Tuesday, September 30, 2014

TOO WET TO READ


I do like the weather we are currently experiencing.  But it is strange. 

 

            I left the house early yesterday. I had wanted to stop off to pick up some trouser socks that I’ll need to start wearing.  When I left the sun was shining.  I had stopped to take off my jacket and put on Roland’s safari hat (recently purchased at Hogle Zoo) and removed it along with my sunglasses before I got to the store.

            As I waited for the bus (so that I could continue on to the school) I took out a book to read. As I was reading, I noticed that light drops began to fall – not enough to concern me if the book had been my own – but it’s a library book.  I’ve already purchased more lost and damaged books than I care to admit. I’d rather not have to make a purchase for replacement anymore.

            The skies were weird.  Blue sky with puffy white clouds mixed in with shades of grey threatening to rain.  I tried to capture what I saw, but the picture doesn’t do it justice (does it ever)



            By the time I arrived at the school, it was just too wet to read – unless maybe I had had my umbrella – which I didn’t. 

            The books I am currently reading are “Cookies to Die For” by Dene Low and “The Storybook Legends” by Shannon Hale.

            “Cookies . . .” is the one I read while on the bus. It is an adult novel (that’s right – adult.  Are you impressed) a mystery-comedy if you will with a flavor of LDS lingo and Mormon culture.  




            Thus far Jane (the narrator) has been kidnapped by two thugs whom she calls Beard and Kid.  She doesn’t know why they’re in her home or what they want with her husband – but he is out of town – along with her boys and dogs.  But she does have neighbors.  Unfortunately for her, they are all at Church.

            Beard finds her neighbors more than annoying as they are constantly calling to find out why Jane is not at church.  Or if they can stop by or pick her up or visit, etc.  Meanwhile, Jane is still wearing her yellow scouting shirt from the previous day.  Right now it is stained with tomato and she thinks it might look like blood.  It is the middle of the night and they have left her house and are now at the auto parts company where her husband works (I’m really not that far into it)

            “ . . .Legends” appears to be part of a series called “Ever After High”.  I wonder if Jenna will want to read more from the series.



            Jenna and I do not to have this one read until we meet in November.  It’s for the mother/daughter group that we attend.  We’ve already read the one for October.  Jenna was hoping to start on the one for May.  But I think we should do them in order.

            Actually both of them seem to have a similar theme – that is to retell fairytales from another point of view.  In this case it is two daughters: Apple White – daughter of Snow White (though I wonder why Apple’s last name would be White and not Charming for her father?) and Raven, daughter of the wicked queen.

            In the book each has completed her first year of school and has entered the second.  In the second year students are expected to sign the book of legends and follow the story the way the parents have.  Only Raven does not wish to be wicked. 

            The students have returned from summer break, and Raven is happy to see that she’ll be sharing her dorm with Madeline Hatter – who she considers to be a fun crazy type person.  But Apple has just made arrangements for the two of them to room together. 

            Last time we read, Raven had just been handed her schedule, and though she tried to make some adjustments, the headmaster wouldn’t allow it.  Jenna and I both love reading fairytales that have been written in a different way from the same old, same old.

            In May (though I suspect we’ll be reading before Christmas) we will be discussing the book “Rump: The True Story of Rumplestiltskin” by Liesl Shurtliff.  I placed a hold at the library, but it hasn’t been set aside as of yet.  I don’t know why.  The West Valley Library has a copy on display.  But as I am not a gifted speed-reader, and the “Legends” book has more than 300 pages, I’m really not in a hurry to check out another book when I have less than two weeks left on the other.  I may have to renew it – or wait until November to finish it.  

          I will be writing another review.  I've already written reviews on some of the books that we'll be reading this coming year.


        

Monday, September 29, 2014

October Air




     I Love the fall.  I love the crisp air.  I love rain.

     The last week of September seems to cool down – not as cold as October – sometimes wet.  Not always.

     This September has been extremely hot – hotter than August.  Hot like July.  I welcome the October air.

     It started on Saturday.  Down poured all day.  There was a funeral at the Church.  And Jenna had a party to attend.
    
     I went with Roland to the Church and took the cake for the luncheon provided to the family.  I asked what time I was needed.  Not until noon.  I returned to the house until it was time to leave.

     I put the dog out so he would go to the bathroom outside and not in the house.  I planned to bring him back inside after I took Jenna to her party.

     Joni and Super Ruby had plates of salad ready to go out into the cultural hall.  Originally the Relief Society was told to plan for 100 – 125 people.  I’m guessing the rain kept many away.

     Jenna played in the nursery as we waited for the funeral to end.  When Roland came into the kitchen to assist, I could hear the rain beating down.  I asked Roland if he would take Jenna to the party so that I wouldn’t have to drive.

     Pamela gave the closing prayer and asked that the rain could be lifted long enough for the grave to be dedicated.  And it was.  It stopped as the dedication got started, it continued just as the dedication ended.  Or so I heard.  I was moving salads from the kitchen to the tables – along with some other sisters and Roland.

     He left long enough to get Jenna to her friend’s birthday party.  Super Ruby cut each sheet cake into twelve pieces and scooped out monster squares to put on plates. 

     Super Ruby doesn’t seem to delegate.  She somehow believes that she is in charge and is responsible for feeding at least 30 people by herself.  She is a great cook.  I bet she owns at least a hundred pots and pans.  She had only brought twelve of them.  Plus she provided all the table decorations.

     I probably could have come home.  Before the family returned to the church, more kitchen help arrived.  More than was actually need, I think. 

     After Jenna called to announce that the party was over and Roland had taken all the tables down, he came to get me and announced that we were leaving.  By then it was just Joni and Super Ruby left in the kitchen – although Kristen would be returning, and I said I would return as well.  But after I had stacked all of Super Ruby’s pans, and sacks, and goods by the door, Joni told me that they didn’t need me to return.

     Roland wanted to run a few errands.  We went to Fashion Place Mall.  I hate Fashion Place Mall.  It’s too busy.  It’s too overwhelmingly crowded with stores and shops and people.

     Roland had volunteered to drop me and Jenna off or return so that we wouldn’t have to get wet.  Jenna and I welcomed the rain.  We needed it.  We needed it to soak into our skin and wash the heat away. 

     I don’t know what time it was when we finally returned home.  Oh, no!  I had left Highness outside!  All that time.  And he doesn’t have the sense to seek shelter, and so he was wet.  Fur soaked through.  We let him in.  He wanted to cuddle.  He wanted us to love the moisture away, I guess.

     It rained again yesterday and all last night.  Grey clouds this morning, but when the sun came up, the clouds gradually went from grey to white and it hasn’t rained today.  But the air is still crisp like October air.  

     Some trees have turned, but not all.  Most of them are green still.  At least the ones that are in my view.  I know they've already turned in the mountains.  I heard that there is a high percentage of snow - in the mountains.  It can snow in the mountains.  So long as it stays in the mountains.  I'd rather trudge in snow than blazing heat though.

     I considered going to Kayla’s.  Of course I missed the first bus I saw.  It turned before I could cross – and my feet hurt too much to continue walking.  So I sat down and waited 15 minutes.

     The transfer had buses scheduled at three minutes apart.  I should have taken the second one.  I may have made the next transfer.  I didn’t think about it until I was on my way to the TRAX station that I would have to wait for another half hour (which would make another hour before arriving to Kayla’s) and so I just took the train and went back home.

     I cleaned out the pantry and did the dishes.  Roland wanted me to program a remote.  But first I had to print out the directions.  My eyesight is not that great – I need the instructions to be in big letters.  I still can’t get the remote to work however.  And now I am creating this post to put on my blog.  And now you are reading it.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Same Name, Different Style


Have you ever had your mind (or heart) set on a specific food or dish – which you have had several times – only to have your server put something entirely different in front of your face.  Well, perhaps not entirely different, but noticeably different.  The name is the same, but the taste and appearance is off.

Take corn bread for instance.  Here in the west it is light and yellow and fluffy.  It crumbles as you eat it and has a sweetness to it – even before you drench it in gooey honey.  It is delicious.

When I was on my mission and had learned from one of the sisters that we’d be having corn bread with our dinner, I got excited (as it had been a while since I had it)  I didn’t dislike the flat and heavy white no-sweet-to-it-whatsoever southern version of corn bread – but I must say I was disappointed.  I think adding honey to that particular batch would have tasted gross.

There are many of varieties of food that have the same name.  Here are some examples:











Friday, September 26, 2014

Biscuits with Gravy and Scones with Honey-Butter




This morning Roland made biscuits with sausage gravy.  Biscuits and Gravy had been a morning staple for those who lived where I served my mission – at least my first area.  I recall a conversation (after we pointed out to her that biscuits and gravy in the west was not that common.)

She said that she couldn’t even imagine life without biscuits and gravy.  We said that someone in the west missing biscuits and gravy would be as easy to imagine as for her to imagine life without scones.

What?!

“What are scones?”

“Exactly. That’s how much we would miss biscuits with gravy”

Because scones was such a foreign concept to the members of my first area, my companion decided it would be fun to introduce several of them to our idea of wonderful.

Several members were invited to the bishop’s home where my companion (though I think we had made the initial dough at the dinky trailer where we had lived) fried up scones and put me in charge of the honey-butter.  I stirred the honey and butter together.  Big deal.  It was my companion who had done the majority of work.



I don’t think the members were all too impressed with scones.  I didn’t hear anybody say anything about the scone itself.  Several praised me on my wonderful honey-butter (as though I had slaved all day over it;  actually that part of the world seemed big into apple butter – which is not near as sweet as the honey)  It is the only time I remember having scones on my mission.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Thank You for the Prayers



I suppose I should have waited for Pamela to call back before I created that last post.  She had told me that she’d be going out of town.  I didn’t think of that until after I left the message.  I had tried to contact Scarlet when I thought that Pamela was out of town.  (Perhaps it’s Scarlet who is out of town?)

Pamela returned my call and will be helping me on Super Saturday rather than at the Appreciation Dinner.  I still had not gotten a hold of Scarlett, but sent another email to ignore my first.  But for some reason I had entered the wrong phone number and so I turned the computer on in order to look up the correct number.

Before the computer warmed up, my cell phone rang.  It was Sharon – another sister in my ward – offering to teach a class on making popcorn balls.  Seriously!  Super Saturday is looking like it might be super after all.  Thank you to my readers who took the time to pray for me.  Appreciate the miracle.  It’s going to be great!

Murphy is More Opposed to Super Saturday than I am


If anything can go wrong,
it will
– Murphy’s Law

Okay,
this post may be a bit long
and a bit drawn out
especially if I put it
in verse style. 
You don’t have to read it.

Just after we moved
to West Valley and 
attended church,
I was called to be
on the committee for 
the activities for 
the Relief Society. 
Kristen was the activities’ director 
(or enrichment hostess
or homemaking guide
or whatever they called it then)
I was grateful to be
and enjoyed my calling
on the committee
but not as the chief.

It couldn’t have been more
than five months (or so it felt)
before Kristen was called to be
the primary president
and Loretta was handed the reigns of 
RS activity director. 
She did not seem to
want a committee. 
I thought she was bananas.

When Loretta moved
out of the ward,
Hannah was asked to do the calling.   
Enthusiastic Hannah who
always puts such excitement
into no matter what position
she is called to
and always serves with a genuine and powerful smile. 
She actually reminds me a lot of
my sister-in-law, Sunny,
who always radiates positiveness.

I didn’t think
anyone could ever fill her shoes – just as I didn’t think
anyone could fill Super Ruby’s shoes
(who at the time
was serving as Relief Society President)
but most callings
(at least that’s been my observation
in this ward) don’t last
more than a couple of years
(leadership positions would be the exception)

Meanwhile Kristen
(the same one who had been called
to primary president)
was returned to Relief Society
– this time as RS president.
Hannah had actually worn many hats
all at the same time (or so it seemed)
and was released a while later
to fulfill other callings. 

Pamela’s calling was short lived
or so it seems. 
She was called to be a primary worker. 
She is currently enjoying
the coveted positon of teaching
the class in which my daughter
is the only female member
in attendance. 
And guess who got called
to be RS activity chief
after Pamela left?
What was the Lord thinking
to call me to that position? 
What’s more, why did I agree?

Pamela appeared
to be quite organized
as she handed me a binder
full of information
that I could use or change
at my discretion. 
Kristen asked if I wanted
a large committee. 
Heck, yes. 
How many sisters could we call?  
I wanted at least one representative
of every age
and personality.  
I think we ended up with twelve. 
We’ve never held a meeting
with more than six (well eight
with me and Scarlett – who is
the enrichment/activity/homemaking counselor 
– whatever her title is. 
Heck.  I don’t even know my own title)

So the first thing on the agenda
is Super Saturday (I believe) 
which I so don’t care about. 
Actually there have been scads of activites
that I haven’t cared about. 
I usually to the enrichment/activity nights for
the association and not for
the activity itself. 
It hasn’t mattered which ward
I’ve been in. 
I have never stayed for
an entire Super Saturday.
And in this case
Murphy wants to take over
– has from the start. 
Stupid Murphy.

Kristen conducted the first meeting
as I appeared clueless on
what the word “conduct” even meant. 
She wrote down ideas and
outlines on the board. 
She has always had the appearance
of being greatly organized. 
Some of the members on my committee
took great notes. 
One actually took a picture
of the board. 
I was still in a trans. 
After I returned home,
I realized I had done absolutely nothing. 
I had not written anything. 
That’s not good.
I should be released.

Our Super Saturday was set
for August I believe,
but we hadn’t advertised,
nor did we ever
have a large audience to advertise to.
Summer seemed unproductive. 
Church attendance was down
all the way around. 
Good time to travel,
I guess.

I changed Super Saturday to September. 
Or tried to.  T
turned out not to be a good month
 for my instructors.
We had four activities to choose from
– I think. 
Pamela would teach sisters
to sew really cute pot holders,
Kim had her blocks
that seemed to be quite popular
at the last Super Saturday.
I was going to do
a recycling demonstration
and Tina had offered to teach flowers
or else we would frost cakes or cookies? 
Perhaps that was a suggestion for another activity? 
But nobody could do it in September. 
Change date again? 
or cancel all together? 
I wish I had just cancelled. 
I didn’t realize that Janice
(one of my committee members
who had come to just our first meeting)
had made arrangements to have
her niece speak that month.

Meanwhile I planned a 
different activity for September – 
one in which we would get 
to know one another.   
We pulled it off.   
Those who attended 
said they enjoyed.   
Super Saturday may not have 
the same results.  
For here is the latest catastrophe:
Yesterday I receive an invitation
to attend a luncheon
given by the wives of the stake presidency
to the wives of the bishoprics
the Bishopric Wives Appreciation Luncheon. 
Guess when it is? 
The same day scheduled as Super Saturday. 
I’d really like to go to it. 
But that’s not the worse of it. 
Pamela is one of the people to RSVP
– she can’t do the luncheon
and teach on Super Saturday. 
Right now I cannot get a hold of her.

Guess I’ll be emailing Scarlett. 
I have a feeling it’s going
to be a chain of reaction thing
that will affect Kim
one way or the other. 
Or perhaps all the sisters who signed up.
Would it be possible to change it again?
I should be released.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

“Birthday Surprises” Review



Johanna Hurwitz edited the book “Birthday Surprises” found in the juvenile literature section in the library.  Easy reading and highly entertaining.  I think Jenna will enjoy it.

Johanna Hurwitz had asked ten children’s authors to come up with a story involving a child celebrating his or her birthday; several presents and a beautifully decorated box that’s empty.  I LOVED it.  I loved the creativity.  I loved how different each story was.

Pam Conrad wrote quite a touching story about a man in a rest home who’s about to celebrate his 100th birthday and is worried about what his sister will do when she shows up for the party.

His great great grandson listens to the details of a memory of the last time he had seen his sister and his gift (or lack thereof) and how his predictions were so different from what had really taken place.  The only story that brought tears to my eyes.

Ellen Conford’s story was hilarious.  A girl (Diane) writes in her journal about her party and her friends and one girl in particular, Tracy – her frenemy (she doesn’t call her that – but that’s how it reads) and how much Tracy is at fault when it seems pretty clear to the reader that it is Diane who is clueless as she writes about whatever is “not” bothering her.

I really enjoyed the poem written by Karla Kuskin and the creative imagination on the part of the receiver and what genuine happiness.  I like the imaginative ending.

Johanna Hurwitz also brings a humorous piece of her own – written in the form of several letters to and from the “Nature Wonder & Company”, the parents of an unhappy birthday boy, and the birthday boy himself. 

I found each story to be very clever and enjoyed each for different reasons.  I loved this book!  I hope Jenna loves it as well.