Saturday, May 31, 2008
So, I am sitting here thinking what gift I have that I don't appreciate or perhaps ever know I have. I think I may be "a gatherer."
I am a gatherer of things--for instance, last week a friend of mine cleaned out her basement and gave away boxes and boxes of mason jars. I knew if I brought any home there was going to be TROUBLE. So I did. And there was. And there still is. There is much muttering and grumbling in the land. And in the house. And in the car, where the bottles still reside.
They go, "tink, tink" when we go around corners or over bumps so they are a constant reminder that Lynne brought home more "junk." But, I was justified in bringing the bottles home as I might need them, especially if the beans sprout and grow and prosper. Then the dilly bean machine will have to ramp up and I'll need those tinking bottles.
Here is a picture of dilly beans.
And here is a picture of some of the things I have gathered and put together in my living room. I do so love things. And Jesus--I love Jesus. Can you see his picture? He is looking over Jerusalem. Sorry the photo isn't better.
I am a gatherer of ideas: I have the most glorious ideas which no one seems to appreciate. Sometimes I am so unappreciated that there are rolling of eyes in the land and the car and the front lawn and maybe even at church, where I really try not to be too glorious with my ideas. But, honestly, I do have some great ones.
I am a gatherer of people. There are interesting people around every corner. I have never met a boring person and some of them are fascinating. Everyone has a story and I am all about the story. And the friendships.
I am a gatherer of food storage. We are counseled by the Church to store a year's supply of food, clothing and money if possible so we will be prepared in times of need. So, I buy food when it is on sale and trundle it down to the basement. I don't have a year's supply but we could exist for a while--we might have some strange meals but we could eat. And if we had to sprout wheat and eat just that I suppose we could live for a fairly long time.
My favorite place to shop is in the basement--even when it is blurry--and unorganized, which you see is both, in this photo. It's almost always cheaper to go downstairs to shop than running to the store for a can of mushrooms or tomato paste. See? Strange meals, tomato paste and mushrooms on sprouted wheat. Yum.
I am a gather of information. I love new information and learning new things. I used to be constantly taking a class. I listen to talk radio. I watch The Food network. I surf the Internet, doing research on things I'm never going to need or use. I watch informational type TV shows, well except for "Lost." Who knows what kind of TV show that is. Confusing, that's for sure.
So, whether it's a gift or not, I'm a gatherer. What gifts do you have?
Friday, May 30, 2008
In our family room:
Minkey, our annoying, Burmese cat was complaining, meowing, with his smoker’s voice. Phil said, “Minkey, you need your own little house with it’s own little fireplace.” He paused a long time and then said, “In Burma.”
At the cemetery:
Woman: “Oh I forgot to bring flowers.”
Man: “Well,” he said, pointing to a headstone, “there’s some over there.”
At a restaurant:
Young man: “What can they do, fire me?
At a gathering:
Young woman: "You’re early.”
Man: “Yup, I got the worms.”
At a gathering:
"She's been in love with him since she was fifteen."
At my Personal History group:
"I like to play video games on the computer but I know it's a waste of time so I started listening to the the scriptures while I play. Is that wrong, somehow?"
In our Sunday School class:
"We've decided we have to grow up and quit spending money whenever we want to." Then he paused and looked crestfallen. "I sure hate it."
Also at our Personal History group:
"I started out in geology but then I realized that rocks don't have any personality."
Between a husband and wife.
Woman: "What was a noise?"
Man: "It was a duck in my pants and I shot it. There might be more because they come in flocks. You never see a lone duck."
(I had a hard time not snorting when I overheard this.)
At a restaurant:
"I couldn’t get to sleep last night; I just couldn’t get comfortable. Then I found a piece of popcorn in my belly button."
Overheard about a man and woman who had ten kids. He was a grumpy fellow, I guess.
"Well, he must have been happy ten times, anyway."
I have four emails from friends open and two half answered. I need to write to my sister, two other friends and an old friend from high school that I have just reconnected with. This all takes time but I am always open to spending time with friends, whether in person or via email or phone--just don't ask me to do the calling--I hate to call, for some reason. I should probably spend less time doing all this and more time folding the laundry and tossing the clutter and fixing dinner but....
Friends are a gift you give yourself. They come and go, like the tide, sometimes very important and other times not so much but always there, making loving ocean noises in the background of your life. When you need them they come rushing in like a tsunami--a non-destructive, loving tsunami--and then when things calm down they slip into the ocean, that we call life, and murmur good things to you occasionally and they are always there.
I can probably had less than 50 good friends in my life. Probably way less. Not many, considering I've lived in a lot of places and on both ends of the nation. Almost all of them are women. The men are complicated. They have wives who mentally snarl and snap if he even thinks of remaining friends with another woman. Why is that? They are trustworthy men, they would never think of doing or saying anything inappropriate. There are a few men I would like to remain friends with. They are wise and funny and good. I miss them but I know we can't be friends because their wives don't like it. I guess that's why. I wish it weren't so.
Phil has a good friend that is a woman. They became friends a few years ago and have remained close. I am her friend too but not like Phil. She is married, has kids and would never think of Phil in any way but friendship. I'm happy they are friends.
I am so lucky to have the good friends I have. I spent time with some of them today, sharing our life stories. I am spending time with some of them right now, writing emails--that I really ought to finish so I can go to bed so I guess I'll wind this up.
Cherish your friends. Don't loose touch with them, like I have done so often as we have moved from one place to another. Email makes it so simple to keep in touch.
Trust your friends. Nurture your friends. Appreciate your friends. And be mine.
Wednesday, May 28, 2008
So, here it is:
I was washing my hands at the bathroom sink when I felt cool air on the back of my neck. Mom was standing in the open doorway. We didn’t lock the bathroom door. If it was closed that meant, “Don’t come in.”
“Do you need to use the bathroom?” It must be an emergency for her to come in when the door was closed. Maybe she had diarrhea.
“No.” She closed the door and locked it. I looked at the locked door and then up at her with wide eyes.
“Sit down.” She pointed toward the toilet seat. She didn’t smile. Was I in trouble?
I wiped my hands on my pants and took another quick look at the door. Mom sat on the edge of the bathtub.
“So,” she said, “Aunt LaVern and I were talking last night and we decided it was time for us to tell you and Holly…um, it was time for a little talk. So, you know about a man and a woman, right?”
A man and a woman? “Uh huh,” I nodded. The best way to get past mom, unlock the door and get out of the bathroom was to agree.
“Well,” she said, “When they get married—they fall in love first. You understand love, right?”
I thought love was stupid. My sister said she loved her boyfriend, even though he was a geek. Who wanted to marry a geek? But I wanted out of that bathroom. “Yah, I understand love.”
“Good. Well, when a man and a woman love each other and get married—you understand they get married first, don’t you?”
I nodded. Julie wasn’t going to marry the geek, was she? She wasn’t that stupid. Maybe this was about me having to be a flower girl. Maybe Holly was going to have to be a flower girl too.
“Well, this man and woman—that are married—they go to bed at night and lie really close together and kiss and, well, they are close. Real close.” She wiped her hands on her pants—maybe she had washed her hands somewhere else.
“He gets, well, he…um….” She took a deep breath. “He and his wife—she’s his wife now, you understand that they are married, right?”
“Uh huh. She’s his wife.” The toilet tank was pressing into my back.
“Yes, that’s right, she’s his wife, and a husband and wife, well they cleave together, like it says in the Bible. You know the Bible.”
I nodded. Daddy had bought me a white Bible for Christmas even though I thought a Bible was not the kind of present he would buy on his own. I thought Mom bought it and just said he bought it so maybe I'd read it. In my white Bible every word that Jesus said was printed in red. Maybe Jesus knew what Mom was talking about. I could read all the red words and find out.
“Well, they cleave together and then later she might have a baby and they would be very happy.”
She clasped her hands and leaned toward me. Her breath smelled like dill pickles
“So, that’s what it’s all about. A man and a woman are in love and they get married and, well, they cleave, they do these things in bed, and then they have a family and live happily ever after. It’s really quite nice, you know. You understand, right?”
“Good. Any questions? Because you know you can ask me any question.”
I wanted to know why her breath smelled like pickles. She didn’t usually like pickles, at least not dill pickles. I hoped she wasn’t going to start to eat them because maybe then we would run out. Was this the kind of question I could ask, about her eating dill pickles?
I shook my head.
“Oh good, you understand then, the man and woman, who are in love, and married, and close in bed, and the babies and everything. You understand all that, then?”
I looked at the locked door and then back at Mom. I nodded.
“Well good,” she said standing up, dusting her hands as if she had flour on them like when she made bread. “Good." She laughed in a funny little way that I’d never heard before. "I already said that didn’t I? I’m glad we had this little talk.”
She tried to open the door, yanked on the door handle and then glanced over at me and laughed that funny little laugh again. She unlocked the door and left.
“Whew, glad that’s over,” I heard her say.
I went upstairs to look in my white Bible to see if Jesus said anything about husbands and wives and cleaving in bed but I couldn’t find it so I went outside and rode my bike until Mom called me for lunch.
That afternoon Holly called.
“Where’s your mom?” she said.
“She went to town. She won’t be home until 4:00.”
“Good. I’m coming down. I’ve got something to tell you.”
We sat at the kitchen table, dunking potato chips in Ketchup and Miracle Whip mixed together. The bag of chips had been opened a long time and the potato chips were little pieces. We sucked Ketchup and Miracle Whip goo off our fingers.
“My mom had a little talk with me today,” Holly said. “That’s what she called it, “a little talk.”
“She did? So did my mom but it didn’t make a bit of sense and she locked the bathroom door with both of us inside. How creepy is that? She talked about a lot of nonsense. She smelled like pickles. Isn’t that weird? She doesn’t even eat pickles.”
“Forget the pickles. That little talk was about sex!”
“Sex is what a man and a woman do and then they have a baby and I’m never having sex, not ever! And neither should you.”
“Mom talked about a man and a woman having a baby, too but she didn't call it sex. She said something about cleaving. She said it was in the Bible.”
“Well, it has nothing to do with the Bible or cleaving--whatever that is.” She took a deep breath. “You won’t believe it.”
Then Holly told me about sex. I didn’t eat any more potato chips and neither did she; we threw them away. We vowed that we would adopt all our children and pinky-swore for good measure.
That night I wanted to eat dinner—corn on the cob and fried chicken and fruit salad with whipped cream—but I sure didn’t want to sit there and look at Mom and Dad and think about them cleaving in bed—which was really called sex—so I put the milk bottle in front of my plate and hunched down behind it.
There was a little dish of pickles by Mom’s plate. When she wasn’t looking I reached around the milk bottle and took it. I was not happy about all the cleaving business but at least I’d have pickles. And then I remembered I was going to adopt my children and everything would be all right.
As soon as the blessing was over I said, “Amen,” and took a big bite of fried chicken. I smiled to myself because I’ll bet Julie didn’t know about adoption and by the time she did know it would be too late for her. For once I was going to be the smartest.
Tuesday, May 27, 2008
Here we see Phil, very carefully placing bean seeds in the garden.
See his nice straight row?
I think this says something. I'm not sure I want to know what it is.
Monday, May 26, 2008
Glorious rain. Washes the earth clean of the stains of all kinds of things from the potting soil I spilled to the dirt on the car. The dust is washed off the trees, the grass is refreshed, the streams and rivers are plumped and the fish eat bits of tasty fish-snacks that have tumbled into the water.
The weather is cool. Perhaps next week we will be sweltering, the air conditioners thrumming into the evenings. One neighbor runs his air conditioner all night. No open windows for him. They should know the feel of the breeze--if there is one--or the joy of kicking off covers and sleeping on top of the sheets.
When the kids were younger and our car's air conditioner gasped it's last we rolled the windows down. When we passed cars with the window's rolled up I would tell the kids, "Oh, look at those poor people. They don't get to experience summer." We laughed our way though the hot days and didn't feel sorry for ourselves a bit.
And so, I am going to love the rain tomorrow and if we get rain the next day I am going to enjoy that too. And if we get sweltering days I am going to kick covers. I'm going to experience whatever we get and be happy about it.
I'm even going to repent of all my whining about the endless winter. Yes sir-ree, I'm going to repent.
We aren't going to get more winter, are we? Because it's easier to repent if you know there won't be a repeat of what caused all the whining in the first place. No more winter, right? I'm just askin'.
Sunday, May 25, 2008
Later, much later she thought she still should write so she gathered her wits--what few she had--and her self confidence and started again. Too bad she didn't know the rules. "I'm too wordy," she said, because she was.
Again she started but said, "I'll just please myself and write my own stories." And she did. She joined a group. Her stories pleased only herself and she was happy. If one of her children were in the stories sometimes the stories pleased them but she wrote only for herself. "To understand myself," she said. Sometimes the group laughed--not often but enough for encouragement. Sometimes they gasped--okay, only small gasps, but even small gasps are satisfying.
She longed to be a better writer. Smarter. To know the rules. And so she continued to say, "Yes, I'll be part of the BYU Writer's and Illustrators for Young Readers workshop," and then she did nothing. Wrote nothing.
And so it goes. Will this be the first time she will go unprepared? She knows more now, enough to know she's not going to be a great writer but does that give her the right to slack? Does that give her the right to not try to be at least adequate? Or maybe better? Surely by death she will be better. Does she have the right to not try? And die--way, way in the future--better?
Her honesty makes her wonder.
Saturday, May 24, 2008
It doesn't look like much yet but in a week or so he will put up his trellis's and it will be impressive looking.
We haven't planted broccoli for years. My neighbor always does and when she has fresh broccoli I am jealous. Now I remember why we don't grow broccoli--too late I remember. It's because of the little green worms that you simply cannot see--no matter how hard you look--until the broccoli is steamed and then you see it on someone else's plate AND SO DO THEY. Oh joy.
Basil is my most loved garden item. I eat it right out of the garden. I eat it on open face tomato sandwiches. But most of all I love it in Summer Pasta which we eat about twice a week as soon as the tomatoes are ripe. Copy the recipe because it is fabulous. I promise. Be sure and plant some basil.
This is the horrible taller-than-a-sky-scraper tree that our neighbors have in their yard. It is three feet--if that--from our fence. It shades our garden all afternoon.
See? It's humongous. Our poor garden does it's best.
This I bought by mistake. I thought I had grape tomatoes. So I planted three and will give the rest away and try and find grape tomatoes somewhere. I have no idea if this is a good tomato or not.
My neighbor, the Gardening Guru, thinks I have planted my squash in the wrong place because a row of beans are going in to the east of it and the beans will shade the squash until it gets an hour or two of sunlight and then gigantic-tree will shade it. Oh well. No crookneck for me.
It's too bad I don't know how to grow rhubarb.
I don't know how to grow it out front either. This patch is handy to the lawn swings for the grandkids to eat while entertaining their grandparents. We are hosting a Father's Day dinner here and I know the pile of rhubarb peelings will be enormous. Those grandkids know a good thing when they see it.
To eat rhubarb, peel it, throw away the leaf--it's toxic--salt the rhubarb and eat. Yum.
And if anyone wants a whole box full of horseradish come and dig it up. I have never, not once, used it and it is prolific. I don't fertilize it or even water it most of the time and yet it thrives.
So, that's the beginning of our garden. We have two boxes left to plant, those grape tomatoes, if I can find them and a row of beans so I can make dilly beans. Lord Bumhampton told me he would like three cases of dilly beans for Christmas. Three cases! That's 36 quarts of dilly beans. I'll do what I can Lord Bumhampton but I'm not promising three cases. Or even one, actually. How about some creative begging?
Thursday, May 22, 2008
Day one: I ate two cake crumbs before I remembered. They were delicious.
Day two: I ate one Jr. Mint before I remembered. I hadn't swallowed yet so I spit it out. It was a sad thing, witnessing that chocolaty spit going down the drain.
My sister is off sugar too. She is going to stay off sugar until her cruise so she can loose five pounds so she can gain five pounds on the ship. I am not jealous. I am not jealous. I am not jealous. Not jealous of the cruise or the five pounds.
I am sure you can hear the sincerity in my voice.
Tonight, instead of eating a tasty treat I am eating pistachios.
And I'm drinking lots of water. So, the salty pistachios and the water will combine and I will GAIN five pounds.
But, I'll have the satisfaction of knowing I'm off sugar. Two whole days. Wanna go off sugar with me? I hear there is strength in numbers.
Wednesday, May 21, 2008
I loved that this man had a milk carton fixed to his handlebars and that he is sitting on a big red pillow.
I don't think he is worried about what anyone thinks about how he looks. He has needs and he figured out how to fill them. So what if it looks a little goofy? Who defines goofy anyway?
We should be so brave. We should be able to say to the world how we feel and what we want/need. How else are we going to learn to live together in harmony and acceptance?
Tuesday, May 20, 2008
He was telling me about a book he is writing and the following quote is about a mini-version of part of the book: "...a short course on the nature of the mind-brain-body-reality systems and what might be done to help a person improve their habits of coping with the challenges they face."
I have never thought of coping as a habit. I have always thought of coping as something dreaded that you had to do because something unpleasant--or worse--had happened. Coping was something I didn't want to do because I didn't want to be in the situation that made it necessary in the first place. I would rather be like the ostrich with it's head in the sand--even though I know ostrich's don't stick their heads in the sand.
If coping is a habit I should be able to break it down into steps. That would make the nature of the task easier, right? I guess I'll find out as I pursue this mini-course with my brilliant, charming cousin. I'm anxious to learn how to have the habit of coping with my challenges, one of which might be that I didn't get that elusive charming gene.
I hope this mini-course isn't too stressful.
Monday, May 19, 2008
Uncle Virge once kept a baby skunk in a grain barrel for me. He didn't want a skunk in his grain barrel but I wanted a shrunk for a pet so he let me bring water to the skunk every day and try to tame it.
He was the most colorful relative I have ever known, outspoken, often brash but had the kindest heart and absolutely 100% integrity. I adored him. Thankfully, he knew I adored him.
Today was his funeral. I cried and laughed and rejoiced. Uncle Virge died true and faithful.
While we were at the cemetery I took a picture of our stillborn baby's headstone. He was only a five month baby but as any mother knows that is a baby, just as much as any baby is. I thought I would never recover of the grief over this baby. Of course time deadens the pain of any hurt but not the memory.
This is my "bestest" cousin of all times. We sold her our family home. She painted it and changed every speck of it. I am astonished. It is absolutely beautiful. It looks like a decorator lives there.
This is where I grew up. I slept in both of the upstairs bedrooms you can see windows for, and one on the other side of the house too. In the summer I slept on the front porch.
The other end of the front porch Mom enclosed to make her walk-in closet--before she did that, I slept there too.
This is in one end of the living room.
This is the breeze-way. As teenagers we slept on top of the roof and the boys found us one year and used our own garden hose to soak us.
This used to be one end of the porch before Mother started closing it in. Holly has decorated this room well.
This is another room Mom made. She enclosed the back porch--that no one used--and made it into a sun-room. The best place for spend a cold winter day. It would get hot in there, even on overcast days.
This is Holly's new kitchen island.
This is the kitchen I burned up when I was a teenager. Have I told you that story?
The flames went from the stove, to the ceiling, across the ceiling and down the other side, almost to the top of the table. Of course it looks better now. The metal cabinets are the original ones, Holly just painted them.
Holly re-did the dressing room and installed a claw tub.
This is a "rubbing" that Holly made of our great-great grandmother, Lillian Abigail Gauchet's headstone.
And even though I took 72 pictures of Holly's house and lots of pictures at the cemetery I will close with this headstone rubbing.
We came from good people, people who worked hard, sacrificed for their beliefs and religion. They served their families and friends all the days of their lives. We live in far more luxury than they had but they were happy. Hard work makes for happy families. I guess I will go clean the kitchen now because it needs it. I hope to be happy.
Sunday, May 18, 2008
Later, sitting in Relief Society I had the thought that maybe I should be "paying" tithing on my "days." Sort of a time-tithing. Would I pay 10% of my waking hours or the full 24?
What would constitute a tithing of a day?
Scripture reading for sure. Studying for Sunday School and Relief Society lessons. Visiting the sick would count. Maybe just visiting anyone would count. Fixing meals for someone who has a new baby or for someone who is sick--that would count, I think.
I used to write letters all the time. I still have people say things like, "I was cleaning out my dresser and found a note from you." I think that would count.
I think writing my personal history would count. I need to spend more time on it anyway.
Certainly genealogy would count.
Temple attendance would count.
Prayer would count.
I think journal writing would count. That is my one big regret--not keeping a journal when the kids were little and not keeping a journal when the kids were older or right this very minute, when I STILL DON'T KEEP A JOURNAL.
So, I'm thinking about this and wondering how I would keep track of time-tithing.
Saturday, May 17, 2008
This is the "good" foot and the "bad" foot. The bum-toe has been surgerized and the owner is languishing on the couch, with pain pills.
This is the ever faithful husband, Fearless Hunter, who got up in the night with Tuesday, who threw-up all over everything! He shampooed her hair in the wee hours of the morning. Changed her bed. Changed her clothes. And then she looked up at him with those big eyes and said, "Thank you, Daddy." And then his heart melted and he didn't even care that he was up in the middle of the night.
This is Curly Sue and in the background, the owner of the un-bumized toe, pale and loitering. And since I forgot to put new batteries in my camera case, my camera soon said, "Exhausted batteries," and this is the only shot I got of the owner of the un-bumized toe. Sorry, poor Gilmore Girl.
I did bring chocolate cake though, so maybe I am forgiven.
Curly Sue in her aristocratic pose. Phil, in his languishing--without paleness--pose, like his darling daughter, Gilmore Girl.
And Tuesday in her, "Who me?" pose.
Get better, dear Gilmore Girl. So we can go to Real Deals and shop!
And you can have your heart's desire...all the cute shoes you love so much.
She is nothing if not Grandma Rasmussen's granddaughter. Grandma Rasmussen loved cute shoes and could "walk the legs off" all her daughter's but that's a post for another day.
Friday, May 16, 2008
1. We didn't have an earthquake here today.
2. My darling daughter's surgery on her foot turned out to be more minor than it might have been and when she called to tell us about it--a little drugged out--we were so relieved.
I remember once a woman's baby was having surgery. It was for a plugged tear gland.
"Oh, well that's nothing. Don't worry about it," We said,
And she said, "It's only nothing if it's not your baby."
And she was right. Gilmore Girl's surgery on her foot/toe was a big deal to us. We worried, we prayed and we were so thankful when it was over and she was okay.
3. Phil found a clam shell--you know, those plastic berry boxes--of blueberries in the back of the fridge. It has been there for a l-o-n-g time. You know how expensive blueberries are. I was sad, I had let them go to waste. But you know what? They weren't moldy. They were dehydrated. Just the right amount. I ate every last one. Deeelicious. Too bad they were so delicious. I could have taken a picture and posted it so you would have something to look at instead of just words.
What are your three reasons to be happy today?
Thursday, May 15, 2008
This is my new favorite store. It's in Springville, Utah. 101 East 200 South. It's Called Real Deals. And inside--and outside, too--are real deals. The prices are unbelievable!
The kid is not for sale but he was a good ornament until he wandered off.
This store is only open two days a week. Actually more like 1 2/3 days.
Thursdays 10:00-7:00 and Saturdays 10:00-3:00.
This is Pam. She is demonstrating the first thing we found. Mean people this way and...
...nice one. She one of the nice ones.
Here's what you see just inside the door.
The owners and a cute sales girl. The owners are on the right. He swept the floor while we were there.
Around every corner there are cute things to decorate with.
Pam needs to buy this white picture frame on an easel. It would be perfect for her new black sofa table--which she hasn't painted yet. When she does she will go forth and decorate it with all these cute things.
We each thought this should be in our house. It was hanging from the ceiling.
See all the candlesticks? There were 40% off. I asked how long the sale was going to be on and the girl said, "Just today. Each day we are open we put something different on sale."
"What is going to be on sale on Saturday?"
"We dont' know yet. What ever we have a plethora of, we will put on sale that day."
This isn't good. That means I'll have to call every Thursday and Saturday. Or, more hardship, I'll have to drag a friend--Pam will go, I'm sure of it--and actually go there.
Even the bathroom is decorated.
A cute vanity for you to put in your own bathroom.
Even the hallway is filled with neat things.
These are some neat sayings to think about:
"The hand that gives, gathers."
"Too cute for words."
"The soul is awakened through service."
I love the first and the last and if we did the first and the last we would be the middle one.
You KNOW this one is true.
This one is for Phil. ~I love the way you love me~ He's good at it. He could teach classes. He could teach me.
PS It's a franchise. Maybe there's one in your neighborhood.