New Resolve

Posted in Miscellaneous at 8:56 pm by Grandma O

     I can’t believe how fast time seems to move along lately or how I can’t seem to get everything done. Really and truly I want to spend more time composing life stories, blog entries, journal entries, Facebook entries, family history research entries, etc. etc. Plus I want to do better at my church callings and my Visiting Teaching. AND I have been remodeling small portions of my house a room at a time and a project at a time.
     Yesterday Dan mounted the new curved shower curtain rod for me and I bought fabric and liner for bedroom curtains and a curtain rod for the big window over the outside door. Benny put up the three shelves that I painted a couple of days ago. I can’t put up the wallpaper border until after my birthday. Supposedly, the paint should “cure” for a month before putting up wallpaper. My plans are for a nice set of blinds over the big window and only a valance sort of deal on the top. I made a list of 15 things I still need to do on the bathroom and 8 things for my dressing room or boudoir as the French call it. In Dictionary.com I looked up the name boudoir and it comes from the French word “to sulk or to pout” and is used for a place where a woman would go to be alone. But it can be a bedroom, a dressing room or sitting room. I did do some measurements and if I want to put stenciled roses around the ceiling, I’d have to do no less than 76! Yikes, that will take a while at just a few every night. Wallpaper bordering is WAY quicker.
     One of my recent fun things was going with Dan to Everett, Washington for the International Electrical Inspectors Association annual meeting. Last year it was in Portland and I had a wonderful time so I was really looking forward to this year. We went a little early and went to Yakima to visit Katy, John and family. They can get so much nice fresh fruit and veggies. We enjoyed peaches, apples and zucchini. Last year I spent time with Kayleigh but this year I spent a little more time with Karina and Brenton. Byron was sure cute about having Grandpa and Grandma visit. I wish I could have spent more time there but it is so hard with a full time job. The hotel was wonderful—we had room 101 on the ground floor. It was one of the better locations there but of course we had signed in on Friday and then left for Yakima so we sort of got first dibs. Next year, I will NOT forget my swimming suit. I don’t know if the hotel in Boise will have a pool but this one was almost next door to our room and I could have gone swimming many times if I had remembered to pack one.
     I went on little tour with the other ladies at the conference to a close little town that specializes in antique shops. I didn’t buy anything but it was fun to look. Then I went shopping at the Seattle Premium Outlets one day. That was great fun but comparatively speaking, I didn’t blow that much money. Oh and I almost forgot—Katy brought the kids over and I went to the Woodland Park Zoo with them. That was really awesome! It should almost be called a botanical garden/zoo. There are numerous paths and bridges everywhere and everything covered in foliage like a rain forest. It had a pretty complete group of animals too and I didn’t even see them all. It is kind of expensive unless you buy a yearly membership and go frequently enough to justify it. But it’s well worth it as far as I’m concerned.
     Part of my new resolve to improve myself is saying personal prayers a lot better. So what I’m doing is singing a hymn each night to get myself “in the mood” and then praying out loud. That has always been hard for me to do. Benny’s Mission President told them to always say prayers out loud because your mind has a tendency to wander otherwise. I know that is true, but I’ve always felt awkward doing that. The only reason to feel awkward would be if I felt like I was talking out loud to myself like a crazy person. So am I talking to someone else or not? If I ponder on that for awhile, it really makes me think. OF COURSE I’m talking to Heavenly Father. That would be the standard Primary kid answer. But I want to REALLY feel a connection with Him. I want to bear fervent testimony that I know He hears me and that He answers my prayers. I see evidence all the time that even my crude attempts at sincere prayers are answered so I do believe. But I frequently feel like the man in the scriptures who says to Jesus: “I believe, Help thou my unbelief”. I’ve known people that didn’t quite get that scripture but it really speaks to me. I also especially like Nephi’s Lamentation. It is one of my favorite sections in the Book of Mormon. Oh how much I know how he feels when he says that he sees evidence everywhere of what Heavenly Father has done for him, but still he messes up and does wrong things! I appreciate a prophet of God writing that because it gives me a lot of comfort.


Paradise Still

Posted in Miscellaneous at 7:34 pm by Grandma O

     I was greatly surprised when I realized that I hadn’t made a post since July—and now it is September 6, 2009, the day before Labor Day! It has continued to be the most glorious summer I can ever remember and I think I have been enjoying it rather than writing about it. There was a little more rain in August but never as continuous or gloomy as in years past and September has had the fall “nip” in the air but mostly sun, sun, sun. Maybe it didn’t hit record books but the summer of 09 goes down in my personal record book. The only problem is that it is going to end soon. It’s hard to believe we could have snow in just a month.
     Well, enough weather stories. The real reason I haven’t written is how stressed out I have felt at work. Oh, how I wish my boss would “take time to sharpen the saw”. There are so many things I need to know, and if I did, it would take away some of her burden too. The very first week I went to work, I asked her to explain the whole “process” of a workmans’ comp case. Start at the first phone call and explain how it proceeds from there. She was very vague and said that I would gradually figure it out over time. How much time? I have been there almost a year and half and I still don’t comprehend it completely. People call and ask questions that I can’t answer and I feel like a dummy. Now I realize the lawyer went to Law school and has now been in practice for well over 30 years. Jo Beth has been a paralegal for at least 15 years, a secretary or an office manager before that and she has always worked outside the home in 35 years of marriage. So I suppose I am being too hard on myself. I’m just not used to the feeling of not understanding something. I worry that it’s my age and I’m not sharp enough anymore. I worry that I’ll never quite “get it”. Now I’m in the spot of being too embarrassed to ask questions that I feel I should already know. I want to go in and say: “You know that question I asked you when I first came to work? Well, I still want to know the answer!”
     Dan had the most awesome trip to Reno, Nevada last week. He decided that he would check out real estate down there for a possible snowbird place. Nothing tripped his trigger and he felt like he got a stupor of thought about it. So he just enjoyed being Grandpa. I wish I could have gone too. He is going to his Electrical Inspectors Convention this Friday and I’m taking a few days off from work to go with him. It doesn’t sound like it is going to be quite as whoopee as last year in Portland. They had some really neat things planned for the wives but it doesn’t sound like it’s going to be the same this year. While we are having our trip, we will also visit with Katy & family. It’s been a year since we saw any of them but we saw Sally this summer when Bonny got married. Johnny and Heidi were here in August so we visited them too.
     Nancy and Loei are still here with us. Walid went to Missouri to visit a friend and work but it has turned out to be very few hours and low pay. He wants Nancy to join him but she not only doesn’t want to be in Missouri, she knows he is expecting her to come, get a job and support them again. Right now, he hasn’t made enough to even rent an apartment or gets things in order for her to be there. He has no maliciousness or laziness about it; he is a very hard worker. He just hasn’t ever been able to be the regular breadwinner because of his legal status and doesn’t quite take the responsibility for it. He thought when he got a green card a job would just “be there” for him. But the economy was one card that wasn’t in the plans. Jobs are scarce in some areas even for regular Americans. Nancy would rather stay here where she can play mama with her child, which she has never done before, than go back to work. We are understanding and willing to help her right now.
     I think I’m going to close down for now and write more later. Maybe I will have time in a hotel room next week. Wow, that sounds like fun and relaxation. I’m looking forward to it.


The middle of July in Paradise

Posted in Miscellaneous at 6:56 pm by Grandma O

     I think it’s really interesting that last summer it rained and rained way more than normal and then this year it has been way sunny more than normal. I guess if they could be mixed together it would be an ordinary Alaska summer. But at least we have gotten “rewarded” for hanging in there last year. I won’t forget the summer of 1987 or 2008 for awhile. This year has been so awesome that I wish I had made some camping or vacationing plans on the Kenai Peninsula. Also there are supposedly record runs of red salmon down there too. Lots of people were going fishing Saturday and for a little while I was sort of wishing that Dan or I had the strength to dip-net with the young folks. Then I really thought about it and realized I don’t love salmon THAT much. It’s a lot of work and a lot of expense! There are some Fish and Game regulations that allow a person to have a “proxy” person catch them. I guess we need to check that out further. Dan already has a Fish & Game exemption for being over 60 in Alaska. He is always telling me that I need to go and get mine too since that means no charge at all for the license.
     Everything is so green and lush and looks like a tropical forest. My pea plants have blossomed like crazy and there are tiny pods everywhere. My zucchini is driving me crazy though. First there were lots of male blossoms everywhere and now there are only female blossoms and not a male one in sight. If they don’t get pollinated, there won’t be regular zucchini. The plants need to get it together. The flowers are blooming too and look pretty nice. I tried hard to do a little more gardening and growing this year.
     We had a close call in traffic this week and then we found out that Danny and family had one too. We were driving home one day in Dan’s truck when everyone started throwing on their brakes. It was somewhere between Anchorage and Eagle River before you come to the downhill stretch to the bridge over the river. The newscasters have even dubbed it “Brake-light Hill”. It isn’t really any worse than many other hilly areas but I’ve been told it used to be really, really bad–about 50 years ago. Since the majority of the drivers out there weren’t even BORN then, it makes no sense at all that everyone starts braking going down it and then it backs up traffic for miles and miles before it. It wouldn’t be too cool to go down it 80 miles an hour but during the summer when it isn’t icy, it is perfectly fine to continue at the posted speed of 65 without touching the brakes. Anyway, all of a sudden we had to brake like crazy. There just happened to be one of those huge road construction dump trucks right behind us. We both saw it in the mirrors and Dan was just deciding whether to go for the ditch or change lanes and hit another car (preferable to a several ton truck) when the truck driver changed lanes within inches of our back right bumper. His brakes were smoking and it was kind of noisy but he managed to miss us. What a feeling of relief! It all went on in a matter of seconds but seemed like slow motion.
      Danny and family were on the way to Utah and were right in front of a several car pile-up. They were very grateful to arrive in Salt Lake City alive and well. There was another LDS family directly behind them who got the back of their car crunched in but no one hurt and the other vehicles involved were more damaged but no one killed, thank goodness. The kids were excited to have a helicopter land right there and watch the whole drama unfold.
     Jo Beth had both of her knees operated on Wednesday and I am holding down the fort by myself. Bob is prone to anxiety attacks and starts to ring his hands a little when she isn’t there. She certainly has job security if anyone does! She says she will be back on this coming Wednesday and I sure hope so. I know how to do a lot of things but can’t quite figure out the sequence of events. With a high rate of job turnover at the Dept. of Labor, it has been a regular nightmare to contact them about anything and have an employee who knows what is going on. As usual, I really learn a lot when I have to!


The Quiet Sunday

Posted in Miscellaneous at 6:06 pm by Grandma O

    This week has been quieter and less chaotic than the last few. We had an excellent block of meetings today. I even got up and bore my testimony. I started out by wondering if others remember the movie Ben Hur where they put the food outside the cave and later the lepers retrieved it. I said I now knew what a leper felt like! Then I went on with my regular testimony. The spirit was very strong and I enjoyed the whole meeting. We only had really good testimonies and none of the “weird” ones that make you squirm. I hope that isn’t too negative or critical but there are times when I actually “hurt” for the person standing up there because I’m sure they don’t realize how they sound. I’m especially concerned for the “confessional” type with things only a Bishop should hear.
     I didn’t realize how much I touch other people and vice versa. It was hard not to shake hands and to step back whenever someone with a baby or small child walked toward me. I am at the point where I still need to sleep separately for a couple more days and avoid hugging or kissing anyone. Dan borrowed a Geiger counter from a friend and went around and checked out wherever I had been. My pillow had a small amount of response, I guess because I drool in my sleep, but there was nothing on his recliner chair that I like to sit in and nothing in general around the house that I had touched. If you put the thing right up next to my neck it goes ballistic. From a distance, it goes click-click-click and then faster the closer you get. Right against my neck it clicks so fast it just sound like loud hissing! I will be so glad when this is “over” and hope I never have to do it again. I guess there is a statistical possibility it has to be done twice. I would have a hard time deciding it if was worth it to do again.
     We have decided to just ditch the old bed—it’s twenty years old (at least) and if it isn’t comfortable for us, it wouldn’t be for guests, either. It was one of the nicest gifts Katy and John ever gave us when they moved to Arizona for John to go to school. Since Kayleigh was born there and she is 18 years old, I think I’m pretty accurate on the time. Tomorrow, Costco is starting a sale on beds for $100 off so we are going to buy another. We are fixing up a guest room and already Danny is wishing out loud that Connie could come up for a portion of the summer next year and then he’ll join her. We have so many other people that might like a place to stay that I’d be so happy to get it ready for that.
     Well, I did a transfer and paid off the credit cards. I sure wish the amount we had left was a little larger but we will do what we can do for now. Of course, on a new loan there is no payment the first month, so that gives us a little breathing room to pay for the beds. We also have so many things we need to sell and/or give away and I want to start that project soon. I came across an excellent quote that I printed off and plan to hang up where I can read it every day: “Nothing is so fatiguing as the eternal hanging on of an uncompleted task.” (William James) Perhaps with numerous uncompleted tasks, the fatigue is even greater? Yesterday, I cleaned out over half of a large filing cabinet drawer. I filled a trash can and ground up lots in the shredder. Yeah! It was a good feeling. Maybe I will get my life in order before I die! I know the kids are going to have plenty to go through anyway, but my goal is to bring the amount down to a better level.


Life is SO exciting!

Posted in Miscellaneous at 12:57 pm by Grandma O

     I can’t believe how much has happened in the last two weeks. This is the good thing about blogging or journaling or whatever we want to call it. When you actually record things, you become more aware of life. Sometimes time seems to just fly by, especially for people my age, but I can look back and see what has really happened.
    First of all, TA-DA! Bonny got married to Jim Salsbery on Saturday, June 20th. Sally, Gil and boys all arrived the Sunday before, spent some time with Gil’s relatives in Anchorage and then came out here later in the week. Nancy, Walid and Loei arrived from Egypt after 27 hours of travel—actual air time only 21 hours, but they went from Cairo to New York City, to Atlanta and then to Anchorage. Molly helped arrange the flights and she was very worried because there wasn’t much time at NYC and that is where the customs deal takes place which could hold them up. It was a tight connection thing, and if any hitches occurred along the way, the whole thing would mess up. But everything went through just the way it should and they arrived alive but fried.
     Everyone was sort of “camping out” the first night, but Dan and I finally bit the bullet and bought TWO new king size beds from Costco. Between Walid and Benny, we set one up downstairs in Apt. 4 for Nancy and Walid and the other upstairs in Apt. 1 for Sally and Gil who arrived later. It was too much trouble to get it into Apt. 2 which was our eventual plan after Sally and Gil went home. Our long term plan is to use Apt. 4 for a “Bed & Breakfast” type of deal. I’ve been told that it is pretty easy to get $150 a night for a nice place and at least $100 for an old place. You can choose when you want tenants and only rent it a couple of weeks each month and easily get enough to cover property taxes for the whole year. Surprisingly, I know people who only do it in the WINTER! There are enough people who come up for skiing adventures, the Iditarod, etc. that it is no problem for them. Then they DON’T rent in the summer when they want to do adventures themselves.
     Back to the wedding—everyone was so helpful. Sally organized a work group and made table decorations and a canopy to get married under. Molly and some friends, with Dan’s help, did the music. Benny, Gil and Walid were the brute strength to unload and haul tables, chairs, food, etc. plus Benny performed the ceremony. I worked on the wedding dress and Nancy took pictures and did the miscellaneous stuff. The location was at the “Houston Lodge” which is on the Parks Highway between Willow and Big Lake. It just looked like a Bar with a parking lot from the front, but in back is a large deck looking out at a small lake (or large pond) and a nice grassy lawn. There was a covered Barbeque area where we set up the food. Some friends went to Anchorage and picked up a whole roasted pig, we had fruit and veggie trays and some of their friends kind of brought potluck. We had chairs set up in front of the canopy during the ceremony and then moved the chairs to the tables set up in front of the lake. The weather was perfect, no rain and just a slight breeze to cut down on bugs. Of course, there weren’t any mosquitoes anyway because of hundreds of dragonflies. I’ve never seen so many—some were even “mating” which led to lots of risqué jokes from the men. Bonny was wearing a necklace with a dragonfly that Jim gave her months ago and a little dragonfly pin on her left shoulder. So it seemed to be some sort of good omen. I don’t know about that but it was wonderfully pleasant to be outside in glorious perfect June Alaska weather and not have the one drawback of mosquitoes. I always say there is no real paradise on earth—there’s always something—but Bonny’s wedding day came close.
     Two funny stories need to be told at this point. I was really determined to not be working on the dress at the last minute, but I ended up doing it anyway. I was sitting at the machine with the dress across my lap, when I dropped the scissors I was using. They were little pointed embroidery scissors and very sharp. Now what would be the odds that they would go into my big toe point first like a spear? I felt the prick but didn’t think a whole lot about it since I have a high pain tolerance. Nancy was right there when a couple of minutes later, I looked down and saw my toe covered in blood. She looked and said, “Oh no, Mom, are you okay?” I leaped up and said “Forget the toe; the dress, the DRESS!” Between us, we spread it out on the adjoining table. Sure enough, blood was on the hem and on the under slip. I grabbed a towel, got really cold water and in a frantic panic began blotting. Voila, it all came off without a trace! I breathed a sigh of relief and I’m afraid Nancy and I then laughed our heads off. I told Bonny later AFTER she was already married. She was totally calm the whole time so it probably didn’t matter.
     The second incident has come to be known as the bird crap story. While we were all sitting there eating, a bird flew overhead and did it on Jim’s head. One of their friends was videotaping and caught the whole thing. Jim said something landed on his head, reached up, and then pulled his hand down with the strangest look on his face. Bonny jumped up with a napkin and started rubbing his head. Dan said he was afraid he’d have to do the Heimlich maneuver on me, I was laughing so hard. Bonny said she was going to send it in to one of those funny video shows and maybe they could win some money. Bonny also fell down when Jim was pushing the cake toward her because her own heels were on her dress. We teased her that it was a very graceful fall and it was! The dress kept her from going clear backward so she just landed slowly on her butt. Then she had a grass stain, so the dress did end up with something on it, but not my blood!
     To continue with the exciting life: I have been encouraged for years to take care of my overactive thyroid gland and I have always avoided it. I don’t know if my major fatigue is my age, my physical condition or the thyroid, but I finally decided to take the poison pill. It is radioactive iodine, which they use because iodine goes right for the thyroid. The radioactive part then destroys the tissue that is causing the problem. In the best case scenario, only part of it is destroyed, and then I will have normal levels of thyroid. But the usual outcome is forced hypothyroidism which means thyroid medication for the rest of my life. The biggest problem with the hyperthyroid thing is a racing heart which “wears” it out sooner. As I have gotten older, my motivation to live longer has kicked in and I decided I would no longer be a medical nihilist. (That means someone who puts down all medical treatments of the modern age.) However, I am typing this with plastic gloves as I miss church. I am not supposed to be closer than 6 to 8 feet from other people for two days and then 2 feet for short periods of time after that. It’s over a week before I’m not “contaminated” to be around others. This is after they have reassured me over and over and OVER that it won’t cause ME any harmful side affects. Well, if it can’t hurt me, how can it hurt anyone else? I guess the main contention is that it’s just like giving someone else a dose of your morphine after surgery—it wasn’t prescribed for them for a medical condition. I have to be especially careful around babies and small children… Wouldn’t you know that Loei, who has held back from me, has finally decided to warm up the last couple of days? I have to shoo him away when he comes toward me. Now, THAT is hard. Last week I got Walid and Benny to help me move the new bed out of Apt. 1 over to 2 and then the old one over to 1. So now I am sleeping on the old bed in Apt. 1 and Dan gets the new bed in Apt.2. I am staying back there as much as possible, but I can’t lie around that much, plus my back was aching. So yesterday, I got up and did some cleaning and organizing in the bathroom and bedroom. So far, I feel fine and don’t have any side effects that I can tell. At least I have gotten caught up on my sleep!
     Last excitement of the week: Our refinance from Matanuska Valley Credit Union went through for our building. Even though we are using it for a primary residence the very nature of the building means we have to pay 1% higher which is frustrating. Now we need to transfer some money over to Wells Fargo and pay off some credit card debt. It’s so important to me to NEVER get into that kind of debt again. It reminds me of a bumper sticker I saw once. “Please Lord, send us another Prudhoe Bay and we promise not to piss it away.” (I’m sorry to use what is considered a dirty word but it’s actually one that wasn’t bad that was made into a bad word—like gay.) Anyway, I really want to get my financial affairs “in order”. My paperwork is in absolute chaos and sometimes I’m surprised that we have a good credit score and get our bills paid on time!


The very full and excellent week

Posted in Miscellaneous at 7:48 pm by Grandma O

     This week could go down in some sort of record book for our lives. So many exciting events and so many spiritual blessings happened in just a few days that it’s really amazing. I will try to begin on Monday and go right through today.
     Last Monday was Memorial Day. Many times we have attended a speeches and flag waving activity at the Veteran’s wall. Dan had a Doctor appointment first thing in the morning and we had lots of projects so didn’t go this year. It was just nice to have the day off from work. Dr. Boston agreed that Dan probably does have gout or pseudo-gout but doesn’t know absolutely without blood work. It’s a shame and also kind of funny that Dan has gone to many doctors, no one has ever suggested that, and he had to diagnose himself from info and pictures on the Internet! I worked outside a little preparing my garden beds and Dan and I both cleaned the upper hall. We have used the areas between our apartment doors and the back stairs as “de facto” storage areas and now it is looking 100% improved when we come upstairs to our apartment. I also went shopping with Bonny and got material to make her a veil for her wedding. We had a lot of fun looking at little white beads and other goodies and laughing about things together.
     On Tuesday, Hallie Nicole O’Barr was born down in Nevada. It was a long night for Connie (and Danny!) since the doctor had started to induce the labor on Monday afternoon. She was 6 lbs. 13 oz. so she is a petite little thing. In reports from Danny she is doing very well and is a good baby. I’m sure Connie is happy to have that over—I can remember that feeling myself. Also on Tuesday, I went to the endocrinologist who had all the tests run on me and he was able to tell me that my biopsy was negative. I was reasonably sure that would be true, but it’s always a relief to have it absolutely diagnosed. Now I have the appointment to take the “poison pill” on June 26th. I wanted to wait until after Bonny’s wedding when I wouldn’t be around a lot of people.
     Little Gunner in Idaho had surgery on Thursday. In all the other things going on, I don’t remember exactly when I talked to Johnny. Poor Gunner has had a lot of ear infections and they removed his adenoids and replaced the tubes in his ears. It sounds like he had problems like Grandma had. It was supposedly because of numerous ear infections that I had radiation therapy on my adenoids. I know that once one of the doctors that my mom worked for commented that Johnny and some of the other kids had a sort of “bend” in one of their Eustachian tubes which contributed to pain and congestion when they got upper respiratory illness. It must be a hereditary problem. He is doing really good according to Johnny and went right back to the preschool he is attending.
      On Thursday, we had the appraisers come by to look at the apartment. Dan stayed home and went to work late to be here and he said the two guys seemed to be fairly impressed and said it was it very good condition for the age of the building. Hopefully, we will get a good rating from it. We talked to the loan officer and she said our credit was good enough so that was a relief, too.
     Now, for the really interesting miracle of the week. Several weeks ago, Dan went in to see Dr. Nolan, his ortho doctor, because of severe leg and back pain. He had numerous x-rays done and they looked absolutely awful. He had a major curvature and I said it looked like a squished “S” but Dan thought it was more like a horseshoe shape. Dan has been going to therapy pretty faithfully for a several weeks plus he fixed up our massage table with a borrowed “chi” machine. That is a machine about the size of a small toaster oven that has two large grooves to put your ankles in. You lie on your back and turn it on and it shakes you back and forth like a fish swimming. He has been doing somewhat better but we decided to have him see a Dr. Spencer who is in the same practice as Dr. Nolan but specializes in back issues. So on Friday he had his appointment. Up on the board he slapped Dan’s x-rays from several weeks ago. I sort of squinted at them and asked the doctor—“Are these the same x-rays that were taken last time?” After he double checked the name, etc., I was sort of puzzled. The doctor explained lots of details about Dan’s back, made further suggestions and said to continue with the therapy. After we walked out, I turned to Dan and started to question him and he said, “Yeah, I was going to ask you the same thing!” His back only looked like it had a small curve to it! We are witnesses to each other since we both saw it! Now we know how his back could be better but how could the x-rays be different? We headed over to the restaurant where we were meeting people from our ward for dinner before going to the Temple. We were both feeling pretty high spiritually but the Temple was frosting on the cake. Dan and I felt gratitude that is beyond expression. Then we actually went to the Dairy Queen like we used to do in Arizona after going to the Temple.
     On Saturday, I finished planting my front beds, put together some flower containers for the entry and generally spruced things up outside. The peas I planted over a week ago are coming up like crazy but I see no sign of the wildflowers! Maybe they have a really long germination rate. Oh well, I have enough other flowers that is looks great anyway. Another thing that made me happy was the dozens of earthworms that were everywhere I was digging. The soil feels pretty good and I have added hundreds of pounds of extra potting soil over the years so I guess it is built up pretty good.
     One of the happiest things to happen in our ward is a new family of Samoans who moved here from Hawaii. There name is something like Talusaulaa but they said everyone can just call them Bro.T or Sis.T. Actually we call them Wendell and Patsy because we became very good friends immediately. She is a great big hugging type person who kisses everyone on the cheek. They released the High Priest Group leader who had made life uncomfortable for Dan and put in this new guy. We were so happy and have rejoiced over this. Even though it has been raining all week, we feel like sunshine and happiness. Today it cleared up, so this evening it looks like a green paradise outside.


Memorial Day Weekend

Posted in Miscellaneous at 9:04 pm by Grandma O

     One of my favorite things at work is a three day weekend, especially when I get off early on Friday, too. Jo Beth and her husband left at noon to go down to Seward where they were going to spend the night and go on a 5 hour boat ride on Saturday. So Bob left about the same time. I got stuck waiting until the mail came at 2:00 and the Messenger service at 2:25. Then I checked my personal email and left at 2:45.
      I went to a local store called “New Sagaya” which specializes in oriental type stuff so I could get some Sesame oil for a somewhat reasonable price. Most oils other than corn, soy or canola are pretty spendy. I can get a large container of peanut oil at Costco but anything else is $10.00 or more a pint. They also have a pretty good seafood department so I bought a chunk of halibut and some shrimp and made a nice dinner for Dan. He was on the pipeline this week so I picked him up from the airport at 4:00 and we hurried out to the valley.
     We went by the credit union and turned in papers to re-finance the apt. building. Everything is turned in and now we will have an appraisal this week. We should have the appraisal report the following week and then a few weeks for the underwriting deal that goes on with loans. The loan officer said that it is taking longer because of the new stuff from Pres. Obama. The mortgage companies are required to contact everyone with the new information and offer refinancing—or something. I didn’t quite catch exactly what the issues are. We want to pay off our debts, drill a new well, fix up this place, etc. It will drop our monthly outgo quite a bit so we can add more to the principal and get ourselves in a better situation faster. The only aggravating part is that even if we are using this as our primary residence and not as a rental it will still be higher for the percentage of interest. Some loans are only 4.75% but we will pay at least 5 or 5.1% because it is commercial property.
     Benny & Molly helped me in the yard last night and we got wildflower seeds planted around the big tree. Tomorrow I will finish planting my front gardens and put away the rakes and shovels for awhile. Then it will be weed pulling and swatting mosquitoes. It is very dry right now and we could actually use some rain! Jo Beth said they got rained on out in Resurrection Bay in Seward. It was predicted to rain here but didn’t happen.
     This evening we went out to Willow to the Nancy Lake Campground and had a little picnic with the campground hosts who are friends of Bonny’s. She met them a couple years ago when she worked as a temporary campground “ranger” for the State Parks. It was a beautiful drive and the traffic wasn’t too bad. I wanted to show Bonny a pattern I had for wedding veils and discuss making one for her. She managed to snag a wedding dress for a real bargain and I’m probably going to help her hem it up a little since she doesn’t want it dragging on the ground. I don’t know any other details, but I know that they are having a whole roast pig at her reception so that should be interesting.
     Well, tomorrow is a big day with lots on the list and I have a day off from work so I better get to bed. I’m caught between the inside and the outside work that needs doing. We need the place to look good for the appraisal too.


Sunday, Sunday…I love this day!

Posted in Miscellaneous at 7:30 pm by Grandma O

     Saturday’s are great too but I still feel obligated to “work”. I feel so sorry for people who don’t understand the Lord’s plan and feel like they have to be hooked up all the time. On Sunday, I can be a total bum and not feel guilty!
     Today was good at church but Relief Society was a little different. Our teacher is a beautiful woman named Sandy in her early 40’s who had a horrible tragedy happen to her several years ago. Her daughter, Brooke, at the time about 14-15 years old, was involved in a car accident with several other teenagers. They were pulling out a side road from the movie theatre onto the highway and the young person driving probably didn’t judge the speed of a vehicle coming toward them. They were T-boned and I think one of the girl’s cousins was killed and Brooke suffered a severe head injury. She lived, but she is permanently brain damaged and remains in a wheel chair. It’s difficult to tell how much she understands since she can’t talk and her eyes don’t focus well. Sandy goes back and forth between great guilt and anger over the situation and has many times broken down in serious crying when she tries to bear her testimony, or give a talk or lesson.
     Anyway, today was Sandy’s turn to teach and she prepared the wrong lesson. So she just got up and cried a lot and talked about her guilt about many different things and how imperfect she is compared to others in the ward. Lots of people made comments and talked about how we all have problems and aren’t as perfect as we appear. (I guess she thinks she is worse than anyone else and somehow has been punished by God for her failings.) Some of her beliefs bordered on “superstitious” and made me uncomfortable. I wanted to get into some deep gospel testimony and I was thankful for another sister, Cheryl, who lost a 4 year old to a seizure disorder and has another child with some severe disabilities. She is a real rock (a returned missionary) and was able to articulate sympathy to this lady. I guess my point in all this rambling is that Dan always says that I am an “emotional nudist”. He doesn’t realize that I can’t hold a candle to several other women in our ward and many others that I have known over the years. Men talk about objects and events and women talk about people and emotions.
     The weather is absolutely glorious. Right now, I am thankful to be in Alaska. It is so sunny and beautiful with just a little breeze. The trees are totally leafed out and the undergrowth is beginning to rise up—all the ferns and roses, etc. Yesterday, as I was out running errands, I told one old lady that it was so nice today that the only thing that would make it better was to be 30 years younger. We laughed together about that. I have my garden bed in front almost prepared for the flowers. I have 50 little pots with gladiola bulbs coming up. About 12 of them are up—a couple are about 2 inches but some of them show no signs of life. I stopped by the greenhouse and bought 2 zucchini plants. I just couldn’t help myself. I don’t really have a vegetable garden but I’ll find someplace to poke them in. My biggest bugaboo is the big tree roots on the north side of the driveway. We had all the trees taken out last fall on the northwest corner of the lot but some big roots remain and I have to do some major sawing and hacking. I left the ground messed up out there when I got too tired to finish. Of course they could be coming from the big tree in the middle of the circular driveway. I’ve been told that roots in Alaska go great distances sideways since they can’t go down that far. I’m also going to get some other plants to place among the glads since they are tall and skinny and don’t take up much room. I am praying for a good summer that isn’t a rainy mess like last year


Vacation in Arizona

Posted in Arizona, Vacations at 7:28 pm by Grandma O

     It is past time to get busy about my blogging. I haven’t been able to get into a consistent habit on doing it yet. I would like to make entries twice a week or more. Of course this time I have the excuse of being gone for two weeks. Oh how hard it will be to go back to work tomorrow! I could get to like this retirement type stuff.
     First of all, we traveled on Tuesday, March 24th by Alaska Airlines with confirmed seating so we didn’t have to worry about the standby stuff with Delta. Then the Redoubt Volcano, which had been threatening to blow for weeks, decided to go just a day and a half before we were leaving. We had to wait an extra 4 hours in Anchorage before our plane left. We had been going to have a 5 hour layover in Seattle originally so we had no problem getting on the leg to Phoenix. The volcano continued blowing on and off the whole time we were gone so we had the opportunity to be nervous on whether we would be kept from flying home into Anchorage. But we had no significant delays on that end.
     Molly got laid off of her job at Pegasus because of the volcano so it has been real bummer for her. I guess the cargo planes from China couldn’t come in from the west. She will probably be called back in again but she isn’t sure if that’s what she wants. There are lots of possibilities for her and her bid for hours for Delta comes up on the 15th of April. Benny made it back safely from his month in Hawaii helping with the new Target store in Honolulu. He came closer to being delayed by the volcano than we did.
     The first couple of days in Arizona, we just sat around being bums and not doing very much. We stayed at my younger sister Kayleen’s house and I went shopping a little with her and we had dinner at her oldest son, Brett & wife Lisa’s house. But the problem with doing nothing is there is nothing to write about it! I think I started to get bored for the first time in years which is exactly what I wanted. There were no time pressures of any kind! It was so great. I even read a couple of books. We visited briefly with my older sister, Loreece, but she was getting ready to leave for California to get a tooth worked on by her oldest son the Dentist. On Friday night, we went to a barbeque restaurant with Dan’s sister, Dianna and her husband Stuart, their married daughters and husbands, Elizabeth & Jeremy and Amy and Ryan, Dan’s brother, Joe and wife Mickey and their son, Brian and wife Janna. We didn’t get much chance to talk to Brian which disappointed him—we were at a really huge table and they were at the other end—but we sat across from Joe and Mickey. Dan was really happy to visit with Joe since he is 75 years old and having some health issues.
     On Saturday, March 28th, we went over to Buckeye on the other side of Phoenix and visited Dan’s sister Dixie. While we were there, we went over to her ex-husband Johnny’s house. The kids were having a 70th birthday party for him and we wanted to see the kids and grandkids. The current wife was highly uncomfortable about it but we just acted normal and friendly and she finally warmed up a little. We only stayed for a little while before going back to Dixie’s and taking her out for dinner. Jimmy, the youngest son, had volunteered to take us over Phoenix at night in his small plane but we declined. It was already pretty late before we made it back to Gilbert that night.
     When we returned, Mark had taken Kayleen back to the hospital where she stayed until the day before we returned home, the following Thursday. It was sort of strange to stay there when she wasn’t home but we took some out of town trips the next week so we weren’t there much anyway. Their church was at 8:00 and we didn’t make it out early enough, but I went alone to the combined R.S. and Priesthood, since Brett was teaching it. Kayleen had a flare-up of the MRSA which she had about a month before and spent a week in the hospital. It has been a real different experience to have JoBeth, my boss up here in Alaska have that and then my sister thousands of miles away have it too.
     On Sunday afternoon, March 29th, we spent several hours at the Buckhorn Mineral Wells visiting Aunt Alice, who is 102 years old. She is pretty spry and very lucid considering her age. At one point she wanted me to put our names on an envelope like she wanted to have it to mail us something. We had Dianna with us and we all laughed later when I said I had my hopes up that the rich aunt was thinking of sending us a check. Aunt Alice only had two children, a son who never married and a daughter who is dead who only had one son. He married a woman ten years older than him with children and never had any of his own. So she sits on some multi-million dollar property with only two direct descendents. However, I couldn’t begin to add up how many nieces, nephews, and great nieces and nephews she has, so I’m sure we wouldn’t get much even if she was generous in her will. She recently had some sort of great passion to have a named list of all the great nieces and nephews who went on missions and even wanted me to list our children and underline which ones had been missionaries. It’s kind of hard to figure her out but she is a very interesting woman who has led a very interesting life. I really am joking about her leaving us anything in her will. I just think it’s always funny when people talk about having a “rich uncle” or “rich aunt” and Dan really has one!
     On Monday, March 30th, we drove down to Florence and saw the old Courthouse, built in 1890 or 91 which is over 20 years before Arizona became a state. This is where Dan’s parents “eloped” and got married. So I took a picture of it with Dan standing in front. We then continued on our journey and headed to Safford. We stopped in Globe and had Mexican food at a place called Irene’s and I ordered a Chile Relleno. I really used to like them and I guess “hope springs eternal” because I usually order it and I’m usually disappointed. I was so surprised—I hadn’t eaten one like that in years. It was so good! Later my niece-in-law Christen married to Aaron (Kayleen’s second son) said that Globe does have the best Mexican food. We drove through the San Carlos Indian Reservation and while there were lots of grungy places and trash around, there were lots of “poor but neat” places, too, and clean laundry on clothes lines everywhere. I guess they still follow the “washing on Monday” ritual. We sort of drove through Safford, turned around and headed back. The friend that Dan wanted to see had traveled to Mesa that day so we probably crossed paths on the way. We decided we liked Buckeye better than Safford. (One of our plans was to scope out possible retirement snowbird destinations.)
     On Tuesday, March 31st, we drove to Payson. Dan was unable to see any of his relatives there either. He had tried to contact relatives in the Superior, Miami and Globe area on Sunday before we drove through on Monday, but wasn’t successful. BUT, I did visit with my old La Leche League co-hort, Dianne Williams, for a couple of hours. Oh what a major treat that was! She lives in a very beautiful home in an exclusive subdivision of VERY custom homes. It was so different from the miles of pink tile roofed adobe style houses 5 feet apart down in the Gilbert area. I must add that Kayleen’s new home is not like that at all and she lives on acreage in a custom home also. We really liked the Payson area. It was very pretty and we stopped and had a snack on a small lake that was created by reclaimed sewer water. It was in a park like setting with ducks and seagulls (?) all around and lots of other birds we didn’t recognize. Then we drove back, stopped close to the Saguaro Lake turn-off and took pictures of Saguaros! I remembered the cholla, prickly pear, ocotillo, etc. but I had plumb forgotten how many Saguaros could be in one area. They are a protected flora but there were thousands of them. Someone had mentioned that the desert was all gone. Well, we saw lots of it on the way to Safford and Payson. I would say that more farmland, which of course was desert years ago, has been lost to subdivisions in the last 25 years than old desert.
     On our way home, we stopped in Lehi to visit Dan’s Uncle Ernie and Aunt Dorothy and their daughter Judy who takes care of them. They are both almost 90 and not in very good shape. Aunt Alice is 12 years older and seems younger. Dan got a copy of the year 1947 of the diaries (journals) that his Grandma kept for many years and looked up her entries for the day he was born. He found out that the day of June 12, 1947 was the day sugar was no longer rationed. That was an interesting historical fact.
He went ahead and “borrowed” that one and one other to scan into the computer. He was hoping to finish and return them on Thursday, but we brought them home for him to finish. It is a very tedious and time consuming project. I took the photo album that I had borrowed from my mom before she died that had the years 1916-1979 on it and gave it to Kayleen to work on. I figured that Peter and Loreece aren’t as computer literate as we are but I am working full time and can’t seem to find the time to scan them. Hopefully it is a quiet “sitting down” project that will be good to keep Kayleen “resting” for awhile.
     I went to see Kayleen a couple of times in the hospital during all this traveling around. She was in good spirits and not in any major difficulty that should have required hospitalization other than the heavy duty antibiotics. After much research, she has concluded that no one, including the Doctors, knows very much about what to do with the people with this problem. She likes to research things on the computer and has been studying this a lot lately. No surprise there, since I would be doing the same thing. There were times that I felt like I knew more about my thyroid issues than the endocrinologist. Of course that’s not true, but they really concentrate on diabetics and I feel like my problem isn’t something they deal with as frequently.
     On Wednesday, April 1st, we had another laid back day and Dan tried to do some scanning on the diary he had. Dan’s cousin Gerald is now retired and has really jumped into genealogy with both feet. He is very computer literate and able to do research and has found a lot of good stuff. On Thursday, April 2nd, we returned the rental car and went out to eat with Gary & Debbie Richardson. Kayleen got home from the hospital and so I stayed up a little late to visit with her. I figured I could always catch up on my sleep later. Dan and I felt really sorry for her to be “stuck” in the hospital during our visit.
     Friday, April 3rd, Dianna and Stuart came out and picked us up and took us to the airport, stopping for a quick bite to eat on the way. We sure appreciated them coming clear out there to get us since we didn’t want to bother Kayleen and she needed to rest.
Our trip home was fairly uneventful except for Danny calling us while we waited in the Seattle airport to tell us that it appears from another ultrasound that Tanner is getting another sister. Danny can sympathize since he was the only boy with 4 sisters at one point too. Brett has 3 girls and only one boy so I guess girls run in the family.
     I guess it’s time to get to bed and get rested up for the great return to work tomorrow. Hopefully, JoBeth will be happy to see me.


Sunday again and a great day!

Posted in Miscellaneous at 9:51 pm by Grandma O

      Well today was an exciting day at church. I had been asked to substitute for the song leader and when I went in, there was the whole Stake Presidency seated on the stand. It wasn’t a very far leap to figure out why they would all be there since I knew our Bishop had been in for over 5 years. Sure enough, everyone was released and we got a whole new group. Both of the counselors are VERY young guys and the Bishop is only about 45 himself. He has been on the High Counsel for the last 3 years or so and he had been a counselor in a Bishopric a couple of times. All three of them are in the building construction trades which is exciting to Dan. His comment was—they all work with their hands! One of the most fun things about the new Bishop is his “pencil”. Because he always uses a pencil to mark lines on boards (he is a cabinet maker) he “wears” one behind his right ear. And he wears it there absolutely ALWAYS. It is his little trademark. I asked his wife once and she said that it feels funny to him not to have it there. I would imagine he doesn’t wear it in the Temple but I really don’t know. I’ve never been there at the same time!

     Last Thursday, I stayed in Anchorage after work and went to the Brayton chapel, which is the one next to the Temple, for a talk by Sister Julie Beck, General Relief Society President. She seems very real and down to earth but she thinks fast on her feet. After talking about the different duties she has, including the welfare committee, she asked for questions from the congregation. Sure enough, one rather odd lady had to start a long rant about how the church doesn’t send any help to Alaska. She even mentioned the 64 earthquake although she didn’t look old enough to be more that a kid when that happened. Of course, the church DID send assistance then and at other times, but as Sister Beck herself pointed out, we don’t give out press releases and brag about it. She was so kind in her dealing with the woman and everyone else. It was an enjoyable evening and I had my sweet Molly sitting with me.

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