Friday, July 31, 2009

Article #65 Dining Habits

My, how times have changed. Formal dining rooms are almost unused nowadays, except for special occasions. They’ve been replaced by the more convenient speedier sandwich bars located in the kitchen where take out food and snacks are dispensed at all hours to family members who rarely sit down together for a home cooked meal like my grandma used to make several times a day for her family.

I have many fond memories of that dear old lady in her tidy housedress always covered with an apron slaving away over a coal or wood cooking stove to prepare at least two hot meals/day for her boarders and family of five dependent children. When she moved into the Bell Rooming house in Eureka she inherited a boarder Stanley Zolan, an invalid veteran who stayed on. She fixed him three meals/day despite the hot weather during summer and in the cold winter when the heat from the stove and oven was welcomed.

Years later when grandma bought a hot plate, it greatly simplified her cooking but I’m sure she still needed to use her wood stove’s oven for baking bread and pies. There were no microwaves in her day or prepared foods, everything was made from scratch. Grandma never saw a paper plate or a dishwasher, everything she served was on sturdy dishes. When the meal was cleared, the scraps or leftovers were scraped into a bucket for the chickens or the dog, then the dishwashing was done by hand with water heated on the stove.

Her menu wasn’t fancy just the basics-soup, stew, meat and potatoes. On Sunday fried chicken was a special treat that took a lot of work. Grandma never heard of pizza, tacos or spaghetti but her fried scones and fresh baked pies couldn’t be beat. Kids and guests were asked to wash up before eating. Children were expected to sit quietly at the table and not speak unless spoken to. They cleaned up their plates and there were no picky eaters or complaints about not liking a certain kind of food. They ate what was on their plate or went without. Breakfast was normally mush or homemade bread and milk. Eggs and other fancier items were saved for company or boarders. At the end of a meal, the children would politely ask…Can I be excused? That’s certainly a different scene from our day and age.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Wisdom of Peanuts

Classic Peanuts Cartoon by Charlie Schulz
We seem to be a driven society without balance: rushing towards making money, consumed with our electronic gadgets and quite self centered. Living as if there were no tomorrow. Then tragedy strikes, someone dies suddenly of a heart attack or a terrible accident on the freeway or an overdose of drugs or by someone we know taking their own life. That seems to stop us for a moment while we ponder how quickly life can be over.

Realizing it could be us also or one of our loved ones, helps put everything back in the right perspective as we ask ourselves what really matters in this life? It is relationships and becoming a better person through love and service. Taking time for family members to have an influence for good in their lives. Complimenting and encouraging a friend takes so little time and is focusing on the real values of life. Let's all slow down sometime soon and show GRATITUDE in our behavior and prayers for the many blessings that are ours each day.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Take time to make eye contact

Too many of us are rushing through our days unaware of others crying out for help. Read this blog by a new friend from India, Nitu. It touched my heart. Too many are needing just a listening ear or a smile from us or a comment on their blog to help them along their path. We all know of friends or family members who are depressed and possibly suicidal. Look around you and notice the lost ones. Spread a little cheer both blogging and in "real life" with a compliment or comment or question. Take time to be interested in others especially in your own immediate family-maybe that's why we are really here on earth.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Bookstore Visit

I went shopping today in 108 degree weather-well, actually the mall is a great air conditioned indoor place to visit in summer heat like this. Besides, all the summer clothes are on sale to make way for fall and school clothes. Where does the time fly to so fast?

I visited my favorite store Barnes and Noble Bookstore. Was looking for a couple of books, and I bought two that looked interesting. One by Julia Cameron of Artist's Way fame called The Sound of Paper: Starting from Scratch. She talks about blooming where we are planted and making connections with the place that we live even if it isn't our dream or ideal place. She continues...In order to make art, we must first make an artful life, a life rich enough and diverse enough to give us fuel. We must strive to see the beauty where we are planted, even if we are planted somewhere that feels very foreign to our own nature.

The other book is Ray Bradbury's Zen in the Art of Writing: Releasing the Creative Genius within You. I guess you can tell where my interests are right now-WRITING CREATIVELY. I want to be able to help others find the joy of writing and releasing the VOICE within each of us. The book jacket says...It is a celebration of the act of writing itself that will delight, impassion, and inspire the writer in you. In it, Bradbury encourages us to follow the unique path of our instincts and enthusiasms to the place where our inner genius dwells, and he shows that success as a writer depends on how well you know one subject: your own life.

What's been your favorite activity or accomplishment this summer so far?

Monday, July 27, 2009


Finally got to see the Disney animated movie UP and enjoyed it immensely. Loved the relationship between the old people, the little boy and the animals. There was so much truth and wisdom there. Asked my hubby afterwards what the message was and he said, "to have more adventure in your life." I also got that, we sometimes mislabel as "ordinary" the little moments that we take for granted as we are dreaming of a bigger "adventure."

Some of my most enjoyable adventures are small things-writing an article or poem, talking or emailing a loved one-friend or family, looking through old photos and recalling past adventures. What are some of your "ordinary" adventures? Do you have some way or recording your adventures in a scrapbook, journal or adventure book? I blog mine these days.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Wildlife and RAIN!

My hubby's hobby is archery using a recurve bow. He has made a private range down by the Virgin River near our home, and has many visitors watching him-notably lately young bunnies. They are so used to seeing him there that they will come right up and watch his shooting.

You can see the path my husband makes walking up to the target to get his arrows and back again to shoot. He only shoots at targets and not wildlife. Other visitors have included quail, road runners, doves, lizards, and a few dogs. He has to shoot very early in the morning before it heats up in our desert place where temperatures lately have been up to 109 degrees in the sun.

It's raining, first time in a month or so...

Saturday, July 25, 2009


Returning from our trip to No. Idaho and Canada I've been catching up on my online checkbook balance. For awhile we had an extra charge of $100 from a gas station in BC and thought we'd have to cancel our debit card which would have made a big problem as most of our utility bills are paid automatically from that account. But it was straightened out with a couple of phone calls and a little time. (I watch my online account daily in case anything screwy goes on to catch it right away because there are so many in the world who aren't HONEST.)

Now the time came for us to be HONEST, we were looking for a bill at a diner in Idaho that hadn't come through. We didn't have a receipt for some reason as the new waitress had tried to use our visa card for our hamburger lunch and it didn't go through; then it did, but she charged us $70 for the burgers. Well, she was new and decided to just give us change for the difference in our $15 bill and the $70 we were charged. It turns out the charge didn't go through at all; so we're trying to decide which town it was that we had the burgers and the name of the restaurant.

Country Cottage Cabin it turns out is what we found through some detective work and the Internet. So I called up the place and talked to the manager who had no idea why I was calling, but in looking back over her records for the day we were there she was short at the register $69.55. So we were charged that today since we still have the change from the burgers we ate. She sounded happy that I called. We could have been dishonest and no one would have known about it except us and perhaps someone else who knows all things. It feels good to be HONEST which is a quality very needed in our society today with all the scandals in the banking and stock market business.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Article #64 What is a Pioneer?

I had no idea there were pioneers in my family until my college years when I started to gather my genealogy. The dates and places in my early ancestors’ history were my first indication that they had come from somewhere else to the Utah territory when it was settled by the pioneers. Fleeing persecution for their religious beliefs in Nauvoo, Illinois, my ancestors traveled overland in wagons and handcarts. What a fun discovery. Now the Utah history books I studied took on new meaning for me as they were talking about my family members.

In the first grade at Eureka Elementary, my mom made me a long pioneer dress out of her kitchen curtains complete with a bonnet, I was so excited! Now, wearing my authentic costume and pulling a small red wagon with a covered cloth top, I was in my first July 24th parade. Celebrating my first Pioneer Day, it took years before I would gathered their stories of immigrating to Utah.

Pioneers are found in all families. Defined as someone who goes into previously uncharted or unclaimed territory with the purpose of exploring it and possible colonizing or settling it. Even our Native Americans had ancestors who pioneered this great land of America immigrating over the Bering Strait or sailing across the oceans to this continent. People from throughout the world have traveled to America to start new lives and raise their families.

Another definition of a pioneer is a person or group that is the first to do something or that is a forerunner in creating or developing something new. Many of us are pioneers in terms of starting new projects, organizations, trades or moving to a new area. My aunt and uncle were the first in our Utah family to move to Southern California during WWII times. After they initially settled there and found employment, other relatives followed their example and moved to new jobs in that promising land of sunshine and sea.

Our modern day children seem to be more adventurous in their quest for new areas to move to and raise their families. Nowadays, I find my own immediate family members not residing in Utah where I live, but in such far flung places as Seattle, Sacramento, Santa Fe and Silver City, New Mexico––continuing the family tradition of being pioneers.

Do you know who in your family came to America first? (The photo above is my great grandfather Joseph Vernon who came to Utah in 1867 at age four with his family from England as converts to Mormonism.)

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Mouses or Mice?

Well, it happened-my mouse finally gave up
and stopped obeying my every command.
When I clicked once, it wouldn't do anything
or it would double click thereby deleting
several emails instead of just the one I wanted.
Even after cleaning, it didn't work any better.

The time had come to finally give up and buy
a new mouse to replace the worn out one.
To Staples I went with the question on my mind,
Do you have any mouses or should I have said mice?

I decided a mouse was easiest...of course, they had
lots of mouses or mice? with cords or tails or
wireless without, and optical or with a track ball.
Then I needed to consider how to hook it up
with a USB port or the older PS2? It's a different
language to speak computer-eze or mice-eze.

I bought an Logitech USB optical mouse.
It is so quick now, I can't get over it.
Like a teenager when asked to help
says, Yes, mom right away-I'm so surprised.
I have a mouse that obeys, responds to my
every command. This is computer heaven!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Taking/Making Time

As I blogged yesterday about my "annual" visit to see Caryn at her home, she commented that it was too bad we didn't get together more often. I have to chuckle over that because I travel north to visit my family quite often but Caryn isn't on my direct route there, so I have to detour an extra hour to see her which makes for a longer drive home. Caryn on the other hand travels the freeway to California and passes within five minutes of my house but is usually in such a hurry and can't get her hubby to stop long enough for us to visit.

So it's good every once in a while to take a separate weekend trip without hubby along so I can take time for activities I want to do. I did that this past weekend. After a canyon picnic with my aunt and extended family, I took a long detour up and over the mountain instead of returning the shorter distance to the freeway and hurrying off. I unexpectedly found some extra hours free before my next activity. THE POINT is we need to MAKE TIME for SERENDIPITY in our lives. Experiences we don't plan that can give our lives more joy and happiness. Here's some photos from my lovely drive alone over the Wasatch mountains with a view of Utah Lake-see above photo. Plan for some unplanned time...a date with just yourself or a lunch conversation with a friend. You are charge of your TIME and your LIFE!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Visiting Caryn

Making my yearly trek to visit Caryn in her small rural Utah town. Here we are pretending to be farmers sitting on an antique tractor.

Caryn's place is called "Bridge Hollow" and she has her own covered bridge which is so fun to drive over because the boards rattle. Note the fun antique car.

Caryn has a green thumb and a beautiful flower garden. Her hubby helps with watering and mowing their five acre homestead.

They have fixed up this older home and it's really cute inside. See last year's photos of her remodeled kitchen. She cooked one of her famous omelets and we ate out under the trees. How fun.

Driving home I went by the Manti Utah temple which was one of the early temples built in Utah by the pioneers in 1875.

Monday, July 20, 2009


Making the link between us
is not easy, almost impossible
at times. Like two circles
that don't intersect though
in close proximity, each separate

Eye contact is a part of it
looking outward, not just in.
Daring to reach out, not protecting
self from hurt, taking the risk.
Failing at times, succeeding only
with sustained effort and time.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Peru Adventures

My son Daniel just returned from an adventure in Peru. Going with a group of men from his neighborhood, they hiked 60 miles up the Inca Trail and camped out at high altitudes on their way to Machu Piccu-the ancient ruins.

I'm sharing some of his photos taken there and sent by Internet to us. So happy to have him safely home, and his family-wife and four kids are thrilled that Dad is home.

Cute Peruvian kids. They are all smiles and full of life and vigor!

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Weekend Trip

Well, I going north this weekend to visit family and friends plus attend a workshop entitled Embodied Believing: Faith in Motion about religious dance at my old alma mater BYU. It will be fun to listen to and watch presentations on worshipping God through the arts especially movement. I got my masters degree in Dance by presenting a field project on Israeli Folk Dances that featured a modern dance interpretation of the Jewish sabbath. (See photo of me below in my dancing days-age 24.)

Well, I'm here and no one has called me "Dear" or "Sweetie" although I'm definitely old enough to be their mother or grandmother. Even got asked to be on a panel or join a discussion on religious dance expression. They are going to do a whole issue of BYU Studies on history of dance here at the University and I was part of that so I may be able to publish an article or two there. Fun opportunity!

Friday, July 17, 2009

Article #63 Left Handed?

In my mom’s days, children weren’t allowed be left-handed. If a child showed a preference for using their left hand to write, a teacher was advised to tie the child’s left hand behind their back to force him or her to use the other hand. (Sounds like child abuse to me.) Luckily when I was born a lefty this practice was out of style or had been discontinued. So, I grew up eating and writing with my left hand, but it wasn’t easy growing up in a right-handed world. To adapt, I learned to iron, knit, and bat balls with my right hand since others teaching me only knew how to teach those skills that way. Just try writing with your non-dominant hand to see how challenging it is to learn to do things in a different way.

Ever notice that many left-handed people write their letters with a backward slant or write with their wrist bent at an awkward angle as they struggle to write letters from the top rather than the bottom of the line? That developed because all students were required to have their notepaper at the same angle on their school desk. (Talk about a lack of diversity in those days.) I re-taught myself to write left-handed from under the line by changing the slant of my writing paper to the opposite angle from the dominant right-handers. Imagine that? Nowadays there are left armed desks in schools available for southpaws.

Scissors, steak knives, water fountains, wrist watches and numerous other items are all designed with the right-handed person in mind. Even in our enlightened day and age, think about where your computer mouse in located? It’s on the right side although you can change it over to the left side. It’s been easier for me to teach myself to use it in its normal position. Maybe you could say lefties are not only challenged but more adaptable or creative?

How does one know whether they are right or left-handed? It’s not determined by genetics, as both my parents were right handed. When I married a lefty, our son turned out to be right handed. It has to do with brain dominance. About 10% of our population is left-handed. Many famous people are southpaws including: Albert Einstein, George HW Bush, Bill Clinton, Barrack Obama, Leonardo de Vinci, Marilyn Monroe, and Babe Ruth to name just a few.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Handling Putdowns

First of all, what is a putdown? An insult or criticism, but could it just be an innocent comment that we misinterpret? It's a fine line we are treading here. Consider this experience I had a few days ago at the eye doctor's office with one of his assistants. A young girl (twenty something) kept calling me "dear." For some reason that always rubs me the wrong way. You wouldn't call someone your own age "dear." They would probably wonder what was wrong with you. But this girl/woman called me that at least twice. Each time I felt totally insulted, but controlled my urge to set her straight. Telling her that I may look old to her, but I am not 70 yet and won't be ready to be called "dear," "sweetie," or "honey" until I have one foot in a rest home, and I don't plan on doing that.

I had this conversation going on in my mind or what to say to her to NOT be insulting but to make her aware that her casual labeling of me with such endearing terms was not pleasing me. In fact, I'm sure my blood pressure went up several notches during the hour long exam and it wasn't from choosing "1" or "2" as my eyes were tested. I resisted the impulse to talk to the good eye doctor about my feelings as I wasn't sure how he would react or what he would say to me or his assistant. So I decided to just blog about it.

Why do we resist aging and want to be younger, slimmer, trimmer, and have face lifts, botox treatments and tummy lifts or color our gray away? Why can't we just accept ourselves as we are? Mature, rational, wise beings full of life's experiences. A SURVIVOR of all that life has given us and will give us. Remembering that none of us get out of this life alive. But labeled we are as "senior citizens," "elderly," "AARP members"-Association of American Retired People at age 50, etc. Living in an "active retirement community" where we are among the youngest has been a challenge for us but I have made some really great friends and been so impressed by the quality of people I have met. What's your feelings about aging as you watch your kids once youngsters move towards becoming middle age?

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

First Customers!

Well, I've officially sold my first book to a sweet cousin who lives in California. She paid by paypal using my email address from my post yesterday. Ten dollars for the book and two dollars for domestic postage or four dollars for international postage. A new blogging friend Kavita from India is ordering a book also, so I'm on my way to being an international publishing author!

Here's a photo of my first eight copies-octuplets. The first wrapped book to go in the mail tomorrow. HURRAH! Can you tell I'm excited. This is Volume One with at least one more volume in process already. Other ideas for different books are floating around in my head. I'm a mother again of a brand new baby book!

My book is published!

This book is a collection of my column articles published in St. George, Utah’s “Senior Sampler.” It's entitled LOOK-ING BACK...At the “Good Old Days.” Being a retired educator and an empty nester, I have more free time now for pursuing my lifelong passion for genealogy through publishing my ancestor’s stories and writing articles for columns, blogs, and magazines based on my life’s experiences in a family.

Finding a passion or interest you enjoy can add richness and interest to your days at any age, whether you are able to make it into a livelihood or just a leisure activity. Spare time to pursue hobbies or talents was a rare commodity for our parents and grandparents as they used all their time just to put food on the table and take care of their family. Recreational activities were few and far between for them. Holidays and family celebrations were opportunities to gather and enjoy each other’s company. They would have loved to have had more breaks from every day work activities to pursue their individual talents, and hobbies.

Hopefully I have cap-tured some of the experiences from their lives that show the passion and legacy they left for their descendents. We all have grandparents and parents who loved, nurtured and molded us as we grew up under their influence. May my stories bring to mind your recollections of your earlier days and perhaps light a fire under you to write down some of your experiences so they won’t be lost to your descendents.

Self published, 80 pages with photos, bound paperback and available for purchase NOW for $10 plus postage ($2 in USA). Just email me: lin at sunrivertoday dot com for my mailing address so you can send payment for your purchase. Thanks for your support. All money earned goes to my youngest son's college fund.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Learning and Faith

Had an interesting discussion in Sunday School class a few days ago. We were discussing a scripture: Whatever principle of intelligence we attain unto in this life, it will rise with us in the resurrection. And if a person gains more knowledge and intelligence in this life through his diligence and obedience than another, he will have so much the advantage in the world to come. (D&C 130:18-19)

It's a fascinating topic. We talked what we should learn, how to go about it and why it was important to learn. In my own patriarchal blessing it admonishes gain all the knowledge possible so you will have the satisfaction of knowing you have developed to your potential. That's quite a goal there. I believe there is something new we can all learn daily from this life and from others. Lessons come from challenges we overcome, talents we develop, conversations we have, observing others, blogs we write or read, etc. etc. This whole earth life is a giant classroom with God in charge of our curriculum. Some things can only be learned through the whisperings of the Spirit.

When we leave this life the only things we can take with us is our knowledge, experiences and our relationships. Believing in life after death only enlarges my understanding of the importance of using my time now to its best advantage. I love to learn, read, write and discuss life with its complexities, relationships and problem solving. Aging has brought with it more to look back at and analyze thereby learning more. Accepting those things that can't be changed-others' misbehavior and use of their free agency, lead to realizing I still have much to learn to become all I can be. How about you?

Monday, July 13, 2009

Rutts or Routines?

Ever feel like the movie "Ground Hog," repeating the same events in your life that you'd rather forget over and over again. We both get a chuckle out of that film everytime we see it rerun on TV usually around groundhog day. It's easy to get in RUTTS and end up repeating the same old ineffective self defeating behaviors when we'd rather do things differently.

How do we break out of these comfortable patterns and try something new? Terri Tiffany on her blog the other day discussed always asking God "WHY is this happening to me?" rather than "NOW WHAT?" or "How should I handle this situation?" IF you have a ROUTINE or habit that is working positively for you, that's OK (i.e. reading something inspirational each day, reaching out to meet newcomers, etc.), and not a RUTT.

There are certain necessary STEPS I believe to change RUTTS into STEPPING STONES:

1. RECOGNIZE you are in a RUTT. Take stock, make a list of changes you'll like to make. (i.e. cut back on work hours, budget better, forgive an offender, be more patient, etc.) Next...
2. Feel REMORSE-Decide to stop your negative behavior and try something else NEW. (Ask a higher power for help.)
3. Be open to SERENDIPITY and CREATIVITY in your reactions to what life presents to you.
4. CELEBRATE your progress. We all make MISTAKES, but haven't failed unless we've stopped trying. Recommit to staying on track.
4. Develop an ATTITUDE of GRATITUDE whatever your situation.

Tell us about any RUTTS you are in now and how you can change them or have overcome them in the past.

Sunday, July 12, 2009


Oh no, not another birthday!
I just had one and you know
what that means...another year
older and wiser or whatever.

Guess it depends on me, what
another year brings. Right now
I'm focused on seeing less of me.
Pound wise and I'm succeeding.

But it is hard work, takes lots
of self control to eat less,
eat smarter and exercise lots,
but it's well worth the effort.

The future of "me" is up to me
only me. I can become smarter,
thinner, more compassionate
or the opposite by my choices.

So I choose life, liberty and
the pursuit of happiness in my
empty nest or retirement years,
more fun and new adventures.

Well, 62 years later here I am with a lovely bouquet of my favorite flowers-daisies from my hubby for my birthday. The card he gave me had a dog on the cover with a rose in his mouth, inside it said: "Special delivery from the neighbor's garden. Happy Birthday with Love!" I love you! Allen." Quite a lovely surprise, then we went out to dinner to Olive Garden and enjoyed their soup, salad and breadsticks all you can eat and a lovely "no sugar added" chocolate torta with vanilla sauce and fresh strawberries-a lovely birthday cake for me. Later we'll go to see the movie "Up." We celebrated my birthday on Saturday since it falls on Sunday this year.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Some Questions

Found this on a new blogger friend's post. So I took the challenge to answer some questions.

1. I didn't know how to swim until graduation from jr. college when we had to pass a test or take a swim class-I took the class and got a C grade. Now I love water aerobics.
2. I don't like coloring my hair, and am contemplating letting it grow out then just highlight it. Tried gray before but didn't like it because I looked too old, now I am old. (Oops got it redone today for my b-day tomorrow!)
3. I am scared of bears and don't ever want to camp or hike or live where they are around.
4. Even though I said I wouldn't, I watched all of the MJ memorial and quite enjoyed it. Impressed by his creativity and talent but saddened by his life style.
5. I like my water aerobics class.
6. I can not watch movies that are scary with any violence in them.
7. I have a stash of sugar free chocolates and eat one a day without guilt.
8. I do not like to scrub showers or toilets. Yuck!
9. I like/love writing daily and have kept journals forever of my life. Also love to teach classes on just about anything to adults.
10. I'm still trying to figure out how to use Photoshop to make borders around my photos and collages.
11. I haven't figured out how to make an index of posts on my blog. Help someone!

Now you try to answer these questions in your comments or on your blog. Thanks!