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!


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.


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!


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:

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!


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!


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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Favorite Picture Day

Just came across this picture of Lucy taken by Janna in late September.
She's sitting in an airport waiting to come visit us:

Oh, so cute!

Can you all come back?


Winner: Funniest Statement at Family History Center

In two years of a mission and a couple of months volunteering at the family history center, I had not heard a statement quite like this in referring to doing genealogy.

I call it: the honest remark of a person trying to work on family history as we have been commanded to do...

The shift leader asked me if I could help Dody, an older lady. As she sat down beside me with her papers and flash drive,she said, "I'd rather have a pap smear than do this!"

Ah, honesty...gotta love it!

On Display

I was reminded today of something that happened many, many years ago.

Sister W was a perfectionist in every sense of the word. She was an artiste, kept her person and home immaculate, and at the time of this little event, she was the Homemaking counselor in Relief Society.

It was the day of the Homemaking Bazaar. BYW (beautiful young wife) had been asked to arrange the items for sale on the tables. So, all afternoon as women brought in their crocheted booties, home-sewn aprons, baby quilts, embroidered dish towels, BYW set them on display on the tables.

When it was time to leave, she stepped back to look at her work. You could see that she felt proud of what she had done. And, the items looked fine; there was an order to it, but it was just okay. BYW left. (I had to stay for some reason, so I saw what happened next.)

As soon as BYW was out the door, Sister W marched over to the sale table, and in a flash, had transformed those items into something like a display in a Macy's Christmas window. Oh, she had the gift.

An hour later, time for the bazaaar to begin. Here came BYW with HYH (handsome young husband). She wanted to show him her creations. But, oh, the crestfallen look on her young beautiful face when she saw that everything she had done earlier in the afternoon had been changed, rearranged.

A few weeks later in a testimony meeting HYH got up - not to bear testimony - but rather to give a vitriolic and scathing rebuke to the women in the Relief Scoiety. He told of his wife's excitement to be asked to work on the display, her efforts to make it look just right. Then of her total disappointment and hurt when she returned to see it done over by someone else. Maybe it wasn't as professional looking as someone else could have done it, but, "If you weren't going to leave it the way she did it, why did you even ask her?"

It was a very uncomfortable moment for everyone that day. I admired the HYH's support of his wife, but it was a very awkward feeling in testimony meeting on that particular Sunday.

I was reminded of that story because this week, I invited a SYA (single young adult) from our ward to help me wrap Christmas presents. She was in a life-threatening motorcycle accident a year ago, so she can't work, can't drive. Right now, she is pretty bored as she stays home all day with nothing do to. So, I asked if she would like to come over and wrap up some gifts for an hour or so.

Now, I've never been a perfectionist or even close to that. But, in the last few years, I have enjoyed making the Christmas presents look nice. (I learned this from Jenni and Leigh, whose presents are always works of art.) So, I've tried to wrap them attractively at this point in my life. If wrapped attractively, they do look lovely on display under a tree.

SYA came over. I wrapped a present with a flourish. Then she began to wrap a grandchild's present. "Ooops," she said with her fun smile. "The paper doesn't fit the package."

Then she said that she could fix it someway. She patched the present together as I watched silently, thinking, "But, I wanted them to look nice, not all patched together."

Then, she wrapped more presents - if she cut off too much paper, it was smushed into the sides. Too little paper, and it was pieced together. "Do I have to have ribbons and bows?" she said with her fun smile. So, she didn't use any ornamentation.

Meanwhile, I was wrapping with elegant paper, ribbons, etc.

When we were finished, and I drove her home, she said, "Thanks so much for asking me to help you. That was a lot of fun!"

"No," I said honestly. "I should thank you...for your help. It made the process more fun and go more quickly."

And, to myself, I added. Thank you also for reminding me...."I asked you to help me, so I'll just leave the gifts the way you wrapped them. I need to honor what you did and not do it over."

Boy, I'm always learning lessons and being reminded of life and people.

The Idaho Contingency

from BYU devotional

Just heard while exercising this a.m.:

the year: 2005

the challenge: to finish the Book of Mormon by the end of the year

issued by: President Hinckley

A BYU professor was near the front of the plane on a long flight from Asia. All was quiet, as it was night, late, and the passengers were sound asleep. The professor, however, had his overhead light on, and was reading the Book of Mormon to complete the challenge by the end of December.

He felt a light tap on his shoulder and looked up to see the flight attendant. She leaned down to him and said, "Where are you?"

"Mosiah," he replied.

"I'm in Ether," said the attendant. Then she added, "Look behind you."

The professor turned around to see several other overhead lights on.

"They're all reading the Book of Mormon," said the flight attendant.

Loved that story.

Loved that challenge.

Loved how that sentence "Where are you?" was spoken all over town, church, stores, etc.

And, while we're loving things; I love the Book of Mormon. (I'm in Mosiah.)


Attitude Adjustment

Dangnabit! I said to myself. In addition to my regular Monday housecleaning chores, I have this huge to-do list of errands:

High school (to retrieve something left behind..wasn't there)
get gas
grocery shop for company coming to dinner
health office to pay for shot (they wouldn't do it by phone)
Costco (Christmas present before they run out...there were 2 left...I needed 3)
post office (mail package to my brother for 60th birthday)

As I was driving to the high school, I thought of Sylvia.

I knew that she would love to be driving down the road running errands. But, she is wheelchair bound. When I visited her last week, she said, (not in a complaining, whiney voice...just matter of fact tone), "Yeah, sometimes it gets tiring just sitting in this room all day."

E*P*I*P*H*A* N*Y

Suddenly, I wasn't dismayed at my list of to-dos. I was so grateful to be out on an incredibly gorgeous day. I looked around at the trees changing colors. I smiled at the beautiful, healthy high school students.

I was GLAD to be able to run errands!

Thank you, Heavenly Father, for this moment in time.

Things may change, fortunes may turn, health may deteriorate; but for those moments, I was so thrilled to drive down a road, to walk into a building, to pick up something with my hands, to visit with Amanda in the store.

And, thank you, Sylvia, for your patience in affliction and for reminding me how blessed I truly am!


The Beautiful People

Jerri is her name; Mark is his.

They look like a couple out of a GQ magazine. Both are tall. Mark is handsome and slender with brown spiked hair. Jerri is beautiful, slender and tall - with blonde spiked hair and heels. She has the most bubbly sparkly personality and plays the organ at church.

Since they moved into the ward over a year ago, I have just loved Jerri. We are not close friends - we pass in the hall, but it's always fun to talk to her....she's like the energizer bunny; her enthusiasm is palpable.

She gives the most compelling lessons, examples, talks, experiences. Oh, she is a great one!

"How's your business?" I asked casually today before the Sunday School lesson started.

Her smile with the perfect white teeth. Her energy. Her spirit.

"We're hanging in there. Our LDS partner walked off in the spring with everything....three hundred thousand dollars. He forged 94 checks."

I gulped.

"Mark's kidney is failing. He had a transplant 18 years ago...it's failing." She smiled, not a phony fake smile.

I stared.

"We have the Gospel, we love each other. It will work," Jerri said smiling.

I thought of a talk I heard many years ago. "What if we all put tattoos on our foreheads that told of the challenges we face in our lives. Would we be more compassionate, more understanding, more generous with our love, more spontaneous with our kindnesses, would there be more warmth in our greetings?"

She had come to church each week, smiling, encouraging, pleasant, doing her church calling, and who knew of the challenging situation she is facing? Not I.

Mark and Jerri are beautiful people - in many ways.

Favorite Picture Day

Allen and Oscar walk along the beach...several years ago.


Speaking of Christmas

"Hey, Oscar," I said over the phone. "We loved playing the Wii Fit at your home so much, that Grandpa and I just went out and bought one.
For me. For Christmas."

Brief pause, then this...

" You bought your own Christmas present?" The voice was incredulous. "WEIRD!"
I smiled all day long.

A Grandmother's Christmas Lament

I recently found this in a book of poems I have:

Can you feel the angst of the grandmother?

“Oh what to do?” the grandmother cried.
It isn't as though I haven't tried..
One year I shopped for hours on end,
Looking for clothes of the latest trend.
The children looked at them with disgust.
While the mothers sneered, “Thank her you must!”

One year I went from store to store
Looking for fun toys that wouldn't bore!
But it wasn't just what they had in mind
So they searched neath the tree for a suitable present to find.

To buy what they want; the next year I gave them all money.
“A cop out!” the mom whispered. “I don't find it funny.
“That's no fun to find under the tree,”
She whispered while looking straight at me.

I've a limited budget, and I really do try
But I can't seem to please them, so I'm let to ask......why
Do I bother, what should I do?
The blame lies on me, certainly not them, not you!

This year I'm worn out and totally dismayed -
Broken-hearted, discouraged
at the children I raised!



WOW, so fun.

That describes the visit we had last night with a cousin and his wife that I:

rarely see,

hardly know,

and think is genuinely awesome!

Because of his job with the church and church callings,

Martel and his wife, LaRue,

have lived in:

Accra, Ghana

Yekaterinburg, Russia - mission president


Finland - temple mission

He was, in a measure, responsible for the church getting genealogy data on line when they did. It would have eventually happened, but, he modestly adds,

because of his persistance, it happened sooner than later.

He helped establish networks for the church in foreign countries.

Oh, I love to reconnect with cousins.

Thanks, Martel and LaRue, for taking the time and effort to visit!


All It Takes Is a Happy Mom

Heard in Stake conference today from Elder Quinton L. Cook...

he told of reading about a survey conducted many years ago.
The scientific study followed a group of people over 25 years of their life.
The study wondered what factor would make them HAPPY adults....
was it:


career path,




The answer:
a mother who was HAPPY.

That was the single most common contributor to the happiness of the people as adults.

So, grandsons, are you listening to this...

marry a happy woman.

It will make all the difference to you and your children.

It's Definitely Contagious!

the common cold?
RAH yawned; I yawned. So, I wondered.....

Is yawning contagious?
Thanks to that modern marvel called Google, I found this:

Researchers recently found that yawning isn’t only catching among people; it is also among chimpanzees. No one has devised a fully convincing explanation of why. Compounding the mystery is the odd way in which the contagious power of yawning is largely unconscious. We can see someone yawn, replicate the action ourselves, and do it, all without thinking about it. Other times we’re aware it is happening, though it still floats somewhere beneath the realm of reason and of purposeful actions.


A New Kind of Hot Dog

Miles stood mesmerized as he watched the neighbors eating their corn dogs.

Running next door to his home, the three year old blurted out,

"Mom, I want a hot dog with a handle!"

Oh, dear Miles, I can't wait to give you a hug for that one....so hurry on down for Thanksgiving, and if you want, maybe while you are here, we will have a

hot dog with a handle!


Fashion Or Comfort?

"Those are really cute boots," he said on Sunday.

"Yes, they are...but they are also the most uncomfortable footwear I have EVER had on my feet!" I responded.

"Well, then, why on earth would you wear them?"

Why, indeed!

Because they are: stylish, classy, look great with long skirts...a host of reasons.

That's why I would wear them for four hours on Sunday.

That's why - three days later - I would wear them to the family history center for five hours where NOT ONE PERSON would see them or notice them, as I sit at a computer station with my feet under a desk.

And, why I would cry out of sheer pain/joy when I was within one block of my home, I was so excited to be able to take them off my feet. And, now at 11:00, my feet still hurt.

Why, indeed.

And, also worth asking, will I put them in the DI box, or will I continue to wear them, as I have for the past four years because they are..."really cute boots."

Gene Pool

He is relatively young; late 40's, early 50's.

He maintains a very healthy life style; no sugar, no red meat, very little meat, fresh fruits and vegetable, exercise.

Yet, in spite of it all, he has serious heart problems.

It's in the genes, they say.

For many years, I have complained, mostly to myself, about my genes that left me with:
my lily-white, albinoish skin (we're talking people leave the pool when they see me coming.."it's a ghost!" )
the bumps on my arms (which I recently learned actually have a name : bumps-on-the-armsitis or something like that)
my ultra fine, exceedingly straight, mousey brown hair on a head so tender-headed, I scream when I comb it each morning
my low, low blood presssure that makes me tired and need a nap by just raising the remote to change the channel.
the tendency in our family to be way, way B*I*G

But, in the grand scheme of things, those aren't really all that serious. (I don't mean to imply that I won't in the future get something serious or that my family hasn't had illness; my mother had breast cancer, my father had a debilitating case of shingles, etc.)

What I am saying is this - thank you Gees, Merrills, Stephensons, Kerrs for the relatively healthy genes.

NOTE: let's be totally honest here. This post does NOT mean that I will, in any way, stop complaining about issues with my genetic inheritance.

In fact, excuse me while I lie down. I'm exhausted from all this typing!


Help Wanted

"Grandma, do you know what I want to be when I grow up?" he asked leaving his pile of trucks to run up to me in the kitchen...

WOW, I didn't realize that three year olds had such weighty matters on their young minds.

So I asked, "What do you want do be when you grow up?"

"A roller coaster driver!"

After smiles and hugs, he left to run back to play with his cars and trucks.

And, it left me to ponder, once again, the absolute JOYS and DELIGHTS of children.


Your Pomegranates Taste Better Than My Pomegranates!

RAH said our pomegranates tasted just like Garn's.

I said Garn's were lots sweeter than ours.

So we had our first annual pomegranate "Close your eyes and decide which is better."

We put our juice in one set of glasses, Garn's juice in the other set...then all four of us had a sip.

Garn's juice won; hands down...here's Garn after tasting our juice....ewwwwwwwwwww...sour!

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Best Little Paper Boys & Girl

The knock on the front door is always light.

We recognize the knock, so we will say, "It's the paper!"

It might be morning, afternoon, evening...we are never quite sure. It doesn't matter really when the paper comes.

We answer the door to the three cutest little kids.

They know the routine...they hand me the paper, then Addie walks straight to the candy basket. Stockton and Conner politely stand back until I say, "Would you like a piece of candy?" They look through the selection, pick one, then turn and walk to their home next door.

It's a great arrangement; they get our candy and we get the paper plus the privilege of seeing them nearly every day.

Oh, so, so adorable.

NOTE: they do NOT always look like this when they deliver the paper. And, the downright scary dad doesn't help deliver the paper; it's strictly a three-person job!
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She was wonderful to visit...always upbeat, cheerful, positive, even though she was now almost totally home-bound.

We had been in the same ward; had two boys the same ages. We saw each other at church, Scout meetings, ward activities. I enjoyed her friendship.

Then, even though neither of us moved, we were put in different wards and different stakes. Our lives went on. Our boys grew up..we had grandchildren. I rarely saw her.

A friend from her neighborhood told me she was homebound. I started going to see her. We talked about books, our children, our grandchildren, her husband - who had died much too young.

Sometimes I'd drive over during my 29 minute lunch break from school - not often - but sometimes. I'd take her a book and say, "See if you like this book." Then we'd talk about it.

I always left uplifted, encouraged, happy, brightened by Jean.

I retired. Winter set in. In Idaho winters, I turn into a different person. I hibernate. I went only to church, to the grocery store about every two weeks.

The little voice would tell me to "visit Jean."

"I will," I said, "when the ice melts, when the weather is warmer, when I don't have to drive on the icey roads, when spring comes."

We went away for the winter: we loved the sights, sounds, scenery of a warmer climate.

Returning in the spring, I thought of Jean, mentioned her one day to a friend.

"Didn't you know? She died."

And, then I remembered - the voice.

"I MUST do better," I say to myself. "I must listen to the VOICE."

Because, I don't like remembering that I didn't visit Jean.

Cousins Coincidence

Dixie texted; she wanted to meet us for lunch. Dixie is Allen's 2 or 3 COUSIN; who knows, but anyway, they are related.  She is won...