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Archive for May, 2008

Sunshine Vitamin D

Posted by Nancy on May 31, 2008

There is only one vitamin the human body can synthesize on its own – vitamin D.  All other vitamins come from the food we eat, mostly synthesized by plants.

There are several forms of vitamin D, and the body creates D3, or cholecalciferol, from 7-dehydrocholesterol in the skin.  It requires at least two or three weekly exposures of ten to fifteen minutes each without sunscreen, with the sun at least 45 degrees above the horizon, for this to happen.  This form of vitamin D: affects the immune system by promoting anti-tumor ability; regulates calcium and phosphorous levels in the blood; promotes bone mineralization and a strong skeleton; and is linked to decreased incidence of high blood pressure, cancer (especially colon cancer), periodontal disease, osteoporis, multiples sclerosis, autoimmune diseases, depression, and others.

I should be very healthy today.

When I went out this morning I remembered sun screen for my face, but that is all.  Four hours of trimming bushes, planting flowers, spreading mulch, pulling weeds, and in general doing way more than my body wanted to in two of the township parks gave me more than enough cholecalciferol to last awhile.  Too bad the body reaches an equilibrium point where it destroys the vitamin as it is created if you get more sun than you need – no saving it up for a rainy day.

Darn, I will have to go out in the sunshine again later this week.  And again.  Then again – all summer long.  What a sacrifice, having to enjoy the nice weather.

I didn’t get sunburned today, but I am sore from hours of trimming bushes with hand shears.  The exercise was probably even better for me than the sunshine, and with twelve people working in the parks they sure look a heck of a lot better than when we started.  Another hour or two with several volunteers to spread mulch in the one park (the township didn’t leave nearly enough at that one for all the flower beds) and we can call them done.

So remember, when you slather yourself and your kids up before going out in the sun, think of  cholecalciferol and its relationship to healthy bones and its anti-tumor activity, and all the studies coming out that say, “Oops, maybe we made a mistake when we said no one should go out in the sun without sunscreen.  Maybe you really do need some sun – specifically UVB rays.”

Moderation in all things.  Philip:4:5

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Posted in Gardening, Township | Tagged: | 1 Comment »

Sowing Summertime Pleasure

Posted by Nancy on May 30, 2008

While I was gone this week Bud got tired of fighting our old laptop and bought a new Acer that does wonderful things.  Office Depot had a great sale, and the price was amazing.  They are approaching throw-away status.

The only question is, why do we need two laptops and two desktops for two people?  Not like they’re all new, but they’re all here.  I think the one desktop could probably go and free up some space, since it is seldom used except when there are a bunch of grandkids here who want to play games.  I use a laptop for work, but that second one….

I finally finished planting the petunias in the park, but am still committed to helping the local historical society plant some in the township’s two “pocket parks” tomorrow.  That may or may not happen though, with thunderstorms predicted to go through the state tonight.  We could use some rain, but I’m not looking forward to any violent weather.  This has been such a weird spring, with below normal temperatures and above normal tornadoes across the midwest.

This evening I replanted  squash and cucumbers in my garden, since the first batch didn’t come up.  I seem to be out of luck on the spinach and lettuce though since the store didn’t have any of those.  Maybe I will try somewhere else tomorrow.  At least the peas are finally up.

Katie gave me Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister by Gregory Maguire today.  She says it is a pretty good book, so that is my next adventure into semi-fine literature, but one of these days I’m going to have to pull out some classic literature and give my brain some real exercise.  Somehow the vampires and werewolves I have read recently, and now take-offs on fairy tales, seem a little, um, fluffy.

Ah, but that’s what summer reading is all about – an easy escape.  All I need now is a beach and a hammock, then all will be right with the world.

Posted in Books, Gardening | Tagged: | 3 Comments »

One More Week

Posted by Nancy on May 30, 2008

It was almost midnight when I got back from Doug’s tonight (Thursday).  I helped with homework (I make a mean construction paper stovepipe hat for an Abraham Lincoln costume) and baking till almost ten, then stood in the parking lot talking with Doug for almost an hour.  It was nice – we seldom get to talk seriously with the kids always around.

Next week will be my last week of babysitting.  I will continue to go up there some and help the kids transition gradually to having a new step-mother and my not being there all the time, but it won’t be a requirement anymore.    As I~ says, “Grandma, you’re the closest thing I have to having a mother.”  Or as Z~ says, “I’m going to finally have a real mother!”

Keep in mind, they spend half their time at their mother’s.

I sure hope this goes well, for their sakes.  Expectations are running high.

I finished Eclipse this morning, all 675 or so pages.  It only dragged in a few spots, and then not badly, so overall it was a very enjoyable read.  The fourth book in the series comes out later this summer; meanwhile, it is easy to speculate all sorts of possibilities to finish the story line. 

I’ve decided my biggest problem with these books is the fact that I am almost always cold and the heroine is in love with a vampire who is described as hard as marble and cold as ice.  I just can’t picture curling up with something akin to a living Michelangelo’s David as something I would want to do, no matter how handsome or how dedicated he was.  He would suck the warmth right out of you.

This afternoon I took the girls shopping for bathing suits but bought nothing, since that is close to how much most of the bathing suits covered.  Guess I’m hopelessly old fashioned, but I am not buying things that make my granddaughters look like they belong on a stage with a pole.  Let their Dad take them and deal with it, if indeed they really need new bathing suits.  His only rule is “it has to be something you can wear to church girls’ camp.”  They know what that means, and one seems fine with it while the other is kicking against the pricks. Acts_26:14

Following our fruitless shopping expedition we met Doug’s real estate agent at the house he is trying to buy so we could all see it.  His offer has been accepted and he is just waiting for the final word on financing, with closing the week he and Lolly return from their honeymoon.  It is in a very nice neighborhood and the house itself is lovely.  It has four bedrooms, two and a half baths, kitchen/dining area, family room, living room, den (or could be a formal dining room), laundry room, and unfinished basement.  Lots of storage space too.

The landscaping is a little overgrown and I offered to come up and help whip it into shape.  I then asked if Lolly likes to do yard work and he just looked at me like that was the most ridiculous question he had ever heard.  “She comes from southern Utah where it is pretty much desert.  No one does yard work – there is nothing green,” he said.

Oh.  Well.  Maybe she will want to learn?  I love yard work and don’t mind mentoring.  Or they can figure it out on their own – this isn’t his first house and he has managed to keep the others in good shape.

One more week to babysit, two weeks till the wedding, four weeks till the move.

Posted in Wedding | Tagged: , | 1 Comment »

Vampires and Violet

Posted by Nancy on May 28, 2008

Last night’s township meeting was grueling and didn’t end till almost 10:00 o’clock.  I went home and packed, left for Doug’s and got here at almost midnight.  Bleah! 

Only one more week of this routine, then a week in Utah leading up to the wedding, then I will come visit at my convenience, not because I am needed here by 7:30 a.m. every Wednesday.

I had two goals for while I am here this week – read Eclipse, the third Stephenie Meyer book, and find a dress for the wedding.  The bride’s colors are white and lavender, which I am loosely interpreting as violet, so my day has included reading about vampires and looking for a violet dress.

Z~ and I went to the mall late this morning and were there less than one minute when I spied the perfect dress – for her.  She tried it on and it was even a perfect fit.  And it was on sale.  The stars were aligning so we bought it.  She is thrilled.  We had lunch at the food court, which is always the highlight of a shopping trip, then went looking for a dress for me.  I don’t do this often and it was actually enjoyable.

Lolly’s first request was that I wear white which was then expanded to include lavender, but short of sundresses and prom dresses I didn’t find anything in white.  I was a little luckier with the lavender shades, but still nothing appropriate that fit.  Fortunately, she did mention cream and green too, then said I can wear whatever I want.  I found a light green suit that I think will work mighty fine, and will get Doug’s approval on it when he gets home.  I think I will keep it either way, as I really like it and it was even on sale.

A stop on the way home to get my hair cut pretty much completed preparations for the wedding.  I can’t wait to go out there and meet the bride’s family and have a nice vacation with Bud.

Back to the vampires, I started Eclipse this morning and am on page 175; I hope to finish it this evening, but going to S~’s orchestra concert might make that difficult.  The book builds well off the others and is an easy read, so is worth the effort.  I can see how teenage girls would get twitterpated over the series.

Ah, well.  I will just enjoy the book – after I fix dinner.

 

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Down Days Aren’t Always Bad

Posted by Nancy on May 26, 2008

When’s the last time you had a real “down day?”  I am having one today and am enjoying it thoroughly.

“Down days” aren’t always “depressing days.”  No, sometimes they are days taken off from all the normal worries and obligations of life.  They are days when you just hibernate with a good book and vegetate, or maybe do a little work in the garden.  Nothing strenuous, nothing necessary – just relaxing.

After all the commotion with three extra adults and seven extra kids here this weekend, not to mention Katie’s family in and out, I needed a down day.  Wow, today has been the best one in a long time.

Elaine brought down the Stephenie Myers books and I read Twilight Friday and Saturday evening (does 2:00 a.m. count as evening?).  I started Eclipse last night and finished it this morning.  They are easy reads and once you get into them hard to put down.  Vampires and werewolves aren’t my normal fare, but she tells a good story.  Since she’s an LDS writer the gore is only referred to obliquely; ditto for swearing. except a few mild epithets, and no sex.  How easy is it to find books like that nowdays?  I told Elaine to take the third one back because I didn’t think I would have time to read it before I go to Doug’s tomorrow, where S~ has them, but wish now I had told her to leave it.

So, I am enjoying them, but I have to admit I am not as entranced with these books as Elaine and apparently millions of other women are.  I guess I’ll have to chalk that up to age – the heroine is in high school, after all.  I “get it” with the concept of a perfect love, yet the analytical part of my mind keeps wondering and wandering.   A few holes that I just can’t rectify keep nagging.  Why do I have to over-analyze it instead of just enjoying it?

Oh well, as I said it must be age – way too many years since I was in high school and feeling the pangs of first love.  Didn’t we all think our first love was the perfect one for us, no matter how flawed they were in hindsight? 

Anyway, like I said, good books.  I will read Eclipse at Doug’s on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, E~’s blessing in church yesterday was very sweet, and it was wonderful to have most of my family there.  Bud even went without being asked, which was a surprise.  He doesn’t join, but on some level he believes.

Then I got to talk with Drew and Kelli for about two hours last night.  He has three more weeks till he graduates and moves back to the area, and I will be flying to Utah in two weeks for the wedding and will get to see them then.  Time is flying.

S~ and I spent time yesterday making jewelry for her and Z~ to wear to the wedding.  I bought a good selection of beads to match the bride’s colors and we made bracelets, necklaces, and earrings.  I still need to get with H~ and have her design some. 

H~ is having a difficult time with life right now, and I hope once the wedding and move are behind them she settles back down.  She has been struggling the hardest for quite awhile now, trying to keep everything “fair” to the last millisecond as far as time spent with her mom and dad and trying to organize her mom’s life and responsibilities.  She is compartmentalizing her distress over her mom’s lifestyle from her defense of her mom, and is leaving herself out of the equation.  Every now and then the facade slips and she says something insightful and profound, but then she puts it right back up.  My greatest concern is she seems to be considering turning away from the church since all her mother’s family condemns the church for being “judgmental.”  No matter that what they are telling her isn’t true – she can’t afford to acknowledge the truth or it will force her to re-analyze some of her positions, and she can’t do that.  It is unsettling.

The most promising part of the equation is how well she and Lolly got along when Lolly was here.  The kids are spending two weeks in Utah with Lolly and her family in June – the week before the wedding with Doug there too, then the week of the honeymoon.  There will be 15 new aunts/uncles and their spouses and kids, including 50 new cousins. 

More love, more prayers, more guidance.

 

Posted in Family, Wedding | Tagged: , , , | 1 Comment »

Memories

Posted by Nancy on May 25, 2008

We celebrated Memorial Day today in my hometown.  I didn’t make it to the parade, though.

There is always a parade from the elementary school to the cemetery, with a ceremony honoring those who have served and sacrificed in our country’s military.  It is a moving tribute, and a slice of small town America. 

My greatest memory of that parade, and it is a cherished memory, is of my Dad attending it with us the year Mom died.  He was weak from new grief and from cancer, but stood at attention and commented that the color guard didn’t turn their corners quite as sharply as he had been taught during his service in World War II.  He had such dignity, especially on that day.  I miss them both.

Today I was just too otherwise-occupied to make it to the parade, though.

Elaine and Matt are down for the weekend with the kids, and Doug came down this afternoon with two of his.  Katie and Sean came over with their kids and we had the traditional family cookout.  It was warm enough to set everything up outside, but not so warm as to be uncomfortable.

Tomorrow Katie and Sean are having E~ blessed in sacrament meeting, and Doug and Matt will stand in the circle with Sean.  What a blessing to have all my children and their spouses worthy to participate in ordinances of the church, and grandchildren growing up in the gospel.  As a convert with a non-member husband, I am grateful that they all have stayed so close to the gospel, and hope that Doug’s marriage to Lolly next month helpt him in keeping his children close as well.

Doug was house-hunting this morning and thinks he has found “the one” for them.  Looks like he is going to put an offer in on it.  One more brick in the foundation of getting life back to normal after his divorce and all the attendant fallout.

One more brick in getting my life back to normal too, although I am beginning to sense that what I used to consider normal and what the new “normal” will be are two entirely different things.  Too many people have made too many changes and things will never be the same.

Posted in Family | Tagged: , | 1 Comment »

Chapters in a Book

Posted by Nancy on May 22, 2008

I read Elaine’s blog today and couldn’t help reminisching about moves I have made in my life.  She and I are similar in that we both are the kind of people who want to “put down roots” and stay somewhere forever.  Moving does not come easy.  Ditto for making new friends.

Her recent move has created a dramatic change in lifestyle, and I empathize with her.

My biggest move was to Presque Isle, Maine.  Bud was in the military and we were sent to that northern outpost known as Loring AFB.  We were too far away to visit friends and relatives; we lived in base housing  located 25 miles from the base; the winters were unimaginably cold, snowy, and long; and we were there for the better part of five winters.

I had to close the chapter that had been my life and start a new one.  Heck, it felt like starting a new book in a completely different genre.  I did have the advantage of living in a larger community than Elaine has moved to, although the drive to anywhere even approximating civilization was much longer than she now has. 

It was hard at first, but by the time we left Maine I was in tears, not wanting to leave the friends I had made and the life that was there.  It was the end of another chapter.

We talk about the chapters of our lives, with a dramatic event like a move or another life-altering family event generally being the plot twist that turns the page from one story line to another.  The characters change, the story moves in different directions, and the heroine finds herself dealing with new challenges that bring new strength and understanding, and leads inexorably to the denouement.

At least that’s how it is supposed to work.  Life isn’t always that neat.

Bud is nearing retirement, which will bring us to a new chapter.  The timing is his decision, so we can make the change when we decide the time is right.  This year?  Next year?  Who knows. 

Meanwhile, Elaine is coming down today for the long weekend, and bringing a bucket of tadpoles with her to distribute to various families in my ward and her old ward.  Tiny little subplots in the lives of many children, who may excitedly watch the little ‘poles develop legs then lose their tails, till finally they are fully formed frogs; something almost every kid witnessed years ago, but now seems like such a rarity. 

Meanwhile I need to go up to the township and sign some paperwork for the sale of property, and finish planting those ubiquitous petunias.  I know I won’t get them all done today, but that’s okay.  Tomorrow is another page.

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On the Road, Again

Posted by Nancy on May 21, 2008

Z~ and I were coming home this afternoon so I could attend the meeting with the architect, when lo and behold! I get a call from his secretary, asking if I got the email cancelling the meeting.  Uh, no I didn’t.  See, I can’t check emails in the office on someone else’s account while I’m out of town.

I could have stayed at Doug’s and finished the laundry, cleaned the bathrooms, helped the kids with homework,…. Wait!!!  I managed to escape!  Stop complaining!

I was within a few minutes of home when I got the call so I just kept on a-coming.  I drove straight to the township office and Z~ and I spent a couple hours planting petunias.  (Will they never end?)  We got the front of the building done and halfway down the west side, then decided we had had enough.  Tomorrow we will finish it, plus the beds around the flagpole at the park.  I just want to get them done at this point.

We pampered ourselves on the way home with a stop at the new ice cream shop – they have waffle bowls!  I’m liking this place better all the time.

I made chicken tortilla soup for supper while Z~ played next door with her cousins.  It’s sort of like this recipe, only I winged it.  One chicken breast cubed, two cans of spicy diced tomatoes, some onion and garlic, a chicken boullion cube, some water, some corn, and a can of refried beans.  Garnish with tortilla chips.  it was so-o-o good.

Now I have N~ here spending the night – a cousin sleepover.  Kind of fun.

 

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Unilateral Disarmament

Posted by Nancy on May 20, 2008

Or, one reason why pundits say Obama can’t win in the general election.

In 52 seconds he guts our military: slow down weapons development, cut out billions in “wasteful” spending, cut our nuclear arsenal and not build any new ones, etc.  He even wishes for a “nuclear free world.”

As the Mother Goose poem says, “If wishes were horses then beggars would ride.”

A little pixie dust might help.

Go here for the story.

Posted in Politics | Tagged: | 1 Comment »

Sweets and Treats

Posted by Nancy on May 20, 2008

I took a break this afternoon from my petunia planting, to check out the new ice cream parlor that opened nearby less than two weeks ago.  Their sign says “24 flavors of soft serve ice cream.”

Okay, it’s not really ice cream if it’s soft serve, but it’s worth a try anyway.  I asked for their recommendation, and they said a peach smoothie was their favorite.  I took their advice.  Good choice.  I will go back, maybe often.

I could enjoy the ice cream more if it would warm up, though.  Here it is the third week in May and the high today was only 60.  Not only that, it’s supposed to be in the 60s till the end of the week.  Then it will make it into the 70s and maybe an 80 reading over the weekend, before falling back down again!  Good grief!  It should be warm by now and I’m tired of waiting. 

So, I checked the weather in St. George, figuring I will be flying there in three weeks and it has to be warm there.  Right?  Oh yeeaaah.  It’s 97 degrees there right now.

But wait.  What’s this?  Tomorrow’s high is 72?  Then the highs are going to be in the 60s for several days?  Then the 70s again?  Gahhh!  Al Gore will not be happy!  Hmmm.  Maybe it’s what we used to call, years ago when I was young, WEATHER.  It changed from year to year, from decade to decade, from century to century (no I’m not that old, but some records are).

On another note, the township work session scheduled for this evening has been cancelled because one of my fellow trustees is out of town and the other had to take his mother to the hospital this afternoon after she fell in her home.  I hope she is okay.  I will get to leave early (read: in the daylight) for once to go to Doug’s, though. 

I am taking beads and things with me to make jewelry for the wedding, although we may have to do that next week.  Z~ and I will be coming home tomorrow so I can attend a meeting and won’t go back until Friday so she can spend some time playing with cousins.  (Come down Thursday if you can, Elaine.) 

Doug is coming down over the weekend, at least for a couple days so he can be here Sunday when tentative plans are to bless Katie’s youngest in church.  I haven’t heard yet whether she was able to finalize those plans.

Posted in Food, Local happenings | Tagged: | 1 Comment »