Sunday, October 30, 2011

My Apologies to Vermonters

I know, I know.  A snowstorm is hitting the eastern USA right now.  It's a far cry from winter here.  I just didn't realize how far until I saw this in my backyard today:


Yes, that is my lilac budding.  I figure by November the buds will be fully open.  Go figure.

Thankful thought:  Thanks for spring flowers, whenever they bloom!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Go, Go, Go, . . . Crash! A Tired Puppy is a Happy Puppy


Nicki has been busy, and let me tell you, it is exhausting to keep up such an active social schedule! 

I'm hoping I don't jinx this by saying so, but she is an excellent passenger in the car.  She hops right in and settles herself on the floor of the backseat.  Not a peep out of her, no roaming around the car, nothing.  The most difficult thing is convincing her to get out of the car once we arrive at our destination.  She's small enough now to just pick up, but eventually she needs to come out on her own.

She came with me this morning to drop off, and to pick up, youngest daughter from seminary.  We got to the church a few minutes early at pick up time, so Nicki had a chance to walk around and greet the kids as they came out of the church.

Later in the morning, it was off to the Scout shop, then the library.  In the afternoon, she took a walk around the neighborhood, then a stroll around a park.  Tonight was action packed, as Nicki attended cub scout pack meeting.  She watched pumpkins being launched in a huge sling shot, then observed the boys while they played dodge ball.  She thought the balls looked fun, but she was a good dog and sat by my side even amidst all the excitement. 

After arriving home, and having me pick her up out of the car, it was all she could do to stagger inside and collapse.  She's still snoring on the floor as I post this. 

Oh, a tired puppy is a happy puppy. 

This afternoon, we spent some time out in the backyard, and it was then that I saw this beautiful butterfly:


Thankful thought:  Thanks for cute puppies, beautiful butterflies, and all other creatures who fascinate, amuse, and delight. 

Monday, October 24, 2011

Meet Nicki: Our Guide Dog Puppy Raising Adventure Begins


Yesterday, I got a call from a leader in our local guide dog club, asking if I could take Nicki for a while.  Of course, I said yes! 

Nicki is almost 4 months old, and definitely has cute down pat.  She's super enthusiastic about eating.  I think she eats faster than Lucy the basset did, which I didn't think was caninely possible.  To her credit, though, she knows to wait until the "OK" is given. 

Right now, she is sleeping soundly in her crate, all tired out from the excitement of her moving day.  Over the upcoming days, weeks, and months,  she'll be sporting her green vest and learning how to behave in public places.  Look out world, here she comes! 

Thankful thought: I know that guide dog puppy raising is a service, but I'm feeling like the lucky one.  Thanks for service opportunities that are so fun! 

Friday, October 21, 2011

October Garden Walk

It's been a month since our last garden walk.  I wish I could capture the sound of the birds chirping, the scent of the roses, and the gentle warmth of the sun, and somehow relay those sensory delights to you, my readers. 

Before we begin this month's walk, let's look back at the "after" photo from May of this year:


I couldn't even take a good shot from the exact spot now, because the grapes have grown so much.  Standing in front of the grapes and shooting in the same direction, this is what I get:


I guess things have grown!  It shouldn't appear quite so crowded once the palm trees get a little taller, and their fronds provide an upper canopy of greenery.

Here's a photo of the over-achieving grapes.  We are going to have to do some pruning this winter.  I'm new to grape-growing, so any tips are appreciated!  We've got one red flame--it produced this year--and several Thompson's seedless. 


One of my favorite parts of the yard is the north wall area, where the flowers have just taken off!  The blue potato vine--I think that is what it is commonly called--was here when we moved in, though it was looking very sad.  I did some severe pruning, and this year I'm finally realizing the beauty of it.

Here's a close-up of it:


My aptly-named Scentimental rose:


John's dad gave us "squashkin seeds."  They are much bigger than our pumpkins!


And here's one of part of my fall garden.  Hopefully they will survive Peter rabbit, who is seen every morning.


Thankful thought:  Thanks for my grandpas who were committed to growing plants.  One had a farm, and the other built an underground greenhouse in central Oregon where he raised tomatoes year-round! 


Thursday, October 20, 2011

College Kid Weekend, Take Two!

I wasn't caught off-guard this time, but youngest son showed up on my doorstep this afternoon!  His school has a two-day break, which means a four-day weekend, which gives him just enough time for a quick trip home. 

As all good college boys do, he arrived with a big bag full of laundry to be washed.  Unlike some college boys, though, he does his own laundry.  I think he's grateful for a washer and dryer that don't demand quarters.  ;-)

Thankful thought:  Thanks for my kids, and thanks for a washer and dryer (and kids who know how to use them!)

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Don't Cry! That Spilled Red Nail Polish Can Come Out of Cream Carpet



I love my brick floor.  It's unique, and it hides dirt extremely well.  Unfortunately, anything dropped on it is pretty much toast.  On the bright side, it hides nail polish pretty well, too.  Not so for the carpet.

A quick google search led me to . . . non-acetone nail polish remover!  Ominously, that was followed by a ton of other suggestions, in case the nail polish remover didn't work.  After using up what remover we had on hand, I dashed off to Walmart for more remover, as well as more hydrogen peroxide (suggestion #2) and Oxiclean, for good measure.

Fortunately for me, three bottles of the remover was all it took.


I either imagined or saw a pink tint to the carpet still, so I ran my carpet cleaning machine over it for good measure.  I am pleased with the results.  (Or at least too lazy to really obsess over whether or not the carpet is still pink in places.) 


The carpet was overdue for a cleaning, wasn't it? Hmm, I wonder if we have any more nail polish? I know we have more carpets, and a bit of nail polish really gets me moving on carpet cleaning!

Thankful thought for the day:  Thanks for the little things in life, like carpets, brick, cleaning supplies, and little challenges, like nail polish.  I know life isn't always so calm.  :-)

Monday, October 17, 2011

A Birthday Spent with Ancestry.com



Oldest daughter headed back to college this morning; John went to work.  Youngest daughter had schoolwork to do.  I decided to enjoy my birthday by spending time with family history research.  It paid off.  I found a birthday photo that someone had uploaded to ancestry.com.   

The bearded man seated in the middle is Richard Dolph.  He is my great-great-great grandpa, and this picture was taken on his 90th birthday.  Back row:  Annie Martin, William Dolph, Hattie Martin, Alta May Dolph Hunt .  I don't know who is seated to the sides of Richard Dolph, though I am suspecting more of his children, based on the family resemblance.   I'm not sure exactly who the Martin women are, but William and Alta May are Richard's children.  Alta May is my great-great grandma, and my grandma was named after her. 

I  love this photo. Can't you just hear John McCutcheon's recording of "Cut the Cake" playing to describe this scene?  (I'm assuming that they were smiling sometime!)  Then, of course, because this photo is of my ancestors, I also think of "Water from Another Time." 

Thankful thought of the day:  Thanks to Richard Dolph, who raised Alta May, who raised Edna Anna, who raised Alta Mae, who raised my dad, who raised me!  And thanks to the spouses of said individuals, who did the same.  And thanks to the ancestry.com contributor who shared the photo. 


Saturday, October 15, 2011

Surprised for the Second Day in a Row!

At about 7:45 yesterday morning, the doorbell rang.  I couldn't imagine who it could be, and was delighted  to find oldest daughter on the step.  "Surprise, Mom, it's me!  Happy birthday weekend!"

Oldest daughter home for the weekend.  What shall we do?  We're going to Disneyland!

Youngest daughter insisted on a visit to the Mad Hatter. (Oldest daughter only appears to be wearing a hat; it's actually a fence in the background!)



Oldest daughter knew just the photo she wanted to take:


Oh, life is good.

Thankful thought for the day:  Thanks to oldest daughter for the wonderful surprise, and thanks to John and the kids, who make my ever after so happy!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Romance is Alive and Well!



Today, John walked in after work carrying flowers (the most deliciously-smelling lilies!), chocolates, and a card.  My birthday is coming up, but I was still surprised.  John and I are different in our ability to patiently wait to give gifts.  When I find a gift to give someone, it is all I can do to wait for the gift-giving occasion.  I'm getting better, but I'm still not very good.  John, however, doesn't seem to have a problem.  Even if I can't wait to give him his present, he prefers waiting until his birthday. 

So, I was a bit puzzled as to why he would be bringing me goodies before my big day.  Reading the card, I finally understood.  The flowers, chocolates, and card are not because of my birthday; they are to commemorate the fact that John has now been married for half of his life!  How romantic is that?!

Sadly, I won't be able to reciprocate, as I passed that "half-my-life" milestone already.  I guess I'll have to figure out 5/8 or 2/3 or 3/4.  :-)

Thankful thought of the day:  Thanks to John, of course!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Run, Kristi, Run!

Have you heard of  the couch to 5K program?  It's a schedule to help non-runners be prepared to run a 5K in 9 weeks.  I'm on week 5 now, and feeling pretty proud of myself.  Today I ran three 5-minute runs, with 3 minute walks in between.  That doesn't sound terribly impressive, particularly when the pace of my "runs" is factored in, but it's progress.  We'll see how I feel on Monday, when I hit my first 20 minute run! 

My dad and I like to laugh at a memory we have of running a 5K together.  As we neared the finish, a woman cheered us on: "Kick, kick!" We responded back, "This is our kick!"  She then started clapping, "Good job!  Way to go!" 

Youngest daughter and I are signed up to run a 5K at Disneyland at the end of January.  It will be her first 5K, and I figured it would be a great one to start with.  OK, honestly, that is only partially true.  I thought it would be tons of fun to run at Disneyland, with Mickey providing the "Kick, kick!" comments. 

Thankful thought of the day:  Thanks to my running buddies Melanie and Sara, and to my youngest daughter, who would beat me any day in a sprint!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Think, Kristi, Think! The Little Blog that Tried

When I started blogging, I really didn't know the direction to take this blog.  Little by little, I realized that if I titled the blog, "Thankful Me," I really should have a thankful thought each day.  Unfortunately, I often compose my blogs at the end of the day, when my brain is on shut-down mode.  I don't know how many times I realized after posting, that I had forgotten the thankful thought of the day. 

Well, once again, I forgot.  Oops!  If you ever read a recent post that is missing a thankful thought, feel free to remind me, or check back the next day when (hopefully) I've caught my mistake. 

Thankful thought of the day:  Thanks for friends, family, and other viewers who stumble across this little blog, who are patient with me as I figure out what I'm doing. 

Monday, October 10, 2011

The Sour Cream Method...AKA Use What You Have

I learned from my mom, who learned from her mother, who probably learned from her momma, the principle of waste-not, want-not.  Leftovers always go in the fridge, not the garbage can.  Not only that, the next day's meal utilizes those leftovers.  (I must admit I grow more science experiments than my mom ever did, though.)

One meal, early in our marriage, was planned around a bit of sour cream.  I don't remember what I ended up fixing, but I do know that the concept of planning an entire meal around sour cream made an impression on John.  Since then, we often use the phrase, "planning around the sour cream."

This afternoon I started "planning around the sour cream," not for dinner, but for furnishing a room.  It all started when I realized that I need a place for a tie-down for a guide dog puppy.   If I understand correctly, the idea is that while the puppy is young and house-training, it is either on a leash, in a crate, or on a tie-down in a busy area of the house.  John suggested putting the eye-hook for the tie-down to the side of our fireplace in the family room.  Only problem is, that is where the organ is. 

Fortunately, our formal living room (or the "room of requirements," as John likes to call it) is wonderfully empty (well, at least devoid of furniture...it is still a bit of a storage area).   So, I moved the organ into that room.  Then I got to thinking that maybe the family room looked a little too crowded; maybe I could move other things out of the family room and into the living room, and thus balance out both rooms. 

I moved many of the plants into the living room, as well as the rocking chair.  Then, of course, the family room was feeling a little empty, so I moved a big plant from the dining room into the family room.  I'm certainly not done in the living room.  An organ, a rocking chair, and a bunch of plants doesn't quite complete the room, but at least I'm starting to envision the possibilities. 

No photos yet--I want to move the stored items out of the living room first--but maybe I'll take some soon. 

Thankful thought of the day:  Thanks for John, who puts up with "planning around the sour cream".

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Chiming in on the "Are Mormons Christians?" Question

Growing up as a Mormon, I'd heard that some people do not view members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints as Christians.  However, I always thought that those who held those views were in the minority.  Perhaps for the general population that is the case, but I was very surprised to read that in a poll of 1000 pastors, 75% did not believe that we are Christians.  Either: 1) The pastors' definition of "Christian" is different than mine, and/or 2) The pastors are unfamiliar with what we teach of Jesus Christ. 

Merriam-Webster defines Christian as "one who professes belief in the teachings of Jesus Christ." Clearly members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints meet that definition.  In a General Conference talk in October 2007, which you can read and/or watch here, Jeffrey R. Holland testifies of our belief in Jesus Christ.  (When you get to the link, I would recommend clicking the "watch" button on the right. Elder Holland is a powerful speaker.)  He also does an excellent job of explaining why we hold some of the views we do which differ a bit from other churches. 

Thankful thought of the day:  Thanks to my friends and family who support me in my beliefs, even though they might not hold the same beliefs.  Diane, Ann, Gwen, Debbie, and Dad come immediately to mind, but there are many others as well.  And, of course, thanks to Jesus Christ, who truly is the Savior of the world. 

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Saturday Smiles



After having lunch today with our "flown-the-coop" daughter, we pulled out the camera.  All eyes open, happy smiles...I love this photo!

Tonight, John and I attended adult session of stake conference, where we heard much about strengthening families.  We were reminded that the Lord knows the solutions to our problems, and that as we seek His guidance, He can help us. 

Thankful thought of the day:  Thanks for families, thanks for divine guidance, and (at John's request, as we are currently watching a recorded football game) thanks for BYU football!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Generosity

I spent much of today at a senior expo.  No, I don't qualify for AARP yet!  I was helping to man a booth of the local chapter of Guide Dogs for the Blind.  Basically that meant that we let people pet the "career change" dog we had with us--one who had gone through the training, but proved to be just a bit too energetic to be a working guide dog, and so is now a pet for the family who raised her.  We visited with the seniors who stopped by to pet the dog, heard about their wonderful dogs, and, thanks to cell phone cameras, even saw photos of dogs.  Several people did express interest in the organization, and we handed out some fliers and business cards. 

One man really made an impression on me, though.  He quietly reached across the informational handouts to a stack of envelopes on the back of the table, grabbed one, stuck some money in it, and then handed the envelope back, saying: "Saves me a stamp."  I thanked him, and he was gone.  I have no idea what his experience with Guide Dogs for the Blind is.  We were not actively soliciting donations; in fact, his was the only donation all day.  His action, though, got me to thinking about the people I know who quietly donate. 

Thankful thought of the day:  Thanks for donors.  "Anonymous" has my admiration. 

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

The Vacation is Over, but Life is Still Beautiful


John's mom left for the airport this morning.  As if in disappointment, the clouds rolled in and rain drizzled.  It is hard to have her go home. We've had a wonderful week:  Disneyland, California Adventure, the Getty, Solvang, a matinee showing of The Help, and lots of talking and laughter. 

But, alas, it's time to return to our regularly-scheduled programming of schoolwork and housework. This morning as I opened the blinds, this rainbow appeared, seemingly to cheer us on.  While I love the adventure of vacations, I also love being cozy inside my house while the blustery winds blow outside.  It's the perfect day to curl up and read, while a pot of soup simmers on the stove.

Thankful thought of the day:  Thanks for sweaters, shelter, soup, and other warm things!