Thursday, June 6, 2013

From A - Z

 It's time to catch up from the last week or two . . .

Afton, Michelle, and Ty

Ty and Afton riding the Terp

Two weeks ago Ty graduated with a master’s degree from the University of Maryland. They have since moved to Mississippi so that Ty can attend pilot training.

Afton loves balls and dogs.  She has a deep, little, gruff voice and barks at everything. Thank the heavens for holding up the satellites that give us face-time and video sending capabilities.  Thank heavens for Michelle who is so good to send us pictures, videos, and texts so that we can be a part of their lives from afar.




Ray, Cali, and Levin came over to help cut up meat. We turned the garage into a meat-packing plant and cut and wrapped 800 pounds of beef.


I had to take our eleven-year-old car in to get new brakes and the oil changed. When I went in to pay the bill the man called out across the showroom, “You win the prize!” Then he walked over to the trash can and said, “Ma’am, you’ve got to see this. This is the dirtiest filter any of us in this shop have ever seen.” He lifted the filter out of the trash and said, “See this? This is what you’ve been breathing. It’s bad.”

It was disgusting.  It looked like an animal left his fur behind.  I said, “You mean all the times I’ve been getting my oil changed at that other place they haven’t been cleaning or changing the filter even though they say they do?”

He said, “No, ma’am. From the looks of it it’s never been touched. This is the original.”

And then he dropped the filter back in the trash and pulled out the heavy duty germ-buster and slathered his hands in it and told me to use some. I think he thought I should put it up my nose too.  He was clearly revolted at what I’d been breathing.

$610 later we had new brakes, a battery, a filter, and the prize.  Some win for beauty, some win for dirty.


Nothing like a femur for supper.


Can you tell that Levin gathered the eggs while they were here?  The flapping, squawking, dust, and flying feathers don't faze him.  You never know how many whole ones you'll get when he gathers.  Ray gave him five, whole, pretty, little sparrow eggs to give to Cali for her collection.  By the time he handed them over there were two.


Today is the last day of school.  Tomorrow starts to use up the days of summer vacation but today is a free day - the responsibilities of the year are behind, but you're not using up your vacation time yet.     

Grace and Abe

Afton watching Abe play football

Grace and Abe took care of Afton for a few days last week while Ty and Michelle were making arrangements on their new base. Grace made Afton this little dress (as well as a matching one for the new baby coming in September).

Hop in

Yesterday Calvin had to drive an hour and a half to fix a five minute problem and invited me to hop in and go along.  We saw two looooooooong trains on our way to the five minute problem.  This one was loaded with coal and had three engines in the front pulling and one engine in the back pushing.  It was so long that I had time to think about taking a picture, decide not to take a picture, rethink taking a picture, reach in the back seat and get the camera out of the camera bag, turn it on, wait for the camera to warm up, and then take several pictures.  

Inland Northwest Blood Center

It was give-blood-day today.  The phlebotomist said I have juicy veins.

Just have to do.

I haven't been able to think of a j for this blog post, so this picture will just have to do.  Calvin's dad gave him this several years ago and it usually sits in the garage, but today it's out.


We went out to dinner and were seated next to a family with several well-behaved and interacting children. The father looked familiar but I couldn’t place him. When the waitress brought our bill she said, “Your meal has already been paid for.”

I said, “Really? Who would do that?”

She nodded towards the father of the family in the booth behind us. Calvin and I turned and he said, “Thank you for cooking for us last year at scout camp. That was a lot of work and I really appreciated it.”

It was very humbling; especially knowing he already had a great big bill of his own.


We didn’t get one bouquet from our lilac bushes his year. Not one. It was disappointing. I mentioned it to Grace and she sent me a lilac candle from Bath & Body Works (as well as King-size candy bars for Calvin and me). What a great surprise.

Moses Lake

Today was an end-of-the-year party at the sand dunes on the lake.  Here was my car load of boys.  I really enjoy each one of them.


Abe before a game

Never give up.  Never, never give up.  That was the Moses Lake high school football creed for several years.  Abe took it literally - he's still playing football ten years after he graduated.  They have a game every week and I do wish I could see one.  We made plans this week to go and see Abe and Grace at the end of the summer.  I have never been to the South.  Ever.  Calvin and I are excited to go.    

Over in the Meadow

Our kids often requested that I read the counting rhyme Over in the Meadow to them. They liked the rhythm; I liked the rhythm. However the pictures and the words in our version are wearisome. (For example, verse 10 goes, “Over in a meadow in a cozy wee den lived an old mother beaver and her little beavers ten.” Then it says, “’Beave,’ said the mother.  'We beave,' said the ten."  I ask you, who in the world thinks a beaver beaves? It simply doesn’t make sense.) Eventually our children outgrew me reading picture books to them and I forgot about the book that I liked but wished was different.

That is until a month ago when Levin pulled it off the shelf for me to read to him and, just like our kids, he requests Meadow again and again. Considering great-grandchildren come after grandchildren, there is a good chance that I’ll be reading this book until the day I die. That’s a lot of times reading about beavers beaving.

For a writing assignment this week, I rewrote Over in the Meadow. I expected a poor grade as not only is it  a rewrite of someone else’s work, but it's rhyme and our textbook says rhyming is not for the novice and should be left to the experts.  But I decided to spend my time and energy on something I'd use versus something I'd throw away at the end of the class, so I attempted it.  In the new version the six beavers gnaw and paddle near their dam built of sticks and the nine mosquitoes whine and dine near the honeysuckle vine.  I hope I can find some good pictures to illustrate it and then I'll be happy to read it for 30 more years.

It was a bonus that I got a good grade on it and the teacher said my version made more sense.  


A friend gave me a peony bush after Clara died. She said, “It will bloom every year just before Memorial Day so you’ll have fresh blooms for Clara’s grave. “ It was/is such a thoughtful gift and she’s right, it blooms just in time every year.  This year it had four big beautiful blooms.


Cali made Calvin and me this quilt for our bed . . . just because.  Incredible. 

I love it.  

Ray, Cali, and Levin

They have a new baby coming.  Soon.  The baby however is back-paddling and had to be turned in the right direction again last week.   

Sacrament Meeting

I spoke in Church and invited Anna and her family to come. Moldovan is their mother tongue and we attend the Spanish Branch, but it didn't matter.  After the meeting was over and the chapel had cleared, Anna’s husband (who is an accomplished pianist) played the piano while the kids and Anna sang to us.  Then the kids recited scripture verses.  Little Sava (2), who has a perpetual smile except in this picture, shouted his so that it could reach the very last pew.  It takes a whole bunch of Russian words to say "GOD IS LOVE."  Their music was beautiful, their verses inspiring (funny how you don't always need language to understand) and great to have them with us.


Do you remember how good it felt to get on base when you played tag in elementary school?  That's how I feel when I sit down in the temple: "Whew.  I made it.  I can rest now."  Calvin and I went to the temple Tuesday night and it felt good to be on base.


It's a phenomenon.  Calvin got the idea from u-tube to build a plucker so we can butcher the chickens, and whenever he and Ray needed advice on cutting the meat from the carcass, u-tube was their teacher.  

And then in a click you're to a whole other kind of inspiration.  I love these Bible videos.

(I especially like how the Lord teaches Peter in this one.)


As in the Mt.  We got this cool profile postcard of George Washington in the mail from Joe.  He met Ty, Michelle, and Afton at Mt. Vernon as they were moving south.  We get the best postcards from all over the world from Joe. 

Writings of John

I just finished the book of Revelation. That is one book that even Hollywood cannot exaggerate. I had to keep reminding myself as I read it, “God wins in the end. Good triumphs over evil. Just remember, it all turns out okay.”


Levin was very concerned that a calf (different from the one we butchered) died over the weekend. At different times he'd say, “Gwampa. Calf. Sick.”

Grandpa said, “Yup.  The calf is sick," until finally he had to say, "Nope, the calf isn't sick Levin, it's dead."

The process of watching a calf go from sick to dead was simultaneously disconcerting and fascinating to Levin.  See his hands clasped in the picture?

Calvin and Levin drove the tractor out to the pasture where Ray helped load the carcass so it could be hauled off.    


We weeded the garden for family night.  Calvin hoes between the rows and I crawl along and pick the weeds out of the rows.  It's a good system.  

Our strawberry patch is fairly pathetic.  Between it being a new bed and the dogs, kids, and robins it gets pretty hammered; nevertheless we get a few every day.        

Zeph, Joe, and Ande

It is so nice to always have a cute Z for alphabet posts now.

We have gotten to have Zeph and Ande with us a lot lately because of Joe's extensive travel schedule.  It is so fun to have them here.  Zeph has found himself in a mirror and coos and smiles to himself.  It's so cute to watch him.  I think it wonderful that of all the things Heavenly Father could have sent us to earth with He made sure our self-esteem was fully in tact.  Babies smile, coo, and kiss themselves; they recognize their value.  It doesn't matter to them they can't do anything for themselves, don't have any teeth or hair, or drool and mess their pants.  They appreciate themselves and that they're alive.  But, then life happens and it's not so easy to remember our value or purpose and we let other things determine how we see ourselves.  Watching babies watch themselves is a good reminder of how we should see things.


abe said...

Great update, Mom!

Jill said...

I love your A-Z posts and am determined to do one of these before the end of the summer!

You have such a rich life, I always think this as I read your blog but a post like this really shows the diversity in your days.

Grace said...

This was a good update! Have I ever told you what a great photographer you are? You take the best pictures! Good job on rewriting that story! You should do A-Z posts more often. They're fun to read and you always have good things to write about.

Becky said...

I needed this today...tell Zeph thanks for his good example!

katles said...

Ha! I grew up with an Over in the Meadow book where the beavers beaved as well and thought it was really dumb. Your new verse is much, much better...I'd love to hear all your verses!

melanie said...

I love this update!

What a gorgeous quilt. Cali is so talented. And turned again? I hope at least one turning works!

I love our temple windows with the sun shining through. Base is a perfect analogy.

I agree with Grace- A-Z more often, so much goodness.