12.31.2009

Another One Bites the Dust

Aha, you might be thinking I am talking about:

A year

or possibly

A Decade

It's true, those have now gone by the wayside (or at least will be gone in a few short hours),

But, no, I am talking something much more serious here:

I've been searching the shelves for a long time now, and couldn't find it...and today, I searched the Internet looking, hoping, beseeching, yearning; but to no avail.

It's gone.

Why do so many things from my memory (and food bank) fade into oblivion.

Is there a place to vote on these things?

Sorry, Nabisco Zwieback, I loved you; your crisp sweetness. I bought them for babies, and sneaked them for myself. And, now, no more sneaking.

You're GONE, but, I will quickly add - NOT FORGOTTEN!


12.30.2009

The Twins



She was my visiting teaching companion 21 years ago. She was an inspiration to me.


Then, her husband retired, and she moved away. We kept in touch, minimally. One Sunday, RAH and I walked into a sacrament meeting in Lake Havasu, and she was sitting in the back row. We talked after church, it was fun to catch up, then we both went our separate ways.

RAH and I were serving a mission in St. George, Ut. After prayer meeting, in the first week, one of the volunteers said, "My twin sister used to live in Rexburg, you wouldn't happen to know PH, would you?" I started to laugh, "we were visiting teaching companions lots of years ago."


And, now PH lives here in the winter and TR lives here full-time. So, sometimes the six of us get together in this small world. And, it's always a good time.
The former friend with the new friend...how great is that?

Potato Chip Afficianado






There's always a huge debate about which tastes better:
Coke or Pepsi
What I don't get is why more people aren't arguing the taste between:


Ruffles or Lay's
Potato Chips

Well, maybe it's because there is no contest:
LAYS is the clear winner...
Ruffles may have Ridges, but they have NO TASTE.
So, LAYS, if you are looking for a spokesperson, I'm it!

Holy Cow, the jokes on me! I just learned that they are made by the very SAME company....oops, but they still taste different, and I'm sticking with Lay's!

Music Stirs the Soul

It was M*U*S*I*C
to my ears,
but
N*O*U*R*I*S*H*M*E*N*T
to the soul.
Sitting in the balcony of the beautiful, historic tabernacle,
I felt very close to Heaven!
Thank you, ONE VOICE,
for the amazing, amazing,
concert last night.

12.29.2009

Red Face - Again!

"Loni, in all our moving, I lost the check," JRG said when she arrived at our home a few months ago. I had given her a small check to buy herself a little gift after the birth of her 2nd son.

"It's okay," I said, while thinking to myself....how do you lose a check? You put it in a safe place and when you want to cash it, you just get it from the place you put it.....

Fast forward three months.

Check arrives for RAH's birthday. I put it in safe place.

Time to cash it....it can't be found- ANYWHERE!

I look in:

pockets of all pants, coats, jackets worn in the last five years.

MOI's desk drawers where I usually keep important items.

RAH's desk.

waste receptacle bins.

purses, including ones located in DI pile.

under beds, inside all books read within the last six months, car, car again, under front door floor mat,
refrigerator - (you just never know), Primary materials, scriptures, couch cushions, washer, dryer, call neighbors (Did you see a check floating around our home when you were here last night?), in box of chocolates (in case I was distracted by the lure of food while trying to put it away)...

I have searched everywhere

NO CHECK.

Now, I must make the call, "HH, in all my busyness, I lost the check."

So, once again, I learn the lesson: DON"T JUDGE!

I LOVE the Internet!

Frozen IPod...

what to do?

Give up?

Throw it away?

Get a new one (but, this one is not really that old, and it's very expensive!)?

or Google IPod technical support?

Problem solved.

And, that is just ONE reason I like the internet - it can solve my problems!

12.28.2009

Favorite Picture Day

Just came across this picture taken by Justin; oh, so so cute.
Bridger is lots older and bigger now (about 4 years, but he's still mighty, mighty cute!)

Are Wii Fit yet?


je crois que non!


My balance age is 10 years older than I really am!


Today, I worked out for 30 minutes using the Wii Fit, am sweating like a pig in a roasting pit, and burned - 17 calories.


Yes, that's what it said, 17 calories!


To counter the bad news, I had to go eat a cinnamon bun!


Am I really sure this is what I wanted for Christmas???????

12.27.2009

What's that Again?!?!?

Last year, after Christmas, over two hundred billion dollars worth of gifts were returned.

In a survey of Americans taken by a university financial department on the day after Christmas, 92 per cent of Americans said they were UNHAPPY with their gifts.

So, what is going on here?

Are we too spoiled?

Are we too greedy?

Are we dissatisfied in general with our lives?

I reread a book this season of early pioneers who had little or nothing on Christmas mornings, but were grateful for life, meager supply of food, whatever little they had; they were thankful.

Just let me say right now: I appreciate the amazing goodness and generosity of family and friends. The outpouring of such thoughtful gifts leaves me feeling overwhelmed with gratitude.

Now, do I have to have my receipt to return that ugly robe I don't want?

Happy Birthday, RAH!


He's a (in no particular order):


father

husband

grandfather

great, innovative cook

historian

gardener

home-builder

fair landlord (in days gone by)

teacher

music lover

guitar player

piano player

(an) honest person

lover of nature

fisherman

camper

four-wheeler

lover of truth

friend

good, good person
and, today, he's a:
YEAR OLDER!
Happy day, dear RAH!



12.26.2009

THANK YOU!

To all our dear family and friends:

Thank you for making this a joyous and rich Christmas season. Your gifts and well-wishes inspired and touched me.

From the surprise box of Dave Barry books from Lauralee (college roommate from 45 years ago), to the delectable box of chocolates from Jonathan; from the candle from Sylvia to the stamps from Beverly. I love the beautiful family tree necklace from Kristi; it has such special meaning to MOI. RAH thought I'd be disappointed in the back-up thingie he gave, but it is perfect; now I don't have to worry about my picture and paper files any more.

While this represents just a few of the gifts...

ALL of your gifts represent such thoughtfulness and love...thank you.

The many cards and letters remind me how richly blessed RAH and I have been over the years with many, many good friends and incredible family. My brothers' Christmas letters are gems and make me laugh out loud each year. To the nieces and nephews who think of us; thank you, you are such dears for remembering us.

Our neighbors have made us gain at least twenty pounds with their good cooking, their thoughtfulness, their shower of generosity, such as home-made tamales for Christmas day.

While putting away each ornament and decoration, I remember what it's really all about. The friends, the family, the neighbors, the gifts, the cards; it's all good.

But, thank you Heavenly Father for the greatest gift of all:

Your Son and Eternal Life.

It seems small indeed to say it, but here it is; heartfelt and humbly:

THANK YOU.

12.24.2009

BAH! HUMBUG!


Hard to believe:


I'd never read Dicken's immortal classic, A Christmas Carol.


Maybe I thought I knew the story, so I didn't need to actually read it:


WRONG! SO WRONG!
It was free, so I downloaded it to my Kindle and then I realized and remembered:

Dickens is just incredible...the way he puts words together is so thrilling to me.

He is sheer genius, and the message of this book is so very, very powerful.

But the way he says it, the setting, the characters. Oh, I have missed a treasure trove indeed all these years.


I won't make that mistake again.


A Christmas Carol will be at the top of my reading list for next holiday season.

12.22.2009

Christmas Sing-Along

Her name was Aleene Dickerson.

When she moved from a very large home in the Midwest to a one-room studio apartment in our ward after her husband died, I became her visiting teacher. I also took her to church every Sunday morning.

Aleene was in her 80's; feisty, fun, talented, creative, and a joy to talk with. She was always working on sewing projects.

The high school graduation pictures of her six handsome sons and one beautiful daughter lined the wall. All seven played the piano and organ. She insisted they learn well enough to play the hymns for their missions.

She was jokingly angry with her husband as he had died and left her a widow. She often told me of the scolding she was going to give him when he would meet her at the Pearly Gates.

She also told me of the Christmas sing-alongs they had at their large home every Christmas season. Many people were invited. The neighbors filled the home, she said.

One of her children would play the songs on the organ, and for one hour the home rang with the sounds of Christmas songs. Then, she would hand everyone a popcorn ball as they headed out the door.

COOL, I thought. I told RAH about it. He said we should do it.

We didn't, but our daughter, Jenni started doing it. So much fun, she said. Only instead of popcorn balls, everyone brought a plate of goodies to share, and they got to take home a plate of all those cookies, cakes, breads. Yum, yum!

Then we did it last year. Oh, so fun.

So, we did it again this year.

On the Sunday before Christmas, we invited a few neighbors from the surrounding blocks, and our daughter from Hurricane, to come and sing along. RAH played the keyboard, Glenn played the Bodhran (Irish) drum, and for one hour, we sang. In between songs, sometimes people would tell a little story, or make comments, so of course, there was lots of laughter too.

Then we headed to the goodie plates, and stuffed ourselves with pumpkin/banana bread, veggie pizza, cookie bars, brownies, petit fors, choclate chip cookies, more cookie bars, creme puffs, and other delightful, high-caloric-shouldn't-eat-it-at-all stuff; told more stories and laughed some more.


Lots of singing, lots of fun, lots of laughter, lots of neighborhood friends.

So, thank you, Aleene Dickerson, for that idea several years ago. I'll be sure to thank you when we meet at the Pearly Gates.

12.21.2009

Happy Birthday, ten year old!


A year ago, he was recovering from leg surgery,


so this has gotta be a better year for ten-year old Oliver, who loves video games, reading, and teasing his 3 little sisters...did I get that right, Oliver?


Here's to happy days ahead, Oliver:

Favorite Day of the Year for Strange Reason


Yes, December 21 is my favorite day of the year;


not because it is Beverly's birthday


and not because it is Oliver's birthday.


It's my favorite day of the year because starting tomorrow, the days get longer!


Hooray for long days and more sunlight!


The Friend

She gave the most compelling and unique talk I had ever heard on prayer.

It was not a traditional, "pray, and your prayers will be answered." It was insightful, thought-provoking, and powerful. It still resonates in my mind, and I have all the scripture references she used in the front of my scriptures labeled, "from Beverly's talk."

From that talk, shortly after she moved into the ward, we saw each other, spoke, and I certainly admired her from afar.

Then, one of the greastest blessings of my life occurred when she was hired to work in the media center where I also worked. Going to work every day was sheer joy because we worked, yes, but she made it so incredibly fun.

I'm thinking of the day we had to check the status of every student in the school and sync them with two computers. So, she - from the back office - read 300 plus names to me in the front office - all in French. Oh, we had some laughs that day and many, many days.

There was a humongous wall space in the library and she made the most amazing bulletin boards...they are legendary. She didn't just buy pre-made posters from the teacher's store and pin them up. No, she spent hours designing and creating masterpieces to put up on the large wall. (I don't even want to remember the day she fell from the ladder and lay sprawled across the kiva steps...that is a very dark day in my memory.)

(This is just a sample of her famous work...those little dots you see are Christmas lights...can you imagine the time to poke those little suckers through the paper...the kids LOVED this bulletin board. The yellow papers surrounding the picture are lists of kids who had read the first book when in came out.)

However, not only is she incredibly fun, but deeply spiritual. She helped me to understand the Atonement and its value in every day life. When she had a very significant trial in her life, she was humble, vigilant, even more prayerful, and grateful for the beauties of life.

Oh, she is a great one! And, I feel so blessed to have worked with her.

I no longer work in the library. I no longer live in her ward, but I will be forever grateful for those brief years we worked side-by-side; sharing laughter, heartache, jokes, and most of all chocolate.

Happy, Happy Birthday, dear friend Beverly!

12.18.2009

Birthday Time for Eli




He turns 6 today.

From the time he was just little, this kid has loved trains, earth-moving equipment, heavy equipment, etc.

He's the consummate THOMAS THE TRAIN afficianado. He loves construction sites and all the equipment being used there.

Bright, happy, thoughtful, appreciative, protector (sometimes) of his younger brother...that's ELI.

Oh, he's a cute one!

12.17.2009

Unpacking the Memories

Unreal...truly.

First, their daughter died earlier this year of swine flu, then their entire home burned down. You can read about the tragedy here:

But, they all did get out alive. Great, great blessing.

There will, no doubt, be an account set up to help them get new Christmas toys, and other 'things.' As there should be.

Maybe people will say to them..."You can replace THINGS." And, those people will be very right.

But, some things seem so irreplaceable, and I am reminded of that each Christmas season as I unpack the boxes. Oh, so many things given by family and friends over the years. How, do I ever replace those things?

I know that things are replaceable. I know that someday we will not need those things.

But, for now, while I can, I will enjoy these things which have really become TREASURES. Some of these represent hours and hours of home-made labours of love....how do you replace that?

So, here in no certain order is just a small sampling of those things which I unpack each year and are now treasures:

























12.16.2009

First Car

It was given to us when we married.

It had been given to my dad when someone couldn't pay him actual cash for his legal services.

Old, yes. Faded colors, yes. Stick shift, yes.

But, it worked, and got us to the university and back home again.

It got us to the grocery store and to church.

It provided a ride for one semester to a lady - sans car - going back to college.

The window pulverized one summer when we were away. Because there was no back window, during the winter, the open window always filled up with snow, making it difficult to see out the back.

The left door latch didn't work, so every time we made a right turn, the door would swing open making people stare and wonder if a body was going to come flying out....

We've had better cars, newer cars, shinier cars, cars that have been more fun to drive, but I'll always be grateful for that first car.

12.15.2009

The Not-So-good Old Days


Does anyone remember when you had to wait once-a-month for a bank statement?


What if you had forgotten to record just one little check?


What if you had forgotten to record just one little withdrawal?


T*R*O*U*B*L*E

in River City or whatever city you happened to live in.


But now, wonder of wonders:


ONLINE BANKING.


Daily -or almost- checking of checks, withdrawals, deposits, accounts.


It's a dream come true.


Daily checking to see no fraudulent activity on credit card...
Being on vacation and checking the financial situation (can we afford to go to Disneyland?)....
On-line bill pay, so no hassle....

So, today, my prize for innovation goes to:
the person who thought of putting all our money out there for us (and the world) to see!

12.14.2009

Favorite Picture Day 2


Okay, here's Bridger helping make potato salad.

Oh, that mayo is messy!
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favorite picture day - again

A few days ago, I posted pictures of these kids at our Utah home in the fall. Here they are in their Virginia home in winter.
Oliver, Anna, Imogen, Lucy with the pink birthday boots.
I can't wait until travel becomes cheap and fast.

12.12.2009

The picture made me cry.


It was from years ago, and showed of happier times....a young couple in love.


Looking to the future with love and hope and stars in their eyes.


I'm not sure what happened to those dreams.


So now the picture is tucked away in a far corner.


My wish is that there will be love and hope and stars in the eyes again.


For, I do believe in those dreams.

Favorite Picture Day



Here's what I have to say:

RAH always looks so great in pictures!
(Be sure to double click on the picture so that you can see it in full screen mode. )
Yesterday, we took a young adult in our ward out for lunch, and she said, when he was out of hearing,
"He's so kind!
You sure were lucky to get such a nice person to be married to!"
Well, I can't argue with that.

12.11.2009

A Look at Favorite Christmas/Holiday Books




Okay, so I've read them lots of times before.

In fact, every Christmas.


They still make me laugh, bring a tear to my eye, and remind me of what the season is really all about.


As a middle school librarian, I loved reading picture books to the fifth graders each day.

They would run in, sit in the kiva, and I'd read a book before they went to look for their own books to read.


One of my all-time favorite picture books to read to the fifth graders during the Christmas/Hanukkah season is this delightful book. In our small Idaho town, there was only one family that I knew of who celebrated Hanukkah, but I wanted to expose the students to other cultures, religions, so it was fun to tell the students about Hanukkah, what it meant, and how important it was to the Jewish people, just as Christmas is important to the Christian.

I hadn't actually thought about this book for a long time, but my daughter is friends with a person who celebrates Hanukkah, so I was reminded of this delightful book.




(Kristi, it's coming soon in the mail to a mailbox near you.)

Neither a Borrower Nor a Lender Be

When she asked if she could borrow it, I was nervous.
Because I knew her history, I knew her inclinations.
And, I knew I was likely to not ever get it back.
I was right.

12.10.2009

12.08.2009

Why I Was Never Asked to Speak in Relief Society on Being Organized at Christmas

A Christmas Remembered

Time to go shopping with mom. Just for a little while, just a day or two before Christmas. At night. That was strange. We didn't usually go shopping at night.

Coming home, as we drove into the driveway of our home, where all the lights were out, we could see a strange glow through the front room window.

Could it be?

My brother and I didn't dare expect or hope...

We dashed into our front room.

Dad was sitting there nonchalantly in his reading chair. He was sitting there as if this happened every night.

He was sitting there watching.....

Was it real? Could it be so? Did we really have one of those new-fangled inventions?

Yes, Virginia, it was for real. My dad was sitting there watching our very first television set.

The perfect Christmas gift of the fifties.


12.05.2009

Bragging Rights

Great Photography
Great Phamily
Great Photos
Great Phun
Merry Christmas from the Phishers (Fishers)
Brent, Jenni, Janessa (17), Stockton (15), Landon (15); missing Sean in Phlorida on mission
thanks to Justin Hackworth Photography

See it here:

12.03.2009

Everyone Has a Story to Tell

"This is your father, then... right?" I asked Deanna pointing to the pedigree chart on the LDS church new family search website.

"Yes, and those are my two brothers who have died."

I looked closely at the death/birthdate.

"My goodness, your brother died much too young," I said noticing he had died in his early twenties.

"Yes," Deanna said. "During WWII, he flew 101 missions over Japan. Then he came home and died in an accident."

"What happened?" I asked.

Deanna told the story of how her newly-married brother and a friend were fishing on Henry's Lake. A wind came up, overturned the small boat, and hit his friend in the head. So, her brother held on to the friend, as he swam to shore. The friend got close to the shore and was finally able to make it ashore, but her brother was exhausted, and just couldn't make it.

101 flying missions fighting for America; he's a hero.
Saving a friend; he's even more of a hero.

I absolutely LOVE volunteering at the family history center.

12.02.2009

Sugar Cooky Time at Grandma's

I can't take any credit for this project. Amy made the dough, frosting, etc. I did, however, thoroughly enjoy watching the process.

Notice: both boys are wearing their swim suits...does this tell you what kind of serious project this is?

And, the finished product...well, one way to say it, besides yum yum, is -



"Would you like some cooky with your frosting?"

12.01.2009

And It Flew Right In!


Lovely front door decor, right?

Apparently the birds think so also.

A few nights ago, I opened the door and a bird flew away from being on the wreath. I don't know who was more startled; the bird or MOI!

Last night, when I opened the door to see if I had left the water fountain on, I felt a.....something, but I couldn't say what it was.

I closed the door, went into my office, and then heard RAH exclaim:

"There's a bird in our house!' And, sure enough, there was this bird flying around our front room/kitchen area.

So, I did what any self-respecting, typical woman would do. I locked myself in the office.

RAH, the brave one, safely got the bird out.

The autumn wreath comes down TODAY!
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Must See Movie!

Hey, everyone out there...have you seen NEW MOON?!?!??!

Thankfully, I haven't.

But, RAH and I did see BLIND SIDE.

Loved, loved, loved it.

Funny, true, inspiring, fantastic characters; it's a winner!

And, you leave the theatre feeling so GOOD.

So motivated to help others.

So amazed at the goodness of people.

So happy to live in America.

So in love with the Tuohy family and Michael Oher.

11.29.2009

Fight of the Year

It is labeled that every year...

It's intense.

The winner will remain victorious for an entire year until the next year's battle begins.

This year, a lot was riding on the outcome.

And once again, this year, the winner was just as predicted.

Here are this year's contenders...in this corner:
turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, home-made rolls, pumpkin dessert.


In this little corner:
MOI! (with only my weak self-discipline as an aid)

The winner was declared - it was a very lopsided victory.

And, now, my pants are too tight, I'm wearing a very loose-fitting dress to church, and it's time to hit the pavement for some serious walking.



Thanksgiving Dinner - you win again!

11.28.2009

When Did Reed's Disappear?






Root beer and cinnamon were my favorites.


So, when I found 2 root beer Reed's candies in a pocket, I remembereed how tasty they were.

That's when I decided to Google them to see where I could buy them.


Horror of horrors...this is what I discovered:


Now, that's a sad ending to a very fun candy.

11.27.2009

Happy 60th Birthday,Younger Bro!





Today is his 60th birthday...hard to believe.

For one reason, he doesn't LOOK 60....he could easily pass for 59! (Actually 40)

Let me tell you a little about the man turning 60..

He's a VIP in finance in the state of Idaho, BUT he doesn't act like that. He's humble, has a great sense of self-deprecating humour, and people appreciate his non-self-inflated-ego.

One day, in a remote little town in the middle of nowhere Idaho, RAH and I were eating at a home-town restaurant. We got talking with three men at the next table; one was a banker from Boise. I asked, if perchance, he happened to know my brother. Indeed he did, and somewhere in the conversation, he said, "Normally bankers don't like state bank regulators, but everyone respects and LIKES your brother."

Every time I see the manager of our credit union in Idaho, he tells me the same thing, "Just returned from meetings in Boise with your brother. He is so likable. Everyone likes him. He's a great speaker. Your brother is just a great, great guy."


Well, I've always thought so too.

My brother is a fantastic story teller.

One of my favorites is about the time my youngest brother got a new coat for Christmas. The label said, "Inflammable." So, my now-60 year old brother talked Preston (baby brother) into seeing if that was true indeed. With Preston wearing the inflammable coat, my brother lit matches and threw them at the coat to see if the coat was indeed inflammable....it wasn't.

He has the most marvelous disposition; always happy and sunny, even with the weight of the financial turbulence of the past few years, he has maintained his sense of humor and calm demeanor.

With his beautiful and young-looking wife, Libby, they have raised four very remarkable, highly educated, talented hard-working children.

So, today, I raise my glass in praise of my younger brother, Gavin Gee!
Happy 60th dear brother; and here's to 60 more!

11.23.2009

My Family in Portrait

He says po-TAY-toes; I say po-TAH-toes

He says over, I say under...
I say fly, he says drive....
He says Honda, I say Toyota...
I say left, he says right....
He says Westerns, I say comedy....
I say spend, he says save.....

BUT there's one very important thing we both agree on:


THURSDAYS - MEXICAN NIGHT - AT CHUCK-A-RAMA!
Once there, the differences emerge again...

He says roast beef and carrots, I say chicken enchilada...
He says fried chicken, I say Cafe Rio style salad...
He says root beer float, I say rice pudding.
AH, it's all good...we both win on Thursdays at Chuck-a-Rama!

11.22.2009

Untimely Death

She had one of the most interesting and unique homes I had ever been in.

I wish that I could remember all that she told me about it. She and her husband had built it together from logs they had cut and hewn. Away from town, out in the country, where there was space.

Every room was unique and had a warm, cozy feel.

The annual Christmas party was at her home. The large, open kitchen with its open shelves bespoke of a room where family would be entertained, where friends would love to spend time, where good things happened.

The food was good, but it was the atmosphere in the home that made it so very special each year.

The professors relied on her; she was efficient, effective and very good at what she did.

She was loved and revered by many.

One day she told me something that I think of every time I go to a book store. She said that about once a week, she and her husband would drive the forty miles to Barnes & Noble for "date night." They would spend a couple of hours in the store...each in their own favorite section. Just looking, just browsing, connected by a love of books and each other.

Beautiful Jeanne, your life was cut way too short, way too soon.

You will be missed...oh, you will be missed!

11.21.2009

These Boots Were Made for...Hiking


Just came across this great, great picture of five-year-old Lucy's birthday boots.
Janna took this awesome picture just as we were headed out to hike Snow Canyon...Sep.09
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