Friday, December 31, 2010
Sunday, December 19, 2010
Tuesday, December 14, 2010
Almost four weeks ago Rob's Mom came to live at our house for a while. Earlene is 87 years old and has been remarkably healthy until she took a fall in October and broke her pelvis in two places. Since then, she has seemed frail. It also seems her memory has slipped quite a bit. At first we thought perhaps it was the pain medication she was on, but she only took the Percocet for a few days because it was causing too much trouble with her stomach and her mind.
Saturday, December 4, 2010
The furniture Bryan has had in his bedroom for nearly his entire lifetime, was some Ethan Allen pieces which had been in Rob’s parent’s cabin in Tahoe. They are nice, solid pieces of furniture, but they were pretty scraped and dented with all the moves and spending the last 17 years in a boy’s room.
So we purchased some stripper, plastic scrapers, three different grits of sandpaper, black paint, paint tray, rollers, mineral spirits and some new nickel hardware and we were off.
It took several coats of the Citristrip stuff we bought to remove all the old finish. I’m not sure if it is because the varnish was so ancient that it had practically turned to rock or if it was because we bought the most non-toxic stuff we could find. After scraping all the goo off, we wiped down the pieces with mineral spirits. Then we started with roughest grit sandpaper and went over every piece thoroughly then moved to the middle and then finest sandpapers until the wood was as smooth as glass. After a final cleaning, each drawer, door and frame received three coats of black paint.
We did four dresser pieces and a pedestal bed frame. After a thorough drying time, we attached the new hardware and the sprayed-painted old pieces we didn’t change out.
During the furniture drying time, we started on Bryan’s walls and ceiling. We filled holes, sanded and cleaned and applied fresh paint. We did a focal wall a color called, Paprika. After all the painting was done, we cleaned his carpet, bought a new bedspread and decorative pillow, made and hung new curtains and moved everything back into the new room. We even put up a hook for Bryan’s Hungarian Whip to hang from because it is so beautiful it deserves to be displayed.
Saturday, November 27, 2010
After battling through the junior high years, high school was actually tolerable. I had struggled with shyness so much during my elementary and junior high years. When I was a sophomore, I finally decided I had to overcome that shyness and start getting involved and meeting and working with others.
I got involved in some activities which made high school quite fun. I sang in several musicals, I was FBLA president my senior year and a member of FBLA and FHA three other years, I was a Tall Flag Team Member my junior and senior years (an officer my senior year), I was in acapella choir and I was Business Sterling Scholar. These involvements helped to make things much more enjoyable.
Friday, November 19, 2010
We flew out on the morning of November 19, 2009 bound for Seoul, South Korea and in the process completely lost November 20th because when we landed it was late evening of November 21st. Poor Bryan lost his nineteenth birthday someplace over the ocean a last year.
Does that mean he actually will only be turning 19 tomorrow instead of 20? Hmmm, I’ll have to give that some thought…
That trip with my sons was one of the all-time favorite things I’ve ever done in my life. We had such adventures in Korea and felt Kevin’s love of the country and its people as he worked so hard to make sure we got to see, hear, taste and touch all the things he remembered so fondly from his two years there. We weren’t there long enough to do that; a lifetime may not be long enough, but I will always remember the way Kevin was so intent upon every scene, word, tree, street, sign, restaurant, and person we saw. The most poignant of my memories of him was our last day in Guanju. We rode in a taxi, to take a bus, to ride a train, to pick up the subway, to catch the ferry that took us to Fukuoka, Japan. The whole day, Kevin was looking out the windows of all our transportation and just soaking in Korea.
Our adventure in Japan started with not being allowed into the country when we arrived, missing the bullet train and riding a bus all through the night across the country. The next day when we pulled into Tokyo and Mark found us, everything started looking better.
We spent five days seeing amazing and wondrous sights including the Imperial Palace, Shogun Castles, Buddhist Temples and gardens which were beyond compare. We will be forever grateful for the incredible hospitality Mark and Nana extended to us while we were there.
Of all the memories that stick in my mind, every one of them is combined with astounding autumn colors. Everywhere we went fall was at its height of glory. I gathered leaves each place we visited. A few of them are in a glass and wood frame hanging in my bedroom.
I’m so thankful we had this opportunity and a year later it is still as brilliant in my memory as the leaves of Korea and Japan in November 2009.
Sunday, November 14, 2010
Friday, November 12, 2010
Thursday, November 11, 2010
Because of my many memories associated with those school years, I decided to do a series of blog posts about attending school in Hinckley Elementary and Delta High School.
Here is the first in the series about Hinckley Elementary which was originally the Millard Academy completed in 1912. Later it became Hinckley High School and was used in that capacity until 1953 when it changed to Hinckley Elementary School. The community didn’t have enough students to warrant having a teacher for every grade so the second graders were split between first and third and the fifth graders were split between fourth and sixth. Even still, the biggest class I ever had was 18 students.
I walked to and from Hinckley Elementary from kindergarten through sixth grade in every kind of weather. I don’t think it ever occurred to me to ask to be driven to school. We lived about a half mile from the school so it wasn’t a great distance, but the thing to bear in mind is that girls wore dresses every day no matter how high the snow was piled up or how hard that Millard County wind blew. Also for the first few years of elementary school, I walked back and forth for lunch each day too. Fourth grade was the first time I remember eating lunch at school. Hinckley’s cafeteria wasn’t in the school; it was a barrack building from Topaz Interment Camp which had been located west of town. The building had been brought from Topaz sometime after 1948 when the Japanese/American citizens who were relocated there for three years during World War II had finally been allowed to disperse.
A photo of Topaz camp circa 1944. One of these buildings served as my lunchroom at Hinckley Elementary School.
The Hinckley students would have to walk from the school along a sidewalk to the north of the school and wait in line outside for our turn to get a tray and collect our lunch from the counter before sliding into a long table and eating a hurried meal so there would be enough time to have fun on the playground. Some of my favorite memories of recess activities were playing Go-To-The-Bars on the swings. It was a tag-type of game where the one who is ‘it’ tries to catch someone who isn’t clinging to one of the metal bars between swinging. We had elaborate rules including having to swing at least once between the time ‘it’ ran from the end poles. The other favorite recess activity was spinning on the monkey bars. We used our coats to limit the friction and would use one knee up on the bar and then spin around and around. I would do it until I was so dizzy I couldn’t stand up, it was so much fun! It did cause a problem when we moved to Pleasant Grove in third grade because I tried to show someone the trick and realized the bars were closer together at that school when my nose impacted on the lower bar. I had never before or since seen so much blood as the day I broke my nose.
I loved all of my Hinckley Elementary teachers, but the two who stand out most in my mind was Mrs. Hardy, my fourth and fifth grade teacher and Mr. Farnsworth, my sixth grade teacher. They were both instrumental in helping me discover who I was and finding worth in myself. Mrs. Hardy died of cancer a few months into my fifth grade year and that was a monumental occurrence in my life. I still think about her often and miss her.
In addition to teaching sixth grade, Mr. Farnsworth was also the school principal. He was an amazing man. I understand he is still alive and about four years ago I wrote him a letter to tell him how much I appreciated his efforts on behalf of his students. Until Mr. Farnsworth started teaching me, I was convinced I was stupid. He made me realize that I had strengths and abilities and always praised me in a way that made me want to do even better. While in sixth grade, we had a school paper, we put on several plays, we learned and performed different dances and we decorated the bulletin boards in the halls of the school. The sixth graders also were in charge of keeping the school grounds looking nice. We had a day in the fall and a day in the spring when we brought rakes and shovels to school and worked outside all day cleaning and pruning and burning to keep the grounds looking nice. I have never before or since heard of a school that does that.
I still have dreams which take place inside the walls of Hinckley Elementary. Going to school there was the best thing about living in that tiny town. I am so grateful for the education I received there, for the friends I made there, and for memories which warm my heart all these many years later.
Sunday, October 31, 2010
Back in 1983 when Rob and I got married, we paid $50.00 for a long, green, crushed-velvet couch my boss was selling at his garage sale. It was our living room sofa for the first several years as we finished college and started our family. When we moved to Bountiful, it became our family room sofa when we purchased a new living room set of furniture. Our kids grew up playing on, watching TV from, making forts with, and jumping off of that big, green couch and I didn’t realize how much they had bonded with it.
One of Kevin's many cushion forts
Kevin reading to new baby brother on the end of the green couch
Dani assuming the favorite TV viewing position on the green couch
When we purchased a hide-a-bed sofa for the family room, we decided to get rid of the green couch, but because of the attachment we had formed with it during 15 years of ownership; we took it on a farewell tour around our neighborhood on New Years Day 1998.
After we took it to the kids’ schools, the church and many of our favorite neighbors’ yards and took photos, we donated the couch to Deseret Industries. I didn’t expect the outcry we received from our children. They were always making comments about how much they missed playing with the cushions and how they could stretch out on the green couch and how cramped the new sofa was, etc.
Our couch in the church parking lot
Kevin at his Jr. High School
Dani and Bryan at Bountiful Elementary
Some of our neighbors who joined in the fun of the couch tour
Just over a year later, we moved to Pleasant View and the kids would occasionally wax nostalgic for the green couch so when I started visiting teaching a sister in our new ward with a gigantic, orange, crushed velvet couch, I told her about the affection my family had for a similar piece of furniture. A couple of months later, she phoned me and said she wanted to get rid of the couch and wondered if I’d like to have it. I didn’t even hesitate, I said, “yes”! We found out when we went to pick it up that this couch was about two feet longer and at least 100 pounds heavier than the green couch (hard to believe there could be something bigger and heavier!).
We brought it home on Pleasant View’s Founder’s Day and watched the fireworks while sitting on it that night out in our backyard. The next day, it made its way into our unfinished basement.
Fireworks from the big, comfy orange couch
Over the ensuing years, the basement was finished around the big, orange couch. It was pushed from one place to another while walls were built, sheet rocked, mudded, primed, painted, moldings and doors installed, carpet layed, etc. It finally came to rest in front of Bryan’s TV/Video gaming center and has rested there for many years…until yesterday.
October 30, 2010 ended the era of big, long, heavy, old, crushed velvet couches at our house. The orange couch made its way out of the house with a brief stop out front for a quick photo shoot before it was tied into the back of the van and delivered to the Ogden Salvation Army.
So it is with a little melancholy, we wish adieu to our couches and move into the new era without crushed velvet furniture. To whomever ends up with our old velvet couches, we wish you many years of joyful couch-cushion fort-making and stretching-out without touching the ends of a couch and joy in not worrying about what a child can do to your furniture.
Thursday, October 28, 2010
Every year when the leaves change colors and fall off the trees, I think about being a kid and how much I enjoyed Halloween. It is far from being my favorite holiday now but growing up in
I always wanted to be a princess or a fairy or someone beautiful…wishful thinking for the homeliest child in the school. My fifth grade year, my mom used some kind of heavy, old fabric and made me a long, flowing dress. The material was off-white and not very pretty, but she dyed it royal blue which made me very happy. She also made me a crown. I thought it was wonderful; in fact, I wore that same costume again the next year but with wings and a wand.
After our parade, we wound around the block and back to the school from another direction. Then we had a massive party in the gymnasium. The PTA set up ‘fishing’ booths, ring toss, beanbag throw, and darts-at-balloons type games. It was a carnival-type atmosphere and I looked forward to it every year.
THEN, there was the trick-or-treating in the evening. I would meet up with one or more of my school friends and we would go to the non-scary houses in town. We learned there were some houses you just didn’t go to. After a few years, we figured out which homes had the best treats and started planning our route in advance to hit the good ones and skip the places where old bachelors and ornery ladies lived.
The second year I wore my blue-dyed long dress, it snowed and I recall how cold it was as the snow encrusted the bottom six or seven inches of the dress and froze into a ring around my legs. My Mom had tried to convince me to wear my coat, but I figured my wings wouldn’t look right over my coat, so I went without it and regretted it by the time we were a few blocks from home. That was the year I was literally frozen blue. All that snow on my dress caused the dye to run and it colored my skin blue for a few days.
My Mom didn’t believe in kids dressing up or trick-or-treating once they were out of elementary school. Lucky for me, I had a baby brother born the summer after I turned 10 so when he was two or three years old, my Mom let me take him around town to trick or treat. Mom thought I was being such a great sister taking Mark in his adorable little costumes to get candy, but I was totally cashing in because he was so cute, everywhere we went I would get a piece of candy too.
Fun times! I bet Hinckley is still a great trick-or-treating town. I'm pretty sure the old Hinckley Elementary School is haunted; it sure looks it! I wonder if I could borrow someone's sweet little kid on Halloween this year to go visit my old hometown?
Friday, October 15, 2010
Thursday, October 14, 2010
Even though I do love fall, as I have previously blogged about, there is certainly an element of sadness about the season. I find it very depressing pulling out my garden and dismantling the flower beds which I spent all spring and summer planting, watering, deadheading, fertilizing, weeding and enjoying.
Last week I started the inevitable winterizing projects in the yard. I’ve found that it doesn’t do any good to put off doing these important jobs like cutting back perennials and digging out annuals including the vegetable plants in the garden. I learned the hard way, leaving them under a layer of snow all winter just makes for a bigger, messier job next spring.
One of the last things I remove or cut back in the fall are the ornamental grasses in my yard. I’ve become very fond of these decorative grasses and I actually have several varieties this year. One of the best things about them is how little maintenance they require and most of them will grow back next spring without coaxing. The only one I have to replant each spring it the Purple Fountain Grass, which is one of my favorites, and if we lived somewhere other than a cold zone, it would be considered perennial too.
Here are some of the grasses growing in our yard this autumn.
The Pampas and this Moor Grass will get prettier as the weather cools because their heads become larger and fluffier later in the season. After the first snow, I'll have to bundle up and cut these beautiful feathery plumes and stalks down and allow the stubby remains to sleep all winter under a blanket of white, regenerating enough strength to do it all again next year, hopefully on an even bigger and grander scale.
Tuesday, October 5, 2010
Thursday, September 30, 2010
Saturday, September 25, 2010
Saturday, September 18, 2010
As my blog readers are aware, my son, Bryan, was serving a mission in
He had bilateral knee surgery seven weeks ago on July 27. Since that time
Bryan and I have had some opportunities to do things together in a way that has not happened since he was my little buddy while his older siblings were in school all day. Some of the things we’ve enjoyed over the past few weeks are:
Taking in a temple session every Wednesday
Driving to and from
Visiting and laughing with one another
Riding bikes all over Pleasant View and
Attending doctor and physical therapy appointments
Going out to lunch together
Talking seriously about his future
Watching/listening to him ‘whip’ with his Hungarian whip
In a little over two weeks, Bryan and I will once again go to Dr. Pepper Murray’s office in
Sunday, September 12, 2010
During a recent visit with my Mother, I finally came clean about an incident that happened more than 32 years ago. Since Mom is now aware of this episode and Dad was probably informed when he arrived in heaven a few years ago, it is time to make it known to anyone else who is willing to read my ramblings.
This event took place that same summer we moved onto
That’s right, we threw eggs at each other in what we are sure was the largest egg war in the history of
The house on
I claimed the south side of the lawn, which I thought would be the best side for combat--it had the biggest and the most trees in the yard. I figured I’d be able to stand behind the trees and hurl eggs at Jim on his less protected side of the lawn. I assumed my three years of superior understanding and knowledge would serve me well; but that wasn’t the case at all. As the fight began, Jim quickly realized I didn’t have a very good throwing arm. He also recognized that by throwing the eggs in the limbs of the tree I was hiding behind, they dripped and dribbled down on me. He didn’t have to be accurate; he smashed those eggs into tree branches above my head and drenched me in the wet, sticky mess. I figured we each had nearly 700 eggs. Most of mine ended up in the grass or the hedge behind Jim, but it doesn’t take very many eggs on your clothes and hair to make a huge mess. I think most of Jim’s eggs were smeared all over my body. I could have stood over a skillet and made an enormous omelet with the egg dripping off of just one arm.
When the last egg was tossed, we met at the sidewalk and we started laughing at each other. Our hair was plastered to our heads by yellow-tinged slime. Even our eye lashes were stuck together in the gunk that streamed off of us. We laughed and laughed and then suddenly we stopped laughing because as we looked around the yard, we realized we had a lot of work to do to hide the evidence of our 'clash of smash'. The grass was completely covered in the shattered shells, not to mention the ooze of egg still dripping from tree trunks, limbs, the hedge and even the brick of the house.
Oh, we were going to be in so much trouble if we didn’t get this mess cleaned up soon! We each grabbed a hose and started washing down trees, bushes, the house, grass, each other, etc. We gathered arm loads of shells and tried to find a place to hide them. We eventually filled the wheelbarrow and hauled them into the garden and buried them to conceal the evidence that could be used against us.
Even after the hose washing, our hair and clothes stiffened as we dried. We removed clothing at the back door and slipped into the bathroom to shower, shampoo and repeat many times to get the goo off. We also had to do that load of laundry several times. The egg just kept sudsing and foaming up in the washing machine.
Jim and I thought we did a fairly good cleaning job; we looked spick and span by the time the parents showed up. But a few days later when our irrigation turn came and the water was turned down our ditch, I was helping Mom irrigate the yard and garden when I noticed millions of egg shell shards floating everywhere. I don’t know how Mom didn’t notice, but apparently until last Tuesday, she was completely unaware of our escapades with eggs all those years ago.
It makes me wonder what kind of antics I'm completely oblivious about that my kids will share with me a few years down the road...