Thursday, September 23, 2010


This is Michelle, our daughter-in-law, married to our oldest child, Trent. She is an amazing woman. She does everything, and I mean everything. She sews, she cooks, she cleans, she belongs to a book club, she belongs to a card making group--usually meetings are held at her house. She keeps track of which child has which assignment and who needs money for school lunch. She was the Primary President for about five years. She is currently the Relief Society President. For those who are not Mormon, those are church callings and are HUGE. She makes jewelry--beautiful and unique items. And...she makes soap--liquid and bar soap. She makes wonderful lotions and bath bombs.

She has one customer who drives miles and miles, dashes in, grabs an armload of soap, practically throws the money at you and dashes out. All this dashing is because she is so busy and she drives miles and miles because Michelle's soap is the only soap that doesn't make her skin break out. And the throwing money thing? Really she does, I was there, tending the kids when this customer dashed, grabbed and threw. Then she opened the door again and whispered, "Thanks." then she dashed some more and drove off in a cloud of exhaust.Michelle has been featured in two newspapers. The Daily Herald, article here. And the Dessert News, article here. That is where the title for this post came from: Mormon Family Keeps It Clean With Pioneer Soap.

Phil's favorite is Rosemary Mint--it's a manly scent and I'm quite in love with it too. I love anything with citrus. She has several--Fruit Slices, Grapefruit, Citrus and Sage, Red Current and Grapefruit, Bitter Orange Orchid and she has a tangerine something--maybe with mango--that I love but I can't find it on her website.All of her children help. This is Levi, her four year old.

She sells at boutiques--the Holy Cow Boutique was this weekend and is again on November 17-20 in Pleasant Grove, Utah. She sells at Farmer's Markets type things and just today she was a guest at Young Living Essential Oils where she taught a class on soap making using $130 worth of Young Living essential oils. Later in the day she had to "break down" her booth at the Holy Cow Boutique, clean everything up and put it away. Then she came to a family dinner that Taylor and Sharee hosted for Phil--yesterday was Phil's birthday! She brought me some of her lavender lotion--I call it Sleepytime lotion because the lavender scent is so putting-me-to-sleep-ish. I've been out for a long time and can't wait to have it on my face, etc. (never mind) and go to bed and have wonderful dreams.

Here is her Vanilla
Lace soap. I haven't tried it yet.
Oh, and most important of all, Michelle is a mother. A mother of seven. I told you she was amazing! She has given us half of our grandchildren .
When they were engaged, Trent asked her if she would like to teach for a year or two--she graduated from Brigham Young University with a teaching degree--before they had kids, she said, "Why would I want to do that? I'll teach my own children."

And her first was born eleven months later. They are: Meghan, Mark, Willow, Noah, Joseph, Levi and Enoch. They have been taught well. They are all wonderful. As is Michelle. Long live the Queen--the Soap Queen.

PS Hillary said today in an email that went to both Michelle and me, "PS MICHELLE I read your articles in BOTH papers. You are amazing and for sure I need your autograph."

PPS Which leads me to this thought. We are all amazing. Some have talents that we envy. Some have beautiful bodies that we envy. Some are smart and clever and fill in the blank. But, I think we are all special. The ugly, the uninformed, the not-so-clever, the fill in the blank. All of us. Special.

I remember the story of the Russian child, who was lost. People rallied around, wanting to help. "What does your mother look like," they said.

"She is the most beautiful woman in the world," the child said.

The people scoured the streets for a beautiful woman. "Is this your child?" they asked several beautiful women. "No" each one answered.

Finally the child yelled out, "There she is," pointing to a dowdy woman who was running to pick up her child and twirl her around and around.

When she sat the child back on the ground the child said, "I told you so, I told you she was the most beautiful woman in the world." And hand in hand the lucky child and the beautiful mother went on their way, leaving everyone with a new appreciation of what real beauty is.

Michelle has real beauty. She knows what is the most important, her husband and her children. But first she loves God. Then everything else just seems to fall into place--after all her hard work, that is. This woman is not afraid to roll up her sleeves and get to work. Whatever she does, she does well.

Monday, September 20, 2010


This is not a picture of Coco but picture this
dog with a coat gone wild and you will get a
pretty accurate picture of Coco and his finest.

Coco was a chocolate brown poodle that my sister, Pat, gave to Dad. She gave a dog to Larry’s dad too. Neither dog had their distemper shots and Bob’s dog got sick and died. He mourned like he had lost a child.

Coco was an annoyance. He barked at night. We would go out and whack him with a rolled up newspaper, which didn’t hurt anything but his dignity. But, even with the whackings he just couldn’t help himself. He was a barker. In a town as small as Annabella, a barking dog annoyed half of it. If someone on the other end of town had a barker, the whole town suffered.

Coco's coat got long and longer and for some reason—I’m thinking thrift—we didn’t get him shaved. He looked like he was wearing a ratty blanket.

But, even with his annoying barking and his ratty appearance, he knew something we didn’t. He knew Bob needed a friend. He chose the house across the street with the gentle man who loved dogs over our house and the rolled-up newspaper. Who can blame him?

Soon Coco was riding in the back of Bob's battered blue truck. We didn't care, we were glad that someone loved him. But Bob worried. He didn’t want to steal our dog. He came over to apologize. Mom was happy that Coco had found someone who loved him so much. Dad was too. I was glad I would be off the rolled up newspaper detail. Mom and Dad told Bob to keep him.

Coco was always with Bob. Whenever he was riding in the back of Bob’s pick-up his tongue was lolling out of his mouth, strings of dog-spit flying in the wind. He was in dog heaven. And Bob was in heaven too. And so were we. For now the barking wasn't our problem. In fact, Coco may have given up the barking all together.

Thursday, September 16, 2010


My dear friend, Pam, found this poem for me. It goes with the Sunday's post, where Princess Sweet Pea found the woman trying to sweep up her friend's ashes from the pharmacy floor.

"Post Humus”
By Patti Tana

“Scatter my ashes in my garden
so I can be near my loves.
Say a few honest words, sing a gentle song,
join hands in a circle of flesh.
Please tell some stories about me
making you laugh. I love to make you laugh.
When I've had time to settle, and green
gathers into buds, remember I love blossoms
bursting in spring. As the season ripens
remember my persistent passion.
And if you come into my garden
on an August afternoon
pluck a bright red globe,
let juice run down your chin and the seeds
stick to your cheek. When I'm dead
want folks to smile and say:
“That Patti,
She sure is some Tomato!”

- Patti Tana

Patti Tana reads “Post Humus” and eight other poems on her website: “Post Humus” is included in Patti’s book "Make Your Way Across This Bridge" (Whittier Publications, Inc, Island Park, NY, 2003).

Sunday, September 12, 2010


Princess Sweet Pea is Mrs. Bird and Guy Smiley's daughter. She has always been a favorite of mine.

She was working in the pharmacy the other day when she heard a woman give a faint little scream. The Princess looked the woman's way and watched as the woman dropped to the floor.

Curious, The Princess walked around the isles to find the woman frantically making sweeping motions on the floor. Thinking maybe she had lost a contact lense or maybe her jewelry had broken and the woman was trying to round up lost pearls, she offered to help.

"It's my best friend. My very best friend," the woman wailed. "I had her ashes in my locket, and it just opened, and now she's strewn all over the pharmacy floor."

And the Princess? She brought the woman a broom and a dust pan. "Uum...good luck with that," she said in her most reverent voice. Then she retreated behind the Phillips Milk of Magnesia and Hemorrhoid Cream.

I hope Princess Sweet Pea made a mental note to be careful when sweeping up that night. Maybe the floor dust would be more than just ordinarry dust. I hope she scattered it under a lovely rose bush in the local park and thought to say a few words, and to have a moment of silence, just in case.

And now you know that interesting things happen to Mrs. Bird and Guy Smiley's offspring, too. Stay tuned.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010


First you have to make some of this--Plum Raspberry Jam--the more raspberries--or the frozen mixed berries from Costco work too, you can use, the better. The original recipe calls for 1 3/4 cups raspberries. I try to use more, if I can afford it, and cut back that much on the plums.
Then you smear the cracker of your choice with cream cheese, top it with jam and you are in Heaven.
When the kids were little and we got home from church, everyone was starving--or so they said--we ate this and Ramen Soup. So help me, we did. And everyone was satisfied and happy.

This is also fantastic with Red Pepper Jam. I canned this in tiny jars because it is such a decadent treat and no one, NO ONE, in my family appreciates it. These tiny jars are like jewels that are a secret from everyone but me.

Freezer jam would be good. Even store bought jam would be good. This is an instant satisfaction.

PS If anyone has a recipe for jalapeno jam or jelly that doesn't use liquid pectin, but uses the regular kind, would you send it to me? I have a friend who says it's divine but we can't produce the recipe (the owner of the recipe is no more).

Tuesday, September 7, 2010


My brilliant niece with her granddaughter--who has Oreo-teeth--at a party thrown for Lezlie's parents (my sister and brother-in-law) celebrating fifty years of marriage.

My niece, Lezlie, took her boy to BYU Idaho to start school this last week. They were standing in line for him to get his ID photo taken. When it was finally his turn the woman in charge said something like, "His hair is too long. It touches his ears. You will have to take him to a barber and come back."

(BYU rules are very strict. The kids have to sign a moral code and there are dress and grooming standards. If the kids want to go to school there they live by the rules.)

~~Now, if you ever get a chance to meet Lezlie you are in for a great experience. She is quick. Quick witted. Quick to do everything--she graduated from college and had her first baby when she was twenty--or maybe she was nineteen and turning twenty that year, I can't remember for sure. She graduated in Journalism but raised a family of six instead of going to the TV studio every day. She has written ten books (and more under contract) for children. She is a love--I am enchanted by her. She sparkles, she grins, she teases, she is a deep thinker and works hard at everything she does. She has taught each one of her children to hold to the standards of their religion and they are all smart and savvy. They will all make major contributions to the world.~~

So, when that woman said the words "barber" and "come back," and Lezlie and Daniel had already stood in that line FOR EVER Lezlie wasn't buying it.

"Do you have a pair of scissors?" she asked the woman. I'm sure she used her innocent-I-need-help face. When you see that face you would do anything for her.

"I think so," the woman said, digging through her stuff. You know about women's "stuff." There could be anything inside the depths of a woman's purse. She produced a pair of scissors, which Lezlie borrowed and in a minute or two Daniel was up to the grooming standards, got his photo ID taken and hopefully will have realized that he has a pretty smart mom.

Now, if that had been me I would have drug my child to the barber, got back in the l-o-n-g line and missed my plane. And that is why I am a mother of old children who know how to handle their lives and sometimes mine too. Bless all of our little cotton socks.

Long live young mothers who know what to do and how to do it.

PS If Lezlie couldn't have found scissors she would probably have gnawed his hair off because, after all, she's clever and WAS NOT GOING TO THE END OF THE LINE. You should buy her books for your wee ones. I tell you, she's brilliant.

Monday, September 6, 2010


Did you know that Tiggywinkles is the world's busiest wildlife hospital? Did you know that you can take a visual tour--in the round--of their facilities at Tiggywinkles and you can go so fast--round and round--that you throw up?

Did you know that if you Google "How much is a hedgehog?" (They treat lots of injured hedgehogs at Tiggywinkles) that you will find out that they are expensive here in the States? Maybe even a hundred dollars. And that in Britain they are free--obviously you just go into the hedges and there they are.

And that someone said...on a site Google brought up...I'm not making this up..."What? I just want a hedgehog, not a purebred dog or a giraffe, though I do want a giraffe. Please, $100 is too much." Wouldn't you love to know someone who, ever so casually, wants a hedgehog AND a giraffe?

And did you know that it is possible to lead a cow upstairs, but not downstairs? Maybe that was why Uncle Maurice had that funny look on his face that day the cow looked out his bedroom window.

And did you know that there are more chickens than people in the world? And if all those chickens are resurrected--like I think they will be--that we will be up to our arm pits in chickens. You will have Costco and their great rotisseries to blame for 28 million a year of them. Year in year out, 28 million. And that's just in the US and Canada.

And those are some of the things that Google finds the answers for. Except for Uncle Maurice, who we really called Uncle Tom.

PS I made the "throwing up" part up. But maybe someone would if they moved their mouse to the left or the right enough--the rooms fairly zoom by.

Ha! Mouse! How appropriate for Tiggywinkles. I wonder if they fix broken mice and then let them go (and then they will be called vermin instead of sweet little injured mice) that spread horrible diseases and eat farmer's produce and generally wreck havoc when they chew through electric wires and stuff. Would they have a moral dilemma, help the mouse or help stop disease and destruction. Maybe they flip a coin or whatever they do in Britain.

And if you read all the way through this post then bless your little cotton socks. My English friend says that. She is an elbow of a woman. And she is funny, on the scale of Mrs. Bird. I must start posting her stories in case you need a good laugh.

Saturday, September 4, 2010


"Oh, no," I said. "Kramer pooped on the floor."

"Where," Phil said.

"By the computer."

"Wow, I could have stepped in it."

I wrapped the poop in tissues--it was fairly fresh--you get all the nitty-gritty details here, folks. Then I took it upstairs because Phil was going to bed and wanted to have family prayer. But I continued on up the second set of stairs.

"Hey, where are you going?"

"To put the poop in the toilet. You think I was going to hold it while you prayed?"

"I didn't know you had it."

"You didn't think I'd leave it there did you?" Honestly, sometimes men can be so dense.

So I dumped and flushed and washed my hands and when I got to the living room Phil was deep in a conversation with Kramer--the Pooper. Maybe he was the Poopee, some grammar Nazi should let me know.

"Kramer, you must not poop in the house. If you have to 'go' while we are gone you must just be a big boy and hold it. Okay?"

Phil is sitting in the chair and Kramer is standing on his hind legs, with his front legs resting on Phil's leg. I swear, Kramer was smiling and nodding and saying, "Yes, yes, I'll do that. I'll hold it like a big dog." But then I can hear Kramer saying to himself, The carpet is as good a place as anywhere. The cats poop in the house. I think I should have equal rights.

But Phil has a believing heart and thinks that Kramer will obey.

I am a realist. Kramer will poop on the floor.

He poops outside if one of us says, "Do you want to go outside?" But, actually he really thinks we say, "Do you want to go outside so you can pounce on bugs and bark at that German Shepard." (That dog, which could eat Kramer in one gulp, by the way, is staying in the house behind us). Please, Powers-that-be, let that dog be a visitor or we will hear, "barkbarkbarkbarkbarkbarkbarkbark," all winter. And then he will bark some more, in case that wasn't enough.

And then he will think his outside work is done.

And then he will come in the house and poop on the floor. I just know it.

Thursday, September 2, 2010


Don't you just adore your friends? Could you do without them? Me neither. Yesterday, I emailed my darling friend in California: "I ate a half gallon of mint chocolate chip ice cream in three days." I had to confess to someone, and now I've confessed big time.

She wrote back, "I ate three gallons of mint chocolate chip ice cream in one day." I laughed right out loud and then I read: "Not really, but practically."

That's how friends are. They want their misdeeds to be bigger than your misdeeds so you will feel better. (And I think she knew it would make me laugh.)

Tonight my hard-working-gardening-friend delivered to me--DELIVERED, I didn't even have to go get them--well, I couldn't because my adorable clown car delivered it's headlight's switch right into my hand the other day so its a day-time only car at the moment. Anyway, my friend, who was exhausted from all her gardening work, brought me a HUGE bag of the prettiest tomatoes you've ever seen. (Our garden this year is having a tantrum and it is Pitiful, with a capital "P." It's a good thing I canned tomatoes last year because there won't be any of that done this year.)

She gave me a huge bag of crookneck squash just a few days ago. That's how friends are. Thinking of my needs above her own--I KNOW she wanted to soak in a nice bubble bath or zone out in front of the TV instead of getting in her car and coming to my house.

Friends stop by my blog and leave nice compliments, even though I was in a bloggy-snit and didn't post--or read anyone else's posts--for weeks. Once I did post, they commented.

Another friend knows I am having an attitude adjustment--or I need an attitude adjustment--over something I really, truly should do. No, I'm not going to tell you what it is--I'm embarrassed. Anyway, she said, "Let's go do it tomorrow. I'll go with you. It will be good. I promise." And I will, and it will be, and then one of my fears will be lain to rest and it will be because she saw my need and she filled it. She's even willing to wait until I drag out of bed at 11:00 (because I have insomnia and the great-sleeping-sickness all at the same time).

Another friend dropped everything today to go run errands with me. We ended up at Chili's having queso dip--but she was willing to do the errands with me first. At a moment's notice she will drop what she's doing and go with me. I love that about her.

Only Mormon's will understand this one--yesterday, which was September first, I finally got around to doing my August Visiting Teaching. Two of the women gave me big hugs and told me they loved me. Me--the slacker. Me--the one who is supposed to be watching over them. I had to leave a letter and the message on the third woman's door because the third woman is Mrs. Bird and Mrs. Bird is simply never home, she is out doing interesting things so I will have something to blog about.

So, today, September second, I am declaring Lynne Snyder's Friendship Appreciation Day--and most of them did not get mentioned here because there's only so much a tired insomniac can do. Here's to you, all my dear friends: Live long and prosper.

That's quite a catchy phrase, isn't it? Maybe I should write for movies. What do you think?