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Sunday, October 31, 2010

End of an Era

It is official. We are no longer the ‘Crushed Velvet Couch Crouchs’

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

Hinckley Halloweens

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 Hinckley, it was a great day and night to be a little kid.

At Hinckley Elementary we wore our costumes to school on Halloween. Those teachers knew how to make Halloween a cool day. Midmorning, the fifth/sixth grades class started a parade and went through the fifth/fourth grades classroom. These kids then joined the parade and went through the second/third classroom adding those children to the back of the pack. Next it picked up the first/second graders and then finally down to the kindergarten room. After every kid and teacher in the school (which would have been about 70 people) was in line, we traipsed in all our glory, down to Main Street and promenaded for the townsfolk who assembled by the church, post office and store. We waved at our parents and all the old farmers and housewives who would stand on the sidewalk and watch the procession of children dressed in every kind of costume.

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

Just Us Girls

Rob, Kevin and Bryan rolled out of bed between 3:30 and 4:00 this morning to pack, pick up Larissa and make the trek to Moab and Arches National Park. They are going canyoneering. I hope this will be good therapy for Bryan's knees and his spirit to spend time with people he loves doing his favorite activity in a fantastic part of the state.

Cami asked me yesterday why I never go with the guys to camp out, hike and rappel into slot canyons. I had to tell her that other than being with people I love, I wouldn't enjoy any of the stuff they do. I grew up in a 'camping' and 'fishing' family and never appreciated being out in the wilderness without my shower and blow dryer that much. I like nature, but I want to sleep in my own bed at night. I also like nature on the surface, not dangling somewhere high above it or in a canyon full of stagnate water somewhere below it.

So Cami and I have two days to be together. I know her plan involves spending most of that time at the mall with my credit card heating up as it is swiped over and over. My ideas involve being wrapped up in a blanket and visiting with her on the couch, watching some chick flicks or having a read-a-thon while eating popcorn. I wonder if we can compromise and find some activities to do together we can both enjoy and won't leave me needing to buy more hangers for Cami's closet and/or wondering how to balance the checkbook this month?

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Ornamental Grasses of Autumn

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.

Varigated Chinese Grass

Purple Fountain Grass

Pampas Grass

Black Grass

Moor Grass

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

Happy Birthday, Baby Girl

17 years ago today Camille and I were at Lakeview Hospital in Bountiful. We spent the evening and a great part of the night looking each other over and becoming acquainted. Cami had just entered the world earlier in the day and seemed enthralled as her big, bright, intelligent eyes checked out her new surroundings. Seeing my beautiful new baby girl brought such joy to my heart. There aren't words to describe the way I felt looking at her and feeling those clouds of glory trailing behind her from Heaven.

October 5 has been a special day at our house since 1993. Each year we try to do something special to let Camille know how much she means to us. She has brought sunshine and laughter into our house. She loves clowning around and making everyone laugh. She is such a beautiful young lady and a joy to spend time with. I always look forward to having her home to keep me company and to keep me entertained.

At 3:02 this morning I thought Camille came in and knelt by the head of my bed and asked where her presents were. I told her and she left. After a few minutes I got up and went into her room to see how she liked her gifts. Unfortunately, I had just been dreaming the whole scenario, and I woke her up knocking on her door and asking her if she liked her presents. My poor children and husband have all been victims of my sleep disorders. I walk and talk in my sleep and think things are going on which really aren't. Poor Cami, she got her first birthday wish early this morning when she was trying to sleep.

Before she left for school, she opened her gifts and after school she saw the birthday banner the Young Women's President hung on our house. Then we went to the frame shop and ordered the mat and frame for the Edgar Degas print of ballet dancers we ordered for her birthday.

We rented a couple of movies to watch this evening and made Pizza Marguerite for dinner with chocolate donuts and milkshakes for dessert (all her choice).That was how we celebrated our baby girl's 17th birthday.

I love you, Camille. Thank you for being my daughter and bringing sunshine into my days and sweet dreams into my nights. (I promise I won't disturb your's tonight.)