Someone needs to give me serious blogging lessons...I read everyone else's blogs and I am so blown away by the design on their pages. I can't even figure out how to put captions by the photos I want, and things seem to creep into different places than I intend them to. ARGHHHH! Actually, I'm sure I could learn a LOT if I would just google some sites and read them. That's SO HARD, though. I want someone to show me!
I've been scanning photos in ALL DAY--till I feel kind of crazy. Then I uploaded them on to my facebook page, so go have a peek. Just as a tantalizer, I'll post one here. Gerald and Aleath always felt more like parents than in-laws to me. I guess I have to say that Darwin's whole family felt like mine...his sisters are my sisters, and his baby brother Dean is my baby brother, too. I loved them all before I even married him!!! But when you look at his senior picture, you can see why I fell for him, too!
Well, why not? Julianne asked me to post my Christmas wish list. Let's just get world peace out of the way first, okay? Here is my totally selfish, ME, ME, ME wish list: *Memory foam slippers for my polio infested tootsies, to soothe them at the end of a long school day on my feet... *Hair products (cool ones), like deep strength moisturizers, etc. *A manicure with the tricky Magif stuff to make my nails shine with glee... *Earrings - light ones, but CUTE ones. Oh, how I like them, even if my ears don't! *Refills on my Bare Minerals makeup - just the basic one *Wonderful, comfy shoes - black ones - to wear to work *Any beautiful music - mixes from my kids who have great music libraries *Select movies - Nacho Libre (I AM a sucker for Jack Black!); Any of my favorite musicals in blue ray or high def (My Fair Lady, Fiddler On the Roof, Music Man)Mama Mia, *Scriptures - a quad *Any good Church history books that I don't have *A VERY COOL 2009 calendar *iPod - I want this a LOT, since my old one appears to be dead *Microsoft Office suite 2007 for my downstairs computer *Photo software - Adobe Photo???? *All the windows in my house washed till they shine like the top of the Chrysler building!!!! *A sewing machine, since Juje is taking hers to school, selfish girl! *Home-cooked meal cooked by people other than me!!!! *My very own house elf - that would take care of it. *A cheese cutter *Free time to read!!!! *Last, but not least...some Pizza Factory pizza! (See image!) Oh, how I do love to take pictures of food!
I finally took the plunge...and had my hair streaked, highlighted, whatever you want to call it. My gray roots are just too noticeable in the brown that I've been used to all my life (except for one brief fling as a blonde about 10 years ago). My current plan is to gradually lighten, until I'm a gray grandma. Then maybe I'll have low-lights put in. We'll see how much my students freak out at walking in my classroom and seeing me age 10 years overnight! See what you think.
On May 4, 2008, two very cool things happened: 1) Julianne turned 20; and 2) Julianne (Juje) and I both "walked" in the graduation ceremony at SUU. Juje got her Associate degree, and I FINALLY got my Masters of Education degree. It was appropriate that Juje and I walked together, because she is really the reason I didn't get the degree sooner. When I had Julianne at the ripe old age of 40, I was so thrilled to get her that I took two years off from work. When I had to go back to work, I cried. I remember trying to put on my mascara in the mornings with my eyes welling with tears at the thought of leaving my baby daughter with a sitter. SO...I treasured all the time I could with her. I didn't want to leave home after school to go take more classes as she grew. I did it anyway, but not in a major way until much later in her life. So the earning of the Masters' degree was a LONG process. Do you see the Juje connection?
FINALLY, in 2008, at the age of 60, I DID it! Which all goes to show...it's never too late, kids!!!!
We are having family time this Sabbath evening: Aaron, Janna, and I are sitting around the kitchen table, each with a laptop in front of him/her. We are quite companionable as we do our own cruising and sharing. So far, Aaron has shown us a cool youtube video of someone singing a tribute to John Williams' fabulous movie themes...only they all have words. It's so worth a listen. I posted the link right on this blog--You Tube faves, I think.
There IS a homemade (to distinguish it from cake mix!) chocolate cake baking in the oven, thanks to Janna and Kendall, and the smell is fabulous. If you want the recipe, look on the Hershey's cocoa can. Janna says she uses more vanilla, a LOT less sugar, more cocoa. Speaking of cooking--Darwin, Aaron, and Kendall cooked dinner tonight while I languished in my grotty pjs and thought benevolent thoughts. I need a shower!
I am FINALLY getting over my crud. I still can't sing, but I CAN talk, and that is such a blessing. What am I without my voicebox???
The Worwoods came to visit today, and it was DELIGHTFUL! Oh, how we love them. We talked, laughed, shared favorite books, movies, etc...and just generally enjoyed each other's company. I still want Juje to marry Dan when he gets home from his mission. We all do. But I guess the couple in question may have their own ideas!!! I think arranged marriages are highly underrated.
I am so excited to be going to Colorado for Thanksgiving--grandkids, AHOY!!!! I should have a grandkid slideshow on here. By jingo, I will when I can figure out how to do it!
Cedar Mountain Memories - Since we didn't do a mountain trip this year, I have to live in the past. If I was more vain, I wouldn't post this, but I like everything else in the picture except ME. Sigh. But I do love the daughter in it, and the mountain scenery!
We used to go hunting for elderberries every autumn at October Conference time. Kanarra Mountain was the place to find them--then we'd come home, pick the little buggers off the stems, and make elderberry jelly. Oh, yum. It was a little bit of heaven. This year we didn't make it up there, so I searched out some photos from a couple of years ago because I missed our annual trek.
Julianne just called from Logan and told me that it was all foggy and cold there. I looked out my window where the sun is drenching the Hurricane hill...with a background of deep blue autumn skies and thanked my lucky stars. It's a beautiful day here. The trees are in various stages of undress--a few brazen hussies standing stark naked, but most still clinging on to their leaves--golden, red, green--well, you get the picture. It's cool--around 60 degrees right now, according to the Fay (Santa Fe).
Every year I say, "Oh, this is the prettiest autumn ever." And every year, I mean it! It's official. Autumn is my favorite season.
Here's why I love it:
The weather: It's FINALLY cooling down. That may be one of my biggest compliments to autumn! Oh, how I love having windows open to outside air--cool breezes blowing the curtains in the bedroom, wind chimes shivering with delight.
The skies get deeper hues--the sunsrises and sunsets are magnificent. Clouds put on special shows with the occasional rain storm.
The leaves, oh, the leaves! I LOVE the changing colors of the leaves. I love them drifting down to carpet lawns. I think people get way too paranoid about raking them up. Heavenly Father made so many varieties of trees with so many shapes of leaves. I think I must have helped design a few!
The food--apples from New Harmony are at their peak, especially the Ida Reds. Those tart, tangy apples just make my mouth water, and I need to make apple crisp. My mind turns to hot chocolate in front of a wee fire, to pumpkin cookies and hot, spiced cider, even to home-made bread fresh from the oven, with a liberal slathering of butter melting on a slice. Oh, YUM! And I didn't even mention the PIES!
It has so many holidays to recommend it: Halloween fun, Thanksgiving delight, with Christmas hard on their heels. The whole season is filled with family warmth and love. Ah....
It means winter follows. Winter means no lawns for DarDar to worry about, no garden to water, weed, harvest, no horrendous southern Utah heat that makes me CRAZY. Winter really is hibernation time...you want to go to bed earlier because of the long nights...it's RESTFUL! As a kid I hated it, but I love it now! I would a thousand times rather be cold than hot!
Well, enough. You get the idea. I will love autumn clear until...spring. It must be the transitional seasons that suck me in.
NEWS: Kendall came over yesterday afternoon and cleaned the carpets in the front room. It was lovely coming home to stacked up furniture, fans going, and clean carpet. Yay. Darwin worked his heinie (sp?) off, too...washing the cobweb infested window on the west wall in the front room. Since he brought home the power sprayer for the outside and got rid of the cobwebs, he has been fretting about the windows. Let him fret, I say...because I LOVE him washing them. That window positively sparkles...and I DID stay awhile!
Janna pitched our old Wal Mart Christmas tree and bought a better one at Costco. She has been itching to put it up. I've never heard of such a thing...putting a tree up before Thanksgiving!!! Oh, la! But since the carpet was clean, Kendall couldn't resist getting it out of the box and setting it up. It took a LONG time, since he is so talented at fixing each branch just so. The tree looks good...covered with lights. I'm sure I'll be heartily sick of it by Christmas--but I have a delightful, slightly wicked feeling having it up so early. Who knows when it will actually get decorated. Our goal is to do it before Thanksgiving---and have the Christmas lights all up, too. Huzzah!
I have been working long hours at school, doing SEOP conferences. It's my part-time job, for which I will get paid $17 or so an hour. I am going to use some of the money to do something about my dang hair. I have too many gray roots to continue coloring it this dark. Maybe I'll go blond again!
Oh, how I love Facebook...and NOT just for Word Twist, kids! I love seeing your tidbits that you post, and mostly, the photos. I miss my grandkids like crazy. Maybe moving to Colorado wouldn't be such a bad thing. We wouldn't be that much further from Springville...
I just got back from Salt Lake City where I attended a "Love and Logic" conference with Dr. Jim Fay. It was so GOOD that I wanted to tell all of you about it...especially you parental units. He has such practical ways to deal with kids--things I wish I had known as a parent. Go to the website http://www.loveandlogic.com They have books available for parents that would be helpful at all levels, from toddlers (how to get your kid to go to bed and stay there the first time, for example) to homework wars, to dealing with teenagers.
Here's a tip from yesterday: NEVER argue with a child...just lower your voice and say, "Love you too much to argue with you," and keep repeating it whatever your child says. Then DON'T engage in any arguing. The kid soon learns that line--they may get disgruntled and say, "Yeah, I know...you love me too much to argue with me!"but they learn that you can't be manipulated that way. This buys you time to think over what you might do. Fay says any time you argue, you've lost.
Other one liners:
When a kid says, "I hate you!" he is really saying, "I'm mad because I can't manipulate you."
Children who learn that temper tantrums work become adults who use them.
While in the heat of emotion is NOT a good time to make decisions. Wait.
Oops. Dad's coming to get me from school. Finish this later!
Julianne inspired me. Her blogspot is so CUTE (I WILL learn how to decorate my page...eventually!). But coming back here to write is a big step for me right now.
I have pondered about how to keep a journal...you all know how I've filled many hand-written journals...then I switched to typing my thoughts and keeping them in a word file...then I wanted to write a gratitude journal after hearing Henry B. Eyring's conference talk in October 2007. I filled one little journal and loved it, because the focus was always positive. It helped think every day about how I had been blessed, or how I could see the hand of God in my life and the lives of my family.
Then Janna bought me a set of new journals because she knew I had filled the one...but they are larger, and looked harder to write in for some reason...and writing by hand sometimes makes it so I don't write at all.
Today as I thought about it, I remembered I had set up this blogspot. "Why not record my life online...then I can print off pages and keep them in a binder for hardcopy backup if I want. Eh???" So here I am on a Sunday morning, trying anew.
Yesterday was FUN. Darwin, Kendall, Janna and I worked our heads off outside. Since the city of Hurricane was having a clean-up day, they provided huge dumpsters and a place to off load organic materials, too. Darwin had already decided we were going to do WAR on the spiders which have seemed to multiply and replenish beyond all reason. We've had more cobwebs than I've ever seen before...it's out of control and crazy! We've had the bug lady spray, too...but evidently the spiders LOVE the organic stuff she uses. Cockroaches hate it, and they belly up and die, but not the spiders. They have made little nests in-between the mortar of the bricks...they have spun their webs absolutely everywhere outside. Darwin would park his pickup in the driveway, and the next morning, there would be webs hanging from underneath the truck. Our front room window became festooned with webs in the screens--it looked like we were decorating for Halloween!
So...we made war. We wanted to clean up the outside before we got a non-organic bug spray person to come, since the last big wind and ripped leaves and nuts off the pecan trees, and left behind lots of dirt. Once we started cleaning, the momentum of moving all the equipment behind the house...saws, lights, air-compressers, etc. etc. etc. became fun. We were deciding what to get rid of while we were at it, and this is where the excitement began. Lumber that has been stacked for years was a veritable paradise for black widows and daddy-long-legs. We were smashing spiders as we stacked the boards on the pickup to haul away. Darwin has realized that with his back problems--his instability even standing and walking--that he will never do the yardwork, repair work, etc. that he used to take for granted. He knew he would never do anything with the lumber ever again...and it hurt his feelings. It was like saying goodbye to a whole way of life...like chopping off an arm or a leg...seeing the very possibility of projects he has had in his head fizzle away as each board was stacked.
The old boards in the sandpile went. The stacked lumber in the corner of the back "patio" (I don't know what to call it--it's never been a patio, but home to all the things that would normally be in a shop or garage...if we had such a creature!) went. Various things in the shed went. There was rolled up chicken wire from down by the chicken coop, old posts, feed barrels, all the stacked up stuff inside the coop...and along with all that, more dreams. "Should we get rid of this biddy pen? Or should we get some little biddies?" flitted through Darwin's mind and out of his mouth. I hated to have to tell him, "Honey, think back on why we got rid of the chickens in the first place. Carrying those sacks of feed was too hard, especially in the winter, and they pooped all over the back yard where the trampoline is."
"Yeah." (Said in a dejected voice!) "Get rid of all of it."
So we did--and even Darwin got excited as he saw such progress. All told, we took five loads to the dumpsters!!! By "we," I mean Kendall and Janna. We could not have done it without them. They even hoisted Darwin's old wooden workbench, which was huge and heavy. (And another dream gone!)
If I had the money, I would build a real shop for Darwin...a place to store things out of the weather, a place where he could putter and build things, a place where he could fix and repair to his heart's content, without everything being covered with dirt and leaves, and SPIDERS!
Man. I'm writing a LOT. But if this is my new journal, that's how it's going to be. There is a huge possibility no one will read this except Darwin and me anyway.
Oh. Before I heist my keister upstairs to get ready for church, I have to enumerate more blessings: The weather has been glorious! Blue October skies filled with cool sunshine, leaves turning brilliant yellows and reds, cool, invigorating breezes...and since this IS Hurricane, downright gale-force winds to scour out the valley.
I rejoice in my family today. Shauna and Ty traveled to Salt Lake City to help Ty's cousin Adam finish getting his house ready to sell. Shauna contacted Andy and let him know they were coming, so Shauna and Andy will finally see each other after seven years of drought. I am so thrilled that their families finally get to meet. What with the Diaz family living in New Jersey and the Giffords in Georgia for so many years...and now having them only 7 or 8 hours away from each other, it's wonderful.
Julianne wanted to travel down from Logan to meet baby Matilda for the first time, so I hope that works out, too. Juje LOVES Utah State University...and Logan. She is having such a great experience there.
I love people: Old ones, young ones, and all ages in-between. If you are a person and you are reading this, guess what? I LOVE YOU, you lucky dog! I adore my family most of all...and can I just say right here that grandkids really ARE the best? I am married to Darwin Gifford. Since there's only one of this wonderful man, you're out of luck. I got him first. We've been married 40 years now, and they truly are the best years of my life. We were blessed with 7 super-intelligent, talented and loving children: Aaron, Andrew, Katie, Janna, Shauna, Kendall, and Julianne.