Tuesday, March 31, 2009

SPT-Eight feels Great

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How can you not feel GREAT when Pal and Maddie make a toilet paper banner welcoming you to Oklahoma while their mom drives two hours to pick you up at the airport, and then you're greeted when you walk in the door with EIGHT hugs from Bert (brother-in-law), Justin, Cache, Calder, Pal, Hydn (nephews), Jesse and Maddie (nieces)? You just can't.


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seven nieces and nephews willing to pose + one aunt trying to get an SPT in Oklahoma

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Life in My World--Gate B 29

I'm not in Washington anymore.

Walking through an airport is like looking through a scrapbook. As I switched planes in Denver, Colorado memories of Ty washed my face. It probably doesn't help that I'm wearing his Air Force Academy jacket or that a woman walking towards me was wearing a AFA sweatshirt. I tried to stay focused on getting to Gate B 29. Grown women don't cry in the middle of changing planes.

Then I walked by the gate to Honolulu, Hawaii and I swear I heard a ukele and palm trees in the wind when I saw the man in dreadlocks and surfer shorts and it reminded me of college, and going to see Cali in college and swimming at the Hukilau beach with our family. I tried to stay focused on getting to Gate B 29. Grown women don't cry in the middle of changing planes.

The gate to Orange County had the same effect. Disneyland, Seaworld, teenagers, kids laughing. It vividly reminded me of Soaring over California and being misted by the orange blossoms with Calvin and the kids in the seats beside me. I tried to stay focused on getting to Gate B 29. Grown women don't cry in the middle of changing planes.

New York made me think of West Point's Plebe Parent Weekend with the whole family and Ring Weekend with Cali, Ray and Calvin. It made me wonder how Abe and Grace are today and our upcoming trip to Abe's graduation. I thought how it will be our last trip to West Point and lasts are usually sad. I tried to stay focused on getting to Gate B 29. Grown women don't cry in the middle of changing planes.

Even the gate to Washington D.C. brought a pang and I haven't walked the city since I was in high school; however, Abe asked Calvin and me to come back early to graduation so we could go down and see the city together. We weren't sure we could do it, but when I asked him what he wanted for a graduation gift, he paused and quietly said, "To go to D.C. with you and Dad and Grace." I tried to stay focused on getting to Gate B 29. Grown women don't cry in the middle of changing planes.

Then I walked past a bright yellow sign with a twirling tornado that said, "Tornado Shelter." It didn't bring one memory. I went straight to Gate B 29, found a seat and got excited that I'm going to Dallas/Fort Worth. I can't WAIT to attach a memory to it with my sister, Rachel, and her family.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Homemaking Tip—The Bond

I have a decorative tile that I have wanted to use as a trivet on the table. I cut a piece of flannel the size of the tile and then sprayed Elmer’s Craft Bond on the back of the tile and adhered the felt. Tra-la trivet.

I also used the glue on a scrapbook page the other day. It was slick, keeping everything tightly bound.

I haven’t used this adhesive in a while and had forgotten how nice it is.

And, in the spirit of bonding and “Family is Everything,” today is Abe’s birthday and my sister’s and my grandpa’s.


Edited to Add: I shouldn't have used the word trivet, that is too misleading as I don't intend to use it for hot things ( I suspect the vinyl would melt to the bottom of the pan). So let me call it a tile doily. It's mostly to just look pretty on a table instead of hanging on a wall or sitting on a shelf. Sorry for the confusion. In the meantime, the bond is still good!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Self Portrait Tuesday—Eight Would Have Been Great

When I was a little girl my grandma gave me a four-leaf clover she had taped to a piece of cardstock with “Good Luck” scrawled below it. I thought I was the luckiest girl. Thenceforth and forever I always had something for show and tell because not everyone has a four-leaf clover, mind you, my friends and I had spent several recesses looking with no luck. Later somebody told me that Grandma sent one to all of my cousins and brothers and sisters, too. I wondered if she had just taped extra leaves onto three leaf clovers, because can one woman really find a couple of dozen four leaf clovers all by herself when I had never even found one? No matter she had seventy years of looking on me, I just didn't trust the odds and threw mine away.

Today I went in search of lucky eights for self-portrait Tuesday. I thought maybe the chickens would give me eight eggs which would make a pretty picture. Nope. Eleven.

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I thought maybe we would have eight oranges left which would make a pretty picture. Nope. Seven.

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I thought maybe I would have eight loads of laundry which would not make a pretty picture but at least would give me a picture with eight piles. Nope. Five.

I thought maybe I would have eight books backed up on my nightstand. Nope. Nine.

I thought maybe I would have eight things on my to-do list. Nope. Endless.

I never should have thrown away that four leaf clover. Serves me right.


Tell me the truth. I can take it. Do you think the one my Grandma gave me was real?
Let me guess. You counted the eggs and the oranges, didn't you?

Sunday, March 22, 2009

52 Blessings—Chocolate and Reading


Chocolate is good. Reading is good. The combination is really good. I have a friend who subscribes to several magazines and her mother-in-law subscribes to several more. Every month or two my friend brings me a nice stack of them. One of my favorites that she brings is a periodical her father-in-law subscribes to called Backwoods Home Magazine. One of the contributors, Jackie Clay, can do it all. Truly. She has built her own home on a piece of land she’s homesteaded and she only runs a generator for a couple of hours every other night so that she can power up her computer and write articles. She took care of her aging parents and lost her husband to a heart attack and still she keeps writing and building and cooking. She’s informative and entertaining to read. I love to sit and read a good book or a good article, like one of Jackie Clay’s, while sucking on a piece of chocolate.

Have you ever imagined what your life would be like without the blessing of literacy? Next to the scriptures, what would you most miss reading if you couldn’t read?

Friday, March 20, 2009

Life in My World—A Few for Friday

1. Calvin and I went to a movie tonight. Oh, it was a painful one. I like church. I really like church. But when a movie feels like it lasts as long as two church meetings, well . . . that’s a loooong movie. As we were leaving the theatre Calvin said, “Let’s not tell anybody we saw that movie.” So mum’s the title, but did I mention it was long--painfully long--with a stupid plot? And . . . I have lost the right to choose the next FIVE movies because it was my choice.

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2. Our good friend, Aaron, came to stay with us and brought his sister, Stephanie. Aaron is so incredibly good-natured and pleasant and it’s fun to meet Stephanie and visit with her, too. Around noon, Aaron and Stephanie left to visit friends and I went to town to mail Abe’s birthday present. They beat me home and when I returned, I found them doing this:

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(This is a 40+ hour job, it's daunting.)

Ohhhhhhhhhhhh. How humbling. I made them stop but when I turned my back to unload the $1.25-a-pound-pork-chops they started raking again. Luckily Calvin came along shortly and sidetracked them:

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Both Stephanie and Aaron are successful hunters and these are two black powder rifles Calvin made this winter. I'm not sure who was the best shot, but they did hit the target every time and all the chickens are still accounted for.

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3. The economy may be in the tank, but did you know cotton gloves are still only $.98 cents a pair? They’ve been that same price for years. It doesn’t matter they get holes easily, I still like them. Calvin has offered to get me good leather gloves, but then I would have to keep track of them for twelve years without losing one to make them pay. Not gonna happen, no sir, wouldn't be prudent to give me gloves I can't lose.

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(I promise, kids, this is a rare picture of Seemore in the family room, the family rules are still in tact . . . pretty much.)

4. Aaron trains bird dogs. In ten minutes he taught us how to keep Seemore from jumping up on people and how to give back the things he retrieves. On today's walk Seemore found his first stink bug. He sniffed it and flipped it with his nose and promptly threw up. My sentiments exactly. It reminded me of when Cali was a baby. I was at the church decorating for a party and she was sitting on the floor playing with her toys. She wasn't yet crawling, but the stink bugs were on the move. (That church building had hordes of stink bugs . . . just try and keep kids focused on a Sunday school lesson with that distraction.) I had my back turned to Cali, but I could hear her squealing. I turned to see what made her so excited and saw a stink bug half in her mouth and half out. Those long, clingy, tickly legs must have been quite a sensation. And it takes hours for the smell to wear off your breath.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Thursday Thinking


As you may or may not have noticed, each day of the week there is a different topic on my blog. I began the Neighbor Jane Payne website and weekly newsletter in 2004 to earn money so the family could attend Cali’s college graduation in Hawaii.* The mission was accomplished and a few years later I added the blog. Knowing I only have so many ideas or words on a given day, when I added the blog I ran it like the feature section in a newspaper with a different daily theme.

Monday Memories: This has been valuable in recording family stories that hadn’t yet been written down.
Self-Portrait Tuesday: This feature inhibits inhibition and has taught me some funny things about myself.
Wednesday is Homemaking Tips: Homemaking has long been a passion and I enjoy the sharing of ideas.
Friday is Life in My World: This provides a week summary of current events in our lives.
Sunday is 52 Blessings: An important theme for recording details and the hand of God in my life.


Thursday was Gift Giving/Teaching Ideas, however today I’m introducing Thursday Thinking. There are some topics that just don’t fit on the other days and yet aren’t big enough to devote a whole newsletter, so beginning next Thursday I’m beginning a trial run.

I expect these posts to be random. For example this past week I’ve thought a lot about patriotism, integrity, political correctness, finances, skinny sleep, wedding plans, cancer and graduation. Who knows what topic will rise to the top for next Thursday.
What have you been thinking about this week?

*the newsletter is now FREE and you’re more than welcome to sign up for it here

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Homemaking Tip—Decorating for Spring

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The calendar says it’s almost here, but I’m afraid it still won’t act like Spring for a little while longer so I’ve been pretending: I rearranged the furniture last week, decluttered yesterday and am going to get pansies today. Here are a few more ideas if you want to pretend, too:

~Trim some fruit branches or forsythia branches and bring them into the house. Display them in a large container of water and watch the phases until they bloom.

~A bunch of daffodils, tulips or a potted pansy on the kitchen, dining room or entry table says “Welcome Spring!”

~Put a pot of pansies or primroses in each room for a bright pick-me-up. Both flowers are inexpensive and come in a variety of colors, you could even color coordinate to the color scheme in each room. When they start to wilt, transplant them outside.

~Clean your windows. Let the sun shine bright and shiny through a sparkling window.

~Add a few pieces of colored glassware from the dollar store to hold your pencils, flowers or even a bowl of colorful jelly beans. The sun will catch the glass and cheer up the room.

~Hang a small basket of flowers from your front door to welcome your family and guests home.

~Fruits have a rich, colorful hue. Keep a bowl of fresh fruit (lemons are such happy fruits) on your counter or on the table to add cheer to a room.

~Decorate Easter eggs early and use them as a centerpiece all month long. Just blow the eggs before dying and then put them in a wire basket on a nest of colored excelsior. Scramble the eggs or make french toast and you’ve (ahem…) killed two birds with one stone.

~Rearrange the furniture and put the throws and blankets away. Put light and airy throw pillows in their place.

~Buy a lilac or grapefruit scented candle and use it.

~Open the window a crack and let the breeze blow through.

~Add a bird, a real live bird, to your d├ęcor. Their song and color will brighten the day and the birdseed and feathers they scatter will give you something to complain about besides the weather.

~Add a bright, pastel tablecloth or table runner in the kitchen or dining room.

~Change the bed sheets to a light airy color.

~Swap the towels in the bathroom to a lighter shade.

~Place garden magazines or flower books on the coffee table.

~Declutter. It lightens things up and makes the house more airy.

~Add a dab of yellow.

What is something you do to make your home more bright and cheerful?

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Self Portrait Tuesday—Eight at Eight

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WASL testing has changed my schedule this week and so at eight o’clock I sat down with

a spoon
a book
a bowl
salt
pepper
toast
butter
hot milk

and was temporarily in seventh heaven.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

52 Blessings—Kids

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Children have long been counted as a commodity. Formerly they were viewed as an asset (grow your own worker) or a savings account (provide your own caretaker), whereas today they are often viewed as a luxury item.

I consider our children an invaluable blessing and really like the idea that our children marry others and increase our blessings. I’m truly grateful for kids and the privilege to have them.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Life in My World—Spring in Seattle

Tomorrow is Ray’s birthday so Calvin and I drove over to Seattle yesterday to spend a couple of days with Ray and Cali. We had a great time—the only thing better than having little kids is having big kids. We went to an old school auction, a jerky outlet store, the science center and the docks—the huge cranes that load the ships, the boats, the gulls, the water, it’s all fascinating. Ray and Cali are especially fun to be with and wonderful hosts.

Here’s a short video using a collection of Seattle pictures I’ve taken in the last year or two. Being my first video, it has some glitches--it takes a while to download and it ends abruptly--sorry, I'll get better.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Life in My World

I'm out living it. I'll post about it tomorrow night!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Gift Idea—Eye Sermons

I’ve mentioned the concept of preaching to the eyes, not just the ears before. Recently Melanie and Hannah each gave me a gift that does indeed just that.

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My word for the year is “diligent”. I want to “try a little harder to be a little better” and more diligence will help me get there. Hannah made this darling canvas depicting my word and it sits on the old pie safe right next to the back door—the door I go out each morning. Several times each day it quietly and persistently preaches the goal I set at the beginning of the year.

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Melanie gave me the handsome plaque that says “Honesty is the first chapter in the book of wisdom.” ~Thomas Jefferson. It hangs importantly over the dining room table between the shelves of the plate rack. I love its simplicity and the washed look adds to its antiquity.

Both of these gifts preach the message of kindness also. Each time I see them I think of the thoughtfulness of the givers.

Do you have any gifts that preach loud and clear?

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Homemaking Tip—No Sense Tempting Bad Luck

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Long ago before Ree was Pioneer Woman, there was Becky. Becky was a fashion model in a large city before she married George and moved to the family ranch 60 miles from town. It was a painful transition for Becky to live so far from stores, friends, schools and entertainment, but she did it. She was a wonderful cook and one day she returned my pan with something freshly baked in it. I fussed like a respectable neighbor should, telling her it wasn’t necessary and all, but she said, “My mom said it’s bad luck to return an empty pan.” Far be it from me to question her mother’s superstitions.

Tonight we returned a pan to friends who brought soup over last weekend. I filled it with these cookies (what with the oats, bran flakes, nuts and raisins they’re bound to be as nutritious as soup).

Good Luck Cookies

1 cup brown sugar
1 cup sugar
1 cup butter-flavor Crisco
4 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp salt
2 ½ cups flour
¾ cup bran flakes
1 tsp soda
2 cups oats
2 cups chocolate covered raisins
1 cup coconut
1 cup chopped nuts

Cream shortening and sugars. Add eggs and vanilla. Add dry ingredients (salt, flour, baking soda, oats, bran flakes, coconut and nuts). Mix well. Add chocolate covered raisins. Spoon onto greased cookie sheet and bake at 375 degrees for 8 minutes or until lightly golden. Makes approximately 5 dozen.


Here's to Becky and her mom. I miss her and her cooking.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Monday Memories—Box Socials


I love the idea of a box social: a community gathering with the womenfolk bringing nicely decorated boxes or baskets with good food inside, men bidding on mystery meals with the highest bidder claiming the girl for company. It sounds simply romantic in a Norman Rockwell setting. And if I ever write a cheesy novel you can bet there will be a box social in it somewhere. In reality however, box socials have been painful for me and if I ever write a biography you can bet I won’t include it.

When I was a girl we had box socials at church and mom packed every one of her daughters a wonderful box. It didn’t matter whether you bought Lila’s, Chris’, Marcia’s, Lynn’s, mine, Janet’s or Rachel’s you were going to get a neatly wrapped shoe box with fried chicken, potato salad and a chocolate cupcake. My mom was a good, sanitary cook and you were safe bidding on a Chadwick box and the boys at church knew it. No one had to beg someone to buy our boxes. So, though it was scary when your box was held up and the boys started to bid letting the world know how much they thought eating with you was worth (somehow secrets never stayed secret), at least you could rest assured they wouldn’t be disappointed with what was in the box, just that it was you they got for company.

When I was in college our animal science club held a box social to earn money. Calvin and I were both in the club and had been dating but not openly—I suppose we were protecting our bridges should ours burn. Instead of individual boxes, girls in the club grouped together. A few friends and I met to decide what to put in our box. The other girls had never attended a box social so my voice was the expert. I remembered mom’s boxes that had always sold higher than the boxes with sandwiches and suggested chicken, potato salad and chocolate cake. The night came and all the women brought their colorful boxes and baskets and lined them up on tables in the front of the room. Calvin had asked someone which box was mine. Since it was a meal for six he grabbed a couple of buddies to bid with him. As everyone was assembling and the auctioneer was getting the microphone ready, I overheard that one box had crab in it. It never occurred to me that you could put something besides cold chicken or a cold sandwich in a box. Then I heard what some of the other boxes had in them. Suddenly, I was embarrassed. Who wants cold fried chicken when there is steak and crab and lasagna? Nobody was dumb enough to try to sell a cold sandwich. Suddenly, I wasn’t just worried about disappointing someone with my presence but also with a dismal meal.

The bidding began and as each box was claimed it was opened to reveal the contents and who made it. Each box I sunk lower. About midway through the auction the auctioneer held up the box for which I was responsible. He had asked me to help him with something just prior to raising the box so I was in the front of the room when the bidding began. I pretended like I didn’t recognize the box, but the guys in the room saw that Calvin suddenly took interest and started bidding up the price of the box. Higher and higher it went. The auctioneer teased Calvin. The men in the room teased Calvin. I got red. The room was insufferably hot. I pretended something dropped and knelt down and hid underneath the table holding the boxes. But the bidding kept going. First it was double the other boxes, then triple, then quadruple. Everyone in the room, including Calvin, was laughing and the jokes, like bids, kept flinging across the room. (I wasn’t laughing, I was mortified, but since I was hiding under the table I could hardly be counted as in the room.) The auctioneer teased Calvin that maybe there was a marriage certificate in the box so not to give up as the men kept raising the bid higher and higher. When the bid was more than a month of rent, I stopped listening and focused on breathing. It was my eight cow moment, my moment of glory, but I couldn’t enjoy it. Calvin hates chicken . . .

Sunday, March 8, 2009

52 Blessings—Medicine


You probably saw this one coming before I did, but today I am very grateful for modern medicine for myself and others.

Advil has been my friend and calmed my fiery joints for years, but as a kid and teenager I saw cases of severe prescription drug abuse, so vowed to fight disease the best I could without drugs—a stupid fear I should have outgrown considering the good that can come from a bottle, but a fear none the less.

Yesterday I went to the doctor. First time in eleven years. First time ever for “I don’t feel good.” He sent me home with a prescription that made me feel human again. How grateful I am for the relief. I have two friends fighting cancer. It’s too early to know the final prognosis, but nonetheless modern medicine is buying them time—time to see a wedding and a graduation and a son leave on a mission and the sun rise and set.

I’m grateful for the comfort given and the lives and memories that are saved through medicine.

Is there anything that has made you grateful for medicine recently?

Friday, March 6, 2009

Life in My World--Puzzling

Today’s blog post is a word game.:


weather
_________________
I’m

but not so badly that I should complain, only enough that I’m glad somebody

vent-in-ed

strawberry breeze cough drops and Advil and a warm bed. Maybe

morrow morrow

I can post about life in my world.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Homemaking Tip—Office Supplies in the Freezer



The office supply store (Staples) sells a little plastic tub that you can fill with paper fasteners. You buy them by the container rather than by the piece, so it’s to your benefit to pack them carefully. I was only slightly self-conscious as I took fifteen minutes and carefully rearranged and fit dozens of clips into my tub. There are designer, plain, regular and fancy clips and my favorite use for them is one Ande showed me—keeping opened bags tightly closed in the freezer.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

SPT—Eight is Great

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all mixed-up


I thought Daylight Savings Time began last Sunday. I got up, changed all the clocks and a couple of hours later couldn’t figure out why the computer clock hadn’t jumped ahead or why the Mormon Tabernacle Choir wasn’t singing. I asked one of the wisest people in the world, Jeeves, what the deal was and discovered DST starts next Sunday. Ha. I lost an hour this week and get to gain it back next week. By default, I finally outsmarted the system and for one whole week get to leave for work at 8:00 instead of 7:00. Eight is great.

To play along or see other's Eight is Great posts, go to Lelly's.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

52 Blessings—The Ten Commandments

Early yesterday morning Calvin and I headed into Lowe’s to get some parts for the kitchen sink. It’s been leaking for a good couple of years, but no more.

I love our home, even when it has a leaky faucet. Why, I’ve loved every home we’ve ever lived in, including the double wide trailer and the ½ bedroom barn apartment. I’m as content as I can be in our home . . . until I walk into Lowe’s and see the new kitchen sinks, faucets, countertops, vanities, sunflower-sized shower heads, refrigerators with water dispensers, washers and dryers and then, well . . . and then I get the covets. I think of how nice some of those things would be in our home. It takes images of “thou shalt not covet” engraved on stone, the hungry and deprived in Africa and China or the pvc pipe and plywood aisle (I don’t want for much in those two aisles) to rein in my thoughts.

After we leave the store, the wants subside and my content little world returns, but a walk through Lowe’s is a brush with the dark side because

As a rule, man’s a fool.
When it’s hot, he wants it cool.
When it’s cool, he wants it hot,
Always wanting what it’s not.
Never wanting what he’s got.

“Thou shalt not covet,” one of ten stone blessings that gives direction and satisfaction to my life.