Thursday, March 31, 2011

Some thoughts on aging I want to remember!

We were having an Instructional Leadership Team meeting after school - as chairman of the Special Ed department, I attend these monthly. Anyway, someone asked if anyone at our site was retiring, and all eyes turned to me. I held up my hands and said, "Not me. Not yet anyway." I get all the notices about retirement all the time - solicitations from AARP, Secure Horizons, Social Security stuff - I am in a certain demographic now - and there's not much to be done about it!! (Just remember, as you make fun of AARP, one day it will be you!)

But I mostly don't feel old - or even older. Not until I look into a mirror or see a photo of myself does it occur to me that the years are marching right along.

So I was amused to find this little ditty,

Don't Worry

At age 20 we worry about what others think of us.
At age 40 we don't care what they think.
At age 60 we realize that they haven't been thinking about us at all.

Actually there is quite a bit of truth to this - at any age. When we are worried about what we are going to wear or how our hair is looking, we are certain that everyone who sees us is being critical. The truth is, they are mostly worried about how they look!

So don't tell me if you think my hair looks funny or I've chosen badly in the wardrobe department!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

A long time ago, in a galaxy - well, maybe not a galaxy - but it was a long time ago!!

On the last day of his mission, Harry and his companion were in Northern Chile. (It was their P-day, hence the casual clothing.) They came across some gypsies - who wanted to tell their fortunes.

This one told Harry he'd be taking a long journey soon - and that he would find a beautiful girl there.

Maybe there is something to this fortune-telling after all!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

"Hair today - gone tomorrow??"

I have had long hair a time or two in my life. My tresses look long and curly here. But then my mother's hair looks curly too - and that was not natural - that had to be a bobby-pin 'do! So maybe mine was too. At this point in my life, I have a memory of Lyn dunking my head in the oil pan in the garage that sat under our car - I actually don't remember the dunking, but I do remember having my hair washed several times in a row with Tide - to get the oil out. It really stung - that memory has not vanished.

My mom preferred short hair though - on everyone. Every Easter we'd cut a cut and perm from her friend who was a beautician. Sometimes I didn't mind the perm - sometimes I did. This shot looks like I don't need any kind of perm - if you look closely at current photos of me, you will see that I still have that wave line. It has not disappeared with the arrival of the gray.

As I got older, I was more emphatic about not having a perm. As it turned out, my hair was - and still is - naturally wavy - the bane of my existence.

And during most of my teen years in junior and senior high school, I preferred a short hair do a la Mary Martin and Peter Pan. I think when you are thin and young, you can get away with any hair do. As I got older and less thin, I felt that short hair was less flattering. (I think it really has nothing to do with hair and everything to do with how I perceive myself when I am not thin! Ah, such vanity!)

I soon discovered that long hair and a baby was a lot of work - and trouble - but I kept my hair long - I just always wore it in a ponytail. When Bonny was just a few weeks old, I was feeding her early in the a.m. She spit up - a lot - and this time, when she did, it went straight down my long pony tail! Yikes, what was I to do? What I did was rinse off my ponytail, wrap it in a towel, and went back to bed!

This shot is from 1988 - after about 1993 or so, I started keeping my hair shorter - as the gray came, I didn't want to be one of those women with long gray hair.

Although I have long coveted the long gray locks of Emmy Lou Harris. If my hair would just go all gray.

I'd probably find something to complain about though!

Monday, March 28, 2011

Remembering Seminary

I've told the story before, but when I went to school in LA Unified, students started and ended each semester. I was a winter student, meaning I started school in February and graduated from high school in January. We also had a junior high format, so high school was only 10th, 11th and 12th grades. For that reason, I started going to seminary when I was in the 2nd half of 8th grade, because that was the fall start of the school year - and Salt Lake had no clue about the way they ran our system.

This photo is from our A-9 Pin Day - which would take a lot of explaining - suffice it to say, we all got pins that we proudly wore through the 2nd half of 9th grade, setting us apart as role models I suppose!

But I digress - as is my wont - we had the Seminary Sacrament Meeting program today, and it got me thinking about seminary.

Seminary then was quite different from seminary now, but it was a good experience for me nonetheless. I think I would have thought I'd died and gone to heaven if they'd had Scripture Chase - I would have aced that one totally!! But we didn't, so there's no point in bemoaning the fact. We also didn't have donuts, let alone Seminary Breakfasts or Morningsides or Scripture Mastery.

That first year of seminary was in the San Fernando building - a 20 to 30 minute drive - for a 5:45 a.m. class - so you know how early we had to get up. And then my dad had to take us to 3 different schools! He would bring a blanket and sleep in the back seat of the car while we were inside. Don't ask me why - I'm sure he thought it was the best use of his time - and it probably was!

A funny story about that year - I was sure my dad had awakened me - I was dressed and pressed and ready to go - I went in to tell him I was ready - and he said, "It's 4 a.m.!" Some how I'd gotten up at 3 I guess and back then, getting ready meant I'd taken the curlers out of my hair and was wearing an ironed cotton full skirt with a full-petticoat underneath. It 's kinda tough to go back to bed in that regalia, let me tell you. Not sure why I didn't notice that no one else was up!! Maybe I was sleep-walking!

My first seminary teacher was Sister Ina Easton. She had had polio as a child and walked with a very noticeable limp. She would stride back and forth in front of us, limping the whole way. We met in the Cultural Hall - the chairs were in a semi-circle - and she read and talked and exhorted us daily.

She was a powerful teacher - and kept us all spellbound as she spoke about the Book of Mormon. She didn't have visual aids and there were no slide shows or recordings to listen to - I don't even think we had a blackboard. She had a testimony, and she bore it with great emphasis. We had some big Samoan boys in the class who were football players. If they weren't prepared, she could light into them fiercely - and they cowered at her upbraiding - and didn't do it again!! She was my teacher for 2 years, and I count it a great blessing in my life to have been taught by her.

After San Fernando, we were meeting at the Institute Building across from what is now Cal State Northridge. My teacher was Sister Ida Ellis. In retrospect, I'm thinking she was in the beginning stages of pregnancy about mid-way through the year. She would lean on this grand piano that was in the room where we met and have us go around the room reading. It was somewhat mind-numbing. My heart goes out to her now, thinking about getting up early when you are nauseated - and then facing a room full of teens - some of whom were not excited to be there. I don't remember too much about that year, but in later years I would run into Sister Ellis in the temple. She always made it sound like we'd had a fine time - so I went along with her!

My last year of seminary was taught by Brother DeManranville. He was young and handsome - and married of course, but that didn't stop me from having a major crush on him! He was more like what seminary teachers are now - lots of activities in class, slide shows, visual aides, and he always had stories to tell. He also challenged us to read the scriptures every night - and you need to understand that it hasn't always been a given that someone would feel incomplete at the end of the day if they hadn't prayed and read their scriptures.

I immediately took the challenge - and I remember him saying that I wouldn't last a month reading every night. I kept it up all year - and then he moved to New Zealand to teach in the church schools there - so I kept reading, thinking that he'd be back and I wanted to say he was wrong and I was still doing it!!

I've never seen or heard anything about him - but I kept up my every night streak for about 5 years before I faltered - and it's been a challenge ever since!! (I wax and wane with my diligence, I'm afraid, although I've done better the older I get!)

I had a semester of high school left, the fall semester, but I was finished with the 4 years of seminary instruction, so my last semester meant I had to find a ride to school every day!! I don't recall "missing" seminary - mostly I missed the automatic ride to school - most days I could time it so I went with my dad when he went to pick up my siblings and take them to school - by now we were having seminary in a local Granada Hills Ward building and we all went to the same school.

I don't have lots of specific memories about seminary, but I'm pretty sure it was a good influence in my life. They also had Senior Seminary Day - something I looked forward to and was not disappointed when it occurred. Many stakes combined for a day-long event on a Saturday - my year it was in Long Beach - classes, lunch, and a testimony meeting that I still remember to this day. There was probably a keynote speaker too.

All of our kids have gone to seminary and had good experiences. You might say we are a Seminary Family. (Dad didn't go to seminary as a youth, but he has taught seminary more than enough times to make up for that!)

It's good to remember those early mornings.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

20 years ago!!

It strikes me as odd that something from the 90's is 20 years ago!! I remember going to my twenty year high school reunion - that seemed "old!" The 90's still seem "new!"

Dad and I are pictured here with Lindy and Bonnie Robison - he and Dad were missionary companions twice. He and Bonnie live in Michigan - and he went to graduate school there. Their Christmas letters were always full of stories about pipes freezing or other hazards of cold weather. Or they wrote about an insomniac toddler who drove them to the point where they taught him to turn out all the lights when he finally went to bed! And then this same toddler was called to be a missionary in Utah and that letter was funny too - but I think I'd need to quote it to get it right. Something about being a stranger in a strange land!

We have not seen them since this time although we are in touch. I guess it's about time for another 20 year reunion!!

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Remembering about having fun!

This photo is identified as July 1998, but I don't think it is. Noah doesn't look 11 here - and it's a beach in Santa Barbara and Bonny and Bruce weren't in Santa Barbara in 1998. I remember the occasion - at least I think I do - either Leslie was here or Alice was here and we drove up to see Bonny.

So much for labeling photos!

Anyway, this one is the trip to Yosemite in 1991 - and that's Noah as a 4 year old, sitting on that old stool that we still have, in his Batman cape - the one that was attached to a tee shirt. He wore that one out I think.

I wish it was a close-up, though you can click on it for a better view. It just seems like Noah is there waiting for adventure to happen.

Kind of a good way to start a day.

I need to remember that!

Friday, March 25, 2011

The Way We Were!

I never want to forget these wonderful young women who were my college roommates.

Front to back, Marlene, Joy, Marcia, Barb - I guess Pat took the photo - Fall, 1964, Heritage Halls stream.

And I hope we can continue to be in contact with one another. We had a round robin letter for over 15 years, but even that "bit the dust" to quote a somewhat hackneyed idiom. Supposedly we were going to email - we even started a blog - but the communication is sporadic now. (Actually, sometimes the "letter" took over a year to go around, so that is actually pretty sporadic I suppose!)

Pat, Marlene, Marcia, Barb, Joy - Summer 1991

But last Saturday I got an email from Marcia - she is smack in the middle of the group in the photo above - and her daughter is a fan of Kacy's blog, and she had guessed that the Barbara Terrill in Kacy's post called "Momness" was her mom's old roommate, so Marcia was forwarding that info on to me - thinking that maybe I hadn't seen it.

It's still a small world - I don't ever want to forget that!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

What I want to remember -

I think that today I want to remember that Noah is a sweet boy under all the swagger.

I want to remember the fun trips to the beach with the YM/YW. I want to remember that there have been lots of good times.

That's what I want to remember.

(and I hope I never forget how good s'mores are!!)

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Something I want to remember to tell you!

I don't want to forget to let everyone know that Henry called me and left a message that he'd gotten a "pretty good part" in the annual school musical!! (I love messages on the phone from the grandkids - it's worth having an answering machine just for that!!)

He is Smee in the musical Peter Pan!! And he will be great!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Remember When?

I remember the occasion for this photograph. It was a graduation party for Karl at the park across the street from Harry and Dawn. Since Annika is the baby in this photo, it was probably 2005 - in the spring.

But I have lots of photos that I don't remember at all. I'm in them, so I know I was there, but I don't remember the occasion or the event itself. I usually know that the event happened, but the photo doesn't conjure up anything. I'm not thinking it's a sign of dementia or something - I was looking at photos 30 years ago that I couldn't recall!

The photo below is just such a photo. I'm there, but not only do I not remember the occasion or even the time frame, I don't have any memory of that pampas grass we are all standing in front of!

I have a journal that I kept while I was in France going to school. I read some of the entries and have no idea what I am writing about. I know I wrote it, but I have no memory of the event. Other events I remember with crystal clarity. Perhaps the way I wrote them was unclear - even to me.

This is all leading up to a favor that was distributed at the Arcadia Ward Relief Society Birthday Meeting last week. The evening focused on remembering the important events and lessons in our lives. They shared some of the history of the Arcadia Ward too. The booklet is entitled "Things I Want To Remember," and there is space to note things you want to remember for the next twelve months. There is space for each week of the month.

I was thinking that would be a nice blog theme - what do I want to remember about today? About this week? About this month? About this year?

For three days now I've tried to pinpoint what I want to remember about the last three days. I haven't come up with anything yet.

Hopefully the rest of the week will be more memorable! Or less forgettable!!

Monday, March 21, 2011

Spring is Sprung Indeed!!

I never see daffodils without thinking of William Wordsworth and this poem.

"I Wandered Lonely As A Cloud"

I wandered lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o'er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host, of golden daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.

Continuous as the stars that shine
And twinkle on the milky way,
They stretched in never-ending line
Along the margin of a bay:
Ten thousand saw I at a glance,
tossing their heads in sprightly dance.

The waves beside them danced; but they
Out-did the sparkling waves in glee:
A poet could not but be gay,
In such a jocund company:
I gazed - and gazed - but little thought
What wealth the show to me had brought:

For oft, when on my couch I lie
In vacant or in pensive mood,
They flash upon that inward eye
Which is the bliss of solitude;
And then my heart with pleasure fills,
And dances with the daffodils.

Now we just need some sunshine and it will indeed seem like spring!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

8 years ago today!!

Larry Steimle emailed this photo to me - dated March 20, 2003.

I'm pretty sure this was part of Youth Conference that year - the Saturday night part. Dad still wears that fleece pullover too!

Dad and I were in the Stake YM/YW Presidency with Hoopes, Menloves, and Cards. It was fun while it lasted.

But I can't say I'm sorry it ended. Working with the youth today would wear me out. School is all I can manage!!

Speaking of which, it's back to school tomorrow, so off to bed I go!!

Saturday, March 19, 2011

"There's a moon out tonight . . .'

Dad and I drove around Monrovia a bit tonight to get a better look at the "super moon." It is a bit cloudy around here, and at some junctures, the moon was "striped" by the clouds, but that just added to the beauty and mystery that is the moon.

We couldn't see it from our house, but we could see a "glow" in the east that we knew was this wonderful, once in a while event. Apparently this particular phenomenon was last seen 18 years ago - and will come again in 2029.

I love the moon and all it stands for.

And I love that spring is coming!!

Maybe I will go listen to "Clair de Lune."

Friday, March 18, 2011

Lost - and still lost!

I think I posted some months back about a boy I knew in college and how I was wondering whatever became of him. At the time I couldn't find the one photo of him that I knew I had. So of course I found it the other day - while looking for something else, of course!!

This shot is from BYU Homecoming 1963. We went to the game together - that's me with Janet and Joy, two of my roommates - and John Johnson, the mystery boy. Can you believe how we wore skirts and hose to a homecoming game? And to let you know what a non-conformist John was, his sweatshirt stood out - the other males were in button-down shirts - even some ties - and of course blazers!!

John was from somewhere in Virginia. He introduced me to Pete Seeger, Joan Baez, and the "real" Bob Dylan. He introduced me to folk music, the civil rights movement, and the burgeoning anti-war movement. He seemed to be on the "cutting edge" culturally. And I not only knew nothing about it all, it took me years to realize just how "cutting edge" he was. I wish I had taken him more seriously.

John was a superb dancer - he taught me a lot about that too - dancing as in the kind that went on at the Cannon Center Saturday Night Stomps anyway!

He's also the one who was friends with a certain apostle - we all three had a history class together - we'd sit at the back and carry on our own discussions as the professor droned on - it was world history of some era.

He was also on the same dorm floor as one of Marlene's friends from her hometown of Los Alamitos - so we saw him often at our apartment and elsewhere.

After my sophomore year, I stayed home before going to France. I never saw him on the BYU campus after that. Curtis was pretty sure he had not gone on a mission. And no one has any idea about him.

And how do you do a Facebook search for someone named John Johnson?

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Lost -and Found!

Grandma Terrill taught me to always count the silver!! And it's good advice. I've been known to "count" lots of things - puzzle pieces, parts to games, Fisher-Price people to name a few. A couple of years ago, I bought a set of every day stainless. It is pretty nice, and it wasn't cheap. So I took to counting the pieces every so often, and usually the numbers came out right.

A few months ago, a teaspoon came up missing. Dad sometimes takes spoons with him to work, but he didn't have it. I looked through all the drawers. I kept my eye out for it. But all to no avail.

And tonight, while making frosting for some St. Patrick's Day cupcakes, I found it - in the bag of powdered sugar. Don't ask me how it got there - I was just tickled to find it after all these months.

It reminded me of another time when something was lost - and then found. When Phoebe was a little girl, she walked all over the house, picking up things and putting them down again in the wrong places. We lived in a small apartment while our house was being built, so there weren't too many places she could hide things. We usually found everything she got her hands on.

But one day, Harry F.'s hairbrush came up missing. You can see the aforesaid hairbrush in his right hand in the photo above. It was a gift for his 4th birthday - a genuine boar bristle hairbrush with a cherrywood back - just like Dad's! A gift that delighted him, by the way!!

We hunted high and low. I don't like to lose things, so I was getting pretty frustrated. Then I thought of looking in the wastebasket - sure enough, Phoebe had dropped it in there! The hairbrush was found, just like my errant spoon. (Harry still has the hairbrush - in case you were wondering.)

After I found the spoon, I counted the rest of the service.

Now there is a fork missing!!


Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Happy St. Pat's Day to You!!

(I gave instructions to blogger to post this on the 17th - and like all good students, they ignored my instructions!!)

Every year on St. Patrick's Day, I give a lesson about limericks to my students. And the results are often less than sterling. But I feel like I'm doing my part to keep an important institution alive!!

There once was a teacher named Terrill,
Who wondered what was in the barrel.
When she took a quick look,
Over there in that nook,
What emerged were conditions unsterile.

Or maybe this one,

There once was a team Barb and Harry,
Who liked to cavort and make merry.
When what should occur,
But a very loud stir,
Obstructing a plan not to tarry!

And I promise to stop after this one,

A teacher alone in the room,
was attacking the floor with a broom.
What she found were small scraps,
that had fallen off laps,
Do you think they could chase away gloom?

Perhaps you could respond in kind?

Out of the mouths -

Do you know what I love about this note Eve left for us on Monday night? (She had been at gymnastics, which is why she'd only seen a little bit.)

I love that an almost 9 year old is looking forward to Shakespeare!!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Another good read from the Phoeb!

Phoebe has a pretty good record of directing me to books I enjoy. The only one I can think of in recent memory that just did not engage me was Velva Jean Learns to Drive - and I actually enjoyed the first half of it!

I needed a book for the plane ride last Saturday, and I had seen it on the sidebar of her blog, so I gave it a whirl. Turned out to be a great choice. The book kept me engaged, even during our ridiculous delay returning Saturday night.

One reviewer said that Helen Simonson is a "modern day Jane Austen," and that Major Pettigrew's Last Stand was a "charming comedy of manners."

I think I have to agree with them. Maybe you will too!

Monday, March 14, 2011

Ides Eve

We had our annual Ides of March extravaganza tonight. It's an interesting sort of event to host year after year. If I were someone more organized I would have chronicled its many iterations over the years, but the photo below is from the very first Ides of March party.

You probably know the story about how March 15th was Ronnie Horton's birthday - and Ronnie was our very dear friend. He had his quirks and he could drive us nuts - but we loved him and he loved us. He died probably 15 or more years ago now - seems like yesterday sometimes. He was in Spain, working as an orchestra conductor, and he had a heart attack. Phoebe and Harry were at BYU, so they went to the funeral in SLC to represent us. Unfortunately we were just not in a position to go.

Somehow it was decided that we'd dress as Romans and re-enact the original Ides of March from Shakespeare and Julius Cesar. I don't remember much else. It was at the home of Richard Hill's parents, where Rich and Katie were living while he was in law school at the U. And somehow it was decided that we'd always celebrate his birthday that way. But I don't really remember exactly when we started doing it once again, or doing it in its current manifestation. I do remember that at some point Harry cut out wooden swords for us. We sometimes used the Nativity costumes as togas. Harry abbreviated a script from Shakespeare. Over the years we have invited various and sundry individuals. Some are still coming. I should comb through my photos and see just often we have done it. I'm pretty sure we've done it every year for the past 20 or so years.

I don't know what we ate at the first one, but at some point we decided to order pizza from Little Cesar's and to have Cesar Salad. Tonight was break from tradition - and we did not have pizza! Since today is the 14th - Pi Day - we had many versions of pie and pi - Shepherd's Pie, Blueberry Pie, Apple Caramel Pie, Banana Cream Pie, Pumpkin Pie and a lovely Lemon Curd Pie from Ginger D. And we gave prizes to those who could give us the most digits of Pi!!

Some traditions are worth hanging on to!! And some are worth changing. Maybe we'll have Chicken Pot Pie next year - since Pi Day will always be the day before the Ides, we maybe have to continue to combine them.

Go here for more details and photos - and have yourself a Merry Little Ides of March!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Having Babies - And All That Entails!

We were in SLC this Saturday for Aunt Virginia's funeral. As we visited with her children, especially her daughter Susan and her daughters Julie and Stacy, I was reminded of my baby shower before Bonny was born.

My good friend and old roommate Joy was the hostess, and Susan and Virginia came for the occasion. (Harry had rented a room from Virginia before we were married, so we had gotten to know her better - and her children also.)

Joy and I in September of 1970 at the baby shower for me.

Susan had given birth to her first child just 3 months earlier, and she seemed to spend most of the evening regaling everyone with all the horrific details of her recent birth experience. I know that there were other women there who had given birth before, but I don't remember them even contradicting Susan. If they did, maybe I didn't hear them!!

Susan wasn't obnoxious. She was actually somewhat humorous in her delivery. (Pardon the pun!!)
You really have to know her, but it was vintage Susan - at least I see that now. But I was somewhat unnerved by the information she was presenting. I had grown up around babies, as the oldest of 12 I had seen pregnancy, birth, and nursing first hand. But my mom didn't "discuss it," she just did things a certain way and I assumed that was the way it was for everyone.

I didn't have a horrible experience, but it was not exactly what I was expecting. (Pardon this pun too!) I mostly think I could have been better prepared. Frances had given me a book about the Lamaze method, and I read it avidly. However, without others who were buying into that process, it didn't do me much good that first time. Th second time I gave birth, I was able to have a better experience because I knew what to ask for.

I also was not given any pain meds - so I guess I had a "natural birth." However, just because you don't have pain meds, it doesn't mean you had a natural birth! Back then - and you realize I'm practically talking about the dark ages - and they probably had better experiences in the dark ages because women supported one another totally in the birth process - the "drug" of choice was a cervical block. But a cervical block couldn't be given until you had reached a certain point in the dilation process. I was not even close to that point. When I finally got close, it was too late because I dilated all at once apparently. So no meds for me.

With subsequent births, I wasn't even particularly offered anything - probably because I was a slow dilater every time - with a fast final dilation "all at once." With Eliza and Hannah's births I finally experienced a sense of control and participation in the birth process. That certainly helped make Noah's birth - though a slow, tedious labor - not nearly as wearing as it might have been had I not known what was going on.

A baby shower for me in November of 1970, after Bonny was born. I'm the one in the floral dress next to the very blonde woman - who was my visiting teaching companion, by the way!!

I have often thought that it's too bad women get into "camps" about issues relating to birth and feeding and toileting and sleeping and all the other aspects of life with children - getting them here and getting them where we want them to be. I'm not sure why this has to be.

And we certainly shouldn't scare one another!

And scaring doesn't just mean telling horror stories!

Ties That Bind

We flew to SLC on Saturday - early a.m. - and got back Saturday - late p.m.!! (Not only is it time now to "Spring forward" but I have a 7 a.m. stake meeting !!)

It was great to see Trudy and Mary (and others) though. The years go by, things change, but family is always there.

That is the great blessing of family!


Saturday, March 12, 2011


What is it about hair and perms and length and color and cut? (And the fact that no matter what I do, I have a wave in front that will not be tamed!)

Donna and I at Phoebe's Monrovia Days Court Installation dinner - 1994 I think.

We are going to Utah for Virginia's funeral, so I am going to miss my hair appointment. I have a beloved hair stylist who moved east. But she comes back once a month for Friday and Saturday to take care of her clientele. Often the Saturdays she is here conflict with something else, so I have a hard time getting an appointment. I go longer between haircuts than I would like too.

This will be one of those Saturdays - can I survive until April??

Friday, March 11, 2011

The Beauty of Friendship!

Tonight was our ward Relief Society's Birthday celebration. We had a lovely dinner, and some fun activities. For starters, they had the tables set in a kind of square. Those sitting on the inside stayed put, and those on the outside rotated for each course. With each new group came a new assignment of something to do. One of them was to find as many things as possible that everyone at the table had in common - besides the obvious, as in we are all Relief Society sisters, we're all LDS, we're all women, etc.

Our group came up with 21 things we had in common - things like we'd all read GWTW, we'd all ridden a horse, we'd all worked outside the home, we all had gray hair, we all like chocolate, you get the picture. Marcie was our scribe, and she ended it with "We are all sexy ladies!!" Gotta love Marcie!

It got me thinking about friendship, and the many friends I have and have had over the years. The above photo is of me with three high school friends. In fact, I went from kindergarten through 12th grade with these women. We do go "way back!"

I had not had any contact with any of my high school friends since we'd graduated together in 1963. Twenty years later in 1983, there was a class reunion - and I went! It wasn't much to write home about, but I did connect with Carol, the girl on my right in the photo. We began to correspond and to get together for lunch. It was worth going to the reunion just to re-connect! She then organized another, smaller kind of gathering, in her back yard in the summer of 1985. It was a lot of fun, and many more came than had been at the other reunion that had been held in a country club.

(An important note here is that when I went to school, you started and stopped every semester. Every semester you changed classes and teachers. Kids started in February and September, and they graduated in January and June. I personally liked the system better, but it ended many years ago. I'm pretty sure it's not in place anywhere these days. The winter class was always smaller - mine had 90 kids in it - while the summer class was larger - maybe 300 or more. The first reunion had been for the classes of January and June of 1963 - the one Carol organized was for just the January class - probably why it was so much more fun!)

The above photo is my Young Women class from probably 1958 or 9 - probably before high school - but then our high school started with 10th grade. I have re-connected with only two of the girls in the picture - the two on the other end than the end I'm on. In fact, we are in regular contact - and neither one of them knows where the other two are. Both of the women I am in contact with went to BYU - one was even a roommate for one semester before I got married.

Before I digress any further, I want to note that whenever I re-connect with a friend from the past, I find that the intervening years don't seem to make much difference. With LDS friends we ask about kids and missions and callings. We find lots in common even beyond the church connections. With non-LDS friends, we talk about jobs and school and kids and husbands and family members. And we find that we have lots in common.

More significantly, however, we connect on a level that has to do with coming from the same generation. The same songs and movies and traditions and trends are like invisible ropes that connect us. (This is what connects us with other church members - the shared experiences and expectations.) I can even meet someone for the first time who is from my era and we connect very quickly. It's not impossible to connect with someone from another generation, but I often note that the connection I make with someone young enough to be my daughter often involves connecting with that shared time frame. Same with younger children - who are the same ages as my grandchildren - I find a connection related to their era - the one they share with my grandkids.

But the overriding conclusion I come to each time is that we have much more in common with one another than we have differences.

An idea that is indeed meritorious and deserves our support and consideration!!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

"The play's the thing."

For the last 5 years, we have taken the Clifton 8th graders to see a Shakespeare "sampler" at the Glendale Center Theater. It's a "play within a play" about a troupe of actors who are shipwrecked on an island. Prospero comes and tells them to prove the "virtue, civility and mystery of love" or else he will keep them forever on the island.

They start out with some sonnets, but Prospero is not satisfied. So they do scenes from Much Ado About Nothing, Romeo and Juliet, Macbeth, Taming of the Shrew, and Hamlet. In the end, Prospero tells them it's all been a dream - they have been home all the time.

It's a pretty lively performance - most of the kids enjoy it. Some do not - and some are even a bit rude - like the young lady behind me who kept repeating, "This is so boring." I finally turned around and told her I'd take her out if she didn't stop. She seemed to believe me, so she at least stopped saying it. I'm pretty sure she didn't appreciate it! After the show, the 8th grade chairman said, "This makes me think we need to start exposing kids to Shakespeare in Kindergarten!!"

We were not the only school in attendance, but the other schools were private schools. For a number of reasons, those kids were better behaved and more appreciative.

I have often noticed that many students have not been taught about appropriate behavior for different settings. We almost can't condemn them, since they may not know better.

But we did give them instructions before we left. Not following instructions may be something they learned at home however, so once again condemnation is not the answer.

So we keep instructing them at school - in lots of things!

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

Slow but steady goes the good read

I confess that I bought this book more than a year ago. I'd heard it was really good. (I actually do that a lot - buy books and then take years to read them!!)

I lifted it off the shelf a few times - read the back cover - put it back!

But while I had a student teacher, she mentioned that it was a really great book, so I got it down from the shelf once again. Even put it on my nightstand. She read and enjoyed a book I had recommended, so I thought I should pay her the compliment of reading one she had suggested.

I even started it. Read a few chapters. Put it down. Read a few more chapters. Put it down again. Mentioned it to others - got some more rave reviews.

Finally got really into it and finished it tonight.

Let's just say it's worth the read. And worth the slow beginning. It's full of beautiful language. It paints wonderful word pictures. It alludes to Shakespeare, Hamlet specifically, but like a reviewer said, ultimately it stands on its own merits.

I'm not a "dog person" but if you are, you will love this. And the dogs are well-wrought characters - in fact Almondine, Edgar's life-long dog companion, is a thinly veiled Ophelia. But it's a characterization that works very well.

I'm often the last one to discover the best sellers - but if you haven't discovered this either, I'd say give it a try.

Tuesday, March 08, 2011

Monday morning - coming around again!!

I was out of school for 2 days, taking care of Noah - or at least his meals and his laundry - and so there was a little bit of "culture shock" to go back to school today. However, like riding a bike, it all comes back pretty quickly.

It wasn't too chaotic, because I had the kids watch movies - they were related to what we have been studying, and the students have to write paragraphs about them - so at least there weren't a ton of papers strewn about the room - as there often is when a sub is there.

But the file cabinet drawer where all the IEP's are kept wouldn't close. So I transferred all the IEP's to another file drawer. And there were about 20 emails to answer. And tests to correct - in addition to a movie, the classes all had their regular Friday spelling and vocabulary tests. And I usually do the Interactive Reader in the collaborative science class I'm doing, and I had done it a week ago - but my science is really rusty - especially the physics variety - so I felt like I was standing up there speaking a foreign language. Thankfully the students are not always very awake first period, so I don't think anyone noticed. Finally, there was a new laptop for a student of mine that Beth and I had to figure out. It's not strictly a laptop, but a "notepad" computer - but not an iBook!

And Harry dropped me off because we had to take my car in for new tires.

A real Monday if you ask me!

Monday, March 07, 2011

Sunday Night Thoughts

Past Relief Society Presidents of Monrovia and Monrovia East and 2nd Wards - Spring, 2005 I want to say - but I could be wrong.
Margaret Miramontes, Jennefer Zepeda, Christy Lewis, Joan Zerbel, Sue Cornwall, Barbara Terrill
Donna Hanke, Eileen Vocelka Cranmer, Carolyn Maxwell, Shirley Heslop

When I was a child, we drove long distances to go to church. And it was Priesthood in the morning, then Sunday School, then home again for dinner and a nap, and then back to church for Sacrament meeting. Lots of random memories come to mind: getting ice on the way home from Sunday School, a big reinforced paper bag full of ice - so we could go home and crank homemade ice cream; fried chicken, a roast, meatloaf, roasted chicken - one of these always with potatoes and gravy - not much variety - except when we had the much-hated lima beans; the Sunday LA Times - spread all over the floor - trying to get the part you wanted before someone else dominated it; cutting out paper dolls with Alice; going to visit Grandma Clayton's grave at the Inglewood Cemetery and seeing the grave nearby that had an actual photograph on it - it always intrigued us; visiting Grandma and Grandpa Stevens or visiting Grandma and Grandpa Clayton or visiting Uncle Paul or Uncle Ted; occasionally having visitors to our house; sitting on the front porch with Judy Vergine contemplating the return to school on Monday.

In college, Sunday was quite different. The 3 hour schedule was not church-wide then, but that's what we did at BYU - we had Sunday School and Priesthood/Relief Society in one block. Then we came back for Sacrament meeting. We often had boys over for dinner. Lots of girls got calls from their families on Sunday. You could go visit in the boys' dorms on Sunday. There were lots of firesides. And I tried not to do homework on Sunday.

Once we were married, Sunday was this wonderful day with no work and no school. Neither one of us ever had a busy calling, so we could truly rest and spend the day together. We didn't do much - at least I don't remember doing much. It's a brief little interlude in our lives that truly seems bucolic upon reflection. Maybe it wasn't that good - but I remember it that way.

Once we had children, Sunday took on a different tone. We early on decided that we'd stay home together on Sundays, so there was no going to play or having others over to play. That meant I had to keep everyone entertained. Sometimes I fell to the task with lots of enthusiasm. Other times I was just frustrated - especially once Harry started having busy callings that kept him away. I guess you'd have to ask my kids how they remember it - my memories might be skewed!!

Often on Conference Sundays in Utah, we would take a drive to listen to Conference on the radio. Or we'd go
out to visit Alice and Dale. During the Utah years, Dad and I got into the habit of watching Masterpiece Theater on Sunday night at 9. Lots of good stuff:
The Pallisers, Danger UXB, Upstairs/Downstairs. We remember those nights with great fondness.

The move to California meant we were much closer to family, so Sunday often meant visiting or eating meals with family in El Monte, or Corona, or Granada Hills. It meant going to blessings, and baptisms, and missionary farewells and homecomings for family and friends. We still "stayed in" on Sundays, but it wasn't quite so tough to keep everyone engaged.

I do recall feeling frustrated that I never got to do the many "good" things that were suggested for Sabbath observance - napping, reading, writing letters, writing family histories, visiting teaching - seemed like the kids used up my time - once again Harry was in busy callings that kept him away. As Bonny and Harry got older, they were involved in Sunday meetings, activities, firesides - that took them away too - so it was me and the little kids once more! Often at the end of the day, I wondered why I bothered - the Sabbath didn't seem to be very "fulfilling" for me. Then I read an article in the Ensign that suggested that you not even plan for yourself. The author said that as soon as she acknowledged that she wasn't going to have time to sit and read or write letters on Sunday, the day got better. There was time during the week when kids were in school to do those things. I found that I could just turn the day over to being with the children and it all got better - most times anyway.

As all the kids got older, at least the pressure to keep kids gainfully occupied lessened. Soon everyone was busy - it was nice to gather for a meal. My main frustrations involved getting Harry to come home at dinner time - I kept pointing out to him that 4 to 6 was family time in our stake - but tell that to the missionaries who scheduled baptisms then or families who planned open houses and other events at that time or auxiliary leaders who planned meetings for that time. He certainly wouldn't tell them!!

Pretty soon I started having "busy" callings and my Sundays filled up too. It seems to have been that way for many years now. There aren't kids to entertain or manage while Harry is at meetings, but there are meetings for me to attend, and agendas to write and programs to plan and people to visit.

Now, our Sundays are fairly routine - since we are the only ward in the building, you'd think we could change our schedule now and then - but it never happens. We go to church from 9 to 12. Harry goes to his scripture reading with his Gospel Essentials class at 1:30. We have dinner with Harry and Dawn and family and Greg and others around 4:30 or 5. The grandkids seem easy to entertain and keep happy. Sometimes the girls call. Sometimes we have the grandmas over - and Aunt Donna too. Sometimes we go out to Malibu or GH.

And then it's 9 p.m. and I'm cleaning up and getting ready to head back to school - the weekend feels far too short. Funny how 20 years ago it seemed too long - seemed like the kids would never get back in school!

I'm sure a long, lonely Sunday would be tough to deal with. I know I am fortunate to have people who are an integral part of my life. Sometimes when we travel and have a Sunday all to ourselves, Harry and I aren't quite sure what to do with ourselves!!

But we usually figure something out!

Sunday, March 06, 2011

More Sewing Accompaniment

I've been making aprons again - it's that time of year - and I have borrowed some DVD's from Donna to accompany me as I do so.

I know I saw this movie when it first came out. And I know the band teacher at our school shows it every year. But I hadn't seen it since the first time I saw it. And the first time I saw it, I was not working as a teacher. I was a sub, but didn't have my own classroom.

That factor changed my perception of the film this time. For starters, I've never seen such a well equipped music room in my life - but then we only have a band, not an orchestra - or music appreciation for that matter. Secondly, there really were no "behavior" problems for Mr. Holland to deal with. Even the best teachers at our school have kids that are pretty disruptive. And finally, Mr. Holland didn't have to deal with NCLB.* That factor alone makes a huge difference.

But I did like the film very much. I always like a "feel good" movie - especially one with some great Gershwin tunes in it - and "Beautiful Boy." And I liked the P.E. teacher's persona. They captured the essence of most of the P.E. teachers I've worked with. I also liked how it scrolled through history - history I remember - like Vietnam, Nixon's resignation, Lennon's death, and popular culture too.

I may have to get my own copy for future sewing projects!

*No Child Left Behind

Saturday, March 05, 2011

Friday Night at the Movies

Dad and Noah had both seen this movie, but I had not. They were both keen to see it again, so we watched it tonight.

Talk about "the willing suspension of disbelief!"

I read some of the "explanations" that were on the Internet, but even while I was watching and not totally understanding, I still found it pretty "gripping."

And it's always good to see Michael Caine!

Friday, March 04, 2011

Some late night thoughts while doing laundry - Noah's laundry that is!

What shall I wear today?

Noah on his 10th birthday I think.

Noah is here recuperating from his surgery. On the way home from the hospital we stopped by his place to pick up clothes, computer, some movies he wanted to watch - the important stuff!

He didn't have clothes - he had laundry! While he waited and napped and texted and phoned and watched his movie, he wore Dad's sweats. I sorted his wash - my compassionate service act for the day. (Actually, Noah always does his own laundry - but I have been itching to do it because he doesn't sort - and that drives me nuts!! I got my big opportunity today. And I bleached his whites!!)

But as I sorted, emptied pockets, and turned things right side out, I noticed several features of Noah's wardrobe.

Number 1 - he's had some things a very long time! (Old tee shirts from Scout camp for example and the one from the Death Valley Marathon!)
Number 2 - many items are very worn, tattered, and covered with paint. (From the job sites, no doubt.)
Number 3 - lots of his clothes have been altered in very creative ways - sleeves removed, pajama bottoms cut off to be boxers, wool sweaters and scarves cunningly shortened. (He calls it "rolling dirty" and don't ask me why.)
Number 4 - he has more white shirts than Dad does! (Many are the ones Dad didn't think were "good enough" anymore!)
Number 5 - he has a lot of jackets. (Gifts mostly - I guess everyone worries that he's cold! He wears jackets all the time though - so it's a good gift to give him!)
Number 6 - he sports quite a few high-end brand names. (J.Crew, Geoffrey Beene to name two.)
Number 7 - he has hardly purchased any of them himself - everyone seems to give him clothes - as gifts, castoffs or hand-me-downs. (Harry F. and John Watson were big-time contributors.)
Number 8 - it is apparent that Dad and I buy him a tee shirt every time we take a trip anywhere!! (They mostly involve marathons and other races! )

Noah has a unique skill of being able to live on little - and to make that little go a very long way!

Wonder how long the whites will stay white?

Thursday, March 03, 2011

Making the best of things!

You probably know about Noah's appendectomy - frankly when we got the early a.m. call from him, telling us that he thought he was having another attack of kidney stones, and I heard Harry say, "I'll come right over," I assumed it had something to do with his mom! And I'd just had a dream with Noah in it!

Well, your kids are always your kids. When they are tiny and keep you up at night with coughs, and colds, and upset tummies, you think this is a passing phase.

But when they need you, you need to be there.

That phase never passes.

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

Summertime in the Valley

During the summer of 1966 and 1967, I worked for LAUSD as a Summer Playground Supervisor. It was a great job. I worked 9 to 3. On Wednesday, we had to go to an in-service from 3 to 5, but that part was fun too. We learned games, crafts, and activities to do with the kids. We did this with the other playground workers from the other schools.

When I click on this picture and see the faces of the girls, I still don't remember their names, but I remember them!!

I had fond memories of the summer playground programs they had offered when I was in elementary school, so I went into the job already enjoying it! Often I took Leslie and Donna with me. I'm sure my mom thought it was great to get a couple of the kids out of the house on a summer day! And we had fun together.

I have lots of memories. The person I worked under at each site - for those two summers I was at two different sites - was a full-time teacher. They were men who had come into teaching from other careers, and they had interesting outlooks on life. One was doing it because he said he was tired of digging ditches in the summer! When we went to our training meetings, I met up with my old 4th grade teacher, Mr. Dood. (Yes, it was pronounced "dude" and he was as handsome as I remembered him when I had a crush on him in 4th grade!)

Somehow I managed to beat a lot of 6th graders at checkers. So I became the "checker champ" and was constantly being challenged to maintain my "title." The "big kids" as in 5th and 6th graders, were always bringing around a neighbor or cousin to see if they could beat me. I got nervous, worrying that if I lost, I would let the kids down. Somehow I managed to not get beaten. Probably more luck than good management, although I'm still pretty good at checkers.

The most amazing feat of all though, was the girls' 6th grade volleyball team I coached. I know, all of you who have been around me for any length of time know that "athletic" or "sports-minded" is not a term that is ever applied to me. But I was assigned to coach the girls. And I did. And they took 2nd place in an all-city Los Angeles Unifed School District volleyball tournament! So there!!

I loved those girls. And I loved working with them. I had had a volleyball class at BYU, so I felt mildly qualified. What I quickly discovered was that they were pretty good at the game and thought I was too. But they didn't expect me to show that to them - telling them what to do seemed to suffice for them. Years later when I taught P.E. at Wildrose to 4th and 5th graders, I often thought of those long-ago days on the playground - at a school site I can't even remember the name of!

When Harry and I got married in December of 1967, I invited the team to my reception - and they came! They had chipped in and bought me a milk glass candy dish that had a circle of wood in the center as a kind of handle I guess. I used it often - so often that the wood wore out! I loved thinking of them every time I saw the dish.

Those two summers I worked on the playground have actually served me well over the years. When I worked in Cub Scouts, or Brownies, or even when I was asked to do crafts at Girls' Camp, I would remember the days on the playground. I would remember that kids like to play and win, but they like to see an adult win too - someone they can call a hero. Kids like to make things. Kids like to play games. Kids like to be taught how to do new things.

I don't remember any names. But I can conjure up a hot summer day under the trees on the playground. I can see the carom board set over the trash can. I can smell the glue in the craft room. I can feel kids breathing down my neck while I'm trying to win yet one more game of checkers.

As Beverly, who is the director of the nursery school our kids attended, often said when I was there working with her at SMCNS, "It is work worth doing."

It was indeed work worth doing!

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

A story to tell -

Dad has given two talks in the last two weeks - and is giving another one in two weeks. After, many came up to me and said, "I love your husband's stories. I could listen to him forever."

Me at my electric typewriter in November of 1965 - in my bedroom at home.

Larry Steimle said, "Have you been writing these down?"

Which got me thinking - and it's not the first time I've thought it - that we do need to get all our stories written down!

Or get all the blog posts printed!

One more task to start doing when I retire!!