Sunday, December 26, 2010

Black Friday on Alcatraz!

Hey look what I found in the drafts!  Fun day back in November!  Everyone should do the Alcatraz tourist thing.  Trouble is you have to get tickets about 2 weeks or so in advance.  Andrew and Michael couldn't make it, so Jeffrey made two women who came for the tour and found them sold out very happy .

Gingerbread - Going for houses someday

Gingerbread Recipe 

 I had to label this so in the event I ever want to make gingerbread houses again, I'll know where to find the recipe when I hit search.
 The reality is gingerbread men, cookies, etc. is time consuming and lots of work for not enough utiles. "Utiles" being a measurement of the unmeasurable such as happiness, contentment, or worth versus the cost of doing something.
Chocolate Chip cookies are far easier, taste better, and don't take up even half or a quarter of the time and effort it takes to make a batch of gingerbread dough, cut it out, bake it and then decide whether or not to take the time to ice/decorate it.  Chocolate Chip cookies disappear faster.  Chocolate Chip cookies are fatal to weight loss.   Soooo.....

I made these gingerbread cookies to give out for Christmas and limited myself to two which is doable (not so with chocolate chip) and found not all recipes are even (unlike chocolate chip which varies a little and all of them work out and taste just fine - too fine).  If you happen to want a soft, little more healthy recipe that puffs up, tastes great - but doesn't always look straight try this one.    If you want a flat gingerbread man try this one off the web. (OK forget it I can't find it again, but there are PLENTY out there)  Now this is the one I'll maybe, someday, not in the foreseeable future make - and of course it comes from Laura Nausin.  She is famous for making houses and having parties with little kids all decorating the cute houses.

Sift together:
5 to 5 1/2 cups of flour
1 tsp Baking Soda
1 tsp salt
3 tsp cinnnamon
2 tsp ground ginger
2 tsp. ground cloves
2 tsp ground nutmeg
Beat until fluffy:
1 cup Solid Crisco
1 cup Sugar
Add to creamed mixture
1 cup molasses
1 egg (I added 2- maybe mine were too little)

Stir in sifted flour mixture.  Chill Overnight.  Roll dought to 1/8" to 1/4" thickness.  Dough should be no ticker than a graham cracker.  Cut out patterns. Bake on ungreased baking sheet in 350* oven 7 minutes for cookies, 8-10 for houses.   

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Do you think it's shopping - or giving a talk?

So this story or "event" started out on Sunday when I had the 'privilige' of giving a talk at church.  I'm fortunate that this privilege comes about every 8 years - maybe next time we could move it to ten.  So I must have knocked on fates door asking for an invitation when I quoted
Richard G. Scott:

"Sadness, disappointment, and severe challenge are events in life, not life itself.  I do not minimize how hard some of these events are.  They can extend over a long period of time, but they should not be allowed to become the confining center of everything you do.  .  The Lord inspired Lehi to declare the fundamental truth, “Men are, that they might have joy.”  That is a conditional statement: “they might have joy.”  It is not conditional for the Lord.  His intent is that each of us finds joy.  It will not be conditional for you as you obey the commandments, have faith in the Master, and do the things that are necessary to have joy here on earth. 
Your joy in life depends upon your trust in Heavenly Father and His holy Son, your conviction that their plan of happiness truly can bring you joy."  (May 96 Ensign, 24)

I basically testified about how happy I find life.
Tuesday I went shopping.  Shopping and I have a love hate relationship and I know it is a necessary thing to do to get "stuff".  I like "stuff" just the effort involved is never ending.   I found this really neat trick is to go with friends!  They always know where to go and we actually have fun!  So on Tuesday we headed up to the Outlet Malls (Roseanne Nieto drove - I didn't even have to do that!) and everybody mentioned what they wanted and then we split up and wove together to look for "stuff".  Fun, fun, fun!  Lots of laughing and checking out, some trying on, it was just fun.  Having four women trying on and looking at pea coats for Rebekah my daughter was hilarious as we decided who was closest in size and what she might look like in it.
But I blew it at the glassware store - sorry I've already forgotten the name - Pyrex?  anyway I stood holding a bag of glass bowls for a little too long and cut off circulation in  a few fingers and over strained my left hand.  I finished up the day buying some really hilarious gifts at the cooking store for my boys and watching the ladies at other stores and just enjoying the camaraderie. 
When I woke up on Wednesday morning, pain was radiating from my left wrist and I ended up going to the Doctors on Thursday where he told me the over straining of the tendons, etc. had resulted in a rare condition of cellulitis (or something like that) a fast acting infection, so he treated it with antibiotics and a wrist splint.  On Friday I was really praying to my Heavenly Father and 'wallah"! on Saturday morning the pain started to dissipate.  My thanks to Heaven, doctors who go to school, and the invention of modern antibiotic!  It is now Tuesday morning and I can function well.   Life is good again!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Jennie arrived and we celebrated her birthday

 I love having Jennie around she is a outgoing wonderful girl and makes everyone around her happy.

We celebrated her birthday (OK so it was over a week ago - she wasn't here yet!)
 with brownies, ice-cream and candles and
and then we had a hilarious version of Uno (college kids come up with really original stuff)!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

I will never get enough of the ocean!

Fabulous day, good friends, good food, soothing rhythm of waves, lots to explore - life is good!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Just Two Verses

It's the day after and inevitably I'm getting the question, "How does Jeffrey feel?"  He feels just fine.  He gave it his best shot and now he'll look at something else to volunteer his time for.  The last time he tried this, he didn't really know what should go when or where, this time he had tremendous help from every quarter, he did the right things at the right time and it just didn't work out. We took a gamble and it didn't pay off, no problem, move on.
But when the comment comes, "He'll win next time", my instinctive reaction is, "no, not again".   He actually has replied, "Now isn't the time to make that decision maybe in a little while."  But this half of the equation is saying, Nope, we did our fair share of time, effort, and sacrifice in this quarter and now it's my time.  I'll enjoy the extra time he won't be working for others (until he finds a new project) and  less stress, and the money that won't be going out.  There are many other fields he can shine in and do his duty to country and God.  Meanwhile I'm taking some time - and looking at dishwashers.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Hypnotic green numbers

Anxiously watching the green blinking numbers as the graph shoots up and down, willing the numbers to change lower.  I tell myself to look away and be a support to my friend but inivetably I'm staring at the little box that supposedly tells us what is happening in her body.  She is shaky, pale, breathing heavily and in distress.  After a day in the hospital sitting, talking, assisting sometimes, I'm exhuasted.  I've really done nothing but sit and talk all day.  And worry.  And look at that box with the green screen and numbers.  Please go down, please change.  Stop looking at the box.  What can I do to help? Just sit and wait with her.  I'm so out of anything else to talk about.  Stop looking at the box.  What is that alarm about?  Are the nurses coming in?  I don't see any numbers in that box that are different, why is the alarm sounding?  Talk about her life, talk about my life.  Worry some more.  Of course we only talk about the everyday details, never about the white elephant in the room. Willing the numbers to go down. Stop looking at the box.  Will power alone won't change anything. Green blinking numbers dancing in my head.........

I can talk about coming out of the hospital to a dark night, tired out of my mind.  When I travel down the street I expect to hit Alhambra (It was in front of the hospital for two day in a row) but when I finally finde the emergency room today and park near there I come out at night and drive down the street till it dead ends.  Great, I'm wandering around tiny streets in Martinez until I happen on Alhambra again.  So I pull out into the street and wonder where the heck the yellow line went, and of course there are two sets of headlights coming toward me, so I try to drive over into their left hand turn lane to get out of the way and of course one of the sets of headlights is a policeman.  He tells me to turn "over there" as he's going to pull me over.  After a sobriety check, flash light in my car, and my explanation of visiting a sick friend, tiny streets, and confusion, he tells me to drive better - A very nice man -  I'm totally awake and aware as I jump on the freeway and go home.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Another Quick Road Trip

It was a Tuesday morning while I was out walking with Laura that I got a phone call from my sister Donna who said she "might" get married on Saturday - she wanted to know what I thought about her eloping to the Salt Lake Temple.  After I assured her I would do whatever was necessary to be there she was happy.  Plans immediately went into play and many phone calls were delivered between all the sisters and my mom.  We all planned on the event even though it was still a maybe.  I made plans to travel with Rebekah and Rachel early Friday morning as it was the most cost efficient in getting the most of us there.  (But driving again?!!)
Does this look familiar to anyone?

This structure is slowly falling into deterioration each time we see it somewhere in Nevada
We drove up on Friday morning and left for home on Sunday morning.   Sure enough this time she got married!  There is something really special having the whole family seating in a sealing room watching the last sibling get married.   I couldn't help thinking of my grandmothers and the efforts and love they put into all their children and how legacies are passed along.
Donna and Parley Estes October 9, 2010
We couldn't resist putting on a reception for this elopement and since plans had already been made months ago and cancelled it wasn't hard to pick them all up again and go for it.  On Wednesday my sisters Laura and Sharon made and put out announcement invitations and we actually had quite a few friends and my mom's neighbors show up at the reception!   Of course with our large family and Parley's large family we had a crowd anyway.
Donna greeting a friend

Relatives gathering

The kids couldn't resist giving them a few more traditions

Actually it could have been worse
Now all of my mom's children are married, the first girl and the last being married in the Salt Lake Temple.  She has over 50 grandchildren with more expected this year.  It sure is nice when the children are something to be proud of and when they are contributing to society.  Life isn't quite so nice when they are ugly and not living up to their potential.  Here's hoping I'll get all of my children to be service oriented, happy, and productive citizens of the world.  It would be REALLY nice to see some of them get married..... in the adorable wonderful spouses....... and let me play with some GRAND BABIES.  No pressure or anything...........

Friday, September 17, 2010

Nothing Like a Road Trip

Road, more road, and more road - about 29 hours of road!

Rebekah and I started out in Texas at Donna and Sophia's home in Dallas.  Had a lovely visit that night and left at 4 something in the morning darkness.
My beautiful sister Donna

Sophie Whitten dramatic and darling

Daring too-

Texas was beautiful especially the sky that day

I think I watched it almost as much as the horizon

Oil wells and fields
New Mexico was filled with color!

Red, blues, greens, yellows, and purples!

We left New Mexico at about 3 something in the morning and arrived in Arizona before dawn.
Arizona through bug filled window pre-dawn

Watched the sun rise over the mountains and valley

I was surprised to be traveling through the mountains

But it flattened out and was almost dead looking In California
Ahh, there is nothing like home and California with it's rolling golden hills is really where it is at!  I knew we were blessed and protected while traveling and just as we got off on Mountain House Road it happened.
A silver SUV decided to jump into our lane just as we were passing him and he ran us off the road between two rod poles into some gravel.  Nice of him to slow down as we decided to drive on and see if we could just go on.  Protected  in a warm embrace is how it felt, prayers answered and revealed.  Life is good.
Golden Hills of home
Leaning telephone poles let us know we were almost there!
Home Sweet Home after a long journey.  Will it feel like that when we die and greet loved ones?
Rebekah and I listened to Harry Potter, music, and talked and talked.  She is wonderful!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

It's all In The Timing

Nate left early this morning - very early.  So that meant on Saturday he sorted and was packing up his life into his little truck.  I asked how to help and offered to do his laundry.  I got all the laundry from everyone done until the last batch of sheets and pillowcases, when the washer gave that ominous blinking message that says the front loader isn't draining.

It has been years since I had a speck of trouble and since we just revamped the garage,  I don't know where the special screwdriver is that takes it apart. And it was late in the day so I put it off till Monday morning - which was a holiday.   Jeffrey said why don't we just call someone in.  So I called my favorite appliance mechanic Elizabeth who works at Dunn-Wright and found she was in Europe for 5 weeks and went with another mechanic named Mark.   He called me later in the day and said he couldn't get to my house until 6:30 or 7 p.m.   I thought what a total bummer to work so late on a holiday and asked him if he wouldn't rather come on Tuesday morning to which he agreed.

Since I was hiring someone to fix the washer I'd decided why not get the dryer serviced too since Elizabeth had always been adamant that dryers need to be cleaned out once a year.
Mark arrived earlier than expected but that was nice and 45 minutes later was done with everything!  He showed me what was clogging up the line - yuk.  But the real problem had been the scorched lint that he said was as close as I'd come to a house fire.  In cub scouts we learned how to make fire starters from lint.  I've seen how quickly they ignite.

I'm thinking tender mercies of the Lord.

I'm thinking I'm sure glad I have a missionary out right now.

I'm thinking how blessed we are.

Monday, August 23, 2010

I'm dead tired, I'm bleary eyed, I'm content......I think

So my goal for the last two summers was to be organized and have my garage cleaned out - find the books that we shoved in there when we did reconstruction on the living room - just plain know what was in there and where it is.
My friends, my boys, my special blessings.  It all came together after getting back from the reunions in Utah and just before school starts on Wednesday.  Laura Nausin got her husband to make shelves (gifted carpenter Dana Nausin), the Jones agreed to let me use a storage unit AND a free moving truck (Justin Jones - such a sweetheart!- drove the truck over to our house, then drove it back to the storage shed - and then a few days later did it all over again!) Nate came unexpectedly home to loan his muscles and strategy to the project and Andrew faithfully hauled everything in and out. They will leave for universities this week and next.  Michael, Rachel and I would have taken much longer as Michael would have been the only muscle in the crew.
Years of stuff.  Do we really want this?  The continual question.  There are still more boxes to be sorted but I have a beautiful laundry shelf, a place for cleaners, vacuum parts and pieces and LOVELY shelves lining one whole side of the garage!
I didn't expect the 100 degree weather today so I'm too tired to feel anything except gratitude. I think the spell check doesn't have any more errors but I may just be seeing double.
Thanks Lord

Saturday, August 21, 2010

I am so lucky

I grew up in a fun adventurous family, we went camping a lot, had family home evenings at the park and canyon, and traveled to Idaho and Arizona - from Utah - for reunions with relatives. So playing in the reservoir this year was just part of the fun.

We have a strong pioneer and Latter-Day-Saint heritage and started the reunion off by remembering those who have already left this life.
The little lad in red is about to post his rocket on the air compressor post, while the rest of the gang is watching the rocket that just flew.  Lots of fun for every age.

Flag from last years reunion which is applicable this year too
Work project - shower house that all worked on.
Six girls with mom

Six Boys

Then we went to visit the other side of the family and spent a little time with the Adams families

Nate and Rachel with Grandmama Adams