Saturday, May 30, 2009

"Garage Sale Steals" and "I've Reached The Next Level in Life"

This weekend our neighborhood had a subdivision wide yard sale.
It was a veritable garage sale gold mine for the high intensity yard saler.
One out of every 3 or 4 houses had their driveway filled with furniture, clothes, knick-nacks and dusty exercise equipment.
I drove through the streets as I was on my way home from an errand.
I didn't bother stopping at most of the homes because I was only looking for one thing: couches.
The couches in our game room have been abused for several years now and are overdue for retirement.
I have put off buying new ones because whatever we get will continue to be abused, so I haven't wanted to spend much, and I have been hoping to find a couch with a hide-a-bed.
I almost didn't see this set because it was kind of hidden by bushes from the direction I was coming.
But when I did see it, I pulled over and went to inquire.
This set, which has been recently reupholstered, has a hide-a-bed in the larger couch, and was within my budget at $100!
J calls them the Cheese Cake Couches, because they reminded him of the rasberry swirl cheescake he ate today.
(I am going to have to get a new rug.)
Now please understand that I try hard to not be material, and to not judge others or myself by possessions.
But, regardless of my efforts, I have felt at times in my life that I have reached an accomplishment because of something that I have aquired.
Like the first time I bought a car from a dealership (instead of my parents or a friend), the first time I rented a house instead of an apartment, when I bought a home instead of renting (I don't own that home anymore), when I got a job that offered benefits.
You know, things that showed that I had met some imagined status.
Well, one of those things happened today.
I have dreamed of this. I have even been in possession of one or two of these when it technically belonged to someone else.
As I was driving through a culdesac eyeing secondhand wares, I spotted a cardboard sign.
A light shone down on me from heaven and I heard the angels singing to share my joy.
The sign said:
Free Piano
It was a good thing there were no cars or children in front of me, because I was staring out the side window at the sign.
I quickly pulled over and went to ask.
Surely there had to be a catch.
Nothing is actually free, right?
If it sounds too good to be true it probably is, and all that.
I hardly dared to hope.
The only catch was that in order to get the piano I had to be the first one to drive to the house it was at and pick it up.
I visited with the couple giving the piano away and made arrangements to meet them at the other house to pick it up.
They wanted nothing for it, other than someone to take it away so they wouldn't have to move it.
So after calling a friend and his son to help, (and isn't that the most cliche favor in the world?), my piano arrived at my house this afternoon.
It is a New York Rudolf. It is very tall, probably 5 feet or close to it.
This piano has been loved and well used for many years.
If it had a voice it could speak to me of the children who first learned middle C on this piano.
It could tell of the tears that have leaked out because of the beautiful music that came from it.
It could tell stories of how it got paint splatters, how it's wood was chipped and scratched in places.
It could talk of the families that loved it as it shared its music with them.
Of the homes that were warmer, more comfortable, calmer, because it's notes floated through them. As I dusted it and played my first few songs on it I bonded with it. I felt it. I loved it.
It is old and has seen better days, but it is beautiful, and it has a soul.
Maybe that's a poor description, but this piano, old and abused as it is, carries power. It brought it's strength in to my home.
I am so excited to have it, and so blessed to have gotten it.
And somehow, I feel that I have crossed that imaginary line where yesterday I was a lesser person, because today I own a piano.

Friday, May 29, 2009

On a Church Billboard

Kindness is Love in work clothes.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Incredible Pictures of Waves

This guy from Oahu named Clark Little is a surfer who takes pictures of the waves he rides.
These pics are beautiful and incredible.
Doesn't it make you wish you could go surfing this Memorial Day?
Happy Memorial Day to all.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Puzzles and Riddles

I know ya'll love brain teasers, and it gives me something to blog when I don't have any other ideas. So here you go.
. 1. A man rode into town on Friday. He stayed 3 days and left on Friday. How is this possible? (I got this one from the tv show iCarly).
The man's horse is named Friday.
2. Four men sat down to play,
They played all night ‘till break of day.
They played for gold and not for fun
With separate scores for everyone.
When they came to square accounts,
They all had made quite fair amounts.
Can you the paradox explain,
If no one lost, how could all gain?
Answer: The 4 men are musicians.
3. There is a well known story of a famous German mathematician, who showed his brilliance even as a young boy.
While in elementary school, he was given the problem of finding the sum of all the whole numbers from one to 100.
For most of use it would be a long and difficult task of adding "1=2=3=4 etc." This young lad, however, solved the problem in his head in just a few moments.
What is the answer and how did he manage to do it in his head?
Answer: Imagine a measuring tape that measures 100 inches. Fold it in half at the 50" mark. The 1" is matched with the 99", which if you add together equals 100. 2+98=100, 3+97=100 and so on. By adding the matched numbers 1-49 with their counterparts, 99-51 you get 100 49 times, 4900. Add the 100 at the end and the single 50 in the middle. The answer is 5050.
Good luck!
Thanks for playing!

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Surprised by a scout.
The other night at cub scouts I got tricked by a scout that I was trying to trick.
Every week I ask for volunteers to give the opening prayer, pledge, and scout promise.
The boys are anxious to do these things because it earns them a clothespin, which might earn them a prize.
They always shoot their hands up as soon as I ask "Who wants to..."
This week was no different.
After prayer and pledge I needed a boy to give the promise, but I wanted to throw my scouts off a bit. So I said "Who wants to..."
All of their hands shot up, and I said "... Recite the alphabet backwards?" trying to catch them unaware.
All hands fell, except for B, whose hand stayed high and who continued to look at me just as excitedly.
Now let me add that B is 8 years old and autistic. He is a blast to have in scouts because you never know what he is going to say.
I said "B, do you want to recite the alphabet backwards?"
He nodded energetically, so I said "Okay, go ahead."
B then proceeded from Z to recite the entire alphabet backwards all the way to A.
He didn't seem to have it memorized, but looked like he was thinking through it as he went.
He didn't make a single mistake.
He earned a clothespin and a high five from all the other scouts.
It was awesome.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

A Few Jokes

Readers Digest this month has a selection of jokes that were voted to be the best joke in America. . Here are a few of them: .
A ventriloquist is performing with his dummy on his lap.
He’s telling a dumb- blonde joke when a young platinum-haired beauty jumps to her feet.
"What gives you the right to stereotype blondes that way?" she demands. "What does hair color have to do with my worth as a human being?"
Flustered, the ventriloquist begins to stammer out an apology.
"You keep out of this!" she yells. "I’m talking to that little jerk on your knee!"
A guy spots a sign outside a house that reads "Talking Dog for Sale."
Intrigued, he walks in.
"So what have you done with your life?" he asks the dog.
"I’ve led a very full life," says the dog. "I lived in the Alps rescuing avalanche victims. Then I served my country in Iraq. And now I spend my days reading to the residents of a retirement home."
The guy is flabbergasted. He asks the dog’s owner, "Why on earth would you want to get rid of an incredible dog like that?"
The owner says, "Because he’s a liar! He never did any of that!"
A turtle is crossing the road when he’s mugged by two snails.
When the police show up, they ask him what happened.
The shaken turtle replies, "I don’t know. It all happened so fast."
Two hunters are out in the woods when one of them collapses. He’s not breathing and his eyes are glazed.
The other guy whips out his cell phone and calls 911.
"I think my friend is dead!" he yells. "What can I do?"
The operator says, "Calm down. First, let’s make sure he’s dead."
There’s a silence, then a shot.
Back on the phone, the guy says, "Okay, now what?"
A priest, a minister, and a rabbi want to see who’s best at his job.
So they each go into the woods, find a bear, and attempt to convert it. Later they get together.
The priest begins: "When I found the bear, I read to him from the Catechism and sprinkled him with holy water. Next week is his First Communion."
"I found a bear by the stream," says the minister, "and preached God’s holy word. The bear was so mesmerized that he let me baptize him."
They both look down at the rabbi, who is lying on a gurney in a body cast. "Looking back," he says, "maybe I shouldn’t have started with the circumcision."
You can >>>click here<<< to read the rest and vote for your favorite.
Got any other favorites?

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

I Believe

I posted these on my pic blog yesterday, but they are too good to not post here too.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

The Impossible Dream

I love music.
There are many songs that have inspired me, made me laugh, been connected to memories, or gotten me through tough times.
One great song has been running through my mind the last few days.
In the Broadway play Man of La Mancha, Don Quixote explains to Aldonza what his quest is and why he does what he does.
Even if you have never seen the play, you must have heard this song before.
Here are the lyrics:
To dream the impossible dream
To fight the unbeatable foe
To bear with unbearable sorrow
To run where the brave dare not go
To right the unrightable wrong
To love pure and chaste from afar
To try when your arms are too weary
To reach the unreachable star
This is my quest
To follow that star
No matter how hopeless
No matter how far
To fight for the right
Without question or pause
To be willing to march into Hell
For a heavenly cause
And I know if I'll only be true
To this glorious quest
That my heart will lie peaceful and calm
When I'm laid to my rest
And the world will be better for this
That one man, scorned and covered with scars
Still strove with his last ounce of courage
To reach the unreachable star
One interesting thing about this is that Don Quixote is just a bit crazy.
But maybe you have to be crazy to see the world with the hope that he does.
Maybe we could all use a little bit of crazy. (Or maybe I just want an excuse...)

Monday, May 11, 2009

Happy Mothers Day!

I have had many mothers.
First and foremost is my Mom, Nancy. Who gave birth to me. Raised me. Fed me. Taught me. Put up with me. And loved me, sometimes in spite of myself.
My mom made my life wonderful and blessed me in so many ways that they can not be counted.
I have also been blessed with other mothers.
Other women along my way have blessed me and touched me, and made me a better person.
Obviously, my Grandmothers are on the top of this list.
My grandmother Gladys' home was the destination for many a family vacation, and I have many happy memories of playing in her home.
I always felt that I was the luckiest of my cousins because I got to live in the same city as my Mom's mom, Esther, and got to visit my Grandma all the time.
Both of those women taught me life lessons and loved me immesurably, (sp?).
I was also lucky enough to have great grandmothers in my life. One died while I was younger and I have limited memories of her.
But my Great Grandma Mumsie, (real name Iva Dell, I was named for her), lived until I was in my 20s and had a child of my own.
I have many memories of her house. Especially having her measure me on her pantry door everytime I came to visit, and seeing how much I'd grown since our last trip.
After I moved out of my parents home, my first real job was at a hospital. I worked with many wonderful nurses there who I often felt nurtured and mothered by.
One of those nurses liked me enough that she decided I would make a good daughter in law. She set me up on a blind date with her son, and, well, if you read the blog a couple weeks ago you saw that we just celebrated our 12th anniversary.
Cathy and I joke that she picked me out. I am extremely grateful for the friendship and love that I share with my mother in law. All wives should be so lucky.
Marrying Chris brought another mother into my life as well. When I married him his Grandmother became my grandmother. Her name is Patsy, but I don't think of her by that name. I think of her as Grandma. I felt accepted the first time I ever met her, and I can't even think about her without feeling loved.
Another mother that made a difference in my life is my best friend's mother. Through all of my teenage years Holly's mom Sharon accepted me as one of her children. I spent a lot of time at their house and she made me feel like I was part of the family.
All of these women affected my life for good. I am a better person because these women loved me.
Now in my life I mother other children. Kids and teenagers whose own mothers can't, for whatever reason, care for them.
I am able to do this now, because of the love that all of my mothers gave to me.
Thank you all.
I love you dearly.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Utah Census Form

I got this one in an email from my second mom, Sharon.
I don't live in Utah, but a lot of these things still apply to me.
For my non LDS readers, please recognize this as one of the ways we Mormons laugh at ourselves.
Utah Census Form
1._____________________ _____________________
2. Descendant of:
A. Brigham Young _____
B. Heber C. Kimball _____
C. Laman and Lemuel _____
D. Cain _____
3. Tribe of Israel : _____________________
4. Number of occupants residing in home in each category: (List in chronological order)
A. Nursery _____
B. Junior Primary _____
C. Senior Primary _____
D. Young Women's _____
E. Young Men's _____
F. Relief Society _____
G. Elder _____
H. Dearly Departed _____
I. High Priest _____
5. Occupation [Please select all that apply]:
A. doTerra consultant _____
B. Shaklee dealer _____
C. Noni juice dealer _____
D. NuSkin dealer _____
E. Melaleuca dealer _____
F. Neways dealer _______
G. Xango dealer _______
H. Amway dealer _____
6. Automobile:
A. Station Wagon _____
B. Van _____
C. Suburban _____
D. School Bus _____
E. Double Decker _____
F. BMW (Big Mormon Wagon) ________
7. Favorite place to eat the night before Fast Sunday:
A. Chuck-A-Rama _____
B. Hometown Buffet _____
C. Golden Corral _____
8. Favorite Hero:
A. Nephi _____
B. Abinadi _____
C. Samuel the Lamanite_____
D. Steve Young _____
E. Johnny Lingo _____
9. Which of the following do you bring to church [check all that apply]:
A. Scriptures _____
B. Franklin Planner/ Daytimer _____
C. Pen/Pencil _____ D. Lifesavers/ Cheerios _____
E. Tic Tacs _____
F. Game Boy _____
G. Big Gulp _____
H. iPod _____
I. Sony Walkman _____
J. TV Watch _____
K. All of the above _____
10. Do you prepare your church lessons:
A. A month in advance _____
B. A week in advance _____
C. While in the bathtub _____
D. While on the toilet _____
E. During Sacrament Meeting _____
F. During the closing prayer of Sacrament Meeting______
G. During the opening prayer of the class you're teaching _____
H. Just wing it [according to the promptings of the Spirit] _____
11. Do you think pews should be permanently equipped with Big Gulp holders:
A. yes___
B. no ___ 1
2. How many years has your family sat in the same place for Sacrament Meeting:
A. 10-20 years _____
B. 20-30 years _____
C. 30-40 years _____
D. Over 3 generations ____
13. How much time does it take for you to fall asleep during a high council talk:
A. 1/100,000,000th of a second _____
B. 1/999,999,999th of a second _____
C. 1/999,999,998th of a second _____
14. Which day of the month do you go home/visiting teaching:
A. 31st ______
B. 31st ______
C. 31st ______
D. 31st ______
15. How many church basketball fights were you in last year:
A. 1-10 _____
B. 10-20 _____
C. 20-30 _____
D. You'll have to ask my lawyer _____
16.. Which of the following has been your most effective Family Home Evening:
A. Arguing about getting along
B. Having an opening and closing prayer with dinner
C. Gathering around the television to watch, "Everybody Loves Raymond"
17. How many times a year do you make:
A. Green Jell-O salad _____
B. Funeral potatoes _____
C. Cabbage and Top Ramen salad _____
D. Chicken, cashews and grape- stuffed croissants_____
18. How many water-filled two-liter bottles do you own:
A. 1-2 thousand _____
B. 2-3 thousand _____
C. 3-4 thousand _____
D. Enough to fill the Great Salt Lake _____
19. Which of the following do you feel is the most secure facility in the nation:
A. Alcatraz
B. Fort Knox
C. Ward Libraries
20. How many structural engineers do you hire annually to insure you'll win the Pinewood Derby: _________
21. Keeping the Word of Wisdom in mind, how much of the following do you consume:
A. Chocolate: ___pounds daily X 365 days annually= ____
B. Cola: ____gallons daily X 365 days annually = ____
22. If you had to choose between witnessing the Second Coming or attending a BYU/UofU football game, which would you choose?
A. Second Coming _____
B. Football game _____
I would like to state for the record that I have never taken a big gulp to church or made a cabbage and top ramen salad.
But I have been living outside of Utah for almost 5 years now, so maybe the most severe symptoms are wearing off?
Admit it, you'd go to the football game, wouldn't you?

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

A few Brain Teasers

1- Don't cheat on this one! If you do, the test will be no fun.
Read this sentence out loud and count the Fs. Only read it once before you give your answer.
How many Fs did you find?
2- What's so special about the following sentence?
A big cuddly dog emitted fierce growls, happily ignoring joyful kids licking minute nuts on pretty queer rotten smelly toadstools underneath vampires who x-rayed young zombies.
3- What do these 3 have in common?
The Cabbage Patch Kids
Come on, give it your best shot.

Monday, May 4, 2009

A Sunday Morning Walk, With my Brother!

Spring has come to Virginia Beach, and I am loving it.
Temperatures have been in the 70s and the weather has been beautiful.
Very often I find myself missing my mountains in Utah, but I am consoled by the colorful vegetation and the variety of wildlife in Virginia.
I took this picture (obviously) out of my car window, of a house I drive past regularly.
These colors catch my breath every time.
Another great thing to happen this spring is that my brother Mike has returned from a 15 month tour in Iraq.
He is stationed a few hours away from me, and since his family is waiting till the end of the school year to join him here he came to visit us for the weekend.
It was really awesome to see him and spend time with him. It only would have been better if his wife and kids had been here too.
On Sunday morning he, Mark and I went to First Landing State Park for a walk in the woods. (We had time because our church doesn't start till 3:00).
Mark brought his scooter which he rode for about a fourth of the way and Mike carried the rest of the way.
There is spanish moss all over the place in this park, and is really pretty. Mark: Live long and prosper.
The trails and walkways in the park are really well maintained. There are lots of look out points and benches if you need a break.
I'm not sure if Mike is posing for thoughtfulness in this pic or if I caught him being sincere.
What are logs for, if not to climb on?
Because we are cheap and we didn't want to pay the 7 bucks to drive into the park, we parked a few blocks away and walked along a path to get in.
This path looks into the backyards of houses along the way.
One homeowner has gone to great efforts to create a beautiful garden for passersby to enjoy.
Including statues and garden artwork.
I didn't get any pictures of the wildlife, but we did get to see lizards, a snake, a momma duck with 10 ducklings, a bluebird (or at least a bird that was blue), and several other birds.
It was another one of those beautiful days.
We really enjoyed the time we got to spend with Mike. And we can't wait to see the rest of his family this summer.
I saw this on a church billboard:
Forbidden fruit makes many jams.

Friday, May 1, 2009

The Mother of All Giveaways!

Please notice the new button on the right side of the page. A blog called 5 Minutes For Mom is having a mothers day give-away that is crazier than than the Octomom after dealing with 3 bouts of colic and 6 cases of diaper rash.
They are giving away everything from a blue ray player, flowers, jewelry, and a hotel stay to a LAPTOP!
I don't usually bother with these, but I'll take any chance I can for a new laptop.
Click on over and check it out.

Great Poetry

I got some really great responses to yesterday's post. I highly encourage you to go back and read the comments from that one as several people left some wonderful poems. So I decided to share a couple of my personal favorites.
I once memorized an amazing poem by Robert Service. You may have heard of it.
It is called >>>The Cremation of Sam McGee<<<, and you can read it by clicking on the link. (It's too long to retype, though doing that might refresh my memory of it).
I love almost every poem written by Shel Silverstein, and have many of them memorized. But if I have to pick one favorite, it is probably this one:
Ol' man Simon, planted a diamond,
Grew hisself a garden the likes of none.
Sprouts all growin', comin' up glowin',
Fruit of jewels all shinin' in the sun.
Colors of the rainbow,
See the sun and rain grow
Sapphires and rubies on ivory vines,
Grapes of jade, just
Ripenin' in the shade, just
Ready for the squeezin' into green jade wine.
Pure gold corn there,
Blowin' in the warm air,
Ol' crow nibblin' on the amnythyst seeds.
In between the diamonds, ol' man Simon
Crawls about pullin' out platinum weeds.
Pink pearl berries,
all you can carry,
Put 'em in a bushel and
Haul 'em into town.
Up in the tree there's
Opal nuts and gold pears-
Hurry quick, grab a stick
And shake some down.
Take a silver tater,
Emerald tomater,
Fresh plump coral melons
Hangin' in reach.
Ol' man Simon,
Diggin' in his diamonds,
Stops and rests and dreams about
Any more good ones you can think of?