Sunday, January 29, 2012

Haz lo Justo (Choose the Right)

I led the music in the Spanish branch Primary today. As a stake music leader I normally just visit and watch, but their chorister is in Venezuela, so they asked me to help out. My initial reaction, was, "You've got to be kidding! Me work?" But, then, I buckled down and learned the music in time for church. The new song for the year is "Como un Hijo de Dios." I walked around the house with a copy of it in my back pocket for three days. I finally got it memorized.

We compared listening to the light of Christ (represented by the candle) to listening to the advice of man (represented by the magic eight ball smiley face that Verlene gave me for Christmas). Although the eight ball was fun, it is not a good source of revelation!

The junior primary put together the jigsaw puzzle I made (above), and the Senior had to put together the words for the scripture of the month. It was fun doing Primary again, and a real challenge to do it all in Spanish. Now I need a nap!

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Solar Is not Yet the Solution!

Last year we bought a bunch of solar landscape lights. They were so easy to install. All you had to do was walk around and stick them in the ground wherever you wanted them to be. We enjoyed them all summer. However, when it started to get dark early, we realized they had a very short period in which they would remain lit. If it was dark at 5 p.m., by 6:30 the lights were dark.

So, Ed got 20 new landscape lights for Christmas. Santa must really love him! Ed had already spent one entire Saturday working on the new lights. Today I was his helper girl. I got to put the pipe under the sidewalk so he could get the electricity to the lights on the right side of the driveway. You can see with a PVC pipe and a sledge hammer, anything is possible!

I think they turned out great. They also go around the back of the house to light up the steps to the patio. Good job, Ed! (And good job helper girl!)

Two Gifts

Friday night is date night. Last night Ed and I went to Ruby Tuesdays, where we were able to use a gift card from Debra (Ed's secretary). Not only did we have a great meal, but I was able to use the card afterwards to punch out three guitar picks with the new pick punch I got for Christmas. Pretty cool, don't you think? That's like the gift that keeps on giving!

Friday, January 27, 2012

Cleaning up Again!

Yesterday, the ping pong table was covered with books which I had taken downstairs after having cleaned out the study. Today, it is miraculously clean again, and ready for action! I spent the morning trying to find a place to store the top part of my desk, which doesn't fit in the study anymore with my desk in front of the window. It was very large, and Ed didn't think I would be able to finagle a place for it in the storage room. He underestimated the resourcefulness of his very clever wife!

I not only pulled it past the hot water heater, but also made room for it in the back, right underneath our Barbie playhouse! Then, after purging a few books I was able to find a new place for the books displaced in the study! It was a very successful day!

Monday, January 23, 2012

Singing Stickers

I visited the Hampstead ward yesterday with the Stake Primary. It was their ward conference. My job as Stake Primary Music Specialist is to talk with the chorister afterward. I don't remember in my 17 years as Primary Chorister ever having a stake person visit with me after observing me in action. I think if they had done that I would have possibly seen them as the enemy. I decided to come bearing gifts to prove I have no ill will. I made a bunch of stickers for the choristers to hand out to the Primary Children. I printed them on label paper and cut them out with my Silhouette. I thought they turned out nice. It was fun visiting their ward. They had three reverence rules which they recited. I don't remember one and two, but the third one was great--Don't Interrupt! The rules seemed to be working. It was the most reverent Primary I ever attended!

New Printer Stand

Our new printer stand arrived last week. I was very proud, because I assembled it myself, as Ed was out of town. It fits our three printers just fine, and it's the perfect width to fit between the desks. The transformation of our study is now complete. I appreciated it, as I spent hours formatting our new Relief Society newsletter last week. I spent many happy hours doing the work while sitting at my desk in front of my new window!

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Cardinal in the Snow

We got a few inches of snow last night, and look who stopped by for breakfast this morning! A cardinal! Our new birdhouse has slowly started attracting some of the neighborhood birds. They are quite shy, however, and fly away when they hear me coming with my camera. I snuck up on this one and snapped this shot right before he took off!

Friday, January 20, 2012

Can your Can Opener do This?

We have been in can opener hell for the past few months. My electric one died, and the manual one barely worked at all. Ed found this at Kmart yesterday. I scoffed at him and said it would never work. It works on two AA batteries. But the package said "As Seen on TV" so we figured it must work!

It did just great on its trial run today. It opened a can of spinach with no problem. You just put it on top of the can and push the black button. I wonder how long it will last? But, in the meantime, it is nice, because it is not only automatic, but can be stored in a drawer rather than on the counter top. We're feeling optimistic. After all, they never advertise junk on TV!

Now We're Cooking

During the holidays I blew up my stove top. This was very traumatic (and loud)! But thanks to a very clever and handy husband, my stove is just like new.

It all started with my pot filler water (upper left hand of this picture). I started filling up the spaghetti pot and then became distracted by a question from one of my daughters (who I don't really blame for this). The water went over the top and into the basin of the stovetop. I didn't realize there was so much water underneath, and when I tried to light the burner it filled up with gas but didn't ignite. I tried again a minute later and it blew up the ceramic top! I was frightened but, thankfully unhurt. There was glass everywhere! We ordered a new stove top, which came this week, and Ed installed it yesterday. It looks perfect. I'm lucky I lived to learn from this mistake. I'll NEVER do that again!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Piano Concert at Fairhaven

Miss Carol invited me to a piano Concert at Fairhaven Tuesday night. The solosit,Yury Shadrin, is a Russian pianist who has won several competitions and performed all over the world. He was the 2011 winner of the Yale Gordon Competition at Peabody School of Music in Baltimore. Any music student at Peabody can compete, but this year the winner (Yury) just happened to be a pianist.

He played some Beethoven, some Chopin and some Tchaikovsky, all very well! It really amazes me how someone can have so many notes memorized. I took a picture of him on the very same stage where the Pearl Strings played in December. We are not worthy!

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Studying the Matter

Yesterday we re-arranged the study. It was a huge job! Not just because we had heavy furniture, but because we had three computers to re-wire. It took all day, with Ed finishing several hours after my work was done. Poor Ed! This is the 'before' picture. He had the desk in front of the window.

Another 'before' pictures shows my desk in the right-hand corner of the room.
This is an 'after' picture. I now have the space in front of the window. There are several pros to the new design:

1. The room looks bigger without Ed's desk return in the middle of it.
2. I no longer feel claustrophobic, boxed in the corner.
3. The home entertainment computer is now by Ed's desk, so I can no longer cause harm by accidentally kicking wires loose.
4. The blinds on the window can be raised and lowered, as my desk is narrower and easier to reach across than Ed's desk.
5. The window is more open, as it is not blocked by two computer monitors.
6. There is a heater vent by my new spot, so I hopefully won't get as cold in the winter.
7. I can see out the doorway to my left, which also makes me feel less boxed in.

I cleaned out all the storage cabinets, which opened up new storage space. I had been thinking that I'd need to order a new desk, but all we needed was to get rid of the center portion of my old desk. We also ordered a new printer cart (left). It will hold the three printers and will replace the temporary cabinet between our desks.

I feel a little sorry for Ed. Not only did he spend an extra three hours fixing my computer which broke during the move (dead power supply), but he also lost his window. I thought he might be consoled by the fact that the right hand return on his desk is now his sole property. It was so close to my chair before that I often seriously encroached upon his territory when I had a project underway.

I have a lot of projects in mind that require the use of the computer. I'm looking forward to getting started on them in my beautiful new office!

Friday, January 13, 2012

The Heart of the Home

What is it about January that makes me feel like cleaning and organizing? I always have the drive to rearrange things in the house in January. After Christmas John (son-in-law) suggested that I put a table with pictures in the hallway. I thought that it was a great idea, as I had very few family pictures since the great purge I went through in moving. So, I spent much of the day yesterday printing pictures in different sizes and matching them to frames I had in the basement. I was very happy with the result. I also have big plans for the study. Stay tuned!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Flying Solo

Yesterday I flew back to Baltimore. As we were getting ready to take off I realized nobody had sat in my row! I was so shocked (it was a nice exit row, to boot)! As I pulled out my camera to take a picture of it, the captain came online and said, "We'll be pulling away from the gate soon. At this time I'd like you all to take out your cameras and take a picture of the empty seat next to you." I then looked around to find every middle seat empty on the plane. This hasn't happened in a LONG time! It was so nice. I have a slight cold and was glad nobody had to sit next to me. I also had taken some Tylenol Cold and Flu, which anesthetized me for most of the flight. I slept quite a bit, but was awake long enough to finish the Sunday Crossword puzzle (with only one error). It was a good day!

It was good getting home to Ed and Coda (in order of which one I love best). I actually saw Coda first, as Ed flew home from Alabama yesterday evening.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

What's for Dessert?

After church we all met at my sister, Annette's, house for dinner. This included her daughter, Nikki and family, as well as Brittany and John. Nikki has three children, one of whom, Andrew was dying to get in this picture. For dessert we had homemade ice cream with fixin's--strawberries, toasted pecans, toasted coconut, and whipped cream. The Evans family always knows how to cook great food! I feel so guilty coming out from Baltimore and mooching on my family. I guess they'll have to come visit me sometime so I can return the favor!

We had a great visit, then came home and watched 3 episodes of Downton Abbey. The show was great, but the amazing thing is that we were able to connect the laptop to the TV and watch it on my Netflix account. We felt so technologically brilliant! (It couldn't have been without a significant amount of help from Ed--long distance)! Thanks, Ed! I love you!

Snow at Last!

Despite a dry forecast, we woke up to a beautiful layer of snow yesterday. It's been a long, dry winter, both here in Utah, as well as Maryland. It was fun to see the landscape transformed. Despite the snow, Grandma and I hit the roads, starting with a trip to the mall. It wore us out, but we both came home with something to show for it.

Then, we stopped by to see Brittany and John. I was happy to catch Brittany practicing her new pennywhistle, with her music on her new music stand. She sounded great! You can see grandma in the mirror keeping her distance from the cats!

John was getting kisses from Monkey.How strange that they have a cat that will lick them, but our dog will have nothing to do with it!

I got a nice long cuddle from Skimbleshanks, who blended right in with my new sweater! It was fun to see how Brittany and John had fixed up their apartment. They said they've used every appliance they received as a wedding gift, and are so appreciative. We then went out to eat at an Indian restaurant in Provo, which was very similar to the Thai food we had on Wednesday. Why is that? I would have thought Thailand was pretty far away from India!

Friday, January 6, 2012

Fairview Museum Donation

Mom and I went to Fairview today to donate some giant pictures of our ancestors to the museum there. It is always like going home when we go there. Although mom hasn't lived in Fairview for 62 years, she always knows people in common with the volunteers who work there. With both my mom and dad growing up in Fairview, it makes me feel like I also belong there.

The top two pictures are Alma Lindsay Miner (1841-1912) and Caroline Jane Nielsen Minor (1852-1927).

On the bottom are James Naylor Jones, Jr. (1848-1904) and Amanda Sanderson Jones (1854-1956).

They are both great-grandparents of my mom. It will be fun going to visit them on our next trip to Fairview.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Goodbye Crystal, Hello Lynne

We said a tearful goodbye to Crystal this morning. I know it was just Rexburg, but it felt like Siberia, as much for its remoteness as for its weather. Change can be difficult. But who knows what adventures lie in wait around every new corner?

On the way back to Utah we were able to stop in Pocatello and see Lynne Wride, our Parker next door neighbor, in her mountaintop retreat. She is just as nice as ever and even fed us a delicious lunch. We loved her log "cabin." Her driveway was full of packed snow, the only snow we encountered on our entire trip. I guess that's the price you pay for living in the the hills! If you read this Lynne,would you please comment? My mom and I want the words on the plaque in your kitchen window. This would be a nice place to share your healthy attitude towards life!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012


We have the nicest hotel in Rexburg. It makes me want to stay a whole week here. We dropped Crystal off at her apartment this afternoon, but she also likes our hotel so much that she wants to stay with Grandma and me!

Since she has no friends here, we took pity on her and let her stay the night with us at the Springhill Suites. Look how nice they are!

It isn't really true that she doesn't have friends here. Cousin Abby met us for dinner tonight. We had a great meal at a Thai restaurant, where we learned more about Abby and her mission to Norway (among other things).

The weather has been great, mild and no snow. I don't see what the big deal is about all those people complaining about winter in Idaho! What a bunch of pansies!

A Day at the Airport

The holidays are over, sadly. We spent the day at the airport yesterday in the morning I dropped off Brittany, Crystal and John, who flew back to Salt Lake. In the afternoon Ed dropped me off at the airport to fly to Salt Lake. In the evening Crystal and Brittany picked me up in Salt Lake. Crystal, myself and Grandma are driving to Rexburg today to help move Crystal into her new apartment. 
On  a side note, Amanda's Christmas present finally arrived yesterday. It is a vintage accordion and despite taking three weeks to come from Wisconsin, seems to be in good shape It was sad that  it didn't arrive by Christmas day. (Or was it a blessing?)

Sunday, January 1, 2012

New Year's Party

Just to make sure we're always exhausted on New Year's Day, we like to stay up till midnight on New Year's Eve. The Stephens and Iroayna families helped us accomplish that goal this year. Here John and Kaylene are relaxing a little during our big game night.

Things picked up after the Iroanyas arrived. Here Ife plays a game of dice with Ed, the game in which she eventually won the championship. Her mother, Virginia, looks on in the back.

Celeste and John are in the middle of a Lion hunt. They played more than once, with Celeste eventually triumphant, shooting more foam disks in the lions eyes than anyone else!

We finished the games about 10 minutes to midnight, running upstairs to put on our party hats and grab our noisemakers. Stephanie and Lynsey are ready to celebrate a brand new year!

We gathered in the family room for the final countdown, toasting in the new year with Martinelli's sparkling cider!

We had to put a ban on the noisemakers for the last 3 minutes before the ball dropped! Some people were so adept at blowing that we couldn't hear the TV!
We finished with awarding prizes for the winners. Brittany and Crystal came in first and second on Mario Cart. Another great year for the Bush girls!

Isaiah and John came in second and first in pool. This had to do with a lot of people scratching on the eight ball! That is never a very satisfying way to win (or lose) a game!

Ife and Lynsey came in first and second in Dead Man's Dice. Way to go ladies that do really well in a game that is 100% LUCK!

In a twist of fate, I came in second to Ed in Ping Pong! Now THAT is a game of skill!

We missed Amanda, who is somewhere in Germany. We hope to wake up tomorrow morning to an email from her, telling us how she spent her Rockin' New Year's Eve!