Overweight and at work? Studies at the
Ulcers: The banana is used as the dietary food against intestinal disorders because of its soft texture and smoothness. It is the only raw fruit that can be eaten without distress in over-chronicler cases. It also neutralizes over-acidity and reduces irritation by coating the lining of the stomach.
Temperature control: Many other cultures see bananas as a "cooling" fruit that can lower both the physical and emotional temperature of expectant mothers. In
Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD): Bananas can help SAD sufferers because they contain the natural mood enhancer tryptophan.
Stress: Potassium is a vital mineral, which helps normalize the heartbeat, sends oxygen to the brain and regulates your body's water balance. When we are stressed, our metabolic rate rises, thereby reducing our potassium levels.. These can be rebalanced with the help of a high-potassium banana snack.
Strokes:! According to research in The New England Journal of Medicine, eating bananas as part of a regular diet can cut the risk of death by strokes by as much as 40%!
Warts: Those keen on natural alternatives swear that if you want to kill off a wart, take a piece of banana skin and place it on the wart, with the yellow side out. Carefully hold the skin in place with a plaster or surgical tape!
So, a banana really is a natural remedy for many ills. When you compare it to an apple, it has four times the protein, twice the carbohydrate, three times the phosphorus, five times the vitamin A and iron, and twice the other vitamins and minerals. It is also rich in potassium and is one of the best value foods around So maybe its time to change that well-known phrase so that we say,
"A banana a day keeps the doctor away!"
Friday, January 25, 2008
Tuesday, January 22, 2008
People trying to learn English often say that our language doesn't always make sense to them. I have a feeling it doesn't always make a lot of sense to us either! Take "big" and "little" as an example. The size of things really takes on a value of its own...some times good, sometimes bad.
Good Big Things:
Big house, big diamonds, big eyes, big smile, big dimples (only if they are on your face, bad dimples everywhere else), big breasts, big bank account, big vacation plans, big boat, big motor home, big car, big investments, big assets, big fan club, big job, big swimming pool, big screen TV, big plans, big dreams, big family (only if you are Catholic or Mormon), big wedding, big education, big talents, big presents, big fun, big ambition.
Bad Big Things:
Big attitude, big rear, big belly, big ears, big legs, big feet, big nose, big lips, big debt, big problems, big ego, big appetite, big sorrow, big pain in the rear, big body, big mouth, big depression, big illness, big bills, big obstacles, big tendency to whine, big issues, big needs, big addictions, big disabilities, big hassles, big thighs, big clutter, big food portions, big number at the scale, big worries, big "to do" list, big stress, big worries, big boat load of enemies, big thick waist.
The interesting things is we all want a bunch of big stuff we don't have. Ironically, we also have a big bunch of stuff we don't want in a very big way! Hmmm! My list seems to be tipped heavily in the wrong direction and it often give me a big bad headache!
Thursday, January 24, 2008
I have a group of very dear friends whom I have met with weekly for at least 6 years. We started meeting with a common goal which we still have but the group has become so much more. These friends have sustained me through so many things and I hope I have helped do the same for them. Now when we least wanted it or expected it, Michelle, is leaving the country as she and her family head for Canada and a new position for her husband with an engineering company. Many people will miss them tremendously but I like to think that no one will as much as Lanette, Connie and me. That being said, we are very happy for them and the new adventure that lies ahead for them as a family. Alan will have a great new job and the boys will enjoy new schools so that is fun. With Ashley being married, Jacob on his mission, and Amy staying here they will be quite spread out.
Michelle is a wonderfully unique person. She is the most earthy, organic woman I know. She has studied horticulture and can make anything grow and she has such a love for the soil, the plants, and her flowers.
Michelle also loves the beauty industry and beauty products, she is an aesthetician, and a manicurist, and she gives the best pedicures in the country! Many feet in this town are going to miss her! She has such a flare in everything she does and she is wonderful cook as well. She has a beautiful testimony of Jesus Christ and has been so wonderful to work with in many capacities in the church. She places a very high priority on education and all her children are benefiting from that. Her family serves others like no one I know. They are truly the best and our family will miss them terribly. Michelle is loving and fun and a great friend in every way.
Today we took her out to breakfast for the last of the three parties that have been held in her honor. We went to Mimi's Cafe and then took some photos to remember our times together forever! We are already talking about meeting in NYC in the not too distant future or maybe New Orleans for Fat Tuesday! Any of you who know how much I hate having my pictures taken have to know how much I love these ladies to have my own picture on here twice! Ugh!
For dinner tonight I am making some split pea soup. I have been cooking it most of the day but it just wasn't thickening up the way I wanted it to. I remembered someone said they thicken things with instant potato buds sometimes. I have some from the cannery so I tried it and...
voila...thick split pea soup and yummy too! One hint is that the potato buds are seasoned with salt so add first and taste before adding any addtional salt.
How about that a cooking tip on this blog..how rare indeed!
Wednesday, January 23, 2008
For as long as I can remember our grandson, Connor, has been fascinated with building things! He could build elaborate things with Legos long before he could read the instructions. He comes from a long line of builders. I can remember my brother, Steve, being just like Connor when he was young. He was always constructing something. One time I remember Steve made a little man out of Tinker Toys, rubber bands, and bobby pins, a spool and some other stuff. He smuggled all the parts to the dining room table to make the man made instead of doing his homework. I think he still has it to this day! Grandpa Fred liked to build, and of course we have Grampa Jim who loves to build and Connor's dad, Chris, does too. We even have Uncle Robert and Uncle Lowell who have built some great things so the influence to build surrounds Connor!
Chris has a car in his office at work that Connor built long ago that is absolutely amazing. Just take a look at this Black Beauty that Missy found a photograph of to send over. Now Connor's grandmother (that would be me) cannot even put a simple puzzle together so I am in awe of all the pieces he has so intricately fashioned in to this car!
Come to think of it, Connor's siblings and cousins are pretty handy with building things too. There is a special post about Aynslee coming soon that will amaze you. Check out the Igloo that Uncle Lowell, Piper and Julia made last week at (Lowell's Blog listed on my right side panel of my blog). Spencer and Ross have made some awesome things too! Well, I admire all of them as building is not that easy! It makes me wonder what Connor will be when he grows up since he has this amazing ability so young.
As for Connor, he already thinks he would like to be an author. He absolutely loves reading and is very good at it. He reads like an adult and and is only in second grade. He has been enjoying the Harry Potter series. So far he has been allowed to read the first two and I think the plan is one per year to allow him to grow up along with Harry. Here is a great shot of "Connor Potter" in his Halloween get-up. Remarkable resemblance, don't you think? Missy "built" this costume I am sure. The moms in our family are pretty awesome at building too!
Connor has written his own stories which he has asked Aynslee to color, and then he holds his own book sales. I know Aunt Jen has bought at least one and said it was great!
When Connor lived in China he went to a Chinese school where no English was spoken. He learned a lot of the language in preschool and kindergarten One day he rescued Missy by locating a restroom after her attempts failed to communicate the need to someone. Connor just stepped up and rattled off something in Chinese and they found it with no problem. He tried to teach me some Chinese and all I remember is that one is pronounced E and two is pronounced R. After that he lost me! The sky is the limit for Connor...we are proud of you and love you, Big Guy! Keep up the good work!
Tuesday, January 22, 2008
Monday, January 21, 2008
This is another installment in the "What's Up With That" Series
I have to admit at the get go, I am not a mechanical person. I have a difficult time making keys work....it is true; just ask Jim! The poor man is married to me and he is brilliant in the mechanical department and can fix just about anything. Our son, Chris has his PhD in Mechanical Engineering but me...nothing in that department. As long as something works, I have no aptitude for or interest in how it works. So that stated flat out..here is my story for tonight:
Yesterday Jim tells me that the dryer is not working properly. There is no heat which pretty much renders a dryer useless in my opinion. Although he normally fixes everything around here he is very busy now, had plumbing issues at his mom's this afternoon, etc, so he suggested I call Sears and make an appointment for a repairman to come out.
So far I am totally on board with this, this I can do. So I call Sears and go through the long phone tree where I select my language, put in my phone number, etc. choose my selection from the ten choices and finally get a person. Then I explain that we have a gas dryer that has no heat..pretty straight forward, right? So the person says, "I see your dryer right here it was purchased in 2001, right?" I say," I guess so." So the person says it is most likely the heating element. I ask the cost of the repair and she says $65.00 for the service call and $180.00 for parts and labor. OK. But she says I should just get the 1 year service warranty as that is only $193.99 plus tax so it would be cheaper and we would be covered for the whole year. OK. I ask about the part that needs replacing and she says it is a heating element and is going to switch me to the parts department for a price check on the part. I get the parts guys and he says that would be $27.98 and it can be shipped to us by the weekend.
With my limited math skills, I realize that it is 10 times more expensive to have a guy come out than for Jim to put it in. The guy on the phone assures me it is basically a drop in and if there are any problems just call back they have tech support available to answer your installation questions.
So I am feeling really good about my ability to handle this and decide to call Jim and run it all past him. He is definitely interested in looking into getting the part. He comes home from a messy plumbing job and I give him the paper with all the quoted prices, phone numbers, model numbers, etc. and he sits down to check it all out.
He calls the parts department and tells them what we need and goes over some things with the woman in the parts department. After sharing the model number and looking at the schematic they discover that the other people, even though they had all the correct info on the computer and the model number had given me all the wrong info. What they gave us was for an electric dryer not a gas dryer. Looking back on it, this woman was the only sharp crayon in the box.
Square 1 has now become Square 2...I start over at the beginning. Using the same words I explain that our GAS dryer does not have heat. OK they say...$72.00 for a service call and then I will get an estimate for the repair at the time of the visit. They cannot explain how the first person I talked to had a $65.00 service call and an amount for the repair in advance. I ask for the service department. The guy knew even less than I do about dryers and parts. At this point I hand the phone over to Jim and he discovers in about two seconds flat this guys knows nothing about dryer parts at all. In the background I am saying..they have technical help available ask for one of the techs. So he asks for the tech and he tells the story once again and the guy says, "...Hmmm, let me refer you to the parts department. " At that point, Jim said "no thanks" and hung up.
Square 3... Jim is at his computer studying the schematic drawing of the dryer and getting frustrated as there is a part on the drawing #24 and it is mysteriously missing from their parts list. No kidding, it goes 21, 22, 23, 25! And that #24 is probably what we need. Hello! Sears is a nationwide company that touts over 4,000,000,000 parts in their cache and the schematic isn't even right. So I decide to call again as each time you get a new person and a fresh chance at finding one with a brain. This time I get a guy who sounds like he has at least graduated from high school. I explain all that has gone on, and say, "I just want to talk to a tech support person to help with narrowing down the problem so we know exactly what to order. " Then I hear these words, "We don't give no tech support or diagnostic support over the phone at all Mrs." I say "WHAT?" with a little edge to my voice now. "Nope, no tech support at all, what 'probly' they meant was if you need help a technician can come out to your house to help you put it in." OK THEN! Now I am mad and I am not giving up.
Square 4 ...I make my last call to Sears. A lady answers the phone and tells me that if a technician comes out it will cost me $72.00 if we decide not to have the repair done. If we do have them do it it will be incorporated into our parts and labor costs and not a separate amount. I told her I had heard so many different stories that I was going to choose hers at it sounded the best so far. She then confirmed they do not have tech support on the phone, they do have the warranty for $193.99 plus tax but if I don't sign up for it tonight they will have to list that I refused it on my account and then I will not be able to get it later. So I said that was fine but I wasn't deciding tonight and hung up.
In the meantime Jim was browsing through some dryer stuff on his computer and when I got off he said...."Guess What?" "What?" I say, entirely too exhausted from this whole fiasco. He says, "Tomorrow go pick out a new dryer. I'll have it installed before bedtime." Geeeesh! What a hassle, after all that poor Jim still has to do it! I think even I could have figured out how to fix the old one before Sears could find one person who knows their business. I can see that their merger with K-Mart was a very groovy idea! Birds of a feather flock together!
Tonight at dinner I told the boys that tomorrow was "Curtain and Carpet Day" (meaning the day we are FINALLY going to buy carpets and hang curtain in the house). And that they were really lucky they didn't have to go to school so they could stay home and help!
Ross said, "Mom tomorrow is not carpet and curtain day... it is Martin Luther King day!" I was impressed he remembered why he had the day off of school- I didn't think he would. So I then asked him why we celebrate Martin Luther King day.
And he said, "Well... it is all because he had a good dream.""I just love the way he thinks, he is our funny little guy! This is why we love begin grandparents..they are just too cute for words!
That dream that Dr. King had was so good and I wonder how much closer we really are to it after all these years? We have done a lot of living but not so much learning in the decades since he had that dream.
Well, Jim and I spent the day along together in San Francisco, our favorite City. This coming week our great nephew, Thomas, will be turning 12 and Jim and Micheal and some of Thomas' friends are going on a bike ride in the city to celebrate his birthday. Today we took the opportunity to scope out the trail and in the process went to some fun places. One of our more recent discoveries in San Francisco is Grace Cathedral. We decided to go there to get ourselves in the mood for the beauties of Europe. It worked and we felt very excited about our upcoming trip. This cathedral was built in 1860 and is really beautiful although pretty dark on the inside. The windows reminded us of Notre Dame.This is actually an Episcopal church and is really awesome to visit.
For lunch we went to one of our favorite restaurants right on the ocean called the Beach Chalet. The city was rather empty today I think everyone stayed inside or went to the movies but the Beach Chalet was as crowded as ever.
Saturday, January 19, 2008
Meet Julia, aka Beautiful Chocolate Eyes . This is my nickname for her along with Jewels for all the obvious reasons. She has gorgeous dark chocolate eyes and she is a Jewel! Julia noticed I had done some blog spots on her sisters Piper and Hazel and cousins Connor and Spencer and she felt it was her turn.There are many things to share about our sweet seven-year-old granddaughter but she has made a special request for me to publicize her new business.
Julia is a person who loves all thing feminine. She is also a rising entrepreneur. Her new business started to take root she was four or five and all of us would be together. She would champion "Girl Power" which is apparent in the Stewart home..lucky Lowell, with so many girls around him always! One of the activities to celebrate "Girl Power" she loves to have is spa night. No boys allowed! Spa night has become a regular nightly event whenever Aunt Laura, Gramma, Mom and Piper and now Chloe and Hazel are together. This is what we do. Everyone gets in their jammies, we go down to the basement guest suite and everyone piles on the bed. Then Julia gets out the towels, lotion, etc, and proceeds to give everyone a great foot massage. Can I just say it is to die for? At the end someone always gives her one too. She, along with the rest of us, really loves this.
Julia would do this every night of her life if she could get everyone else to participate!
Since not every night works for everyone else I think she has decided to open up her own business.
I was able to get an interview with this lovely proprietor of the Happy Feet Salon this morning and these are the things she asks me to share. Her spa is open by appointment only and she is willing to take day or evening appointments. So just call her at any time at home and she can arrange to have you in for your massage. She says she offers, massage of your feet, lotion, perfume, and will even do new polish for you. BYOB. She should charge $2.00 per foot and she wanted me to tell you that she is the only one that actually does the foot rubs..she will not be passing that off to an assistant or anything. All you Provoites should take her up on it. She does a great job! You will feel, relaxed, entertained, and your feet will be very happy! If you ask her I am sure she will play Jake Simpson's version (hers and my personal favorite) of "Isn't She Lovely" and/or "You Make Me Feel Like Dancin'" by Leo Sayer on her MP3 Player during your special day spa treatment.
I think Julia would like it if I also mention some important upcoming dates for her as she likes to plan ahead. She will be turning 8 on August 28th. She is planning an evening Family Party that night. On September 6, 2008 she will be getting baptized so save the date.
And on January 1, 2009 at 10:30 am she will be holding her first annual Jingle Bell Parade. Don't miss it! I am sure she will have some great things in store for anyone who can make it. And be sure to bring you own Jingle Bells please!
Friday, January 18, 2008
One day last year our 8-year-old grandson, Spencer, and I were talking about how nice it would be living nearer to each other. I think that we were subconsciously influenced by the home their family had on the base in Mountain View. Right across a little street in front of their house was an enormous, round, grassy area where the children of the neighborhood could play. There was a huge tree and then lots of open space. All around that circle were the houses of the other residents as well. It was ideal for parents as they could simply sit on the porch and see their kids playing from any vantage point.
Spencer and I decided that that is what we would like in the center of our family neighborhood. Since in our imagination money was no object, we wanted to have a fabulous house for each family. One for us, one for them and then one for Uncle Lowell, Aunt Jen and the girls, and one for Uncle Chris and Aunt Missy and their kids. Then off Uncle Lowell and Aunt Jen's house would be another circle that housed all the S's and their families. Off of Uncle Chris and Aunt Missy's house would be another circle with all the G's. Off our circle would be a circle for the M"s and the C's. Off of Spencer's house would be a gianormous circle for all the W's. You get the idea that an aerial view would reveal this huge bunch of over lapping family circles.
Now our circle center would include far more than just one big tree. It would be several acres and would have lots of trees and a big recreation center with a big fully equipped kitchen with a well-stocked pantry for family gatherings. There would be a dining hall with a table big enough for the whole family without adding any leaves or hauling in chairs as seen below. (No, that woman is not me...she is our dining room, matron, Helga, and she keeps the kitchen running smoothly. And please note the Christmas stuff is still up and it is past mid-January! For absolute shame!)
Also included would be a large game room with a pool table, ping pong, a stage, a juke box with a dance floor, etc. We would have a media room with theater seating for family movie viewing and a large screen TV and all the electronic equipment we would need. There would be lots of board games, puzzles and a huge library. There would also be a play room with age appropriate toys, Legos, and other educational things for the kids. It would also include a weight and exercise room with showers and a lap pool for swimming rain or shine. There would have to be a computer center with a few computers (Imacs and PCs) for blogging and other fun computer things. We would have a large sewing and craft room with lots of art supplies and craft items for all ages. We could also have a little family store where we could bring things that we no longer needed and other family members could have them for free. Inside the rec building would also be a music room with a large fireplace, with a grand piano and other instruments as well as an extensive music collection and the equipment we need for optimum listening and relaxation and to hold our Family Home Evenings. We would have family assignments to help us care for all this common area. Everyone would have jobs to learn to work and live together as a family. All the work would be assigned according to age and abilities and talents but no one would be over burdened. Everyone would feel just right about what they contributed. If there were huge jobs that we did not want to tackle..there would always be the possibility of hiring it out. Our community would be run on a four day work week so everyone would have a day to work at home, one day to play and a Sabbath day of rest and spiritual rejuvenation! Maybe it should be a three day work week so we have a day to prepare our lessons and various callings for Sunday?
Outside there would be a huge family garden, a flower garden and arboretum , a swimming pool, and a large deck and barbecue and a patio for picnics and outdoor activities and a meditation garden for solitude, prayer, and quiet conversations. We would have a big fire pit for campfires and roasting marshmallows and singing songs. We would have lots of friends over to share our wonderful place.
We would bring all the deer from our current house so we would have our own herd! We will leave behind the wild turkeys and the coyotes that give our deer so much grief. Maybe we could have a pony or two? Tennis courts might be a nice addition as well and maybe a track for walking and running around the big playing field for baseball, football and soccer. We would have some bleachers and some lights for those warm summer nights. There would be a big garage for all the vehicles and sporting equipment and a big workshop for the men and boys and any girls that want to build something. OK, I think we will definitely need to hire some gardeners and a grounds keeper or two. We should also throw in a couple of guest cottages for weekend visitors.
Each family's house would be exactly what they want and need. Even though we would share this common area we would still respect and maintain everyone's individual family privacy. Everyone would maintain a nice balance of togetherness and their individuality. Remember this is our Utopia, our family retreat and our protection against the rest of the world; not a compound. This is a place where everyone can grow and learn and use the commonality exactly as they wish, with no "big brother" type pressures. Immediately outside this family neighborhood, life is pretty much as we know it already. Lots of friends, church, community activities, work places, etc. and tons of shopping and great restaurants, cultural events and recreation areas for hiking biking, camping , etc. are available and accessible. Our neighborhood would always be open to guests, family and lots of friends. There would be great opportunities for serving others and contributing to the world outside our family.
The best part of the whole things would be the opportunity we would have to be together more and to strengthen each other on all levels. For Spencer it would mean always having his brother and his cousins to play with and for Grampa and me it would mean that we could bask in the joy of having our family together and watching our children and grandchildren be best friends forever. It would be our pleasure to help each family member in anyway we can. If you are still too young to appreciate this whole idea just wait until you are a grandparent!
It all seems so celestial...and maybe that is exactly the point. The fact that what we view as heaven in our imaginations can actually be a reality someday...OK, OK minus all the stuff, I admit that was a little too temporal and totally over the top in creature comforts. (Which moth and rust doth corrupt, but not for a long time!!)
Just being together forever is the real deal. The circumstances would not be nearly as important as sharing a community with our beautiful family with like- minded values and principles, a strong work ethic and an abundance of love all around. Spencer, thanks for the memory of a fun afternoon and a vision of what can be! We love you!
In the Spring Jim and I are going to Italy for three weeks! We have never been able to go there when in Europe before. Long before Laura and Robert and the boys moved there we had wanted to go to Italy on our 40th anniversary which we will be celebrating on June 15th this year.
So we are super excited that along with our dream vacation we will also be able to spend lots of time with our kids. It is serendipity all the way!
For about 8 days we will be in northern Italy where we will have a base camp and will travel to see Genoa, the city where Jim's mom was born, Florence, Venice, Piza, Tuscany and possibly Umbria. Laura and the boys will go with us. Robert has to work and we are bummed about that!
Of course we will go to Rome and the Vatican also. While in the south we want to see the Amalfi Coast, Sorrento, Pompeii, and possibly Capri. We will also see a lot of Naples too as the kids live just north west of there.
What is making me a little nervous is that we really don't have a daily plan yet and we have no idea where to stay, eat, sightsee. Of course we have Rick Steves' Italy, The Lonely Planet, etc., but it seems there is so much to read and make decisions about that it is overwhelming. We will be driving (yikes) to the north but during the days we spend on our own we don't know if we should get a rail pass, book a mini tour, or whatever. The books include so much info on everything that I would really love input from anyone who has been there to help us cull out the best of the best. I would also love to see and hear about what we should skip. A referral to a great hotel or two would be welcomed as well. We want to avoid that nightmare vacation where you are spending all your time trying to figure out what to do, with your nose stuck in a map, tour book, or 2-way dictionary. ( All while fending off pick pockets too.) We are on info overload and would just like someone to point and shoot us in the right direction. Sharing your "leanings" would be appreciated.
Thursday, January 17, 2008
While checking out some blogs of friends I found these quotes from Deanna Flud Munoz and wanted to include them here. I sure hope that is Kosher! I just love President Hinckley and think it is fun to find quotes that you love because they are good and you are actually doing them! So if you are journaling on your blog take a little pat on the back from President Hinckley! You go, girl!
"To you women of today, who are old or young, may I suggest to you that you write, that you keep journals, that you express your thoughts on paper. Writing is a great discipline. It is a tremendous education effort. It will assist you in various ways, and you will bless the lives of many--now and in the years to come, as you put on paper some of your experiences and some of your musings."-President Gordon B. Hinckley
"You will have significant experiences. I hope that you will write them down and keep a record of them, that you will read them from time to time and refresh you memory of those meaningful and significant things. Some may be funny. Some may be significant only to you. Some of them may be sacred and quietly beautiful. Some may build one upon another until they represent a lifetime of special experience. "President Gordon B. Hinckley
Whoa! Isn't that great? I believe all of that and I think when we are old we can sit and reflect upon the happenings in our lives and feel fulfilled. As these little things build upon each other we can truly record a life of significance. The entries will paint a picture of who you are or were and will illuminate your remembrances of a life of happiness. I have found that journaling is like having a good therapist at your beck and call. When you are feeling down or forgotten or are in a little funk..It may surprise what the Lord has done! And your own efforts may astound you.
Follow this link below to view the transcript of the graduation address at BYU Hawaii, 12/2007 given by Elder Ballard on using the new media, including blogs, to support the work of the Church.
Wednesday, January 16, 2008
Recently while cuddling in bed with my six-year-old granddaughter, Piper, she asked me what life was like when I was a little girl. It made me reflect on how my life is suddenly seeming long to me. Looking back made me keenly aware of the changes that have taken place within me and the world I call my own. Growing up in the 50’s and 60’s was a cake walk compared to today and yet it was laced with trials and tribulations, excitement and great joy, hard work and fun times too. It was filled with love and learning, family, the perplexities of life and a boat load of boring days too. Each era seems to have a unique way of molding and shaping us into who we are destined and desirous to become. One thing that has become apparent over the almost 58 years I have lived is that each of us continues to learn, grow and change all of our lives. I am beginning to realize more and more that the essence of who we are also remains somewhat the same while our environment and our experiences create and hone the facets of each diamond in the rough.
As I thought about how my life was different than Piper’s as a little girl I saw clearly that the changes are just as dramatic as those experienced by my grandparents and me. She was flabbergasted to know that when I was six we had just gotten our first black and white television. There were no microwaves, cell phones, Barbie Dolls, computers, video games, VCRs, DVDs, CDs, I-Pods, Palm Pilots, Videos, Air-conditioning in homes or cars, no electric hair dryers for home use, no fast food, and no huge and abundant birthdays or Christmases. She could not comprehend only having three or four dresses to wear to school and church and a few play clothes. I can still remember that in the fifth grade I had a blue dress with a drop waist and a rhinestone pin and a red plaid dress and that one week I would wear one of them three times and the next week two times. She didn’t comprehend why as a girl I could never wear pants to school, or that we washed our hair only once a week and went to bed with wet pin curls to have curly fluffy hair for church on Sundays. We didn’t have Wal-Mart and we didn’t just go shopping for stuff as entertainment. If we ever went out to dinner it was a very special occasion, not the twice weekly trip out the kids are use to these days. Dessert was also a very special treat, not a twice daily occurrence or more as it is today.
When I was her age the dentists did not believe in using Novocaine on children and I can still remember the pain and terror of having my teeth that were untreated by fluoride drilled and filled. Life was more painful and less painful at times than today. It was harder in some ways because we didn’t have so many of the modern conveniences we now enjoy, but less complex because life was less complicated and less stressful. We didn’t have so many choices to make for every little thing. Sometimes I find myself yearning for those days when I go to buy diapers, or ice cream or a cold remedy and have to filter through 80 choices. We didn’t have to read the labels on food to make sure we could recognize anything that was actually contained in the package as edible. In those days we could walk to the store alone or with a small friend and not fear pedophiles or kidnappers. We didn’t need our own swimming pool, playing in the sprinkler was just great.
Ironically, with all the differences in our worlds of growing up, the essence of that little girl I held in my arms was not that different from me at her age. We both were sweet and innocent, had a longing to be pretty and feminine and to feel loved. We both wanted the attention of our parents, our grandparents and our teachers and friends. We both had a deep and inborn longing to one day meet Prince Charming and have a little family of our own. We both had an abundance of goodness within our hearts and a desire to please. We were both the firstborn in our family and ladened with the responsibility to be a good example to our siblings. Sometimes we relished that and other times it was a burden we didn’t care to bear. Somehow, we accepted and carried out the role as best we could. Somehow that role of the firstborn carries on for a life time. Piper is doing an excellent job. She is great with Julia and almost like a little mother to her baby sister, Chloe. She is sensitive and wants everyone to play by the rules. I am the same and it has hurt my heart a lot to know that people sometimes don’t care how I feel nor do they live by the rules. People often just make up their own rules as they go along and fair or right has little to do with it. I hope that as Piper grows those painful learning experiences will be gentle on her kind and tender heart.
Piper loves being a girl. The pinker and frillier and sparklier something is the better she likes it. She loves to dress up and have fairy dust on her little arms and to feel like the true Princess she is. I hope that as she grows she will continue to enjoy her femininity and that she will learn to love her body and enjoy it. I pray she never falls into the body image trappings of society like thinking she is too tall, too big, too white, too anything that causes her distress and makes her feel awkward or different or less beautiful than she is. I hope that a good and healthy self-concept just grows within her naturally and that she doesn’t struggle with it like so many of us do. I have not grown up with the luxury of that blessing. In my era I don’t think many girls have. I hope Piper’s generation is smarter.
Somehow, I saw in her hope for a bright future. She has a wonderful faith in the temple and a great desire to marry there one day. When she was tiny and didn’t quite understand marriage, she cried because she could not go right in and marry me in the temple one day as we were strolling by. I hope that she can marry a man as wonderful as her grandpa and that she can know the joy in her own family that I have had. I hope that her husband will cherish her and help her and love her as much as she deserves, not because she will be perfect but because she has a pure heart. That is just something you can see in a little girl’s eyes when you hold them close and snuggle up with them in the morning. The joy that I felt when looking at her made me realize that one of the blessing of grandparenthood is that there is a bit of ourselves that has the chance to vicariously do things over again. The mistakes I have made do not have to be hers if I can teach her and share my cache of experiences and wisdom somehow. As my heart is turned to her I hope that hers will also be turned to me as she grows up. The more chances I have to cuddle up with her in the mornings now the better the outcome will be later. Those precious moments bond us together one little snuggle at a time.
This is another is the series...What's Up With That?
I really get in a dither about the tabloids and other newsstand stuff at the grocery store cash register. I do not want to see another Tabloid article about Condie and George, Laura and George, Oprah and Stedman/ Obama/ Jamie Fox/or her best friend, Gayle. Don't get me wrong I love Oprah, I just hate the speculation about all her secrets and how much she weighs this week. I have had it with Britney Spears and her Ex. Take Nicole Ritchie, what exactly does she do to warrant all the attention? Is she in show biz or just Lionel's daughter? She gets more press than he does...go figure! Jon-Benet and speculation about her killer has been going on for 15 years now, enough already! Then there is the Brad and Jen /Angelina Jolie thing. I am sick of nonsense, Tom Cruise and Katie daily dilemmas and who has "come out" this week? Spare me the details on Ashley and Mary-Kate, Jessica Simpson and Scott Peterson and above all...OJ! On no, wait I forgot Hillary and Bill.
I do not want to see another article on losing weigh! Guess what? You can lose 50 pounds by Valentine's Day by just eating donuts.. for the newsstand price of only $1.49! I do not care who has cellulite and I certainly do not want photos! I am getting a little tired of how to organize everything from soup to nuts the real simple way. Can Prevention Magazine ever do a cover that is not a skinny woman in a blue bathing suit...do they know anyone that is male, over 30, and dressed? Nor do I want to see what the fattest person in the world looks like (especially when I glance down at my cart) or the bizarre predictions sure to come true in 2008. Who is still actually looking for where Elvis is hiding out? I can also pass right by the Best and Worst Dressed at the latest Hollywood extravaganza, my horoscope in a tube, and meals in five minutes for the entire family and how to be a millionaire without even working. Who loves the magazines with naked pregnant women on the covers? And speaking of pictures..when was the last time Martha Stewart actually had her picture taken? As I said, I dearly love Oprah but her picture on every single cover? I swear all this stuff is to raise your blood pressure and distract you from the scanner that is ripping you off systematically every 2 minutes on your groceries. Brilliant! The worst part about the whole things is there is no variety in this stuff...how many magazines can you buy that do not have anything new or uplifting to share? And another thing,
why do they have to put the blasted candy bars there too?
Tuesday, January 15, 2008
I have just added three new elements to my blog found by scrolling down on the right hand side of the page. Recent Discoveries and Designs and Invention Ideas for Chris and Pet Peeves. Enjoy!
Monday, January 14, 2008
Michael Ball is a Welsh singer that lives in London. He has the most beautiful voice both while speaking and singing. I discovered him several years ago while watching a video of the 50th Birthday Celebration of Andrew Lloyd Webber.
He created and played the first Marius in Les Miserables and has been in many other productions including Phantom of the Opera, Passion, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and he is currently playing John Travolta's part (Edna Turnblad) in Hairspray in London.
Michael has done TV and radio and of course lots of concerts. He is more well-known throughout the world than he is in the US. He has a huge following in Australia. Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tevor Nunn and other London composers and producers love Michael for his amazingly versatile and accomplished tenor voice and for his great personality. His forte is primarily musical theater but he can sing just about anything better than the person who made it famous and he does some song writing of his own . He has been named the best performer to come out of the West End (London's Broadway) in over 30 years. He has played on Broadway twice in his career, most recently in Woman in White. He has many CD's and concert DVD's out and his signature song is "Love Changes Everything" which was a big hit for him after his long run in Aspects of Love in NYC. He has never taken singing lessons so his voice is truly a God given talent. I became interested in his career and followed it for a few years for which I was teased mercilessly by my kids and hubby. I am not a groupie but just enjoyed his music and his one inch dimples and his nice gentlemanly ways.
He has only done 2 live concerts in the USA and they were held at the Abravenal Hall in SLC. Can you quite imagine my excitement about that?
Anyway, Jen and I went one night and she was doing a lot of hooting and hollering (just to humor me she says) so she can tell you all about it. The following night Jim went with me which was great. I watched them both when I could take my eyes off the stage and they were enjoying the concert quite a bit themselves. We stood up and sat down so many times I thought we were in a Catholic church! I guess that is what you do if you are a real fan. It was the most fun time I had had at a concert since, well...ever!
When Jen and I were setting up my blog template we added the pics just for fun and I am not sure who came up with "the eye candy"...you will have to wonder....?? It is all in fun..don't worry... it is all good!
Michael was given the key to the city (SLC) by the mayor Rocky Somebody and was supposed to perform with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir but became ill and had to cancel. This was a big disappointment to his fans but my friend, Lloyd Newell, told me he was the most wonderful man and is invited to return whenever he is back in SLC. That was in 2004 and so far he has not been able to come back to sing "Amazing Grace" with the choir. May 4, 2004 was proclaimed by the mayor to be "Michael Ball Day" in Salt Lake City. I concur with Rocky...it truly was his day and maybe a little bit mine too! Ask Jen, she'll tell ya all about it.
Well... I hope she doesn't tell all!
P.S. OK, now that Jen has totally "outted" me, I will admit that that is me standing in the lower left hand corner of this photo. I am the one calmly and maturely standing there wondering what is up with all these crazy women! And the list of who I have actually given this website to is racing frantically though my head!!
This was the performance in Salt Lake City! Amazing! I cannot believe I was actually there!
Check out my new Internet book club and some of the books I have read and enjoyed. You will find the book shelf at the very bottom of the blog page. For any posts not appearing on the page right now just click on older posts at the bottom of the page or check out the archives on the right hand side of the blog as you scroll down. I began this blog in December 2007.
Thanks for visiting. Comments encouraged and welcomed. If you have a g-mail account just chime right in. If not, get one! They are free and simple to get and lots of fun! You can sign up on this blog right in the comments section. It is a great way to keep in touch. Look forward to hearing from you. Bon
Yesterday during our Family History Sunday School class, I shared a quote by Boyd K. Packer which basically said that we should not just view the Church mission statement as a mission statement perse but more as a personal assignment for each of us. He said that we should be doing something on an on going basis in each area. I felt really good about the blogging I have been doing but realized in some of the areas there is much left undone.
Thinking along the lines of sharing the Gospel with others that we care about, this is not a strong area for us. It is mostly for lack of opportunity as much as anything. However, yesterday our neighbor called us and asked if we could come over and tell her and her lunch guests what we believe. With only a few minutes to prepare we copied the 13 Articles of Faith and off we went. During the short walk to her house we prayed we were prepared to give them the answers they were seeking as they were discussing each candidate for President.
We told them we were not that up on all the facets of each candidate but we were happy to share what Mormons believe. Ronnie and Louisa and Nicole are all Catholics (but not really practicing) so it was a fun discussion. We did our best to point out our similarities and differences. We discussed Mitt Romney and how we thought he would be as a President based on his moral convictions as a Latter-day Saint. We assured them we would not vote for him based solely on our common religion. I even told him I would sacrifice Mitt's opportunity in office if it meant no Hillary!
It was a delightful time and really a great experience. It made us very eager to fill a full time mission to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ with people that are interested and searching for something great in their lives. There is nothing like bearing your testimony to someone to reaffirm all that you hold dear. It is easy to take the gift we have for granted but we shouldn't. It is a great blessing in our lives.
Friday, January 11, 2008
Every time I set foot out of my door anymore, I am amazed by what I see. So I am going to start a little recurring post called "What's Up With That?
Today I ventured out to find something for Laura for her birthday on January 30th. Try as I might I have not been able to get my Christmas decorations put away yet. I am beginning to feel like those slackers that just keep their lights up all year and unplug them. I especially love the icicles that hang down all year, don't you? In my own defense I have been waiting for Jim to have one minute to get the boxes out of the attic for me but still, it is practically mid-January for Pete's sake!
So as I am going through different stores I was bombarded with Valentine's Day, St. Patrick's Day, Easter eggs, Easter baskets with all the plastic pink, yellow and green grass, and Easter egg dyeing kits...it was holiday overload! The next aisles revealed barbecues, lawn furniture and beach stuff, and garden statuary. Even in California this is ridiculous! I may be crazy but my life is flying by fast enough without the aid of the retail industry.
Oh well, as I was driving home I realized that if I can just hold out for about 60 more days with leaving all my Christmas decor up....I could be just barely ahead of the curve and be ready just a tad bit early for Christmas 2008! Our neighbor, Gary, who runs by the house daily, actually came up and told Jim to take down the tree as he is getting sick of it...maybe if we just turn off the lights he won't notice!
Maybe all those slackers are the smart ones! Oh and by the way, I saw flip flops and shorts today too but not for sale...someone was actually wearing them!!! I just bundled up a little more in my wool coat and hurried home to my computer where I have some control over my own little world! What is up with that?
OK, I just spent a billion hours getting that Daughters post done and think I made every mistake you can so now I feel I really understand slide.com. I wanted to include the lyrics to the song but was afraid to edit that one even one more time for fear of messing it up again. So......................here they are:
JOHN MAYER LYRICS
I know a girl
She puts the color inside of my world
But she's just like a maze
Where all of the walls all continually change
And I've done all I can
To stand on her steps with my heart in my hands
Now I'm starting to see
Maybe it's got nothing to do with me
Fathers, be good to your daughters
Daughters will love like you do
Girls become lovers who turn into mothers
So mothers, be good to your daughters too
Oh, you see that skin?
It's the same she's been standing in
Since the day she saw him walking away
Now she's left
Cleaning up the mess he made
So fathers, be good to your daughters
Daughters will love like you do
Girls become lovers who turn into mothers
So mothers, be good to your daughters too
Boys, you can break
You'll find out how much they can take
Boys will be strong
And boys soldier on
But boys would be gone without the warmth from
A womans good, good heart
On behalf of every man
Looking out for every girl
You are the god and the weight of her world
So fathers, be good to your daughters
Daughters will love like you do
Girls become lovers who turn into mothers
So mothers, be good to your daughters too