4.30.2010

the Friendly Taxi Cab Company

Lady on phone:"Good afternoon...this is the Friendly Taxi Cab Company...how may I help you?"

MOI: we need a ride tomorrow.

LOP: where and what time?

MOI: we are going to the Ft. Lauderdale airport at four o'clock.

So, they showed up right on time! They honked for us, called us wondering where we were.

EXCEPT - they showed up at 4 A.M.

I had neglected to mention we were leaving at 4 P.M.

I'm wondering if they will be so friendly when they come again at 4 p.m.

The Talk

She led the singing,

And, she was also the first speaker. She is a convert, a mother/wife, teacher, and lover of music.

Her assignment was to talk on MUSIC.

Powerful talk; very inspiring, personal, faith based, and informative.

Then, to bear her testimony, she sang a short collage of one-lines from favorite hymns.

Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful.

And, that was RAH's favorite part of the entire trip.

4.29.2010

Taxi Ride; a new way

It's just like a taxi - taking you where you need/want to go.

Only this taxi takes you on the water in Ft. Lauderdale.

And, it's amazing to get around the city using the water taxi, learning about the millionaire homes on the water, and other sites in Ft. Lauderdale.

The trip is winding down, and it's been F*A*B*U*L*O*U*S..

I've learned so much about Florida, the Everglades, Ft. Lauderdale, Key West, Deseret Ranch, Bonnet House, etc.

Now, in all that positives, any negatives???????

Flat tire on the freeway, far away from anything,
FINAL NOTICE for car to be towed away,
Rain in the Bahamas,
Thinking the phone was lost,
Losing a pair of glasses....

but, mostly it's been a great, great time....one of my favorites.

Thanks, Allen, for putting together a great trip.

4.27.2010

Bahama Blues

What comes to mind when you think of the Bahamas?

Blue skies?
Sandy beaches with lots of bikini-clad young and old ladies?
Relaxing on the beach with a good book?
Warm, sunny afternoon...

Well, normally that would be the case...
except the ONE day that we went to Grand Bahama Island....

The weather we encountered was rain, rain, rain, and then, did I mention, it poured buckets....
And believe me, no one was basking in the sun or reading a book,
but it was definitely an experience!

4.21.2010

Well, I''ll Be!

For a lot of years, whenever I have a brownie, I eat potato chips along with it....don't ask me HOW that got started, but it's a great combination.

Apparently, someone else thought so too, because today in Kilwin's Ice Cream Store in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, I saw these chocolate dipped potato chips.....

that is just way too funny!

And, no, I didn't buy any....
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Betcha Didn't Know....

that the church owns the largest for-profit cattle operation in America....

It is over 300,000 acres,
Has over 72,000 head of cattle,
Is leased by hunting groups who hunt for white-tailed deer, wild turkey, some wild boar, and very large alligators,
Also grows potatoes - yes, that's right - potatoes in FLORIDA!
and citrus fruits,
Sells many, many palm trees on the land,
And is home to lotsa alligators, which roam freely in all the water holes.

In central Florida, the challenge is to get water off the land, rather than to get water on the land.

If you eat at a fast-food restaurant, your chances are 1 in 10 that the french fries you will have come from the church's ranch in Florida. The potatoes are harvested in May - at night or they will spoil in the heat - are driven to a processing plant in central Florida, are processed, bagged, and potato chips in 8 hours!
One other thing about the Deseret Ranch is that it is very committed to the environment, and has improved the land since it was purchased in 1950.
Visiting the Deseret Ranch will definitely be a highlight of this amazing trip that RAH has put together.

4.20.2010

Epcot Center

Others may post pictures of the incredibleDisney characters shaped as bushes, or they may post a picture standing by the big space ball in future world, or by the Japanese pagoda, but I think this picture says a lot about our day at Epcot Center. (Keep in mind, 10,000 is the goal, and it's mighty challenging to get that!)

During the day, we had:
HOT, HOT, HOT sunny weather
Sprinkles
Rain coming down in BUCKETS!

We had it all, and we tried to do it all.

Thanks, Epcot for a great day, and thanks Disney for the opportunity to go for free!

4.19.2010

Goosebumps

It was all very familiar;

the chatter of women as they came into the room; the laughter, the hugs, the smiles, the camaraderie. Then,"Okay, sisters, it's time to start..."

The announcements, the introduction of visitors, and then the opening hymn:

"Sweet Hour of Prayer"

And, hearing the women's voices in this room filled with total strangers 2000 miles from my home, gave me goosebumps.

It was so beautiful,

and then I realized we weren't strangers at all!

4.16.2010

2 Sides of the American Dream

The line literally snaked around for several blocks...I had never seen anything like it...it was an incredibly long, long line.....

and we all wondered what could it be.....

tickets for a rock concert?
tryouts for american idol?

nyet! The line was for people who were losing the battle against their banks to retain their homes. They were ALL in danger of foreclosure. The line formed around the Miami Convention Center, but people had come from New York, California, Alabama, all over.

We talked to some of the people; their stories were compelling, passionate, and all boiled down to:
job losses, bad economy. Some had been living in the same home for over 20 years, but the banks refused to listen/modify their loans.

Oh, sad, sad, sad situations/stories.

Then we went on a boat ride to Miami Beach's Star Island - home of the uber rich and maybe famous.


What an incredible contrast; from the stories of foreclosure and barely hanging on to the scenes of indescribable wealth and consumption.

America; the land of contrasts.

4.13.2010

On the Road Again




You stay in mi casa, I'll stay in su casa...

It seems to have worked for us...we are about to embark on our 8th home exchange. Here are the places we have visited, enjoying the area without paying motel fees:

the Berkshires in Massachusetts - first one after retirement;
then these after serving 2 part-time missions at the family history center:

Virginia - just outside of Washington, DC
Vancouver, Canada
Manhatten, New York - high rise in the heart of midtown Manhatten
Scottsdale, Arizona
Pacific Beach, California - just a few blocks from the beach
Abbots Bromley, England - our longest stay at five weeks...the owners of this home had been on 38, yes, that's right, 38 home exchanges...they said St. George was their favorite.

We are headed to a home in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, while the owners stay in our home.
Lots to do to get ready to go; have to leave the home in pristine condition.

It's always fun, but basically I'm a homebody, so I'm always glad to return home...

but, in the meantime, here's to adventure.....


4.11.2010

From the Past: Dad and the Cigarettes


"Dad," I said when I was a junior or senior in high school. "Lots of the kids at school are trying out smoking. So, I'm just telling you this, but, I will probably buy a pack and try it just to see what it's like. I'm not leaving the church or anything, and I'll still have my testimony, but I just want to try it to see what it's like"

I expected protests, which I was ready to counter.

"Loni," he said without emotion, anger or pleadings to not do it, "I've never smoked either. So, instead of sneaking around to get a pack, when you are ready, just come to me, and I'll go buy them, and we'll try it together."

I was STUNNED! SHOCKED! Surprised at the unusual suggestion...his answer was so totally UNexpected, so....

I turned around, walked away, and never tried a cigarette.

Because how could I be the cause of my dad smoking his only cigarette?!?!?!?

Tomorrow is this great man's birthday...he died in 2006.

My dad is one of the best persons I have ever personally known. He was good, generous, humble, full of integrity in every way.

Oh, he was a great man. He was (in no particular order):

a scholar
a soloist (he sang at many, many funerals, patriotic events, etc.)
an orator (he was possibly the best speaker I've ever heard, just amazing speaker..he would tell a story and there would not be a sound in the congregation)
a lawyer
a judge
a pilot
a father of 4
a school board member for 11 years including national school board association
a high councilman
a stake president
a lover of the scriptures
a leader in the community, church, home, family
a caring, concerned father and husband
a lover of music
a world traveler-he had been all over the globe, but, oh, how he loved Yellowstone Park
a man who absolutely loved going on an adventure!

Dad, I think of you more often than you can imagine.

On this day before your birthday, I honor you and the great man you were! I consider it one my greatest blessings to have been raised with you and mom as parents.

4.09.2010

The Hair Cut



"Holy Cow!" I said to myself a couple of years ago, when I saw H's new hair cut..."that is sooooooooooooo short. I can't believe she'd do that."

Now, for the rest of the story.

Two weeks ago, I saw Shari sporting a really cute hair cut. "So cute," I said to Shari..."can I take a picture of it? Who and where was it done?"

So, I made an appointment at the ABC Hair Salon of Total Rip-Offs. The minute I walked in, I said to myself, "Oh, this is going to be VERY expensive." (I was right!)

My appointment was with Anne, but she couldn't do it because she had a standing appointment with someone who obviously never showed up, as she stood next to my chair and talked the entire time.

Instead, I had Magan, who must have been a barber in the army in her before-life. Because when I showed her the picture, she said, "No problem."

And, she was right, it was no problem for her....she just cut away until there was little hair left! With nothing left on my head, she asked sweetly, "Would you like a little more taken off?"

I wanted to ask where she meant to take off more hair, my legs maybe?

So, all those years ago, I wondered when I saw H's new haircut, "Who in the heck would get a hair cut that short?"

Well, as it turns out, I would!

4.08.2010

The Blood Test



"Oh, dear," the phlebotamist said as she watched for the blood from my arm to fill the bottle. The only problem was, there was no blood filling the bottle.

"This is so slow...wait, there's just nothing coming out at all. We're going to have to start over and do it again," she said untying the band, and throwing away the blood she had captured. (It looked like plenty to MOI!Why was she discarding it - it was something, at least.)

Then, "Do you drink a lot of water?"

"No, I don't." And, I could have added, "About the only water I remember to drink during a day is about a tablespoon when I take a thyroid pill each morning."

She tried the other arm. Better at least.

And, once again, I'm a streaker....going in streaks, remembering to drink water after that experience, only to forget in a week or two that I'm supposed to drink A LOT of water daily.

Oh, for MOI, it's hard to consistently eat and drink right!

4.07.2010

It Works: Facebook,That Is!


WOW, Facebook claims that it connects people, and it just did!


In the 1980's, we had the most awesome exchange student from Malaysia...he was fun, intelligent, daring, and obviously very patient, to be able to put up with our family for an entire school year.


He was absolutely delightful, and now, after all these years....we've reconnected via Facebook. Here's a picture of him and his family at the Grand Canyon in 2007; oh my goodness, we were so close; if we'd only known, but now we will know!


So, let's face it; technology ROCKS! (now, if I could just figure out how to get my printer to work!)

4.05.2010

The Streaker



Okay, I admit it - I'm a streaker...

Just not the kind you are thinking of.

I go in streaks (or spurts if you want another word for it) - for example,

I recently listened to a lecture on good carbs vs. bad carbs; I also heard a person talking about the importance of getting the daily dose of veggies/fruits. (But, don't eat many fruits as they are all loaded with excess sugar! I mean, I can't even enjoy an orange because it's too sweet...a banana has too little fiber, etc. with the fruit.)

So, here's where the streaking part comes in - I hear that stuff and I try to do it....for a few days.

But, maintaining it is an entirely different story. I rushed right out, bought all kinds of veggies, ate them, realized I was starving, and went back to my old ways.

I mean, truly, how can an Idaho - born and bred - girl give up potatoes that are:

mashed
fried
deep fried
twice baked -my personal favorite if mom made them
scalloped
baked
roasted
creamed w peas
in potato salad
steamed
riced?

And, so that is why I am a streaker. I just keep going in spurts when it comes to eating right/healthy. I mean, I'm supposed to replace potatoes with quinoa, millet, lentils?

Here's to all of us streakers in the world.

And, long live the bad carbs!

4.04.2010

The Cancer Patient and the Braggert

Sundays are the perfect day to visit people; they are usually home and usually they like to have visitors.

Everyone has a story, so here are today's:

Deborah (in hospital): was operated on for rectal cancer last week.

Deborah and her husband are humble, hardworking parents of 4 boys, 1 daughter... they live in an extremely modest home. Her husband owns property worth a million dollars, but he doesn't believe in selling the land that has been in his family for decades. They are bank poor and land rich, and just good, good people.

Linda: told the story of her sister-in-law and sister-in-law's two sons...
Her words:

"She always bragged about her children...



they were the: best, fastest, most creative, smartest.



They excelled in: math, science, sports, music, drama, life



To me, listening to it each week was ad nauseum.



But, now, twenty years later, her two sons are the best, fastest, most creative, smartest.



And yes, both of them have excelled in math, science, sports, music, drama, but most of all LIFE.



Maybe she knew something about raising children, that I didn't quite understand."


Ah, so fun and interesting to hear the stories of marvelous/good/people all around us.

From the Past - Mom and the Cartwheel


I hate oatmeal...always have, always will.

But, growing up, we had oatmeal for breakfast most mornings. Usually, I would just sit and stare at the globby mass in the bowl. Eating it made me gag, gag, gag.

My three brothers must have had the same aversion to oatmeal, because one morning, mom, in desperation, said if we would just eat it - no complaints - she would be so happy that she would turn a cartwheel on our front lawn in celebration.

None of us could refuse a deal like that. I don't know how I did it, but I ate the oatmeal that sunny morning. Then, we all ran around the neighborhood to have our friends come and watch the big event. (I think if there had been local television in those days, we would have called the tv station. I mean, this was BIG!)

Now, 2 things mom hadn't figured into the equation were:

1. she hadn't turned a cartwheel in many, many years.
2. our front lawn sloped downhill, so it wasn't just a flat surface she would be flipping and landing on.

You guessed it...she landed - not only on the grass, but in the hospital, as well. Hurt her back, my dad said. She was there for awhile, which left me to take care of my three brothers.

She never volunteered to do anything like that again.

Friday was her birthday.

My mom - she was awesome:

Good, kind, thoughtful, patient, gentle, and a fantastic cook, except for oatmeal.

4.03.2010

You Go, Stockton!




About two months ago, Stockton heard about the St. George Triathlon, so he decided to enter it....

he had:

no racing bike

no friends doing it

no previous experience in triathlons, but he plays soccer and is on the cross country track team (good for the running part), is on the swim team (good for the swimming part), and he had previously learned to ride a bike (good for the biking part.)

Doing something like this requires a lot of discipline. I'm so impressed with young people who show great discipline in their lives. It is not easy in this day and age, but....

Stockton did so great...it was fun to see him bike and run. (Unfortunately, we missed the swimming part.)

He came in 2nd in his age group.

And, yes, he plans to do it next year!

We are proud of you, Stockton!

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4.02.2010

Harry Potter to Continue!!!!

In an obscure monthly newspaper - Today In Dixie - this little article appeared yesterday (April 1)
in the corner of page 15...
I was pretty astounded.
This should be FRONT PAGE stuff...what was it doing on page 15, and why didn't we know that J. K. Rowling was visiting Zion National Park?
All these questions were swirling around in my head until I got to the last line....April Fools.
I had been sucked in...
You certainly fooled me, "Today in Dixie!"