Wednesday, October 24, 2012

October Photo Challenge -

This photo catches me up.  It's the weather, our town, and my view.

I love it when I can kill three birds with one stone.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

October Photo Challenge - Calm

There were several calming things on this Sunday:
  • the branch president gave me a blessing as he set me apart for a calling today
  • our home teachers dropped by to check on us and brought a sack of Oreo's
  • Calvin cooked supper (and didn't make a mess)
  • ate homemade toast and hot chocolate for breakfast then took a nap before church
  • read the scriptures and learned good things in church
  • visited with friends and talked to family on the phone
  • had ice cream with home made hot fudge tonight
One other very calming thing was making the weekly stop at the cemetery.  Focusing on the big picture, even for a few moments, has a very soothing effect on the soul.  

What did calm look like for you today?

Saturday, October 20, 2012

October Photo Challenge - 4 o'clock

This morning Calvin and I spoke to a group of youth.  Our topic was "Strengthening Faith in God, Strengthening Family, and Strengthening Love for Country."  Calvin creeped back home and crawled on the couch (he's picked up the aches and shakes I had earlier in the week), while I went to Super Saturday at the church.  There were lots of great projects.  I made a cute chalkboard from a cupboard door, a dark brown plate with a cream vinyl "a thankful heart is a happy heart" saying, and these fun bows and tags from scrapbook paper.  (I'll post the chalkboard and plate when I have better light for pictures.)

At 4 o'clock I was rearranging the walls to accommodate the new chalkboard and plate and consequently displaced items.  A little later Calvin woke up and asked if I would make chicken noodle soup.  You know he's sick if he requests that.  He doesn't really consider soup food on a healthy day.

1 egg, 1 Tbsp oil, a generous dash of salt, 1 cup flour.
Mix well.
Roll dough out on floured surface, then cut into strips.
Drop noodles into boiling broth and cook for 20 minutes.
That's it.  They're that easy.

And that is 4 o'clock . . . and on . . . at our house.

Friday, October 19, 2012

October Photo Challenge - Letters

Our ballots came in the mail.  Someday it will be interesting to remember what we were voting on in 2012:
  • Initiative 1185, if passed, would make it harder to raise taxes by requiring a 2/3 majority vote in both the House and the Senate and it could also require a vote by the people.
  • Initiative 1240, if passed, would allow public charter schools.
  • Initiative 502, if passed, would legalize marijuana.
  • Referendum 74, if rejected, would overturn a bill passed earlier in the year by the Washington legislature and governor legalizing same-sex marriages.
  • Resolution 8221, if passed, would lower the amount of debt the state can carry.
  • Resolution 8223, if passed, would allow WSU and UW to invest public funds in private companies.
  • There are a couple of advisory votes which are non-binding but let the legislature know what our opinions are on some of our tax increases.
  • Our state puts the two nominees who get the most votes in the primaries (other than for the office of president) on the ballot regardless of their party - so we have two from the same party running for the same office some times.
  • Our gubernatorial election in 2004 was a mess.  Dino Rossi got the most votes, but it was close enough that contender Christine Gregoire requested a recount.  Dino Rossi still led with the most votes after the recount, but again it was close enough that Christine Gregoire requested another recount.  On the third count she had more votes so she became our governor.  We didn't know who our governor was going to be for several months.  It was a mess.  Her time has expired and we are voting for a new governor.
  • The east side of our state is conservative, the west side is liberal.  The west always wins.  Argh.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

October Photo Challenge - Something That Made Me Smile

I smiled again and again through this ten minute video.  If I wasn't going to vote for Mitt Romney before I watched this video, I certainly would have after seeing what he did with the light-bulb over the stove.  It still makes me chuckle.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

October Photo Challenge - Fruit

Today is an unexpected day off from work.  Yesterday the kids informed me during class that today would be a career day so no classes.  It was fun to stay up and wake up late in the middle of the week.

This morning I sat down on the couch to read and study with a container of dried apricots and almonds (now that is a sentence full of prepositional phrases), and this is one of the first things I "studied":

What a great way to start a day off.  It added to what I studied yesterday.

Two women, who were unable to finish the church’s seminary course when they were in high school, have asked me to teach them.  Both have a desire to better understand the scriptures so they can better teach their families and asked if I could help.  After receiving the necessary permission, we began meeting.  I go to one woman’s home and together we Skype the other woman and the three of us discuss the scriptures and work through assignments.  Our discussion yesterday was on being a woman in today’s world, the text being Isaiah chapters 2 – 4.   We talked about the pulls and pressures to appeal and appear as sexual specimens and plastic people rather than real women, and the lure to put ourselves first and others last.  Isaiah warned that women of our day would

walk haughty with stretched-forth necks and wanton eyes, walking and mincing as they go, and making a tinkling with their feet

With that description, I can perfectly picture me in a few situations.  Isaiah warned that we not become sidetracked with

tinkling ornaments, cauls, and round tires like the moon, chains, bracelets, mufflers, bonnets, and ornaments of the legs, headbands, tablets, ear-rings,  rings, and nose jewels; changeable suits of apparel, mantles, wimples, crisping-pins, glasses, and the fine linen, and hoods, and the veils

He was warning women who knew better – women like me and you – not women of ignorance.  He prophesied that we – women who know better – will want to “have it all” and in the process will lose track of what is really important.  He warned that after many had followed the foolishness (that he warned of) the Lord would wash away and purge the filthy (think Noah and the Ark or Sodom and Gomorrah).  Isaiah countered it by promising those who follow the Savior and overcome the pull of worldliness great protection and refuge in their homes.   

My two friends had incredible personal insights as to these verses and I learned much from them as they talked.  I thought of Isaiah’s warnings as I watched this video.  To be a strong, compassionate, spiritual woman in a swaying world is no small thing.       

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

October Photo Challenge - Something I Wrote

I dabble in genealogy and family history.  I'll search for ancestors and then put them away for a year or six before looking at them again.  One of the most frustrating parts of being a dabbler is losing my place and familiarity with the names.  Who belongs to whom? Which line are they in again? and How will I ever keep this straight? are frequent questions.

Recently our Family History Library received a machine that can print out a large genealogy fan and today I printed and autographed mine.  It is quite exciting to easily see where my family gaps are without getting sidetracked or overwhelmed flipping and scrolling through pages.  Calvin was excited as well and plans to print his.  Here is a link if you'd like to create yours:

Monday, October 15, 2012

October Photo Challenge - Dinnertime

Supper: Swiss steak, rice, peas, Waldorf salad.  

Abe mentioned it is torture to see good food posted on the blog.  Just a few more months and he'll be back in the land of milk and honey and meat and potatoes, but in the meantime . . .

Abe, here's a picture of raw eggs and pots.

Just Wanted to Share Something Inspiring

Saturday, October 13, 2012

October Photo Challenge - Landscape

the neighbor's cornfield

corn harvest is a sure sign of fall

Everybody seems to have a favorite season. One season, one flavor, one smell that trumps the rest. I don't, but I can tell you the season that I do not like: the Season Without a Name, that time between late summer and early fall when summer dies.   Summer's passing is not a sudden accidental death; it’s a slow moving disease-caused death. One morning I enjoy an early morning run, stop by the garden and pick enough peppers, tomatoes, and potatoes for the day and gather the eggs on the way back to the house. That night I can stay up late-for-me because dark is a long time in coming and there is no time clock the next morning. The frogs croak when I go to bed and the birds chirp as I wake up. It’s nature’s symphony – roosters, frogs, birds, rhythmic breathing in the morning air. And then so very subtly there is a change. It’s slow at first: a few vines in the garden wilt, the trees are dusty and need a rain bath in the worst way, then a night or two later fewer frogs are croaking by the canal and the sun sets earlier. After a trip to town the diagnosis is confirmed: aisles of school supplies. They’re like surgical instruments cutting into summer. The potato chips and hamburger buns are no longer on the front aisle, either. Summer is being shelved. Mobility lessens as everyone makes plans around upcoming school schedules and routines. The children go away.

It’s a death I tell you. A slow painful death. The death of freedom and sunshine and lemonade.

But after the final cut of summer is really made – the county fair is past, school is in session, the first killer frost has come - and there is no denying that fall has taken over, the world rejuvenates. It's crisp. It's red. It's fresh. It's gold. To be sure, fall has its own concert – the geese honk overhead as they fly south, the rains patter and wash the dust away, the combines hum, and the beat of the harvesters as they dig the onions and potatoes make the whole outdoors smell like supper is on the stove. The foods are dense and rich: pumpkin muffins, apple pie, homemade french fries, caramel apples. It's a proper wake for the passing of the Season Without a Name.

What's your favorite season's smell and flavor?  

Friday, October 12, 2012

Twelve (or Fourteen) on Twelve of Ten/Twelve

Thanks family.  You guys are great sports to do this each month and I appreciate it.

Happy Columbus Day to everyone.  

Calvin - lunch date
chili rellenos 

Jane - lunch date with Calvin.  This picture reminds me of that jingle
"Jane, Jane [or whatever your name is]
strong and able,
get your elbows
off the table."

Joe - a taco truck that is literally inside a truck-bus thing

Ande - There's not much that I love more than tacos and apple soda

Follett Family - Levin on a business trip

Follett Family - Slide Shot

Follett Family - Slide splits

Follett Family - Little boy on a big boy slide

Abe - working on the Combat Outpost's new gym

Abe - the finished product

Grace - Ty jinxed me

Afton - She is figuring out how to put one foot in front of the other and "walk."
This week she measured in the 86th percentile for height as you might be able
to tell by her shirt, which she probably wore for the last time today.

Ty - helping Afton make brownies

Michelle - I had to plan a group date for my Group Dynamics class.  We just had some couples over to play
games after we put Afton to bed.  Though a school assignment, we had a lot of fun!
(And we only told our closest friends in the group that it was for school.)

Thursday, October 11, 2012

October Photo Challenge - Something Close-Up

A corner of the top of Calvin's dresser -
a picture of his dad, a doily from Lithuania, a pen box, candy

Calvin's top drawer is clear full of . . . things.  All kinds of things.  Why, as Calvin pawed through it the other morning looking for a bullet, or fingernail clippers, or a receipt, or ear plugs, or a flashlight, or a book, or a lighter, or a dentist tool, or a sharpie marker, or a church program, guess what he found?  A two year old Reese's peanut butter Christmas tree.  I laughed when I saw it and Calvin said, "I hid it so you wouldn't eat it."  He was smart, because we both know that if he hasn't eaten his candy within 24 hours that I'll help him, and he doesn't even have to ask; I volunteer.

Anything you help your husband/wife with without them even asking?  Who is the biggest candy eater at your house?

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

October Photo Challenge - Red

I got a flunking grade today.

After I saw red, then got red in the face, it plain ole stopped me in my tracks.

I hate flunking.

Monday, October 8, 2012

October Photo Challenge - Angle

I still remember misspelling 'baby' on a spelling test.  My mom had hosted a baby shower the night before the test and I had carried gifts for the new mother to open.  There in plain sight was a card that said, "For babby" on one of the gifts.  I remember thinking, "I thought it only had one 'b' in the middle.  Well that's good to know there can be two."  The next day when my teacher called out 'baby' I added that extra 'b' just in case.   

Obviously I didn't need it.

I used to struggle with angel and angle, too.  Which one needs 'el' and which one needs 'le'?  It's not like spell-check can help you out either.  But this post needs both - angels and angles.  

Ty drives two seminary students to early morning seminary three days a week.  The boys would not be able to attend without help, so Ty and Michelle organized rides for them.  They drive them three days and two other couples each take a day.  Angels.  All six of them who donate time, energy, and means at 6:00 am so that two boys can have an opportunity to strengthen their testimony of Jesus Christ.

Early Monday morning after Ty had picked up both boys and was delivering them to the church, a gold car came in at a right angle and crashed into them.  The driver limped on through the intersection and pulled into a nearby parking lot before fleeing the scene.  A van that was near them, and barely missed being hit, kept on driving.

Shortly after the accident and while Ty was waiting for help, he sent the family an e-mail saying, "Bianca has had a rough morning."  

I called Ty, and after finding out they were all okay, asked him where the two boys were.  He said, "I called someone and they came and picked them up; they should be at the church in class by now."  For as little interruption as it caused in the two boys' morning they might just as well have run out of gas as get hit by another car.  There was little drama to their story.  

The story could have ended so differently and I'm so grateful it didn't.  I like to think the angels were covering the angles.  And that is a story worth remembering.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

October Photo Challenge - I'm Thankful for . . .

Light /līt/

Noun: Makes things warm, visible, and to grow.

Early this morning we went to the farmer's market to pick up some apples, one last bag of corn on the cob, and a few peaches. It was still quite chilly out, in fact Loveta the Lavender Lady, who is always so good-natured (partly from whiffing all that lavender I bet) had a cute, pink, cold nose. If it weren't for the light of the sun there would be no apples, lavender, or even pink noses that need warmed. In fact, there wouldn't even be a Loveta. There would be nothing. That is not a pleasant thought at all.

Verb: Illuminate.

After stopping at the farmer's market, the grocery store to get milk, and the feed store for steer and chicken feed, we hurried home just in time for the General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I am thankful for living prophets and apostles who speak on behalf of the Savior, who is the source of all light. Their words and examples illuminate my path on how to live.

Adjective: Easy to carry.

     28 ¶Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
     29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.
     30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.

It's true. Trusting and following the Savior makes burdens manageable.  

Yes, yes.  Today I'm very thankful for light.  

Friday, October 5, 2012

October Photo Challenge - Shadow

Today's photo-a-day subject was shadows. While the photo I took was of Dan's shadow, the writing is about the shadows of Fall that are part of life in our world this week:

  • Made a pumpkin pie dessert today
  • Made popcorn balls two days ago
  • Frost on the windshield this morning
  • Leaves on the vine at the pump-house are deep red
  • The canal water was turned off for a couple of days 
  • Prepping for conference weekend
  • The secretary brought her candy bowl with a fake hand sticking up out of it that yells at you when you take a piece of candy
  • Cooked winter squash
  • Been eating crisp apples and dried apricots
  • All the chickens are laying.  About 18 eggs a day. Aye yi yi 
  • Planning craft projects and can't wait to get to them
  • The flies that are left are hardy, quick, and keep dive bombing your face
  • Wearing my red cardigan in the car to work to keep warm whether it matches or not 
  • Thought of buying a Fall scented candle
  • Bags of every kind of candy are on the store shelf - even little Mr. Goodbars and Big Hunks
  • Been thinking about Christmas shopping
  • Storing food for the next year (my ancestors must have had one strong preservation gene in them because that desire to store nuts is so present)
  • Calvin has the hunting bug bad (evidently killing a tame pig isn't the same)
  • The grapes in the yard are sweet and the juice grapes down the road are nearly ready
  • The grass is too long
  • The furnace is running

Thursday, October 4, 2012

October Photo Challenge - What I Read

I put the kids' ballots in the mail today and then was quite excited about what was in our box.

When Cali was in the third grade she wrote a really sweet story about a little walrus.  Recently I retold it, asked Jesse (my niece) to illustrate it (she put the walrus in a darling red and white polka-dotted swimming suit), and had it printed.  I can't wait to send it to Cali and Jesse.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

October Photo Challenge - What Happened Today

Tonight for Young Women's we made salsa.  Those girls diced and chopped and cried (the onions were pretty darn hot) and laughed and talked non-stop.  They were the best.  The Young Men have spent the last two weeks gleaning onions and potatoes out in the fields.  Tonight ward members came to the church and the boys loaded the produce into their cars.  Then the boys came in and sampled the girls' salsa.    

And then . . . I hurried home so I could watch a delayed broadcast of the presidential debate.  

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

October Photo Challenge - Noontime

Well this is a pathetic photograph if ever I've seen one.  It's our clock on the mantle.  Today's challenge was to photograph noon time.  My noon time passed by very uneventfully: I was sitting here on the couch, looking at the clock, and working on an assignment.  Here's a snippet from that assignment:

One time when we were on a long flight I whispered to Calvin and the kids, “I wish the stewardess would go around the plane and ask everybody where they’re from and where they’re going. It would make the time go much faster and it would be really interesting to hear about everyone.”

That was one thought that should have stayed in my head, because ten years later the kids still tease me about it. Ty said, “And let me guess, if you were the stewardess you would also ask each person which fruit best represents them and why, wouldn’t you?”

Well, as a matter of fact, that question is a great sentence starter and these are questions that I would ask if I were a stewardess trying to keep bored passengers happy with only one teeny bag of pretzels. I have shared my answers with you, and I'll bet you already know I'd love to hear your answers.

1. The vegetable that best represents me is a _________because_________.

A winter squash. They’re hearty. They’re meaty. They’re fairly bland, but with the right kind of help they can be turned into something pretty amazing—like a pie. I’m pretty resilient and when I’m around good people I’m quickly made much better than I was by myself.

2. The building that best describes me is a _________because__________.

A log cabin. They’re plain and simple and inviting.

3. Wind makes me feel _________.

Homesick for Idaho. The wind always blows in southern Idaho and each of our homes had windows that sang with the wind. I also love the wind because it blows all of your troubles away and brings you new ones.

4. When I am with my family I am most like the animal _________.

Dog. Definitely dog. I am loyal. I am friendly. I will gladly fetch if it makes my family happy.

5. When I think of black, I think of _________.

Nasty or licorice, even though they aren’t related.

6. When I daydream I usually think about _________.

This has become a lost art for me. I am usually thinking about reality and what is coming up next. I will have to work on this one.

7. The smallest thing I know is _________.

A selfish person. They just wrap themselves up into one neat little package with their worry beads.

8. The biggest thing I know is _________.

Generosity. It truly has no bounds.

9. The scariest thing is _________.

Being put in prison innocently, or the ocean at night or imagining falling into the deepest part of the ocean at night where there are no lights or buoys and only things that nibble and bite and wrap their tentacles around you.

10. I feel sad when _________.

I overlook someone.

Please feel free to answer any or all.

Monday, October 1, 2012

October Photo Challenge - Where I Stood

work door

I grew up in a red brick house.

It had seven bedrooms and two bathrooms.  It had a large kitchen table that could be pulled out or pushed into the cupboard - depending if six, ten, or fourteen were eating.  A long built in bench was on one side of the table.  Two big toy drawers were built into the bench where wood blocks were stored. My favorite thing to play in the red brick house was jacks on the kitchen floor (especially on Saturday after we'd just mopped, waxed, and buffed it).  From seeing who would go first (by throwing the jacks in the air and seeing who could catch the most on the backs of our hands with our palms down and thumbs together) to playing pigs in a pen, cherry pickers, and over the fence - I loved it all.  

I stood seventh out of ten children. 

I went to grade school in a red brick building.

While I never got head lice, I did get measles, mumps, and the chicken pox in grade school.  I only remember one boy from our school getting perfect attendance and he was in the grade below. (Nine students were in his grade, while mine had seventeen.)  He brought his sandwiches wrapped in waxed paper and ate bell peppers.  

As one of the tallest in the class I stood in the back row with the boys on picture day every year.

I went to high school in a red brick building.

Our math teacher spent five minutes teaching us a new concept, and then played solitaire the rest of the hour - all day every day -  at his desk with an old deck of cards.  

I stood second in my class of 79, but not very strong in math.

I went to church in a red brick building.

Why, pray tell, are empty churches so scary?  With a basement that had lots of stinkbugs and a furnace room, ours was really scary.  I had to go to the church and practice the organ by myself and it was never a comforting experience.  One time as I was practicing a hymn in the chapel I called out to my friend who had come with me and was doing homework in the foyer, "Hey Nita, listen to this song.  I like it."  After I finished playing the hymn a voice came out of the organ speaker, "That was pretty good.  I liked it too.  Play another one."  Oh man.  Even though we were strictly raised to never run in the chapel, I jumped off that organ bench and ran to the foyer.  While I didn't know where the voice came from, I knew it wasn't from heaven.  S.c.a.r.y.  

I stood not very brave.

(Somebody later explained the voice was probably from a trucker on the nearby highway that had picked up the waves on his CB.) 

I go to work in a red brick building.

Going on twelve years now, I've worked in the same building and I look at that corner every morning as I unlock the door.  It's a very good place to work and I like what I do very much.  I get to see the very best in people.  And I get to laugh.  And I get to learn new things.  And I get to stand where people freely talk about God, family, moral values, and what they want to have happen in their lives and how they want to improve.    

I stand among great people.