Friday, December 12, 2014

My Hero

Meet my hero, TopDad. He's the guy who gets up every morning to go slay dragons and bring home the bacon; every weekday, without complaint. This year he has had one particularly challenging class of ungrateful pukes students making life difficult. I so admire him for his faithful diligence to fulfill his responsibility to provide for and protect me and our family. Dad makes the living, Mom makes the living worthwhile.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014


Count Your Blessings - Final Post

For the last weeks of November I was thinking of all the women who have influenced my life. I came up with quite a list.

Enid W. - My mother who taught me by example to love homemaking and babies
Grandma Fern - My Dad's mother who taught me to love Relief Society
Nana Rose - My Mom's mother who, by her example, showed me faith and commitment; she had fifteen children!
Dorothy B - My older sister who has pioneered and blazed the trail ahead of me and has taught me much about forgiveness
Dorothy F - Who mentored me early on and taught me about being organized in a leadership calling
Margie W - A kindred spirit whose friendship, optimism and humor bless my life
Mary W - A new found kindred spirit and friend who is teaching me more about leadership
Norma D - Her beauty filled home inspired me to keep striving
Joy C - Her loving nature and deep spirituality was a much needed balm to my soul
Susan R - Her generosity, acceptance and love of reading helped me stretch my mind
Mary K - My junior high school choir teacher, encountered again in later life, showed me that we're never too old to develop new talents; when her singing voice gave out she took up painting.
Cindy T - Her example of graciousness is a constant guide
Joyce L - Taught me a lot about the glories of God's creations while we were camping
Carol O - Taught me about treasure hunting at thrift stores
Jana H - A long time friend whose optimism, hope and faith are a shining example to me
Rilla J - Her level of physical fitness in her 80's puts mine to shame
Jane R - Another dear church sister, departed now, who taught me about being a true friend
Noble T - My favorite daughter! Who has taught me to love all things Korean

Who has influenced your life?

Tuesday, November 18, 2014


Count Your Blessings - Day 18

Today I'm grateful for books and libraries and Abebooks.

I love to read! I have LOTS of books. I love libraries so I don't have to buy every book I want to read. I love Abebooks for when I read a book from the library that I call a keeper and want to buy it.

I just got back from the library with two books:
 A Christmas Memory by Truman Capote
 Fifty Acres and a Poodle: A Story of Love, Livestock, and Finding Myself on a Farm  by Jeanne Marie Laskas
Not that I have tons of time to read, but reading is how I relax before going to sleep. It's also how I escape from my boring and/or stressful life, forget the cold outside, and meet new friends.

What are you thankful for today?

Monday, November 17, 2014

'Nuff Said

Count Your Blessings - Days 13 - 17

It's 2:15 PM Monday, the temperature outside is 16 degrees with a real feel of -2.

Here's what I'm thankful for:

This is one area I'm really grateful I don't have to live like a pioneer. (Although, I've camped and backpacked enough that the alternative doesn't completely gross me out.)

Let's see, what else am I grateful for?

Over thirty years of cooking experience! Sunday morning I got up and realized that we had potluck after the meetings. I thought for a moment and got out my crockpot and the ingredients (potatoes, onions, cheese) for scalloped potatoes, prepared it all, started them cooking, then took the whole thing with us and plugged it in at church and when it was time to eat the potatoes were ready and delicious.

Inspiration or personal revelation!  I've been thinking about, pondering, searching scriptures and such to come up with a theme for our Relief Society for 2015. This weekend the idea came to me and it's wonderful. I won't share it just yet, but will the first week of January when I have the bulletin board up and reveal it to the sisters.

Miracles of modern technology! Have I ever said how much I appreciate Skype? Yeah, only a bazillion times. I love being able to see and talk to my daughter in far off Korea. I don't know how it works, there are no wires to connect us, just 1's and 0's streaming off into the air. How do they not get lost? "Oh look, that house looks interesting, let's go there."  "Wow, would you look at that monster wave, do you think we could surf down it?" But no, they all find their way to the precise location they're supposed to. It's a miracle!

People who are smarter and more experienced than me! I'm so glad I don't have to think up everything. I'm so grateful there are others willing to work hard and produce things so I don't have to. Like shoes, pots and pans, cars, electricity, natural gas for furnaces, and such. Then there are those who share their art, music, dance, drama, etc. The world would be a poorer place without them and their hard work.

What are you thankful for today?

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Wool in the form of blankets and socks

Count Your Blessings - Days 11 and 12

The high, as in the hottest temperature, this week is forecast to be 32, lows are in the single digits. Winter has struck with a vengeance including a dusting of snow yesterday.

I had already put a thick wool blanket on my bed, now I've added wool socks to the mix as I can't fall asleep if my feet are cold.

So, I'm thankful for sheep, and their wool to keep me warm in the winter.

Also, as I said in a previous post, I'm thankful for all those who have served, do now serve, and will yet serve in the military. They are my heroes.

Monday, November 10, 2014

A Few of My Favorite Things

Count Your Blessings - Days 6 - 10

Pardon my busyness, please!

Rainbow after a shower; facing east

Facing west to the sunset opposite of the rainbow 

Hala from Iraq with Rozy after her (Hala's) lecture in Council Bluffs
I enjoy meeting people from other places and learning about their world.

My very own Marine - Happy Birthday!

My special Airman - Thank you for serving, 2011 - present

My other Marine - and another Happy Birthday

So grateful for all the veterans in my life - Here is my dad, my husband and my son.
Dad served in the US Army Air Corps 1944-1946
TopDad - USMC 1974-1999
Lt. Lehi - USMC Reserves  2014-present

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Music, Pianos and Gifts

Count Your Blessings - Day 5

Music has been part of my life since I was a little girl. I began taking piano lessons when I was eight, quit when I was about sixteen (my only regret is that I didn't have better teachers); took up the guitar for a while and then at age fifty took four months of violin lessons (before my world fell apart and I had to give that up). During fourth, fifth and sixth grades my parents bought me tickets to the San Diego Symphony Young People's Concerts, so four times each year I'd board the school bus and go downtown to the Civic Theater to hear wonderful music and learn about the symphony. I loved it! As a teen I even got to perform in a choir on that same stage. In Junior and Senior High School I was in Girl's Glee, Concert Choir and Girl's Ensemble (the top singers). I sang my first solo in church at age eight and during my teens and twenties I sang a lot at church and weddings. My father introduced us to many genres of music including gospel, cowboy, Brazilian, Jamaican, Scottish, Broadway, popular, Big Band, and Mormon Tabernacle Choir. Music speaks to my soul; I get teary when I hear beautiful music.

When TopDad and I got married we used the cash money gifts to purchase a used piano and had that from 1988 until 2003 when we purchased this piano:

We bought it as an incentive for our children to practice their music. It worked for about three months. But I had no regrets because 1) it was a beautiful piece of furniture and 2) it made my playing sound better! While we lived in Provo a friend completed her Master's Degree in piano and asked if she could give a practice recital in our home. Oh yeah! I put on a dinner party and had the recital for dessert, followed by cookies. It was magnificent!

Alas, when moving to Iowa I had to sell my beloved piano. I cried for days, but was comforted that it went to a good home and was the answer to someone's prayers.

Last month a good friend here called to ask if I would like her piano. She has come to a point where she needs a different piano with consistent touch so she can progress to the next level in her quest to achieve mastery. She knew the story of my piano and felt impressed to give hers to me. No cost, just a gift. WOW! She'd had it for fifty years. It was not new when her parents bought it for her, but her father refinished it and some years ago she replaced all the key tops as the ivory was broken and missing on many keys. She told me that it played fine and would be good for personal enjoyment and family home evenings, which she knew is about all my playing is good for. We picked it up on Halloween, and a better treat I couldn't have asked for.

1890 something Piano with stool

A place to decorate - It will be great for my Nativity Set

Detail of foot of the stool
I'm so thankful for music, and pianos, and gifts from loving and generous friends.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Artwork in Fabric and Thread

Count Your Blessings - Day 4

An annual quilt show is held at the Mormon Trail Visitors Center in Florence Nebraska, also known as Winter Quarters, where the earliest Mormon Pioneers stayed the first winter after being driven out of Nauvoo. I spent a hour viewing the quilts last Thursday and feel grateful for my own heritage of quilt making. My mother quilted and so did my Grandma (Dad's mother). I've made a few so far and look forward to making lots more. I'm grateful for all the women who make quilts, whatever style, they are all labors of love.

Memory quilt made from the fabric of dresses and other pieces of clothing the mother made for the daughter over the years.

Quilt commemorating the pioneer trek.

T-Shirt quilt from years of participating in a summer pageant - I love the "Glance backward . . ." quote.

Gorgeous "postage stamp" scrappy quilt.

Detail of "postage stamp" quilt block

Crazy Quilt

Center block of crazy quilt - This could be mine - Rozy!

Darling Sunbonnet Sue and Overall Sam quilt. I have a goal to make one of these, in a wall hanging size.

Another Sunbonnet Maiden quilt - I thought it was so pretty!

Another T-Shirt quilt from a drama student - I love the quote!

Delightful quilt with fairies - It made me think of Noble.

Detail of fairy - I named her Noble!
There were many, many other quilts of all styles and colors. These were some of my favorites.

Monday, November 3, 2014

2014 - Thirty Days of Thankful

Time for my (almost) annual Count Your Blessings Countdown: Thirty Days of Thankful.

I'm a little late beginning this year because I was busy over the weekend with a special Relief Society (Church's women's group) program. But I'm on track now and will proceed with the first three things:

1. I'm grateful for inspiration. Several weeks before the RS meeting I had been praying diligently for that one special idea to use as the springboard. At 4:00 AM I was awakened by I don't know what, and was wide awake in the dark. Into my mind came the idea V I P - Visit In Person. And that was it!! But I did wonder why I had to be awakened at four, I exclaimed "I would have listened at ten!"

2. I'm grateful the program is over! It was tons of work, but it turned out great and the sisters seemed to enjoy it, and I felt the Spirit.

3. I'm grateful for this blog. I went back and read my first year of Count Your Blessings and was reminded of some wonderful things. Some even had pictures!

What are you grateful for today?

Monday, October 27, 2014

Score at the Store

Sometimes my timing is just perfect! A trip to the thrift store yields treasures beyond measure. (Is that too cheesy sounding? Who cares!)

Take a look at the latest finds:

Vogue Patterns for 19 cents each:

A shower curtain ($2.50) that will see new life as a window curtain in my bedroom: 

Oops! A photobombing Mr. Movie: 

A gorgeous quilt panel ($3.00) that quite possibly will be made into a wall hanging for the living room; but don't hold your breath, remember how slow I am.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Transformation Continued

I'm slow . . . at getting things changed and done around my house; at least in the redecorating department. I get daily and weekly things done like dishes and laundry. Anyway, last month I finally got my bedroom one step closer to being complete.

I'm still working on curtains. But I think  it's come a long way. I love pretty things! The framed pictures were pages from calendars; the five smaller plates came from thrift stores, the larger one is from a set we used on Sunday's while I was growing up. The quilt is one my mother made for me, appliqued and liquid embroidery (Tri-chem). The butterfly pillows are from a thrift store as are the pretty pillow cases.

A pretty room is a restful room.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Something to Look Forward to!

Captain Moroni and the Title of Liberty is my all-time favorite Book of Mormon story. We are at a point in our nation's history that we need a Captain Moroni to step up and lead the righteous to a restoration of our lost and crumbling liberties.

Lt. Lehi shared this with me on Facebook and I got so excited! Just want to share this with those I know. Spread the word! This is a vital story for the times we live in.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Cotton and Linen and Wool, Oh My!

Yesterday I spent three hours organizing my fabric store room. Seriously, I have enough to open a small store. I had gathered everything (I thought) into one place, then I found a few more things still in the old sewing room and brought them up. As I usually do when I clean a whole room I began in one corner and worked my way around the room.

I opened up the first tub, saw what the majority of contents consisted of, made a label (a piece of used paper and a Sharpie) and pulled out anything that wasn't supposed to be there; then on to the next tub. I ended up with twenty-two tubs, full to overflowing, and one empty (which came about because I shared a whole bunch with someone).

  1. cotton - plaids, stripes, gingham
  2. cotton - holiday, novelty prints
  3. quilting fabric - red, pink, orange, yellow, cream, floral on light ground
  4. quilting fabric - green, blue, purple, brown, black
  5. wool
  6. quilted double-faced, fleece, knit, terry cloth
  7. cotton dress goods
  8. solid colors - denim, cotton, linen, pique, etc.
  9. assorted, miscellaneous scraps (still needs to be sorted)
10. flannel scraps - less than one yard
11. flannel yardage - longer than one yard
12. U.F.O.'s (Un - Finished - Objects)
13. unbleached muslin
14. corduroy
15. silkies (real and otherwise)
16. linen, canvas, duck, upholstery
17. curtains (already made from other homes, waiting to be recycled)
18. interfacing
19. more flannel scraps (needs to be sorted)
20. costume fabric (mostly leftover from a biblical project)
21. white fabric - bleached muslin, eyelet, white on white stripe, etc.
22. unfinished quilt projects

Plus three tubs of "pretties" such as tablecloths, doilies, napkins, dresser scarves, tea towels, etc.

My next projects will be to further organize the quilting fabric into individual tubs by color so I don't have to dig; and further divide the novelty/holiday tub.

As we say in our family "I'm upcited!" My big sewing season is beginning and I'll be able to find fabric easily, put fabric away easily, and not have to buy more because I can't find what I thought I had.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

End of Summer Beauty

I captured my gorgeous geranium bloom knowing that they won't survive the winter here. In San Diego, where I grew up, they are perennials growing into huge bushes; here they are annuals.

My tiny flower bed
The three Geraniums were the Mother's Day gift from the past three years, carefully nurtured inside; the Marigold was a gift from Lt. Lehi in 2012, also nurtured inside, and the tiny Sweet William at the left was transplanted from a shady spot where it grew but didn't bloom. When I rearranged the living room I needed to move the plants and decided to put them outside in this bed. In between the Geraniums are two Purple Cone Flower plants, perennials which are the beginnings of what I want this bed to be, a perennial garden. I removed all the rocks and the overgrown Sedum that was there, planted the flowers and have enjoyed the blooms all summer. More rocks to remove (at the right) and then more plants to go in, but that will have to wait for next year. 

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Mr. Movie Officially Turns Eighteen

Just a few pictures of the birthday boy.

Stick 'em up!

See my medal?

Ol' Sober Sides


Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Almost there . . .

I turned in paperwork for Mr. Movie's Eagle Scout award today. We are almost there getting his award. He has completed all the requirements, now the paperwork has gone in, next is the Board of Review, then the award.

One more to go, Dandylion! Then we'll have four Eagles.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Thank You, Noble!

Many thanks to Noble for pointing out to me that my label on the right for the Gratitude Blog Hop was a typo. I've corrected it now--it was a Blop Hop. Sometimes I feel like a big blop!

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Wednesday Hodge Podge

Each Wednesday another blog features a "Hodge Podge" of questions to be answered by the blogger. This week's questions resonated with me and I decided to post them here.

1. On Thursday we pause to remember a dark day in history: 9/11. Will you mark it in some special way?

No special plans at this time. I'll be watching the news online carefully. I have two children in the military and I feel concern for their safety.

2. Do you ever/still . . .listen to an actual radio? Watch a videotape (VCR)? Look up a number in a phonebook? Refer to a paper map while traveling? Set an alarm on an alarm clock as opposed to your phone?

I used to listen to the radio a lot, but we're too far out in the boonies and only get one station now so I don't anymore, although I sometime listen online. We frequently watch videotapes because it's too expensive to replace all our favorites with dvds. I LOVE phonebooks! It's the first place I look for information, but then I'm rather old-fashioned. I LOVE maps too! I refer to them often when traveling, although I have to say that Noble's expertise and Smartphone came to the rescue when we had trouble finding our way around cities on our vacation. I have an old clock-radio that I use to wake me up. I usually turn my phone off at night so that random beeps and rings done wake me up.

3. Is is ever a good idea to discuss religion or politics with people you don't know?

Only if they ask a specific question or if I can correct a misconception.

4. What's a dish you haven't eaten all summer, but come September find yourself craving? Have you made it this month?

Hot soup. And yes, I made some Taco soup on Saturday and it was delicious.

5. What's something you know nothing about?

Asian history, coal mining; cattle breeding; oh, lots of things. But there is almost nothing that doesn't interest me. I love learning ad frequently get books at the library on subjects that I want to learn about.

6. September is Classical Music Month. Do you like classical music? If so, what's your favorite piece?

I love Classical Music!!! When I was in 4th, 5th, and 6th grades my parents bought me tickets to the San Diego Symphony Young People's Concert series; four concerts each year. I fell in love! I don't have just one favorite piece, but I am partial to Baroque composers like Bach and Handel. Live classical music is one of the things I miss most living out in the boonies.

7. What's the oldest thing you own?

I have some pieces of crochet made by one great-grandmother, and a delicate sherbet glass from another great-grandmother.

8. Insert your own random thought here.

I'm definitely an old-fashioned girl and always have been. When I was a child my favorite game was playing "pioneers". I think I would have been an awesome one.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Sometimes you just have to relax . . .

Mother's Day with my boys, the flowers were from Lt. Lehi
l-r  Mr. Movie, JET, PFCMom, Dandylion

What we really look like!

Friday, August 22, 2014

James and the Giant Ship

 Mr. Movie LOVES Legos!
He's still putting the interior together. It keeps him occupied and out of trouble. Gotta love it.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Wouldn't You Know . . .

I totally identify with this quote from Betty MacDonald's book "The Egg and I"
I got so I could dress chickens like an expert, but have wondered since how this ability to defeather a chicken in about two minutes without once tearing the skin, my only accomplishment, could ever be mentioned socially along with swimming and diving, or gracefully demonstrated as with violin and piano playing. Wouldn't you know that I would excel in chicken picking?
Wouldn't you know that I excel in cleaning bathrooms.
Oh well. In my next life I'm going to be a ballerina, or violin virtuoso.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Some Precious Moments - Highlights from our Summer Trip

Grandpa and his namesake "Lt. Lehi"


Dandylion at the beach

Dandylion (youngest) and Noble (oldest) at a rest stop

Who has the longest arms? Mr. Movie - TopDad - Dandylion
Crossing the Puget Sound - PFCMom and TopDad
26 Years Together

Mr. Movie at Mt. Rushmore

PFCMom and the sweetest daughter ever - Noble

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Finally! A Picture

Graduation Day 30 May 2014

This is my family! L to R: JET, PW (Lt. Lehi), Dr. Hair (or Mr. Movie), TopDad, Dandylion, Noble, PFCMom, Grandpa (my dad)

Photo taken in Heritage Park, Old Town, San Diego on the occasion of PW's graduation from Marine Corps Recruit Training. We were all together for the first time in over four years. It was a glorious day!

After graduation we went to lunch at a Mexican restaurant in Old Town, had a delicious meal and lots of fun jabbering away with each other. When it was time to get the bill, TopDad was informed that the bill had been paid in full. We asked who, but were told that he wanted to remain anonymous. All the waitress would tell us was that he was in the Navy, had worked with Marines and thought Paul looked like an especially good Marine and he was proud and honored to pay for our meal. We teared up with gratitude and humility at being so honored by this good man.
We enjoyed a quiet Fourth this year, attending the local parade to see our boys play in the band and then relaxing at home. We had steak, potato salad, corn on the cob, and fruit to eat, and then just some more relaxing. The boys went to a nearby town to watch fireworks in the late evening.

I plan to post more pictures of our vacation, soon. A huge thank-you to my niece for taking the family photos.