• “Sometimes the questions are complicated and the answers are simple. Dr. Suess

Wednesday, November 30, 2011


also known as

I planted hyacinth bulbs today.

partly empty  -  color dictates the bulb color but I do not know the difference ...
I think the lighter bulbs are white or pale yellow ... 
I have already started to deocrate for Christmas.
Notice the gold on the right of the top picture?
Christmas boxes and bags are everywhere.
The tree is standing but I want clear lights this year -
now where did I put them ... they are AWOL!

David and I went to Lowe's on an errand last night and while poking around there I found a dream come true! The most expensive spring bulbs that I adore, and can never make myself spend money to own, were on sale.  Instead of 10$ they were just $1.87 for 12!!! I had to get some ... and then pray the ground didn't freeze solid during the night. A bit of light rain fostered that hope.

The day had been warm enough to finish some late season garden chores - do those ever end? Not before the ground freezes!  It is very late to plant bulbs but as long as you can bury them enough they are fine to put in. I bought some!

This morning everything was frosty white and hard as a rock ... but the sun rose, the ground thawed and my shovel got busy.  The package does say it is OK to plant them in this area until November ... and it IS still November - right?

a hyacinth bulb just below my shovel  blade (about 8" deep)
tucked in along the edges of the flower beds between this and that

Gale force winds blew right threw my jacket so I came in and added another wool layer and then another windbreaker layer. A wandering giant tumbleweed (really - it was almost 5 feet in diameter) - attacked me, literally came rolling around the corner of the house and almost knocked me down, but that did not deter me. I escorted it to the curb and waved good bye as it started looking for a new victim.

Here is another tumbleweed, the same size, going to visit the neighbor ...
These things are almost like pets - they have personalities ...
I live in town!
No one grows these in their yard!

Many years ago as I planted tulips in October a neighborhood boy, Freddy, asked me what I was doing.  I told him I was planting flowers. He was incredulous - "Mrs. don't you know winter is coming?" he asked. "It is going to snow!"

I explained that sometimes you have to wait for good things.  Sometimes you have to plan and prepare long before it is time to enjoy the things you like best. I told him to come see me in the spring and I would give him some flowers for his mother.  He walked away shaking his head about a crazy old woman. He never did come get any tulips.

Moral: when old people talk think carefully about what they are trying to say.

I know winter is coming.
I know it is going to snow.
I know it is awfully cold out there in the wind.
I also know how to work.

I can see tiny green life trying to grow out of the bulbs.

I know they will make flowers.

When we really want something, we pray for it and hope for it BUT we have to do more than have faith and hope - we have to act.  I have to get the bulbs when Heavenly Father blesses me to find them on sale and then I have to put them in the ground when he blesses me with sunshine enough to thaw the ground for a day.

President Thomas S. Monson teaches, "Work will win when wishy washy wishing won't." He calls that 'Formula W'. It is true. Next spring I will have hyacinths.  I have hoped and prayed I might have an abundance of them someday.

I wish I had bought more than 2 packages.
If the sun is shining tomorrow I may get more
- even if the month has changed to December.

I really, really do want more.
I thought 24 would be lots.
I wasn't sure I wanted to work THAT hard.
Now they are planted they seem - not enough ...
And the effort will be so worth it!

What do you really desire?
Do you believe it is possible?
Do you have faith?
Have you asked God to bless you to have it?
How hard are you willing to work for it?
What do you need to do to prepare for it?
Do you have hope?

I am so excited for spring to come.
I will have to content myself by waiting with Christmas.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011


I own several skirts without pockets.
Thankfully I have some jackets WITH pockets.
I pair them and get by.
I abhor carrying a purse!

I saw a skirt made from a pair of jeans -
LOTS of pockets.

The jeans were cut off like a yoke, and fabric for the skirt was attached. Why didn't I think of that?

My wardrobe brain expanded ...

I looked through my stash of old jeans.
I hate spending money unless I have to.
(But sometimes it is better to pay for what you need.)
They ALL had lots of pockets - too many for a skirt.
I don't WANT pockets on my skirt backside.

A second hand shop furnished a few nice options- for about $1.99 - I liked the front/details and pocket free seat. One was actually a skort - I will use it for another skirt my imagination is already conjuring up - hmmm - and I decided a tan pair may become the yoke on another skirt I have already ... more on that later if this one works.

I noticed skirts were also quite inexpensive - sorry, don't remember how much but they were all less than $5. I picked one with an elastic waist (not too flattering as it was - kind of 'tent-ish') and an interesting border print in denim colors.

I cut off a pair of jeans and threw the legs in my 'denim-quilt-someday' box.

I measured the skirt length against another skirt I have, cut an amount equal to the yoke off, and threw the top  of the skirt into the trash.  (Be sure to allow a seam amount on both pieces.)

I sewed them together by making more or less equal flat pleat/tucks around the entire skirt and hated it - YUCK!

Why? ... the yoke seemed too deep.
I took out the seam and shortened the yoke.
I also adjusted some of the pleat/tucks to lay flatter.

Ooops - now, although I liked the skirt fine, it was a bit shorter than I wanted it. I cut a piece of lining from my fabric stash into a basic a-line skirt shape the same length as the skirt piece (plus a seam for the top and bottom), fished the top of the skirt from my trash, cut it into equal-width strips, attached them end to end and gathered them onto the edge of the lining. A narrow rolled hem finished the bottom edge on both the skirt and ruffle edge.

I made the lining several inches wider than the width of the skirt at the yoke seam so that I could make some tuck/pleats to accommodate the fullness of the main skirt layer. I used the same flat pleat/tucks as before and staggered them to avoid adding fullness in the hip area and attached the lining to the yoke/skirt seam.

The effect is a narrow ruffled under layer.

I find I like how the lining acts like a slip under the soft gauze-like skirt fabric and provides the skirt with some substance - a weight it seemed to need to balance the weight of the denim.

I still felt it needed a little perk of some kind ...

I looked at several border print skirts and noticed they all have beads or sequins so I attached a few random, homeless, unmatched beads from my bead box. Mostly translucent light blues in interesting shapes with a few silvers in several sizes.

Viola! - a new wearable skirt WITH roomy pockets.

Do you need one too?

Sunday, November 27, 2011


We all expect Christmas soon.
The expectation is almost as good as the real thing.


Anniversaries, birthdays, holidays, and other celebrations -

Gifts, parties, goodies, people, glitz, plans and preparations ...

Most of us expect some sort of recognition of the day we arrived in mortality - the day of our birth. What was your favorite birthday? What was your favorite gift? or party? or expedition? Did you anticipate it??

In November 1972 I was expecting - a baby.
We anticipated the arrival might occur on the 27th.
I thought that would be pretty cool.
27 Nov 72 ...

There were no ultra sounds to predict gender. Due dates were given with a two week 'before' or 'after' possibility. There was really no way to ever know either for sure ...

Would the baby be a girl or a boy?
How much would the baby weigh?
 [7 pounds 2 ounces!]
What day might baby arrive?
[On time - exactly - 27 Nov 72]
And would baby be 'normal', healthy and happy?
[Yes, in every way!]

Lamaze was new and heavily promoted as a 'pain free' birth method. My doctor recommended attending the classes and I found them very enlightening.  I learned many helpful and interesting things.

Everyone was surprised when baby arrived as predicted.

They were even more surprised that I didn't even really need my Lamaze training. So was I - I kept trying to figure out if I was really in 'labor' - and after a short time baby's arrival answered my questions.  I really couldn't figure out why some of the girls in maternity were making such a big deal of everything.  (Silly me - I have learned since that time that pregnancy and delivery can be very difficult and even dangerous for some mothers and babies).

I often think about waiting for my first child.

I remember those first fluttery feelings of life.

I remember the anticipation, the expectation,
and even a little trepidation.

None of it was as good as the real thing -
nothing compared to holding that tiny baby girl in my arms.

Ginger with mother near first birthday 

Watching her grow was continual expectation and anticipation
and, yes, even a little bit of trepidation.

Every day became an adventure.
Every day held delight and joy.

She now has children of her own.

They magnify all those moments.
My expectations have become exponential.

She still fills my days with tremendous joy.
She came first - and there may never be any last.

Happy Birthday, Ginger
I so love you.

I content myself anticipating what we will share next!

It is sure to be better than expected.

Thursday, November 24, 2011


I have always loved people that are 30 - 50 years my senior.

I think I learned that as a child by going with my parents to visit aging friends and relatives. We did that often - at least weekly and sometimes more.

I found them so interesting. They had such vast experience, interesting stories and wise insights. What a wonderful resource and support they are.  Even reading journals or stories and histories written by them helps me - if nothing else it helps me realize how much I have.

An ancestal journal records a family driven from their home by an angry mob in the wet cold of February, the mother expecting a baby and the father away. As mom lay laboring in a 'box' of a covered wagon, rain seeped through the cover. Her 12 year old son and slightly younger daughter dipped the pooling water from beneath her trying to help their mother. The baby did not live. The son buried the baby in the semi frozen ground and then the wagon moved on.

Their experiences of sorrow come to mind whenever complaints start in my thoughts.

I am so thankful to have such sons and daughters.
They help and comfort me.

I have so much comfort and convenience and safety.
I have excess of almost everything.

For just more than a year now, I have been helping digitize vital records so that people can find ancestors more readily. I have been able to work with many records in the 15 and 16 hundreds. One day as I worked on an ancient record from a small town I entered a man's death information.  A short time later a marriage noted the bride was the daughter of the deceased [NAME] above. A page or two later I saw the death of an infant - the child of that couple and then a few entries later the death of  the mother.

Sometimes I will see burial and death records that have one person in a family die and then a few days or weeks later another and then another die - not just children but parents and grandparents.  It is apparent that an illness sickened the whole family and sometimes neighborhood.

My life and mobility have been spared many times by the care of an educated professional.  I have recovered from illness by using the medicines science places readily at my disposal. I walk and am without constant pain because of the technology of our time.

Today I digitized (indexed) some marriage license records. Anyone can help index.

Some of the brides and grooms had been widowed.

No matter where they were born, or lived, or died their marriage 'dissolved' at the death of one of the partners.

I felt so sad for them.

I looked up our marriage certificate to see what it says.

this image of our certificate is edited for privacy 

It is simple yet profound. It states that we are "joined together in the Holy Bonds of Matrimony for Time and for all Eternity". We have been married about half as long as my parents. They are also joined together for time and eternity. (So are my husband's deceased parents.)

Being married and staying married is a lot of work. The covenants and commitments require constant work, diligence and renewal.  We made the decision to be married and we make the decision to stay married.

The wonder and blessing of such work and decisions is that when we die our marriage will not be dissolved.  We will still be together.  ALWAYS! Forever ...

A hymn of Thanksgiving comes to mind ... "Praise God from whom all blessings flow; praise him, all creatures here below ..."

Today I think of thousands of things I am grateful to enjoy.
Each thing is a blessing from Father in Heaven.

I count them one by one ...

I am particularly grateful for an eternal marriage.

Most of the other things seem trifling.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011


Thanksgiving always makes me think of my father-in-law.
Wallace Will Ames was born on 24 November 1921.
His birthday often occurred on the same day as Thanksgiving.

I asked my husband to share some memories of his father,
his family and feasting. He kindly obliged.

I post his e-mail reply for your perusal:

"Happy birthday Dad,  I don’t want to forget to say that once I get rambling - Happy Thanksgiving  reader.

"As long as I can remember venison was served at my parent’s dinner table.  My father says that my mother taught him how to hunt when they were first married and money was scarce.  Scarcity being the nature of money the whole family learned how to hunt so there was never any need to buy meat.

"Since this story is about food there will be no need to tell about making our own bullets to save money.  There will also be no need to tell why each one of us used only four to seven bullets a year.  It took three bullets to sight our guns.  If the sights were off it took three more.  Then it took one to shoot the deer.  If it took more than one bullet we stopped to see what was wrong with our gun.  One time Wally had to shoot twice.  He was really upset until he found out he shot two deer.  They were twins.  After he shot them he was really upset because he only had one license.  It all turned out fine in the end because Dad just used his license.  D.D. earned the name of Deer-slayer in school when she showed up to class 10 minutes late after a successful early morning hunt.

"All this is to say that in our house we ate venison.

"One day my mother served beef steak.  Every one of us complained and asked what was wrong with the meat. She said she had prepared it special and that if we didn’t like it she certainly wasn’t going to buy it for us again.  In Canada we ate moose.  One moose would fill the freezer and last the whole year.  Sometimes mom would buy beef in Canada for a treat.  We didn’t mind.  Moose is more like beef then deer and we got used to it.

"There were foods which were served only once a year.  Some of these were turkey, cranberry sauce, yams baked with brown sugar and marshmallows, and Hawaiian punch.  Of course that was Thanksgiving.  (In those days Hawaiian Punch came in a concentrate which mixed up to make a gallon.)  I always drank a full glass of water before I drank my Hawaiian punch so that I could drink it slowly and enjoy it.  Sometimes we got to eat birthday cake on Thanksgiving because it was Dad’s birthday.  Mom made the food for thanksgiving.  She made most of the food we ate most of the time.  She was good at that.  One time she asked me how I wanted my eggs.  I told her I wanted five on the outside scrambled and one on the inside with a runny yolk.  She did it.  It was a master piece.  That wasn’t Thanksgiving, but I was thankful.  I think I may have even been spoiled.  Mom always said I would learn to cook on my mission.   I had maids on my mission so I had to wait until I got married to learn to cook.

"Although Mom made most of the food Dad usually made the ice-cream.   (But not at Thanksgiving.  Ice-cream has to be made when it is hot outside.  It is not an indoor food.) I’m sure mom mixed the ingredients but Dad mixed the rock salt and ice and knew just when the ice-cream had been churned long enough.  (That was usually after each of us children had gotten to turn it.)  While one turned another would sit on top of the ice-cream maker so the lid would not come off.  This process was highly specialized. First the littlest person would turn the ice cream. When it was too hard for her (Sharon was the littlest) she would sit on the mixer.  When Richard got tired he sat on the mixer and I turned. Then Wally turned and I sat.  When Wally finished Dad would check to see if it was done.  When it was finished Dad would take the canister out very carefully so that no salt water would get inside, then he would serve everyone.  Someone was always lucky and got to eat the ice-cream off the paddle.  That was the best.

"Churning ice-cream is based on complex scientific principles involving ice (ice came in blocks in gunnysacks and was broken up with the back or side of an ax so that the work of making ice-cream was almost as fun as eating it) rock salt, and a stainless steal canister filled with secret ingredients.  Inside the canister there are mixing paddles.  Outside there are gears which allow the paddles to turn on the inside and the canister to turn on the outside.  As the paddles turn heat is generated.  The heat melts the ice. Rock salt added in the ice absorbs the heat and allows the melted ice to retain its coldness.  That means that the water is actually colder than the ice which allows the coldness to penetrate the stainless steel and go into the secret ingredients where it belongs. As the ice melts more ice is added to the top forcing the water out and more rock salt is added so that it does not become diluted.  The ice-cream maker has an outside hole lower than the lid to the canister so the waste water can spill out without getting into the ice-cream – that is very important.  The complex part of the science is that the person sitting on top of the ice-cream maker will get wet no matter where the hole is placed (remember the water is colder than ice.)

"When we made ice-cream with friends someone always got ice down the back of their shirt.  Of course this never happened until someone had already gotten wet by making ice-cream.  Once it started everyone got ice down the back of their shirts.  Someone even had the audacity to put ice down the back of my mother’s shirt one time.  I am not sure whether that poor soul managed to escape or not but it seems like Mom took the whole bag of ice to run after him.

"Anyway happy birthday, and thanks Dad." 

Tuesday, November 15, 2011


Recently someone, that shall not be named, mentioned that my husband was old.

nice truck Cla-la-la

We were engaged in the taxing physical labor of loading well-aged manure (a generous farmer donated to our cause) into a pickup, driving it several miles home to our garden, and unloading it.

Yes it was done one shovel full at a time.

weilding 'Grandpa's' grain scoop - not an easy task ...
Papa says my dad gave him that shovel the year we were married

Special thanks to my son Clarence and 3 of my grandsons that shoveled with us and made the 3 loads happen in one afternoon.  My garden should be lush for the next several years.

Immediately after the words 'you are old' were spoken there came into my mind the first and last couple of lines of a funny little poem I have always loved - but I could not dig up the rest of it.  I first read about this 'old' man when I was a child and later committed it to memory.

Since that faculty (memory) seemed to not be quite up to snuff - don't say it - I know ... it begins to fail as we age ... anyway I looked it up and now can repeat it anew.  ENJOY

“You are old, Father William,” the young man said,
“And your hair has become very white;
And yet you incessantly stand on your head –
Do you think, at your age, it is right?”

“In my youth,” Father William replied to his son,
“I feared it might injure the brain;
But, now that I'm perfectly sure I have none,
Why, I do it again and again.”

“You are old,” said the youth, “as I mentioned before,
And have grown most uncommonly fat;
Yet you turned a back-somersault in at the door –
Pray, what is the reason of that?”

“In my youth,” said the sage, as he shook his grey locks,
“I kept all my limbs very supple
By the use of this ointment – one shilling the box –
Allow me to sell you a couple?”

“You are old,” said the youth, “and your jaws are too weak
For anything tougher than suet;
Yet you finished the goose, with the bones and the beak –
Pray how did you manage to do it?”

“In my youth,” said his father, “I took to the law,
And argued each case with my wife;
And the muscular strength, which it gave to my jaw,
Has lasted the rest of my life.”

“You are old,” said the youth, “one would hardly suppose
That your eye was as steady as ever;
Yet you balanced an eel on the end of your nose –
What made you so awfully clever?”

“I have answered three questions, and that is enough,”
Said his father; “don't give yourself airs!
Do you think I can listen all day to such stuff?
Be off, or I'll kick you down stairs!”
Poem written by Lewis Carroll in the mid 1800's.

Saturday, November 5, 2011


Happy Birthday, Raanin.
I found a picture of your mother when she was your age.
It may be fun to learn what she looked like then.

Ginger far right front with siblings and cousins  January 1982
We love you and miss you.
You have helped us learn many things.

You show us how important family is.
Some of your family and cousins had birthdays in July.

Did you know you showed Papa how to shoot a paint ball gun?
He showed you how to hit the target.

placing crumbs for the blue jay (on the left)

We have watched you be kind to birds and animals
AND your sisters.

Avalin was so happy to win a game.
Being kind is very important.
We are learning to be more kind by watching your example.

We notice that you love beautiful waterfalls and many other things in nature.  You help us be more aware of, and more thankful for, all the things we take for granted.

It is fun to watch you learn new things like taking pictures with your mom's camera.  You have many talents. Maybe I should try something new ... it will be fun. Do you think I can ever play the piano like you do?

Spring 2010
You sent us some apple seeds.
We were surprised when 2 of them started to grow.

May 2011
number 2 looks taller than tree number 1

This year one tree grew really fast.
Maybe it is trying to keep up with you - you are growing fast too.

November 2011
number 1 caught up to and grew taller than number 2

You are learning many things too.
You learn quickly.
We learn more slowly.
We must practice and practice.
I hope you try to learn lots of things now.
It is harder when you get older.

We like to memorize things - poems, scriptures, songs, stories.
My father knows lots of things he memorized.
He learned serious things and silly things.

He often recited:
I never saw a purple cow,
I never hope to see one,
But I can tell you anyhow,
I'd rather see than be one!

Do you know any poems, songs or scriptures?
Can you say the Articles of Faith?