Monday, April 30, 2012

Satisfying a Silhouette Curiousity

In case you were wondering about what the silhouettes from Disneyland look like, you need not wonder any more:




You might want to watch this video, which demonstrates a bit of the process:




Thankful thought:  Thanks for those who share their talents!

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Weekend Getaways: I'm For Them!

John and I just returned from a weekend spent in San Diego.  If you were sitting in my living room, and if the year were circa 1970, we'd just pull out the projector and show you the slide show (and maybe we'd eat fondue!) Instead, you'll have to scroll down to see the photos and read the commentary.  As for snacks, I'm afraid you're on your own--but if you're near San Diego, I'd recommend Extraordinary Desserts and/or HeavenSent Desserts.

On the way to the wonderful bed-and-breakfast, Vintage Sol, we just had to stop at Disneyland.  We visited City Hall to pick up "Happy Anniversary" buttons, and wore them proudly.  A cast member volunteered to take our photo near Sleeping Beauty's castle.


We rode a few rides:  Peter Pan, Mr. Toad, Big Thunder Railroad, Haunted Mansion, Winnie the Pooh, Star Tours, and Indiana Jones.  We ate lunch at the Blue Bayou, and were seated at a waterfront table.


We also sat and got our silhouettes cut--something we had never done before.  It was fascinating to see how quickly the artist cut our likenesses. 

Check-in time at Vintage Sol is between 3:00 and 4:00, so we left Disneyland after lunch and headed toward San Diego.  We've stayed at Vintage Sol before, and it is now "our" place to go.  It consists of a private courtyard and a tiny little guesthouse.  The owner is an artistic genius.  Though some of her decorating style runs bolder than mine, the end result is a delightful, welcoming retreat.  I always come away inspired to be more creative. 

This is a view from the courtyard looking toward the little house.

I'm amazed at how the eclectic decor goes together.

The huge birdcage holds the prettiest little finches.

The fountain gurgles a relaxing melody.

The inside provides kitchen, bed, and bath in a compact space. (Ignore the sloppily-made bed and suitcases sticking out from under the bed--that's our doing, not the owner's.)

Here's a view from the inside looking out toward the courtyard.

Even the bathroom is packed with whimsical touches.

I love this little wall clock, made with all sorts of everyday items.


Breakfasts at Vintage Sol delight the eyes as well as the taste buds--I started eating before I remembered to take a photo!

During our stay, we visited the USS Midway and heard a WWII Navy veteran talk about his experience on Omaha Beach on D-day.  We also strolled through the ArtWalk at Little Italy, perused an antique store, and window-shopped for windows, doors, old hardware, light fixtures, etc. at Architecture Salvage. 

Friday night we went to the San Diego LDS temple. It is an absolutely stunning building.  We always try to attend a temple session sometime during the week of our anniversary.  Though we don't always visit the same temple, the feeling of peace inside is the same.



Saturday night we watched "Greater Tuna," a play put on by a local theater company.  We enjoyed the production, a portrayal of small-town life in which all the characters are played by only two actors. 

Today, we attended church in San Diego, then came home. 

My unsolicited advice to all married couples is to regularly take just-the-two-of-you weekend vacations together.  I know it takes some logistical planning, especially when the kids are young, but it is a nice time to enjoy each other's company without interruptions or distractions.  You'll come home refreshed and better able to tackle the daily obligations of life.   

Thankful thought:  Thanks for youngest son and daughter for holding down the fort while we were gone, and for surprising us with a freshly mowed and edged yard when we returned! 



Wednesday, April 25, 2012

1940 Census Indexing Insights

I've been bugging encouraging you for weeks now to try your hand at indexing the 1940 census.  If you haven't signed up yet, I understand.  I'm sometimes hesitant to sign up for something that I'm unfamiliar with, and hesitant to commit myself to something that I'm not sure I really will enjoy.  However, indexing is a risk-free endeavor.  Wait, I take that back.  If you do start indexing, you might find yourself indexing much more than you originally intended!  It really is that much fun.  (Either that, or my idea of fun is off.  Maybe both.) Anyway, go follow the above link and see what you think!

Today, I'm going to attempt to share some of the "tricks-of-the-trade" that have proved helpful to me in indexing the 1940 census. 

After signing in, I click on "Download Batch" and a list of various indexing opportunities pops up.  For today's post, I click on the Washington state 1940 census.  Soon, this is the image I see:


I quickly check to see that the page actually has writing on it; I have had a blank page appear before.  Most of the time, though, I select "Normal" for image type.  Under image type, I am asked for sheet number and sheet letter.  I've marked where to find and enter that information:


Next, I click "View" on the upper-left-hand side, and select "Show Highlights" and "Adjust Highlights". 


Showing and adjusting the highlights takes just a minute to do, but makes indexing go so much quicker!  Once you have checked "Show Highlights" and "Adjust Highlights", you will be able to move the highlights on the census so that they line up with the information you need.  You can click and drag the red line (emphasized in these photos with a red marker) to meet the corners.  You will want to line up all four corners.








Now you're ready to begin.  I've found that if you select "Form Entry", the indexing seems to go faster.


You will notice that the field you are being asked to index will be highlighted on the census.  Just type what you see into the entry form, and hit "enter" to move between fields.  Use control-b to enter a field that is blank (except for the "Title" field--if it is blank, just hit "enter" to move to the next field).




As you continue to index, you will find that many of the fields will be pre-filled for you.  For example, the surname field will automatically show what you typed on the previous line.  If the surname does not need to be changed, just hit enter to go to the next field.  Or, on the relationship line, if you have already entered a head of household for a previous family, once you type "h", "Head" will appear.  So you can just type "h" and enter to move on to the next field. 

Another help I use frequently is found under the "Edit" tab on the upper-left-hand-side, and is called "Lookup". 


I find it especially helpful if I am having difficulty deciphering handwriting, and I can't tell exactly how something is spelled.  It doesn't always have every name variation, but it is helpful.  You can look up words/names using "Starts with", "Contains", and/or "Ends with" fields, and possible suggestions will pop up. 


Simply scroll down until you find the right name, then hit "Accept Selected."

When you have completed the 40 lines of the census page, you will see this pop-up box:


Then, you will see entries that the program doesn't quite recognize.  It doesn't mean you transcribed them incorrectly, but you'll have a chance to review what you transcribed, just to verify. 

Then your work is submitted, and you will receive a congratulatory message:


That's all there is to it!  It took me much longer to blog about this batch than it did to actually index it.  I should also mention that there are project instructions and field instructions that are very clear, and do a good job of answering the "What do I put in this field?" questions. 

So, what are you waiting for?  As the old commercial said, "Try it; you'll like it!"

Fine legal print (that actually was useful last week:  last week's blog post was a random drawing winner!):  As part of the1940census.com ambassador program this blog post enters me into a drawing for an Amazon Kindle Fire.

Thankful thought:  Thanks for google!  I learned today how to take a screen shot of my computer, which made writing this post a whole lot easier. 

Nearly Wordless Wednesday: The Next 25 Years Begins!


Thankful thought:  Thanks again for John, for marriage, for family, . . . .

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

25 Years, Infinite Reasons (But I'll Give You 25)



In no particular order:

25.  He introduced himself as an engineering major, "by default."  First of all, you have to be smart to be in engineering, but secondly, that's funny--and I love smart and funny!

24.  I can be myself around him.

23.  He never criticizes my cooking--even when there is just cause.

22.  He plans fun dates.

21.  He values my opinions.

20.  He says "thank you."

19.  He holds doors for me.

18.  He ignores my weaknesses.

17.  Daily, he tells me and shows me he loves me.

16.  I can lean on him when I'm exhausted.

15.  He encourages me to pursue my interests--even when that means allowing a 4-legged shedding machine into our home!

14.  We are equal partners.

13.  We enjoy many of the same things.  I've learned to appreciate a good movie crash scene; he will suggest we visit Disneyland.

12.  He held down the fort while I was on bed rest.

11.  He is committed both to the institution of marriage and to me.

10.  He gives me courage to try new things.

9.  He is a great dad for our kids.

8.  He is dependable--at work, at church, at home.

7.  His twinkly-eyed smile melts my heart.

6.  He doesn't show his exasperation when I finish his sentences.

5.  He is confident, but not conceited.

4.  He is my best friend.

3.  We share common goals.

2.  He inspires me to be a better person.

1. I love him, and I'm looking forward to spending time and all eternity with him.

Thankful thought:  Happy anniversary, John!  I bet the next 25 years will be just as fun as the past 25.



Monday, April 23, 2012

Visiting Teaching Message: Envy and Pickle Juice

As you probably know, visiting teachers are to choose a message from April's general conference to share this month.  I wanted to make a handout to accompany Elder Jeffrey R. Holland's talk.  Feel free to right-click on the image to copy/print it if you would like.


Thankful thought:  Thanks to those who greet the happy moments of others with smiles on their faces, even when it is difficult. 

Sunday, April 22, 2012

College Crowd Weekend

Brigham Young University's winter semester just ended, and spring term starts this week.  In the short little break between, oldest son and oldest daughter came home briefly, bringing friends with them:  oldest son's fiancee, her sister, and oldest daughter's former roommate. 


They were nice enough to humor me as I snapped a photo or two just as they were heading out the door. 

We enjoyed having them, but the time flew by too quickly. 

Fortunately, I'm fairly positive this isn't the last time we'll see them.  (Don't these two make a cute couple?) 



Thankful thought:  Thanks for kids, and their good friends.  Thanks also for the 50 men who presented a musical number at church today!

Saturday, April 21, 2012

19 Years Ago, I Wasn't Sure I'd Be Saying This Now: Happy Birthday!!

I had a remarkably easy life growing up.  Oh, sure, I had moments that I thought were incredibly hard--like moving to a new house during high school--but, in retrospect, were nothing. 

Nineteen years ago, I had my first real challenge in life, one that I can still look back on and think, "Yep, that was hard!"  I was pregnant with my youngest son, and started having problems at 10 weeks.  One doctor even suggested abortion, but we didn't want that. I spent the next 20 weeks on bed rest, mentally willing this baby to just hold on.  Due to a lot of prayer, me physically doing nothing, family and friends doing everything, and a very capable medical staff, youngest son managed to arrive alive. 



He didn't even weigh 3 pounds, but he fought hard and was out of the hospital after 6 weeks.  A week later, he again found himself in a hospital.  One week after that, he was home again.  I found myself constantly waiting for the other shoe to drop.  His long-term prognosis remained uncertain, and it seemed like we were always at the doctor's office or a hospital.   I learned how fragile health can be, but gradually learned to relax as he reached developmental milestones.

Leaving the hospital for the first time at 6 weeks old and a whopping 4 1/2 pounds!

We celebrated with the traditional cake and ice cream on his first birthday, and on subsequent birthdays, too--except for the years he requested birthday pie, instead.  (He's quirky that way!)



Everyone loves him; he's never lacked friends, and regardless of the grade he earned, his report card comments always said, "Is a pleasure to have in class." He's funny, smart, kind, determined, dependable, and a hard worker.  (And not easily embarrassed--he told me not to worry about keeping his birthday post short and sweet!)

Happy birthday, son!

Thankful thought:  Thanks for family and friends who provided prayers, countless hours of service and a listening ear to a bedridden mom.  Thanks to Dr. Tonya Sorensen who delivered youngest son, and for the neonatologists and Patty,his primary nurse, for caring for him those first six weeks. 

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Stories from the 1940s: World War II From My Grandparents' Perspective

While indexing the 1940 census, I can't help but think of my grandparents.  If you haven't already, I really recommend you visit this site , sign up to index, and give it a try.  It is easy to do, and fun. 

Grandpa and Grandma lived in a small town in central Oregon when Pearl Harbor was bombed.  Grandma wrote: "Almost everyone was patriotic in support of the war, just didn't like the conditions, rationing, etc.  Quite a few men changed jobs to keep from being drafted (farm, labor, shipyards).  But many married men with families like Grandpa didn't wait to be drafted.  Grandpa is proud of the time he spent in the service.  Grandpa enlisted in June before [second son] was born . . . so I didn't work.  Grandpa was home from boot camp when [second son] was born.  I had induced labor two days before his leave was up so he could be here.  they wouldn't even let Grandpa see him, only through the nursery window.  Couldn't hold him . . .  I suppose that made it even harder to go back."


The facial expressions speak volumes.

Grandpa, in response to a question about where he traveled during the war:  "Boot camp at Farragut, Idaho on Lake Pond Oreille (Pond do Ray).  Assigned to Radar School at Point Loma, near San Diego.  Replacement barracks at Terminal Island at San Pedro, CA for Night Fighter Direction.  To Kirkland, WA (Lake Washington, Seattle) to pick up new ship.  To San Francisco for ammo and aviation gasoline.  To San Diego for shake-down and more instruction in radar and Night Fighter Direction.  To Pearl Harbor, then Einowetok Atoll, then Saipan, to set up seaplane base.  Then to Okinawa and then Tokyo Bay.  At war's end transferred to another ship.  To Pearl Harbor and then Long Beach, down around lower California, through the Panama Canal and up to New Orleans for decommissioning.  Then by train to Seattle for discharge."

Grandma talks about living conditions back home:

"[The town] was somewhat changed mostly because we had soldiers on maneuvers in the area.  Some of the people in town were quite upset (mostly those who had daughters as I recall).  As I recall there were no serious problems.

"If we had been used to a higher standard of living I imagine it would have been tougher but we didn't suffer for the lack of anything but money.  I can't even remember what my allotment was but never seemed to be enough.  I don't believe the prices went up much but of course there were shortages.

"Things rationed were gas, tires, shoes, meat, coffee, sugar and shortening, butter, etc.  As I remember, [there were] quite a few meatless meals.  More of the casserole, beans, macaroni and potato type.  I didn't have a garden."

After my grandparents' deaths, I received copies of various war records, including a request for leave form on which Grandpa had written:

"Prior to my induction on June 26, 1944, my wife was living in a house we had rented and refinished with the understanding we would have it for the duration.  The owner has sold and have informed us they are to be moved out by the first of the year.  Due to wartime housing conditions my wife is unable to secure adequate housing for herself and our two boys; one is 3 1/2 years old and the other was born in October of this year.  I would like to be sure she has housing for the winter as it gets very cold with quite a lot of snow there.

"It will take approximately 5 days out of the leave for traveling time.  I'm sure I can perform my duty to my country if I have no worries about my family this winter."

I can only imagine how difficult that situation must have been, both for my grandma trying to find housing, and for my grandpa, worrying from miles away.  Fortunately, his leave request was granted, and he was able to come home and relocate Grandma and the boys to another home.

Thankful thought:  Thanks for family members who support each other and work together in times of hardship as well as times of ease.

The legal fine print:  As part of the1940census.com ambassador program this blog post enters me into a drawing for a $100 Visa gift card.





Friday, April 13, 2012

Guide Dog Puppy Raising Q & A

In the few months I've been a puppy raiser, I've answered the same questions over and over.  Don't worry; I don't mind.  I actually love talking about Reno.  Guide Dogs for the Blind is a great program, and I would encourage you to look at their web site for more information.  For today's post, though, I thought I'd answer some of the more popular questions I get asked or overhear children asking their parents.

Why is there a doggie in the store?  Reno is a guide dog puppy in training.  Socialization is a major part of that training.  He needs to learn how to behave in all sorts of public settings so he will be a good working guide dog for a blind person.  He has been to stores, church, the library, the credit union, the doctor's office, Weight Watcher meetings, the movies, restaurants, and more. 

Why is he wearing a muzzle?  The "muzzle" is actually called a Gentle Leader, and it is a head collar that functions much like a horse's bridle.   It virtually eliminates leash-pulling by the dog. It does not prevent a dog from opening its mouth.

How long do you get to keep him?  Reno came to me at 9 weeks old, and will stay with me until he is somewhere between 14-18 months old.  At that time, he will return to the Guide Dogs for the Blind campus for formal training.

What kind of dogs are used as guide dogs?  Guide Dogs for the Blind use dogs from their own breeding stock.  Most are Labrador retrievers, the rest are golden retrievers or a mix of the two. 

What's his name?  Did you get to name him?  Reno came already named, and the puppies from the same litter all have names that start with the same letter.  So his littermates' names all start with "R", too. 

So, what exactly do you do as a puppy raiser? Do you need formal training?  As a puppy-raiser, I try to ensure that Reno is well-socialized, well-behaved, and knows basic commands.  I'm given a manual for puppy raisers, and we attend monthly training meetings.  We do not, however, train the dogs in how to actually guide a blind person.  He will receive that training when he returns to the Guide Dog for the Blind campus.

Does he get to have fun?  He loves to be out and about, but when he is home and his vest is off, he plays with approved toys and hangs out with the family. 

How can you give him up?  I could never do that.  Intellectually, I know he isn't mine.  I also know he is going to be able to make a huge difference in the life of a blind person.  Knowing that will be a consolation, but, of course, I will miss him.  Some raisers try to keep their minds off their loss by immediately starting to raise another puppy.  Raisers are invited to graduation ceremonies when the dog has been trained and matched to an individual.

I know I'm not supposed to pet him while he's working./ Can I pet him? Thanks for asking first.  If you see a working guide dog, it is true you should not distract him.  It is OK to ask to pet a puppy-in-training, as it helps them get used to all sorts of different people.   I will almost always say "yes", but will tell Reno "sit" or "down" first.  Don't be offended if I say "no", though.  It might be that I'm pressed for time, or that Reno's had a really busy day and needs to go home and relax.

I know I've forgotten other questions, but that takes care of the most common ones. 

Thankful thought:  Thanks to Guide Dogs for the Blind, and numerous other non-profit organizations who provide services to those in need.



Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Wordless Wednesday: Reno the Moose (Almost 7 Months Old)




Thankful thought:  Thanks to everyone who takes an interest in Reno, even when I can't answer the burning question:  "How much bigger is he going to get?"

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Have I Persuaded You Yet?



Just where did I find that cute little video?  On the 1940 census blog, of course.  That blog is a wealth of information and statistics about the 1940 census.  For instance, did you know that the state of Delaware is completely indexed?  If you had relatives living in Delaware in 1940, you can now easily find them! 

The 1940 census blog is much more than just information about how the indexing project is progressing, though.  Do you want to learn about the culture of the 1940's?  Look at the blog.   Curious about the news and events that happened in 1940?  Look at the blog.  (I learned that the Tacoma Narrows Bridge, Galloping Gertie, collapsed in Nov. 1940.  If you somehow missed that video in science class, be sure to do a youtube search for it.)  Are you a Chuck Norris fan?  Believe it or not, the 1940 census blog has a post about him, too.  Do you enjoy contests?  If you would like a chance to win an iPad, check out the blog and start indexing!

Have I persuaded you yet?  Go check out the 1940 census blog, subscribe to its feed, make comments, and feel free to share it with others.  I'd love to know what you think, too.

[The legal fine print:  As part of the1940census.com ambassador program this blog post enters me into a drawing for an iPad.]

Thankful thought:  Thanks for the thousands of individuals who are helping with indexing!





Monday, April 9, 2012

Monday Menu Recap Missing in Action

You may (or may not) have noticed that the Monday Menu Recap posts have faded away.  I originally started them to help me realize just exactly what we eat, and to help me plan for food storage needs.  Well, Weight Watchers tracking meets the first purpose (and I'm over 7 pounds down, at least prior to the overindulgent weekend!), while the discovery of the Chef Tess website (link under "Blogs I Follow" on right side bar) has given me new ideas for food storage.  Also, I've been told that the menu recaps were boring.  Well, not in those exact words, but apparently the key to food posts is photos, and I don't really want to hold up dinner for a photo shoot every night. 

So, farewell to the Monday Menu recap.  I'm not sure yet what topic we will greet instead.  This little blog is definitely a work in progress, and I'm open to suggestions. 

Thankful thought:  Thanks for family, friends, and followers, who are so patient with me.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

An Easter Message

Happy Easter!  Please enjoy this short video:



Thankful thought:  Thanks for the plan of salvation, and Jesus Christ and His central role in that plan, in which He atoned for our sins, and conquered death.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Happy Birthday to My Youngest Daughter!

Lovable, huggable youngest daughter celebrates her birthday today.


Happy birthday!

Thankful thought:  Thanks for my sweet baby girl!

Friday, April 6, 2012

Confident Parenting

[Disclaimer:  The opinions expressed below have come to me after years of raising children who differ in their personalities, strengths, and talents.  This post is not about any one child, but rather what I have been taught by all of my children collectively.]


Wednesday, April 4, 2012

1940 Census: Autumn Blossom, Grandpa, and Grandma

Have you been having fun with the 1940 census?  I certainly have! 

First, I helped by indexing some batches.  I always enjoy finding unusual names, and this week, I found a name worthy of any modern celebrity's child:  Autumn Blossom.  It makes me smile.  I don't recall her last name, and wouldn't post it even if I did, as she was a child in 1940 and quite possibly still living.  If you're reading this, Autumn Blossom, I just have to say I love your name!

On a more personal note, after indexing, I browsed through the census and found my grandparents!  Grandpa had told me that they had met in May of 1940 when my grandma was working for the postmistress in a small town.  What I learned from the census was that my grandpa was living next door to the post office. (He lived with a young couple, working as their hired hand.)  My grandma's occupation on the census was listed as "housekeeper at home".  The census date was April 15th.  I can speculate that my grandma must have been hired by the postmistress a couple of weeks after the census was taken, and that my grandpa met her very soon after she was hired--maybe even on her first day of work!  Small details really add interest to family histories.

Your mission (should you chose to accept it), is to go index a batch of records, and/or go browse the records to find your ancestors.  If you sign up here, you are entered to win prizes for indexing.  Then go here, download the software, and index away!

[As part of the1940census.com ambassador program this blog post enters me into a drawing for a Yeti microphone or an Amazon.com gift card.]

Thankful thought:  Thanks for the small snippets of information that help connect us to the past!



Wordless Wednesday: Lilacs and Apricots





Thankful thought:  Thanks for the smells and tastes of spring!

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Anyone for a Quart of Pickle Juice? Some of My Reflections on General Conference

Have you ever learned a new word, and then realized that the word appeared everywhere?  The same principal seems to hold when it comes to spiritual growth and impressions--suddenly, it seems like everything you hear and read deepens your understanding of spiritual truths. 

Some of my past blog entries have touched upon the idea of not judging others, and of being patient with ourselves, but the more I ponder and study, the more completely I grasp the interconnectedness of those ideas, and how having charity, the true love of Christ, encompasses everything else.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints held its semi-annual General Conference this past weekend, and a couple of talks did a great job of stating gospel principles that I have been thinking about lately.

I particularly enjoyed listening to Elder Jeffrey R. Holland and President Dieter F. Uchtdorf. 



Elder Holland spoke about the parable of the labourers in the vineyard, and the lessons learned from that parable.  He spoke against envy.  I think that envy comes from judgement and comparison.  At the 5:52 mark on the video, he says:  "Obviously, we suffer a little when some misfortune befalls us, but envy requires us to suffer all good fortune that befalls everyone we know.  What a bright prospect that is:  downing another quart of pickle juice every time anyone around you has a happy moment, to say nothing of the chagrin in the end when we find that God really is just and merciful, giving to all who stand with him 'all that he hath,' as the scripture says."




President Uchtdorf spoke plainly against judging others.  At the 6:40 mark on the video, he says: "This topic of judging others could actually be taught in a two-word sermon.  When it comes to hating, gossiping, ignoring, ridiculing, holding grudges, or wanting to cause harm, please apply the following:  Stop it.  It's that simple.  We simply have to stop judging others, and replace judgmental thoughts and feelings with a heart full of love for God and His children.  God is our Father.  We are his children.  We are all brothers and sisters.  I don't know exactly how to articulate this point of not judging others with sufficient eloquence, passion, and persuasion to make it stick.  I can quote scripture, I can try to expound doctrine, and I will even quote a bumper sticker I recently saw.  It was attached to the back of a car whose driver appeared to be a little rough around the edges, but the words on the sticker taught an insightful lesson.  It read: 'Don't judge me because I sin differently than you.' We must recognize that we are all imperfect, that we are all beggars before God."

Thankful thought:  Thanks for the peace and clarity of mind that comes with remembrance of the fact that we are all brothers and sisters, children of a loving Heavenly Father. 

Monday, April 2, 2012

Happy Birthday to My Middle Daughter


Whether you spend your day basking in the sunshine . . .



 or playing in the snow . . .



When you blow out your candles, know that I'm wishing all the best for you!


Thankful thought:  Thanks for middle daughter!