Wednesday, February 29, 2012

A place for debates and entertainment

While Mitt was securing his 29 delegates in Arizona last night, I was seated in the same place where he debated a week ago. I may not have been able to secure a seat the night of the CNN sponsored debate when all the GOP Primary candidates were in town, but I sure enjoyed last night's show.

Nate and Nichelle thoughtfully gifted Glen and I with tickets to a BYU Alumni sponsored Vocal Point show for Christmas. They knew of our consistent weekly attention to the TV reality show, The Sing Off, and of our great enthusiasm for Vocal Point, one of BYU's performing groups.

Our two months of anticipation were finally over. Vocal Point had come to town! Every seat was full, from a babe in arms to some even older than we two plus my sister and her daughter (who we didn't even know were attending.) It was a great audience, many BYU alums, but the nine young men on stage were incredible. It was just their microphones, a prop or two, and their voices providing all that sound. WOW!

Jump, Jive an' Wail - BYU Vocal Point

Why, oh, why was the library so quiet in my BYU days?

Monday, February 27, 2012

Demise of the magazine

Glen's sister sent by mail an envelope full of snapshots of our family over the years. She is recently retired and is sorting and sharing. It included this picture of me perusing a magazine. I think it is a Better Homes and Garden. Time frame? That is baby David on my lap and it is during my permed hair phase. I'm pretty sure we are in JJ & Elma's Draper house. I'm thinking 1980.

So 30+ years later and Better Homes and Garden is still available for monthly delivery. I know that because over the last few years my favorite magazines have all disappeared after a notice from the publisher stating that the remainder of my subscription will be transferred to Better Homes and Garden. I had long ago decided to subscribe to my favorites instead of BH&G, but now I'm informed that BH&G will be my choice, my only choice until the money runs out, no refund offered.

And then this month, the final blow. My absolutely favorite magazine supporting my hobbies, Australian Smocking and Embroidery, will end with the 100th issue. I recently received issue 97 so just 3 more issues of beautiful pictures of models wearing hand smocked garments with included directions and full size patterns. Apparently there are not enough people smocking around the world subscribing and it is no longer cost effective. Sigh . . .

Friday, February 24, 2012

Romney endorsement

This morning the Arizona Republic formally endorsed Mitt Romney as the Republican presidential candidate. Read more here.

The Republic's reasons for doing so pretty much mirror my own. There are more yard signs out in my garage. Come and get them!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Touring the dream

I must admit that I'm experiencing a hole in my days. I got used to making sure that I carved out time to submit my two daily entries in hopes of winning the HGTV Dream Home 2012. This was my year. It was located in a place easily accessible to my lifestyle. That place was also one of my favorite places on earth, the lovely Midway, Utah. We were at a time in life when we could drop in and stay awhile. Glen even got on the bandwagon and started visualizing the Dream Home as a place to entertain clients. I, however, dreamed of the perfect extended "family cabin."

All of my sisters were in Mesa for a visit after Christmas. I recruited them to sign in daily as well. The recruits expanded to nieces and nephews. And that's when I knew we were in trouble. "If I win the Dream Home I will sell it to pay for law school," said Dane. Wow, not everyone's dream was my dream. Could an extended family really handle winning the Dream Home?!

Niece Sarah would share the home if she won it, I know, for she made sure to purchase tour tickets for Glen and I. Sarah currently lives and works in Utah and became aware of tours during February to benefit the Make a Wish Foundation. She purchased 3 tickets for our Utah Saturday. She's such a good girl!

Every thirty minutes a small group was allowed inside where it was shoes off or put on booties. First stop, the great room. As you can see, Sarah can barely contain her glee.

It truly is a lovely room with so much natural light and a view from every window.

See that faucet. You touch it and you have water with just a tap. (Did you get my pun? :)

The pot filler faucet took more than a touch, but who cares when you don't have to move that heavy pot.

The ground floor bedroom on the west side of the house was truly lovely.

I wish you could see the view Sarah is pointing out, the back side of Mount Timpanogos.

It was so serene and there is a door leading to the outdoor room. Did I mention that there are 17, yes, 17 doors to the outside in this home. There's a nighttime routine for you.

It was then up a flight of stairs to the master bedroom located over the entry/kitchen area.

Sarah was a bit freaked out with the master shower which provides views both ways.

Her choice, the more contained soaking bathtub.

We even toured the garage which sheltered the GMC car which comes with the home. It was also providing storage for the outdoor furniture which had been moved in for the winter months. Everything you see in this home is what you get in the sweepstakes (except for the Coke products in the background used to buck up our tour guides.)

The media/family room is also on the east side of the house. I found myself missing the blue of the other side of the house.

One of the members of our tour was actually short enough to use the door to the under the stairs children hideout accessible from this room. My grandbabies would love that little space behind that door. Nathan would have to duck those hanging light fixtures.

The stairs over that kids' space lead to the third bedroom. I thought that this would be my favorite when viewing pictures online, but I liked downstairs better. Those windows in the background also face west for great views of the mountains.

Sarah thought this should be my room, what with all the red, white, and blue.

After our tour we walked through the snow to the back. This is the outdoor room space on the west side. The door leads to the great room. The reflection is of Sarah planning to leave the outdoor furniture in the garage so she can host an outdoor dance party.

As we meandered down the long driveway we evaluated, "Was is practical?" Not so much but who cares.

It's a DREAM HOME bordering the Provo River with mountain views and we hope that someone in the family wins it! (Christy, I consider you and Allison as family :)

Note: Entries were closed last Friday. Drawing to take place mid March. Last year's home drew 72 million entries. I'm still hopeful. Those are better odds than the lottery.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Debating in my home town

I was first made aware of the book, "The Real Romney" while listening to this interview on NPR. I knew that hubby, who has been following the Republican Primary race and donating to Romney's cause, would probably enjoy reading it so I left the book on his pillow with an old fashioned valentine card on the day of love. Guess who has been reading it?

I have found it fascinating from Romney's Mormon ancestors' stories, which are much like my own, to his desire to give public service after making millions in the business world. Glen and I followed the Republican Primary race in 2008 as well. It was such a novelty to watch Romney navigate the race as a Mormon and to realize my naivete as a Mormon who has always lived in the West. I hadn't pondered much on how the rest of the country perceived those of my faith.

Now four years later, the United States will tune into the beautiful Mesa Fine Arts Center in downtown Mesa, a town founded by Mormon pioneers in 1878. Is Romney's Mormon faith still an issue? I feel it is but I don't think people are as likely to voice it or talk about it this time around. This Primary race has been a rollercoaster ride. Who knew that Mesa's debate would become such an important part of the ride? So we will be tuning in to CNN at 6:00 PM tomorrow night, but we won't be attending the after party. (Yes - we did receive an invitation :)

Monday, February 20, 2012

President's Day read

I recently finished this fun read by Matthew Algeo. Within months of leaving Washington, D.C., Harry Truman is on his way back for a visit. He drives his own new car and travels without the benefit of any help or Secret Service agents. That is yet to be in the summer of 1953.

I really enjoyed following the road trip place by place, but even more I loved all the little tidbits of information such as what was happening elsewhere in the world each day of the journey. It was interesting to have a view into the window of the United States when I was just a months old baby.

My mother, the ever consistent Republican, always spoke highly of Truman. The more I learn of him (and that includes reading "Truman" by David McCullough) I find myself in agreement. Perhaps it has something to do with him being an unwilling president, nominated under duress to be the vice presidential candidate to Franklin Roosevelt and only then becoming aware of the precarious health of the President. Just 100 days or so into Franklin Roosevelt's fourth term, Truman inherits the presidency while the world is in true turmoil. Perhaps that's more appealing than a candidate for president who plans and schemes for years in preparation.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Two quilts and a view

We just returned from Utah where the hubby taught two seminars and visited with many, many clients. What did I do? Why I gazed intermittently at this beautiful view out of the windows of the townhouse while I worked on two quilts and visited with many family members.

The Civil War quilt is now on my mom's frame. I have stored it in Utah for almost 9 years always planning to have a quilt on that I could stitch while in Provo. Finally my dream has come true.

This is the hard wood frame that my mother purchased when she retired. She had 9 hand pieced quilt tops that had been given to her by her mother. Her goal was to hand quilt them all which she accomplished. Before I left I had the quilting done through the first row of blocks and sashing.

Shortly after I was married, I fell in love with a Grandmother's Flower Garden quilt featured in Better Homes and Garden. I already had received one of Grandmother Rhoda's Double Wedding Ring quilts as a wedding gift. Greedy person that I am, I asked Grandma if she would make me a Flower Garden quilt if I purchased the material. She said "yes" and I did. I had the hand pieced quilt top in no time at all and my mother helped me quilt it on the old rickety quilt frames we used before she bought the above frame. You know, the ones with 4 soft pine boards and stands with a slot to hold the boards held together with c-clamps. And then came time to bind it. I was over whelmed and then discovered I was pregnant with #2. Time slipped away as I mothered.

Flash forward 35 years and picture a quilted top with untrimmed backing and batting sitting in linen closet after linen closet as we moved and grew as a family. I still couldn't decide what to do about the binding. Then I decided that it needed to be Nathan's. I looked at post after DIY post. Finally I came across something so simple and 1930's that I felt was just right. So I also took this quilt to Utah where I trimmed the back and batt even with the top.

Then I turned each edge in 1/4 inch and hand stitched them together reinforcing at the "v's." Each little hexagon will get a turn.

It is going to take a while to go all the way around but I am now one fourth of the way there. It has been a pleasure to work on this quilt. Every time I turn an edge, there are my grandmother's pencil marks where she had traced and then cut with scissors every one of those hexagons for me.

I saw this quote on another blog and it so aptly expresses how I have felt this week.

“A quilt is an object of peculiar intimacy. By virtue of the way it is created, every inch of the fabric is touched. Each scrap absorbs the quilter’s scent and the invisible oils of her skin, the smell of her household and, thanks to the constant pinning and stitching, her blood in the tiniest of quantities. And tears, though she might be loath to admit it.”

- from “The Goodbye Quilt” by Susan Wiggs

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Where place is main character

Now that I've admitted leaping aboard the "Downton Abbey" fan wagon, I've been thinking about how special locations or places sometimes become a large part of the story, the main character if you will. "Downton Abbey" is shot at Highclere Castle located in Hampshire, England. Interestingly, Lady Almina, the 5th Countess of Carnarvon, converted Highclere Castle into a hospital in September of 1914 in time to welcome the wounded from the fields of Flanders. The 8th Countess of Carnarvon has written a book entitled "Lady Almina and the Real Downton Abbey." I am on the long waiting list at the library. I am also on my own dream list of places to see before I die for a visit to England, its gardens, and perhaps Highclere Castle which opens again for visitors Easter 2012.

When thinking of place as main character, I couldn't help but think of the novels of Kate Morton. All are set in England and the place drives the story. Does England with it country estates, beautiful gardens, and a castle or two lend its self to this type of story? As I pondered place as character in the United States, "Gone with the Wind" came to mind. Can you think of or share any others?

I have enjoyed these three Kate Morton books based on a place, a time in history, a bit of mystery, and interesting characters some of which have a dark side.

I especially enjoyed this one with its own secret garden. Ah, "The Secret Garden" another book where place is of most importance.

"The Distant Hours" was my most recent read and perhaps the most disturbing. The place, the castle, becomes more important than the people with an inglorious ending. I understand that Kate Morton is releasing a new book sometime in 2012. I look forward to seeing if it will include a special place.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

A Valentine for M'Lady

My daughter came for Christmas and introduced me to Downton Abbey. I was quickly on board to watch all of season one before time for season two. I came across this site today for valentines based on the series. Happy Valentine's Day! And enjoy!

Monday, February 13, 2012

Valentine's Day and Love

I hope that you will be enjoying a lovely Valentine's Day. I "love" this plant stake almost as much as I love the luscious geranium in the pot. Glen brought the geraniums home in 4 inch pots from Berridge Nursery last fall and over the past month they have come into their own. Such a lovely color and the leaf foliage is also beautiful.

This year I was not going to be in Arizona for the traditional sugar cookie decorating so I prepared "cookie kits" and delivered them to the grand kids before I left. The kits included sugar cookies made from this recipe, butter cream frosting, and red sugar sprinkles.

On the lid, I taped this love note explaining why they were getting a kit. I love the computer and word processing. It was so easy to select a template with the gingham red and white, insert my own pictures, and change the text.

This morning Glen and I went to Shirley's Bakery here in Provo. There was a table stacked with Valentine cookie kits, but they didn't have a cute cover letter. There were also mounds of decorated cookies as well as undecorated cookies. As we paid for our bread, the lady behind the counter said that they had baked thousands and thousands of cookies.

I just baked 150, one batch in Arizona and another in Utah. It took several hours, but it was a great way to spread the love.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

The grand boys have a turn

The grand boys also had a sleepover, the first of 2012. They got to go with grandma and grandpa to pick up the new to us used car.

I'm excited about my new wheels. It has lots of extras which make the hubby happy. He was even happier to find an almost new car with low miles plus all the extras for a good price.

Guess who drove it all weekend?

Of course, we had to feed them lots of pizza on Friday night. Saturday morning found us at Chick-fil-A for breakfast. I love that they serve my favorite orange juice.

It turned out that this sign was false advertising. It states, "Give us one pound of chocolate cookie pieces, and we'll give you and your friends 384 large Cookies & Cream Hand-Spun Milkshakes." The help claimed the 384 was just our table number.

Grandpa Glen is responsible for this out of focus picture. He wanted to document Toby's current tooth situation.

After breakfast, we were at the theater for the first movie of the day. We went to Tempe Market Place to see "Hugo" in 3D. "Hugo" is based on this book that won the Caldecott Award in 2008. We all enjoyed the movie and I loved the way the 3D effects were so well used in the story.

I took the above picture to point out one very disturbing event. TJ has almost caught up to his grandpa in height. What!!?

Now for a bit of a repeat. Once again we stopped at the new Dunkin Donuts for another dozen.

As you can see, this made Toby very happy.

The over two hour movie made TJ tired, so he decided to take a nap (probably because he is growing so fast!), Toby got his favorite toy bins out of the closet, grandpa mowed the lawn, and grandma planted some more flowers before returning the boys to their home. As we used the key pad to get through the gate, a male voice welcomed us. We quickly decided that that grandma's "car girl" should meet "gate guy." They both have such nice voices!