Tuesday, December 09, 2008

"It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas . . "

I keep saying this hoping it will get me moving. The older I get, the less fun stuff there is to do for Christmas. Well, that's not fair to put it that way, but we've streamlined gift-giving so there isn't a lot of shopping - not that I love shopping - but I do love lists!

(Me, Leslie, Alice in 1964 I would guess)

And with no one around to be excited about opening the boxes on the advent calendar, I haven't even put it up for the last two years.

And I have to push and prod Dad to get a tree - and get it up so I can decorate it - but I guess I've always had to push and prod him.

Believe it or not, when I'm here in the house alone, I forget to put the carols on. I do have the Harry Connick CD in the car stereo - that helps. With other people around, someone remembers to put them on.

I did watch "Holiday Inn" and "It's a Wonderful Life" last week - that helped - but it didn't last long enough!

And "What Not To Wear" has intimidated me out of wearing my Christmas attire. Although I am going to wear my sweater with the angels on it - the black one. And my holly/berry earrings from many years ago.

Maybe I'll even wear my Liz Clairborne tee shirts too. It's certainly hot enough!

Mostly I'm waiting for Christmas Eve and making potato soup and cooking up batches of pumpkin bread and jam to give to the neighbors.

And going to the Sing-A-Long Messiah next week.

And enjoying having everyone here - then it will feel like Christmas!!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Something to think about

"As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them."

John F. Kennedy, U.S. President 1960-63

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Good Friends, Good Food, Good Times

Some of you will recognize some of these women - and all the Terrill kids will recognize at least 2 of them - not counting me!

Michele Yoffe gets together with Nancy Locklair, Dalene Johnson and Adele Cornils once a month - the initials of their first names spell DAMN! So they call it their "DAMN get together!" That is somewhat clever.

Michele and I and Anna May and Sandee Gray are all born in 1945 - so we call ourselves "The Girls of '45" and we get together when we can find a time we can all be there!!

It was getting ridiculous, so Michele said why didn't we join her other group - I'm not going to get caught up in the jokes we could make here - and so we did. And I invited Karan to come along, Sandee invited Buffy, and I'm not sure how Sharon Socha figured into the mix, but she's a great addition to any group!

When Dalene forwarded the picture to me, I thought about how I used to eat lunch with or teach with all of these women. I miss the ones who are no longer there - only Buffy, Sandee, Anna May and I are still at Clifton.

And I thought about how each one of them had had an influence on my life or my teaching techniques or my perceptions of the world.

"Make new friends but keep the old. One is silver, but the other is gold."

A little cheesy but true!

I love my girlfriends!

Sunday, November 09, 2008

"Paying your dues!"

(This photo - of the youth in our ward preparing lunches for the homeless - has nothing to do with the following post - but Karl says you need pictures to attract readers - it's kind of like fundraising - maybe in reverse??)

I started to make a comment on Phoebe's blog about her fund-raising woes.

It got too long - decided I had too much to say.

First off, if they would fund education like they are supposed to, we wouldn't need to fundraise. The government has mandated lots of programs - and then has not fully-funded all of them - Special Education in particular.

(Let me also note that you may think your district is spending money that you think should go somewhere else, but categorical funds can only be spent on what they are designated for. So CompEd computers in the classroom can only be used by CompEd students, and so on. Here in the middle of the budget crisis in California, we had
$80,000 we had to spend on new technology. So we have new computers and smart boards and everyone thinks we are spendthrifts - but we would have lost the money if we hadn't spent it by September of this year.)

Everyone gets annoyed with SPED - but people need to get annoyed with their legislators - IDEA - the Individuals With Disabilities Education Act - was passed in 1975. It's a good law, and at the time, the government guaranteed to fund 40% of it - and since then, they have never funded more than 17%! So the difference comes from the General Fund - which impacts schools very directly - and thus fundraising came to the forefront.

Then it "caught on" as a business idea and the bake sales were taken over by "Magazine Mary" and the like, and I find that less than appealing.

I don't remember any fundraising from my school days. They did have PTA when I was a kid - but I'm pretty sure my mom never joined. And those women mostly worked around the school, sponsoring things like polio vaccination drives and the like - they did do a yearly carnival too - which I loved.

I was amazed in Utah to discover that PTA was the happening place to be - I mean, the people running for PTA President had posters and everything - because more than one person wanted the job!! (Around here they beg, cajole and threaten - this year they have a couple of co-presidents, which is working out well.)

I join now because they come and ask the staff to join - and they have a drawing - and I won a gift card to Target - that's the way to motivate teachers!

And I remember when Phoebe left MHS, they handed her a bill for something - that she had to pay or she couldn't graduate!! I think it was Leadership dues or something ridiculous.

So Dad said, "Okay, we'll send them an itemized invoice for all the weeks they used the truck to haul their stuff to the recycling place, drive it around the track for Homecoming, and take kids to set up for the Jr. Prom!"

So I understand Phoebe's frustration.

But I will tell you, since many of the PTA moms and dads are parents of my students, the PTA at our site provides lots of perks that just wouldn't happen otherwise. Actually in one of the fundraisers, there was a lunch bag I really wanted, so I asked a girl at church if she was doing the fundraiser and I bought it from her. She was pretty excited. If you sell 5 items, you get some sort of prize that middle school kids find desirable - I think you miss class for a pizza party or something.

But I pretty much was the fundraiser Scrooge and never bought anything - except the year I was in charge of the Medic-Alerts bracelet sale - I ended up being very glad I'd bought one for everyone because Bernie left the door open one day and Eliza toddled out to the middle of Hillcrest - and was found and returned to us because of the bracelet!!

Towards the end of my school years with kids, I started just mailing in a check - saying I'd be happy to give $25 but wasn't going to let my kids do fundraisers. Now that is a fundraiser in itself!

Our district is in dire straights - they may close a school and lay off 47 teachers if the state education budget gets cut anymore. One of the solutions is to ask each family to give $100 - if every family did, they'd have $50,000 - which could keep one teacher on! Bonny's district does this, but I think it supports extras - and they ask for more than $100!

When it comes to Scouts - Boy and Girl - I sort of have a different policy. If the young person contacts me, I will buy something. If their parents contact me, I tell them to have the kid call or talk to me - sometimes they do, sometimes they don't - either way I think they get annoyed with me, but that's too bad.

I remember one year Harry and Damond canvassed the neighborhood selling Scout-O-Rama tickets - and no one, except the Allsops - who at the time were less-active - bought one. They were like 50 cents! I was more than annoyed, because several kids on our street went to private school - and if you think public schools have lots of fund-raisers, try going to a private school - they must have them weekly or something! - and I had bought something from each one of them!! That was when I decided not to buy from them anymore - and I explained why the next time they came around. But then we moved to Primrose, and that took care of that!

In closing let me say that I still buy stuff from my grandkids!! Some fundraisers email me - that was very convenient - some sent a form in the mail that my granddaughter had filled out - that was easy too. And sometimes they just show me the catalogs. Anyway they do it, I will buy something from the grandkids for their school, team or Scout group.

And if they start their own business, I could probably find something I wanted there too!

Sunday, November 02, 2008

"I'm Linda Mason." "Oh, Linda Mason."

It may not be "Holiday Inn" here, but we are getting ready to make the holidays happen for the Terrill clan coming to celebrate!!

Actually, it was finally a cool, breezy fall day around here, so Dad and I took a hike up Monrovia Canyon on Friday afternoon. Which led us to the cabin where we have celebrated in the past - and will celebrate again.

Do you love our neon trim??

We've actually come up with some good ideas for things to do, etc. But feel free to share any ideas or suggestions - we want this to be fun for everyone!

This is the view looking down when you are hiking. And the "skyscape" was me trying to be artsy. The sky was overcast and really very lovely - sunset was approaching so there was a hint of color diffusing the whole sky.

We had a fine time - and are looking forward to having a fine time with all of you.

And we went home to a great meal - and 3 trick or treaters!!

(At around 8:30 I could hear some rowdy kids down near Hillcrest. So I raced around turning out lights and we dove under the covers to hide from them. Dad said we should just give them the rest of the candy, but I told him I'm saving it to use in the classroom for rewards and the like. Besides, it was fun to listen to them castigating their buddy who had led them up the street. Maybe they were novices and thought they were on Gold Hill!!)

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Halloween Musings

It certainly doesn't feel like Halloween around here. For one thing, it's way too hot. For another thing, I barely got the decorations out of the shop and put them up. Also, for the 2nd or 3rd year in a row, we have not carved pumpkins here at 428. And finally, no one is pestering me to make a costume or go shopping to hunt for costume fixings. (Actually no one has asked me to do that for many years - but I just thought of it.)

But this has always been one of my favorite Halloween photos - and it encompasses all of the above - it was chilly that long ago Sunday evening, the decorations were plentiful and had been up since October 1st, the pumpkins were carved, and even though I didn't have to do much sewing that year, we did get white makeup for the occasion.

For the uninformed, Halloween was on a Sunday that year . I really don't remember all the other Halloween Sundays, but Dad was the Bishop and we decided that we shouldn't go trick or treating on Sunday. But we would serve trick or treaters who came to our door.

And Eliza, Hannah and Noah seemed to have a better time than they did when they did the trick or treating themselves. They tried to be scary and entertaining and really put on a good show.

It's a great memory - one I treasure.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Where have all the falling leaves gone?

Wishing I could be wearing tights and long sleeved turtle necks!!

I was walking to school today, as I am wont to do most days, and I was thinking about how it was mighty warm for October 28th! Actually, it is often warm all through October and into November, but we always say things like, "Whoa, it's so hot - where is fall??"

But it was 80 degrees at 10 a.m. - and 98 degrees at 3:10 when school got out. And it was only 95 at 5 when I started walking home!! (I have figured out a shady route home - as long as I go around 5 - before that it's still pretty toasty and not too shady.)

But I digress - as I am also wont to do - and need to get back to the topic at hand.

Namely, why we don't like warm autumn days - and what the fashion industry could do about it!

It occurred to me that what we don't like is the fact that we have to keep on wearing our warm weather clothes - good heavens, we've probably been wearing them since April and we are mighty tired of them!

But you can't really go get a new wardrobe - because it's all sweaters and layers and wool and the like. That's a real treat on a 98 degree day! Even boots are too sweaty.

So someone needs to design a California Fall Line of Fashion Essentials - and then we could at least wear some different warm weather clothes.

If you think about this, you will undoubtedly agree with me - the hot weather is a fact of life in SoCal - and we don't totally hate it - the rest of the world is watching us frolic at the beach at Thanksgiving and Christmas. And when Dad and I got married in LA in December, it was so nice after leaving a blizzard in Provo! In fact, Dad said, "Tell me again why we are going back to the ice and snow!!"

But we do want to make a wardrobe change - and someone needs to facilitate that change.

Where is Madison Avenue when you need it??

(The photos are top - Bonny in 1976 and me with my roommates Marlene, Joy, Marcia - I'm at the end in the background in 1963 - the most "fallish" photos I could find.)

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Time Capsules!!

Dad went with me to the shop - I've been looking for my Halloween stuff - and we found some of it - better late than never I guess!

But we found an old wallet of Phoebe's I think - since the photos in it were of her friends - and this was in there too!!

I think it's from 1983 or 4.

My, we were young weren't we??

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Hanging out in the 'hood!!

The neighborhood where Eliza and Matt live is lovely. Maybe I'm just a Westerner who is impressed by all the trees!! But it was a lovely time to be there - the leaves are turning and the chilly breezes brought showers of brightly colored leaves cascading around us - for our viewing pleasure!!

Theo and I took quite a few walks to the various parks and playgrounds that seem to be in abundance there. There was a John Deere tractor of some sort that seems to be a permanent fixture in one of the parking lots - so I'd let Theo climb up - it really made him happy.

Even fake steering wheels give him lots of pleasure.

I liked this sign in one of the play areas!

I was thinking that kids do understand how to put first things first!! Or maybe the grown ups who designed the park understood! Or both.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Granny Babs and Grandpa Bob

When I see photos like this - of one of my lovely daughters - I am reminded of the years and their swift passing.

When you are visiting the family and helping after the birth of a new baby, you see so much that reminds you of the years gone by. A look, a turn of a phrase, a story, habits and patterns that are so familiar. (Hester said, "You cook like my mom.")

You play "Tom Thumper, Bill Munker. . . " with a darling grandson and remember doing it with his mom!

You never forget the wonderful newborn smell and the feel of a flannel receiving blanket.

Even the tears bring back memories of nights and days with your own crying children. And you are sorry you were ever impatient. (That memory enables me to be much more patient with my grandchildren, so I guess it has served a good purpose!)

I'm not sure where Harry picked up the Grandpa Bob moniker. My nephew Joey used to call my mom and dad "Bob and Mary" - probably because he heard them call each other that while they lived next door to them many years ago. And then others started calling them Grandpa Bob and Grandma Mary. But that may have nothing to do with his current role as Grandpa Bob when the grandkids come to the house.

I mention it because the only way this would be better - being here to welcome lovely Ida to the world - would be if Harry was here - to play Grandpa Bob for Theo.

Monday, October 13, 2008

looking back through time

So, while we wait for names, here are some newborn shots of Eliza - so maybe the new Miss Selander will turn out to look a bit like her Momma!

Actually Eliza looked different than all our other kids - she had less hair for one thing. And she seemed to have more Terrill or Porter in her than Clayton or Stevens.

This was the day she came home from the hospital - the other shots were taken right after her birth - which was drug-free also. Not especially by choice - they didn't offer anything - and I guess I didn't think to ask!

I do remember that Dad and I didn't agree on a name - I wanted Eliza and he wanted Anna Magdalena. So I said to the nurse - on the delivery table - which was actually a delivery chair the hospital had just acquired and Dr. Stebbins was pretty excited to be trying it out - "Don't you think she looks like an Eliza, and not an Anna Magdalena?" And the nurse wisely said, "Oh, Anna Magdalena is too big for this little girl!" (Eliza was 7 lbs. 12 oz.)

I wanted Eliza Roxy - but Dad thought that was "too cute" or something - so we agreed on Marie - although Eliza has used Eliza Roxy a time or two!

We are excited to give Miss Selander a name - but until then we are just excited to meet her!!

Thursday, October 09, 2008

". . .I'm going there someday!"

I showed the photo to some friends at school and she was pretty impressed that we have such a great group to call family and friends.

She was especially impressed by my mom and Harry's mom - couldn't believe they were as old as they are - and looked so chipper!!

Let's hope it's hereditary!!

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

"Thank heaven for little girls!!"

Don't you just hear Maurice Chevalier singing those words when you read them??

This may become a personal fave of mine - hope Diane doesn't mind a granddaughter pic that has 6 little visitors in it!! We are happy to have Chloe on board for our granddaughter photo op!

And if Eliza has a girl, then this one will be outdated too, so I figured I'd post it now!

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

People I Love!

After spending a weekend with Hannah and Robbie, and a Grandma's Sleepover with Eve, I was reminded that we have great kids and wonderful grandkids - and we are truly blessed.

I showed some of the wedding pics at the staff meeting. Comments fit one of three categories: "They are all blond!" or "They all look like you!" or "You are so lucky!"

I try not to forget how blessed we really are. And since this photo will soon be out of date, I thought I would post it now!!

Friday, September 26, 2008

If you teach school . .

I got a new room this year - and it's a lot like moving into a new house - you have years of stuff to sort through.

But I'm getting there - I have only a 14 inch stack of files left to go through. I've tossed a lot of stuff - I should be so vicious here at home - we'd be rattling around if I could!!

But I found a page from a page-a-day calendar that said,

"If you teach school, you annoy your family, friends, and perfect strangers by correcting their grammar."

So before I toss it, I thought I'd share it with you.

It's fairly accurate I must say!!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Today's Quote

There are lots of quotes at Clifton - Counselor's Corner has one each day. And so does the daily up date - called "Need to Know" - so I'm drowning in quotes.

Some are quite good. Some are so-so. And some leave something to be desired.

Today's is one that goes in the first category: "Admitting that you are wrong is just another way of saying that you are wiser today than yesterday."

They didn't credit anyone with it. But I like what it says. I have a hard time admitting I'm wrong. Not to myself, but to others.

Looked at this way, it seems like it might be more palatable.

And accurate!

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Words of Wisdom

There's a daily feature at my school - at the close of the morning announcements, we have "Counselor's Corner" where one of the counselors comes on with some sage advice.

Friday's offering was pretty good:

Yoda: "Do or do not. There is no try."

I'm not sure the kids got it - at least not the kids in my first period class. The counselor said it "begs the question regarding the elements of action."

So what do you think it means?

What's wrong with this picture??

So what do you notice? The presence of a dish drainer on the drainboard!
Yes, the dishwasher stopped running. The repairman came and told us the motor was rusted - had to be replaced. Some kind of "silent" leak did the damage.

Of course the motor costs as much as a new dishwasher. What is this about "planned obsolesence? (There's a red line under that word - but it's too late to go look it up! Forgive me!!)

But our good friend Jim - of Mac's Auto - has taken up wood-working as a hobby and made us this lovely cutting board.

So all is not lost in the kitchen.

One of these days we'll have enough time to go look at dishwashers. Or I may give up and go myself. But then it may sit in the carport for a month til Dad has time to install it.

Meanwhile, I'm battling dishpan hands.

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Would you believe 1963 - that's a lot of years ago!!

Joy sent me this shot - I don't even remember the occasion - but that is me!! Do you love my cool sunglasses??This is a 45 year old photo - that makes it vintage!!

I'll send a photo when my vintage shoes - that I got in one of the NieNie auctions - arrive.

They look to be about 30 years old - relative newcomers I'd say!!

Aging - who knew it would become a way of life!

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Aging gracefully

All this talk from Eliza about pixie cuts got me thinking about the pixie cuts I used to get on a pretty regular basis. In fact, I didn't grow my hair any longer until I went away to BYU and my roommates encouraged me.

And I do not necessarily wake up in the morning and get surprised that I no longer look like this.

But I do often get a jolt when I see a photograph of myself - and wonder where the years went!

Anna May and I were discussing this today - how the mirror image is always a surprise to us.

I was reminded of a time many years ago - close to 40 years ago - when Dad and I lived with Helen and Pop for a couple of months the summer after we were married. Grandmother Taylor was living there too, and she usually took naps on the chaise lounge in the sun room. Often I would see her staring at her arms and hands when she awoke. Helen said, "I think she's been dreaming about a long ago time and she's surprised to see how old her skin looks."

I think I can identify with that! (This is Grandmother Taylor holding Karen.)

But my curls have certainly remained pretty much intact!! (I had long hair for most of the time you kids were growing up - and long hair pulls the curls out - the best feature of longer locks I might add!) (Except that doesn't explain why I got perms - at least I don't get them anymore!!)

Those curls just want to have their own way!!

And I think I've lost my eyebrows too!!

Friday, August 29, 2008

Goodnight, sleep tight, don't let the bedbugs bite!

So, after spending a week putting Agnes down for naps twice a day, I started thinking about my own babies and their napping and sleeping lore. (We also have Harry and Dawn's kids here for the weekend while they are belatedly celebrating their 8th anniversary and we are having some more "sleeping experiences" - in fact, I'm not sure if Baby Harry is asleep, but I'm pretty sure Dad is - and Dad's holding him! That's how most sleep experiences are that involve Dad. In his defense, he has been working long hard days since we got back from Oregon!)

Bonny was a fussy baby her first few months - but was always a good sleeper! When she got older, she got up very early - we tried putting her to bed later, but she still got up very early, so I opted to have more time to myself in the evening, since it wasn't going to happen in the morning! But after awhile, Dad thought maybe she was hungry and that's what woke her up. She often stood by our bed and intoned, "I am an hungring girl."

So we started leaving her a little snack by her bed, (the bottom half of an old daybed of Helen's which was a great little bed by the way) usually a banana and a piece of bread. And we "spied" on her a few times - it was just as Dad had suspected - she sat up, ate her little snack, and then laid back - didn't fall back to sleep, but was content to rest for a bit longer.

Harry was not fussy at all - in fact, for the first few weeks of his life, Dad would say, "When do you think he will start crying?" He was a good sleeper too - but wanted to give up naps before I wanted him to - so we had a little routine that always worked: He had a small bear my mom had made for him and I would speak in a falsetto voice and say, "Oh, Harry, can I sleep with you. I'm so tired." And Harry would say, "Yes." And promptly lay back, after patting a spot on the bed for Bear to use - and he usually fell asleep.

I think he's still a pretty good sleeper!!

Phoebe had a habit of getting up after she was toilet trained - she'd walk the length of the house on Lime to get to our room and tell us it was too dark for her to find the bathroom! I started telling her, "Go tell Dad." And she did!! Then he'd say to me the next morning, "Boy, Phoebe's really been getting up a lot at night." (The irony here is that she walked right by both bathrooms to come tell us it was too dark to find the bathrooms.

So Dad made a little trail of night lights leading to the bathroom and that took care of that. She too was a good sleeper.

Eliza, shown here holding baby Maddy, was the first of our kids to sleep in a "real" crib. I worried that somehow she wouldn't do as well - I was convinced that rolling into the mesh of a portacrib was a very comfy way to sleep - but she did fine. She slept well as long as you followed a set routine. I think she's still that way! She loved stories and always wanted lots of them. She has the distinction of sleeping well the first 3 weeks - prompting me to think that I could just jump back into my old routine - and then at 3 weeks, "woke up" and acted more like a newborn!! But everyone thought I was all recuperated, so I had some long, solo days - at least the kids were all in school then!

The moral of this story - even if your baby is Wonder Baby, still act like an invalid for as long as you can!!

Hannah slept with casts and a Dr. Brown Splint - and did fine, in spite of all my worries. And her portacrib was in Harry's room - along with his aquarium - and it never failed to put her to sleep. All the time she lived under our roof, she fell asleep as soon as her head hit the pillow!

Noah was a good sleeper - although now he claims that he has trouble falling asleep at night - and says he's been that way his whole life. Maybe his whole teen/young adult life, but not his kid life!

He has the distinction of being present for many late - night- home from dates - activities - conversations I had with Bonny - I'd be up with him for a late night feeding and Bonny would come in - it was a good experience.

So now I guess I will go and wake up Dad - so he can go to bed! And hope that it doesn't wake up Baby Harry when I do so!!

Sunday, August 24, 2008

More ruminating

This past year has been one of loss - maybe it's the season of life I am in, but it seems like I am more aware of death and tragedy. And it seems like starting with Jim's death last year, there were so many deaths that I was aware of.

Some were older people who were ready to die, but their deaths were a loss nonetheless. A friend from long ago died, a young woman I taught as a Beehive died a tragic death related to alcohol, a good friend's son died young, a favorite aunt of mine died after a brief struggle with dementia, a young boy in our ward who had been severely disabled died somewhat suddenly, an older sister I had interacted with quite a bit when I was Relief Society president died and we were needed to put a service together for her. The losses seemed to pile up -more than I remembered from past years.

And now I am not so much hearing about deaths, but tragic illnesses and accidents. A young daughter of friends of Phoebe has been diagnosed with leukemia, a young couple (who I only know about through blogging) with 4 small children was severely burned in a plane crash last weekend, couples I know are separating - some of them young who don't seem to know better and some of them old enough to know better!! (I don't mean to be judgemental here, but sometimes I think we live in a throwaway world and people sometimes think of marriage as expendable.)

And so I think I shouldn't complain about the hours Harry keeps when he's in the middle of a job, or the amount of work it's going to take to get my classroom in shape, or the weeds in the garden, or the closets that have not been reorganized (were they ever organized??), or the solictors who knock on my door, or the phone calls that come when I'm trying to take a nap or read a book, or the paint job the house needs that I don't see happening any time soon, or the price of gas, or the hassle it is to get subs for my temple assignment, or just going to work each day!!

Instead I should celebrate the opportunity I have to serve others, the fact that we have a house we can call home, the wonderful husband who loves me, the car I have to drive when I need it, the friends who are so willing to listen to me, the great kids and grandkids I have the pleasure of being with very often, the beautiful flowers and trees that line the streets of my town, and the job I have that pays well and is actually not a bad job at all.

Why does it take sorrow and sadness to refocus our thinking?

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Late night ruminations

I am working at the temple this week on Wednesday, Thursday, Friday day and Friday night and Saturday day. It sounded like a good idea when I set it up last May!! (I am paying back the woman who worked for me when we went to South America in July - and also working our regular 3rd weekend shift.)

And it sounded like fun for H and I to spend some time alone - well, we are alone a lot, but time alone where the phone wouldn't interrupt us and we wouldn't be bothered about all the undone projects that you see when you are at home.

But like many goood ideas, life got in the way. The job Harry is winding up has not gone along in an extremely timely manner - so he is working the day shift at the temple and then going and working nights with Noah on the job.

Hannah and Robbie came in tonight - I went to LAX to pick them up - got in the bus lane - freaked Hannah out I guess!! So we enjoyed a little late night dinner and conversation before I took them to their own personal temple apartment to spend the night - and then I will take them back to LAX for their flight to Hawaii and then on to Kwajelin - I'm pretty sure I spelled that wrong.

So I'm trying to enjoy this alone time that doesn't include Harry. A bit of reading, a bit of snacking, a bit of blogging, a bit of walking, a bit of working on my talk for Sunday, a bit of catch up with my correspondene - guess I shoud head to bed for a bit of sleeping.

For those of you who think it gets simpler when your kids get older - it doesn't.

For those of you who think working at the temple is a piece of cake, it's work. (Albeit work certainly worth doing!!)

For those of you who think being alone is a drag - it can be, but sometimes it's a little treat.

For those of you who think the temple apartments aren't very glamorous - they aren't. But the weather here is lovely, and once the lights are out and you're lying there enjoying the coastal breeze, it really doesn't matter that it's not glamorous.

For those of you who think the best meal is one you didn't have to fix yourself, that can be true. But sandwiches and pumpkin chocolate chip cookies make a great late supper. Even if you fix it yourself. (And Hannah made the sandwiches tonight!!)

For those of you who always take the freeway, taking Sepulveda to LAX is way easier. (at least when you are coming from the LA Temple.)

For those of you who think space equals luxury, it doesn't always. A tiny, cozy apartment can seem luxurious - no thanks to me - we are using an actual couple's apartment, so they have "cozied" it up already.

For those of you who are tired of reading this, I'm getting tired of writing too - so buenas noches, as we say en espanol!!

Sunday, August 03, 2008


So, I was reading a friend's blog, and she was offering parental advice. And she referred to another post where she had also given advice. Maybe this is a blogging thing - lists or bullets - maybe because it gives people something specific to comment on.

Much of it was very good advice that I happened to agree with. I disagreed with some of it. That's what keeps life interesting though.

I have been asked to speak in two different ward sacrament meetings with our Stake President. My topic: Keeping Marriages Strong.

So I have actually been asking people what they think keeps a marriage strong. But most of their answers have not been fodder for a sacrament meeting talk.

Seems like parental advice is easier to give and respond to than marital advice. Maybe more is at stake. Maybe it's just too personal. Maybe no one really knows the answers.

So here's some parental advice from me. (I'm usually loathe to give that kind of advice - since my kids are pretty well grown and people can actually see how the advice came out!!)

But I hang out with my grandkids a lot - and I'm around other kids. But mostly I teach middle school, and I can really see what a lot of parents have not done!!

There's nothing wrong with packing lunches and fixing breakfast for your kids - it's a pretty slick way to show them how much you care about them. My mom and my dad fixed breakfast and lunches all the time for us kids - at least when I was growing up - there was something steadying about knowing my world was so well ordered.

If you get a sleeping bag for your kids to sleep in, you can even do away with the bottom sheet.

Good shoes do make a difference. So do good haircuts.

Turn the T.V. and video games off on week nights - trust me on this one. T.V. and video games are ruining the school experience of countless kids. Your kid may do fine with it - but you won't know until it's too late. I'm seeing the impact of a "visual" world on kids in the classroom - they can't connect unless it's visual.

Read to your kids - I think the world has recognized this one - it has become de riguer (that's a French phrase and I'm pretty sure I'm spelling it wrong.) So be sure you are enjoying it - and not just doing it because you have to. Kids can spot a phony.

Don't sign your kids up for stuff they say they don't want to do - and don't suggest it if they don't ask - but be prepared for them to refute all that when they are older - it will then be your fault that they didn't get to do it.

The best advice of all though, came from my mom, mother of 12, shown above with her first 4 kids - (I'm the tow-headed one with ringlets on the right) - who said, "Never do anything when your kids are asleep that you can do when they are awake."

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

"Wrote a letter to my love and on the way I lost it."

This summer has found me misplacing and/or losing things to a degree that is at least noticeable - therefore significant, yes??

For starters, I lost two of my favorite folding/patio/beach chairs. I left them at Sycamore Cove when we had a family gathering there. I remember carrying them and then setting them down against a tree. It was very dark and we were parked on the street. Stuff was getting put into lots of cars and I just forget that I'd left them there - actually, I asked Noah to go get them and they weren't there when he went back - or at least he couldn't see them in the dark - who could??

I've mostly gotten over that, but occasionally - like when I am sweeping the patio, I notice their absence. I think the blue one, which I liked for its portability and vivid color was actually one that someone left at the Clayton Reunion 5 or 6 years ago - I called my cousin thinking it was hers but she said it wasn't. No one else claimed it, so I kept it. Maybe my time was up - maybe it's like the traveling pants!

Of course, the day before the wedding I lost the key Sue Graham had given me. Spent the day combing the house, the car, emptying wastebaskets, scouring behind everything. Nada, zip - wasted a lot of time fretting. It showed up in my cosmetic bag on Monday as I was packing for our trip. I won't even hazard a guess how it got there.

Then of course I lost my famous black power/peace symbol hair pik in Bolivia - lost is not the right word, it was taken from me - declared to be a weapon!! Alas, I have mourned its loss and actually I'm getting along fine without it - there are lots of combs and brushes in the bathroom drawers - things others have lost? (Maybe they just left them - on purpose!!)

And finally, I bought a lovely pair of earrings at the market in Chillan - they are nascar - I'm not sure of the spelling but it refers to them as being from seashells. I really liked them and Alejandra said, "Oh they are lovely, you should buy them." So I did.

And when I got home, I wore them every day - until one day I was in Target trying on shirts - and I guess one got lost - because that night one was missing. I went back to Target the next day and asked at the Lost and Found. They were sympathetic but couldn't help me. In fact one said, "They come in with vacuums at night. An earring doesn't have a chance."

Not very encouraging.

Once I lost a favorite pair of sewing scissors - in fact, I lose scissors all the time. And months later they showed up - in fact all the scissors I've ever lost have eventually showed up.

I don't like to lose things. When my kids were little, I'd go through their games, puzzles and Fisher Price people at night to be sure all the pieces and parts were there. Once I was looking for a game piece - I had emptied the family room and it just wasn't there. Months later I found it - in the light fixture.

There is hope, but not for my earring.

The photo does not show me wearing the earrings I lost. I just thought I'd put it in - I'm flanked on the left by Gonzalo and on the right by Arvolo - the 2 sons of the Sierra family. They are charming young men. I miss them.

Monday, July 28, 2008

"Si vas para Chile . . "

The above is the title of a Chilean folk song - and it's beautiful - if I knew how to link so you could hear a song, I would.

But I digress - this post isn't really about the song. But it is about Chile, and our recent experiences there. What a fine time we had - and not in the usual sense. What I loved was all the new "life experiences" I had. One of the areas that was impacted was eating! Here is a shot of Sylvia and me enjoying s'mores - at least the Chilean version we cooked up - after I had told her about camping and girls camp and s'mores. Sylvia was really the only convert to the delicacy.

This is the Sierra's home in Chillan - it is out in the "country" and they have several acres - and a swimming pool and a number of outbuildings. It was winter there, and this shot was taken on a rainy day. Elisa grows flowers, herbs and other vegetables that are included in the meals.

Our bedroom overlooked the pool on one side and the lush countryside on the other. And it was very lovely and comfortable. We had out own lovely bathroom too - with a jacuzzi which we didn't use. I'm not sure I know how to use one!

One day we went out to eat with the extended Sierra family at one of their favorite restaurants. The beef was tender and delicious, and I am a fan of South American mashed potatoes - somehow the seem "heartier" or something - it's hard to describe.

When we arrived, Arvolo brought me flowers and we posed for a snapshot - Diana, Elisa, me, Carla and Sylvia.

We started the day with very leisurely breakfasts and then we'd go do something and then we'd have dinner in the afternoon - usually more than one course - soup, salad, meat, side dishes - and after every meal, herb tea. What a delightful habit - I have been continuing it since I got home. Dad commented, "You've never been a fan of herb tea before." But I discovered that with a couple of teaspoons of coarse sugar added, it's quite delightful. Also, I've discovered many new flavors too!

At night, we'd gather around the kitchen table and everyone would pull out what they wanted to snack on - and we'd talk and snack!! (The afternoon meal was in the formal dining room.)

Like I said before, it was a wonderful

Monday, July 21, 2008

Monday, Monday - where are the Mamas and the Papas when you need them??

Well, here it is Monday morning again - last Monday we were in Iquique, Chile, getting ready to fly to Chillan.

And the Monday before that we were in La Paz, getting ready to go to the Embassy to see Alice and Dale.

And the Monday before that we were running around like madmen getting the detrius from the wedding swept up and packing for our trip to South America.

And the Monday before that, we were running around like madmen getting the details for the wedding in some kind of order.

And the Monday before that, I was reveling in the fact that it finally wasn't a school Monday morning and I could sleep in .

And the Monday before that, it was a school Monday morning, but I was sustaining myself with the fact that the next Monday would not be a school morning.

And if I don't watch out, it will soon be the Monday morning that school starts.

But, lucky me, school starts on a Tuesday this year!!

Ah, "Monday, Monday, can't trust that day!!"

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Blogging All Over the World

While the boys visited, Alice and I blogged!!

Have computer, will travel (or should that be will travel and find computer!!)

We are having a fine time, by the way!!

Monday, June 30, 2008

What a "to do" over a "to do!"

This photo has nothing to do with this post - other than being a photo of the author. I just hate to post without a photo!!

We are leaving tomorrow early a.m. for Bolivia via Lima, Peru. Since we just finished a wedding here, you can imagine the chaos that surrounded me. Food stuffs, paper goods, missing shoes, toys, dirty laundry, the chaos of living, all needed to be taken care of. And bills had to be paid, a dress had to be returned, notes needed to be written and sent, dry cleaning had to be picked up - it was endless.

So last night I made a list of everything that had to be done and vowed to get up and get right at it.

So I got up in a timely manner and started doing things! I just got dressed - left my shower for later - and didn't even get breakfast until about 9 a.m.

So you can imagine my chagrin when I checked my list after 3 hours of being up and working - and I had nothing to cross off!

I need to take a refresher course in list making - either that or be discouraged!!

Needless to say, it's 10 p.m. and every item on the list is crossed off.

I will have more to say when I return in 18 days.

But it won't be about lists.

Monday, June 16, 2008

When you have to do list a mile long, it must be time to blog!!

When I have lots to do, I tend to do extraneous stuff that really doesn't need to be done - like blogging!! (And you all know what I should be working on these days - although in my defense, much of the wedding stuff can't be done until right before.)

But while getting the house ready for the flood of visitors to arrive, I have been putting over the door hangers on all available doors - to keep stuff up and out of the way - and to keep my stuff that's usually in the room where Theo is sleeping more accessible!! (As in during nap times!)

As you can - or maybe you can't - imagine, it's driving Dad nuts - but he's wisely not saying anything!! It's not like he's not used to it!! I've been an over the door hanger person my whole life I think!

When we were first married, I don't think they had BED,BATH and BEYOND or over the door hangers, so I used to hang stuff up in doorways or on window-curtain rods. That really drove him nuts.

One time I came home and he'd taken all his shirts out of the closet and hung them all over the house - a kind of in-your-face statement about what he thought about my proclivity for using odd places to hang clothes!! To my credit - and his - it turned out to be a great joke and we laughed about it - together!!

But I come by all this honestly. And I have been thinking about it while stashing stuff all over the place in preparation for the descending hordes!!

When I was a young girl growing up, we lived in a small, converted garage - while my dad built the "big house" next door. When he started, it was going to take 6 months. And it ended up taking 6 or more years!

I don't remember feeling deprived at all - there were two bedrooms - one for the girls and one for the boys - my folks slept on a hide-a-bed in the living room. I actually remember sleeping on an overstuffed chair in the living room - I remember hearing a rooster crow in the morning. I must have been 5 or so. It wasn't uncomfortable - it was a big chair - and I was a small girl!

The house had one closet - which was quickly overwhelmed by the needs of the eventually 10 people who lived in the house before the "big house" was done. And so clothes were hung on curtain rods at the windows - and soon the curtains disappeared and the clothes provided all the privacy we needed.

So why should I think it odd - or even not sensible - to hang stuff on over the door hangers??

Besides, it adds texture to the decor - and I don't forget what clothes I have and keep wearing the same ones.

And I have options when I forget to take stuff out of the room before Theo goes down for his nap!