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Archive for May, 2008

An Olio of Oddities

Posted by Nancy on May 18, 2008

* Blogging would be so much easier if I had children at home to give me ideas, like Elaine’s blog today about the five legged elephant.  She and Katie crack me up with some of the things they write about.  Doug was keeping me entertained too, then he met Lolly and got too busy to blog.  Maybe once they’re married he will find time to blog every now and then? 

*  I had my first appointment for a temple recommend renewal today, and have the second part scheduled for Thursday.  It will be good to have that done before the last minute for the wedding.

* Anita took flowers from my yard for the altar at church today.  Why is it when I pick flowers and bring them in they just look like something stuck in a vase, but when she takes the same flowers it looks like someone bought them for a florist?  Guess I need to practice – either that or continue to enjoy them in their informal beauty.

* American_thinker has become my favorite website, and I found this and this there today.  When I started blogging I told myself i would stay out of politics, but with the presidential election coming up and all I’m finding that pretty hard to do.  I am still managing to stay out of local politics though, except an occasional mention of having to go to a meeting.  Like this Wednesday, when I will have to drive back from Doug’s with Z~ so I can attend a meeting with the architect about the new fire station.

*  I’ve noticed that pork prices are really down right now, so I’m stocking up.  I have read several articles saying the reason prices are down is because grain prices are so high and pork producers are thinning their herds (is that the right word? – herds of pigs?) instead of paying to feed them.  Prices are expected to climb rapidly – a word to the wise.

*  This has been the coolest spring we have had in a long time (blame it on global warming, which reminds me of another website, one that actually looks at the science and laughs out loud at Al Gore and the whole crazy idea).  This spring has been very wet, too, and we had so much rain last night my garden is a mud pit.  Good for the plants and seeds I put out yesterday, bad for getting the rest out tomorrow.

*  Tomorrow I am supposed to go with the township administrator to buy plants and put them in the ground in front of the township office building and along the stone walls into the plat.  We may have to put that off till later in the week; but it is supposed to rain then too.  We’ll have to see how the ground is tomorrow.

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Posted in Gardening, Global warming, Local happenings, Politics | Tagged: | 1 Comment »

Mary, Mary, Quite Contrary

Posted by Nancy on May 17, 2008

How Does Your Garden Grow?

Pretty well after today, thank you, even though my name is not Mary.

Today was busy.  Bud and I went grocery shopping, which included buying garden plants and supplies.  He then tilled the garden again while I started mowing the grass (with an acre and a third and almost 100 trees, it takes awhile).  He then finished the grass while I weeded and planted.

A dozen tomatoes of three varieties.  A dozen peppers, only two varieties – this year I’m forgoing the sweet banana peppers because everyone gets them confused with the hot Hungarian wax ones I grow for Sean and I end up with unpleasant surprises.  Last year someone picked all the long yellow peppers at the height of production and put them all in the same bag – they all went over to Katie’s house after that.

Spinach.  Butter crunch lettuce.  Summer squash.  Sugar peas.  Those are all in, but I still need to plant the pole beans, some bush beans, winter squash, zucchini squash, onions, cucumbers, and maybe cantaloupe.

I tell everyone that digging in the dirt is what keeps me sane.  I really enjoy working in a garden, but am behind this year because I got the flu right when i should have been weeding, fertilizing, and mulching the flower beds.  It has been a cool spring though, so I still have time to catch up.  Right now the vegetable garden is more important.

This evening Katie and I went to the local hobby store to buy beads and other necessary supplies to make jewelry.  I want S~, H~, and Z~ to have jewelry in the colors Lolly has chosen for her wedding, and this is the only way I see that happening.  So, I have a project to do with the girls when I am up there Wednesday.  I hope they like it.

Speaking of the girls, Doug was really proud of H~ yesterday.  She called her dad to make sure she had the story straight about Barack Obama refusing to support a bill requiring doctors to provide medical care for babies born alive during abortions.  She was trying to tell her mother about it, but Brokeback wasn’t believing her.  (You can read about it here, where it says he is more liberal than NARAL, or just Google “obama abortion illinois” and get multiple references.)  Doug was proud that she is thinking for herself, and  standing up for what she believes in.

Those kids are living in two totally different worlds.  I hope he is sucessful in his suit for primary custody this year.

 

Posted in Gardening, Wedding | Tagged: , | Leave a Comment »

She’s Got a Ticket To Ride

Posted by Nancy on May 16, 2008

This morning I booked our airline tickets to Las Vegas for Doug’s wedding through kayak.com.  They check all the other sites and give you everyone’s prices.  It’s a good way to find the lowest priced tickets.

I didn’t buy the lowest priced tickets.

Call me a spendthrift, but I paid extra so we won’t have to fly the red-eye home, leaving around midnight and getting in at 7:00 in the morning.  I guess I’m getting old, but some things are worth a little extra money, and flying in the daytime is one of them.  Night is for sleeping.  I had enough night flying between here and Vietnam to last me years.

I have never seen Las Vegas so I’m looking forward to flying into there, even if we will immediately drive up to Utah.  At leat I will see the city. 

Hmmm.  Maybe flying in the daytime isn’t the greatest idea after all – we won’t get to see all the lights.

 

 

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The Civil War, the Renaissaince, Business Models, Etc.

Posted by Nancy on May 15, 2008

Just when I think it’s safe to allow my brain to atrophy, grandchildren have large assignments and research papers due.  What am I to do?

Homework.  I have been helping with homework.  Lots and lots of homework.

The panel entitled Hell from Hieronymous Bosch’s Garden of Earthly Delights triptych.

For several weeks I have been shepherding S~ through research papers for two of her classes.  Last week we almost finished an alphabetic listing of Civil War-related words, replete with picking out the 26 topics, finding information on each, and finding at least one illustration or picture for each. Computer-whiz Dad, whose job is designing and programming things, did the layout.  One page per topic was the requirement, plus an index.  A twenty-seven page paper.  They finished it on Monday.

At the same time she has been working on a five page research paper for English class, and the topic she chose was how the Renaissance artists influenced the development of art.  A much too broad topic, methinks, but that is what she wanted to do and the teacher approved it.  The final draft is due tomorrow.

She has gone through the process: research, note cards, outline, rough draft.  She has turned them in at the proper times.  It has not always been easy getting her there, though, since what she thinks is acceptable and what her dad and I are willing to accept are two different things.  I was an English major.  My expectations are high.  I passed that along to my offspring, who are in the process of passing it to another generation.  She has not been a willing vessel.

I worked with S~ again last night and refreshed my brain on da Vinci, Michelangelo, Raphael, Rubens, Titian, and Bosch (above).  She had the paper mostly written, but had no direct quotes (at least two are required) and no footnotes.  The most frustrating part was her reluctance to believe that it really mattered, even though she had a paper from the teacher showing just how much such things count for – a significant portion of the grade.

She is working on the paper in class today and we will finish it tonight.  Then all that will be left is the science project where she and a partner have to construct a vehicle to transport a ball at least 20 feet under its own power.  That is sitting on the kitchen cupboard, well along thanks to someone else’s parent.  Two more weeks before that one is due.

Doug helped I~ finish his sales project on developing your own business model last night, while I took a break from artistic endeavors and made No_Bake_Chocolate_Cookies.  That is his chosen business – selling cookies – and he needed some wares to sell at the big project finale today.  So off he went this morning with 20 snack bags with two cookies each, to try and sell them for $2 per bag in play money.  His backup price is $1, which is the minimum anyone is allowed to charge for anything.  Hope he does well.  This has been a good project to teach kids about how business works, determing costs and overhead, setting prices, etc.

I think I will vegetate most of the day.  Except for the part where Z~ and I will go shopping to look for a dress for Doug’s wedding.  And I will finish the laundry.  And fix supper.  Oh, and help S~ with the paper this evening.  And drive home later in the evening so I can go to work tomorrow morning and plant petunias in front of the township office before Elaine comes down to visit for the day. 

I am really looking forward to spending some time together.

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

Our Souls Have Sight of That Immortal Sea

Posted by Nancy on May 14, 2008

I played the piano for a funeral yesterday.  It was for a woman from church, and it was a simple, moving ceremony.  It reminded me of more lines from Wordsworth’s “Ode: Intimations of Immortality.”

    Though nothing can bring back the hour  
Of splendour in the grass, of glory in the flower;  
      We will grieve not, rather find  
      Strength in what remains behind;  185
      In the primal sympathy  
      Which having been must ever be;  
      In the soothing thoughts that spring  
      Out of human suffering;  
      In the faith that looks through death,  190
In years that bring the philosophic mind.

The woman’s daughter was understandably distraught, but when it was mentioned she had four other chidlren I couldn’t help but wonder where they were?  How could they not attend their mother’s funeral?

The unfathomable was explained when I found out she had been married more than once, and her four other children lived on the west coast where their father also lived.  He passed away two days before she did.  They had just planned and attended his funeral.

Then the unfathomable became how anyone could withstand the grief of losing both parents at the same time, far apart. 

I am so glad to have a gift of faith, the gift of gospel understanding that puts life, and by extension death, into its proper perspective.  What is a loss to us is an eternal gain for the spirit involved.

I am glad I chose to stay for the whole service, even though I had a township meeting shortly afterward that needed some last minute preparation.  I needed the spiritual affirmation that came from such a simple, heartfelt service celebrating the spiritual progress of one of God’s daughters.

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The Golden Ticket

Posted by Nancy on May 13, 2008

It came in the mail yesterday. Not to my house, but to Doug’s house.

What is the Golden Ticket, you ask? 

If you are LDS, divorced, and wanting to re-marry in the temple, you know.  It is the letter from the First Presidency giving you permission to do so.

Doug’s first marriage ended in divorce after 14 years, when his ex switched teams and decided she liked women better.  There had been problems in the marriage almost from the beginning, and this revelation went a long way toward explaining what had been going on psychologically and emotionally.  They had tried counseling, but in retrospect he realizes she only wanted him to go so he could learn to accept the new her and help teach the kids to think it was wonderful.

As Doug said at the time of his divorce, at least he doesn’t have to spend time wondering what he could have done to save his marriage.  Nothing.  Nothing he could have done would have mattered; she was totally embracing her new lifestyle.

Still, it left four upset and appalled kids in its wake who were assigned to split their time evenly between their parents.  That is why I have been spending several days a week at his house for the past three years, being a surrogate mom on the weekdays he has the kids.  Then they’re often all down here on the weekends he has them. 

I have appreciated the time to draw closer to the kids, and the opportunity to discuss gospel principles with them.  I cannot say it has not been problematic at times though, especially in the winter when the roads are bad – I always go up on Tuesday evenings, and have to leave after township meetings that sometimes last till late in the evening.  There have been some pretty grim drives.

But he is now planning on marrying again, to a wonderful woman from out west who comes from a large family and loves children.  They chose the date a while ago, but the temple wouldn’t schedule a sealing room until they had the permission to marry in hand. 

Now they have the Golden Ticket.

Lolly called the St. George temple when they opened this morning at 6:00 a.m., and the wedding is officially scheduled for 8:40 a.m. on June 14.  Hooray!

I took H~ shopping Saturday and found a very feminine white dress to wear that day, but still need to take S~ and Z~ dress shopping.  We also need to buy shoes and jewelry, and decide how they want to wear their hair.  I mentioned to Doug that maybe he could take them out looking, but he said raither plaintively, “I’m just a Dad!” 

Does he get a pass?  Hmm.  I want them to look nice, so I guess he can stay home and the girls and I will have fun.  At his expense.  And he gets to take I~ out and find a new suit and white shirt.

This next month is going to be wonderful, preparing for a wedding, school ending, Drew and Kelli coming back, life swirling around with new chapters opening.  This has already been such a busy year, with a birth, an adoption, and a move already accomplished.

I am so happy for Doug and Lolly, and for the kids.  Oh, and let’s not forget the possibility of new grandchildren in the future!

Posted in Family, Mormon life, Wedding | 1 Comment »

Snips and Snails and Puppy Dog Tails;

Posted by Nancy on May 12, 2008

That’s what little boys are made of.

Mother’s day was spent at Elaine and Matt’s.  The food was wonderful, with shrimp kabobs, crab legs, and of course hot dogs and hamburgs for the kids.  Asparagus, corn on the cob, brownies, apple pie – it was a feast.  The best part is, it was all put together by the men, who shopped, cooked, and cleaned.  Wow!

Still, there was an even better part.  That was all the kids wading around in the pond trying to catch tadpoles.  Most waded in too deep and got their pants wet, especially the little boys, and one fell in up to his neck.  Katie stood there videotaping the fun.  They all had to come in and dry off, but they didn’t seem to be bothered by the chilly temperature.

Oh, to be young again.  It looked like so much fun, but I’m not getting wet on such a chilly day.  For that matter, none of the adults did.  Just the kids, who were having too much fun to notice the temperature.

We had walked around the pond earlier looking for frogs, but Kermit wasn’t there and all the others jump before you can get close.  The tadpole population in the massive puddle at the  construction site next door must number in the many tens of thousands – black clouds that totally obscure the muddy bottom.  Birds were circling the puddle but didn’t descend while we were there – they looked like swallows, but I’m not sure.  (Do swallows eat tadpoles?  I think of them as insect eaters that catch their dinner on the wing.)  

Those squirming fat tadpoles, rippling the water’s surface with their unceasing flagellations, surely must look like appetizing pieces of protein from the air for birds.  I wonder if the birds are smart enough to wait till they get a little bigger?  In that shallow depression there will be nowhere for the developing frogs to hide and they will be quite the avian smorgasbord, not to mention all the four-legged critters that will also come visiting.

If something doesn’t thin out that tadpole population Elaine’s yard will soon experience a plague of frogs of Biblical proportions.

We decided we will take the canoe to Radiator Springs and dock it in the pond.  The kids will have a good time learning how to paddle it, floating around and investigating pond life.  With a neighbor who has his doctorate in aquatic studies, they have a ready refernce guide for any questions they might have.  That’s how they know all those tadpoles will turn into leopard frogs.

All in all, it was a delightful day.  This is what life is all about.

Posted in Family | Tagged: , | 2 Comments »

A Heartfelt Happy Mother’s Day

Posted by Nancy on May 11, 2008

Go to pray, my daughter, and before all else, pray to God for your Mother; for her who gave you your being, in which the loveliest half of her existence has survived; who sheltered in her womb your young soul, a piece of celestial flame; and dividing life into two parts, she took the bitterness and gave you the honey.                                                                 

                                                                                                     Gabriela Mistral

 

Mom

Happy Mother’s Day, Mom.  I miss you.

It was five years yesterday, and the more time passes the more I long for one more opportunity to talk with you.  I’m glad for all the time we did have, and am comforted to know that one day we will meet again.

                 BOUND

There’ something strangely false in our

Assured, complete goodby,

For love’s the blood in the flesh of the soul

And the soul will never die.

     

So – friendly, fondly as I may

In God’s approving view,

I’ll call across eternity

For messages of you.

                                                                                           Carol Lynn Pearson                 

 

On this day, set aside to honor mothers, I give thanks not only for my mother but also for women in general.  It is they who provide homes for their chidlren, who create civilization, who put flesh to the bones of history.  I look through my genealogy and see many strong women; I look closer and see grandmothers who sacrificed for their families.  

May we never lose sight of the concept of sacrifice.  May we never lose sight of  the benefit of our work on the next generation, instead of measuring everything in the now and the personal.   

May every child have a mother who cares.

                                         

Posted in Family, Mormon life | Tagged: | 1 Comment »

Something To Crow About

Posted by Nancy on May 10, 2008

It’s finally time for the Blankie Buddies to go from cyberspace.  They have been physically gone for over a month now, left behind in Vietnamese orphanages, so it is time to emotionally let go too.  They were cute.  They were fun.  They are gone.

The rooster in my back yard seems perfect for the blog’s new face, since it looks like he is crowing “all the news” to the neighborhood.

While I was at it I also changed the blog’s design, but I may play around with it a little more.  This template seems to have more options than the last one.

Feedback, anyone?

 

Posted in Local happenings | Leave a Comment »

She Sings Like a Meadowlark

Posted by Nancy on May 9, 2008

Our church had a music recital this evening, open to anyone who wanted to showcase their talent.  I haven’t been involved in one of these in a long time – probably since the one years ago where I was the accompanist for darned near everyone who performed anything. 

After my hiatus I accompanied for this one.  That’s because Katie sang in this one.

Katie has a high soprano voice, and we used to play the piano and sing all the time when she lived at home.  None of the other kids enjoyed it like she did, although we occasionally could get some of them involved.  Especially Drew.  I miss those days.

Katie started voice lessons three weeks ago, and her teacher suggested she sing “The Curse” from the movie Rigoletto for the recital.  (Not to be confused with the opera “Rigoletto,” it is entirely different.)  She asked me to accompany her.

With the crud I have had this past week we didn’t get much practicing in, but we got enough.  She did a great job and gained confidence, the song sounded beautiful, and she nailed the high A flat.

Congratulations on a job well done, Katie.

Posted in Family | 2 Comments »