Sunday, January 30, 2011


Honey and I remember when the coolest thing you could get was a record player. Then came along the portable record players. They looked like a suitcase and weighed about 40 pounds, they did come in a few different colors and they played everything form 45's to 72's.

Next came 8 track tapes. They resembled a VHS movie...I never saw a player that didn't need to have a match book folded up to prop the corner just right so the music wouldn't *drag*.

Music got smaller and nothing could be more convenient that cassette tapes! They didn't break as often as the 8 track's, but I remember having to keep a pencil close by, just in case the tape player decided to *eat the tape*, and then the delicate surgery of removal and repair would take up a fair chunk of time.

*Boom-boxes* came along about that time, a common sight to see people walking around with a big honkin' tape player/radio, propped on their shoulder while they 'trucked along'. Battery operated-who'd a thunk it!?

Then came Cd's, and they were amazing! You could carry a bunch of them in something the size of a day planner! Surely nothing could get smaller than that, could it?!

Hello MP 3 players, iPhone's, and all you other little gadgets...You can cart over 1,000 songs with you in something no bigger than a package of gum!
Audio books, music, pictures, video's, and a lot more that I probably don't know about yet...all in your shirt pocket!

I got my first Walkman this weekend...a gift from my "kids". I am Grammy Heaven with it!!

Thank you B., B. and A!!!

Friday, January 28, 2011

Simply Divine

"Hi! How are  you today?" I asked when we passed each other in the long sterile concrete hallway every morning.
"Simply Divine! Thank you for asking." She said without missing a beat, her face lit with the most wonderful smile.
After getting better acquainted, but still passing each other in the same way almost every morning, with this similar salutation exchanged for about six...maybe six and a half years...Something changed.

"Good Morning! How are you  this fine morning?" I smiled.
Her head tilted slightly, the smile came early, she slowed her step, and said deliberately, "I'm good really. Thank you for asking." Picking up her pace, she was quickly gone on her way.
I, on the other hand carried her comment's with me throughout the day. Was she ok? Was there something wrong? Why wasn't she 'Simply divine' today? I pondered that short conversation many times that day, and often since, as you can tell.

About 6 months later we passed our warm greeting's to each other and again she responded with her unusual reply, "I'm good today. Thank you for asking."
I stoped and called out to her as I walked back toward her, she turned and waited. I asked her, "Why are you good today instead of 'Simply divine?"
Her laughter surprised me, then she said cheerfully. "Oh, I'm 'Simply divine' on the day's that are to crappy to share, and I don't want to weigh you down with things neither of us can do anything about. Besides, no one really wants to know anyway. I'm good today, because you really wanted to know. And, I learned a song on my new hammer dulcimer! You should come by on your lunch and I'll entertain you."
We parted company and headed our separate way's when she called to me from out of sight, "Oh! And I always mean to thank You for asking! It means a lot to me, See ya at lunch!"

That conversation stuck with me for a long time as well.
In fact just this morning I relived those conversations, and learned from them yet again.

We often ask people 'How are you?", without really's just a nice thing to say.
We often don't tell people 'How we are', because it's to crappy to share...and they are often just asking out of courtesy. 

I also contemplate the good that comes from smiling big and saying, "I'm fine as frog hair! Thank you for asking!" 

Because I have become much more aware of that fact that, what we send out really does come back to us.

And for the record...
"How are you?"
"I'm good today. Thank you for asking."   =)

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Momma's Oatmeal Cookies

Years ago my Mom gave me her recipe box.
She had given me her recipe card holder long years before that.
A lot of the recipes were gone from the box, the few that remained were her all time favorites.

The card holder was a treat to use from the time I was little. I would pinch my finger trying to position the recipe card just right.


I would clamp it on and pretend it was an extension of my hand and clonk things with it, until she reminded me she needed it to hold her recipe...

I would admire it every time as if it were new. She would tell me it was "just a chunk of wood with an old clothes pin, hooked together by a piece of dowel, and painted up with a little left over paint, nothing special. You can do things like that you know. Take nothing and make a right nice something."

One of the cards left in her box was a favorite of everybody, even the neighbor kids loved that one!
She would bake and let them cool on towels lining the limited kitchen counter space. We kids would file in mooching as many as we could!

They are still a favorite to make. And since I am missing her, I made some the other day.
Reminded me of the time I first got this recipe from her...I whipped them up and couldn't figure out what I had done wrong. they just didn't *look* like hers. I called her all upset and she told me to read her the recipe over the phone...I did. After each item she would ask, "did you do that?"
This went on until I reached the second to the last item...
"Did you put in all the oatmeal it asked for?" She puzzled.
"I'm sure I did! I read it just like it said!" Was my tearful reply. "Momma. How could I mess it up so bad?"

We went through that routine until the last batch was going into the oven, when she asked, " Honey? Just how much oatmeal did you put in it?" 
I looked for the container of oatmeal and wailed, " I can't find the oatmeal!" 
Mom's laughing reply was, "Well, I'd say that's the problem then." 

She helped me see that it wasn't the end of the world and taught me to get out all the items and put them away as I go.

They really are a lot better when you have all the ingredients in.

Maybe you would like to make some too? 

Mom's Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

Bring to a boil 1/4 pkg raisin's then let cool.

Take 3/4 C. cooled raisin water and put in small bowl-add 2 tsp baking soda-set this aside for now.

In a larger bowl mix:
2 C sugar                2 C shortening (I use butter flavor)
4 eggs
mix then add-
2 tsp salt                    2 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp ground cloves    2 tsp allspice
2 tsp nutmeg

Mix the sugar, eggs and shortening together. Next add the spices and mix as you go- Next add 2 C flour--this is were you add the small bowl of raisin water- 2 more C flour (4 C flour total)
Next mix in 4 C oatmeal and (1 C chopped nuts if you want them)

Stir the raisin's in last and not to much or they mush-

Do not grease cookie sheet (or just use parchment paper is the easiest)

Spoon onto cookie sheet into tsp size lumps

bake at 350 degrees for 9 to 10 minutes-until they don't look gooey in the middle
this recipe makes 6 1/2 to 7 1/2 doz. cookies and they freeze great!

Monday, January 24, 2011

Life's Illusions

Oogway: My friend, the panda will never fulfill his destiny, nor you yours until you let go of the illusion of control.

Shifu: Illusion?

Oogway: Yes.

[points at peach tree]

Oogway: Look at this tree, Shifu, I cannot make it blossom when it suits me nor make it bear fruit before its time.

Shifu: But there are things we *can* control: I can control when the fruit will fall, I can control where to plant the seed: that is no illusion, Master!

Oogway: Ah, yes. But no matter what you do, that seed will grow to be a peach tree. You may wish for an apple or an orange, but you will get a peach.

Shifu: But a peach cannot defeat Tai Lung!

Oogway: Maybe it can, if you are willing to guide, to nurture it, to believe in it.

Shifu: But how? How? I need your help, master.

Oogway: No, you just need to believe. Promise me, Shifu, promise me you will believe.
Kung Fu Panda Disney Movie

Picture found from a google search

I don't like to go on rides that I can't control.

I am often a bad passenger on a car trip. I would feel more in control if I were the driver. I don't grab the wheel, but I often have to sit on my hands to stop myself from jumping and latching onto distracts the driver and is not a good thing.
So it  comes as no great surprise to me that I have tried harder than I thought, to control things in and around my life, and the lives of those I love.
I can't. It is an *illusion*.

What I can learn to control is to trust the one who is in control, who sees the bigger picture, and believe.
It is not an easy thing to do. But it is a freeing thing to do.
It frees me up to do what I can do.

I think I have finally stopped running around the room and taken my seat in Master Trusting Kindergarten.

I notice now, when I am trying to wrestle for the illusion of control, and then I'm learning to let go and step back. 

I can choose where to plant the seed, I can choose to take care of it as best I can, then I have to let go and believe that it will grow.
Then wait to see the beauty of life and the wonder of the Cherry tree's blossom...

"As your faith is strengthened you will find that there is no longer the need to have a sense of control, that things will flow as they will, and that you will flow with them, to your great delight and benefit." ~ Emmanuel Teney

"We must be willing to let go of the life we planned so as to have the life that is waiting for us." ~ E. M. Forester

"The road of life can only reveal itself as it is travelled; each turn in the road reveals a surprise. Man's future is hidden." ~ Unknown

Friday, January 21, 2011

Yep, It's January Alright...

For me, January is; The coldest month of the year. The happiest month of the year. As well as the Saddest month of the year.

I don't really like to be cold. I would much rather be found sitting in front of a nice fireplace, with a big roaring fire blazing happily away, whilst I nestle under a quilt, in a big overstuffed chair, with a stack of good book's...for the entire month.

It is the happiest because it is the month my Honey and I tied the 'love knot of matramony'. We were so young. That was 35 years ago...there was a lot of snow, and it was very cold outside, but warm in our little half furnished, cafe side apartment.

It is the saddest month because it is the month my parents died.
33 years and one day apart form each other.

The older I get the smarter they become.
I am still learning from them. As well as learning about them.
Getting older and having more time in between helps, but you would be surprised at how many times in a week I think about picking up the phone to call one or the other of them. 
I miss them both more acutely this time of year. 

The cold will eventually warm into Spring, then straight into shade seeking Summer.
The happiness Honey and I continue cultivating will be sprinkled with quantities of manure and sunshine and it will be good.
The sadness is selfish. If I allow, a plethora of wonderful memories will banish the sadness and replace it with the joy those who have been called home wish for us as we wish for them...

I guess I would be remiss if I neglected to add that January has all the appearances of the most reflective month of the year as well...  

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Just One Of Those Days...

That is the only way I can describe the day I had.

It was Saturday and I had saved my out of town errands to be run all at the same time.

I'm a little weird, and try to plan my trips to form a sort of I don't have to back track. You know, to save time and gas and frustration?

I planed it all out. I had lots of time and no place I had to be in a hurry.

All good things.

I should have known when I spotted this:

That I was in for an adventure.

I like adventures as much as the next person. Some adventures are fun other's contribute to those "off day's"...This was just one of those day's.

I had plans to do some of the mundane errand's mingled with a few out of the ordinaries. The bank, the copy shop, the quilt shop, then out of town to browse for sock yarn, visit the needlepoint joint. Head over to Shepheards Bush for Angel makin's.

Then just like that it had turned into one of those day's.

Our modem finally flashed the last of it's green light day's and the red light of ka-poot had kicked on. After making a few calls I added that to my list of 'to-do's'.

Remember I said I wasn't in to big of a hurry?

I wasn't. So I took the 'old road', "The scenic route".
And let me just tell you it was a good thing I wasn't in a hurry.

Because on the only stretch of 'forever' where you couldn't pass.

Right in front of me from a rolling stop. 

Blowing some sort of fumes I'm sure shouldn't be emitted. Unable to go over 25 mph with a strong tail wind on the down hill...and just like that  it could have turned into one of those sort of day's... 

Lucky I wasn't in a hurry.

Once errands were done, I took stock of the time and thought I'd head home.
Remembering the trip down. I thought I'd take the freeway instead.

Faster you know.

That is if you don't join, or, be joined, by a large group of car's that seem to think we all need to be friends and travel together.

Yep. I managed to join the race in time to practice my 'lead car' skills.
We were a synchronized thing of beauty, as we danced down the interstate like a large school of fish.

Until we rounded a bend to join a struggling little group of assorted automobiles. One in particular, doggedly making its way down the center lane. 

You guessed it.

My lane.

This is about where a highway patrol cruiser joined our group, via an on ramp, becoming the 'lead of all car's in the vacinity'.
No one dared pass him, so we became a forward moving unit of sardines, snailing along as one...

Ok it wasn't all that slow. But when this is your view...ain't nothing fast enough.  

And just like that. It could have become one of those day's!

Lucky for me the traffic broke and I was able to leave 'road clean up' behind...

After that trip I treated myself to a late lunch at Maddox. It was the humane thing to do for myself after all.

I guess it was meant to be just one of those day's  (o.O)

Friday, January 14, 2011

Stuck Inside...Mostly

 I was thinking the other night about the things that change from when you "The Parent" to when you are "The Grand Parent".

I really didn't think that much changed, but it really does.
For one I'm a lot slower. Granted I'm almost 26 years older than I once was. Add to that about 1,0000 pounds.
Ok. Not that much, but it feels like it some day's.


We used to do some fun stuff mixed in with the "your NOT doing that in the house" stuff...

I have mellowed a lot. things change and I've found that there are some things that really...just don't matter in the big scheme of things.

So please take a picture tour of some of the things a January day at Grammy & Poppy's may hold in store:

Drawing, painting, making, and reading...

Dancing, spinning until your dizzy enough to tip over is always good...for young ones.
I can't even watch for long without getting sick to my stomach.

This is new...and really doesn't happen much.

Play in the snow until we were frozen. It seemed to take longer to get ready than it did to get cold and come back in.

We did sit on the heater, but not while eating cups full of snow...

I think the only thing that's really changed that much is that riding your bike in the house was one of the things that was on the not allowed list.
Instead we did safe things like, sliding down the stairs in sleeping bags, or a crib mattress. Hide n seek. "Hot" and "cold" searches.
I didn't do as many tents then as we do now...
Baking cookies is always on the list someplace with making play dough.

What kinds of things did you, do you, or are you doing during the coldest month of the Utah winter?

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Helping Hands

Well she did it again.

This morning as I undertook the task of changing the sheet's, Tiny Dancer bolted to my side, a bounce in her little step, a plea in her eye's and voice, "I help me you?" 
It would have been much faster to do it myself I thought as I said, "I would love your help!". And I meant it.

Then she proceeded to run circles around not only me, but the bed and the much energy in such a little girl!

I plodded methodically along, after all it may be the only thing I get done today... 

As we worked my mind slipped back to the times, in my Mom's later years, that I would help her make her bed.

She would tell me it was, "to big a job for me to do alone", then express how she felt "useless" to be that help. We would get her settled in the big fan~backed wicker chair in her room, get her adjusted so she could hold the sheet's, handing them to me as needed.
I would split the pillow case job with her, she would start one and I would start the other. Holding hers so she could complete the cumbersome task she had under taken, once mine was done.
She commented how I ran circles around not only her, but the bed and the room..."So much energy little girl. Enjoy it while you can!", she'd chuckle. 
(I was in my late 40's by then, it would have been faster to do it myself, but I loved her help).

She was the one who taught me to make a bed when I was Tiny Dancer's age. It probably would have been faster for her to do it herself...but she always said she 'loved my help'. 
She let me help with lots of things.

I saw Mom quietly take care of lots of people when they needed it. 
So it was only natural that when mom passed away, her dear friend, and 'Oldest living neighbor of 54 years', and I adopted each other.
We often laughed about her being the oldest and me being the youngest of 'the old neighborhood'.

We started making her bed wasn't long before she sat in her Grandmother's old chair in her room and held the sheets to give me as needed...

So my sheet's were changed today, with a little  ball of energy flitting around like a tiny butterfly, among other wonderful memories 
wafting through my mind.

I often wonder, who's helping hands are helping whom.? 

Monday, January 10, 2011

Honestly Its Time...

Time is something it seems I either have to much of, or never enough of.

A few years ago I bought a couple of 'self timers', so that when we are gone a lamp or some such will turn on and then off again at a designated time.

It really is quite handy.

Sometimes I even set it so that a lamp will turn on when we arrive home after dark.

It's nice to come home to a light that is on.

Feels homey and warm.

I sure wish I could find an electronic self timer for myself.

To help get me going, or get me to stop doing something, at the right time. of the day or night.

But I don't.

Instead, I have a 'self nagging conscience', telling me it wouldn't hurt to get up a little early and make good use of the treadmill. Or to walk on it while I watch a movie at night.
My 'internal self nagger' setting tells me I'm on the computer to long, or not long enough.
It has even been pushing me to get a Christmas list in the ready for next year.

I also have a little 'external honesty speaker' that comes to my house often. That has a way of telling me things in way's I can't always ignore...
So while my 'internal self nagger' has some good points, my little 'external honesty speaker' has an endearing way of getting my attention.

I feel a for instance is in order.

The other day I was sitting in a chair getting ready to read a book to her, thinking to myself that I really should get to the treadmill a.s.a.p., she climbed up on my lap, looking into my eye's she smiled briefly, then slapped both of her tiny hands on my tummy and started to jiggle it.!!
All the while singing loudly, "Ho, ho, ho! Trismas time is toming!! Trismas time is toming!!" Pausing to look me squarly in the eye she asked, "Grammy? You Trismas?"

After the initial shock, the color of my face changing from white to a heated, rosy hue, the air had returned to my lungs, I started to laugh and thanked my little  'external honesty speaker'.

I have since then, made the time to change a few things in my day making the time to visit that lonely treadmill in the basement!

The best part of the story is the happiness in finding that I don't  really want my 'internal nagger'.  But what a  blessing it is to have an 'external honesty speaker'!!

I guess I don't need an electronic self timer after all!

May we all find an 'honesty speaker' that we listen to, and may God bless.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

I Use A Lot Of Words...

I like words.

I happen to use a lot of them. Because it seems that I talk a lot. And I talk more, and faster, when I get excited or nervous...

I recently started putting words on paper in the form of a book, that I hope to finish this year, then see where it goes from there.

In the meantime, I thought I'd start sharing some of my word's and their meanings every now and again.

Take for instance the word gregarious~
[gri-gair-ee-uhs] –adjective
1. fond of the company of others; sociable.
2. living in flocks or herds, as animals.
3. Botany . growing in open clusters or colonies; not matted together.
4. pertaining to a flock or crowd.

Use it in a sentence:

It was a Gregorius little group that gathered around Grammy's little island in the kitchen. Laughter was the main form of communication as they amassed  a plethora of items to express themselves with the play dough they excitedly helped make, on this grey and stormy December day. 

Being a gregarious person myself, it makes me very happy that this passel of grand children are companionable too.

Don't be afraid to crack open a dictionary to find the perfect word, and, how to use may be surpised to read a book or article with a dictionary as a may open up deeper meanings.

Go now. Have fun with words. May God bless.

Here is what the thesaurus had to share about the word:
Main Entry: gregarious

Part of Speech: adjective
Definition: friendly
Synonyms: affable, clubby, companionable, convivial, cordial, fun, outgoing, sociable, social.

Main Entry: companionable
Part of Speech: adjective
Definition: friendly
Synonyms: affable, amicable, buddy buddy, clubby, complacent, congenial, conversable, convivial, cordial, cozy, cozy with, familiar, genial, good-natured, gregarious, intimate, mellow, neighborly, outgoing, pally, palsy, sociable, social, tight, tight with.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Ruts & Routines

January is usually the coldest month of the year in my neck of the woods. So it's the month of doing things inside to stay as warm as possible. I try to finish up old projects and line up new ones to start.

I'm doing a little embroidery while I gear up for a few bigger projects this year.

I'm also very deep in my rut of routines in January. I'm a typical Pisces in every other way, but for these darn things.

I have a love / hate relationship with ruts, but can enjoy a good routine.

I love that laundry day is usually Monday, I hate when it takes until Wednesday to get it done. I look forward to the clothesline being used!
I love that there is a rhythm to doing dishes by hand, an order to the chaos, I hate drying them. The dish washer with just two at home, isn't used unless we have company. It just takes to long to fill it :/
I love eating, I hate exercising...can't I just wake up thin again?

So while I grapple with these, and many other dilemma's, with the accompanying order and routines, I am shoving some ruts aside finding a sunny window much more appealing, gathering a book or some embroidery to disappear from my life for an hour, or more if I'm lucky...then it's back to my rut...with frequent bursts of pandemonium sprinkled liberally throughout the day's.

Today, I believe I shall begin to replace one morning rut, for a new routine that involves a morning cup of yoga...

Here's wishing us luck on breaking out of some ruts this year and finding more enjoyable routines and may God bless.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Resolutions vs. Dreaming

Well last night when I went to bed it was Twenty~Ten, this morning when I woke up it is Twenty~Levin...Just like that another year was done and gone and a new one here.

Some interesting things happened last year. Interesting because they were new to me and I got the opportunity to learn how to live with them and through is purely hindsight that allows me to say they were interesting.

In my learning I found that life, my life, needs to be lived, not just trudged through daily, but to be enjoyed to its fullest. I don't want to just go through the motions anymore. So I figure that if God can do this, with a few minutes in the morning sky...

I think he can, and will, help me with my dreams. Some I have had tucked away for years, some I've just about given up on, some are brand spanky new...and some are as of yet undiscovered by me.

I've heard life described as 'our own personal mountain's to climb', complete with all the terrain you would find on a mountain.

The first time I remember really traipsing around a mountain was at midnight, in October, with my not yet husband as my guide to the top. Where we were meeting a group of people and there were tents and food and best of all a fire.
It took us five hours to reach our destination-all of it with only a small flash light to use, sometimes, and the rest was with the light of a beautiful harvest moon.

I did not know what I had gotten myself into.

I had seen these mountain's for years, and year's. I had ventured into them for car trips, a picnic and things...I knew the mountains.
Traveling by foot, in the dark, was not the same. I came to know the mountains! With the help of my wonderful, patient, and often laughing at me guide, I made it to the top. And later back down.

I didn't always notice how beautiful the mountain was, instead I was focused on the dirt, mud and ice puddles I was walking through, the branches on the tree's, I didn't always see, until it was evident beyond reason that they were there. I would get discouraged.

My Honey would stop me and have me look up at the sky to see the beauty of the Milky Way blanketing the vast universe above us and softly tell me the view was better from the top.

So this year. 2011 Twenty~Levin, I am going to try to remember to see the beauty of my mountain's instead of focusing on the ground.

I'm planning to look up, even if I walk a little crookidy at first.

Because there are dreams for me in them thar hill's!!!

This is going to be a year of dreams instead of a year of resolutions...

What are some of the dreams you have tucked away?
Maybe this is the year you can dust them off and try them out with me. Maybe you are stuck in a brier patch, or in a valley where the sun is not shining right now...Maybe this is the year we can climb our mountain's individually, together!

And may God bless us.