Thursday, June 26, 2008

Holy Cow!

This morning as we were having our after-the-alarm-goes-off cuddle time, Jim said "Happy day after our 42nd anniversary."

I exclaimed, "42 years and one day, Holy Cow!" (Meaning--how did the time fly so fast…)

Jim chuckled and said, "I don't know why I thought of this right now, but I used to have a cow named Holly, so she was Holly Cow!"

He went on to say that he never says Holy Cow, so he never thought of that before.

My mom used to say Holy Cow, so I picked it up from her. For me I guess it's another tradition. ^o^

Does anyone know the origin of "holy cow?" Interesting how different things get started.--K

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Two Blinks and a Burn

We were in California last week for a reunion of our immediate family. All the kids and their families were there. This is what Helena has posted about it so far. It was so-o-o-o-o fun, but it was like I blinked and suddenly it was over.

Also, today is June 25, which means it's our wedding anniversary once again. This is our very forty-second anniversary, or as Betsey said, our "forty-twoth." (That's pronounced like "tooth" you see.) That's another blink. Yes, the past 42 years have gone just that fast. Wow. I didn't really understand it when my dad used to talk like that, but now I can see what he meant.

The burn, unfortunately was/is sunburn. Last week on Tuesday we went to the beach. We went in the late afternoon. Everyone slathered on sunscreen, and the sun was at a low angle at that time, so no one had a problem with sun--or at least not much. Thursday was kayaking day. Kirsten and I and baby Elizabeth stayed on shore while everyone else took turns either kayaking or helping with Elizabeth, and Kate when Kate wasn't kayaking. Kirsten and I were under a big, shady umbrella so we didn't put on sunscreen. Kirsten is fine, but my feet got sunburned. I was wearing salt water sandals and was burned in that pattern. This picture shows how my feet still look today.

I didn't realize my feet were in the sun that day. I also didn't think much about it. I've had sunburn before and it has always turned into a tan in a few days, so far this one hasn't. It's still red and sore and it's been nearly a week. I've used different ointments on it, at least one of which seemed to make it worse. It's been disconcerting and puzzling. Yesterday I asked Dr. Duckwall about it and he told me something very interesting. He said that skin conditions need an abundance of calcium in order to heal. He suggested that I take a lot of calcium lactate to get it into my bloodstream, and also take a supplement called Cataplex F to get it into the tissues. OK. That makes a lot of sense, so last night I started taking calcium lactate and Cataplex F. Hopefully by tomorrow I will notice more of a difference. I think I'm starting to notice a difference today because the milder burn on my legs has been itching--a good sign I suspect.

Several other people got varying amounts of sunburn too--in places where they missed putting on the sunscreen or perhaps didn't put it on thick enough. We decided that we need to get a kind that goes on in some bright color at first so we can make sure we haven't missed any spots!

I plan to post more about the trip in the next day or two.--K

Monday, June 16, 2008

To a Really Great Guy

Last night I read this beautiful tribute that my daughter-in-law Karen wrote to her father, and I realized that I wanted to pay tribute to the extraordinary man who happens to be the father of my children. I don't have much time to do this right now, so I'm just going to do what I can and see what comes up.

What are some things that have made him a great and fun dad?

He offered good choices for the children:
• Where on your plate do you want your peas?
• Would you rather go to bed right side up or upside down?

That last one was especially fun, and of course the kids always wanted upside down. He would turn them upside down, have them "walk on the ceiling" down the hall and plop them on their beds.

It was fun to see the kids line up for running hugs from dad. They did that for years. He finally decided they were too big when they practically knocked him over when they jumped into his arms.

His patience and long suffering--He was always willing to be the donkey in our traditional family Christmas pageant. Helena would put a set of long, floppy, brown construction paper ears on him and off he'd go. It wasn't until much later that I realized how much it must have hurt his bony knees to crawl around on the hardwood floor with "Mary" on his back.

He was never a scout master, but was always willing to go on the Father & Sons camp outs. And how about the times he went on those Young women excursions? I seem to remember a certain back packing trip when someone I know just couldn't carry her backpack any longer, and dad came to the rescue.

There was also the volunteering every year to help with sports day at school, going to all the concerts and sporting events, and being the chess club adviser for several years.

Here's a picture of that great dad. I'm sure more could be said. Perhaps the kids would like to add a few comments about things they remember.

(Just ignore the mess on the table. It seems there are often messes in life that we'd rather not have in the picture, and life is too short to worry about them. ^_^)

I'd also like to share a few things about Jim the person, and Jim the husband.

He has been extremely teachable. He never has been much of a people person, and is not one to notice what's going on around him, but he is willing to take suggestion as long as it is offered in a kind manner.

He is an extremely willing worker, and has a great heart for giving service. He has helped so many church members move that he has become really proficient at packing boxes tightly in moving vans so the things don't shift around.

Sometimes he does take notice, and then take action. Once there was a snow storm during an evening Relief Society meeting, and he went over and cleaned the snow off of all the ladies' cars so they could drive home more easily. This kind of thing is typical of him.

Sometimes he has been exasperating to live with because he's an engineer, but that has been a learning experience for both of us. He really isn't being mean when he says things like, "Well the moon won't actually be full until 1:17 tomorrow night…"

He may sing a little off key, but he does it with enthusiasm.

From him I have learned kindness, not just because he has learned to be kind to me, but because I have also learned to be kind to him. I was really dumb when we got married. I think that most people are, and that's one of the reasons people are able to get married in the first place.

I had no clue how hard it would be to develop a really close relationship with another person, and frankly there were times of big disappointment. My knight in shining armor had a few rusty spots and chinks that were especially aggravating to me. I could tell though that when I pointed these out to him that it only made him discouraged and afraid to try harder.

Finally I was able to be wise enough to admire him as a person, and to express sincere appreciation when he did things that I especially liked. How often do we notice when people let us down, and forget to comment about the good things we do?

I gradually learned that with my children and my husband, great strides would eventually be made by noticing the baby steps they take in the right direction.

Baby steps! Isn't that what life is all about anyway? We all do the best we can, but with encouragement from those who care, we will become who we are meant to be.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Our Changing Yard

Who plants peas on the 5th of June? I do, if I haven't gotten them in the ground earlier. It seems to me that last year we planted them on about the first of June, and we had fabulous yields of sugar snap peas for weeks even though peas are essentially a cool weather crop. I had some seeds left over from last year, so I plopped them in the ground on one end of the trellis, and planted some 2008 seeds starting at the other end. As of today, Jim says they're up on both ends. Yay for trying old seeds as well as new ones.

We really like Square Foot Gardening, and built our boxes several years ago. It really does cut down on about 85% of the work. Because we garden in boxes, we never step on the soil, so it doesn't get packed down, and we'll never have to till it again. In the winter we've been covering the soil in the boxes with a few layers of newspaper and a combination of leaves and grass clippings. If for some reason a box doesn't get planted the next spring, not only do weeds not grow, but the decomposing mulch keeps adding nutrients to the soil.

Jim put a flat board in the ground all around the outside of our garden to make mowing easier. As the years have gone by, the garden boxes have shrunk a bit, causing quite a gap to form between the boxes and the board. Unfortunately that's a fine place for weeds to grow. As I was taking the mulch off of one of the boxes, I realized I could stuff it in the crack, so that's what I started to do. I think it will work well. You can also see part of the fence around the garden. Jim made it in sections so we could open up one section at a time for working comfortably from the outside. We have two kinds of critters that these fences work well for keeping out--rabbits and our little dog, Angie. You see Angie likes vegetables, and in the past has pulled up peas and broccoli plants. Near the garden there is an especially delicious sight right now--pure eye candy. I had heard that clematis like to climb on climbing roses, so we planted some together. I'm bonkers about this particular clematis and rose combination.
Does anyone know the name of this blue clematis? It's my very favorite. I've probably got the name in a notebook somewhere.

Our mock orange bush has also been blooming on the other side of the back yard. My mom had one, and so did my grandmother, so we planted one in our yard to carry on the tradition. They are SO fragrant. Mom also had lilacs, a snowball bush, a flowering almond, and some peonies, so we planted some of those too. Traditions are nice.The group of hostas below is just down the way from the mock orange bush. (Mom didn't have hostas, but that's OK. I like them anyway. ^•^)
Going around to the front yard the scene is very different. The candytuft, with their white carpet of flowers so plentiful a few short weeks ago, have had their fling and are now producing light green seed pods which are pretty in their own right. (If you want to see what the candytuft used to look like, scroll down to the May 10 posting.) Now it's time for the "Cerastium Tomentosa" to show their own white blanket. (Helena told me that the common name is "Snow in Summer.") I love their silvery leaves and tiny, snow white flowers.Next we are greeted by roses that Barbie planted here some years ago, with a few coral bells peeking out.
The white astilbes are coming into their own now, with a lovely background of hosta leaves.
And last but not least is our Kousa Dogwood. And, if you look closely in the lower left corner you can see a hint of one of the June lilies that will decide to bloom in a few days.
This year we had a truly gorgeous spring. The transition to summer has happened much too quickly, but every year is different and brings its own promises. I'm looking forward to seeing what comes next. --K

Sunday, June 8, 2008

A Final Farewell

I took my camera to church today because I never did get a picture last night of the whole Greenwood family. Good-byes are always hard. April and Sydney were only 2 and 1 when the family moved here. After five years the girls are now 7 and 6. This is the only home they remember and that made it especially hard.
April and Sydney are standing in front. Back row: Roger holding Caleb, age 1, Marci holding Kelsey, age 3, I think. Mom and Dad know how to smile for a camera, but I think the children's faces reflect how they all felt.
Sydney had tears streaming down her face as they turned to walk down the hall. I quickly snapped this picture as Mother and Daughter stopped to soak in one last look at this picture depicting the Savior giving The Sermon on the Mount. Not only is the family bidding farwell to home and friends, but to the church building they have loved as well. It was a bittersweet, tender moment.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

A Fond Memory, and A Spectacular Treat

Tonight we went to a going away party for Roger and Marci Greenwood and their family. They are leaving on Tuesday to move to Colorado after being here for five years. Roger will be teaching there. I have fond memories of their family. Marci and her family were always so kind to Kirsten, and invited her over when they could. Some years ago, on a moment's notice Marci even drove me to the hospital, and also kept Kirsten over night, when Barbie had an emergency appendectomy. I shall ever be grateful for her kindness, and her willingness to help.

Marci Greenwood and Kirsten
An Unexpected Treat

After we got home I walked out on the deck and saw something spectacular. It was one of those breathtaking scenes that’s gone in minutes, but when I saw it I, I knew I had to share. It was too lovely to keep to myself. Unfortunately it wasn't something I could take a picture of. I dashed in the house and called for Betsey and Jim to come and see too. (Kirsten was busy changing into her p.j.’s)

The sun was setting. There were bands of cirrus clouds in the sky and the sun was shining through them creating golden streaks. There were literally gold bands across the sky that reflected that bright light down into our back yard. Because the sky was darkening, it made the gold light show up even more. Everything was just bathed in it. Green trees and grass looked lush and brilliant, and reds were vibrant. White petunias had an inner glow.

I’ve never seen our little red shed look so pretty, and its white trim stood out as if it has been painted just this morning. The red geraniums in our containers looked as if some little flames of fire had come to rest there for just a moment.

Too soon the light vanished, but I’m so glad I got to soak in the experience even for a short time. How often do we fail to notice lovely things that could touch our spirit, and fill our bucket for another day? I suspect they are all around us if we take a minute to see them. I’m glad I happened to look when I did. ^.^

Friday, June 6, 2008

Acting As If

I know just about everyone is interested in getting ahead. I've read quite a few things over the years about "Acting AS IF," and for me it's a valuable principle, but one that's hard to practice.

I wrote in my journal about this type of thing last night. I've heard about the "Act as if" principle lots of times before. The thing that's really hard is acting as if you had the energy to do something. Here's what I wrote in my journal last night: "I looked again at Dr. Laura’s book Bad Childhood, Good Life. Page 223 has a testimonial from a listener to her program: 'I have finally begun to realize that you do not need to feel better before you behave better. As you have often said, Dr. Laura, Feelings follow appropriate behavior.'"

Going along with that, Dr. Dean Black in the Frogship Perspective, said “We act according to our principles, not according to our moods, and then our moods go away.”

What's hard for me is trying to do things, even though my energy is practically non existent. There have been times, that with sheer determination and not much else, I've gone ahead and started something even though I haven't had the energy and found that energy does start to build little by little. I've found that for me, getting up EARLY in the morning is a key to feeling better later on. Unfortunately it's easy to get away from that.

I will experiment with this more. I got up at 5:30 with Jim today, even though I didn't sleep well and didn't feel like getting up. It's hard when you wake up and your biggest ambition is to take a nap. ^_^

We'll see.

An article from Jack Canfield came this morning and I thought it might be helpful. (I do have permission to use it.) It's long, so I've just included it as a link, but has some very good stuff.

In the article Jack explains why taking action is important, why rejection doesn't exist, why gratitude is important, and much more. Enjoy! I have highlighted those things that are most meaningful to me. If you would like to read it please click here.