Tuesday, January 31, 2012


Welcome to TUESDAY everyone!
We have things to do, places to go, and friends to make!
UP and at 'em people!
Today my plans include
(but are not limited to):
-making a few visits
-a chat on the phone
-shopping for cake ingredients
-thinking about Dub
-sending a card
-eat something FRESH on this winter day
-kiss a few cheeks
Dance the merengue
ready, set, GO!

Friday, January 27, 2012

these things are FREE!

(and make life better)

a smile
a friendly greeting
sharing a memory
a gentle touch
a heartfelt compliment
a good joke, followed by a good belly laugh
a kind thought
eye contact
saying thank you
holding a door open
turning a cartwheel
covering your cough/sneeze
allowing someone else to go first
a wink
taking a walk
breathing deeply
choosing not to speak
sharing ideas

...what else?

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

little elephant

My fingers might be getting smarter.
Over the weekend I resurrected my crocheting skills.
(By skills, I mean I learned how to crochet several sad-looking pot holders on a few consecutive Tuesday nights in the '70s at age 12.)
I was excited to finish this elephant--and a little worried in the process, as I wasn't sure he was going to come out quite so cute (the kids nicknamed him Hammer-head before I got his ears put on; he really did look like a soft gray mallet with eyes).
I used this book for the pattern.
The nameless little elephant just left
(via saltine box in the US Mail)
for New Hampshire to become my little nephew's
early adoption-day gift.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

NEXT winter's wood just arrived.

 hooray for warmth!
most of the kids, when they came down the driveway from school yesterday weren't as happy as me to see that pile... 
to them, it means a few summer days of splitting and stacking.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

what not to do on a first date

I had a random memory pop into my head today.
I was a sophomore in High School, and newly 16.  Which meant I could date.
A couple of boys at school had asked me to go out a few months before I turned 16, and I happily used the phrase "I can't date until I'm 16."  So some of them, it turns out, were waiting for my birthday, and then re-asked.  This was one of those guys.  I sat next to him in history class.
(My daughter thinks this story makes me sound like I was so popular,,, don't be misled.  I was not.)
I was happy about maybe one or two of those incidents, but mostly not so much.
Dating gave me heartburn.  And hives.
I am still not very good at finding polite ways to say "NO" in all areas of my life, so it is not surprising that I had the same problem in my social life.
This guy asked me to go to a concert with him.
The Cars!
Of course I went.
We sat in the bleachers, and the music was SO loud, I couldn't hear what little conversation he was making with me.  I just kind of politely nodded my head and smiled.  After the concert, he was going to drive me home, and asked if I'd like to go to McDonald's.  (Classy, I know.)  I said "Sure!" because I was a woman of many words.  We got to the parking lot, and I actually saw a few people that I knew (and was friends with) inside the restaurant, so I started to feel a little bit happy, because I'd be able to talk to some people.  Then he whips the car around and we drive through the drive-thru lane and he orders a small fries and a coke at the window.  He didn't think to ask me if I wanted anything.  So I didn't offer.  (it's just amazing to think back on what an awkward date this was)  He then parked the car in the lot, and proceeded to eat his food.  By this, I mean he probably was much more comfortable filling his mouth than using it to talk to me, because this had not been going so well.  He picked up the little paper envelope that the fries came in, and munched the tops of the fries right off.  Then, almost as an afterthought, he turned and looked at me, and held out the little paper thingy, and asked "Did you want some fries?"
Umm.... no.  Thanks.
And we went home.
The end.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Pinewood Derby: A Million Dollar Day

 The big day!
Oh... the anticipation was BIGGER.
 there were a lot of cars,
and LOTS of waiting.
 (maybe some praying)

 This little scout's whole heart was invested in the racing...
His face tells the story:
 and a congratulatory pat on the back from his pal after his car took FIRST PLACE in the first heat!
He didn't win the derby, 
but the day was a SUCCESS.

maybe I just give up...

just GO together.

pinewood prep

 these two spent some serious time getting ready for the big derby.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

OH! (culture)

 something about January
 I talked Mr. Dub into an evening out, into which both of us waltzed, completely unaware of how saturated with culture this evening would be.
 Months and months ago, we went on 
We happened to drive past a building that caught my eye, and I just knew we would have to go back.
 The sign on the building read:
 Honestly, I entered the building with a completely incorrect assumption of what we would find.  A distinctive and emblematic part of Russian culture, icons trace their roots back to the year 988 when the pagan Rus’ were converted to Christianity. For over 1,000 years, Orthodox Christianity, the Greek branch of the Christian faith, informed and shaped the spiritual and cultural foundation of Russian society and directed the creative energies of craftsman and artists. Icon painting and the veneration of icons also originated in the Greek Orthodox tradition and were imported into Russia.
We couldn't have been more delighted!  
 the collection was impressive, interesting, and actually quite amazing.  It included this oldest icon (above) in the museum collection of John the Baptist, dating back to the 15th century.
 If we had allowed ourselves the time, I know I could have spent at least an hour studying the very large and intricate icon portraying the final judgment (below).
The real reason for our visit was a concert.
"A Russian Souvenir with Maria Lyudko."
She came from Russia as part of a trio, including an accomplished pianist and a very talented clarinetist.  WOW!  It was a very intimate concert experience in a small room with less than three dozen in attendance.  We sat in the front row, close enough to hold hands with the performers, and blown away by the beauty and clarity of the performance.
Georges, the clarinet player was a complete gentleman; he about blew the reed off his horn.  Maria was a top notch performer; acclaimed in Russia, and charming in person.  She even posed for a picture.
She spoke in Russian the entire evening, with her clarinet companion as her translator.  Even though we didn't understand a lick of Russian, it was easy to become lost in the universal language that is music.  I sat there wanting ALL of my friends and family to be part of that experience...
Lucky us.
The videos below aren't from our concert, but they might somewhat portray the quality of our night of culture.
a BIG win.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Oh! La-La... (hola!)

I couldn't help but laugh as I watched Rooney sculpt a snow message to Yonder.
To her credit,
she has NOT taken Spanish (yet).
No matter what the language,
the message is clear:
she LOVES her brother in Panama.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

tomato soup and the evolution of lunch

Soup from a can.
Who knew lunch could get so interesting?
Mixed with some milk and cream of course, and accompanied by some crackers for dipping.
That was my lunch today.
With my lunch, I decided to catch up on some news.
I turned on the computer, and clicked on my internet browser...
(20 years ago I would have crinkled my eyebrows at that sentence and mumbled "huh?")
The first thing I saw was the Google doodle tribute to Nicolas Steno.
I had no idea.
Happy 374th birthday to a guy who unassumingly made a difference.
I'd like to think that many people do it his way... quietly pursuing the things that interest and motivate; along the way making improvements to knowledge and progression without fully realizing the impact.
Of course you can't read something on the L.A.Times blog page, and not get pulled into something equally unique and attention-grabbing--like:  
the case of the confiscated cupcake.
Somehow, this cupcake caper just seemed so unjust.
Ironically, however, it also gave me more faith in our airport security friends.
And... have you ever heard of 
(Who comes up with this stuff?)
My biggest question after reading about how the hand on the clock has jumped around over the years 
"Why is there no mention of nations turning away from God in all of this?"
Finally, and kind of funny, is that a respect for God and a desire to do His will has been making headlines in the world of sports.
Whether or not you're a Broncos fan, it's been hard to turn on a radio or TV without hearing the name of Tim Tebow.  I wonder if the Tim Tebow fans will have enough impact globally, that we might be able to set the Doomsday Clock back a few more minutes?
And with that, lunch is over.
I have some napping to catch up on.
New Year's priorities, you know.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

visiting the sick

I woke up early this morning and baked some bread.
I hired myself a driver.
I called him "James."
I also recruited him as my companion, and an honorary member of the Relief Society.
We spent the morning in a flurry of happy visits.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

today my mother-heart is hovering over Panama

so I wrote a nice, LONG letter.
There's nothing like getting a nice newsy letter when you're far away from home.  Actually, there's just something about getting a letter in the mail no matter where you are.  When I was a missionary, receiving mail was like having Christmas morning whenever it happened.  I still love mail--both sending it and receiving it.
If you would like to write a letter to my big boy, just leave a comment here or email me, and I'll pass along his address. 

Friday, January 6, 2012


The landscape at the old homestead is changing.
 phase one:
old play fort
ballisters tapped out
phase two:
bridge and supports down
 phase three:
structural support coming down
 phase four:
pile of lumber, ready to be re-purposed

coming soon:
Mr. Dub's
The little boys had their day.
Now it's time for the big boy to play!