Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Reflecting on Sandy

It has been a week of hard things.  Today Glen and I attended the funeral of his cousin Linda.  Linda would have celebrated her 39th birthday on November 9th.  Would have except she had a stroke and languished for four days before leaving her grieving husband and four children ages 6 - 14.  When a young parent leaves a young family I can hardly stand it.  There is so much pain, so much grief, so much sadness.

Linda lived life well, so well. She left memories which will lift her little family up during this hard time.  Her mother, also Linda, is the youngest of Glen's father's sisters.  She told her other children in a gentle way that daughter Linda was truly the best of them all for she was so kind, so gentle, so sweet, so faithful, so giving.  But Aunt Linda's heart is broken and her grief palatable.  She looks at you with her beautiful ice blue Jensen eyes and states, "You are not supposed to have to bury your child."  It was heart breaking to watch a six year old son place a favorite stuffed animal in his mother's casket, a husband tell the love of his life goodbye, and have three beautiful girls look at you with tear filled eyes.  Thank goodness for the plan of salvation and prayers that lift and comfort those left behind.

So my heart grieves for one I have known, but also for those I don't know.  Those who are coping with the loss of loved ones and of the life they were living.  Sandy, you were big and you will be long remembered.  Today Linda's spouse talked how growing and living and succeeding are not about arriving without pains or bruises or tragedy, but about rising up and facing the hard stuff and really growing and succeeding.  People back East will be humbled but they will also feel the prayers and receive help and know that life is still good.

Last night my mother's heart was worried for two of my own.  My prayers were also for them.  Today my daughter had surgery and things went well.  She will now, after months of feeling so ill, feel better and better.  Today my son arrived safely home from Virginia to rejoin his little family after cancelled flights and a long drive through Sandy's rain bands to another airport.  I am always grateful for the little miracles that are life.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Sister's home

My life has taken a delightful turn the last couple of months.  My sister and her husband have purchased a home for their future retirement in Provo.  It is in an older neighborhood not far from where my mother use to live.  It means that my future Utah time will include more time with my sister.

It has been newly landscaped while keeping much of the old.  It has been beautifully renewed and updated on the inside.

It has a unique container gardening system.  I love container gardening.  I've been given permission to forge ahead next summer.

It has lovely views of the mountains, including Mt. Timpanogos.

The remodeled kitchen

and dining area.  I love all the finishing touches like molding, bead board, and window frames and sills..

The windows are large and the spaces light filled.

It's a welcoming space with dreamy subtle wall colors.

All bathrooms have been updated

and bedrooms individualized.

The wood floors are beautiful and have a welcoming "creaking" sound.

The lower level is also full of light.

Behind this french door is a giant space.  We are already talking about creating and sewing here together.

She will also have the perfect guest retreat with bathroom

and very private bedroom.

Every beautiful paneled door is framed out the same with gorgeous hardware.  Looks like I will have to share the visitors who come through Provo.  Congratulations Sis!  I'm so glad you found the house that felt like home.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

BEE careful!


In Arizona it is now the time to get out in the garden and plant, plant, plant.  The temperature has finally dropped from the triple digits and the 90 something days are fewer.  Before one plants however, the hot summertime over growth and neglect must be trimmed away.  This is what we found while trimming up the bougainvillea.  A birdhouse full of honey bees!

Glen gifted me with this trio of birdhouses for Christmas a few years back.  They have been decorative and fun to have.  No bird has ever expressed interest and we were very surprised to see the bees.  I would have loved to keep them but I could also visualize a grandchild knocking it over.  It is especially worrisome given that we lost a back fence neighbor years ago when he tried to take out the hive that was forming in a corner of his deck cover.  We didn't want to just kill the bees either.  So . . .

Glen called the bee keeping BIL who recommended that we go online and find the local bee keeping association.  We did and a bee keeper showed up after dark (the above picture shows just half of the bees that would have gathered by dark), contained them, and took them to a new home.  Of course there were a few escapees who were still buzzing around but day by day they have dissipated.  To have a hive, you have to have a queen.

So far we have planted out over 150 plants.  Every morning we have been going out and working for a couple of hours.

We decided to try something other than Icelandic poppies in these pots this year.  We purchased 5 different colored New Mexico geraniums from A&P Nursery instead.

This side yard plant out almost did us in yesterday morning.  I can hardly wait for all the future color.  I also did my window box and Glen planted the pots by the lamp post.  Still to go?  The backyard pots and my vegetable garden will be our focus the next couple of days.  My son said that Utah was 42 degrees and that the mountains were covered with snow today.  I really do enjoy the best of two worlds!

Monday, October 22, 2012

To Marry an English Lord

I've been reading another book inspired by Downton Abbey.  "To Marry an English Lord" predates Downton Abby by 20 years as the copyright date is 1989.

It is written and laid out in a newspaper fashion with columns and many illustrations.  It tells the stories of American heiresses and their mothers who scrabble and scheme for entry into the peerage system of English lords and ladies using their wealth to gain husbands with prestige.  Such nuptials were not always happy ones but were common in the later part of the 1800's and early 1900's.  They were helped along by the love and admiration of Edward the VII, oldest son of Queen Victoria, for the beautiful and well dressed American women.  To the dismay of his mother he was an indulgent playboy.  Queen Victoria said of him, ‘I never can, or shall, look at him without a shudder.’

I'm looking forward to season three of Downton Abbey but after reading this book feel a bit more jaded about it all.  Dealing with mistresses was common as was becoming a mistress after producing a male heir or two for these American brides.  Winston Churchill's American mother, Jennie, was known for her beauty and good works but had lovers eventually marrying one half her age long after the death of Winston's father.

The book includes an index at the end listing the many, many wealthy American brides including information about their parentage, source of wealth, and their husbands' British nobility and honors.  One wonders why the large country estate style houses of Newport, Rhode Island and the society life of New York City weren't enough.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Roadside produce

One reason that I love autumn in Utah is the abundance of fresh produce for sale roadside.

There are many gardens and orchards with an abundance of goodness as well as corn and pumpkin patches.  The gardeners merely set up a venue along the roadside for sharing their excess.

My favorite roadside buy this year were these apples purchased from a very special "family history" orchard.  As we drive the 89 Highway south to Arizona we pass through Glendale.  It was here that Mormon pioneers chased out of Nevada over disputed boundaries and high taxation finally settled.  My ancestor, Warren Foote, built a home and planted an apple orchard in the late 1800's.  His home burned to the ground in the early 1900's, but there are still apple orchards between the current highway and the east fork of the Virgin River.

We spotted the sign from the highway, "Apples for Sale."  We U-turned, drove up the dirt driveway, and found a wooden picnic table under an ancient tree on which rested boxes of apples.  There was a glass jar on the table with a slit cut in the tin lid as well.  The sign gave the prices for different quantities of apples and left it up to the purchaser to slip their cash through the slit.  We didn't have much small change and didn't really need a whole box of apples (definitely organic grown and a bit wormy) so we just dug out a few of the best looking and dropped in our change.

When Warren Foote (great grandson of the first Warren) took us on a tour of family history sites at a reunion in 2003, he indicated that the first Warren's home stood where a small older motel now stands.  The picnic table under the ancient tree sat next to that motel.  I want to believe that my apples came from the very old apple trees next to the dirt drive and that they might have been planted by the first Warren.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Just because magic happens

Opal participated in her first formal photo sessions this week.  Isn't she adorable and the epitome of sweetness?

More magic happened later in the day.  I drove home amongst swirling leaves, gigantic slanted raindrops following through sunlight, and mountainsides glowing in the late afternoon sun with dark clouds overhead.  I parked the car in the garage and ran inside to tell Glen about the rainbows.  I followed him outside for picture taking.

A rainbow embracing "Y" mountain.

It was magical and lovely.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Oscar Time

On Saturday we enjoyed some Oscar time.  He is a delight and in the midst of being potty trained.  We decided to take an adventure with him anyway and he stayed dry!  This red wagon has been in our Provo garage for years.  We took it to Oscar for his enjoyment.  He loved it and his grandpa who took him on a neighborhood tour.

Speaking of his neighborhood, it is beautiful this time of year.  That is his church on the left, first built in 1908.  I love the stained glass windows and the history of this older, well loved building.

While his parents went shopping and to dinner, Oscar accompanied us to Modern Display and Temple Square.  He loved watching the trains under the trees at Modern Display while grandpa checked out what is new in Christmas lighting.  He did not like the headless horseman on the front lawn of the store.

He loved the circular walk up to the Christus statue in the visitor's center and knew who it represented.

This is his new pose, I'll take a picture of you while you take a picture of me.

As the sun began to set, the temple glowed as Oscar explored wide spaces.  When we arrived back at his house, he did his business and then asked for his M & M's.  We made a quick call to his parents for information as to the location.  Soon all was well.  Good job Oscar!

*All pictures taken by Grandpa Glen using his camera phone.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Barnyard Boo

October Break is underway in Utah so I entertained the boys again on Friday.

It was a rather cold and rainy day so much like Disneyland a year ago when there were no lines and the crowd was small.

This was a part of Thanksgiving Point that I had never explored before.

If I had known we would mostly be outside, I might have reconsidered.

This is a barnyard full of domestic animals including horses, pigs, cows, sheep, goats, chickens, ducks, geese, turkeys, and even llamas.

Henry in a stare off with a pygmy goat.

I found that the boys didn't always want to do the same things.  Henry was all for a pony ride.

Raymond, being so big and tall, would have been required to ride the bigger horses.  He declined.

I thought we would be in that big barn in the background.  False, but that was where all the teachers were conferencing.

Both brothers declined to have a picture taken with this cute witch.  Henry, however, loved her story time presentation. Notice the pineapple quilt covering her prop table.

Both consented to a fake tractor photo instead.

They loved the scale that compared their weights to that of the animals.

Notice that when Ray left, Henry barely made an impact.  He loved it when I joined him on that scale. I, not so much.

Raymond was all about the face painting.  Henry declined but he did craft a darling ghostly photo frame.

He also checked out all the games while Ray sat being painted.  Then Henry patiently instructed his big brother on the nuances of each game of skill.

It was great because win or lose one still got to pick out a piece of candy.

I wanted to make sure we caught a wagon ride, but the rain started coming down again, so we played in the" how crops get to market" shed.

Henry absolutely loved this truck with its conveyor built.  He also organized the other farmers.

Finally we caught a wagon ride.

Our view back at the barnyard.

And a final close up view of the rocket Raymond requested be painted on his cheek.  Now he can remember it forever because he was pretty sad when his dad told him it would indeed wash off.  It was a pleasant outing, but I have to be honest, it took me all night to warm up.  It's been a long time since I hung out at 50 degrees.