Monday, January 28, 2008

Sorry, Ben!

One of Ben’s ambitions was for President Hinckley to hit him on the head with his cane. Yesterday, the dream died, as our beloved prophet went home.

Part of me is very sad, because we do love him. Gordon B. Hinckley was (is) not only a great man of faith and tireless leader, he was a wonderful speaker and had a marvelous sense of humor. On the other hand, this is a natural part of life and he has been lonely for his wife for a long time now. It is delightful to think of him being welcomed by his wife and other family and friends. Amazing to think of the welcome he must have received from our Savior whom he loves and served so well.

Sariah wrote a lovely tribute including his picture. Amen, Sariah.

Ben also wrote a good tribute/testimony Amen, again.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

A Keeper

Thank you, Debbie G!


Their marriage was good, their dreams focused. Their best friends lived barely a wave away. I can see them now, Dad in trousers, tee shirt and a hat and Mom in a housedress, lawn mower in one hand, and dish-towel in the other. It was the time for fixing things. A curtain rod, the kitchen radio, screen door, the oven door, the hem in a dress. Things we keep. (B (J

It was a way of life, and sometimes it made me crazy. All that re-fixing, eating, renewing, I wanted just once to be wasteful. Waste meant affluence. Throwing things away meant you knew there'd always be more.

But then my mother died, and on that clear summer's night, in the warmth of the hospital room, I was struck with the pain of learning that sometimes there isn't any more.

Sometimes, what we care about most gets all used up and goes away...never to return. So... While we have it... it's best we love it... And care for it.... And fix it when it's broken..... And heal it when it's sick.

This is true... For marriage.... And old cars.... And children with bad report cards..... Dogs and cats with bad hips.... And aging parents.... And grandparents. We keep them because they are worth it, because we are worth it. Some things we keep. Like a best friend that moved away or a classmate we grew up with.

There are just some things that make life important, like people we know who are special.... And so, we keep them close!

I received this from someone who thinks I am a 'keeper'. I think anyone who bothers to read my blog is definitely a keeper. And I don't want to pester anyone else.

Good friends are like stars.... You don't always see them, but you know they are always there

Friday, January 18, 2008

Envelope, Please....And the Winner Is...

My youngest just headed off to spend the night in the freezing snow.  VOLUNTARILY. Followed by a day of frolicking and attempted suicide in said snow.   


When he called to let me know that he was on his way, I was upbeat and wished him a fun time.  Moms should get Emmy's or Grammy's or whatever really good actresses get.   Because all the time that I am acting happy that he gets to go on this great camp out with the Scouts/YM, I am worrying about frost-bite, broken limbs, horror stories of Boy Scouts lost in the wilderness (although that does tend to usually happen in Utah), and cars crash-sliding into each other on the icy roads.   But this is part of growing up, and, of course I trust their leaders – despite the happy joking I have heard about stupid camp stunts, speeding and near misses .  

Thursday, January 17, 2008

awww, Sunset

Working full time in the winter means that you can go for days without seeing much daylight.   It is delightful now as the days are slowly lengthening, to come out of the office and see sunset instead of darkness. 
Last night, Perkins Ward had its first Cub Scout Pack Meeting.  As I have not been able to make contact with the Cubmaster, I am Acting Cubmaster.  New meeting in a new ward, but an old plan for me.  We did Winter Wonderland (No Snow Fun), which I did years ago when I was Cubmaster for Camellia City Ward Pack 40, also for a son's birthday party, and for a Camellia City Ward Christmas Party.  Lots of activity.  We played in "snow"  - paper rescued from my office computer waste.  Snowball fights, snowshoe races, dogsledding, Eskimo rescue.  The boys seemed to have a good time.  
Next month is our Blue and Gold Dinner - pack providing hot dogs, anything else pot-luck.  I am trying to think of songs and games to go along with it.  The month after that is our Pinewood Derby.  I would not at all mind having a real Cubmaster by then, especially.
Well, back to my paper pushing in artificial light.  I did do a quick walk around the block in the cool winter sunlight (between the shadows of the buildings) this morning.  Brisk and beautiful.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Busy Boys

Joseph is busy answering mail from various state agencies about possible job opportunities after scoring 100% on the Office Assistant General exam in December.  Hopefully, soon he will be busy going to job interviews.  He is also lead researcher for us on the political front.  If he can only get us to stick in one place long enough, he will tell us about the candidates and issues.
Andrew is busy working nearly every day for his former Scoutmaster, owner of Camellia City Drywall.
Benjamin is busy doing high school by independent study, and, this week dog sitting his sister's young Great Dane.  Boy, is it wild when Anna and Chloe start to play!  Two hundred pounds of crazy canine! 

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Voice from the Past

Friday, I got a phone call from my BYU roommate Sandy! 1970! We lived together in a family style apartment in Heritage Halls at BYU.

She and her husband live at her childhood home, a ranch up in the Utah mountains - when he is home - he travels a lot for work.

Sandy was a beauty queen. But she was not at all stuck up. She was real, warm, friendly and fun.

Our apartment had nicknames. I was Nobody. I am pretty sure that Sandy was Anybody. If I remember right, Joyce was Somebody. Peg, now Amy, was Everybody. I think she started it, but I am not sure. Peggy said "Nobody loves me." I told her I loved her. She said, "That's what I said, Nobody loves me."

Sandy has looked up a lot of the old group and passed on news of old friends. Thank goodness for the telephone and internet. It will be a real treat to renew acquaintances.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Dancing the Evening Away

Wednesday evenings, Tom has missionary something-or-other meeting, and Ruth and the boys have youth meetings. That means Joseph and/or I baby-sit and Ruth drives my guys for me unless I have Cub Scout Pack meetings. Last night, after watching Backyardigans Secret Mission (entertaining as that was, I snuck away to the computer half-way through and paid a couple of bills), we watched and “danced” to Sing, Hoot, and Howl with the Sesame Street Animals. That was fun, especially “Baa, Baa, Bamba.” Almost too much fun. When Tom came home, Esther expressed disappointment. Not diplomatic. They can only stay up until the parents come home if they are good about going to bed when they do. Otherwise, they have to go to bed on time which is an hour and a half earlier. It was a refreshing, delightful evening and a little actually fun exercise.

Annual Dementia Test

I would say "Thank You, Holly P" except I really didn't do that well. I missed 3 out of 5!!

Your Yearly Dementia Test
It's that time of year to take our annual senior citizen test.
Exercise of the brain is as important as exercise of the muscles. As we gr! ow older, it's important to keep mentally alert. If you don't use it, you lose it! Below is a very private way to gauge your loss or non-loss of intelligence. Take the test presented here to determine if you're losing it or not. The spaces below are so you don't see the answers until you've made your answer. OK, relax, clear your mind and begin.

1. What do you put in a toaster?

Answer: "bread." If you said "toast," give up now and do something else. Try not to hurt yourself. If you said, bread, go to Question 2.
2. Say "silk" five times. Now spell "silk." What do cows drink?

Answer: Cows drink water. If you said "milk," don't attempt the next question. Your brain is over-stressed and may even overheat. Content yourself with reading a more appropriate literature such as Auto World. However, if you said "water", proceed to question 3.

3. If a red house is made from red bricks and a blue house is made from blue bricks and a pink house is made from pink bricks and a black house is made from black bricks, what is a green house made from?

Answer: Greenhouses are made from glass. If you said "green bricks," why are you still reading these???
If you said "glass," go on to Question 4.

4. It's twenty years ago, and a plane is flying at 20,000 feet over Germany(If you will recall, Germany at the time was politically divided into West Germany and East Germany.) Anyway, during the flight, two engines fail. The pilot, realizing that the last remaining engine is also failing, decides on a crash landing procedure. Unfortunately the engine fails before he can do so and the plane fatally crashes smack in the middle of "no man's land" betweenEast Germany and West Germany. Where would you bury t! he survivors? East Germany , West Germany, or no man's land"?

Answer: You don't bury survivors. If you said ANYTHING else, you're a dunce and you must stop. If you said, "You don't bury survivors", proceed to the next question.

5. Without using a calculator - You are driving a bus from London to Milford Haven in Wales . In London , 17 people get on the bus. In Reading , six people get off the bus and nine people get on. In Swindon, two people get off and four get on. In Cardiff , 1 1 people get off and 16 people get on. In Swansea! , three people get off and five people get on . In Carmathen, six people get off and three get on. You then arrive at Milford! Haven.
What was the name of the bus driver?

Answer: Oh, for crying out loud! Don't you remember your own name? It was YOU!!!

Now, if you wish, and can remember how to, pass this along to all your friends and pray they do better than you.
PS: 95% of people fail most of the questions!!!

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Surprise Phone Call

My good friend (and first Eagle) AJ just called me at work to announce his engagement! 

Tuesday, January 8, 2008


Thank you, Varna

(This came with beautiful pictures, but I haven't knowledge or time right now to include them. sorry)


Lessons on Life

There was an Indian Chief who had four sons. He wanted his sons to learn not to judge things too quickly. So he sent them each on a quest.., in turn.., to go and look at a pear tree that was a great distance away.

The first son went in the Winter, the second in the Spring, the third in Summer, and the youngest son in the Fall.

When they had all gone and come back, he called them together to describe what they had seen.

The first son said that the tree was ugly, bent, and twisted.

The second son said "no" i t was covered with green buds and full of promise.

The third son disagreed; he said it was laden with blossoms that smelled so sweet and looked so beautiful. It was the most graceful thing he had ever seen.

The last son disagreed with all of them; he said it was ripe and drooping with fruit, full of life and fulfillment.

The man then explained to his sons that they were all right, because they had each seen but only one season in the tree's life.

He told them that you cannot judge a tree, or a person, by only one season, and that the essence of who t hey are and the pleasure, joy, and love that come from that life can only be measured at the end, when all the seasons are up.

If you give up when it's Winter, you will miss the promise of your Spring, the beauty of your Summer, the fulfillment of your Fall.


Don't let the pain of one season destroy the joy of all the rest.

Don't judge life by one difficult season.

Persevere through the difficult patches and better times are sure to come.
Live Simply.

Love Generously.

Care Deeply.

Speak Kindly.

Leave the Rest to God.

Happiness keeps You Sweet,

Trials keep You Strong,

Sorrows keep You Human,

Failures keep You Humble,

Success keeps You Glowing,

But God keeps You Going!

Sunday, January 6, 2008

My Bishopric counselor over Scouting answers my questions

Brother H is so good about answering emails!

"It's not that the older boys don't do scouts...they do. Maybe just not as formally as the deacons. They boys will continue to be encouraged to earn their Eagle Scout award and make progress, including help with the Eagle project. They are invited to regular scout camp and the teachers and priests have a week long high adventure activity that always results in lots of fun and plenty of scouting advancement. "

Well, good. Pretty much. I don't know if is my nostalgia or resistance to change or what, but I don't know if that satifies me. I love and "believe in" the Scouting program within the Aaronic Priesthood.

"I Love This Crowbar." Ben

5:30pm The boys are safely down. They finished the roof for the most part. Each shingle is in 3 sections. There are a couple of spots where one section is missing. They will go up another time - when there is daylight! It is completely dark outside. All the big sections of blown away shingles have been replaced. Are they not fine young men?!

I think these boys deserve some cake and ice cream. Thanks to Kathy and Esque - my great uncle - my grandmother's baby brother - we have plenty of chocolate cake.

Seeing the Hand of God in Your Daily Life

In testimony meeting, Sarah C reminded us about President Eyring's conference talk Remember, Remember in which he reminds us to recognize God's kindness to us. Some days are pretty easy.

4:30pm The boys are making good progress on the roof. The threatened rain is not only holding off, but there are actually blue patches to the west (whence our weather comes). Ben says, "It's called prayer." Will they win the race against the setting sun? It is going to be very close, but they are doing well. Maybe. Maybe.

As we entered an intersection on the way to church this morning, a pickup ran a red light, seeing us and stopping just in time to avoid a collision. We felt an adrenalin rush and a surge of gratitude for God's protecting hand.

Perkins Ward is growing strong in ward family feeling. While there are people and things we miss from our old wards, we know that we are in the right place with the right people. There is a wonderful growing feeling of warmth and affection.

(I still like the Dover building better!!!)

Up On The Roof

Heeding the storm warnings JAB secured everything in our yard pretty well. When the wind tore the tarp awning (whatever) over our bicycles, they got another tarp and covered them directly. Things look pretty good, if a bit windblown. Some mistletoe was torn out of a tree. Many oranges fell. The hummingbird feeder fell and broke. (I put a hole in the cap of a plastic water bottle and hung it up. We saw a hummingbird trying it today.)

Unfortunately, when the storm abated, we noticed a few shingles on the ground. During a break between storms Saturday, the guys went up on the roof to assess the damage. Not so good. One section (south side over the family room) lost about 20 or so shingles. I went to Home Depot and got shingles and roofing nails, but by the time I got them home, the rain had begun again. Unable to find another tarp, and unwilling to risk my sons, we left the roof and hoped for the best.

I learned that I am afraid to go up on the roof. I climbed up the ladder, surprised at how uneasy I was, but just did NOT want to get on the roof. I am too old, heavy and not so spry. I clearly remember years ago I had to go on the roof for something. I was ok until it was time to get down. I COULD NOT get from the roof to the ladder. I just froze with fear. David had to come help me. So, I was quite relieved when the boys said there was no need for me to get on the roof, they would handle it.

It is frightening to wonder how the house has faired in the rains since the shingles went. No signs of leakage inside at least. I am hoping we don't have an attic full of saturated insulation and wet wood.

Naturally, this morning, Sunday, was lovely and sunny. Not only is it the Sabbath, but we meet in the morning now. We wondered and worried whether - if the weather held - to work on the roof today or brave the night coming rains and work the next time the weather cleared. Our home teacher said that it is the tar paper under the shingles that really protect the house. The guys decided to go up after eating and check out the tar paper. No tar paper. Under our shingles, we have wood. From the rooftop, the guys called our home teacher and then Tom. After various consulting, they decided they need to patch what they can. They are racing the rain and the dark. It is nearly 4 now. The forecast said it would be raining by now.

I am so lucky to have these boys! They are good naturedly working away up there. What would I do without them?


Our new home teacher (also YM Pres and good friend's father-in-law) kept trying to make a first appointment last month(?), but life was just too full and in too much disarray. Frustrated, he said to me at church, "You WOULD let me know if you need anything, wouldn't you?!"

"What do you know about plumbing?" I asked. Our kitchen faucet was not dripping, it was running as if it had not been turned off. (Cold, fortunately!) Joseph and I looked at our fix-it books and were feeling pretty nervous about attempting the repair. (One home fix-it book cautioned us not to try it on the weekend when plumbers are even more expensive.)

Within a day or so, I got a late evening phone call. "I just got home from work and had a bite to eat. Can I come look at your faucet now?" He came over with his magic toolbox, took apart the faucet, produced a part that actually fit! and was done in minutes. Then he sat down to visit with us for a minute. Somewhere along the line he revealed that he gets up - I forgot how early, but earlier than me and my alarm is set for 5:15 . It was around 9:30 then and I was seriously fading. He must have been exhausted. "What are you doing here? Go home!" He was so nice about coming over and acted like it really was a pleasure and not a sacrifice to help us.

He is a terrific guy.


Which leads me to YM and Scouting. In Perkins Ward, Scouting is for Deacons. The older boys do many good things, including many things Scouts, especially older Scouts, might do. However, here again we encounter the fear that the older boys might not think Scouting is cool. Our loyal Scouts will stay active no matter what the program, so it doesn't matter that they enjoy Scouting and are willing to put up with the pesky younger boys so they can teach, lead and help the younger boys become better. Trouble is, I am not convinced that NOT doing Scouting brings in or retains the other guys. But that is the theory. The YM (and YW! but I am talking about my Scouts here) do many good things and fun things. They are very service oriented. They actually enjoy their frequent service projects. It is the spirit that counts. Still, I wish they could have the Scouting program as part of that spirit as I know it can be. This also makes it a little more of a challenge for Ben to work on his Eagle. I am going to check with the YM leaders about my fledglings and also about older boys and Scout camp.

4:20pm The boys asked me to go climb the ladder and observer their labors. It is not much to ask. bye

Friday, January 4, 2008

Be Careful What You Wish For

2:23 pm The office is empty except for Gail and me.  About 20 minutes ago, we got word that everyone was being sent home because of the storm and messed up transportation conditions. Problem is, thought, there is NO light rail service downtown.  My closest operating stop is 2 miles away. I tried to get information about buses, but RT's site isn't working.  People called their family and friends, or just went out there hoping to catch a bus going in the right direction or walking until ....?   Office mates buddied up with others going in the same direction.  My Ruth (as opposed to my coworker Ruth), bless her, is going to try to come get me and Gail who takes the same line as I do.  I hope she doesn't have any trouble.  Our street is flooded from 21st up to her house.  She is thinking she can get out heading south. 
More bad news. Tonight was supposed to be her Mystery Hostess Party! How I have been looking forward to it.  But with the street flooded, how can her guests get there or park if they do?  I am afraid that she is going to have to reschedule. 
Ruth will call when she leaves, she couldn't just run out the door right the minute I called.  Meanwhile, I guess I will do a little work. 

Storm Warning

 For the last couple of days, the weather people have been warning us about a coming winter storm – advising us to batten down the hatches, stock up, and get ready to face the blast.   Accordingly, The Home Team Robarts took down the Christmas lights and checked the yard for items that needed to be moved, covered, or otherwise secured.   One thing I forgot to ask them to do is set up the backyard pump, but they did that this morning – just in case.  Thursday, was a rather pleasant day with light winter rains.   Some people even wondered if all the talk was for naught. Last night, however, the wind howled and tore.  It ripped the tarp sheltering our bicycles on the patio.   Today, the boys have tried to secure another tarp directly over them.  Hope it holds.  There is a loose shingle or two in the yard, so we have some concern about the roof, but checking that will have to wait.   We know where a flashlight or two is. 


The storm continues, but less ferociously, now I think.  Although, I hear that in the upper levels of my building (I am on the 10 th floor), one can actually feel the wind buffeting the building and the building move.


Transportation is disrupted because of downed trees and tree parts, water on the road and so forth.  My on the way to work train ceased operation a stop short of my stop, so I, along with hundreds of others, walked on through the storm.  (Only 3 or 4 blocks.)   That and having waited for the train had us all looking fairly bedraggled.  We were lucky, though; another line got stopped far short of downtown and passengers had to wait for buses to come and get them.   I hope all is operational when it is time to go home!!


So far we (neither work nor home) have not experienced any power outages, although several areas have.  


I wish I could be home with the boys and have a storm party.  But I am so grateful to make my way to work through a storm, rather than be homeless and out there!   So, at work we laughingly complain, but count our blessings in having a job and home.


If they send us home, as I hear some places have, I wouldn't complain!  I don't think that is happening.   At least I don't have to work out in the storm!  How grateful I am for those who do!


Thinking about storm warnings, I think about the prophets and the counsel they have given us, not just to be prepared with our 72 Hour Kits and Whatever Years Supply (let's not go there, right now), but to be Spiritually   Prepared for the storms of life and the Final Accounting.  Sometimes we (I) think that there is just too much to do and not enough time and energy to do it. But compared to the peace, safety, and comfort we can receive in difficult times here, compared to the peace of being able to face our Savior and ourselves when the inevitable time comes hereafter; maybe, just maybe, it would be worth our time and effort to heed the warning counsel.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Happy New Looking Bathroom!

I got off work a couple of hours early New Year's Eve. Almost immediately, we got to work prepping the bathroom for painting – finally! After over a year. I gave up on the idea of properly texturing the walls and decided that what is is. We removed hardware, and covered pretty much everything with tape and plastic. Our New Year's Day was all about priming the bathroom and the future boys room. What a lot of work! I have had people tell me that they enjoy painting rooms. Maybe they know something I don't. I think/hope we will enjoy the results. Finally, as the sun began to sink, we started painting the bathroom. Today, by the light of day, the boys are going to check the bathroom and decide whether we need to do another coat or not. I hope not. I want a shower!


Scrud! the boys say it needs another coat. I hope they can take care of it today. If I were a betting woman, I would say they will. They are pretty good guys.