What's your movie memory?
Monday, November 30, 2009
What's your movie memory?
Sunday, November 29, 2009
My nephew, Pal, sent me this puzzle this week. Besides making me smile when I saw it and read, “I love you to pieces,” it made me think of how it really is all of the little pieces that make things so good. Our Thanksgiving was definitely full of good pieces.
Piece one, caring family. This puzzle is a recycle project from Pal’s scout troop. It was sitting in the mailbox when we returned from Idaho. To be thought kindly of is always a fun surprise. Another big piece of caring family was spending the Thanksgiving holiday and visiting with lots of family.
Piece two, generosity. My brother-in-law and sister, Bruce and Chris, and their two kids, Charlie and Jake, invited us to Thanksgiving. Not only did they invite us, they invited Trevor and his family and Trent and his family, too. That meant four people invited fourteen people. They wouldn’t let us bring anything. Chris is a really good cook, so it’s not like she needed our help, but she helps run the livestock sale yard on Wednesday and it certainly would have been easier for her to either not invite us or allowed us to help. Their generosity was certainly a kind piece of our weekend.
Piece three, charmed shopping. Last year Chris suggested we try a Black Friday. We had a great time, so we were game to do it again this year. We perused the ads while Thanksgiving dinner cooked and plotted our stores. The next morning Chris commandeered the eight of us girls (you really need to know Chris, she does nothing in slow-mo) into the car at 3:30 am. We were at JC Penny’s before 4:00 am. She gave us 45 minutes until we had to be done and back at our meeting place for the next store’s door buster at 5:00. Since we’d studied the ads, we knew what we were hoping for, but Chris does not hope, she gets. She maneuvered (did I mention how quickly her 100 pounds moves?) her way through the crowds seizing the things we were looking for. Yay, sometimes even snagging the last item. She’s that good. And then, she has this trick for getting waited on so that she doesn’t have to wait in the hour long lines. She made me promise I wouldn’t share it. It’s honest. It’s not rude. It’s not even selfish. It is just an unknown trick that works. Sufficeth me to say, Chris herded us through over a dozen stores in ten hours. We may have been packed to the roof, indeed we were, but we were successful. I’m hard pressed to tell the best deal. If I went by money saved it would be Grace’s or Calvin’s present, however, if I went for the wow factor, it would be the nice $60 suitcases we got at Sears for $2. A ten hour work day would have worn us out, but the success of saving money fueled our cause and made for a fun, productive day.
Piece four, tradition. Chris and Bruce have a loft that sleeps 20. Trevor and his family, Calvin, me and Ande all slept in it. It is the funnest thing to all be together talking in bed with a fire flickering in the corner of the room and the lights twinkling on the little trees. It’s like camping without the cold or grime. Another tradition that Chris started last year was to draw names and then give everyone $10 to buy a gift for their person while we’re out bargain hunting. It’s fun to gather in the loft and exchange the gifts after a long day of shopping. Even though the men don’t participate in the exchange (they dare to scoff) they always join us when it’s time to open and see who bought what for whom.
Piece five, celebration. Whether we were celebrating Thanksgiving on Thursday, or Calvin’s birthday on Friday, it just felt good to have such good things to celebrate.
- listening to Ande and Cousin Rachel read aloud to each other in the back seat as we drove home
- visiting with the kids and also nieces, nephews, sisters, brothers-in-law
- more food
- games and games of dominoes
- holding babies
- making disposable slippers
- laughing real hard
- heartfelt conversations
- a drive to old landmarks
Monday, November 23, 2009
I first met Deb when I was looking for paper to cover booklets for a class I was teaching at an education week. We stood in the back room of her scrapbooking store and innocently enough began talking about paper, copies, and patterns. When I left the store that afternoon, we'd shared more than paper stories and she kindly offered to sell my booklets when they were finished.
A few years later I ran into Deb again. Our conversation picked up where we’d left off and we talked about our current happenings and goals. We were both looking for an opportunity to make money by providing a service that would help women. Our goals were similar—help women to: share their creative ideas and learn new ones, make new friends, preserve memories and leave (whatever it was we were going to do) reenergized and feeling better about themselves. Deb, being an avid scrapbooker, suggested we do scrapbook retreats to accomplish our goals. Though I didn't scrapbook or have nice pictures to scrapbook, I saw a niche I could fill and so we started planning.
Six months later Deb and I hosted our first scrapbook retreat. Deb had attended a scrapbook retreat before and helped us get a skeleton schedule. Then we divvied up the responsibilities. Though Deb had closed her scrapbooking store she still had all the ins, so Deb’s job was to order supplies and take care of the correspondence and hundreds of minute to minute details (including scrapbooked name tags for the women and their motel room doors). My job was to organize the motel, meals and money. Two weeks before our first retreat the caterer backed out, so we cooked seven meals for 30 women in crock pots, a mini-microwave, and the back of a horse trailer. (Calvin brought a grill up one evening to cook steaks for us, and then spent the night and cooked pancakes and bacon out in the rain and snow the next morning.) We did our dishes in a bathtub. Simply put, our facilities and methods would not have passed health code and the mouse in Darla’s bed didn’t help. However, even with the less than perfect conditions when we finished that first retreat and the women asked us when we’d be doing another, Deb and I knew we’d accomplished our goal. A dozen retreats later, we just finished our most recent at Suncadia Resort in Cle Elum, Washington.
While preserving memories is the bulk of what we do at those retreats, we do make new ones.
And then we do it all over again for three days, because some way, somehow there is a special energy and friendship that builds among women who love to cut and glue paper, pictures and memories. And so next November, you’ll find us at the same place doing the same thing. You’re welcome to join us to make and preserve memories, too.
Sunday, November 22, 2009
Sometimes I think corn is my favorite grain. Other times I’m pretty sure it’s wheat. But today, it’s corn that I'm grateful for.
Maybe it’s because it’s almost Thanksgiving and I’ve been thinking about Squanto teaching the Pilgrims that by dropping a fish head into a hole along with a few kernels of corn, the corn would produce more abundantly. John Howland was one of my ancestors and I’m grateful to the Indians for keeping the Pilgrims alive that first year. I bet corn had a lot to do with it.
Maybe corn is my favorite today because not only is it a grain, it’s a vegetable and we ate frozen corn for dinner.
Maybe corn is my favorite because there are Corn Pops in the cupboard.
Or maybe corn is my favorite today because it is because of corn that we have:
livestock feed which means meat and eggs
Friday, November 20, 2009
1. This week I had a perfectly orchestrated day. It included seven appointments from one end of the county to the other, stacked on top of each other. One mishap and they’d have all gone sliding. Only the very last appointment fell through and that wasn’t until 8:00 p.m. and the result was getting to bed earlier than hoped. Six for seven. Great.
Rainbow colored because color has emotion and prayer is full of all kinds of emotion.
Green because it is the color of life and prayer gives life to those who use it.
Black because it encompasses all colors and prayer encompasses all things—problems, blessings, sadnesses, etc.
White because it is pure.
Baby blue because it is soothing and soft and comforting.
Iridescent because it is different depending on how you look at it or what you need.
Diamond colored because it is beautiful.
Red because it is powerful.
Gold because it is valuable.
Yellow because it is bright and shows us the way like the sun does.
No one likes to be offended. Only a few like to offend. Only fools are offended when no offense is intended. In the quest of making sure no one is ever offended, we have adopted a new norm of political correctness.
The other day as I was reading in the New Testament I realized how Christ, who is unequivocally the most politically correct Being, would be considered politically incorrect in our society.
How did we arrive at today’s norm of political correctness? Who decided it? How do we get from being politically correct to being just plain correct? That's what I've been thinking about.
Wednesday, November 18, 2009
I’m a sucker for containers, especially ones made of tin. I like their durability, their style, their size. I especially like to mail gifts in the original tins. Last week for a simple birthday gift I stuffed a pick-up-sticks and jacks tin even fuller with a fruit roll-up, pixie sticks and a couple of mini-candybars. By adding a birthday tag (compliments of Michelle), taping the lid shut, and adding a mailing label it might just possibly have been the cheapest and easiest package on earth to mail.
Tuesday, November 17, 2009
Monday, November 16, 2009
Since 1915 members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints have been encouraged to hold Family Home Evening once a week. Family Home Evening is an evening that is set aside for families to spend time learning, laughing, listening to and enjoying each other. During this time families leave the interruptions and distractions of everyday life behind while they learn scripture stories and Christian principles, sing songs, play games, and eat treats.
So that everyone was included and had an opportunity to “be in charge,” we had a family night board outlining the responsibilities of the evening. Grandma Erma helped to make the family night board I remember best. It was covered in felt and had felt flower pots glued to the front of it. Each pot had a family night job glued to it that was spelled out in alphabet macaroni. Each pot held a felt flower with our individual names glued to the centers (you guessed it, in alphabet macaroni). The board hung over the kitchen table. We took turns “conducting” and whoever was conducting got to assign the jobs by rearranging the flowers in the pots. The pot titles were:
The songs that we most often sang :
You Are My Sunshine
Popcorn Popping on the Apricot Tree
Little Tommy Tinker
There Was a Farmer Had a Dog and Bingo Was His Name-O
Old MacDonald Had a Farm
Love at Home
I Am a Child of God
Three Blind Mice
The items of business that were routinely discussed:
~Who was using whose toothbrush (sometimes we all had to go retrieve ours to root out the culprit who was using everyone else's)
~How much laundry we were creating (we typically had five to seven loads a day)
~Upcoming trips (Disneyland and Salt Lake City were my favorite destinations)
~Family schedules (ballgames, meetings, etc.)
~Problems (these were usually family home evening killers)
The “parts” section of family night was for showcasing talent. (However because showcase talent was limited in our family sometimes we substituted our part with an activity):
~Playing a new piano song
~Standing on our head
~Racing around the house with our toes curled under
~Bringing out a tray of sundry items covered with a dish towel and letting everyone look at the items for 30 seconds before covering them back up and letting everyone write down the things they remember.
~Slips of paper folded into a bowl with one having an “x” marked on it. Whoever got the “x” got a prize.
~Pixie Week (Everyone drew names for someone that they would do secretive, kind acts for all week. At the next family night we would reveal who was whose pixie and give them a small token gift.)
~"You Must Pay the Rent. I Can't Pay the Rent. You Must Pay the Rent" done with a napkin prop which doubled as a bow tie, a mustache and a hair bow.
Usually flannel board stories from the Old Testament, New Testament, and Book of Mormon.
Treats. (Because we usually had dessert at least once a day, treats were different than dessert. Treats were usually store-bought instead of homemade.)
Chips and dip
Floats (we weren’t partial to root beer, we also had strawberry, orange, grape, and black cherry)
Gum (lots and lots of different kinds to choose from and then we’d swap sticks with each other)
Ice Cream Bars
Games. (Because we always had little kids in the family, these games worked for years and the older kids just endured them.)
Hide the Thimble
Button, Button, Who Has the Button
I loved family night then and the security I felt for that hour. I loved it when we had little kids when we could see and feel the excitement they had to have our undivided attention. I loved it when we had bigger kids and we knew where they were and what they were doing for that hour and that it was ours alone with them. I love it now and the reconnection that comes. Family Night is a memory that just keeps piling up.
Sunday, November 15, 2009
“It is a sociological fact that women need women. We need deep and satisfying loyal friendship with each other . . . ” ~Marjorie Hinckley
Friday, November 13, 2009
Thursday, November 12, 2009
I often think of this story by President Thomas S. Monson, but especially this week:
“Late one afternoon I was swimming at the Deseret Gym, gazing at the ceiling while backstroking width after width. Silently, but ever so clearly, there came to my mind the thought: ‘Here you swim almost effortlessly, while your friend Stan languishes in his hospital bed, unable to move.’ I felt the prompting: ‘Get to the hospital and give him a blessing.’
“I ceased my swimming, dressed, and hurried to Stan’s room at the hospital. His bed was empty. A nurse said he was in his wheelchair at the swimming pool, preparing for therapy. I hurried to the area, and there was Stan, all alone, at the edge of the deeper portion of the pool. We greeted one another and returned to his room, where a priesthood blessing was provided.
“Frequently Stan speaks in Church meetings and tells of the goodness of the Lord to him. To some he reveals the dark thoughts of depression which engulfed him that afternoon as he sat in his wheelchair at the edge of the pool, sentenced, it seemed, to a life of despair. He tells how he pondered the alternative. It would be so easy to propel the hated wheelchair into the silent water of the deep pool. Life would then be over. But at that precise moment he saw me, his friend. That day Stan learned literally that we do not walk alone. I, too, learned a lesson that day: Never, never, never postpone following a prompting” (Ensign, May 1985, 70).
I still feel badly that I missed that prompting the other day and have told the Lord so three or four times. Next time . . . next time.
Wednesday, November 11, 2009
Happy Veterans Day.
When we lived in Southern Idaho we had a neighbor, Emilie, who immigrated to the United States from Germany. Emilie was a little girl under Hitler’s regime. She vividly recalled playing next door with her Jewish friend when the Gestapo barged in and dragged Emilie and her friend’s family to the backs of waiting trucks. Emilie’s mother saw the commotion and ran frantically across the yard waving her daughter’s birth certificate in the air and shouting, “She’s not a Jew! My little girl is German.” After checking the certificate the Gestapo unloaded Emilie, but hauled away her friend’s family. Emilie never saw them again. She told us many stories of foraging through the woods with her sister and mother for rabbits and greens to help their poor diets.
Southern Idaho has magnificent thunderstorms and Emilie hated them. Though in her seventies, she hid in her closet with a pillow over her head and quivered during the flashes of lighting and booms of thunder. One day a thunderstorm broke while she was visiting us. She nervously fussed at our kids to come to the center of the house, then begged us all to climb under the supper table with her for protection. The look of terror in her eyes at each streak of lightning and crash of thunder reflected a little girl quaking at exploding bombs in the night sky. She trembled with each rumble.
Emilie always made sure our children ate butter while they were at her house. She constantly warned me to keep plenty of oil in their diets. In her German accent, she’d say, “Honey, I vremember how sickly we got because we didn’t have any fats in our diets. The thin little vrabbits we ate didn’t offer much and we didn’t have any oil or butter. I vremember when we finally got oil after the Occupation, we fried our potatoes in it and it tasted soooo good.” She’d smack her lips and say, “Now, honey, it’s not the oil you’re thinking of—it was thick, green motor oil, but our bodies were so starved we ate it vright up.” Emilie’s eyes would brighten when she told or retold about the American Soldiers’ driving down the streets after the war handing out oranges and gum. They were heroes to Emilie and the starving, depleted German families. She thanked the heavens for American Veterans.
Occasionally, we receive e-mails and pictures from our friends and acquaintances that have sons and daughters serving in Iraq. Some pictures show our friends’ sons in army fatigues kneeling in front of schools with smiling Iraqi girls lined neatly beside them. Others show soldiers helping the Iraqi citizens—holding their children and laughing. A few show soldiers moving tanks and vehicles. One showed a soldier standing on the runway she engineered. I imagine many Iraqis thank heavens for American Veterans.
On the eleventh day of the eleventh month, Americans officially thank the heavens for veterans. To soldiers everywhere, past and present, thank you. Thank heavens for American Veterans.
I don’t suppose my carrot cake recipe is much different from yours, but here it is for you to compare or use if you don't have one of your own.
2 cups flour
2 cups sugar
2 tsp soda
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp salt
3 cups grated carrots
1 ¼ cup vegetable oil
¾ cup chopped nuts
Sift all dry ingredients. Add oil and stir well, add carrots and eggs. Mix well. Add nuts. Pour into an ungreased 9”x 13” pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 30-40 minutes.
Cream Cheese Frosting
½ cup butter
1 8 oz. pkg. cream cheese
2 T milk
2 tsp vanilla
1 pound of powdered sugar
pinch of salt
½ cup chopped nuts
Cream the butter and cream cheese. Add milk and vanilla and mix well. Add the powdered sugar and salt and beat until creamy. Spread on cake and sprinkle with nuts.
Monday, November 9, 2009
I need to finish an entry in Megan’s circle journal before Thursday. The theme of her book is Hometown. Because “finish Megan’s journal” and “write a blog” are both items on today's list, today’s Monday Memory kills two birds with one stone.
Hometown: Hollister, Idaho
Elevation: 4,524 ft.
Stores: Dude’s and Monte’s
School: Hollister Elementary School
I remember one perfect Christmas Play evening, I not only got to ride to the play in the front seat of our station wagon, it was also snowing big flakes as we drove to the school Snow, front seat, happy people, songs, Christmas Play, anticipation. Life didn’t get much better.
After the Christmas Play, Santa Claus climbed up the fire escape and entered the auditorium to hand brown paper bags filled with peanuts, an orange and some hard candy to the children. Parents stayed around and visited a long time after the play so we could play in the halls and . . . even go down the boys’ steps.
The day after the Christmas play was always our class party where everyone gave their exchange gift to the classmate whose name they’d drawn. We also gave our teacher a gift that day. I always gave the same thing--homemade caramels in a tin or fancy glass dish.
Chili Supper/Carnival: This big event happened in January after the dull-season arrived. Pots and pots of homemade chili filled the school lunchroom, but instead of the lunch lady serving it, our moms took a shift to serve. Homemade pies were for dessert.
A man in our community made the carnival games. His imagination knew no end. He spent all year thinking of new games for the next year. Though one of his most archaic games, my favorite was the marble roll. All we had to do was roll the big boulders up the inclined wood and get them stuck in the holes he’d carved at the top of the board. The first person to fill all three holes won a prize. That was it. The yellow marbles were the luckiest.
One of the biggest kid attractions at the carnival was the borrowed trampoline—an old rectangular, basket-weaved-top kind. For a ticket you could jump for two and a half minutes. There was also bingo. That’s where all the older people of the community spent the night. Prizes were things our parents had donated. They didn’t have to be new, but they did have to be in nice shape. Bingo cost a quarter. There were homemade cakes for the cake walk.
Track Meet: The last full day of school was the track meet. Parents volunteered to spray paint the race lines on the black top in front of the school a few days before so we could practice. They also filled the high jump pit with fresh straw and brought a new load of sand in for the long jump pit. All morning we competed in events and then finished the event with a potluck dinner. Mothers brought fried chicken, pots of spaghetti, potato, macaroni and jello salads and cupcakes. The PTA provided little ice cream cups with wooden-paddle spoons from the funds they’d earned at the chili supper and carnival.
Our town and school had their warts, but the feeling of community at these events helped us overlook them and gave everyone a bit of stability in an unstable world.
Sunday, November 8, 2009
I also appreciate the ocean because that is where sharks live and researchers research sharks immunity to diseases like cancer. I would like a cure to cancer.
I also appreciate the ocean because it’s salty and if we didn’t have salt, our muscles wouldn’t contract, our blood wouldn’t circulate, our food wouldn’t digest, and our hearts wouldn’t beat. I like a beating heart.
The ocean is a great blessing that I usually take for granted, but not today. I'm sure glad the Lord knew we needed oceans.
Friday, November 6, 2009
Thursday, November 5, 2009
I think I’ll always consider cold cereal as a luxury and so yesterday when I stumbled on an incredible cereal sale and luxury suddenly looked like prudence, I picked out 22 boxes. The colorful boxes have been decorating the counter all day and I keep thinking about all the things I can do with them.
folk is son’s cool
beef oak kissed hill hunch
deal is shush hole gray inn vibe burr
What have you been thinking about today?
What's your favorite kind of luxury cereal?
Wednesday, November 4, 2009
(image from newsteamtexas.com)
With flu-season in full swing here are a four things your mother already taught you. I'm just her echo:
1) Wash your hands often and keep them away from your mouth, eyes, and nose—easier said than done for us nail-biters.
3) Carry antibacterial lotion in your purse or car. The advertisements for these products in the New York City subways are graphic—one shows a toilet with the caption, “There are four times as many germs at a public drinking fountain” written underneath. I’m interested to see what the comparison is on grocery cart handles. After being in public places, use the lotion until you can use soap and water.
4) Use your own pen at the grocery store, bank, or department store. Use a paper towel to turn off water faucets, pump paper towel dispensers and open doors in public restrooms after washing your hands. Or, wear the inexpensive stretch gloves while using pens, grocery carts, etc. and remove when you're back in your car or home.
For more information about the flu, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention publish general information on the web site www.cdc.gov/flu .
One last echo: keep a clean hand. Always.
Has H1N1 hit your family/area yet?
Tuesday, November 3, 2009
Monday, November 2, 2009
Mrs. Kinsfather was my second grade teacher. She wore bright lipstick, boldly painted fingernails and high-heeled shoes. She sat at her desk a lot, filing her nails. She was also the music teacher for the whole school. When it was our class’ turn for “music,” we filed upstairs into the auditorium and sat on those wooden benches that you see in the photo. While Mrs. Kinsfather played the piano we read the words from a large flip chart and sang our little hearts out. Nobody goofed off for that would end music. The song I remember best was “The Ballad of the Green Berets” which we sang with great soberness, as if we were singing to save the Viet Nam vets:
Ballad of the Green Beret
by Staff Sergeant Barry Sadler and Robin Moore, copyright 1966
Do you sing with more fervor than talent?
Would your kids’ school allow this song to be sung today?
Sunday, November 1, 2009
What is one thing a washing machine has made time for in your life?