Saturday, February 28, 2009

Anniversary of our Engagement

This is a photo of Wayne and I the night we got engaged. We went to the "Preference" Dance at BYU.

It was Leap Year Day (Feb. 29, 1980) but we didn't want to get engaged on that day because it was Sadie Hawkins Day, because people would tease us and say that I asked him. So we didn't tell anyone until March 1.

Friday, February 27, 2009

"The Girl in a Whirl" poem

As you know, I love Dr. Suess. Here is a parody of a Dr. Suess poem, just for Mormon women. When I was younger this could have intimidated me, but it doesn't bother me now. I do what I can do and I'm okay with it.

The Girl in a Whirl by ‘Dr. Sue’
(a.k.a. Vickie Gunther)

Look at me, look at me, look at me now!
You could do what I do, If you only knew how.

I study the scriptures one hour each day;
I bake, I upholster, I scrub, and I pray.

I always keep all the commandments completely;
I speak to my little ones gently and sweetly.

I help in their classrooms! I sew all they wear!
I drive them to practice! I cut all their hair!

I memorize names of the General Authorities;
I focus on things to be done by priorities.

I play the piano! I bless with my talents!
My toilets all sparkle! My checkbooks all balance!

Each week every child gets a one-on-one date;
I attend all my meetings (on time! Never late!)

I’m taking a class on the teachings of Paul,
But that is not all! Oh, no. That is not all …

I track my bad habits ‘til each is abolished;
Our t-shirts are ironed! My toenails are polished!

Our family home evenings are always delightful;
The lessons I give are both fun and insightful.

I do genealogy faithfully, too.
It’s easy to do all the things that I do!

I rise each day early, refreshed and awake;
I know all the names of each youth in my stake!

I read to my children! I help all my neighbors!
I bless the community, too, with my labors.

I exercise and I cook menus gourmet;
My visiting teaching is done the first day!

(I also go do it for someone who missed hers.
It’s the least I can do for my cherished ward sisters.)

I chart resolutions and check off each goal;
I seek each “lost lamb” on my Primary roll.

I can home-grown produce each summer and fall.
But that is not all! Oh, no. That is not all …

I write in my journal! I sing in the choir!
Each day, I write “thank you’s” to those I admire.

My sons were all Eagles when they were fourteen!
My kids get straight A's! And their bedrooms are clean!

I have a home business to help make some money;
I always look beautifully groomed for my honey.

I go to the temple at least once a week;
I change the car’s tires! I fix the sink’s leak!

I grind my own wheat and I bake all our bread;
I have all our meals planned out six months ahead.

I make sure I rotate our two-years’ supply;
My shopping for Christmas is done by July!

These things are not hard; It’s good if you do them;
You can if you try! Just set goals and pursue them!

It’s easy to do all the things that I do!
If you plan and work smart, you can do them all, too!

It’s easy!” she said …

… and then she dropped dead.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Writing Life Stories #3

Here are some first steps if you want to begin writing your life story.

1. Collect and organize.
Make files for each year or each place you lived, or elementary school, high school, early married, etc. Breaking it down into different places makes it easier to remember.
Collect photos, memorabilia, documents, letters, diaries, datebooks, calendars,
Make a chronology of the main events in your life.

2. Read others’ life stories for inspiration and for ideas on how you want to write yours, things you liked and how you would write it differently.

3. Make a rough draft. Write it piece by piece, one incident at a time and stick it in the file or in the computer file of that time period. Half an hour or one hour at a time.
Then verify dates. Ask family members, write letters. Look on back of pictures to see if you have dates of events.

4. Gather some photos. Scan them into computer. Even one photo per time period makes the life story come alive. Insert the photos into the story.

5. Print one copy and have a relative read it to find errors in dates, information.

6. Make the final copy, print and bind. Or distribute to family members on disk.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

My Favorite Dresses Ever

When I was a teenager, my dream was to become a famous fashion designer. I majored in Clothing & Textiles at BYU, and worked as a bridal veil designer at a company in Salt Lake City when I was first married. I never became a famous fashion designer, I turned all my design skills to making quilts instead. However, I still love to look at fashion and beautiful clothing, even though I rarely wear that kind of thing.

Here are my favorite dresses ever:

Mary Poppins in the chalk picture- Its a Jolly Holiday with Mary

Glinda the Good Witch in Wizard of Oz

Somewhere in Time- Jane Seymour's dresses- her character was named Elise Mckenna (Couldn't get a photo of her dresses, they are Edwardian, high waisted, lots of lace, with big hats,around 1910. Similar to the dresses on "Titanic")

Scarlet OHara's Blue Velvet- when India sees Scarlet hugging Ashley

Grace Kelly's tiny waist, huge gathered skirt in "Rear Window"

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Writing Life Stories #2

(Right: A page from my life story Amy Book I.)
Let me tell you some of the things I have learned from writing three different life stories, and from reading other people’s.

First, you need to use full names, at least the first time you mention the person, and their relationship to you. If you call your in-laws “Mom and Pop”, make sure you identify them correctly somewhere at the beginning.

Second, if you are writing your own or another person’s life story, identify who is writing it. If it is your own, say how old you are, at what stage of life, how many kids you have.

Third, it is easiest to write your life story chronologically. Some parts might do better written topically, with a different chapter for each topic, such as careers or hobbies. My friend Patti's dad wrote his topically, "What I learned about Character", "What I Learned about Honesty", etc.

(Wayne’s grandfather wrote his whole life story and it was just about his professional life, his career. He never once mentioned his wife. In my opinion, he needed a few more chapters entitled "Family". Duh!)

Monday, February 23, 2009

Writing Life Stories #1

I’ve been teaching journal-keeping, record-keeping, and "How to Write your Life Story" since I was in my early twenties.

My interest in life stories started when I was a teenager. My grandma wrote her life story in longhand, and I typed it for her and made the copies for all her family members. She was in her 70’s when she wrote it, and the section about her childhood was only a few pages. As I typed it, I vowed that I would write my life story with more detail than that, while I was still young enough to remember it.

When I was pregnant with our first son, I tried to get my life story written, but finished it after he was born. I spent several hours a few times a week typing on my mom’s IBM Selectric typewriter, and had it bound at the BYU Law School copy center for about $4. I named it “Amy Book I” (see photo below) because I planned to write the second installment when I was around 40. (I have already missed that by 10 years)

Nine years ago a friend in my neighborhood was stricken with cancer. For two years while she was still alive I kept asking her if she would let me help her write her life story, but she never took me up on it, and she passed away in Feb. 2003. After she died, with the permission of her family I interviewed her friends and family members and compiled her life story, (LIFE STORY OF TERRY) and gave it to them when she had been gone a year.

After Terry died, a woman in our ward named Sally was terminally ill. I thought of Terry, dying without her life story written, and figured that it was going to happen to Sally too. I guessed that no one else was going to do it, so I thought that I should get Sally’s written while she was still alive. Sisters were asked to sit with her each day, and on my turn I brought along my laptop computer and interviewed her and typed it up. After she died, I was able to give that manuscript to the person who gave the life sketch at Sally's funeral, and copies to Sally's husband and son.

All of these life stories were done differently, they were different lengths. I didn’t want to spend the time on Sally’s or Terry’s life story that I did on my own.

In future posts I will tell you things I have learned from writing these life stories. (to be continued.)

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Chocolate Sandwich Cookies

A couple of days ago we went to a party, and I made these delicious cookies. I tasted them at a ward party some months ago, and asked Tracy for the recipe. Now I am hooked on them, and make them to take to every function. I am hoping she won't hate me for this, since she likes to make them and bring them. This is why some people won't give out their recipes, because of people like me. (Luckily she wasn't at this party.)

Chocolate Sandwich Cookies

Two 18 ½ ounce packages devil’s food cake mix
4 eggs, slightly beaten
2/3 cup vegetable oil

One 8-ounce package cream cheese, softened
½ cup (1 stick) butter, at room temperature
3 cups confectioners sugar
½ teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper.
In large mixing bowl, combine the cake mixes, eggs, and oil. Beat. The batter will be very stiff.
Make dough into 1-inch balls. Place 1 inch apart on the cookie sheets and flatten slightly.
Bake for 8-10 minutes. (Take them out when they are slightly underdone, and when they cool they will be chewy.) Remove immediately from cookie sheets and cool on wire racks.

Filling: In a small mixing bowl, combine the cream cheese, butter, pwdr sugar and vanilla and mix with an electric mixer until smooth. When the cookies are cool, spread the icing on a cookie and stick another cookie on top (like a sandwich.) Store in the refrigerator in a sealed container or Ziploc.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Wayne loves Mustangs

Here are two of Wayne's favorite cars. (Click on photos to make them bigger.)

Top: Wayne lived in this pink house in Provo when I met him in 1980. He loved this 1965 Mustang and named it "Gramps". He was so proud of it, but when we were dating he didn't know I hated it.

Bottom: In 2005 Wayne bought this brand new Mustang. He posed in front of our house at 104 Legend Oaks Court in Cary. (We moved from there in 2006, now we live in Morrisville.)

Friday, February 20, 2009

My sister Cindy's birthday

Happy birthday to Cindy! She is my parents' second child, here is a picture of our oldest sister Cheryl holding newborn Cindy. My grandpa Hap and grandma Vinnie are looking on. (Click on photos to make them bigger.)

Cindy was four years older than me, and she was always so smart and fashionable. She was the valedictorian of her high school in 1973. She was the first one I saw wearing this kind of pants (we called them "baggies") in 1972.

And look how gorgeous she still is today!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

JoAnne's bathroom

Wayne's brother Mark is so talented at building onto their house, and my sister-in-law JoAnne has such a good sense of design! This is the new bathroom they just added onto their house, it is beautiful and all handicapped accessible. JoAnne added photos of it to the HGTV site. Click see the website.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Frazzled Fancies #3

This is my most famous "Frazzled Fancies" quilt. Magic Carpet Ride was in an international exhibit and was published in a book "I Remember Mama". I made this quilt for the "I Remember Mama" competition at the International Quilt Festival.

The requirements for the competition was that it had to be made by two generations in a family. My mom had made this satin patchwork quilt top (right) in the 1980's and had never finished it. I cut it down smaller and added all the embellishments.

Here are some of the embellished squares.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Frazzled Fancies #2

Here is another in my "Frazzled Fancies" series of quilts. Party Line 2008

Here is a close-up of the squares, they are all made of silk in this quilt.

Monday, February 16, 2009

My sister Carla's birthday

My sister Carla is five years younger than me, and it's her birthday today.
(Left) Here is my beautiful sister Carla in her designer formal with her future husband Kyle. (Click on photos to make them bigger.)
(Below) She always spent too much time looking at herself in the mirror.

Carla and I shared a bedroom together when we were little. (I don't know why she has that stupid hat on.) I still remember the floral rug and the big animals on the wallpaper, I think my mom decorated that room in 1964. We thought we were so fancy with a canopy bed, we pretended it was a ship sometimes and held onto the bedposts like they were masts. That pink doll on the bed had a zipper, you could store your pajamas inside it. My mother sewed the bedspread, canopy, etc.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

"He Loves Me" Quilt

This quilt is named "He Loves Me" because Wayne still loves me after 29 years, and that makes me happy everyday!

I made it in 2008, and it is 48" x 48". 

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Valentine's Day- The Happy Couple


Today is the 29th anniversary of our first kiss!

Friday, February 13, 2009

Age Progression- Amy

My mother loved to have portraits made of her children. I have many, many childhood portraits of myself. Here I am about one year old.

This is my first grade picture. I went to Ranch Heights Elementary School, in Bartlesville, Oklahoma.

Twelve years old, the day I got my braces on (my mom liked to take a photo of our teeth just before we went to the orthodontist for the first time.) This is in Cleveland, Oklahoma. Thats our Vista Cruiser (or Grand Safari?) station wagon in the background.

Freshman at BYU, 1978.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Frazzled Fancies #1

A few years ago I started a series of quilts I called "Frazzled Fancies". I take tiny little squares of fancy dressmakers fabrics (silk, velvet, lace, metallic, suiting, linen, etc.) and pile them up and make little decorative squares, about 2"-3" across. After I make a bunch of these squares, I apply them to a background and embellish them with machine and hand embroidery. Here are some of the wallhangings I have made using this technique: (Click on photos to make them bigger, then you can see the stitching)

Decadence 16" x 16". 2004.

Home Fires 31" x 27". 2006.

Splendor 25" x 23". 2007.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

My brother Jamey's birthday

My baby brother Jamey was born 41 years ago. I must not have been a very observant child, or no one remembered to tell me, because at 9 years old I was left completely in the dark. I remember wandering around the house asking people "Where is Mother?" until someone laughed at me and said "Didn't anyone tell you? She's at the hospital, we have a new brother!" (This is not the only time I was forgotten. I have many more stories like that. Its because I am the middle child, I am certain.)

He turned out to be a great dad, and a righteous, good man, and I wish him a very happy birthday today.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Sisterly prerogative #1

Tara and Zac were waiting for me after church one day a few months ago. I caught this series of interactions on my camera. That's what sisters do.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Mrs. Wixom's Frontier Lady Chocolate Box

These are Wayne's maternal grandparents, Earl Partridge Wixom and Olive Nunn Wixom. (Click on photos to make them bigger.) We bought a little house right across the street from them in Layton, Utah in 1982 and lived there for 5 years. They were the sweetest, kindest grandparents to us, and helped us out all the time with our three little boys.

Wayne's grandmother had a chocolate business for many years, but had closed the business by the time I met her. Her chocolates were quite famous in Utah. One day Wayne's boss in Salt Lake City surprised Wayne with a special gift. He told Wayne that he had been cleaning out a closet, and found some things stored inside a "Mrs. Wixom's Frontier Lady Chocolates" box, and knowing it was Wayne's grandma, presented the box to Wayne. It is one of his most cherished keepsakes.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

If I was in Charge

No man would have ear hair.

No women would have long chin whiskers.

Men wouldn't spit.

Children wouldn't pick nose.

People would know not to wear new suits with the back vent tacked closed, or pockets basted shut.

Disposable diapers, kotex, and tampons would have been invented at the time of Adam and Eve.

Teeth would have been designed better.

Human childbirth would be similar to kangaroos: the baby would come out tiny, then grow bigger outside.

Department of Motor Vehicles would have nice people, there would be no lines when I go there.

No big car speakers blasting out the bass notes.

No cigarettes thrown on ground. No littering of any kind.

No car alarms.

There would be no crowds or long lines where I want to go.

No dogs licking me.

Stoplights would all be smart, they would know how many cars to let through.

Panty hose waistbands would be very loose. Or better yet, I would never have to wear pantyhose.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Goodlooking Wayne

These are two of my very favorite photos of Wayne, taken after his mission. (Click on photos to see his big muscles.)

Friday, February 6, 2009

Bronchitis, "Too Many Daves"

I have a bad case of bronchitis. I haven't taught seminary since Tuesday. Wednesday I went to the doctor and got Advair inhaler stuff. She said I wasn't contagious, she said I had lung inflammation which causes symptoms of asthma.

(Thursday) Today I have laryngitis. I babysat Elizabeth and Thomas for 2 hours. I pointed to my throat and whispered to Elizabeth that "my throat is broken, I can't talk." So for the whole two hours she kept asking me, "Your neck broken?".

Enough about my sickness. I want to put my very favorite Dr. Suess poem "Too Many Daves" on here. I think it is in the book "The Sneeches and Other Stories" by Dr. Suess. I've tried to memorize it, but never did completely. Maybe if it is on my blog, I can review it more often. I think Seth tried to memorize it too.

By Dr. Suess

Did I ever tell you that Mrs. McCave
Had twenty-three sons and she named them all Dave?
Well, she did. And that wasn’t a smart thing to do.
You see, when she wants one and calls out, “Yoo-Hoo!
Come into the house, Dave!” she doesn’t get one
All twenty-three Daves of hers come on the run!

This makes things quite difficult at the McCave’s
As you can imagine, with so many Daves.
And often she wishes that, when they were born,
She had named one of them Bodkin Van Horn
And one of them Hoos-Foos. And one of them Snimm.
And one of them Hot-Shot. And one Sunny Jim.

And one of them Shadrack. And one of them Blinkey.
And one of them Stuffy. And one of them Stinkey.
Another one Putt-Putt. Another one Moon Face.
Another one Marvin O’Gravel Balloon Face.

And one of them Ziggy. And one Soggy Muff.
One Buffalo Bill. And one Biffalo Buff.
And one of them Sneepy. And one Weepy Weed.
And one Paris Garters. And one Harris Tweed.

And one of them Sir Michael Carmichael Zutt
And one of them Oliver Boliver Butt
And one of them Zanzibar Buck-Buck McFate…
But she didn’t do it. And now it’s too late.

(Ooooh! I see a theme developing between this post and yesterday's. Did this poem influence Seth to want to name his kids Bucket and Toast, or does Seth like this poem BECAUSE he wanted to name his kids unusual names? Something to think about!)

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Zac Grinder

(Click on photo to make it bigger.) Zac and Adam went "urban exploring" in an old brick factory. Adam is a genius at digitally "enhancing" photos.

(No teenagers were harmed in the making of this photo.)

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Starting a Food Storage Plan for the Year

I have to tell everyone that Carolyn Nicolaysen on her Totally Ready blog has just restarted her one-year food storage program. (It is her Feb.2, 2009 entry, entitled "Our General Store").

Today is the day it begins, and if you read her blog every day and do what she says, you would have a great food supply built up by next year.

I love her blog, and have learned great things about emergency preparedness from her.

If you don't want to wait a year to get the whole program, you can go back and read her posts from the past couple of years, she has already been through the whole thing before. She also has a book you can pay $6.95 to download.

Book Review: Tipping Point

In The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell, he tells the following story about college students studying for the ministry:

"A group of seminarians were given assignments to prepare a short talk about biblical themes, then walk over to a nearby building to present the talk. Some were asked to speak about relevance of the professional clergy to the religious vocation. Others were given the parable of the Good Samaritan. Some were told, "You're late, they were expecting you a few minutes ago." Others were told, "It will be a few minutes before they're ready for you, but you might as well head over now."

Along the way, each student would see a man slumped in an alley, head down, eyes closed, coughing and groaning. Who would stop and help?

The only thing that mattered was whether the student was in a rush. Indeed, on several occasions, the seminary student going to give his lecture on the parable of the Good SAmaritan literally stepped over the victim as he hurried on his way.

Of the group that was in a rush, 10 percent stopped to help. Of the group who knew they had a few minutes to spare, 63 percent stopped.

What this study is suggesting is that the convictions of your heart and the actual contents of your thoughts are less important, in the end, in guiding your actions than the immediate context of your behavior."

If you read yesterday's post, Muffy Mead-Ferro tells about her opposition to being "busy, busy, busy". I agree. If I was as busy as that, I would probably be one of the ones who wouldn't stop to help a person in need. And I don't want to be too busy to help people.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Book Review: Confessions of a Slacker Wife

Muffy Mead-Ferro wrote the book Confessions of a Slacker Wife, which I enjoyed. Here is my favorite paragraph from the book:

p. 108 "Maybe this is as good a time as any to notify my friends and family that one word I'd rather not be used to describe me in my obituary is the word "busy". I don't want to be remembered as someone who hustled and bustled through life. I wouldn't mind the term "hard worker". If someone wanted to say "multitalented" that would be fine. But those traits are different from being busy-busy-busy.

In fact, I wouldn't be upset, or come back to haunt you in any way, if my obituary actually said, "She seemed to have an inordinate amount of free time."

For the women I know, ...maybe even for the men, free time needs to be a higher priority. Free time is something we should have in abundance in our wealthy country, but we don't because we're too busy. We're so appalled at the idea of wasting our time that we've actually become adept at simply looking busy, even when we have nothing to do."

Sunday, February 1, 2009

You Tube: Be Prepared for Tribulations to Come

Click here to watch a YouTube video with conference addresses by LDS apostles and prophets about the tribulations to come.