Sunday, September 1, 2013

Life in Our World - End of Summer Review

Ande, Joe, and Zeph

Joe and Chewie asleep in the cab of the moving truck.

They’ve moved.

Far, far, far away to the other side of the country.

Calvin and I will miss them terribly, but we’re so glad for the great prospects ahead of them that it takes the sting away.


Grace, Abe, Calvin 

Abe and Grace gave us a trip to Georgia for our birthdays and Mother's and Father's Day. While Calvin has, I had never been in the South before and am so glad we had the opportunity. 

First lunch, first day was good ole Southern bbq. Oh man. It was the best paid-for bbq pork ribs we’ve ever had. They were served in an old shack of corrugated tin and plywood and we saw a dead wild boar by the side of the road near the restaurant. It just doesn’t get much better or more authentic than that.


Making it official:  putting my foot in the Chattahoochee River.

While in Georgia we crossed the Chattahoochee River into Alabama and all I could think of was Alan Jackson singing, “Way down yonder on the Chattahoochee, never knew how much that muddy water meant to me.”

The magnolia trees, the ornamental grasses, the thick trees, the big homes with pillared porches, the brick streets, the humidity – what a great place the South is.


Chewie stayed with us several weeks this summer as Joe and Ande prepared for their move. Chewie gets pretty darn ratty running with Dan. They would run to the pond or canal and after Dan jumped in Chewie wagged and barked, “Are you sure this is the way we do it? We don’t do this in the city. Are you sure this is proper?” And then he would jump in after Dan and come out looking like a happy drowned rat.

Chewie has a caterpillar crawling on him in this picture. Do you see it?

Eastern Time Zone


I love going on trips to the Eastern part of the U.S. Not for the fashion. Not for the food. Not for the entertainment. For the time. I’m a regular party-animal on Eastern Time. I can stay up until midnight with the best of them because it is only 9:00 Pacific Time. I am constantly razzed about being an early-to-bed-early-to-rise person, so this is mentionable.    

Freezing Corn

We froze about 200 bags of corn and a couple dozen bags of broccoli last Saturday.

We were just finishing it up when a man with some broken teeth walked into the yard carrying a gas can. He wondered if we could help him. Calvin found him a gallon of gas but wouldn’t take the $10 the man offered in repayment.

It was a little thing – not taking advantage of another’s vulnerability – but between that and helping me freeze the corn I remembered again what a good decision marrying Calvin was.


At church today one of the women expressed her gratitude to the older women who had welcomed her when she moved to Georgia twenty plus years ago and taught her how to do things in the South.

I don't know exactly what she was referencing, but polishing furniture with Old English was in one of her sentences.  I imagine Southern hospitality was also meant and we've had a lot of that staying with Abe and Grace.

Maybe she was also referring to making sure you go on walks in the evening so that you can see the fireflies. Tonight I saw my very first firefly on a walk through the Flat Rock Park.

Whatever it was she was referring to, we have certainly enjoyed Georgia and Grace and Abe.

Hot  dogs

We had a layover in Chicago on our way to Georgia.  We found the hot dogs good and the sign funny.  We dared to offend.  


I did it.  I joined the ranks.  I’ll bet I’d have been resistant to sliced bread initially, too.  Sometimes I just don’t know what is good for me.

Junior Mints

Levin, me,  Zeph

Calvin and I spent one Saturday helping Ande and Joe pack for their move. While Ray helped take down the surround sound and TV, I watched Levin and Zeph on the steps. We read Five Little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed and ate Junior Mints.  


Levin using the sandbox back-hoe

My friend and neighbor Jamie just had her fourth baby. I took supper to her a couple of times and watched her kids while she had an appointment. A few days before she delivered her little girl, she delivered this little back-hoe to us as a thank you gift for helping her. I was just thinking earlier in the day how I needed to get one so the grandkids could better play in the dirt. How does that work? How do you think of something and then have someone show up with the very thing you were thinking of when you didn’t even know you needed that thing?

Perfect timing is one of the best miracles of kindness.

Like father, like son

Calvin, Abe

Watching Calvin interact with the kids is one of my favorite things in life.  Even more than mashed potatoes.  

Grace and I teased them because they went everywhere together and stayed up until 2:00 am more than once visiting or watching Top Shot and football games.

Military Museum

The "Follow Me" statue

Abe and Grace have been at Fort Benning, Georgia for the last six months while Abe attends the Army’s Captain Career Course. It is a beautiful post – old southern style buildings, large oak trees, moss hanging from the trees, and an incredible military museum. It had many, many life-like figures in it as well as helicopters, jeeps, Humvees, and opened parachutes. As we walked through the exhibits, I thought, “If I were a history teacher, I would bring my classes here – one at a time, so that it kept the sober feeling intact. I wouldn’t give them a worksheet with facts to run around and gather, I would tell them to go through each exhibit and then write an essay on what they felt and one thing they learned.” There was much to feel in that museum, whether it was the Viet Nam room that looked and felt like a jungle (they warned museum goers that the feeling of the room was very life like, I suppose as a courtesy so as not to further traumatize Viet Nam vets) or watching the movie of the allied forces going into the concentration camps in Germany, or walking through the “last 100 yards” of several battles. The figures from the Global War on Terror were incredibly real and poignant.

What an incredible place to visit.


The last two weeks of August we attended church with Ray and Cali. They were asked to attend a different ward so that Ray could serve in the bishopric. We went over the first week as they sustained Ray in the new calling and the second week when he was ordained a high priest.

Cali was nervous for Levin’s first Sunday in the new nursery and I offered to go with him.

This kind gentleman got down on the floor to play with Levin. He talked to him and interacted as Levin wheeled his cars around him. It was a sweet scene. Later I watched the man struggle to get to his feet and then hobble over to the wall and carefully lean against it for support. His struggle made the scene of him on the floor with Levin even sweeter. The gentleman said he has cancer in his blood and bones and it has done a lot of damage to his vertebrae.

I admired that even with his pain and limitations he was determined to serve and willing to get down on the ground to help a new little boy feel safe and wanted at church.    

Oh boy

Oh boy.  Oh boy.  Oh boy.

Pinterest Inspired Birthday Present

I spray painted a cardboard pop carrier and then filled it with 3 bottles of old-fashioned bottles of soda. I drank the fourth bottle and put a few zinnias in it from the garden.

Was it worth it? Hmmmm. I don’t really know if it was worth the $7.16 price of pop, but at least it turned out cute and I quite enjoyed the bottle I drank.


This made me laugh twice.

Salt Sprinkles

Joe and Ande stayed with us a week on their move to the South. Cali came and stayed a few days as well so that we could enjoy one last hoorah before they moved. Ande suggested we add sea salt to a batch of cookie dough brownies. It definitely enhanced the flavor. Since it worked so well on the brownies, a week later she suggested we add it to the top of a Texas sheet cake. Another good idea.

One afternoon Ande and I sat out on the grass eating watermelon. Zeph was lying on the blanket watching the clouds and leaves blowing in the breeze, Chewie was taking a nap five yards away, and Levin was playing in the dirt by our feet. Levin stopped play to get bites of watermelon and crawl all over us. He also wanted to salt the watermelon (do you eat salt on your watermelon, too?). Pretty soon I told Levin to take the saltshaker and put some salt on Chewie’s tail. I knew Chewie would take off running when Levin came over to pester him and it would entertain and wear Levin out running all over the yard.

When I told Levin to salt Chewie’s tail, I remembered being a little girl at my aunt’s cabin with my grandparents. All of the big kids were gone on a hike up the mountain with Grandpa and I was left behind. Grandma gave me a salt shaker and told me that if I could sneak up on a bird and put salt on his tail he wouldn’t be able to fly and then I could catch it.

After the memory had flashed through my head, I looked at Ande and said, “Did you ever put salt on a bird’s tail?”

She gave a “Definitely not!” shake with her head.

I said, “Have you ever heard that salt on a bird’s tail makes it so it can’t fly?”

She gave a more definite, definitely not shake.

Suddenly I realized Grandma didn’t want me to get a pet, she was getting me out from under her feet until Grandpa and the big kids came home.

Which goes to show that at 50 you still don’t know everything. At 50 the erroneous assumption that salt sprinkled on a bird’s tail prevents it from flying was firmly fastened in the recesses of my mind. But now I’m 51 and I know better.

Tra La La Tweedle Dee Dee Dee It Gives Me a Thrill (to wake up in the morning to the mocking bird trill)

Mockingbird Hill music box.  It now sits by Caddie Woodlawn and The Littles

My sister Rachel sent me a music box she found in an antique store. It has a little canary that twirls around and around while Mockingbird Hill plays. I had one just like it when I was a girl.

Rachel sent it with a letter saying that she remembered the music box sitting on my bookshelf between Beautiful Joe and The High King. She said sitting in my bedroom watching it was one of her happy places as a child.

It was the sweetest gift. Clear full of sentiment and love.

I, Jane, do will and bequeath the Mockingbird Hill music box to Rachel when I expire.


Ray, Calvin, Cali, Atlas, Ande, Levin at a park a couple of days before Ande and Joe moved
"To the outside world, we all grow old. But not to brothers and sisters. We know each other as we always were. We know each other's hearts. We share private family jokes. We remember family feuds and secrets, family griefs and joys. We live outside the touch of time." - Clara Ortega 

One of the things I really appreciate and admire about our kids (the new ones [married] and the old ones [birthed]) is that they work hard to build and maintain adult friendships with each other. 

It's been great that Abe and Grace and Ty and Michelle have had each other on one side of the country, while Ande and Joe and Ray and Cali have had each other on the other.  And now Joe and Ande have moved closer to Ty and Michelle, and Abe and Grace will soon move closer to Ray and Cali.

Regardless of where we live, unity is so important in a family and I'm grateful the kids have worked to build and maintain it.

Very good pizza

pizza shop in Georgia

But even better than the pizza was the pizza bowl salad.  They put pizza dough over a bowl and baked it then filled it with spinach, mozzarella, and tomatoes.  It was really good.  Good enough I want to try it at home.

World Wide Web

Text of Afton and her babies.  She sets them up and then says, "Sit!  Sit!  Sit!"

Afton called Calvin this morning because she wanted to talk to Grandpa.  It was such a sweet sound to wake up to.  

While I'm incredibly grateful we are grandparents in the time of the world wide web and cell phones, I'm also quite relieved we weren't parents with its now-accessibility.


One thing I've been anxiously waiting to cross of my list is passing Statistics.

It's nagged at me all summer.  (Note that it's not finishing the class that was nagging, but passing it.)  

It's still nagging, not crossed off, and passing is not a given.

Year Thirteen

School has begun and it's my thirteenth year.  If I remember right 13 is lucky.


Ande, Calvin, Zeph

No doubt, the highlight of the summer has been spending time with family.  The first week of the summer was spent with Ray and Cali's family when Atlas was born.  The last week of the summer was spent with Abe and Grace's family.  We got to spend a lot of time with Joe and Ande's family throughout the summer. 

We only got to spend time with Ty and Michelle's family via the internet.  But no worries . . . we'll be going to Mississippi in a few weeks to spend real face time with them.  

Life is good.  Real good.


Julie said...

Oh Jane! I love everything about this A-Z post! I thought recently I should do one of these and I only got to B before I was out of ideas! Such a great way to remember all the little things and the pictures are all wonderful! I hope that someday my kids are as good of friends as yours are. What a wonderful family! ps. my freezer corn never turns out, maybe you can give me some pointers?

Deidra said...

What's your Instagram username? I use Instagram so much more than blogging these days. It's so fun to share quick snippets of life with Grandma & Grandpa, aunts and uncles.

I got my first crown when we were in Idaho. I saw that little ecard and laughed, too. Too bad getting it isn't so glamorous.

Tiffany Fackrell said...

i am really really glad you loved the south. it's become one of my favorite places!!

Jill said...

You've done it again, another successful, clever, insightful and fun alphabet post!!

Hey, Michelle and I finally got on Instagram too!

It's crazy to see how much the grandkids are growing!

Jill said...

Hey Jane, what's your Instagram ID? I'm jmsmusings and Michelle is mtolivier1.

melanie said...

I love when you add dialogue for Chewy. I just know it's exactly what he would be saying.

I love your A-Z posts too. My favorite part is your grown up kids being such great friends. What a testament to their parents.

Yes, salt on my watermelon. Sea salt even better.