Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Adios and Vaya con Dios~

Guess who's on a plane to la Republica de Panama today?
And guess who I HUGGED in my dreams last night?
And GUESS WHO I TALKED TO TODAY?!?  It was SO good to hear his voice.
He's SO excited to get to Panama.
I just love that boy of mine!!!
hasta luego, Elder.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Weren't we just doing this in the Spring?

I swear, we were just filling and re-filling prescription after prescription for strep throat... and then it was summer, and KAPOWIE!! We're at it again.  A few times this weekend, I told my kids "It's cold and flu season kids; you need to get lots of rest to boost your immune system" (as I was silently disregarding my own good advice).  We had a man down this morning--seminary was a no-go for him; we have an appointment this afternoon to visit the doctor.  On the bright side, the strep patient went back to school today.  And Lo!  An email from Real Simple appeared in my inbox this afternoon, proclaiming the good tidings of 
(we already know) 
I am happy to share them with you (as I take my two daytime sinus softgels and acetaminophen).  My favorites?  Sing.  And pet something (or someone) fluffy.  Make sure your meals are colorful--at least three colors on your plate (red, orange, yellow and green are the preferable hues).  And of course, there's the mandatory rest and relaxation, which some of us aren't very good at.
I'm off to sing Christmas carols while stroking the cats--visions of rest, relaxation, strawberry smoothies and colorful meals dancing in my head.  THINK.HEALTHY.THOUGHTS.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

A WHIRLWIND of gratitude

So let me tell you the REST of the Thanksgiving story.
Amidst all the planning, packing and cleaning that must happen before we load seven people in a van to drive to Virginia for Thanksgiving, I paused to look at Leeli's sore throat.  As I held her cheeks in my hands and tipped her head back, there was no mistaking the warmth of a fever creeping up.  My mother-instincts told me it was strep throat, so I called the pediatrician, hoping for a quick visit complete with an antibiotic and a ticket to ride.  Alas, it was not to be.  I suspect the nurses in the pediatrician's office were as eager to get out as I was to get in.  That, and the fact that she hadn't been exhibiting symptoms long enough to pass a strep culture left us 36 hours away from the next available slot at the doctor's office.  We made an abrupt about-face and canceled our plans to travel.  The kids were sad that our preparations had been in vain; Mr. Dub and I were sad that we weren't going to spend the weekend with his parents, and it was dawning on me that I had made no preparations for a Thanksgiving dinner, with the big meal about 18 hours away.

I am thankful that we had a turkey in the freezer.  Out she came, and the plans for a quiet feast at home began.  The kids helped peel the apples for the pie, and we made a list of the essentials.  Amazingly, we had most of what we needed already in the house.  I am grateful there was still time to make a quick trip to the store for the extras.

I am thankful for a Thanksgiving dinner that was born, planned and executed in less than 18 hours.  By bedtime, the turkey was in the brine, the homemade cranberry sauce was being test-tasted for the 37th time because it came out so delicious; the pies were in the cooler and the plan was in place.  It was at that point that my sister and parents, who were spending an equally quiet Thanksgiving at their home, insisted that we join them.  They had spontaneously cooked their bird Monday night after my Uncle's funeral, and had decided to call one turkey enough for the week, and were planning a simple meal sans poultry.  When they threw caution to the wind and insisted that we come, plague and all, I was happy to share our part of the feast that came together so easily.  It was a delightfully relaxing and enjoyable day.

I am also thankful for a family that rolls with the punches.  When the first pan of homemade crescent rolls was burned to a charcoal crisp in the oven with the convection setting on, we exiled them to the garage and watched the second pan a little more closely.  And when I pulled out the Thanksgiving skit, everyone accepted their roles without complaints, and then played their parts with gusto.  The part of narrator was taken away from me, since without my glasses, I kept calling Puritans "Plimptons" and who knows what else.  I gladly stepped in as a Puritan woman with my mother, and we added great flair to our signature line of "Mercy Me!"  I am also thankful for the Indian Men, who, were indeed "Big and brave" and made me laugh.
I am thankful for parents who made room for seven extra guests at their table, plague and all.
AND, I am grateful, in a way that makes the fillings in my teeth quiver, for the old-fashioned coconut cream pie that came from my oven to the Thanksgiving table.  A craving-turned-culinary-creation to die for.
I'm thankful for my sister, who loves to wield the camera.
She had that thing up and pointed so many times, I started to harass her a tiny bit by the end of the day, but now I am thankful that she had it, as she is the eye behind the lens of all the pictures in this post.
And then there was 
-the skirt that got sewed, 
-the room that got painted, 
-the college application and essay that got written, 
-the brake job that Mr. Dub (and his car genius) executed
-the black Friday shopping that happened, 
-the excursion to the temple, 
-the house that got decorated for Christmas 
knowing that our missionary was feasting in the parallel universe of the MTC dining hall.  
It's been a whirlwind weekend of gratitude for sure.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

I can't wait to tell you about our Thanksgiving.

Things don't typically happen as arranged around here--there are just too many variables people to be able to count on one plan.  So we move quickly, and, with as much cheer as we can muster advance to plan B and roll with it.  
Details to follow.  
In the meantime, I hope you're enjoying a blessed Thanksgiving surrounded by people you love (or like, at least) and thinking about the tremendous bounty of things to be grateful for in your lives... for life IS good, and we have much to be thankful for.  Especially the old fashioned coconut cream pie that we wouldn't have enjoyed if we had gone with plan A.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010


(noun) A heightened yet fleeting state of accomplishment that makes you realize how unbelievably unmotivated you normally are.
I'm enjoying me some nougatocity.
And then it'll eventually be back to my regularly scheduled unmotivated-ness.
I hope the mind behind the Snickers packaging ad cleverness received a big bonus.

Monday, November 22, 2010

a paragraph of another loving (anonymous) letter to our missionary

"Oh, by the way, the picture of you throwing the leaves or jumping in front of the Provo temple, you seriously look whiter than sour cream. Maybe its the suit or the weather or camera or something, but you should seriously consider buying some spf 150 at the missionary store if they have it. I want to see pictures of your first sunburn. MWAHAHAHAHAH"

a letter

Saturday, November 20, 2010

eyes on the prize

The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes.
-Marcel Proust

It has been said that eyes are the window to the soul.
This is an especially good one.
He's looking hard at options for the next year.
Seeking new landscapes.
Working on college applications.
Seeing, seeking vision, perspective... with eyes wide open.
I love his eyes.
I love HIM.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Let it be said.

I am GLAD soccer is over.

It was FUN!!
(I will miss it a little)
I am ALSO glad Marching Band is over.
Those are GOOD times.
ALSO good is 
the season of more down-time 
and even possibly some book-reading.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

The Great One

When my sister and I went off to college, we were the first kids/grandkids to go so far away from home.  We had GREAT support from family and extended family.  I remember really relying on the mailbox for strokes of love from home.  Uncle David was very faithful--almost weekly he would send plain white envelopes with no return address and "TGO" in the upper left corner.  The intent was to remain anonymous, but we caught on quickly.  Inside would be a carefully clipped comic strip that he thought we would find funny.  Even after we deciphered TGO (The Great One) and figured out who the anonymous sender of the funnies was, the acronym stuck.  He really is great.  His smile, laugh and quiet (sometimes mischievous) sense of humor are definitely favorite things about Uncle David.
He passed away this morning after a courageous battle with pancreatic cancer.
Sleep In Heavenly Peace Uncle David.
I'll miss you

college football, where the game is an aside

UMass Band Day.  
WoW! sums it up.
Can you spot Enrique?
Our marching band was part of the half-time multi-bands extravaganza; 
here they were lined up and waiting to perform.
Mesquite was there too 
doing her best fluting, 
alas I never did find her 
despite the monga-zoom lens.
It was a pretty fantastic way to end the season.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Don't ask me to do anything. My fingers are busy working out.

Am I crazy?
Am I mad?
Am I the one with nothing to do?
I've been wanting to improve my piano performance skills for a long time.  In theory it's easy to think about; the hard reality is that it's quite another thing to execute the plan.
I've been playing organ and piano at church whenever the opportunity arises, and I've been trying to play spontaneously at home a little bit more.  I'm busy teaching piano lessons on the side.  So when the High School music teacher asked me (about a month ago) if I would accompany the choruses at their Holiday Concert in December, I said
"SURE!  I'd love to."
It'll be a challenge, I thought.  This is my chance to become better, I thought!
I'm getting cold feet.
Stage fright.
Nervous fingers.
Performance Anxiety.
But I'm determined.  And I'm kind of excited.
And now I'm going back to the piano to practice some more.

Monday, November 15, 2010

You must have an affinity towards rice pudding to fall in love with this idea.

And OH my goodness.
This is just about the best thing I've made in, days months years well, EVER.

I was hankering for a little something.
It was past lunch time, and there was no bread and no milk.
Not really knowing what I was hungry for, and not having much in the way of possibilities, I looked at the leftover rice from last night's dinner and THEN I saw the egg nog.  It was like it started communicating with me.

Crack an egg.
Whip it up (I used a fork) in an over-sized microwave-safe cereal bowl.
Add egg nog.  I didn't measure.  It probably made about a cup of liquid.
Whisk that up together, and sprinkle on some cinnamon and nutmeg.
Again, I'm sorry, but I didn't measure.  I was just going with the inspiration.

Here's where it got going.
I added enough rice to fill up about 3/4 of the bowl, and stirred it so the liquid incorporated itself into the rice.
Put the bowl in the microwave for 5 minutes on high.
Try not to touch it for about five more minutes, if you can stand it, because the bowl is HOT.

And then the food Gods smiled down upon me:  I was able to squirt just enough whipped cream out of the bottom of the can to cover the top of the--what shall we call this?--rice-y custard-y dream to make it my gift to myself.

You should try it.

My rock-star parents

I found this gem on my camera memory card this week.
Real Lookers.  Movers and Shakers.  Mom and Dad.
Those windshield-sized sunglasses are just to fool the paparazzi.
These two could totally have their own hit show.
After reading a paragraph of my dad's letter to my missionary son this week, I'm pondering what the name of their prime time thriller would be.  Check it out:
This is what life has come to.  Wake up, put the dog out, stub your toe on something, take your pills, feed the chickens, clean the freezer.  Then comes the excitement.  Take a nap, wipe the counter, let the dog in, get the mail, do a cross-word puzzle, take a nap, get the eggs, let the dog out, check the temperature, pay some bills, fill the car with gas, let the dog in, check the calendar, take off my pajamas and put on my jeans and shoes, start a fire, read a while, let the dog out, watch some tv, get my pj’s back on, go to bed.  Dream about cowboy cookies and carrot cake with raisins.
I know, right?!?

Sunday, November 14, 2010

You men who hold this precious priesthood, bind it to your very souls. Be worthy of it at all times and in all circumstances.

May God bless you, my dear brethren of the priesthood, young and old. Fathers, set an example for your children. Boys, look to your fathers for wisdom and guidance and understanding.

How great are the promises of the Lord to those who walk in faith.
-Gordon B. Hinckley