Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Homemaking Tip - Why

It looks hard, doesn't it?

I just got off the phone with the Statistics tutor. She wants to be a math teacher. I’m not thinking she’s going to be a whole lot more successful teaching math to the slow-to-comprehend kids than I would be as a statistician. She gets frustrated with me for not remembering when to use what formulas. Truth be told, I get frustrated with me for not remembering when to use what formulas.

Like a toddler trying to make sense of the universe, I keep asking her, “Why?” “Why do we use this formula?” “Why do we figure it like that?” And like most answers that we give to curious children, she says, “Because.”

Now it’s come down to the final. I have a 93% on my 84 homework assignments, but I have failed four of my six midterms. And it wasn’t because I didn’t try or accidentally skipped a question and ended up filling in the bubbles one off. No, I failed because I can’t understand why or how to apply it, and therefore I don’t retain it.

When I called to order the final exam three days ago the girl said, “You do realize you have failed four midterms, right?” Like I could forget it, I have spent $600 and nearly 150 hours on this class.

“Yes, I realize that,” I said, “But there’s nothing I can do about that now.  Right?  I can't retake them can I?"

“Yes, you’re right. There’s nothing you can do about it.  No, you can't retake them.”

“Okay, well how about you send me the final and I’ll try even harder.”

“All right. Please verify your date of birth and address.” She probably nodded in understanding when I said ’62 was my birth year, because then she more than likely realized it had been a good 35 years since I’d had anything besides cooking or checkbook math. At least this is how she closed the conversation, “All you have to get on your final is a 55% to pass the course," then she paused, ". . . but you might want to aim for a 60%.”

I sat down today to study for the final with renewed dedication and confidence that the final is passable, but out of the first 20 questions I got 9 correct. That is not 60%. That is not even 55%. That’s when I called the tutor again and asked for more help; however, even though the session was to last 1.5 hours we called it a day after a half hour. For while I may not know why and she may not be able to explain why, at least we know our limit of how long to work on Statistics together.

I’ve asked three resources in the community who use statistics in their profession if they could help, but every single one of them said, “Sorry, I can’t help you with that part. The computers do all of that for us.”

So there’s my answer. At last. I finally know why I don't understand.

I am not a computer. 

I am a canner.

And while they both start with "c" there is a world of difference.

I understand canning.  I know why I do it and it makes sense to me. You take fruit at its peak and store it for later in the year when it isn't field-ripened and available.  The fruit tastes fresh and good, it makes your family happy, and it is very comforting to be self-reliant with food on your shelves.

Last week I bottled pears and this week I bottled peaches. I ran out of quart jars early this year so diced some of the peaches and put them in pints. Does anybody can peaches anymore? If you do and you want to try a quick tip, here is a trick I’ve used for thirty years:

Prepare the fruit and put in the jar. Put the desired amount of sugar on top of the fruit. (I put a scant ½ cup into each quart jar [no need to make a sugar-syrup].) Put a lid and ring on each jar and process the bottled fruit in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes once it comes to a boil. Remove the hot jars from the water bath and turn upside down for 12-24 hours until they have sealed. Remove rings and wash jars.

Even statistically speaking, it works really well.  The bottles seal and stay sealed and the fruit tastes fresh and firm (assuming you use good fruit to begin with.  Hales are still my favorite peach, by far, to bottle.)  

And one parting tip: Take all your general education classes while you’re young and used to memorizing things that don't make sense.  To date, those classes have been the hardest (and seemingly the least useful).  

Tuesday Tried It - Molly Moon Knock-off

What a mess!

Sunday night as we were driving home from Idaho we hit a terrible lightening, wind, and rain storm about 100 miles from home.  It chased us all the way home.  We got stopped by a lightning fire, detoured because of a wreck, and detoured again because of downed power lines.  Nobody in the whole Basin had any power.  We got home and surveyed our damage in the dark.  We only lost a couple of trees, but one of our neighbors lost three trees and the other lost four.

Some of the farmers' fields were swept clean -- windrows of beans and hay were gone.  Our yard had debris and branches scattered everywhere and school was cancelled on Monday due to downed power lines.

The storm was beautiful and magnificent, however, and it knocked out some of the old, dead branches high in the trees.

Like Ma Ingalls always said, "There is no great loss without some small gain."

I made a batch of chocolate chip cookies today that flopped.  Flat and gooey.  They were also a mess.  I was in a bind because I had made them for another family's supper and what is supper without dessert? Disappointing.  That's what it is.  Disappointing.

I remembered some salted-caramel, ice-cream sandwiches that Joe bought from Molly Moon's.  The cookies they used were flat and gooey just like mine.  I pulled out the jar of caramel (because this time of year a jar of caramel is as much a staple in the fridge door as ketchup is) and spread a little on those flat cookies and then put a little slab of ice cream in between them and wrapped them up.  They were great, definitely in a race with Molly's.  They showcased those flopped cookies like they were made flat and gooey on purpose.  

Like I always say, "There's no great loss without some small gain."

Sunday, September 15, 2013

52 Blessings - Vicarious Living

Jake and Calvin

Calvin and I planned to own land, run cattle, and raise crops in Idaho when we were first married. Things didn’t work out that way.

This weekend we went to Idaho for a wedding. We stopped and spent the night with my sister’s family. Jake, my 21-year-old nephew, took us to see the 40 acres he just bought. A few weeks ago he had a 600 foot well dug on the property and plans to build a house there within a year or two. It was pretty exciting to see him doing that thing he loves to do and what we had once hoped we would do.

Grace and Ande

Zeph and Uncle Abe

Abe and Grace drove north to South Carolina to see Joe, Ande, and Zeph this weekend. They got to hear Zeph’s new sounds and experience Joe and Ande’s new life. While we would have loved to be there with both families, it was gratifying seeing the weekend through their eyes.

There are too many good things in life for one person to be able to experience. I’ve learned that I can either be unhappy and paralyzed coveting to have it all or learn to enjoy experiences through others’ opportunities. I’ve learned to love and seize the opportunities that are mine, but vicariously enjoy the opportunities that others get too. It’s like having it all. That is a big blessing.

Any vicarious living for you this week?

Saturday, September 14, 2013

13 Pictures for September 13, 2013

Grace:  A baby boy coming on Valentine's Day 2014!!!

Abe:  Visiting Joe and Ande and meeting Zeph for the first time

Joe:  Dinner with Abe and Grace

Ande: The front of our new house.
We went out to visit it today with Abe and Grace and can't wait to move in!

Ande:  My view on our morning walk

Zeph: Zeph's favorite food is sweet potatoes.
He ate that entire container in 3 days.

Afton: Afton loves toast. Afton loves ham. Afton loves cheese.
 However, apparently in grilled ham and cheese form,
only one of those is worth eating.  And you can forget about the apples.

Michelle: Yes, I'm still pregnant. No, I don't want to talk about it.

Ty: My first Pinterest project. In my defense, Michelle is the one that found it.
 Our canned food storage.

Calvin:  Welcome to Idaho by the State Police.
Somehow 75 in a 55 doesn't fly in Idaho.

Jane:  On our way to a wedding.  I'm sitting in the backseat listening to
Calvin tell Jake (nephew) about guns and Jake tell Calvin about auctioneering 

(I had to fudge on my picture and take it the morning of the 14th 'cause my 13th picture was too blurry.)

Ray:   Moose 0, Johnny/Ray 1

Ray:  Johnny (brother) eating pudding snacks

[Family, you are the best.  Thanks for the pictures and news.]

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Thursday Thinking - Potentially Speaking

Abe at the CG's Social and shaking Mrs. McMaster's hand while General McMaster looks on

I just love this picture of Abe that Grace sent to us last night.
It reminds me of one of the things that I have admired in Abe since
he was a little boy, and that is his enthusiasm for life.
I could visit (and often do) for hours with Abe on how he views life, people, events, and ideas.

The other day I asked one of my students how he was doing in football and he said, "The coach got really mad at me last night.  He said I wasn't playing to my potential."

I laughed and said, "Oh ho.  I understand your coach.  I do.  Nothing makes a coach or mom madder than when a kid won't live up to his potential." Then I told him about Abe.

Every now and then Abe reminds our family that I swore at him during supper one night.  It was a significant event since I'm not a swearer, and ruined the whole supper.  Abe also reminds us that he is the only child I ever swore at.  

When Ray, our son-in-law, heard the story of me swearing at Abe he said, "Let me guess.  He wasn't living up to his potential was he?"

I said, "Yes!  How did you know that?  It would make me so mad when he didn't live up to his potential, but how did you know that?"

He smiled and said,  "It's the one thing that made my mom the most mad at me, too."

I concluded the story by light-heartedly telling my student, "Unless you want people mad at you your whole life, I guess you'd just better live up to your potential."

. . . because if there is one thing that moms and coaches and teachers are good at it's pointing out the obvious.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Tuesday Tried It - Brownies

I made these brownies this week and they were really good.  Really good.  Just for good measure I served them with ice cream and drizzled homemade caramel over them.  But even so, they were good all by themselves.

(I one-and-a-half-timesed [I have no idea how to write 1 1/2 in past tense] the recipe and baked it in an 11x7 pan which also meant they needed about ten minutes longer to bake.)

I'll be making these again.

Monday Memories - Top Shot and No Shot

Abe introduced Calvin to Top Shots, a marksmanship TV show, when we went to visit.  Grace and I went to bed when they began watching it, but they stayed up until 2:00 a.m.  The next morning they turned it on while they were cooking breakfast and Grace and I watched the last few episodes of season one with them.  By the time Calvin and I came home we were well into season two.  Now I'm not much of a TV watcher, but there was something about watching all those shooters out in the high dessert wearing carhartts and double-cotton shirts along with the cinematography of gallon jars filled with bubble gum balls spilling, mason jars filled with blue liquid exploding, and ceramic plates cracking that just pulled me in.

Calvin called Ray and Cali and told them they'd enjoy it.  He was right.  Cali texted a few days later saying they stayed up until 2:00 am watching it and that she "almost cried when Jim got eliminated tonight."

Calvin has always enjoyed shooting.  Always.  His Grandpa Lunt bought him a b.b. gun when he was about six years old.  Grandpa Lunt promptly regretted it saying it was the worst mistake he'd ever made because Calvin shot at anything and everything that moved - lizards, snakes, bees, flies, scorpions, spiders, birds, it didn't matter.  Grandpa Lunt said he'd kick Calvin's hind-end if he ever caught him shooting a horny toad so Calvin left them alone.

I can attest to Calvin always wanting to shoot.  When we were dating and Calvin was a bachelor living by himself he shot a mouse in his house rather than set a trap.  He said it was faster and cleaner.  (That mouse was in the cupboard among bottles of green beans and peaches and pears that Calvin's mom had canned for him.  I hardly thought shooting a mouse could be cleaner knowing what that bullet would do should he miss. But obviously Calvin doesn't doubt his aim.)

Calvin's been loading bullets this week in anticipation of the hunt next month that he, Ray, Abe, and Trevor are going on.  Usually Calvin reloads out in the shop, but he's been rolling paper patch bullets at the kitchen table the last few nights.  He's meticulous and very methodical, and sits there quietly measuring, rolling, and carefully arranging the bullets in a pattern.  Until I bumped the table and set nine bullets rolling.  He wasn't so quiet then.    

All this talk about guns and bullets reminds me of when I learned to hate shooting.

We had lots of jackrabbits that ran wild when I was a kid.  Instead of looking for different states' license plates on passing cars as we made the long drive to town, we counted dead jackrabbits on the road.  True.

For a few years, the rabbits were ruining the farmers' crops so we had rabbit drives.  I was too little to join in, but I remember Dad and my brothers and sisters going.  Several families would gather in a field of sagebrush where the men had constructed a make-shift pen from chicken wire with one side open.  Everyone would fan out and walk toward the open side of the pen swinging bats and boards at the sagebrush as they walked to scare the jackrabbits.  The rabbits bounced before the walking group straight for the pen and when everyone drew close the men would pull the wire around across the open side and then everyone would kill the trapped rabbits inside.  It sounds a bit stark in today's politically correct world, but that's what it took to save the crops.

It was also common for high school kids to go out hunting rabbits at night with .22 rifles and spotlights.  It was a fairly inexpensive date.

About once a month Grandma and Grandpa Hoops drove out from town to visit and eat supper with us. Sometimes Grandpa would take us kids up to the sagebrush-covered hill a mile from our house and let us practice shooting .22 rifles and jackrabbits.  He had a brown station wagon and the kids and guns would all pile in the back.  Since everyone had to take gun safety and Grandpa was really careful with the guns it shouldn't have been a big deal.

But one day it was.  I was too young to have taken gun safety yet and I got tired of sitting in the back of the car waiting and waiting and waiting while the kids took aim.  I don't remember who was shooting, but Grandpa was off to the side of them.  Whoever it was was taking f.o.r.e.v.e.r. to zero in on the target.  Finally I decided I'd waited long enough and I was sure I could walk in front of that gun and get to the other side before the trigger was ever pulled.  I walked right in front of the barrel.  It was just a few feet away from my head.

Grandpa yelled.  Loud.  Grandpa didn't raise his voice when it came to us grandkids.  He humphed and smiled and laughed and tickled us, but he never yelled.  But this time he yelled.  He was mad.  Or so I thought.  He yelled at me to get in the back of the car and not get out.   I felt stupid.

Not long after that he had everyone pack up the guns and we drove the mile home.  Not only had I made Grandpa mad, I'd made everyone else mad by making Grandpa mad.  I'd also cut the shooting short.  I'd killed the party.  It was a weight being number seven when the six above you had good reason to not like you.  I was a pariah the rest of the day.

It didn't take me too many years to realize that Grandpa probably wasn't so much mad that day as he was scared.  He had a passel of us kids with him that afternoon and my stupidity could have made a terrible scene.  It would have traumatized them all if I'd been shot (but at least they wouldn't have been mad).

So just like that time when I got sick after eating red licorice and I didn't want to eat it for years after that, I still get a bit of a sick feeling every time I think of that afternoon of shooting with Grandpa and I'm perfectly happy to sit in the back of the pick-up and watch.  

But Calvin doesn't mind.  Not at all.  That means more bullets, and jackrabbits, and red licorice for him.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

52 Blessings

I'm grateful the Lord meant what He said in John 14 that He would not leave us comfortless.  He promised to give us truth and light - personal revelation - in His absence, and He does.

We learn academically by reasoning: this must be that, so that must be this.  It's laborious learning and often quite limiting.  But our spirits learn differently than our minds do.  We learn spiritually by faith:  we feel truth as it is revealed to us.

Personal revelation comes to me on the big things like testifying of the divinity of Jesus Christ and his Atonement, and the medium things like how to build a better relationship, and even the small and practical things like how to make a better home.  I'm grateful it doesn't limit itself to times of crisis or times of success; it just quietly marches on.  When I'm still and pay attention and keep myself in rhythm, I recognize its beat and it makes my life happier and gives me courage . . . and comfort.

Personal revelation is a great blessing and I recognized it this week several times.  One time it was simply understanding that I needed to do more than just fill a hole in a certain situation, I needed to try and make a difference.  Just a little thing really, but it could make things much different.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Life in Our World - Signs

One day it’s summer, the next day it’s fall.

Sure signs:

A bubbling vat of caramel for apple slices.

Brown and orange candy

Peaches and pears from the Farmer’s Market

Fall centerpiece

Other signs of Fall this week were the weeds finally took over the garden, the lawn is tall enough a snake could hide in it, the robins ate all of the grapes before they left for the winter, we had stew and rolls for dinner, and we won the football game last night.

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.