Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Article #36 A Skinny Grandma?

Now that I am a slightly plump grandma, I feel right at home because my grandmothers were not skinny. At least, that is my reasoning. Although as I pass by a mirror, I often wonder who that strange old lady is that stares back at me. I still feel like the same young girl who used to be slim and had unlimited energy. Where have the years gone?

Can you picture your grandmother skinny with manicured nails, dyed hair, wearing the latest styles in mini-skirts or shorts? Maybe you can, maybe she was one. I never saw my grandma in anything other than a plain house dress and apron unless she were going out, then she took the apron off. How did our society evolve into the expectations today for the svelte grandma, all hip and not a hair out of place? Give me the good old fashioned days, except I don’t have the energy to do all my grandma did when we came to visit. Cooking and baking up a storm, she never forgot a birthday. You could count on a cute card and a dollar bill inside for all special occasions. I knew she loved me more than any of the other grandkids, and they probably felt the same.

Traditions are to be broken I suppose. We each become the type of grandparent that we knew or create our own unique style. It seems to me that grandmothers AND grandfathers are still needed in our day and age as the source of unconditional love and undivided interest in their kid’s offspring. Grandparents build self esteem and bind us together as a family. It doesn’t really matter what they look like.

Let’s not forget the grandpas, many were missing in my family because of death or divorce. They left a gap that couldn’t be filled. All grandkids need their steadying influence as an example of what they can grow up to be or the type of individual they could marry one day. Fat or skinny––grandpas are needed as much as grandmas in our society today with so many single or divorced parents raising their families alone. 

Take the time to visit your grandparents if they are still living or be the type of grandparent you’d like to have or did have. Write their histories and your own, so their teachings and memories are preserved for the next generation.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008


For some reason, I'm reflecting on images-could be it's tied into resolutions. Trying to change our image in some way or maybe it's because I got a new hairdo today. There comes that day when you wakeup-look at your hair and know it needs help-either the roots are showing or the curls are gone if you're a permanent type person. So, off to the beauty shop I went first thing and two hours later I magically have a shorter more stylish hairdo with curls. Did my husband notice? No, cause he's sick but I got the hairdo for me. Wish it were that easy to drop a few pounds from certain places on my body but it's not especially when food is so comforting and entertaining.

My hubby's sick so he's not too interested in food or anything just sleeping. His beard is growing but he's not worried about his image. I don't think men worry as much as we women do. That's why we like to go shopping to find something to wear that makes us feel better-more attractive or younger. As I look back at my holiday photos of smiling faces, I realize that a smile is probably the most important part of our image. Letting some joy or happiness into our life as we smile for the camera should teach us something. Optimism is like the fountain of youth. Depression only ages us...reason enough to find something to smile about.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Hibernating till spring?

It's still winter here though the sun is shining and it's 40 degrees. My hubby is coming down with a sore throat and cold. I'm trying to avoid catching it. Time to think of resolutions again. Thinking and doing are two different things. I wrote an article on that which may or may not get published called Resolving or Repenting? Seems easier to make resolutions than actually repenting and making the changes necessary. We seem to leave out the step of remorse for our bad habits which can strengthen our resolve to change. 

I'm toying with the idea of returning to my resolution of two years ago as I haven't seemed to master it yet...act don't react. That covers a lot of things like controlling our reactions to others, not judging, dwelling in anger or hurt, etc. Even avoiding depression which can reach all of us on any given day. We need to keep moving forward with something that brings some joy to our life. Be it a pet, blog, hobby or volunteer service. The world needs us and we need to do something. They actually sell round tuits on the Internet. Do you need one?

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Persimmon eating

A delicacy from the southern states that my husband introduced me to is persimmon eating. Read more on the link from Wikipedia for background and trivia about this unusual fruit.They look like tomatoes but don't taste anything like that. They are very sweet if you wait to eat them till they are ripe=soft. Otherwise they are astringent or bitter.

When you buy them in the grocery store they are quite expensive probably about $1.50 each. We found a box of 14 persimmons on our trip to California back in late November for $8. They have been ripening since then in the garage. Now they are edible and so sweet without any added sugar. Here's some photos to show what they look like while eating. You cut them in half, then scoop out the inside with a spoon. Buy one and wait for a month before eating it.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

We're home...

How quickly it's over, the anticipation, the waiting,
Santa's arrival then opening the carefully wrapped gifts.
Ooh-ing and ah-ing at the many presents received,
feasting and frolicking with our family and friends.

Then time to move on with life, to return home
always the best part of any trip anywhere.
We left in a full blizzard and arrived home 
to 42 degrees and lots of sunshine.
We love our desert retirement home.

Friday, December 26, 2008

The day after Christmas

And all through the house
the garbage bags were filled 
to the brim, overflowing with
torn wrappings, smashed boxes
from presents galore that litter the floors.

Tired parents and grandparents
drag from all the family activities:
a nativity play, puzzles, games and much more.

Time to rest from holiday fun
and get back to normal life
but the roads are all snowy
and we might not be able
to drive home so vacation
may continue until New Years.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Family Times

thanks goodness for holidays so we make the effort to come together as families. I'm enjoying putting puzzles together with my grandsons, and talking with my 10 year old twin grand daughters. Then I was able to get a thank you call from another grandson Hakan and his mom Nedret who live in Santa Fe. Today we'll try to get all my sons and their families together via a computer program called Skype. That's more amazing that the story of an old gentleman who circles the globe in a flying sleigh powered by eight reindeer, going down nonexistent chimneys to leave presents for good little boys and girls. Merry Christmas.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Enjoyable scenery

We traveled north in Utah past many beautiful mountain landscapes. I love the pine trees, sage brush and tall mountains dusted with snow. This is my home state. I'm sure everyone feels exactly like I do about their home state.

Had a family dinner celebrating my two sons birthdays Jeff on Dec 13th and Daniel's coming up Jan 9th. Enjoyed a Japanese dinner complete with chopsticks. It was good to see my sons and their wives again and be together.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Nativity Activity

Bought a cute figurine set today that I'll use to act out the nativity story with my grand kids. The set made in China of course includes Joseph and Mary, baby Jesus, a shepherd, three wisemen, an angel and three farm animals. Don't you think the Savior deserves at least equal time with Santa Claus on Christmas eve? After all, it is His birthday celebration. So how do you incorporate the reason for the season? I used to do a puppet nativity set or flannel board story with my sons when they were young and now I'm trying to continue something with my grandkids. Each year I've bought them a new book to read on Christmas eve about this special event the whole world celebrates in one way or another.

Even those cultures who don't believe in Christ embrace the commericalism and traditions of the season. It is a day of love and remembering our family and friends with gifts from the heart. I'm still finishing up some of my family history gifts-should be done tonight...Are you ready for Christmas? It's more than just having presents bought and wrapped, have you taken time to contemplate the wonder of the simple story that is so powerful that it has persisted through thousands of years. He was born and lived a wonderful exemplary life for us to follow. Merry Christmas to my readers and blogging friends!

Monday, December 22, 2008

I'm famous

or is it infamous? At any rate my photo and bio are online for the Family History Expo 2009 that I'll be teaching in February. Check it out. I'm teaching about "family history blogs". Thinking of making a new and separate blog for just that, but don't have time right now. It's soon time to head north to see the grandkids and enjoy the holidays with family.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Resilient and resolute

Capable of withstanding shock without permanent deformation or rupture... is how the dictionary defines resilient. Note in the photo below how our palm tree has recovered from a rude and sudden shock two days ago-snow in our climate! It is resilient...

Are you as resilient when life sometimes knocks you down and you don't want to get back up and try again? I've gone through some tough times in my life... having my dreams of family happiness shattered by divorce and becoming a single parent. But as I look back on it now, I realize I grew from those experiences and am a stronger more resilient person today. Those experiences have helped me to be able to comfort and console other friends and family members who have faced the same trials. It seems to me that many of the shocks in life are because of our expectations of others. We can react or we can act...take charge of ourselves and move foward with our life. Life will always return to normal after the storm is over as my palm tree shows, and though it still looks a little battered, it is stronger for the experience.

Today is our shortest day of light, now we begin the journey back to more hours of sunshine. Hurrah!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Article #35 Simplier Christmases

We’ve all heard the stories about children in the old days who were so happy at Christmastime just to receive an orange, some nuts and candy, a handmade toy or an article of homemade clothing in their stockings. Well, it is true! My aunt Ethel who was born in 1920 in Silver City, Utah remembers…We hung up one of our regular stockings on Christmas eve, and in the morning were excited because Santa had visited. In our stockings, we would discover an orange or a banana, some nuts and candy, and a gift. The girls always got a doll while the boys got games to play like Old Maid cards, Checkers, Dominoes or Parcheesi. (I’m sure their widowed mother carefully saved money all year to be able to provide these gifts for her children.) 

Ethel continues her memories of Christmases with her two sisters, two brothers, and a working mom…Sometimes we would each get a dollar to go shopping at Woolworth’s dime store in nearby Eureka to buy gifts for the family. Amazingly, it was possible to buy gifts for the whole family with just one dollar: handkerchiefs, combs, a head scarf, socks, gloves, a woolen cap or some candy could be bought then carefully wrapped and put under the tree to be opened on Christmas day.

The Johnson kids knew they wouldn’t be getting fancy gifts because their widowed mother just couldn’t supply that for them. She was lucky to keep food on the table and wood or coal in the pot belly stove to warm their two bedroom house with no indoor plumbing but their holiday meal was always special because she was an excellent cook. A turkey or chicken with delicious stuffing, whipped mashed potatoes and tasty gravy served with homemade rolls and pies were served and enjoyed by all which sometimes included invited friends and extended family members.

Ethel continues…Our loving Grandma Morby, who lived far away in Coalville, either brought or mailed us special gifts this time of year. One year she sent a small suitcase filled with different kinds of candy. What a treat that was for us kids. (What joy and appreciation they had for anything that was given them.) 

May your holidays be blessed and filled with warm memories of your family’s traditional celebrations. Tell your children and grandchildren about your memorable Christmases or better yet write them down to preserve your family’s history.

Friday, December 19, 2008

A weather poem...

Click on photo for details...

I'm looking out the window and what do I see
my poor little palm tree all covered with snow.
This shouldn't be––I live in the warm Mohave desert,
Christmas type weather is a distant memory for me.

But no––I look again, my palm tree's nearly doubled over
from the combined weight of just a very wet snowflake.
Where's Santa when you need him, but off to the rescue
comes my dear husband with only an old lawn rake.

So lively and quick he soon dispatches the heavy snow
from still green palm fronds needing some quick relief--
all without the help of the jolly old elf or any reindeer in sight.
Then I hear my husband quite loudly exclaim..."Good grief!"

Thursday, December 18, 2008

More Cowboy Art

Texans like fancy front gates with metal art. Notice how high the fences above are to either keep the deer in or out. Many ranchers allow hunters to pay to hunt deer on their property. The photos below were taken near Roswell, New Mexico. I fell in love with the metal art but it's quite expensive to buy. Click on photos to see them enlarged.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Cowboy Hats

Everyone in Texas wears a hat. I had to laugh then take a photo of a Texas family out to eat supper. All the menfolk had on cowboy hats and cowboy boots-one man even had spurs on.

Then I saw a Santa ornament with a cowboy hat. I certainly live in the west.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

White powdery substance

What can this be, falling from  clouds overhead?
It's a white powdery substance called "snow"
I've seen it before when I lived up north
every winter it would suddenly appear

Sometime after or just before Thanksgiving
but living in the high desert where I am now
it's only a brief yearly occasion to see real snow
among the palms, cactii and succulents in our area

It's very wet and fluffy lying on the palm tree
making puddles on the roads but then it freezes
and makes a scary dangerous skating rink
for those brave enough to hasten outside

So I sit inside my warm abode remembering
the hot stifling days of summer when we longed
for relief of some kind only to have a monotony
of hot temperatures, sunshine day after day

Nature and its four seasons certainly give us variety 
a reason to look forward to the next season  
that is, until it arrives then we are ready
to return to whatever climate we had before

Monday, December 15, 2008

Go back to the past

My husband who is very quiet asked an interesting question at lunch yesterday. He said, "If you could go back and do an activity that you did in your past, what would it be?" For me-the answer was to be with my father who died when I was five. Just to see his face, hear his voice and feel his love for me. It didn't matter what we did, just to be together. (Photo of my dad and me in 1943.) For my husband-it was to be fishing with his dad. Interesting how both of our activities revolved around our dads.

Then a few minutes later, my son Dan called and his son Nathan wanted to talk to grandma-me. So we talked for a few minutes and then he wanted to talk to grandpa-my husband. So they had a cute conversation about Christmas. Even though my husband is a step grandpa, my grandchildren accept him fully. Seems to me having a dad or grandpa is very important to all our lives. Though they are all different-some more outgoing than others, we do need them.

What would you do if you could go back and do an activity that you did in your past? Leave us a comment.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Fill in the blanks___________

l. Oh my aching________!
2. If only I was___________.
3. When will I ______________.
4. I wish they would______________.
5. I'd be happy if only__________________.
6. All I want for Christmas is____________________.
7. My most popular New Year's resolution year after year was_________.
8. My funnest holiday gift was___________.
9. I'm currently reading_____________.
10. If I could travel anywhere in the world, I would go to______________

Here's my answers, post yours in a comment.
1. back-I put it out by riding too long in the car on our trip to texas.
2. thinner, I wouldn't have some of the health issues I do-diabetes, high blood pressure, etc.
3. learn to delegate more. I always try to do too much.
4. come and visit me. They meaning my family members.
5. my back didn't hurt.
6. my back in good condition.
7. to loose weight and study scriptures more, keep working on both of them.
8. a digital camera-love to take photos and download them to use in newsletters and on my blog
9. Something More-Excavating your Authentic Self by Sarah Ban Breathnach-fascinting ideas
10. Scandinavia-visit Iceland, Norway, Finland, Denmark and Sweden-beautiful countries OR a cruise to Alaska

Saturday, December 13, 2008

St. Lucia Day

Today is my son Jeffrey's birthday #26. Happy Birthday! He was born in Provo on St. Lucia's day in Sweden which is a celebration held every year: December 13th was also the Winter Solstice, the shortest day of the year, in the old 'Julian' Calendar and a pagan festival of lights in Sweden was turned into St. Lucia's Day.

St. Lucia's Day is now celebrated by a girl dressing in a white dress with a red sash round her waist and a crown of candles on her head. (Normally electric candles are used for safety!) The crown is made of Lingonberry branches which are evergreen and symbolise new life in winter. Schools normally have their own St. Lucias and some town and villages also choose a girl to play St. Lucia in a procession where carols are sung.

A national Lucia is also chosen. Lucias also visit hospitals and old people's homes singing a song about St Lucia and handing out 'Pepparkakor', ginger snap biscuits. In homes often the eldest girl plays St Lucia for her family, bringing them 'Lussekatts', St Lucia's day buns flavoured with saffron and dotted with raisins which are eaten for breakfast. 

Friday, December 12, 2008

New Harmony views

Last Tuesday, I returned for a Christmas luncheon to where we used to live 30 miles north of where we live now. This is the view of Zions Park Kolob Fingers we had out our front room window in New Harmony. It's beautiful but snowy, cold and windy in winter. I love the weather where we are was 60 degrees today and sunny in the middle of winter. Click to see photos larger.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Have you done this?

Answers are in bold:
1. Started my own blog-here you are!
2. Slept under the stars in Yellowstone Park and across Canada
3. Played in a band
4. Visited Hawaii-just last January
5. Watched a meteor shower-many times
6. Given more than I can afford to charity
7. Been to Disneyland/world-when it first opened in 1950s in California
8. Climbed a mountain-Mt. Timpanogos
9. Held a praying mantis
10. Sung a solo
11. Bungee jumped
12. Visited Paris-in 1964 while on a BYU Folk Dance Tour
13. Watched lightning at sea
14. Taught myself an art from scratch-basketmaking
15. Adopted a child
16. Had food poisoning
17. Walked to the top of the Statue of Liberty-that was fun in 2000.
18. Grown my own vegetables-many times
19. Seen the Mona Lisa in France
20. Slept on an overnight train-when I was a young child
21. Had a pillow fight-mostly as a mom with my sons
22. Hitchhiked
23. Taken a sick day when you’re not ill
24. Built a snow fort and a snow man with my sons.
25. Held a lamb
26. Gone skinny dipping
27. Run a Marathon
28. Ridden in a gondola in Venice-actually just walked along the side
29. Seen a total eclipse
30. Watched a sunrise or sunset quite often
31. Hit a home run
32. Been on a cruise
33. Seen Niagara Falls in person-that was awesome
34. Visited the birthplace of my ancestors-in Utah and Ohio, would like to go to Iceland one day.
35. Seen an Amish community
36. Taught myself a new language-Portuguese, I lived in Brazil for a year and already knew Spanish from high school classes.
37. Had enough money to be truly satisfied
38. Seen the Leaning Tower of Pisa in person
39. Gone rock climbing
40. Seen Michelangelo’s David
41. Sung karaoke
42. Seen Old Faithful geyser erupt
43. Bought a stranger a meal at a restaurant
44. Visited Africa
45. Walked on a beach by moonlight-Waikiki
46. Been transported in an ambulance-unfortunately once with my young son Jeff just after he was born and then in college when in an accident where I fractured my back.
47. Had my portrait painted
48. Gone deep sea fishing
49. Seen the Sistine Chapel in person-on the folk dance tour, it was beautiful
50. Been to the top of the Eiffel Tower in Parissame tour, amazing experience
51. Gone scuba diving or snorkeling
52. Kissed in the rain (shower)
53. Played in the mud-used to make mud pies as a small child
54. Gone to a drive-in-many times
55. Been in a movie
56. Visited the Great Wall of China
57. Started a business-private dance classes for children, taught in my basement.
58. Taken a martial arts class-does tai chi count?
59. Visited Russia
60. Served at a soup kitchen
61. Sold Girl Scout Cookies
62. Gone whale watching
63. Got flowers for no reason-like to buy them for myself
64. Donated blood, platelets or plasma
65. Gone sky diving
66. Visited a Nazi Concentration Camp
67. Bounced a check-well...
68. Flown in a helicopter-when my stepfather turned 90
69. Saved a favorite childhood toy-still have my favorite doll
70. Visited the Lincoln Memorial
71. Eaten caviar-didn't like it
72. Pieced a quilt-and quilted a top made by my grandmother
73. Stood in Times Square-wow
74. Toured the Everglades
75. Been fired from a job
76. Seen the Changing of the Guards in London-1964, impressive
77. Broken a bone-car accident in 1960, fractured a vertabrae
78. Been on a speeding motorcycle
79. -Seen the Grand Canyon in personseveral times
80. Published a book-several family histories and a poet booklet
81. Visited the Vatican-on folk dance tour
82. Bought a brand new car-several times-toyota and subaro
83. Walked in Jerusalem
84. Had my picture in the newspaper-do weekly as I write a column now
85. Read the entire Bible
86. Visited the White House
87. Killed and prepared an animal for eating-watched my grandparents kill at chicken
88. Had chickenpox-when I was pregnant with my second child.
89. Saved someone’s life
90. Sat on a jury-wasn't fun to do
91. Met someone famous-interviewed by an apostle for job at BYU in 1964
92. Joined a book club-several times
93. Lost a loved one-my dad when I was five
94. Had a baby-four sons
95. Seen the Alamo in person
96. Swam in the Great Salt Lake-finally in 1980s
97. Been involved in a law suit-from a car accident when 20 years old
98. Owned a cell phone-couldn't do without it now
99. Been stung by a bee-at a picnic, not fun at all
100. Ridden an elephant-my kids did at slc zoo.

My list totals 55. I was amazed I had done so many things. Tell us which things you haven't done that you'd really like to do. I'd like to take a cruise to Alaska. Thanks to Sylvia for having this on her blog.