Sunday, October 10, 2010

A Drive Down Memory Lane

Today on my way home from church I decided to take the long way home. On a whim I started driving towards the home of my youth. The place where I grew up, spent my life from age 1 to 22. It was kind of a shocking trip.

I wanted to see how much had changed in the neighborhoods. As I drove down the street I passed many familiar houses. As I passed, names would come. Wynn's, Seeley's, Stewart's, Klingler's, and on and on. Then, as I got closer to my destination I found myself saying, "Ricks', I don't know, I don't know, John and Sylvia, I don't know, I don't know, I don't know." I knew I was close to the farm where I grew up, but I couldn't really see it. Where had all these houses come from?

I finally arrived at our lane.

When I picture this place from my childhood I see a long gravel road. It seemed about a mile long, with a horse pasture on the left and a grain field on the right. Halfway down the lane is the big white brick house in which my family lived from the time I was in 3rd grade on. It was then one of the larger houses in the area. And it was surrounded on all sides by fields. At the end of the road, after a gentle S-curve, was the farm. It had 5 huge chicken coops, an egg-processing plant, the old farm house that we lived in previously, giant walk-in coolers and freezers, numerous smaller outbuildings, an elevator leg and grain bins, and sidewalks, gravel, dirt, weeds, and old farm equipment scattered in nitches between buildings or laying at the edge of the 25 acres that my father owned.

The first shock I received was immediate. This road was paved! I would have thought I was in heaven if the road had been paved when I was learning to ride my bike. Even walking was hard on the large rounded rocks that passed for gravel back in the day. The finely crushed gravel that I see on some country roads now is still a definite step up in comfort to what we had. Driving a car on this road had to be done slowly, the sound of rocks flipping up and hitting the oil pan under the car was enough to slow anyone with sense down.

My next shock was the number of houses on this street. Big beautiful houses with gorgeous landscaped yards lined the street to the left. I drove slowly, gawking in awe at the change. It seemed like I had only driven about half of a city block when I suddenly realized that on the right was our big white brick house. Surely it had been a longer walk than that to catch the bus at the end of our lane. It kind of saddened me to see the house. My mothers beautiful black wrought iron posts that held up our front porch were replaced by ugly wooden logs. There were also blue shutters put up next to each of the front windows, that looked incongruously out of place. The trees and bushes had overgrown so much that the house was almost hidden, but the driveway was black-topped! That would have been nice.

I kept slowly driving and gawking. I couldn't believe that there was another road behind our big house that had houses on. There were more houses on the lane to the left on the lane from our big house to the farm. And, once again, it seemed so short! All of a sudden I was driving past the farm house, which hadn't changed. Many of the building had been torn down and hauled away leaving long flat expanses of cement. I drove clear through the loop of the farm, on the road which was entirely paved. It was a shock to the senses, the mind, the memories, and the emotions.

I'm kind of glad I went. Kind of. But I don't think I want to go back.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

I Have a Secret

For the past 10 years or so I have been engaging in a clandestine activity during church. My husband knows about it. My kids do too. I think I've kept it pretty secret from the rest of my church-going companions, though.

This is my secret.

I draw people.

Once I sat behind a young family. Obviously the mother took great care in styling her daughters long tresses. I was fascinated with the braids and ribbons. I came home that day with hair sketches. Sometimes I sit across from a very interesting wrinkled old face. I have to draw it.

Lately, though, I have been sitting on the stand. When I had my foot surgery in December I couldn't get around very well, so I got in the habit of staying on the stand for the entire meeting. The last few weeks I began to notice all the interesting views I was getting of the backsides of people talking from the pulpit.

I began to sketch. I have to be quick on Testimony day because I never know how long they will "pose" for me.

And just in case you are wondering, I find that I remember more about what they said when I sketch than if I just sat there.

So here are my "Secret Sketches" from the last couple of weeks. And please keep my secret. I don't want people to be self-conscious about what their backsides look like while they're standing there.

Monday, April 12, 2010

What Dreams May Come...

I had a dream Saturday night.

I am the ward chorister. Every week I get up in Sacrament meeting and lead the hymns. I'm always a little bit nervous about it cause I'm not the best at it.

In my dream I arrived early as I usually do and went up to the front to post the hymn numbers on the display. All the numbers were ripped up, wrinkled and ratty. Some of the numbers had been replaced with torn pieces of lined loose-leaf paper with a big number scribbled on with a blue ball point pen. I was horrified but did my best to make the hymn page numbers look nice on the wall.

Then I went over to the music stand to adjust it to the height I like. As I pulled on it the top just pulled right off. It just totally fell apart in my hands. I tried to put it back the best I could. I had to hurry because the meeting was about to start.

When I stood up to lead the opening hymn I raised my baton ready to start. To my horror the end of the baton was all bendy and flopped around like a dead fish. I decided to use it anyway. I kept trying to make the best of every problem that arose. I just kept thinking, this is okay, I can deal with this.

As I brought my arm down to start the hymn and the congregation started to sing, I heard the choir behind me. They were following the choir director and were singing a totally different song. It was a chaotic awful sounding mess.

I was glad when I woke up and found out church hadn't started yet.

I arrived early, the numbers were crisp and new, the stand didn't break, my baton was stiff, and the congregation sounded harmonious and unified, and there was no choir.


Wednesday, March 31, 2010

March Gifts

What am I thankful for this month? Many many things.

~ That Andy didn't have any problems travelling to New York. And that he seems to be adjusted and doing well.

~ That Andy actually writes good letters to us! I feel like we know what's going on with him because he puts so much detail into his letters.

~ It was so fun to see Lisa be the guest soloist with the Idaho Falls Symphony. She did awesome. I'm not a huge fan of 20th Century music, and Bartok's Viola Concerto was not my most favorite piece, but it didn't matter. I enjoyed it immensely and appreciated the extreme talent it took to be able to play it.

~ That I was able to go to one concert with Abby, another concert with Lisa (watching Abby play) and go out to lunch a few times with all my daughters. And we had a blast getting ice cream after Abby's concert. They really are my best friends.

~ That I got my new computer! I love it. It's awesome. Thanks Mike!

~ That David got his Master's diploma in the mail. Whew! I knew he earned it, but it's always nice to actually get that piece of paper.

~ That the snow is finally gone. (mostly)

~ That I had fun creating some cute things this month. Okay okay, I realize I could maybe have been more productive, but sometimes you just have to feed your soul, you know?

~ That I saw some wildlife this month. A few herds of deer, a flock of wild turkeys (repeatedly, and I got some great pictures) and a moose. The wild bunnies in our yard are getting braver and braver (and hungrier and hungrier) and get closer to our house every day. I have about 30 little songbirds hovering around my bird feeder every day. I love watching all of them.

It's been a pretty great month.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Dyed in the Wool - My contribution to Spring

I don't know what gets into me sometimes. I see something and I just can't help myself. I have to make it. I have to try it. I have to learn it. I feel a bit compulsive that way. My latest obsessive spree was spent knitting sheep.
Yes, I knit up some sheep.

My daughter Joni, just shakes her head at me, but she always has a smile and says, "yea, they're cute." When Lisa saw them today I thought she was going into a "cute fuzzy its-so-cute conniption fit".

Every time I saw a new colored yarn I wanted to knit up a new lamby.

And the most fun thing about it is that you can


How fun is that? It's like 3-D paper dolls.

I need some wings for my little bee costume, but there's plenty of time before Halloween. Now, what shall I knit for the rest of their little itty-bitty Halloween costumes?

It's been kind of fun, but really I need to get something else done around here.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Spring Joys and Horrors

Many areas of the country have been enjoying the blisses of spring for a few weeks now. On February 10th we made a trip south to Utah and saw people working in their yards, blowing leaves out of flower beds, raking up dead grass, and trimming trees. It was an amazing sight to us, because before the day was over we headed back home to the cold wintery Idaho which still had almost 2 feet of snow on the ground.

I keep tabs on the temperatures in a few places that I have a personal interest.
It's always kind of annoying to see how our temps here in Rexburg stack up.
Right now, for example, Newport Oregon is touting sunny skies and lovely 64 degrees. (and my kids wonder why I want to move there.) In New York where Andy is, it's a balmy 68 degrees. I hope he's enjoying it, 'cause here in Idaho it is now 41 degrees. It actually feels pretty darn nice. I didn't wear a coat or sweater today. Just last week the low temps were hitting single digits so this really does feel like spring.

Our snow has been slowly dissappearing over the last couple of weeks. I watched as our yard has metamorphosed from a wide expanse of white, to grass-rimmed snow fields, to patchy snow on our lawn.

I always watch the snow melting on our lawn with a kind of fascinated horror. I know what I'm about to see. As the snow recedes you can see the evidence of mice. Anyone who knows me well can tell you of my aversion, no, my crippling phobia, of mice.

We have a very large lawn, at least an acre, and there are mouse trails and mouse huts everywhere. Mice will build up a little mound of grass under the snow where they can stay safe and warm as the snow insulates them. They look like little grass huts.

They are kind of fascinating. In the same way that seeing an accident on the freeway is fascinating. You don't want to look, you know you will probably be sickened, but you just can't help yourself. I felt myself drawn to one of the larger mounds. I had a long stick and reached over and flipped some of the grass away from the top. My nerves were jittery to the point that as I flicked the grass away I felt myself shudder and leap backwards. Morbid fascination drew me close once again and I flicked away some more grass.

This time I saw what looked like about 6 little smooth oval stones. I thought, "how odd, do they use the rocks to hold heat?" Then I looked closer.

"EWWWWW! YUCK!! I shuddered and scampered away as quickly as I could. They were baby mice. They were about an inch long each, and they weren't moving. I couldn't get close to it again. But just then Joni came out and asked me what the heck I was doing. (I guess the sight of a 50-something year old woman poking with sticks and jumping around the yard was kind of noticeable.) I told her what I found, and Joni, ever the scientist, came out to invesigate. She pronounced them dead. Burns, our master-mouser cat was right behind her and caught sight of these tasty little bite-sized nuggets. Joni had to wrestle him away and then she gave the little critters a proper burial.

I hope Joni checks out the rest of the grass-hut mounds for me. I don't think my heart to take another round. And I definitely don't want any surprises during the first time I mow the lawn.

Sunday, March 14, 2010


Yesterday David brought his family to visit. While they were there Nathan (age 3) thought of a really fun game. He found his grandma's basket full of balls of yarn and methodically unwound them, going around and around the pool table. When he used up one ball he would go get another. Spider-slayer, aka "the little kitty", was under the table the entire time watching him go around and around and around. Every once in a while he would attack the yarn as it trailed past. It's been pretty funny since then. We left the yarn up and today the kitty is still hanging out in his Nathan-made cave, safe and sound out of Oscar's reach. Oscar will not cross the yarn barrier. I think "little kitty" wouldn't mind if we left it up permanently.

Last night the whole family, friends and half of Idaho Falls went to the Civic Auditorium to watch Lisa perform her viola concerto by Bartok. She sounded awesome and looked fabulous. Abby took photos of her on stage, which I'll try to borrow and post. After her performance, and during intermission, we all went back stage to congratulate her. I took my camera and snapped quite a few photos of that. Here's one that I really like. A few of her students went down to the performance and one of them went backstage with us and gave Lisa a bouquet of flowers. This shot shows her watching Lisa as she converses with some other well-wishers. Lisa's a really great role model for young up and coming musicians and I think it shows in this photo.

It was a pretty great day.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Knitted Coziness

I never claimed to be a master knitter, like my mother. She can knit anything!
And she's fast!
And she doesn't even need to look at what she's doing!

I struggle. I have a hard time deciphering the patterns.

But lately I've really wanted to learn how to do it better.
I've knitted scarves.
Plain rectangles are not problem.

I wanted to do shaped things.
My biggest challenge is socks.
I really really wanted to knit a pair of socks.

I've knitted a half a sock about 6 times, and I always tear it all out after getting totally lost.

Then a couple of weeks ago I found this pattern. It was SO CUTE!!!

I paid for a download,
got the pdf,
bought my yarn,
and started knitting.

I know it's a beginner pattern.
But I'm so happy I was able to knit the whole thing!
And it even fit Oscar!

He likes to wear cozy sweaters when we get him groomed. It's still too cold for his blood here in Idaho.

Now maybe I'll tackle those socks again.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Boy Scout or Girl Scout?

That is one scary looking mullet.

A New Look for a New Me

I needed to be inspired. The old format was just not doing it for me. This one fits me so much better.

As soon as I get my new laptop, (thanks honey), I'll feel even more motivated to keep up on all things blog/twitter/facebook.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Back From My Hiatus and February's Gifts

This last month has been filled with highs and lows. Some of those highs and lows involve the some thing, like having Andy leave on his mission. Some other lows include the bad accident Mike's mother had. She went to get her mail and fell, breaking her hip. This 90 pound 80-year old woman then dragged herself over 100 feet back inside her house and pulled down the phone to call for help. She's in the hospital where she had surgery, and will have to stay for quite some time. We are glad she is now in good hands and pray for her recovery. My mother had her little heart attack scare too, but that all checked out just fine, for which we are very grateful. On a less serious note I'm having some issues with my dang toe. The swelling is just not going down. My doc said some people have this issue. My lymphatic system is just not functioning too well and is not pulling the fluid out of the tissue very well. I have to keep it wrapped up with a compression bandage most of the time. I'm not complaining, though. I can now take my long 30 minute power walks and not have an achy toe at the end. That's definitely an improvement. Now for the gifts of February:

~ That the new season of LOST started! I'm still totally confused, but hanging onto the promise that questions will be answered tomorrow night! :)

~ That Andy went on his mission and is doing really well. He flew to New York this morning. We were able to talk to him for 3 very short minutes when he called us while waiting to board. It was good to hear him. I'm proud of him for making this decision to serve with no pay, not alot of time off, and away from family and friends. He's going to grow up so much. I kind of wish I could watch the growth in person, but if his mommy was hanging around I doubt much growth would take place.

~ That everything checked out good for my mother's health. Maybe she had that little scare when I had to call 911 just to get her into the care of a doctor. She needed to have a physical and be checked over, (it had been a long time), and she probably wouldn't have gone on her own. Now at least we know her heart looks pretty good!

~ That I was able to go watch Abby's orchestra concert. I sat with Lisa and Tyler. It was pretty good. Abby plays pretty good violin for not being a music major. *grin*

~ I have to put this one in because I remember my saying this. I'm thankful I don't have as much laundry to do, or as many groceries to buy since Andy left. Mom always said when one of us would move out she consoled herself by the "less-laundry" idea.

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Januarys Gifts

Gifts from the last month:

~ that Andy is now mostly ready for his mission. Only a couple more things to buy, then packing and delivering him to the MTC in 10 more days.

~ that we were able to go with Andy to the temple.

~ that I got to spend some time with my two awesome grandsons. They are so fun, and cute, and different from each other. I love them so much.

~ that both Lisa and I are out of our surgical boots. Yea for surgery to fix things, but even a bigger yea for healing up afterwards.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Ummm, How Many More Days?

I'm losing track. It's not February yet, so I'm probably okay.
Andy's passport was approved and has been mailed to us. We'll probably get it Friday. I just ordered a second suit for him and we spent $100.00 on a good, nice looking pair of shoes. I taught Andy how to fold shirts today for packing in a suitcase. I did one, he did the rest. They weren't perfect, I really resisted the urge to "straighten them out a bit". He's going to have to do it on his own for the next couple of years so he might as well do it now, too.

It's been snowing today, really pretty flakes drifing slowly to the ground. I hear we're in for more. My foot is still getting better. One day I walk without a limp and then I limp for a couple of days. I'm very grateful for my handicapped parking pass. If I had to walk 1/2 mile every morning to get to work I would be hurting every day. I only have the pass until the 15th of February, so hopefully I'll heal up quick.

I've been using my exercise bike and am getting some sore leg muscles. I'd rather be walking. My big goal is to be all healed up by spring. I didn't get to hike last summer because of feet problems, but I'm going this summer. I will. You just watch me.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Start Your Day Right

I just saw this You Tube video from my friend Rebecca. (Thanks). It put a smile on my face. I hope it puts a smile on yours.

I was up very late. Just as we were going to bed (at about 12:30 am) we noticed 2 fire engines, an ambulance, an aid truck, and about 4 police cars, lights all flashing, pull up to our next door neighbors house. Of course we had to stay up and watch the show. There wasn't much to see. Mike made a call to their son and he said he was aware of the situation, but he never told us what that situation was. We were concerned as the neighbors are an elderly couple who've had a lot of health issues.

We finally figured that they must have had a small fire with lots of smoke. We saw them carry in blowers and then a lot of smoke went up the chimney and then stopped. They never unloaded their hoses or hurried in any way.

I've got to go to work now. I hope I can stay awake.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Made My List and Checked it Twice - 28

I came home from work and put my foot up on ice. Then I got out all the paperwork and wrote down everything that has to be done before the next 28 days are over. It was a long list. It made me schlump. I have so much to do I think I'll go take a nap.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

29 Days to Go

Andy had 6 shots today, 3 in each arm. I had to pay over $200.00 for them to do it. If you're reading this and your child is under 19 I would recommend you go have the shots now! You'll probably only pay about $12.00.

We haven't done much else in the way of missionary prepping. I've had bronchitis and just haven't been feeling up to it. I really need to kick it up a gear or two though.

I just returned from my podiatrist where he checked out my toe progress. It still looks pretty bad. It looks like I have two big toes on my left foot. My second toe, the one that he fixed, is red, puffy, and floppy. He assured me that when the swelling ever goes down it will be much shorter and not as floppy. I really hate that floppy feeling. It feels like it is boneless, like a little vienna sausage stuck on my foot. Weird feeling.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Something I Wish I Knew 10 Days Ago

If you take your child in for an immunization booster 1 day before he turns 19 they get to pay the cheap prices. If you wait until that magic 19th birthday, then you pay through the nose. Dang. I wish I'd known.

Andy had his recommend signed by the Stake President tonight. Now we have to schedule with the temple.

It is cold cold cold. I am knitting my little buddy and very warm canine coat. I don't think the Santa coat will cut it after he gets shaved.
Hopefully I'm smart enough to make this thing. I'm definitely not a master knitter like my mother. But at least she close by if I get stuck.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

New Clothes - 35 days to go

We finally talked Andy into trying on his suit for us. Of course I took photos, and of course he told me "don't put those on facebook". So I didn't. I put them on here instead. Don't tell.

He's lookin' mighty fine.

Joni and I went to Walmart tonight to pick up a few necessary items before the below zero temps start back up. While we were there we wandered down the mark-down aisle and found Oscar a very awesome coat. It was marked down 75% so we only paid about $2.00. What do you think?

Andy's passport and mission home papers sent out today. Wow, nothing is as easy as you think it's going to be. Yesterday we arrived at the passport office about 10 minutes after it closed. They changed their hours, closing earlier than they used to, because of the "increased number of passport applicants". Does that make sense to you. If you have more customers you shorten your business hours? Oh well, $100.00 poorer, but it's done now.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

A Helpful Tip - 36

My son-in-law, Tyler, gave me this good tip.

Make sure that Andy takes only light colored washables.
his towel
his P-Day t-shirt
his sheets

and of course his regular missionary white shirts.

That way when he does his laundry, and throws in a red towel with the rest, he won't end up with a bunch of pink dress shirts.

Very good tip.

However I'd better make sure his dark socks are colorfast. I don't think his mission president would appreciate Andy dressed in a black suit and white gymn socks.

Not a good day at work. Can I just say I hate the new "My Byui". I swear, it better get better. It can't get any worse.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Not As Productive As I Planned.....37

Tomorrow I think we're going to take care of mailing a copy of his driver's license and driving record to the mission home in NY and send off the paperwork for his passport. I think I may push to have him get his immunizations caught up, too. And maybe have him run a load of laundry, just to keep his skills up.

Wow! I was ambitious wasn't I.
Today didn't pan out as well as I'd hoped. Andy was able to get his H1N1 flue shot (even though he was sick with it for 3 weeks in Sept/Oct) and had his passport photo taken. He filled out a couple of pages of paperwork and made a call to the New York mission home about another matter.

Tomorrow he will HOPEFULLY get the rest of his immunizations, submit his passport documents, and mail off the info to NY.

Things I would like to get accomplished this week:
Order a second suit from
Order 2 pair of shoes from same place.
Have Andy scrub the bathroom "just to keep up his skills" :)
Start packing a box to send to NY with stuff he won't need in the Provo MTC.

On another front,

Classes start tomorrow. I went to a "1 hour training meeting" that ended up being 2 1/2 hours long. They were teaching us how to use the new and improved system. Ha ha. That's a big sarcastic ha ha, not a laugh cause it's funny ha ha. The meeting lasted so long because the system kept crashing and we all had to restart. When I finally got back to my office so I could get everything done for classes, which start tomorrow, the power went out! It was out for almost 2 hours. I couldn't do anything. About the time I decided to go home 'cause I was being totally unproductive the power came back. Then I had to stay late to finish everything for the first day of class.

and I thought it would be an easy week. HA.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Missionary Prep - T minus 38 days

So much to do and so little time.

After Andy received his call to the New York South mission we kind of got lost in the Christmas shuffle and bustle. Now that the holidays are over I'm starting to feel the time squeeze. There is so much to be done. I counted everything up and divided it by 38. According to my calculations, if I do 395 things a day I'll make it. Ha ha, that's a joke. I'll bet I can get everything done if I do 39 things a day.

I can hear what some of you are thinking. "It's Andy's mission, HE should get everything ready."

You who are thinking those really loud thoughts have obviously never had a teenage boy. Of course in theory Andy will be doing the getting ready. But in reality it will be his mom who makes sure everything gets done. That's just the way these things work.

Of course we have a good head start on the job list. Andy picked up a lot of his clothes last week. He is now the proud owner of:
~ 1 two-pants black suit (and looks mighty fine in it, too)
~ 10 white shirts, half with short sleeves, half with long
~ 10 ties, assorted colors
~ 1 very fine waterproof overcoat with removeable lining. (Andy like this so much he wears it all the time now.
~ 10 pair dark socks (new and unopened ready for 2 years of hard wear and tear)

There are a lot of things we still need to get, but this is a good start. Andy paid for all the above items himself. I'm proud of him for working hard for the funds to do this.

Tomorrow I think we're going to take care of mailing a copy of his driver's license and driving record to the mission home in NY and send off the paperwork for his passport. I think I may push to have him get his immunizations caught up, too. And maybe have him run a load of laundry, just to keep his skills up.

The list goes on.........

Friday, January 1, 2010

December's Gifts

~ For Andy's mission call. New York, New York South, which includes the island of Bermuda. I am so glad for him. We only have less than 6 weeks to get him ready. I work better under pressure, so no problem. *grin*

~ That I was able to get my toe fixed. It's caused me pain and discomfort for as long as I remember. I thought I'd live with it for the rest of my life. When the podiatrist told me the fix wasn't that hard I knew it was time to get'r done.

~ That I was able to enjoy the company of so many of my family members during the Christmas season. I am so glad that David and Emily live close enough that I can see my two grandson's occasionally. I love those little guys so much!

~ That my baby boy turned 19. Wow, that makes me feel old, ha ha. I'm pretty glad he chose Texas Roadhouse for his celebratory dinner, too. It was yummy!

~ I'm grateful for so many things. I'm grateful for this new year. I've got high hopes for good things.