Saturday, May 31, 2008

Iowans and Idahoans have a lot in common

I just finished a book which could have been written by my Aunt Elna, and maybe she could still write the Idaho version. The book is about living on an Iowa farm during the 1930's and the Great Depression. Surprisingly, there were several parts of the book that reminded me of my childhood on an Idaho farm during the 1950's. But most of all, I felt like I was sitting on a picnic table bench near Conant Creek listening to my aunts and uncles talk about their childhood. I picked on Aunt Elna because she has the best way of telling a story and doesn't leave out any details. This book will tell you how to kill and cook a chicken, best use and care for an outhouse, care for the livestock and chickens, and prepare food from the garden, all of which I experienced personally before being whisked away to Arizona at age 12. This may not sound all that interesting, but the author is a retired college professor of English and she knows how to put together a tale and does not leave out any of the details. If you want to know more check HERE.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Gary would have turned 80 today

As I typed the date for Nate's weekly e-mail, I realized that today was my father's birthday. Then I realized that it would have been his 80th. If he hadn't already been gone from us for 30 years, we could have had a wonderful 80th birthday celebration. Janae and Andrew did honor him by visiting his grave in Provo (along with my mother's) today on Memorial Day. I love the above picture. Gary (wearing the sailor hat) is holding the hand of his great grandfather, John Lloyd Roberts, on his maternal side. This ancestor joined the church in Wales and eventually settled in Idaho. He looks like such a lovely man and I understand that he had a beautiful singing voice.

My father loved farming the land originally settled by the Roberts family. You will find him in the third row up, third from the right in this picture of the Sugar Salem High School Future Farmers of America photo. He went on to study agriculture at the University of Idaho in Moscow, Idaho.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

I finally finished . . .

It took all five renewals alloted from the public library, but I finally finished "Ike." It had been sitting in my TBR pile for some time before I actually began reading it. I have a bad habit of requesting a long list of books, and then picking them up all at the same time, depending on the five renewals allowed online to read them all. "Ike" was at the bottom of the pile because others were not requesting it. Once someone else wants a book, renewals are no longer allowed, thus my quarterly pay up of overdue fines. I did enjoy the book. Dwight Eisenhower was elected president of the United States the same month I was born. Sometimes I had David O. McKay and Dwight Eisenhower mixed up in my head as to who was president of what. My little girl self honestly thought that President McKay could probably handle both. This book was an excellent way to learn about the "back story," so to speak, of this president. Most of the book was concerned, and rightly so, with his time as Commander of the Allied Forces during World War II. It bothered him deeply that so many lost their lives during his command. I feel a deep appreciation for those who fought for our freedoms on this Memorial Day.

When we went on our church history trip after David returned from his mission in 2001, we drove across Kansas. We had not planned to stop in Abilene, but were in need of gas and some refreshment. I, of course, insisted that we go find the Eisenhower home and the library. Both were closed. As you can tell from the picture of Janae, the shadows are long and it was late in the day. I always felt cheated and now even more so.

Special note: This house was the boyhood home of Ike, his five brothers, his parents, and at times a set of grandparents. Ike and Mamie lived in government provided housing most of their married life, including the White House. They finally bought a farm near Gettysburg with an older house which they renovated. It was the only home of their own and where they lived upon leaving the White House.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

21 Years Ago, Same day of the week, Same time

I realized today that 21 years ago today in 1987, Nathan was born on a Thursday night, just like this May 22nd. The hospital where he was born in Mesa closed this year. A newer, bigger hospital opened right off the freeway further east where all the new growth has occurred. I still remember the night of Nate's birth fairly well. I had found that a pregnancy in my 30's was more difficult than the other four during my 20's. I was more than ready for his appearance. Once I was at the hospital, contractions slowed down, so Glen and walked and walked around the hospital to start things up once more. Finally, at 10:22 pm or 22:22 military time, Nate made his appearance, all 22 inches of him. Next year, we will have to have a special celebration with him as he turns 22 on May 22. His father, lover of numbers, has always relished in Nate's birthday of 2's. I have always relished in his love of people and life demonstrated in the picture above.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Here comes the sun . . . flowers

We are breaking records again. A high pressure moved in and suddenly the sun seemed brighter and hotter, which it was because we hit out first day of triple digits this year on Sunday and then broke a record yesterday for the hottest May 19th EVER. My thermometer said 111 degrees, the weather service 110, a small quibble. But the pool was great, 82 degrees, and now I'm sore because I swam and swam. Did you know that we have these muscles in our back which hurt the next day after breast stroking for the first time in months? It's good that we have sunflowers blooming which can follow the sun in it's nice long track across the sky.
Dad planted sunflowers seeds awhile back and now he has these plump beauties in his new whiskey barrel planters out front.
We think that the birds planted this giant. It sprouted up in a big blue pot which I had planted in geraniums. It is over 12 feet high, is now leaning over the bamboo fence for the neighbors to see, and I counted over 20 blooms. We were expecting one of those giant sunflowers, more like a single bloom the size of a dinner plate, based on all the giant leaf action below. Life is full of surprises, especially since it was a volunteer in the first place!

More shots of dad's beauties out front.
I did throw these seeds in a pot after being inspired by the above mentioned volunteer.
Another nice, little delicate yellow volunteer. I often don't know just what might pot up in the garden - or in life. I hope all you Arizona people have not gone into a depression just thinking of all the triple digits in our near future.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

I haven't blogged 'cause I've been away

I have been at the computer, for hours, just not on my blogspot. I returned to Dryden, New York, as I entered names into the I found a family genealogy for Samuel Givens of Dryden and his descendants online. I had felt some urgency about that line which ties into Melinda Foote, daughter of David and sister of Warren. I felt like I had hit the mother lode. I will be in touch with the family of George Givens (whom we met in Nauvoo in 2001 and who passed away in 2004) to let them know when all the names are entered and temple ready, but I feel sure they will want some help, especially with the endowments. I will eventually show you how to find the names on line to take with you to the temple.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

A Poem for Mother's Day

Homemade Noodles
Sarah Rebecca made
homemade noodles
Because it was the only way . . .
Everything from scratch!

Rhoda Ann copied her mother
and cooked them
In savory chicken broth
And served them hot
On a plate in a bowl
Made of mashed potatoes.

Velva Ruth remembered how
they warmed her insides,
After school
On cold, snowy Idaho afternoons
And made them from scratch . . .
For us!

And I watched with
little girl eyes,
My nose even with the table top,
A snowy white dish towel covering
A drying mound of homemade noodles.

Laurel Ann (that's me), makes
homemade noodles
Cooked in chicken broth
Served over "real" mashed potatoes
For special occasions . . .
like birthdays,
Not because they're cheap and filling
(which they are),
But because they're labor intensive
and time consuming
and take most the day.
They fill my family with love!

* Written in 1994, this poem is the only thing I've ever written which was published. It was included in the Mesa Public School's writing awards book for that year. I was working as an instructional aide at the time, so qualified to enter something in the contest. I joined Janae (twice) and Eric who had also won awards from MPS and been published. I originally wrote the poem as part of a writing class at ASU. I wanted to honor the mothers who came before me. The picture of Dave and I is also from about 1994.

Friday, May 9, 2008

Ruby, I need you!

Ruby, please come home soon and help me eat all the cherry tomatoes. Love, Grandma Laurel

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Let's Hear it for the Boys!

I loved Andrew's graduation announcement with his arms full of boy! Since I married Glen, there have been lots of boy in my life. The last post showed off the pretty little girls. Now I will spotlight the boys. Toby never visits without leaving wet. He also does his best to pass all that moisture along. He loves these pump'm'up sprayer bottles that Grandpa Glen bought for the grandkids to use. He chased and then blasted his grandpa.
The girls got pettiskirts, but the boys received BYU athletic shorts. TJ shows off his emblematic knee. They were just as happy as the girls. Since it was still winter in Provo, snow and all, Janae's boys received BYU jackets.
Don't let that smile fool you. I'm sure that there is a sprayer bottle hidden under the table.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Whirling Dervishes

Stacks of catalogs arrive in our mailbox everyday. A cover of one caught my eye. A little girl was wearing a froth of nylon ruffles . It reminded me of my childhood. My Grandma Georgiana would buy us nylon slips for gifts, white nylon slips that ended a a froth of ruffles. They made our dresses stand way out and when you twirled, it was magnificent. I wanted the same for my granddaughters. I knew what I would order for birthdays. And then, there they were being highlighted on Martha Stewart. I immediately went on-line and ordered them before they became a back ordered item. When they arrived, Grandpa Glen could not wait for birthdays. How could I justify putting them in my gift closet when his little sweethearts could be wearing and enjoying them now?
Ruby and Sadie were thrilled to twirl and hug.
They danced and strutted. They wore their matching tee-shirts (the shirts matched their skirts.)

Heather received her skirt on her next visit. She would have loved whirling with Ruby and Sadie, but they were in Utah, so she danced by herself and got dizzy.
She also played a mean game of BINGO and won a pile of prizes as did TJ.

Now for the rest of the story. The Christmas after moving to Arizona, after Georgiana had left us, Grandpa George sent us Christmas presents from Idaho in the mail. One of mine was a fluffy nylon slip two sizes small and probably pretty inappropriate for a 12 year old. I remember feeling bad that my present would become one of my younger sister's. But even more, I knew that I had grown up without my grandpa realizing it. I knew that he was also missing grandma.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

April Showers bring May Flowers - Blooms of the Week

There were no showers in April, no measurable rain whatsoever, just a light smattering of large drops which moved the dust around a bit. Which brings me to my point. All of these lovely blooms required hand watering. Please thank Emilia for bringing you these blooms today. She worked many hours during the day and then came to our home at night to hand water for us while we were in Utah. Many thanks Emilia!

This is a "down under" pot from Australia. I decided to plant one of those upside down tomato planters this year just to see if it did any better than right side up. I may take a picture of it one day. Glen found the "down under" pots in a catalog and decided to order a couple. This one did the best. That coleus has been at it awhile, sending it's leaves up the side of the pot. If you look closely, you will see that it also sent up a flower stalk.
This has been a week for white blooms. I bought a hollyhock plant from a nursery earlier this Spring. I did not expect white blooms, but they are white and highly ruffled and luscious.
These are the front yard hollyhocks once again making an appearance, for comparison's sake.
AND more white, a gardenia by the front bench. It makes a sit on this bench most heavenly.
Finally, a view of the garden. All those petunias are volunteers. I popped in some sweet peas advertised as perfect for hanging baskets. They were less than spectacular, but all that watering and fertilizing must have awoken seeds from petunias of the past. It's been kind of magical to watch and see what colors appeared.

As you can see, a little water placed in just the right spot, can go a long way!

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Uncle Phil's New Toy

Our trip home last Saturday from Utah included a stop in St. George. We found Phil and Lynette displaying their fun car at a car show. It is a 1931 Chevy Cabriolet, very rare. They were having a great time wearing their matching shirts from St. Martens (from a trip to see Jill and family) and visiting with everyone. The white car behind them belongs to their neighbor.
It has a rumble seat in the back, which they say is a favorite riding spot of their grandchildren.
I love the paint job. We followed them out at the end, and they were getting lots of honks and whistles from other cars. It must feel pretty good to make a statement. They took it to Sedona and Oak Creek for a Chevy Rally a few months back. We had a great visit and realized that they are only getting younger!