Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Giving Hallmark a run for their money!!

Here's the card the Bolander girls made for me!! Click on it to read the words - I've gotten lots of birthday cards over the years, and this may just be my all-time fave!!

Thanks to everyone who always makes my birthday "such a special one!!"

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Grandchildren are an heritage of the Lord!!

For our ward conferences this year, we have had the theme of laying up treasures in heaven. We have one more conference to go. As an introduction, I have been sharing the story of when Bonny and the girls evacuated to our home during the Malibu fires. Esme had a big white box with her when she came - she told me it was her treasure box. I said, "Oh, did you put in your American Girl doll?" And she said, "Oh no, Grandma, you can buy those with money. These are my treasures that money can't buy."

She had just started kindergarten a few weeks before. The box contained the papers and artwork she had been bringing home since she'd been going to school. I have often thought of that experience when evaluating things I am wondering about keeping. She makes a very valid point!

It was my birthday a week ago, but the "Little Women" gave me some cards they had made for me today. They were so sweet. Some sample lines, "We always have so much fun when we are with you," and "You always come up with good books to read," "I am so glad that you are my grandma because you are so nice and so smart," "You have shown me hundreds of great books," and maybe my favorite, "You are a great example of the gospel, which I have learned a lot about from you."

Once again I learn a great lesson from these wonderful children who are a part of my life.

P.S. Eve and Porter made me cards too - Porter's is a gem "Happe Birthday luv Porter." That little guy can really melt your heart - or make you laugh out loud - like tonight when he told my brother Lyn that he might be forever being a snake under the table - then proceeded to slither under it in record time!

Eve, in true feminine fashion, added color and glitter to her card - and said "U Shine Grandma!!"

The Fillmores sent me a musical voice mail - and Agnes's voice stood out from all the rest - I've saved that one!

Some days I think that the reward for going through parenthood is your grandkids!!

Friday, May 27, 2011

Father/Sons Campout

Dad is off to Father/Sons with Harry, Porter, and Baby Harry. Noah usually declines these days - his Friday nights are probably more seductive than a short night in a tent! And Dad may come back home later. And maybe go back up for breakfast - wouldn't exactly appeal to me either!!

But to a little boy, I guess it's just the best thing ever. I know Harry and Noah were always excited to go when they were younger. And I know my brothers always went with my dad - he was not a camper at all - I think he always slept in the back of the station wagon! But it has its allure, that's for sure!

One year Dad took Porter because Harry had to work I think. He was amazed at how Porter hurried to bed and then said, "Okay, now let's tell scary stories!"

Since I've never been to the Father/Sons Campout, I'm not sure why Dad doesn't take many pictures. Or maybe he has and never given them to me! But I'm pretty sure there would be more to choose from if I'd been there! This was what I could rustle up:

Harry with Noah in 1989.

Dad with Noah in 1994 - that's Craig Burdette in the turquoise jacket.

Noah in 1990.

Noah with John Hanke in 1995.

Here's to lots of rollicking fun at the old campground tonight!!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

"A very merry unbirthday to you, to you . . ."

We have a nice group that eats most days in the lunchroom - lots of teachers just eat in their rooms - and Marcie has taken to celebrating each of their birthdays with a special cake and some gifts. I posted the celebration she did for me earlier this week.

Marice's actual birthday is in August - when we are not in school - so we decided to have an unbirthday party for her. I didn't plan it - but was happy to contribute. The mass email said, "And we were hoping you would do the cake Barbara!"

So do the cake I did - my Apple Cake - it was a big hit - as was my very cool cake plate!!

May is full of birthdays on my birthday calendar - and now it's full of unbirthdays too!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Birthday Presents

Dad has his heart in the right place, but sometimes he just can't find the gift that in his mind will be the perfect gift.

When there were 8 grandkids - about 6+ years ago.

Eight years ago, Harry and Dawn gave me this swing for Mother's Day. And it's gotten lots of use. And I've really enjoyed it. But it is getting pretty shabby.

So Dad wanted to get a new canopy and cushions for it. He couldn't find what he was looking for, so he told me what he wanted to give me. I rummaged around and found the booklet that came with the swing, so we have been able to order a new canopy.

Now we are working on the cushions. I told Dad not to feel bad that he hadn't come up with the gift he had in mind - we will be getting it, just in installments.

It's all in the packaging, after all!

Monday, May 23, 2011

With My Birthday Buddy!!

I think this was the last time Roseann and I were together for our shared birthday. And I know I post this every year, but it's the only shot I have.

This was our very first apartment after we were married - this was the combined kitchen/living room - with no couch. You can see the bedroom in the background.

Here's to another great year for both of us - and we are exactly the same age - same day, same year - but Roseann is a few hours older!

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Wedding Bells Ring for Bernie

Dad and I went to Palmdale last night for Bernie's wedding to Nicole Gillins.

Bernie certainly seemed happy - and that is what counts!! If anyone wants his address to send congrats, let me know and I will email it to you.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

The start of something big!!

Joan will have to correct me - I think there are 57 or 58 Clayton grandkids. And here is a rather bad photo of 12 of them in 1978.

I have boxes of some pretty poor quality pictures - but every so often I drag them out and look at them - and they do bring back memories.

I think this was at Richard and Julie's house - and if I'm not mistaken, they are Jared, Michael, Sean, Chris, Harry, Phoebe, Jennifer, Erika, Betsy behind her, Rick, Bonny, and Jacob.

Ah, Memory Lane!!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Wedding Bells Are Ringing!!

I have a friend with a daughter getting married, and she asked me about finding wedding dresses with sleeves - especially three-quarter sleeves. I have sent out feelers to my sources, but I did a little sleuthing myself.

As I googled various and sundry iterations of "wedding dresses with sleeves, vintage dresses, retro wedding dresses" etc, I came across the above image.

I'm pretty sure my mom made this dress for someone - maybe not for a wedding or even a bridesmaid dress - I'm just pretty sure I've seen it before.

I love seeing old patterns I recognize!!

And if you have suggestions for my friend, as in specific stores or sites online, let me know!!

Always eager to help out a bride-to-be!!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

With a couple of my girls!

Sometimes I fear that Eliza and Hannah - and Noah for that matter - got short shrift sometimes, coming at the end of the line as they did. I was an "old" mom, I was working and going to school, I had busy callings, Dad had busy callings, money was tight.

But I suppose a case could be made for the kids at the beginning getting a "raw" deal too - we "learned" on them!! And Phoebe - well, she was pretty much smack dab in the middle and got in on some of the stress from both ends, but she seemed to enjoy her position in the family.

I'm not the best judge of how well or badly I did, and I'm not fishing for compliments. I am just glad that our kids seem to enjoy being with us now. I always enjoy spending time with them - and this weekend was a perfect example of how much fun it is to be together!

Even without the circus peanuts!

Monday, May 16, 2011

Where we've been!

My daily posting streak has suffered this past week. And it's not entirely my fault. Blogger just went down for a few days - went into a "read only" mode. And then we had to head off to DC for Hannah's graduation, and it was pretty hectic - I wasn't even around a computer long enough to write anything.

Go to Hannah's blog for a wrap-up of the festivities. Even though it was brief, it was fun to visit with the big kids and play with the grandkids. I did get to do the dishes twice, but I once again came and didn't do one load of laundry. My reputation is practically in shreds!!

Once again I marveled at the greenness that is the East - forests and rivers and green, green, green - nothing like the West, that's for sure.

And I love the row houses, and how old things are, and how history is everywhere.

I'm already looking forward to going in June!!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Testing, testing!!

We are wrapping up our testing week here at Clifton. I actually enjoy it, because the students are engaged and silent for 2 hours every morning for 4 days - and they are minimum days at that!! I can read, work, sort through files, do all kinds of work that never seems to get done at any other time. And for some reason, the students "respect" the notion of silence!!

I remember testing as a kid. I'm not sure how often it was done - perhaps all my memories have telescoped into one big memory.

We took the Iowa Tests. And I distinctly remember the questions where they showed you a picture of a hand or a foot and asked if it was the right or left! And I always had to surreptitiously salute the flag so I'd know which was my right hand or foot!! I did that for a lot of years - and have been known to do it a time for two or five as an adult!!

I'm definitely spatially challenged!

Some things never change!

Monday, May 09, 2011

Happy Nurses' Day!!

The week of May 6th to the 12th is National Nurse's Day - so hug a nurse today.

Or at least tell one thanks!!

Sunday, May 08, 2011

Saturday night musings

Several years ago I was visiting Michelle Silcock, and she showed me around her garden. She pointed out a rose bush she had planted just to get a particular bloom for her daughter's wedding bouquet. It was the Marilyn Monroe Rose. I mentioned that I thought it was striking, so Helen then proceeded to get a Marilyn Monroe rose bush for me. It does not produce lots of blooms - I'm sure I'm not doing something right. But the ones it does produce are beautiful!!

A big shout out to Robbie for sending me the link to order Quaker Puffed Rice by the case!! I cannot find Quaker Puffed Rice anymore - no one seems to stock it anymore - now I am covered. Mmm - you know it was my Grandma Stevens who introduced me to Quaker Puffed Rice. (No off-brands for me - only the original!!)

Took Mom and Donna to lunch today. And then a marathon shopping excursion around the Northridge Mall. For someone who hates to shop - which would be both Mom and me - we have been doing a lot of shopping together of late!! But Mom found what she was looking for - watch for pics from Donna! (I found a black skirt too - and you all know you can never have too many black skirts!!)

Side note: Donna called out my name - I was looking through the racks - and the woman next to me said, "My name is Barbara too." We had a nice conversation about how no one is named Barbara anymore except those of us of a certain generation. Having the same name as someone is quite the bonding experience!

Harry knows how to pick his women - he and Margit Holakoi know how to pick the flowers too!

And a florist deliveryman brought me a corsage today - the note said, "Happy Mother's Day from Bonny and the Bolanders." Sounds like a singing group from American Bandstand or something!!

I will post a photo of me wearing it on Mother's Day!!

Got a phone call from Leslie. We had a nice chat. Got a nice longish email from Alice. That was nice too.

It was a good day!!

Saturday, May 07, 2011

Sister Carrie - the movie and the book

A few weeks ago - during the Oscars in fact - the LA Times had a story about great films that should have gotten Oscar nods. One of the films they featured was Carrie - a film adaptation of Theodore Dreiser's Sister Carrie.

I first read Sister Carrie in college - in an American lit class - and as is my wont, I then read just about every novel Theodore Dreiser wrote. As a result, I actually like other novels more than this one, but this seems to be the most "famous" one.

The Times article - and other reviews I read - praise the film version, asserting that Laurence Olivier gives his finest film performance ever. And wondered aloud why he was not given an Oscar nod.

I guess I'm not a film critic - the "age" of a film sometimes gets in my way. But the final scene was certainly powerful - Olivier does know how to be tragic!

The book is worth a read if you haven't read it yet. And the film is worth a look-see if you are a film buff.

Friday, May 06, 2011

What I appear to be doing with my time!!

Quite possibly I am avoiding work. In the last month, I have read 10 books. I did make one apron. And while at Phoebe's I did her mending. And during Conference weekend, I ironed everything in the ironing basket. But it seems like I mostly read. In my defense, I have been on the plane a few times - and you need to read in airports and on airplanes.

The weather is lovely out - I should at least go sit outside and read I guess!! But it reminds me of my youth - I was always reading. I ran the water in the bathtub so my mom thought I was scrubbing the tub - my regular Saturday job - but I was reading!! I sat in my history class while positively boring Mr. Pitkanen lectured - and had a novel tucked inside my history book. I would be sent to bed since it was bedtime - and I would read under the covers with a flashlight. My brothers built and abandoned a tree house - more like a tree-platform actually - and I would sit up there and read - while listening to my mom calling for me to come in and peel potatoes or something. I loved going babysitting - long hours of reading uninterrupted after the kiddos went to bed - I always put them to bed on time and was stern and unrelenting about the necessity of their staying in bed. Parents loved me - kids not so much!

Years ago - when we lived in Cook Apartments in Centerville - I remember getting wrapped up in a book and positively abandoning everything else - Harry came home to some quiet chaos and said, "Oh, has Mom been reading today?"

Next on my list are the Port Authority books Hannah recommended. I ordered them on Amazon - and they have shipped!! I am really excited to have another series to get immersed in. The reviews called Wendell Berry "the Faulkner of Kentucky." (so much for my resolve not to buy books!!)

I believe I've said all this before. But it bears repeating!

Thursday, May 05, 2011

Let's Have a Heart to Heart!!

For the past 28 years I have had occasional episodes of a racing heartbeat. The first time it happened, I was pregnant with Eliza. It started while I was driving on Grand, heading toward Greystone. It frightened me, so I pulled over in front of a house. I sat for awhile until my heart slowed down. A woman came out of her house and asked me if I was all right. I told her I wasn't sure!!

When I got home, I called my doctor, who blithely replied that it was perfectly normal for pregnancy.

This is when I wish I was obsessive-compulsive and had been the kind of person who wrote down everything in a diary!! (My old roommate Joy would have recorded it!!) What I do remember is that over the years, it occasionally happened again - but never again when I was pregnant. Once I recall being on 5th Avenue and having a car full of kids in the old pink station wagon - and it started. I pulled over and of course the kids all wanted to know why I was pulling over. I'm not sure what I said - I just thought maybe it wasn't safe to drive while feeling that way!!

Another time it happened as Dad and I were driving home from Provo after dropping someone off at BYU. He could see my heart pounding in my chest and seemed rather frightened by it all. We were out in the middle of nowhere, and by the time we were in the middle of somewhere, it had stopped.

The episodes were infrequent, mostly under 20 minutes, and entirely random. Then when I was at Bonny's when Esme was born, it started up late at night. I was sleeping on the couch downstairs with Ara and Ella and the household was asleep. It didn't stop after 20 minutes though. In fact, it kept going for nearly an hour. Then it slowed and I figured it was gone and then it flared again. It seemed to go on all night. I was reluctant to wake Bonny. Bruce was on medication for the itching from poison oak he'd gotten in. And calling the paramedics in Malibu is tricky business. I wasn't eager for sirens to come racing up the hill!! Especially since I was sure it would stop as soon as I called them!

When I got back to school, Jan Hart suggested I see a doctor, after I told her about my episode. So I did - and I was referred for a cardiology work-up. It was fairly extensive - the results? "You appear to have a rapid heart rate with occasional racing episodes. It doesn't appear to be doing any damage." Don't you love the thoroughness of medical science?

Over the years the episodes have waxed and waned. Recently I had 3 in a row, so I went to the doctor once more. I had previously been given what is actually a high blood-pressure medication and had been told to take it when an episode began. It was effective and usually the racing stopped after a few minutes. So now they have me taking it once a day in a rather small dose.

But I think my age qualifies me for more treatment - so they also have me wearing a halter-monitor for 30 days - and it is a royal pain in the neck!! There are 5 electrodes on my chest and the wires attached go to a sensor that hangs from a ribbon around my neck. The ultimate in comfort! I can take it off when I shower!!

There's also a phone I have to carry around - it's a little Blackberry actually - if my heart races, I squeeze the two sides of the sensor and then a message will appear on the phone screen. I am supposed to scroll down and find the description for what I'm feeling - and click on that so that the central location that is tracking all this stuff can identify it. (Mostly they want to see what the activity in my heart looks like when it's happening. All the tests they have run come back normal.)

Nothing has happened yet - and I shouldn't be so flippant. But I'm thinking that nothing will happen while it's on - probably two days after it's off!! And I'm wondering how it will work going through airport security. I called the airline who said it's okay. And none of the TSA choices when you call them fits. I'm thinking I will take it off for the airport and plane ride. I will alert the LifeWatch people so they won't think I've dropped off the planet - that was their suggestion anyway.

Just thought you'd all want to hear my little medical story. It is somewhat intriguing to watch your heart beating on an ultrasound - it's good to know they can do so much. Most doctors I have talked to say, "Hmm - sounds like an electrical problem!" I love that!

A few years ago, we were getting ready to leave from Phoebe's in Davis. We were driving, so it's not like we needed to catch a plane. My heart started to race and it took a while to slow down. Phoebe kept saying "There's a hospital right down the street. We can go there and get you checked." (I had been told many times to "come in when it starts so we can see what's happening" but it always stopped before you could get yourself organized enough to get to a doctor's office or hospital!)

That one lasted a while - I could have made it to the hospital.

Hindsight is everything!

Wednesday, May 04, 2011

A Morning in May

I step outside each morning, heading off to work. We live on a lovely street. If it's gray or foggy, the mountains look shrouded and mysterious. If it's cold and windy, the sky is crystal clear. If it's damp and rainy, there is a soft, damp feel to everything. And if, as it has been for the past many mornings, it is blue-sky sunny, all the colors of the leaves and flowers simply jump at you - with joy it seems!

Our yard is nothing spectacular - but it is home and it is colorful!

And I smile often when I think about all the years and activities this yard has seen and been a part of .

And my tree - let me just say that I love my tree - and it is shading the living room. And it's providing food and shelter for the little birds that come to the feeder it holds.

The vivid colors of bougainvillea - can I just say that their tissue-thin blossoms make me smile every morning as I head out.

And finally the hedge - the hedge Dad keeps threatening to dig out and eliminate - I like it. I think anything that dresses up in showy blooms deserves to stay!!

I love May mornings!!

Tuesday, May 03, 2011

Don't they look like an army ready to march??

Somehow the lovely red chairs our kids gave us for Christmas ended up in front of the garage. I think we lined them up under the eaves when it was raining. But as I drive into or out of the driveway each day, they are there, ready to go - and they make me smile!!

Someone come over and we can sit and have a nice visit - we can even move onto the lawn if you like - where we can admire the apricot tree that we are trying to keep away from the deer, who appear determined to attack it!!

Or we can look at the moon and the stars, or we can admire the Marugg's trees, or we can smell the night-blooming jasmine or the orange blossoms.

It is indeed May, the lusty month!

Monday, May 02, 2011

My idea of exercise!!

I have never been athletically minded. I do enjoy hiking and walking, but I'm not very good about doing it with any regularity. Over the years, I have started exercise routines. However, I never seem to maintain them for very long. Although I did walk daily with Polly and Shirley for a lot of years.

I seem to need structure - especially the kind of structure I pay for. That motivates me to go at least 3 times a week to Curves, where I signed on in January.

It has turned out to be quite enjoyable. If nothing else, I love these women who frequent the place - and the two "coaches" are a hoot - if I've had a bad day, they manage to make it a good one for me!!

Can't say as I notice any monumental changes. I keep thinking my upper arms are getting more toned. They hurt afterward anyway!!

And I'm halfway to a free tee shirt!

Sunday, May 01, 2011

"Who'll make that $20?"

Saturday night was the Young Women Dinner and Bake Sale to raise money for girls' camp. Harry took the night off and served as the host and auctioneer - and he was pretty successful - Dawn says they made enough to pay for camp next year too!!

Mom, Donna, and Marjorie joined us. She and Dad were some pretty fierce bidders - we came home with more goodies than we needed - but we found homes for all of them!!

I donated a lemon meringue pie for the occasion - it took all my resolve not to buy it back!!

But I did get to lick the pan!!