Monday, July 12, 2010

Monday Memories—Alphabet Soup

We had the "fruit-room” of fruit-rooms growing up. I’ve mentioned our storage room before I think. It was like a mini-store in the basement and included cases of candy. There were also several different cases of canned soup on the shelf. When we kids were sick in the winter (measles, mumps, chicken pox) we went downstairs at noon and picked out a can of soup. I didn’t like being sick with my sister Janet because she always chose Campbell’s cream of mushroom. She didn’t like being sick with me because I always chose Campbell’s tomato. Some days, when we were sick but not mean and selfish, we compromised with Campbell’s alphabet soup. I still think of alphabet soup fondly, unlike how I feel about mushroom soup.

Here are some memories – alphabet soup style - from the last few weeks. This batch has no u’s or x’s.

Ray with the alpha rooster
Airplanes. The crop-dusters and roosters both wake up about 5:00 a.m. They are natural alarm clocks with no snooze button.

Junior, Travis, and Calvin serving at the ward party

Brisket. Calvin grilled 80 pounds of brisket for a ward party on Saturday. After he rubs the meat with spices and grills it, he puts it in roaster ovens to cook for 18 hours. It smells like we live in a restaurant when he slow roasts brisket - especially 80 pounds of it. It is wonderful for two hours of the day, but a tad overwhelming for 18. However, I don’t need to feed him when he’s cooking brisket, he samples all day long. That’s what comes from living in a restaurant I guess.

Checks and Balances. Calvin, Grace, and I attended a seminar on the Constitution where we learned about the checks and balances system of our government. I was taught a modified version in 11th grade history. I wonder if Mr. Wilson knows it wasn’t accurate. The presentation we went to was informative and gave ideas on how to be a better citizen.

Devotional. We had a family fireside on the Fourth. We gathered around the piano and sang patriotic songs. Then using the Book of Mormon and Doctrine and Covenants we talked about America, the constitution, and what is expected of us. It felt good. I like it when Christmas and the Fourth of July land on Sundays. It just fits.

Exercise. It is my friend - the friend that is sometimes rude and pushy and I don’t always like. One part of exercise that I love is when the girls go for walks with me. Grace and I go several times a week together. Once last week Ray joined Cali, Grace, and me. We answered two questions, "Who did you meet in the month of June that was interesting and why?" and "What is one thing you didn't do in June that you wished you would have?"

Fireworks. We watched two and a half shows this year. They were great. My favorite fireworks show was done by a friend of Abe's. He'd choreographed the blasts to music. The bursts were big and close enough we got spattered with sparks. My next favorite show was the half one. Ray and Calvin found a box of old, old, old fireworks in the shop. Ray set them off. Because of their age we weren't quite sure what to expect. The show wasn't in the colors; it was in watching Ray set them off.

Grace fixed my hair this week. Natural is not the best color for me. Grace knows just how to fix that.

Hot. I mentioned to Abe on Skype that it might hit 90 degrees one day. He said, “I don't have much sympathy for you.” I asked him how hot it has been there and he said, “Oh, it was about 120 degrees today.” I asked him what the hottest he'd ever experienced was and he said, "Well, with the heat factor included it was 148 degrees one day." I cannot imagine. I cannot imagine being in full gear in that heat. God bless the soldiers.

Inservice. I received some great training recently. I want to get better at asking good questions which promote great discussion. I learned what to do. Want to know how?

Just in case you were wondering, I'm missing a toenail.

Kids. Everybody is doing well.

Lybbert’s pond. Brenda called on the phone saying, “I’m hot. Do you want to meet me at Lybbert’s pond in ten minutes?” I reminded her, “But we don’t have any kids.” She said that didn’t matter. I told her I’d join her as soon as the last batch of cookies came out of the oven.

Lybbert’s pond is an irrigation pool surrounded by alfalfa fields. It has a big cottonwood tree, rope swing, diving board, raft, and grassy bank. Kids love to swim there. And so do women who get too hot. But I had never gone in the water, just sat on the bank and cheered the kids on. Peer pressure. It will get you every time. Brenda led the way and expected us to follow. The kids later said, “WHAT? You wouldn’t go in the water for us, but you went in the pond for Brenda?” Yes, kids. I did. I succumbed. BUT DON’T YOU give in to peer pressure.

Mcflurries. We got two this week: one for celebration and one for endurance.

Nematode. I discovered one in my character this week. Ick.

Oysters. Calvin grilled oysters last week over the Fourth. The chickens that have escaped the pen keep coming over to where the boys shucked the oysters and eat the shell shards. Sometimes we have to buy a bag of oyster shell to thicken the egg shells, but the hens found this shell pile all on their own and knew to eat it. That surprises me; I think I would only eat oyster shell if someone forced me to. The chickens also ate the lettuce in the garden. I don't like that, but I do love how they scratch and keep the bugs out. Chickens are such a good thing.

Peas & Politics. We sat and podded peas on the porch and visited about politics . . . and taxes. At one point the discussion became quite animated and Ande leaned over and whispered to me, “Are they arguing or agreeing? I can’t quite tell.”

Quote. I keep referring to this one: “We do not always receive inspiration or revelation when we request it. Sometimes we are delayed in the receipt of revelation, and sometimes we are left to our own judgment . . . Our life’s purpose to obtain experience and to develop faith would be frustrated if our Heavenly Father directed us in every act, even every important act. We must make decisions and experience the consequences in order to develop self-reliance and faith. . . Even in decisions we think very important, we sometimes receive no answer to our prayers. This does not mean that our prayers have not been heard. It means only that we have prayed about a decision that, for one reason or another, we should make without guidance by revelation. Perhaps we have asked for guidance in choosing between alternatives that are equally acceptable or equally unacceptable. Similarly the Spirit of the Lord is not likely to give us revelations on matters that are trivial. If a matter appears of little or no consequence, we should proceed on the basis of our own judgment. If the choice is important for reasons unknown to us, the Lord will intervene and give us guidance. When we are living in tune with the Spirit and seeking its guidance, we can be sure that we will receive the guidance we need to attain our goal. The Lord will not leave us unassisted when a choice is important to our eternal welfare.” Dallin H. Oaks (Sept 04 New Era)

Raspberry Picking. Our former home teacher takes really good care of his raspberry bushes. Such good care that they produce far more than they want so they offer them to others to go and pick. Pick one, eat one, pick one, eat one - that's my method. I took my iPod this time. A first. But I visited instead of listening to a biography of Alexander Hamilton. Pick one, eat one, make a comment. Pick one, eat one, make a comment. That was my method.

Spitting. Sometimes I look at the kids and think, “Where DID they come from?” And other times I know exactly where they came from. One night Junior and Maria brought us a bucket of cherries they had just picked. We were eating supper at the picnic table when they delivered them, and the minute the cherries hit the table we started eating them. And since we were outside, spitting pits soon followed. That’s when I knew exactly where the kids came from. No matter how many times I asked them to quit spitting pits at each other they wouldn’t. Not until a juicy red one from Calvin landed on Cali’s white cardigan. The cherries did not fall far from their tree.

Tent. Last weekend we had more company that we have beds. Whenever that happens in the summer we put up the tent. Calvin, Cali, Ray, Grace, and I slept in the tent. Oh ho. I'm so glad we did. The first night Ray said we should tell ghost stories and that I should go first. For three minutes I tried and tried to think of one, but couldn't remember the scary part. A ghost story is not a ghost story without a scary part. I told Ray that I gave up and he should go first. He was already asleep. I don't believe I've ever known someone who can fall asleep faster than me; I was never the life of the slumber party.  The next night I suggested grizzly stories. That never happened either. Calvin is the king of grizzly stories and he was too tired. We obviously need more nights in a tent.

Vacuum. There is a dealership in town that offers a car vacuum for free use. I needed it. It took me FIVE rounds to get the car clean. We have a Camry. Camry’s should not need five rounds. Free means I saved $5. I think I will buy a car from this dealership some day.

Worry. Some days more, some days less.

Yearling. Seemore is yearling, but I fear a perpetual puppy. He gets in trouble for being too eager and friendly. Grace and I were on the last half mile of our walk when we saw our neighbor Donna coming towards us with her two itty-bitty dogs on a leash in the distance. Grace said, “Aren’t you glad Seemore doesn’t fight with other dogs? That’s one good thing about him.”

A few minutes later we saw a puff of dust and Donna bent over trying to calm dogs, but the dogs were running circles around her yapping, lunging, and barking. Twice the dogs ran between her legs and at one point Donna was twirling a dog in the air by his leash. It was utter chaos. Seemore may not fight, but he doesn’t recognize the hint from the growls of itty-bitty dogs either.

Zzzzz. At night when we go to bed we hear thousands of these quarter-sized frogs. By themselves their croak isn’t much, but together they’re a force.   Like the crop-dusters and roosters, I like their sound.


Heather @ Multiple Hats said...

Great post, Jane! What fun to catch up on all your goings-on.

Deanna/Mimi said...

Your absence from your blog produced one of the most interesting, fantastic postings I have ever read. I have missed hearing from you, but you made up for it in this creative way. Thank you. I truly felt that I was right there with you on the walks, the berries, the chickens, all of it. Very entertaining and enlightening. I am in awe of your intelligence and your ability to bring out the created "juices". Your mind is a magnet for learning and then you teach the rest of us. I am so impressed. Thank you most sincerely. As you see I am not a woman of few just so lift and inspire me.

Brittany said...

I loved this post! Your writing truly captured the spirit of summer. Oh how I would give anything for a dip in Lybbert's pond! I love you and hope all is well :)

deidra said...

It sounds like you've broke your summer steer to lead (I just realized I never emailed you to tell you how much I liked your newsletter. And how grateful I was that my family stopped showing steers after my first year.)

It sounds like such a great summer. I was home at my parents last week and got to experience so many things you mentioned-- chickens, crop dusters, cherry pits, hot (but not that hot), and lots of other things that make summer, summer. What a great post!

Barb said...

We would have made good sisters - I never would have made you eat Cream of Mushroom and as long as you made your Campbell's tomato with milk we would have got along fine.

Anonymous said...

OK, I have three comments:

1.) The picture of the "cooks" is awesome.

2.) The missing toenail is really funny.

3.) Peer pressure isn't necessarily negative. I call positive peer pressure a nudge in the right direction.


melanie said...

Perfect post Jane. The only sad thing, it makes me miss you even more. Much more. A McFlurry for endurance? Brilliant! Love you.

Katie said...

Oh! This post made me miss Lybbert's pond sooooooo much!

Cali said...


I loved this post. You forgot to do all the other letters, "aa, bb, cc, dd, ee, ff..." 24 isn't enough updates.

I love you.

Amy said...

So much goodness. Don't know why, but I particularly love the image of all of you sleeping out in the tent.

And re: B for brisket...seriously? I want to know how to do that! I've never tackled (or tried) brisket yet. Almost bought one the other day, but then saw the price and decided to wait for a better deal.

And Yes! I want to hear how to ask better questions in teaching. It's the nerd in me, I know, but I do love a good training meeting.

Becky said...

Yeah!!! Sooo glad you posted again :) You always make me smile.

And I am going to go back and re-read that

Our Cub Scouts never sent a package to Abe which I feel bad about (although it didn't have much to do with me)...I am thinking that we should send those soldiers something to help them keep cool...I have had my share of 120 degree days growing up in Arizona.

Jill said...

Oh Jane I love you so! There is so much goodness in this post I don't think I can even comment on it all.

First, how long does a post like this take you to write? Is it something you work on for several days?

--I need to be better friends with exercise.
--I cannot comprehend 148 degree heat! How are the soldiers able to function at all?
--Yes, I want to know what you learned at inservice.
--"J" cracked me up.
--A nematode in your character?!
--I'll have to pass the oyster shell tip on to my parents now that they've got 5 chickens.
--That quote is powerful.
--I want to pick raspberries!
--The thought of you all in the tent is so adorable. But I found myself thinking, "Oh no, not ghost stories, poor Grace!"
--We have a gas station that offers free vacuums and I love it. Seriously 5 rounds for a Camry, wow!
--We don't have frogs around here but I enjoy their chorus.

Lynn said...

We have those same frogs!

michelle said...

I do love your world, Jane.

I've made brisket. But 80 pounds?! Goodness.

The image of your family devotional makes me smile. What a beautiful family.

Yes, I SO want to know what you learned about asking good questions!!

Natural is not the best color for my hair, either. I wish I had a live-in colorist!