Wednesday, December 31, 2008

DVD Empire

I ordered DVD's for my mom and for my mother-in-law for Christmas online from DVDEmpire. The prices were really good. I messed up a little on my zipcode, so a day later they emailed me and said there was a problem, that my Visa card didn't match my address, so I had to correct that. I had ordered early enough that I could pay for cheaper shipping, but because of my mistake it didn't get shipped in time. So they upgraded my shipping at no extra charge so it would get there on time. I thought that was really nice of them, since it was my fault.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Did my kids have enough excitement?

Wayne was watching a TV show about extreme sports, they were showing young people motorcycling, surfing, snowboarding, etc. Also, I went to Travis and Sara's wedding reception, and they showed all the snowboarding, motorcycling, swimming, that she had done. I started feeling badly that I had raised my kids in a totally boring environment, I had probably stifled them and ruined their lives.

I told Wayne about it, and he made me feel better. I'm the one who applied to be in the Hill Cumorah Pageant cast and got us in 3 times. I'm the one who insisted on the Orlando vacation in 2003. I'm not an outdoor person, but guess what, my kids had their dad to encourage them and take them on all the camping, kayaking, rock climbing and Boy Scout activities. Our kids never participated in team sports (except for the track team) but I suppose they turned out okay anyway.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Robert Redford

Tara was assigned to read "The Great Gatsby", which I read as a teenager. Seeing her reading that book brought back some memories. I remember when I was young I saw the movie, and was totally in love with Robert Redford. He was SO GOOD LOOKING. (He went seriously downhill when he got old, now he has one of the wrinkliest faces ever.) Anyway, he was definitely my favorite actor when I was a teenager, some of my favorite movies of his were "The Sting", "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid", "The Way We Were", and "The Great Gatsby".

Now my favorite actor is George Clooney (hubba hubba).

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Pet peeve: Kitchen dishcloths

One of my biggest pet peeves is dirty kitchen dishcloths. Every night I try to hang the dishcloth over the faucet, and the next morning when I go in the kitchen it is nearly dry. I take the old dishcloth and old dishtowel and put them into the laundry room. Then I get out fresh ones to use for that day.

Using dishcloths and dishtowels for more than one day makes me gag. If I use a dishcloth for a particularly nasty job, I will even replace it more than one time a day. I don't want nasty things to touch my food or my dishes or my countertops.

And don't get me started on sponges. Using sponges is the most unsanitary thing I've ever seen. They are totally full of germs. Seth and Isaac reported that on their missions to Brazil, everyone there had sponges that were sitting in disgusting puddles on their sinks, and would use them forever. When I go in my ward's kitchen, I see disintegrating sponges that have never been replaced. I throw them right into the trash.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

My Favorite Blogs

The blogs I go to every day are my daughter-in-law Rachel's, my sister Carla's (My Time to Blossom) and and Totally Ready.

Carla inspires me with homemaking, fashion, and ideas to make my life more elegant and genteel. Totally Ready keeps reminding me of all the emergency preparedness I need to do to get ready for disasters. And I like Rachel's because she tells me about my grandchildren!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

"Live at the Budokan"

The Beatles are one of my favorite subjects to read about. Also, "Wayne's World" is one of my favorite movies (I know, I should be ashamed.) Anyway, in one of their conversations, Wayne and Garth describe a girl as "She is Live at the Budokan." I never knew what that meant until I read Magical Mystery Tours, My Life with the Beatles by Tony Bramwell.

Bramwell told about the Beatles doing five shows at the famous martial arts venue in Japan.

" continued at the five shows at the Nippon Budokan...There was a great deal of protest over using the Budokan for pop concerts, the first time it had ever been used in such a way....It was a sacred place, more usually used for martial arts displays. Later, in the 1970 and 1980s, everybody did a "Live at the Budokan" album. "

Therefore, "she is Live at the Budokan" must be a real compliment, like she is famous enough or great enough metaphorically to be having a show at the Budokan, like all those famous rock groups.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Book Review: "The Day the World Came to Town"

"The Day the World Came to Town: 9/11 in Gander, Newfoundland" by Jim Defede.

This is the best feel-good book I have read in the past ten years. It tells what happened when all those planes were diverted from American air space during 9-11.

"When 38 jetliners bound for the United States were forced to land in Gander, Newfoundland, due to the closing of US airspace, the citizens of this small community of 10,000 people played host to 6,596 passengers and crew members.
For the better part of a week, nearly every man, woman, and child in Gander and the surrounding smaller towns, stopped what they were doing so they could help. They placed their lives on hold for a group of strangers and asked for nothing in return. It was an amazing story of how all the townspeople emptied their linen closets and provided towels, sheets, etc and set up shelters in every church, school, and public building. It was such a feel-good story of the kindness of strangers to people in need.

They affirmed the basic goodness of man at a time when it was easy to doubt such humanity still existed. If the terrorists had hoped their attacks would reveal the weaknesses in western society, the events at Gander proved its strength."

There were people from at least 40 different nationalities. Orthodox Jews who had to cook in a separate kitchen. Every school and church was opened as a shelter. All the townspeople emptied all their linen closets, washed towels day and night. Strangers said to plane people, do you want to use my car? I'll be at work all day, I'll leave the keys in it in the parking lot and you can use it if you want. The Humane Society people took care of all the animals which had been in the cargo holds of the aircraft. Stores gave away their merchandise for free.

The president and one of the vice-presidents of the Rockefeller Foundation were stuck in Gander, and they treated them so nicely that at the end the Rockefeller Foundation bought all new computers for the school.

I really recommend this book!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Hard Times as a young mother

My family in 1987, about six months before this story happened.

I just came across this story in an old journal of mine from 1988, and remembered how difficult it was to have all those little children. I am so thankful for how easy my life is today. Compared to being a mother of young children, teaching seminary is a breeze.

A letter I wrote to my mother from Cary, North Carolina, May 10, 1988. We had moved to Cary in December 1987. We had three boys, Adam was 6, Isaac was 4, Seth was almost 3. I was 7 1/2 months pregnant with our fourth son Bryce.

Dear Mother,
I am at the end of a long day. I thought I would tell you about it and xerox it for my journal.

We got up this morning at 8 am and cleaned the house in preparation for our arts and crafts class (two other home school families come over once a week). We made sack puppets decorated with construction paper and yarn for hair.

My kitchen was covered with big packages of food storage in various 5-gallon buckets and number 10 cans so all day whenever any of my kids fought or did something naughty I made them carry something down to the basement. Now the kitchen is almost clean and I didn’t spank or pull hair all day.

After the other kids left we ate lunch and then went on errands. First we went to the grocery store and bought lots more food storage items.

Yesterday I got my years supply of grape jelly, macaroni, and shortening. Today I got 10 bottles of 2-liter soda pop (we will use the empty bottles for water storage), oil, and mayonnaise. I keep finding things on sale and buying a bunch.

I had to fight with Adam at the checkout counter because he is fascinated with the conveyor belt that moves the groceries and likes to hold the groceries back with his hand.

Then we went to the library. It has a fun children’s playroom, and the kids went straight in there while I put our 23 books in the book return hole. As soon as I was done I heard Seth screaming and ran in there and Seth had fallen on a sharp corner of the baseboard and punched a small hole in his forehead.

Blood was running down his face and he was screaming. I laid him on the librarian’s counter and she got a bandaid and some ice wrapped in a kleenex and I carried him outside to scream for another 5 minutes. Adam and Isaac wanted to check out some books so I told them to pick out their own and gave them my library card, and they did just fine.

We came home and I read them 3 books and felt so sleepy I made them all get in their beds and we all fell asleep (except Adam, but he was quiet.) I woke up 45 minutes later.

Adam and I made a casserole together. Wayne came home just long enough to eat, then he went to church to teach his Webelos scouts. While he was gone I got Seth up from his nap and he had wet the bed. (He has been in training pants for a week but I have always put diapers on him at night).

I had to feed Isaac and Seth, and since it was Isaac’s day he had to help me with the dishes. While cleaning off the table Isaac got too enthusiastic with spinning the lazy susan that is in the middle of our table and a jar of pickled beets tipped over. It was spinning so fast the juice flew clear to the wall on three sides of the kitchen before the jar finally spun off the table and hit the floor, splashing the rest of the juice and beets all over the other side of the kitchen.

I couldn’t believe I didn’t yell or anything, I just told Isaac to start carrying food storage downstairs and he did that the whole time I scrubbed all the floor, walls, table legs, and folding chairs. The 1/4th of the kitchen floor that didn’t get beets on it was already sticky because two nights ago we had a friend of Wayne’s over and served pop. Seth spilled two whole glasses, one right in the visitor’s lap.

After I got the beets cleaned up, Adam was trying to close his bedroom window and it closed on his finger and scraped some skin off so he cried a long time.

Now Wayne came home from church so I decided since my legs hurt I would sit here and write about my exciting day. I figured you would enjoy hearing about it.

Love, Amy

P.S. As Wayne was reading this letter and chuckling about it, Seth came out of the bathroom after going potty. He said, “I dropped the roll of toilet paper in the potty. Sorry.”

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Book Review: The Unthinkable

(I wrote the following email around August 2008. Since then, I have found the blog and find that she covers all this emergency preparedness stuff every day.)

I just read the greatest book, I recommend it to everyone. "The Unthinkable: Who Survives when Disaster Strikes and Why" by Amanda Ripley. It was just published in June 2008, and I had heard of it so I ordered it at the library. It was fascinating to see the different decisions people made that enabled them to survive when those around them did not get out alive.

I have read probably a hundred disaster books in my life, because I really love that subject. I think what I am always trying to learn from these books is what to do if the same thing happened to me. It was interesting to read that in a terrorist attack, fire, airplane malfunction, ship sinking, etc, how it is human nature to hesitate, gather your belongings, and/or not believe that the problem is as serious as it is. In fact, lots of people turn into zombies and can't think at all, just sit there. (Of course they don't survive. ) That tells me that when the circumstances say "go", you should get the heck out of there instead of sitting around wondering what to do.

Being a seminary teacher, of course I tend to relate stuff to the scriptures, so I thought of Jesus telling people about the Desolation of Abominations, and how they would be saved if they didn't go back to gather their stuff (Matt. 24:18), and just left at the first signs of trouble. Various Church literature that I have read said the faithful early saints were able to escape the fall of Jerusalem in A.D. 70 because they knew the signs and didn't hesitate. Wish I had the reference on that but I know I read it somewhere!

Another thing I learned from the book is that when a person practices an escape route, or does fire drills, they are much better equipped when the real thing happens. The author gave so many examples of people becoming unable to think, and the only way they could function in the emergency is because they had done it before in practice so it was a little automatic. The people who hadn't practiced or didn't know the exits or stairwells, couldn't cope and just sat there. So I am asking all of you to have a Family Home Evening on fire escapes or tornado drill, or think about flooding or earthquakes or whatever, and make a plan and talk about it. That way when the real thing happens you will have a plan to follow. Making a plan during an emergency is almost impossible because your brain shuts down.

It told the story of a man and his wife who were one of only a few people to survive a plane fire on a runway. He had escaped from a fire as a boy, so he had a lifetime habit of always being aware of where exits were, and always looking for ways out of places. The minute the fire happened, he grabbed his wife and they got out the exit. Almost everyone else died, because they didn't know where the exits were. When I go to teach quilting, they usually put me in hotels, and I always find the stairway and find out how many doors it is away, etc, so I could find it in the dark or in the smoke. The author goes much farther than I do, she said everytime she stays in a hotel, the first thing she does is go all the way down the stairs from her room and find her way outside so she knows exactly what to do in a fire.

Something the book pointed out is that normal people are always the first responders. The people that are at the scene of the disaster of course are there when it happens, so they are there way before the police and firemen come. So it is very useful for everyone to have first aid skills. I am so thankful for the Boy Scout program, and Girls Camp, and all the training my husband and kids have for emergencies, and am a bit ashamed of myself for not having any first aid skills.

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Wayne in bishopric

What a shock--Wayne is now the 2nd counselor in the bishopric of the Raleigh University Ward, the singles ward in our stake. Here is a photo of the bishopric and their wives.

I am the only bishopric wife with any kids at home, so I will have to be juggling Tara and Zac at our ward and trying to be of service at the Univ. Ward as well (their meetings are held in a ward building that is 25 miles one way from our house). I have no idea what meetings I will end up attending. The bishop's wife and 1st counselor's wife will have callings and visiting teaching in the Univ Ward but I guess I won't.

I am happy that I get to continue teaching seminary, because I really want to.

I have such a testimony of the Lord's promptings in my life. For a year or so I have been scaling back in my quilt teaching and travelling, and at this point I have very few bookings left, just in time to spend more of my time supporting Wayne in his calling and teaching seminary. I am so thankful I was prompted to cut back, and feel confident that in several years I can start it all up again if I want to.

Monday, February 11, 2008

"Book Lust" and "More Book Lust"

I checked out two great books a few weeks ago. They have bad-sounding titles, but they are written by a librarian named Nancy Pearl, and she recommends her favorite books from every genre. "Book Lust" and "More Book Lust" have hundreds of suggestions for books to read.

Wayne and I were driving so I read him the suggestions from the "Space Operas" and "Science Fiction", "Sea Stories", and "Time Travel", and he was pretty enthusiastic about the choices he heard.

I particularly liked the books under the chapter "Cozies (books that make you feel good)" and "Natural Disasters", "Women's friendships", "Civil War nonfiction", "World War II nonfiction" , "Autobiographies and Memoirs".

I'm going to check out "Best for Teens" for Tara, she has a really discouraging time trying to find books to read.

So, if you need book recommendations, these are really good sources. Nancy Pearl included almost every one of my favorite books in there, so I think she has read everything on the planet.

If you want to know my favorite books I have ever read, they are:

My all time favorite novel:
"A Lantern in Her Hand- Bess Streeter Aldrich

Some of my favorite fiction:
And Ladies of the Club- Helen Hooven Santmyer
Harriett the Spy (my favorite when I was a kid)
Red Sky at Morning
High Road to China (This is the only one of my favorite fictions that Nancy Pearl didn't mention but I enjoyed it)
The Princess Bride- by William Goldman (very different than the movie)
Addie Pray (also titled "Paper Moon")
A fun old-lady series I read recently: "Miss Julia" series by Ann B. Ross (mystery books about a southern 60 yr old busybody)

My favorite nonfiction:
Guns of August, or any other Barbara Tuchman book, she writes great history
The Know-it-all- One Man's Humble Quest to Become the Smartest Person in the World by A.J. Jacobs (this was the most enjoyable book I have read in the past several years)
Hugh Nibley LDS books

Nonfiction Self-help books that really helped me
Getting Things Done-David Allen
Ready for Anything-David Allen
Clutter’s Last Stand –Don Aslett