Monday, September 29, 2014

One does not simply walk into Sheridan

(thanks Sam for the title!)

My brother Sam & his wife Emily have lived in Sheridan, Wyoming for several years now.  When they first moved there I looked at the map and was surprised to see that Sheridan was one of those rare places that are close to nothing.  At some point when I was planning the trip to take Josh to Rexburg I decided that since Rexburg was probably as close as I was ever going to be to Sam’s house, and since I probably wasn’t going to be back in Rexburg for several years, NOW was the time to go visit.  So on Saturday morning we left for Sheridan.

We left late enough that I was able to stop and get Neilson’s frozen custard one more time.  That stuff is the best!

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I decided to take the long road to Sheridan.  Had I known just how LONG the long road would end up being, I might have changed my mind.  For a while I asked myself why I had wanted to drive that way.  Eventually I remembered.

We drove through Driggs where we had a great view of the back side of the Teton Mountains. 

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Then over the pass to Jackson Hole—with some seriously steep grades!

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(It was around this time that I became aware that there was something going on with the purse cam, a smudge on the lens that will not leave no matter what I do.  I am deeply saddened by this but do think that since I’ve had the purse cam since Christmas of ‘09 and it’s had almost daily use, it’s lived a very good life.  Sniff, sniff…)

We drove through Jackson and then up past the front of the Tetons, where we were stopped (as in zero movement) for 1 hour.  1 hour, folks!  I guess that’s a risk you take when you take the back roads. 

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Just when I was feeling all frazzled about taking this more scenic route we drove past the Wind River Mountains & they were just as magnificent as I’d remembered.

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Then after we were past those mountains we drove along some striped mountains for quite a while.

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We got to Sam’s house very late and long after dark!

The next day we went to church with Sam & Emily and their 3 cute kids.  Sadly Abi and William didn’t want anything to do with us but Kayla was very excited to have cousins visit.  We had a great time visiting with them, Sam showed us the online video “Dr. Horrible’s sing along blog” which we’ve been singing ever since, and we played a fun new game.  Then Monday morning we loaded the car again and took off for home.

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Sunday, September 28, 2014

Just what I needed.

For a number of reasons the last few months have been hard on my testimony--not so much of the gospel, but of the church.  I have felt fatigued in my mind and in my heart and haven't been able to find the peace that I have wanted.  I have prayed for help with this frequently.

When we drove to Utah several weeks ago we did part of the drive at night so that the girls would miss one less color guard practice.  I knew that it would be harder that way but I was unprepared for how wiped out I was for days afterward.  That plus the 1 hour time difference made me decide that the kids and I would find a late sacrament meeting to go to that Sunday instead of going with Cindy Lynn.  When we all woke up (not until 10:30!) I started looking for a ward to go to. 
It was surprisingly hard.  Although there are many church buildings close to Cindy Lynn's house, all of them had sacrament meeting at 9 or 11.  Finally I found a building with 1pm sacrament meeting and we were off. 

We walked in right as the opening song was being sung and sat down in the front row of the hard chairs in the gym.  This is what happened:  The chairs were uncomfortable.  The children were noisy.  The organist was mediocre.  The testimonies were for the most part uninspiring.  And I walked out changed and renewed.

In the most unexpected way, my prayers were answered that day.  Not because of reverence or spiritually uplifting music or testimonies.  But because of what I saw and how it touched my heart.  I saw a chapel full of white shirted men and boys. I saw a chapel full of moms and dads trying to entertain busy little people.  As I sat and watched that day I saw a chapel full of people trying to do better and to be better.  In that hour my heart was filled with gladness--not just for the gospel of Jesus Christ, but also for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and it's members.  Imperfect people trying so hard.

I realize now that the experiences I'd had had distorted my feelings and vision.  But the beauty of the goodness and effort that I saw that day was like a healing balm to my heart. 

Thank goodness we slept in that morning.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

No bath for me, thank you very much!

I like baths.  I know that some people are only shower people, but I love a bath for many reasons.  When we bought our 2nd house in North Carolina it had a tiny “garden tub” in it and Russ took one look at it and said well that will have to go, won’t it!  (We put in the best tub ever several years later.)

Our house here has a decent sized tub.  It’s not quite as long as I would like, but on the plus size it seems to be cast iron which means that it really keeps the water hot longer.  That is great.  It also has jets.  I’m not really a jetted tub person, so that’s not so great for me.  I understand the theory behind the idea, but in my experience in the small space of a bathtub the jetted water is usually more abrasive than comfortable so I rarely use them.

A few nights ago I was getting ready for bed and noticed a good sized spider in the bathtub.  I asked Russ to come in and get it for me (longer arms, braver spirit) and he did and that was that.

This morning as I was getting ready for the day I was trying to open a bottle of nose drops and I couldn’t get the tight plastic wrapping off.  I grabbed a new pair of hair cutting scissors to help me and jabbed at the plastic with one tip.  Clearly that was a bad decision, because almost immediately the tip slipped from the plastic and right onto my finger, slicing the side of my middle finger from the 1st joint almost to the top.  Boy did that hurt.

A little while ago I decided that I really needed to wash my hair.  I didn’t want to shower because of my cut finger, so I decided I would take a bath instead.  I reasoned that it would be much easier to get my hair wet without wetting my cut finger, and that I’d just wash my hair with one hand.  Plus it was still chilly in the house and I thought it was definitely a good moment for the first bath of the season.  The bathtub was dusty after not being used during the summer and had a dead fly in it and some other bits & pieces of who knows what.  I got a cleaning wipe and cleaned it all out, then rinsed it out as well.  Then I started running hot water into it.

I wasn’t watching while the water ran, and after a few minutes I came back over to turn on some cold water and to see how much more it needed.  I was surprised when I looked at the water intake for the jets.  (the cream colored thing in the picture below.)  IMG_2005

Just above the top of the water intake there was a small spider.  I was grabbing a tissue to kill the spider and get on with the important business of bathing when this little thought occurred inside my head.

You know how there was that bigger spider in the bathtub earlier this week?  And now there’s this little spider?  What if there are BABY SPIDERS IN THERE???

That thought filled me with alarm, because I can think of few things worse than laying naked in a bathtub filled with both water and spiders.  I grabbed a glass from the counter and figured I’d pour a few cupfulls through and make sure there were no more spiders. 

I scooped up a cup, then poured it over the water intake.

And then SCREAMED!

Because a BIG spider, with a fat body and thick legs, positively JUMPED out of the top of the water intake!

Now you could be tempted to think that I was exaggerating, but don’t.  Russ will back me up on this.  Because after Jared told him that mom was screaming in the bathroom and he finally came to see what was wrong, he saw the spider (all shriveled up) floating around in the tub.  He picked up the glass to scoop the spider out and flush it down the toilet, but as he scooped the spider once again JUMPED and jumped out of the water and back onto the top of the water intake.  I will confess to screaming again, just a little startled scream.

He poured water on the spider again to subdue it, and then successfully scooped it out and flushed it down the toilet. 

And me?  Well you could not have paid me to have a bath at that point.  I poured more water (over and over) into the water intake, put more cold water in the tub till there was enough to run the jets, and turned them on.  I figured if there was ANYTHING in that system I wanted it flushed out.  BEFORE the start of bathtub season.

Today, I think I will have a shower.  Winking smile

Friday, September 19, 2014

Family Magic

It’s still a treat to me, being able to see my family in Utah so often.  When I’d finalized my travel plans for taking Josh out to BYUI I facebook chatted my sibs on our family page and asked if they would be willing to get together while I was there.  Happily they said yes and we were able to persuade several cousins to come as well.  It was super hot but other than that it was just about perfect.  Here are some pictures from that evening. IMG_1699IMG_1700IMG_1701IMG_1680IMG_1681IMG_1682IMG_1683IMG_1684IMG_1685IMG_1689IMG_1697IMG_1695IMG_1696IMG_1690IMG_1691IMG_1694IMG_1672

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Love, sweet love

I’m sure I’ve mentioned before that when I went to BYU 31 years ago this fall I knew not ONE PERSON in the entire state of Utah.  Not one.  Which is why I’m always amazed that 31 years later I know what sometimes feels like millions of people in Utah.  I married into a Utah family, some of my siblings stayed in Utah after college, many of our NC friends moved to Utah after finishing at Duke, etc.  Whatever the reasons, we know now more people in Utah than we could ever visit in just a few days.  We did, however, give it the college try.  We also got to see some friends in Idaho while taking Josh to school.  I wish I had more pictures than I do, but after the first few “darn I forgot to get a picture” moments I did better.

1.  On Saturday afternoon I took Jared over to his friend Bryson’s house.  Bryson’s family lived in NC and moved to the San Francisco area right when we moved here.  They just relocated to Salt Lake this summer and Jared was so happy to be able to spend a little time with Bryson.  I enjoyed catching up with his mom Christine.  In the 2nd picture Bryson had changed his clothes so that he was ready to go to a wedding reception—he really didn’t hang out dressed like that!

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Bryson’s family found a house with something very unusual for Utah…a magnificant view.  (Golf course plus distant mountains.)

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And I felt right at home in their neighborhood.

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2.  While Bryson & Jared were hanging out I went and had lunch with Russ’s sister Marilyn.  It is always such fun to get to talk with her and never ever long enough.

3.  On Saturday night we had a NC bbq in Orem with families who’d been in NC in 5 years before we moved.  It was great to get to see so many people there.

4.  On Sunday night we had a family party—pictures in another post.

5.  The kids went home with my sister Andra from the family party to spend the night at her house, then went with some of her kids to the trampoline place on Monday.

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6.  After the trampoline place on Monday we picked up Jared’s friend Eli and took them to a skate park in Orem.

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7.  On Tuesday Eli’s mom, took him out of school early and we drove up to Salt Lake where they spent a couple of hours at an indoor skate park.  It was an amazing place.

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8.  While Eli and Jared were scootering Audrey & I went and had lunch with our friend Amy.

9.  Tuesday night the kids & I met up with Russ’s brother Larry, his wife Gaye, and their daughter Sarah at Sub Zero in Provo.  After getting ice cream we went over their house and had a great time talking while the kids played ping pong.

10.  We arrived in Idaho Falls Wednesday evening & had dinner with my dear friend Susan & her family.  Susan and I had a great time staying up talking until we were bleary.

11.  On Thursday after doing some shopping in Rexburg we went and had dinner with Peter & Brenda, our fabulous babysitters from many years ago.  It was such fun talking with them and getting to see all of the kids they’ve had since leaving NC.  (5 more!)

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12.  Friday morning we went back to Rexburg to get Josh checked into his apartment.  While he was doing his grocery shopping I seized the moment to chat for a while with my friend Brona who works at the Rexburg Walmart now.

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13.  We stayed Friday night with our friends the Galbraiths who left NC the year before we did.  The kids as always had a great time hanging out and I enjoyed catching up with Shaleign & Joel.  I bullied Shaleign into having a picture with me even though she wasn’t all fixed up.

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We tried going to see the Northern Lights but didn’t see anything, darn it.  I did enjoy the bright stars which are a novelty after the long cloudy Oregon winter.  Here is Joel’s cool night picture.

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And a surprise picture I found on my camera.

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That’s a lot of loved ones to see in that short of a time, don’t you think?!?

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Kate: (always) the main event

I always feel bad for Cindy Lynn when we leave Utah.  I’m sure she’s at least slightly relieved to have her life back to normal, but when we leave she loses a host of Kate-entertaining aunts and uncles.  We had such fun with Kate on this trip.

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