Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Seven Signs You Might Be Shopping in a Utah Costco

Shopping in a warehouse store carries a measure of familiarity to it, no matter where you are. The layout of the stores is basically the same, as is the selection of merchandise. However, there are subtle (and not so subtle) differences between stores. 

Recently, I moved from California to Utah. As I am Mormon, and have lived in Utah before when I was a student at BYU, I wasn't expecting too much difficulty adjusting to the new locale. However, when I went to Costco, I couldn't help but have that "something is slightly off" feeling. I started paying attention to the differences between the Costco I shopped at in California, and the Costco in Utah.

Seven Signs You Might Be Shopping in a Utah Costco

1. There are lots more kids in tow. In California, whenever I had all five of my children with me, we definitely stood out. That wouldn't have been a problem in Utah. I looked around while I was in the checkout line, and noticed big families everywhere. Four or more children was the norm, not the exception.

2. Forty-five pound buckets of whole wheat kernels are sitting next to big white buckets of rolled oats. In California, I never once saw wheat for sale.


Photo: Big white buckets (labeled "Lehi Roller Mills") of whole wheat kernels stacked in Costco
3. Hershey's Syrup is sold in seven-pound jugs. Mormons neither smoke nor drink (alcohol or coffee), so I guess what is left on the acceptable vice front is chocolate--lots of chocolate. 


Photo: Brown plastic jugs of Hershey's Syrup sit in white boxes
4. Alcohol and cigarettes are conspicuously missing. While in California it is hard to miss the alcohol section of Costco, or the locked cage holding the cigarettes, I couldn't see any sign of either alcohol or cigarettes at my local Costco in Utah.

5. That familiar red coffee grinding machine is gone, too. Though I don't drink the stuff, I must admit I will miss the smell of freshly ground coffee beans. In California, whenever anyone was using the grinder when I was exiting the building, I would take a deep whiff as I walked to the door. 

6. There are plenty of red (for the University of Utah) and blue (for Brigham Young University) shirts for sale. I'm partial to blue, so that's what I'll include in the photo.

Photo: A display of blue and grey BYU shirts at Costco
7. The book table includes copies of "Your Study of the Book of Mormon Made Easier." I can't say I have ever seen that in California.

Photo: Copies of "Your Study of the Book of Mormon Made Easier" on the book table at Costco. (Along with another title, "Forgotten Tales of Utah".)
Have you shopped at a Costco store in Utah? Have I missed other signs that should be included? What is unique in Costco in your state? I'd love to hear your comments!


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Sunday, August 13, 2017

Ten Things of Thankful: We Made it to Utah! Edition

Have you ever started a journal and then abandoned it, only to realize years later that you want to write again, but so much time has passed and there is no possible way to adequately catch up? That is kind of how I feel about this blog. Mere months have passed, but it feels like so much has happened. Suffice it to say that we have moved from California to Utah. We are in a transition time, as our house has still not sold and we have not completely moved all our things here. I'm a bit overwhelmed when I think of all the necessary tasks I still have to complete (car registrations, driver's license, etc.), but I am chipping away at them. Every day, more boxes get unpacked and we are a bit more settled. We've been here exactly one week today (Saturday as I write this, but I have a feeling I won't get it posted until Sunday), and it is definitely time for a Ten Things of Thankful post!

1. I'm thankful for the good friends in California who helped us in so many ways. What an outpouring of love we received! 

2. I'm thankful for a safe drive here. John drove the moving van; I drove the minivan while towing a car trailer with the little Ford Anglia on it. I had never towed anything before, so I was a little apprehensive, but everything went just fine. The only thing I really had to worry about was my short-term memory, because I spent the entire 600+ miles being startled by the tail-gating car every time I looked in my rear-view mirror, only to remember that I was towing the Anglia.


Photo: (As seen by my rear-view mirror--photo taken while I was stopped at a rest stop) Suitcases and a white garbage bag are in the back of the van, while a red Ford Anglia (the Harry Potter car) appears to be tailgating me. 

3. I'm thankful for the warm welcome we received upon arrival. We met the neighbors on either side of us, and the neighbors kitty-corner on our first day here. The neighbors across the street came over and introduced themselves on Monday. They even apologized for not coming sooner, but they were on vacation over the weekend. The Andy Griffith Show might as well have named Mayberry "Provo." 

4. I'm thankful that this new place seems so familiar. Of course, John and I both lived in Provo when we were students at BYU, but that was over 30 years ago, before we were married. It's nice to return to our old stomping grounds. In fact, if we head out to the sidewalk in front of our rental house and look down the street, we can see the clubhouse of the apartment complex where we first met!

5. I'm thankful for this rental house. While we are waiting for a buyer for our California home, we decided to go ahead and rent here. It will be hard to leave! It's older than we are, quirky, and practical, and in a convenient location. 


Photo: The inside of a medicine cabinet in the house we are renting. The back of the cabinet is white, with a small slot in it, and underneath the slot are the words, "Razor Blades." Years ago, medicine cabinets had these slots for the disposal of used razor blades. If we tore into the walls of this house, who knows how many razor blades we would find?

6. I'm thankful for green Utah. When I was moving from Oregon to Utah to attend BYU, I saw Utah as brown. The mountains looked so barren to me, because I was used to evergreen trees covering the Cascades. Now, coming from the high desert of California, Utah looks so green. It's not quite the lush green of the Pacific Northwest, but I am definitely seeing more green and fewer tumbleweeds. 

7. I'm thankful for the mountains. I love a good view, and those mountains are hard to miss. I'm glad I can look out my living room window, or be in either the front or back yard, and see them.


Photo: Looking from my backyard eastward, a green shrub grows in the foreground. A red brick single-story house with a concrete patio and white wooden patio cover stand in front of the tall Wasatch Range mountains. Just above the green trees, a Y (for BYU) on the mountain can be seen.

8. I'm thankful for the quail that frequent my yard every day. I'm learning their cute calls, and I just love seeing the little apostrophes on the tops of their heads! (This photo isn't the greatest--I need to unpack my camera and practice.)


Photo: Five quail search in the green grass for a tasty morsel.

9. I'm thankful for the nearby trails, where I can (theoretically) run. One bad thing about the move is that my treadmill can't seem to fit into the house. It's sitting in the garage right now. I'm having a hard time getting back into the running habit, but I have taken some walks and have enjoyed the beautiful views. When the snow starts falling, I might just need to join a gym, but in the meantime, I have plenty of options of places to run.


Photo: The view from the trail I walked. A yellow grassy field sets the foreground. Two Mormon churches sit just below the field. Green trees and the city of Provo spread to the shores of Utah Lake. Other mountains are in the distance. The sky is blue, with scattered white clouds.

10. I'm thankful, as always, for John. He flew back to California yesterday to retrieve our other car and take care of a few errands. He'll arrive here tonight. I appreciate his sacrifice to take such a whirlwind trip. 

What are you thankful for this week? Let me know in your comments, or join in by posting your own list on the Ten Things of Thankful blog.



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Sunday, June 11, 2017

Ten Things of Thankful: I'm Not Ready Yet Edition

We meet with our realtor this week. I'm stressed out with the idea that I have 3 more days to fix every flaw, organize every cupboard, clean away every cobweb, and decorate every room to make it look like what every buyer wants. I know I'm being unrealistic, but I'm not listening to my reasonable side yet. I'll wait until Wednesday afternoon and then declare everything good enough for the moment.

Meanwhile, today is Sunday. (1) I'm thankful for Sunday, because it is a day of rest. I went to church, I spent some time doing family history research, I talked with my daughter, I went to choir practice, and I'm now blogging. Monday through Saturday, I sort, organize, clean and pack. Sunday I take a break from that, and that break revitalizes me. 

Now, I must admit that the first Saturday of this month, I had work of another kind. My brother told me he needed me to go to Disneyland to watch my nephew lead his high school marching band. Neither my brother nor his wife could attend, so I needed to be the supportive aunt. Twist my arm, I know. (2) I'm thankful I could spend time with my daughter and nephew at Disneyland.

Photo: My tall nephew wraps his arms around me and my daughter in front of the castle at Disneyland
(3) I'm thankful we could hear his band play. (I'm not sure you will be able to hear his band play, though; I seem to be having trouble with the video. Hopefully it will work.)

video

(4) Speaking of playing, I'm thankful for acoustics. We replaced carpets with laminate flooring. In order to put in the new floors, we had to empty the room of furniture. (Fortunately, the installers worked around the piano, just moving it from one side of the room to the other as needed.) Anyway, the piano sounds so much better in a practically-empty, non-carpeted room. 

video

(5) Yes, this sounds like a line from the movie Napolean Dynamite, but I'm thankful for people with skills: laminate skills, baseboard skills, tile skills, carpet skills, appliance repair skills, gardening skills, plumbing skills, window skills, painting skills. . . . We've had a lot of help getting the house ready.

(6) I'm thankful we can enjoy the results of all that skilled labor, even if we won't be here much longer. Flooring makes such a huge difference! Before, we had a worn wooden parquet entryway and old carpet in the other rooms. Now, the same laminate flooring extends through most of the house. I'm not going to take time to try to find "before" photos right now, but here's a hastily-taken "after" shot:

Photo: Laminate flooring extends from the entry to the living room on the left to the dining room on the right, and on throughout other areas not seen in the photo.
(7) I'm thankful that packing leads me down memory lane a bit. (The trick is to not let that distract me too much from the task at hand.) I found a photo of my sister from when she was a freshman in high school, as well as a photo of me from my junior year. What struck me was what my mom recorded on the back of each picture.
(Mom, I love you and I want you to know you did nothing wrong. In fact, I wish I had been so thorough with my children's school photos. This observation just made me laugh, OK?) On the back of my photo, my mom wrote my first name, my last name, the month and year, and my age in years. On the back of my sister's photo, my mom wrote my sister's first, middle, and last name, the day, month, and year, my sister's age in years and months, what year in school she was, and the name of the high school.  

I texted my sister when I discovered the photos, and said,"Look what I found while packing! I don't know what delights me more--the photo, or the fact Mom was still counting your age in months!" 

To be fair, I'm comparing apples and oranges here, as my sister wasn't a freshman until 3 years after I was a junior, so the photos weren't taken in the same year, and she might have had minimal information written on the back of her photo that year, too. 

(8) I'm thankful that packing leads me down memory lane a bit. (The trick is to not let that distract me too much from the task at hand.) I found a couple more photos that made me realize that my oldest son bore a resemblance to me when he was young.  

Photo: Son in color on left, and me in black-and-white on right. We share many of the same facial features, down to the gap-toothed grin.
(9) I'm thankful for unexpected sights--like the ducks that have been in my neighborhood lately. The second time I spotted them, I had to stop and take a quick photo. Ravens I see all the time. Doves are common. Owls, hawks, and hummingbirds are not at all unusual. In all the years I've lived here, though, I've never seen ducks in my neighborhood.

Photo: Two tan ducks play in the water in the gutter.
(10) I'm thankful for John. He just walked in the door after spending the weekend with our oldest son, so I'm going to bring this post to an abrupt end. 

In short, I might be stressed, but I'm thankful. Go check out other thankful posts at the Ten Things of Thankful blog.


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Sunday, May 28, 2017

Ten Things of Thankful: Cousins and Other Family and Friends

I haven't yet learned how to stretch time, nor how to write well when I'm exhausted, and so this poor little blog has been neglected for the past month. The neglect is taking its toll on me. Throughout the week, I'll think, "I'm thankful for that!" but I miss the process of getting my thoughts out of my head and onto the screen. There is something very stress-relieving about listing items of gratitude.

I noticed today that Dyanne has jumped back into the blogging world, and that inspired me to do the same. Thanks, cousin! (Dyanne and I used RelativeFinder.org to discover we are 11th cousins, and Christine is a cousin, too. If you'd like to see how you might be related, too, read the posts here and here, then ask me about our Thankful Us group.)

1. I'm thankful for cousins. One of my cousins is currently on hospice care. Cancer has returned, and an infection has claimed an eye and her eyesight in the remaining eye. Her coworkers started a can drive to raise money to help her, only to have thieves steal the cans.  It just seems to be one thing after another. I'm sad for her, but thankful that she can be home surrounded by her husband, boys, siblings, and mom. I'm sad for my aunt as well, because just one year ago, my uncle passed away. At that time, we all commented on how we needed to get together more often, under happier circumstances. Miles separate us, and I'm afraid that I haven't seen those cousins nor my aunt since last June, but I am thankful that they are gathered together and sharing time together now.



I imagine that, despite the unknown future, there is a lot of laughter at my cousin's house now. When I think of times spent with my cousins, I picture smiles and laughter.  

2. I'm thankful for humor. When I checked on my blog today, I noticed a comment in my spam folder. It was written in Vietnamese. Though I suspected it was spam, I thought I'd run it through Google Translate to make sure. I'm not sure it is any more clear. I'm just glad my piano is the old-fashioned kind, and not a pulsed electric one that might cause inflammation of the esophagus!  Here's the translation:

Buy yamaha electric piano at tphcm all the details please contact us for specific advice to buy the Casio electric piano at tphcm to help you buy the best guitar. How much is the cheapest piano? Condotel Cocobay Danang's price list of investors The total investment capital of VND3,200 billion, including the development of 3,200 hotel apartments, 156 townhouses and a 27,000 square meter commercial and service center. The difference between villa and villa The landscape of this land still retains majestic beauty with white sand stretching along the cliffs of all shapes, attracting the eyes of visitors. Medicines Metronidazol 250mg Five days After stopping the drug, the secretion back to normal, but no increase in acid secretion. What is Panangin used for? Colonoscopy, the incidence of scarring of duodenal ulcer is 65% after 2 weeks of treatment and 95% after 4 weeks. 500 mg of amoxicillin should not be treated with duodenal ulcer or gastric ulcer. , Inflammation of the esophagus due to pulsed electric piano commonly used

Speaking of humor and Google Translate, have you watched this Studio C episode? 




3. On a more serious note, I'm thankful for a new family member. My 4th grandchild (2nd grandson) was born three days ago. He shares a birthday with my grandma--my dad's mom, who passed away several years ago. Mom and baby are doing fine, and I enjoyed holding the little guy.


Photo: 3-day-old grandson sleeps with his hands crossed against his chest, holding a blue pacifier in his mouth. My hand cradles his tiny, brown-hair-covered head.
4. I'm thankful that while his mom was in the hospital, I got to have my other grandchildren stay with me.  I love hearing them speak, which gives me insight into their understanding.  Sometimes I have to explain further.  For example, when I told them that their Grandpa was on a trip, they were concerned that he had fallen.  I'm not sure they understood "vacation" any better, but I hope to have convinced them that no one was hurt. Another time, I was gently chided for not wearing an apron while baking:  "Grandma, where is your big bib?!" As messy as I can be, we might as well just call it a bib. 


Photo: Oldest granddaughter pushes oldest grandson in a red kiddie car, while youngest granddaughter rides a pink and purple trike on the brick patio in my backyard. Two big bouncy balls--one purple, one blue, are also present in the picture.


A few weeks ago, Clark asked in a blog post: "So my compliment-in-a-question to those readers who have children is, ‘Given my example of the power of a mother (or father) in shaping a child’s mind, how do you work up the nerve to say or do anything with very young children?!!' " When I read that question, I chuckled. My daughter told me a while ago that my youngest granddaughter had been talking in her sleep.  And what do you think she said while asleep? "Don't be scared of chickens!  Don't be scared of chickens!" While I did, in fact, give my granddaughter that advice, I never imagined it would make such an impact!  I only hope that other, more important, lessons stick as well. Anyone who interacts with young children has to put fear aside and prepare to be quoted!


5. I'm thankful that the radio on my car seems to be working now. For months, it has randomly turned on, then every 30 seconds or so, automatically attempts to load a CD. It's been annoying to say the least. A week or so ago, the car was in the shop, and we asked the technicians to please check out the radio problem while they had the car. They told us it was not a car wiring problem, but a problem with the stereo itself, so they couldn't fix it. Well, one day as I was driving and the car wanted me to listen to a CD, I decided to heed its advice. I popped in a CD and listened to the entire album. Do you know that since that time, I can listen to the radio whenever I want to without having the car try to load a CD? 

6. I'm thankful for friends.  Preparing to sell a house and move to a smaller one is a daunting task.  I have had offers of boxes, help setting up a garage sale, many folding tables loaned us for the garage sale, help painting, etc.  I felt a bit like Tom Sawyer asking friends to help me paint, but it really did make the task go quickly!


Photo: Three friends and I smile after painting a bedroom in my house. The formerly bright pink walls are now a more neutral grayish color.
7. I'm thankful for friends who work, and also for friends who play. It's always fun to spend time with friends at Disneyland! One friend needed to use up the last day on her pass, and invited me along. Another friend allowed youngest daughter and I to celebrate her birthday with her.


Photo: My friend and I (and a stranger whose face I disguised with a Superhero sticker in this photo) race in a green car at Radiator Springs at California Adventure
Photo: My friend, dressed in a blue Mickey Mouse shirt, meets Mickey on her birthday.
8.  I'm thankful for family. So much has happened since I last blogged!  My parents were able to come and stay with us for a while, and they got to meet their great-grandchildren for the first time. 


Photo: My parents sit on a garden bench in front of blooming roses.  My oldest granddaughter sits next to my mom, and my mom holds grandson while my dad holds my youngest granddaughter. My dad looks at the camera, while everyone else looks up to the sky.  My grandson points at something.
Mother's Day has come and gone, and as always, I am thankful for my mom, my mother-in-law, my grandmas, my children, and my grandchildren. 

9.  I'm thankful for digital cameras, which make documenting moments easier than in the film days. It doesn't necessarily mean any one shot turns out any better than in years past, but it does mean I have more to choose from! 


Photo: Oldest granddaughter sits on her dad's lap, while my daughter holds youngest granddaughter and grandson. Everyone is smiling, and the adults and grandson and even looking at the camera!
10. I'm thankful for John. Life is crazy busy.  I feel like it's just been go-go-go from 5:30 in the morning until 9:00 at night.  He keeps me sane and helps me remember what we have accomplished when I'm feeling overwhelmed by how much more we have to do. 

It might be another month before I post again. I hope to post sooner than that, but I also don't want to promise something and then not deliver.  The nice thing is, this is a no pressure blog hop, and I know I can join in anytime. Go check out the Ten Things of Thankful blog and see what others have posted this week. Who knows, you might just read something from a distant cousin!



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Friday, April 21, 2017

Ten Things of Thankful: Let Me Count the Ways Edition

Thirty: the age that 20-somethings dread.  

Thirty: the length of many mortgage loans, which seems like an eternity of a time to be in debt.

Thirty gets a bad rap, though, because:

Thirty: the number of years John and I have been married.


Photo:  John, in a grey tux, and I, in a white wedding dress, stand outside the Seattle Temple on our wedding day

We met in Provo, Utah, while students at Brigham Young University.  We married in Seattle, Washington (the closest temple at the time to my parents' home). We lived for a few months in the basement of John's parents' home in Salt Lake City.  A job offer took us to Orange County, California.  We lived in a little apartment for a couple of years before purchasing our first home--a little upstairs-unit condo, with a view of the train tracks. Our family doubled while we were in California. With two children in the backseat, we moved to the Seattle area.  While in Washington, we added three more children to our family.  After seven years near Seattle, we pursued a dream and moved to a tiny rural town. Though we loved it there, after several years it was time to move on again.  We returned to southern California. We lived in one house for 7 years, and we've been in our current home for eight. 

If one were to map our journey, it would look something like this:


Photo: A map of the Western United States, with spots in Utah, Washington, and California marked, and travel lines between

(As I viewed that map, I thought of the children of Israel wandering for 40 years in the wilderness.  We're not there yet--another 10 years to go!)

In the past 30 years, children have been born and have grown up. A daughter-in-law joined the family.  Three grandchildren have been born, and a fourth will come next month. Each new person has expanded my heart.

Of course, there have been experiences that I never imagined I would have. We have first-hand knowledge of several Seattle-area hospitals.  The jargon of the DSM has become reality, as we've waded through various mental-health diagnosis with some of our children. We've sat together at funerals for both young and old.  

We've also gone swimming with sting-rays, ridden mules to a leper colony in Molokai, run a half-marathon down a Utah canyon, and traveled in three continents. 


Photo: John and I stand in the warm Caribbean water and pet a stingray

Little ole' me, prone to routine and settling-down, has become someone I never would have expected. Me, a world traveler?  Me, a runner? Me, someone who moves to a different house at least every 8 years? Me, braver than I ever dreamed?

Being married to John has changed me.  It's changed him, too. Oh, I'm still me, and he is still himself, but together, we are much, much more.  We know that no matter what life throws at us, life is an adventure, and adventures work out.  


Photo: John (as C3PO) and I (as R2D2) cross the finish line of a Disney 10K race

We met in Provo.  This year, we continue our journey with a move back to Provo.  We are both looking forward to this move, and are both stressed about this move. Together, though, we are calm. We're just off to the next adventure!

Please forgive me if I am quieter than usual, both as a blog writer and a blog reader.  I hope to return to a more frequent blogging schedule, but my time is taken up right now with all the preparations that need to take place prior to our move. 

(I obviously did not enumerate my ten things of thankful for this post, but I trust that my gratitude came through anyway.) 

What are you thankful for this week? How have you changed in the past 30 years?  (Some of you might say, "Well, I was born!")  

Be sure to check out other Ten Things of Thankful posts here.

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