Sunday, July 22, 2018

Ten Things of Thankful: First Week Report

We've been living in our house one week now. There are still plenty of settling-in tasks to complete, but most of the main living areas are fairly presentable and comfortable to live in. (My office and the entire basement are not included in the definition of "main living areas," fyi.) 

I'm exhausted and energized all at once--tired from just everything (including stairs--I'm getting little mini-workouts all day long!), and energized to see the once-blank canvas of a house becoming my home. 

1. I'm thankful for watching thunder and lightening storms from the safety of my own bed.

2. I'm thankful for sunsets, and the vantage point my house offers to see them.


Photo: Dark mountains are silhouetted against a red sky. The Mount Timpanogos temple shines brightly on the left-side of the photo.  
3. I'm thankful for my dad, who celebrated his birthday this past week. There are many things he taught me, but one that I have been pondering since seeing the rattlesnake in my backyard is how he has instilled in me the ability to not be terrified around snakes. I have a healthy respect for them, but they don't cause my heart to start thumping.  

That probably isn't the best segue, but I saw this video today and think this woman must have had logical-thinking instilled in her, too:


Just yesterday, I told John that I had heard that there have been bobcat sightings near our old neighborhood in California. I said that if we still lived there, I would probably be chasing bobcats away from our chickens in our backyard, just like I used to chase away coyotes. Then today I saw this video, and I thought, "That grandma wins!" 

(However, on the "elegant lady/bobcat killer" continuum, I'm pretty sure I'm closer to bobcat killer. Follow that link if you missed my last post.)

4. I'm thankful I could visit with a friend this week. We met in the 1990s when we were both living in Washington. Now we both live in Utah, and it was so nice to spend some time together.

5. I'm thankful for Mr. Rogers and his neighborhood. John and I watched "Won't You Be My Neighbor" this week, and I was transported back to childhood. What an impact Mr. Rogers made, and oh, how the children (and adults) of today need his gentle ways!

6. I'm thankful for growing up in Oregon. John and I also watched the movie, "Leave no Trace," this week. It's another very well-acted movie. Although my childhood home did not resemble the living arrangements of the protagonists, the movie did take me back to camping trips of my younger years. 

7. I'm thankful for the growing understanding that sometimes the task for the day is not to unpack more boxes nor do yard work, but to climb the nearest mountain. 


Photo: John and I take a selfie with Mt. Timanogos in the (near) background.
8. I'm thankful that the terrain on the closest hike offers me glimpses of water, pine trees, and even moss--as well as flowered meadows and stunning vistas.


Photo: A shallow creek cascades down rocks. Green trees line the far side, and dry grasses bend in the foreground.
Photo: Two orange butterflies (or moths?) land on a purple thistle blossom in a field of tall grass.
Photo: A view from the Grove Creek Trail. A small waterfall is in the lower left, and Utah Lake appears in the top right. A treed canyon leads to the valley.

9. I'm thankful that my oldest son and daughter-in-law had a nice vacation, and that their car was unscathed when a tree fell in their parking lot at home.


Photo: The middle of a carport has collapsed to the ground as a result of a tree falling on it. My son's car sits in the parking lot unscathed. Had the car been parked one space to the left, it would have been damaged.

10. I'm thankful for John. I appreciate the work he has done around the house this week, and also the balance he brings to my life. He's my favorite hiking partner!


What are  you thankful for this week? Please join us at the Ten Things of Thankful blog hop! The more, the merrier!

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Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Thou Shalt Not: Flirting Tips from an Old Married Grandma (Don't. Just Don't.)

Recently I was in the Los Angeles area, helping my daughter for a couple of weeks. As she was having issues with her washer, on several different occasions I took her family's clothes to the laundromat. Usually this provided me a short "Grandma break," a chance to re-energize before returning to the cheerful chatter of little children. The final time I went to the laundromat, I did not have a zen-like experience. I did, however, have an experience that  made me realize that I had valuable information that needed to be shared. Though I don't consider myself an expert in the fine art of flirting, I do know what doesn't work on me.

Photo: A line of stainless-steel, front-loading washing machines form a line in a laundromat


Flirting Tips from an Old Married Grandma

1. Don't confuse politeness with interest. I accidentally dropped something; you picked it up; I said, "Thank you," and you interpreted that to mean, "Let's chat for the remainder of the time we are doing laundry!" I promise that the child's plastic toy that inadvertently got washed and fell to the ground as I pulled clothes out of the washer was not a coy plot.

2. Don't make up common interests. When you asked me where I got my shirt, and I replied that I got it from a race I ran, don't tell me you are a runner, too. Runners, even slow plodding jogger types like myself, generally know the distance of their event. Telling me that you ran a long-distance race, but don't know how far it was ("but it was far!") doesn't exactly make us running buddies--even if you did say you would have to look up the half-marathon I am currently training for. (Did you even notice I was purposely very vague about the venue and the date of the event? Inept flirting is one thing, but please don't travel across state lines to stalk me at a race!) Asking me if race participants have to sign up ahead of time to compete also tipped me off that maybe you aren't really an experienced runner.

3. Don't ask weird questions. More specifically, don't ask me about my skin tone. (Yep, I'm the only white person in the laundromat.) Don't ask me how many of the already-in-use dryers I am using. (Have you ever tried to do laundry for a family of 4 young children? It takes a lot of loads!) Don't ask me what kind of food they have in Utah, then talk to me about Idaho potatoes. (Though culinary favorites might vary a bit from one state to another--and perhaps that was the question you were really trying to ask--I didn't have to change the foods I ate when I moved to Utah.)

4. Don't use false flattery. When you were done washing and drying your clothes, and were exiting the laundromat, you informed me that I was "still an elegant lady." First of all, "Still?" You've known me an all-too-long hour or so. Now, I'm not being self-deprecating. My self-esteem is healthy, but "elegant" does not describe me, not even when I haven't just spent the past hour in a hot laundromat in southeast Los Angeles in July. Flattery will get you nowhere. 

Notwithstanding the above strange examples, you seemed like a nice, harmless guy. Let me clue you in to the most important tip regarding flirting: 

5. Don't flirt with a married woman. It won't work in your favor, and her husband will be the first to hear of your attempt.

Photo: A screenshot of a text I sent to my husband. The selfie photo shows a very un-elegant me, with unruly hair pulled back in a ponytail. I texted,"Tuesday can't come quickly enough, when once again the only one who will be flirting with me at the laundromat is you! On the bright side, apparently I am "elegant"! I don't exactly feel elegant right now!"


So, there you have it: five simple tips for flirting. Readers, do you have any more to add?


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Sunday, July 15, 2018

Ten Things of Thankful: Homecoming Edition

It's Sunday morning, and I'm relaxing on the couch with my computer on my lap. Empty boxes sit in the upstairs hallway and downstairs family room, and lean against the wall in the entryway.


Photo: View from my couch as described above.
I'm home in this not-yet-familiar house. John is here, Drexel is here, and my belonging are here (though in which box or cupboard is still anyone's guess--referring of course to the belongings; John and Drexel roam free in the house.) We still don't know which switches control which lights but, over time, we'll get the desired effect with fewer tries. In short, we're in the "unpacking and settling in" phase of moving--a phase in which what should be second nature is new and exciting.

This week's TToT theme is homecoming. 

1. I'm thankful for this house, which we plan on making our home until our knees give out and age forces a change.

It's obvious that #1 would make the list, especially given the theme, but the idea of homecoming has been popping up all over the place recently.

2. I'm thankful that the Thai soccer players were able to be rescued. I'm sure that they welcomed returning to their homes.

3. I'm thankful that more children were reunited with their parents at the border. I don't have the answers to immigration issues, but I do know that children need parents. 

4. I'm thankful that my grandchildren have both their mom and their dad at home.

5. I'm thankful that my youngest son successfully relocated from Washington to Colorado. Who knew that a Chevy Aveo had towing capability?! 

6-7.  I'm thankful that youngest daughter's path is becoming more clear to her, and that several things are lining up which will allow her to move into a location which will be a better fit for her. 

8. I'm thankful for good timing, which gives both John and I, as well as another family, the opportunity for a homecoming. As our lease drew to a close, we decided on a moving-out date. Shortly after we told our landlord what day we would be vacating, our landlord informed us that another family would be moving in the following week. That family is from another country, is escaping persecution, and, with any luck, will be flying into the nearby airport tomorrow. As I cleaned the house prior to turning in the keys, I thought of this sweet family. What could have been just another chore turned into a labor of love. I hope they enjoy peace and enjoy the house and neighborhood as much as John and I did.

9. I'm thankful for neighbors who make goodbyes and hellos easier. In leaving, we had help cleaning and loading. In arrival, we had help unloading, and the offer of dinner. We couldn't have loaded or unloaded the piano (for example, and in particular) without help. 

(I love my old upright piano, but it weighs a ton--at least figuratively, if not literally--and I get nervous whenever we have to move it. My dad's sister actually died in a freak piano-moving accident when she was a little girl, so that is always in the back of my mind whenever we have to relocate our piano.)

10. I'm thankful for John. We have, as John puts it, "grown up and moved out." I have loved each stage of our life together, and this homecoming is no exception. 

What are you thankful for this week? What makes home home for you? Link up below (if the code is working!) and/or visit the Ten Things of Thankful blog and join in the fun.


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Friday, July 6, 2018

Ten Things of Thankful: California and a Utah 4th Edition


I've been away from my blog for the past little bit, as I spent some time in California with my daughter and my grandchildren, but I arrived back home in Utah in time for the 4th of July. 

I'm thankful:

1. For my sweet grandchildren. We sang together, read together, talked together, ate together, worked together, laughed together, prayed together, and basically just had a great time!


Photo: a collage of photos of my grandchildren. On the left, the baby grandson smiles up at the camera. In the middle, youngest granddaughter and oldest grandson stand together. Granddaughter has her arm around her brother. She holds a "wishing star" and he holds a toy sword. On the right, oldest granddaughter sleeps on the couch, and her black-and-white kitten naps next to her.

2. For all of my children. Even though I didn't see everybody at the same time, in June I was able to spend time with all of my children. They are far beyond the little kid stage, but I am delighted with the adults they have become. 

3. For friends. One of my friends took time from her busy schedule to come down and help me for two days while I was at my daughter's house. The help was much appreciated, and we managed to have a lot of fun, too!

4. For missionaries, who spend their days in service. While I was in California, I found a washer/dryer set on Craigslist. My daughter's washer didn't work correctly, and she didn't have a dryer. I made a phone call, and Mormon missionaries met me at the seller's house, loaded the set into my van, met me back at my daughter's house, and unloaded the appliances. They were cheerful and smiling the entire time. Ask the missionaries! They can help you!

5. For "interesting" experiences. Despite the washer/dryer purchase, it was necessary for me to spend some time at a laundromat. While there, I had a conversation with a guy which has provided me with blog fodder for a future post. Sometimes I just have to shake my head and laugh. Look for "Thou Shalt Not: Flirting Tips from an Old Married Grandma (Don't. Just Don't.)" later. 

6. To be back home. While I enjoyed spending time in California with my daughter and grandchildren, it is so good to be back home to John again! 

7. For apricots. The house we will be moving into THIS MONTH (!) has an apricot tree in the front yard. Since Utah decided to get snow after the blossoms already appeared, I didn't think we would have much of a crop this summer. I was right, but we still were able to pick a couple dozen apricots, which is a good amount for us right now.


Photo: A few ripe apricots emerge from green leaves against a deep blue sky.

8. For parades. The 4th of July parade here was wonderful! It had all of the typical entries--floats, marching bands, old cars, fire trucks, bagpipes, horses, community leaders, etc.--as well as some "I've-never-seen-that-before; it-must-be-a-Utah-thing" additions. In lieu of candy being thrown to the parade watchers, sometimes water was squirted out on the crowd. I wasn't expecting to be in a splash zone, but didn't really mind. I don't think I have ever watched a parade with a contingent of Mormon missionaries walking the route. And while the Macy's Day Parade is known for its balloons, I don't think I have ever personally seen big balloons limbo-ing under power lines.




9. For the sights and sounds of celebrating freedom. John and I attended Stadium of Fire, which bills itself as the nation's largest stadium fireworks display. It was a spectacular event, from the fly-over of F-35s, to the massive field show, to the concert by One Republic, to the concluding fireworks display. I'm so glad we got to experience it, and I'm thankful for the men and women throughout our nation's history who have bravely sacrificed so we can live in this free country. 









Photo: Fireworks explode over LaVell Edwards Stadium on the 4th of July
10. For John. I missed him while I was gone, but we will have plenty of time together in the next few weeks as we finally complete the move into our new house. Over a year ago, we made the decision to move to Utah. It has proved to be a good choice, and I've enjoyed the time we've rented this house here in Provo, but I'm excited to finally settle into a more permanent place. As John says, "We're growing up and moving out on our own!" Our empty-nest home. A new chapter awaits. Adventure is out there!

I'm having trouble with the link-up code this week. Please visit the Ten Things of Thankful blog to view other posts and feel free to link up your own!


Friday, June 22, 2018

Ten Things of Thankful: A Quick Stream of Consciousness Edition

I was going to spend the evening thoughtfully composing this post, but had a last-minute change of plans. I'll be headed to CA tomorrow bright and early to spend some time with my daughter and her children, so this post is going to be quick (at least in theory).

I'm thankful:

1. That we spotted the rattlesnake in our backyard. (Of course, it would have been better if he hadn't been there, but if he was going to show up, I'm glad we noticed him.)


Photo: A rattlesnake curls up in the green grass

2. That John was able to successfully dispose of the snake. 

3. For cute baby quail (which are a whole lot more enjoyable to see than a rattlesnake--and a whole lot harder to photograph!)

4. That at least one room in our new house is completely unpacked and decorated. 


Photo: A bathroom with a Mickey Mouse theme. A Mickey Mouse poster is on the wall, Mickey Mouse towels hang on the rack, and Mickey Mouse shower curtain hooks hold a white ruffled shower curtain.
5. For home and garden tours. John and I got to tour a couple of historic homes recently, then on another evening, toured some gardens in another nearby town. I particularly enjoyed talking to the gardeners and gathering information about what grows well here. (Several of the yards had raspberries!!!!)

6. For planter boxes that fit my porch.

7. For fuchsias.


Photo: White planter boxes filled with fuchsia plants line the rail of my porch.
8.  For the flexibility I have to go help my daughter and see my grandchildren.

9. For good deals found online.

10. For John. 

What are you thankful for this week? Feel free to link up your own post!

I just realized that the link up is not displaying properly on my blog. Unfortunately, I do not have time to figure out what the problem is right now, as I really need to start my drive to California. Please click on the link to be redirected to the link-up on the Ten Things of Thankful blog. (And if any of you have a solution for me, please let me know!) Thanks for your patience with me as I learn the ropes of blog hop hosting!







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