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Monday, November 29, 2010

Scenes from the blizzard and Gratitude

The blizzard last Tuesday was an interesting experience.  I was baffled by the near panic I sensed all around.  I went to the grocery store in the early afternoon and it was packed.  School was dismissed early, businesses closed and everyone went home.  I didn't understand why until the storm actually hit around 3:30.  Here's what I saw from my front and back doors (that's not fog, by the way, it's snow blowing sideways):

I think the most frightening part was how quiet it was.  The wind was blowing really hard, but there was very little sound.  And it was so cold!  I think our furnace ran nonstop until we went to bed.  I am so very grateful that we were all inside and the power didn't go out!

Speaking of gratitude, we had a very special Thanksgiving this year.  We were going to California to spend the weekend with Brian's dad and Maree.  We were very excited to go, but we never made it.  That being said, here's what I'm grateful for this Thanksgiving:

I'm grateful the blizzard ended Tuesday night.
I'm grateful the snowplows worked all night to clear the roads and the other drivers were being extra careful.
I'm grateful the radiator cracked just south of Beaver and not in the middle of the Nevada desert.
I'm grateful we didn't have an accident and nothing else in the engine was damaged.
I'm grateful the tow truck driver came in less that 45 minutes because it was very cold and we didn't dare
      run the engine.
I'm grateful the Beaver McDonald's was warm and nobody minded us hanging out for 5 hours.
I'm grateful my sister and brother-in-law live in St. George.
I'm grateful my bil has a truck and didn't mind coming all the way up to Beaver to get us.
I'm grateful my sister, her husband and kids are kind and generous enough to welcome us into their home in 
      our hour of need.  We were warm and well-fed and loved.
I'm grateful that my dad was willing to drive down to help us and that he didn't have to.
I'm grateful my uncle went on the internet and helped us find a new radiator.
I'm grateful to the person who drove up from Las Vegas with our radiator early Saturday morning.
I'm grateful to Evan the mechanic for going to work on a day he wasn't scheduled to work and only charging
      us $20 for it.
I'm grateful for clear skies and roads on the drive home.
I'm grateful for good neighbors who took care of our home and our stupid cat.
I'm grateful for 10 inches of snow on my lawn before winter has even officially started.
I'm grateful for my family and friends, every last one of you!
But most of all, I'm grateful to be safe at home.

Happy (belated) Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Princesses and Excellent Sprite

10 year olds are not always the best readers in the world but they're generally pretty good-natured about their mistakes.  Yesterday we were discussing Daniel and the lion's den so Kelly asked one of the kids to read the following verse:

"Then this Daniel was preferred above the presidents and princes, because an excellent spirit was in him; and the king thought to set him over the whole realm."

Boy were we surprised to hear that Daniel was actually preferred above the presidents and princesses because he had an excellent Sprite in him.  That prompted an interesting discussion about how progressive those Persians were (being ruled by princesses) and how Daniel had managed to get his hands on Sprite hundreds of years before soda pop was actually invented.  Hee, hee.

I love my calling.  I hope my sprite is as excellent as the sprite that is in my students.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Weight Watchers - week 3

I went to my third Weight Watchers weigh-in/meeting this morning.  I was really nervous to go because this last week was difficult and I was pretty sure I'd gained weight.  (Brian was in St. Louis Mon-Wed and it was that time of the month for me.)  The bad news is I gained, the good news is it was only .2 of a pound which I'm ultimately okay with.  The nice thing is, the workers at Weight Watchers are not at all judgemental and I got some great suggestions for how to survive Thanksgiving without feeling like a big loser.  I even have a goal to lose a pound or two.  Keep your fingers crossed!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Grandma and Grandpa B. - #17 and #18

This is Grandma and Grandpa B., my Dad's parents.  With Thanksgiving fast approaching, my thoughts always turn to them.  I remember as a young child going to Thanksgiving dinner at their house.  It felt like every square inch was filled with people and/or food.  Grandpa would make this really yummy apricot drink and Grandma would make everything else, especially homemade rolls and pie.  I don't think she sat down all day and I never saw the clothes she wore because they were covered with an apron.  After dinner I sometimes had to help with the dishes (done by hand, of course).  I had to dry because I couldn't put my hands in the water; it was so hot I swear it was boiling, but Grandma had her hands in it constantly.  There were piles and piles of dishes so by the time we got to the end my towel would be dripping and I'd basically just be smearing the water around on the dishes.  The water was so hot, though, that they were probably dry by the time they got to the cupboard anyway.  Thanksgiving is also a tender time for me because my Grandpa died on the Thanksgiving before my mission.  Grandma called, Dad left, and the next thing I knew Grandpa was gone.

The Grandpa I knew was kind and gentle and humorous.  He used to tell me things like:  "Assumptions make an ass out of you and me" and stories like the one about the city girl and the country boy.  They were on a date riding in the country boy's wagon.  The city girl wanted him to hold her hand so she batted her eyes and told him that her hands were cold.  He gave her a funny look and told her that if her hands were cold then she ought to sit on them.  I was blessed to receive my Patriarchal Blessing from my grandpa.  It starts with the words: "a beloved granddaughter of mine".  Grandpa was always puttering around working on this and that (he built the house they lived in) and I think I knew he was going to die when we came to visit and he was just sitting in the rocking chair.

The Grandma I knew was strong and rigid.  Having raised four rowdy boys, I'm not sure she knew quite what to do with all us girls.  Her love and affection came in the form of food.  I always thought I was pulling one over on her when I would sneak sugar cubes and marshmellows from that one drawer in the kitchen, but there was always more the next time we came to visit, along with rolls or cookies or pie or candy.  Mom would tell us not to ask for food, but we didn't have to ask, it was just magically in our reach as soon as we walked in.  I used to be a little bit afraid of Grandma until I went on my mission.  She sent me a letter every week and those letters taught me who my Grandma really was.  She was an intelligent, determined woman who missed her husband desperately.  I cried often those first few months because she would tell me something that happened and then mention that she wished she could tell Grandpa.  Their love for one another continues to inspire me.

Grandma died when Kai was a baby.  Her last words to me were: "You take care of that boy".  Taking care of people was what Grandma knew and her death was a nightmare for me.  She was so strong and so used to fighting for life that she fought until the very last moment.  When she finally let go, I felt like an anchor had been cut and I was adrift.  Now, five years later, I'm happy for her.  She missed Grandpa horribly for a long time and now they're together again.  But I still miss them both very much.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Ice cream in a pharmacy bag

Losing weight is hard!  Not just hard, more along the lines of: I'd rather give birth with no epidural while getting a root canal and attending parent-teacher conference than keep trying to lose weight.  Seriously not a happy endeavor.

That being said, about a year ago I miraculously managed to lose 40 pounds.  Hooray for me!  Then over this last winter/spring/summer I managed to gain back 20.  Hooray for me?  Yeah, not so much.  I'll admit it, I'm desperate.  So I signed up for a program being offered by my insurance company called "Waist Aweigh" (obviously titled by some obnoxious thin person who enjoys mocking us poor fat souls) anyway, the program will reimburse me for weight loss programs (up to $50 a month) as long as I lose one Body Mass Index (BMI) point every 60 days.  Easy?  Not so much, but at least somebody (besides me) now has a vested interest in me losing weight.

I was already going to a gym so I went and joined Weight Watchers (something I really, really never thought I'd do!)  All snarkiness aside, I think it's a good thing and it's helping because I've actually managed to lose almost 4 pounds since I went to the doctor a few weeks ago.  I'll keep posting about it, but that's not really the point of this particular post.

Here's the point:  Today I attended my second Weight Watcher's meeting.  I was so excited to be losing weight again that I ran right out after the meeting and bought myself a container of Ben and Jerry's Chubby Hubby!  (And you can just shut up about it not being a good idea to reward weight loss with ice cream!  I don't care!)  Since I had to get flouride I just paid for the ice cream at the pharmacy.  And guess what?  They put the ice cream in a pharmacy bag!  Isn't that hilarious?  I mean, for me ice cream is practically medicinal anyway so I've decided that from now on all ice cream should come in a pharmacy bag.  It would completely eliminate ice cream guilt and turn me into the best mom ever ("I'm sorry kids, but you have to take your ice cream medicine before you can have your vegetables").  So there you have it.  Ice cream in a pharmacy bag, it's the wave of the future!

Monday, November 8, 2010

Kind stranger - #16

No, I didn't forget about the whole "blogging about 38 people who aren't me" business, I've just been a little busy :)
Friday morning I went to the old Wal-Mart (20 minutes from my house, the new Wal-Mart is only 8) because I wanted to get some fabric to make jammies and dinosaurs for the kids for Christmas.  I was in a huge hurry and I needed to get that fabric right then!  I knew I wouldn't have time to come back later.  Imagine my excitement when I found the PERFECT fabric for Chloe!  It was so cute and age-appropriate (not always easy these days) and green!  But the only bolt I could find of the stuff didn't have enough fabric on it.  Tragedy!  So I found some other (less perfect) fabric as well as some fabric for Graeme and Kai and I got in the cutting line.  While causually looking around, I spotted another bolt of the perfect fabric in another customer's cart!  I couldn't believe it!  My hopes soaring, I asked her how much she was buying off the bolt.  My heart dropped when she told me that she was taking all of it.  I know it seems silly, but it really was the PERFECT fabric for Chloe.

Anyway, we chatted a little and she left.

A few minutes later, as the workers were cutting my fabric she appeared again out of nowhere with a brand new bolt of the perfect fabric in her hand!  Instead of heading straight to the checkout stand she had taken a few minutes of her time to search for that fabric for me, a total stranger!  I was so happy I almost cried!  I did manage to say "Thank you!" then she smiled and left.

Again, I know it seems silly, but the simple kindness of that particular stranger made my whole day.  I think sometimes I get caught up in the idea that to serve others involves a tremendous amount of time and effort when in fact meaningful service is often quick and spontaneous.  I hope and pray that she felt as happy as I did and that I will be more aware of these little service opportunities in the future!