Monday, April 30, 2007

full nest,empty nest

Morty and Helen finished building their nest and seemed determined to stay put although the traffic was heavy. They had four little eggs, and chirped and sang all day long. Then as suddenly as they appeared, and as Adan forewarned, they disappeared.
I came home after being gone only a half an hour or so, and there on the porch was the fallen nest and the four little eggs, broken along with my heart. I can hear Helen and Morty off in the trees mourning their loss. But hopefully they will come back again someday.
On the flip side, our interior nest is full! #5 is home for a few weeks to go through some medical tests and take a very short break before going back to the BY-U. She brought home everything she owns because she is making another move when she returns for Spring/Summer. Our house has clothes, shoes, baggage and a ton of books everywhere! The poor thing is sleeping on the couch and making herself at home with no privacy. But she is sweet about it. She has made a couple of temple trips and a couple of thrift store trips for new skirts. She found some very good deals! Shopping with her sister, beach trip with friends and hanging out with family for two weeks is sure to do her good!
We have had a good visit, but I am sad because I am leaving for Utah tomorrow and she is staying to finish up some more doctor visits and tests.
If anyone is at Women's Conference say "hello!", I'll be one of the 20,000 women walking the campus! I hope to find time to blog a bit, but if not I will when I be home this Saturday.

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Sunday, April 29, 2007

2 jokes from the bishop....

As a segue from introducing the three new babies in the 1ward to the calling of some new offices during *Sacrament Meeting this morning, our 2Bishop offered the following:

"In our former ward there was a young couple and their new little boy who sat near the front of the chapel. One particular Sunday the baby boy began to cry and became increasingly fussy as time went on. Mommy did everything she could, she offered a bottle, patted his bum, gave him to daddy who did a couple of 'from the bench' tosses in the air, nothing worked. This baby was now not just crying, but screaming and mad.

Their Bishop had compassion for the couple and walked down to the third row and gently took the babe from his parents hands and walked out of the chapel. A short few minutes later the Bishop returned, babe sound a sleep and restful the entire meeting schedule.

After church was over the amazed parents went to the Bishop and asked what he did that calmed their little boy down so intensely that he remained asleep throughout church. The Bishop replied that "It really wasn't anything difficult, I just ordained him to the office of 3High Priest."

During the 4fifth Sunday Combined Adult Sunday School class:

"A 5home teacher died and went to heaven. At the gate Saint Peter told the home teacher that in order to stay in heaven "he would have to visit 200 homes each month." The home teacher was shocked and asked what happened if he refused to accept his heavenly assignment? Saint Peter replied: "Then down you go!" A button was pushed and down he went.

Satan met the home teacher at his gate and invited him in stating, now that the home teacher was in hell, he must visit "2 homes each month or face a fiery furnace!" "Wow!" the home teacher replied, "That's a heck of a lot easier than being in heaven!" Satan looked at him as if he were dull and said: "Look around...we have a lot of home teachers down here!"

1Ward = congregation.
*Sacrament Meeting/Service = The 'main' worship service on Sunday for the LDS church, where the Sacrament is offered to members of the congregation. The Sacrament is symbolic of the Atonement of the Saviour Jesus Christ. After the Sacrament has been passed throughout the congregation, the remainder of the meeting usually consists of a member of the youth over 12 giving an assigned subject talk for 2-3 minutes, and 2 adult speakers, also given assignment topics. Hymns and other music is often part of the service. After this service has concluded, Sunday School and other worship classes are available. The LDS people attend Sunday Meetings for a 3 hour block each Sunday.
2Bishop = a lay minister in the LDS church.
3Four times a year there will be a month with a 5th Sunday. On that Sunday, all adults who are not teaching a class of their own will join together for instruction by the ward Bishop.
4High Priest = Usually an older man, but can be any man over the age of 18. Because many High Priests are elderly, they have a worldwide reputation for "resting their eyes/meditating/or otherwise sleeping" during church services!
5Home Teachers = 2 men, assigned as companions, are given 2-5 families with whom they are to meet with at least once a month to lend Spiritual support, teach a Gospel Principle (less than 15 minute lesson), comfort, offer help and/or assistance when needed, be their church contact, and otherwise be their friend. Most men and young men over the age of 12 are in a companionship. Unfortunately, there is wide spread apathy for this particular church assignment...making the joke work because so many home teachers fall short of their goals!

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Friday, April 27, 2007

When you get a perm, everyday is Fryday

Being technologically impaired as I am I worked for about three hours tonight searching for a terrific photo to add to this post...just for illustration point, ugh! You will need to use your imaginations, however I doubt it will be difficult to envision

Your worst "bad hair" day!

Yup we all have them. Sometimes the worst bad hair day is immediately after going to the hair stylist and going for a new look. I am the third of three sisters. Back in the day the look always went contrary to what we were all born with. I remember envying Chronicler and her wickedly awesome curly hair. It was the era of "free love" and all things natural. Sis number 2 had "the perfect hair". It was lighter than either Chronicler's or mine, the colour of honey and, depending on how she dried, it could go from stick straight to frizzed out kinkiness. Then there was me. I had, have, the straightest hair in the gene pool. Even the hair on my arms sticks straight out instead of gently laying down and behaving. So there I was, a victim of fashion in an era when Janis Joplin was standing next to Jimmy Hendrix and the both looked as if they had been spending their free time sticking forks in toasters.

Chronicler was cool. She was hip. She was nothing if not trendy in her day. Tall, thin, and with the hair girls in high school would die for. Then one day she wanted straight hair. She spent her early morning hours before school with her head over the ironing board and ironed each strand so that it would sit there in an obedient homage to Cher. At bedtime she would gather her Dippity Doo and orange juice cans and roll her long main into nightly submission. I still wonder how she ever slept in those things.

I drooled over curls. I wanted them so desperately that one year my Gramma tried to make my wish come true. She even kept me home from school one day so that the "set" would take in preparation for the fourth grade class picture; the one in which I would have "ringlets!!!" Two days of curlers and stiffened follicles, coated in a complete jar of green Dippity Doo and allowed to dry 48 hours. I remember the curlers. Pink, yellow, and sea foam green with tiny spikes to hold the hair in place, even though there were 3/4 circular "caps" to clamp over the spiked mechanisms of beauty. No pain, no gain was the motto.

I remember waking up an hour early, donning my prettiest dress, a burgundy paisley number with velvet trim, and sitting patiently (?) while Gramma untangled my candy coloured "rat's nest". She wielded a can of Aqua Net Super Hold and sprayed my crunchy hair to a new, unheard of level. I walked to the mirror and fell in love! I had CURLS!

By the time I made it to the photo session after sitting like a statue during the first recess, my hair was limp and barely wavy. Crunchy? Yes. But curly? No. I still have that photo and my smile is huge!

Sometime in my fifth year of marriage I finally got my hair to "take" a perm. And BOY did it take the perm. The skin around my forehead was so burned by the chemicals that I literally had an eighth inch scab circling my face for about two weeks...but I had permed hair. Permed hair that maid Chaka Khan's hair look like a the current Micheal Jackson's. I was hideous. A fried mass of 80's "big hair". I would try several more times to get the middle sister perfection with every kind of perm out there. Relaxed, wave, body, you name it, they all had the exact result...Tina Turner at the beach.

So today's post is here to help folks like me. People who just can't seem to get it right before it's too late. Below are four online sites that provide FREE "makeovers". You can use their models or upload a photo of yourself to test out new hair styles and colours.

All of them are pretty much the same. You will be asked to provide personal information, however you can 'cheat' if you want to and they still let you proceed. They will entice you to sign up for added features, magazines, or other paraphernalia, but again, you can skip it. If you upload your own photo you will go through a couple of steps to adjust the lines to your facial features, go on to choosing colours and styles and eventually get a photo of your new look. Some allow you only one photo upload, others as many as you want.

Time to have fun...oh and this is available for guys too!


"Ladies Home Journal"

"The Hair Styler"


So how'd it work out for you?

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Wednesday, April 25, 2007

A Corner in My Home

A while back Chronicler asks me if I would begin a series once a week of a corner in my house. "Take a photo of a space in my home and explain why it is important in my life." So here you go.

In this corner are the fresh status and ranunculus that I got at Costco. I love the clove scent of the status! The colours are absolutely gorgeous and the table just looks better with some blooms!

I love fresh flowers. I used to want Thor to bring them home to me, surprise me with fresh flowers for no occasion, but rarely did that happen. I waited and waited for him to catch on. I would drop hints. I would blatantly beg for them. And I would get upset and depressed when they would never come.

I was unfair. The man had enough to do bringing me home bacon. I have a terrific man in Thor and frankly, he wasn't given that example and all the pleading in the world would not inspire him on the way home from a hard day at work to grab a bunch of daisies "for no reason". It was unreasonable for me to get angry at him for this.

Now, I just pick up flowers when I want them. I pick the ones I like, I get the quantities I desire, I am happy and Thor is happy. This is the lesson: To all of us who dream of our spouses doing __________, perhaps we (read: everyone) would be happier if we just cut to the chase and provided it for ourselves.

I have a friend who really gets steamed because her husband doesn't initiate family prayer or family home evening lessons. I have another friend who is just as irritated that her husband doesn't surprise her with planned evenings and babysitting paid for. Still another is driving herself crazy because her husband still doesn't understand why she needs to have the laundry a certain way. The list could go on.

I think the best solution would be for we married folk to just speak up clearly about our needs and wants. If my spouse is too busy, dense, or otherwise tired, ignorant or stubborn....perhaps I should just figure out a way to get the flowers myself. How hard is it to ask someone to gather for family prayer. Is it easier to to fold the sheet this way or that rather than making a huge fuss about it? Wouldn't life be more pleasant if I got the sitter, packed an overnight bag and surprised my spouse? In all of these scenarios and many others the result would be the same, and both persons will be happy.

So here's the corner for today: Don't drive myself or my spouse crazy trying to fill up the little things. Surprise both of us and find a way to get it done myself! With a smile and without resentment. Big a big girl and take charge of my happiness! Who knows? Maybe in the long run there will a better surprise.

Now here's the challenge: Take a photo of a "corner" in your house and describe why it is such an important part of your life!

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Love is in the air...

Meet Helen and Morty. These two doves have decided to make a happy little home atop one of the pillars on our front porch. They coo and warble as they flit here and there gathering twigs and grass from the yard to make their nest. I am not sure how long they will stay because they are very close to the front door and are skittish whenever anyone walks through it. I hope they stay. Cross your fingers!

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Tuesday, April 24, 2007

"Women in Prison...Guilt by Association" -today's afterschool special

I have the genuinely sweetest women for friends. Yesterday I was at lunch with three of them, two of whom devote many many hours of volunteer service in a women's prison near our area. We talked for quite a while about their service, their training, the background checks and all the work they do to prepare themselves for this particularly difficult ministry.

One of the ladies is well into her 70's (been all over the world) the other in her late 50's (the wife of one of the world's foremost experts on illegal substance law enforcement and also sexual crime prosecution); both are intelligent, witty, wise, and hard working. They told stories of how small mistakes led the inmates towards larger transgressions and eventually the grievous sins and crimes that led to the incarceration of their charges. They talked of the feeling one gets as they walked through the corridor that has steel doors slamming shut every few feet. They talked about the "yard" being open, yet if a prisoner walks to the west of a particular sign they are warned at gunpoint to get back into the protected arena used for outdoor activities. They talk about the women and the lives they lead while under their terms of correction.

There were the stories of how after many hours of training, the hugs still continue between the prisoners and visitors. They told me stories of conversion and repentance and some of hardness and bitterness that still lingers. They expressed kindness and love towards these women they consider friends; and how much the inmate women look forward to visits and love they receive. They try to sympathize with the loneliness that comes with losing your children, being without your husband, family or friends. How most of these women are from another state, so familial visitors are rare if at all. How the prisoners need to establish rank and defences so that certain abuses don't take over what life they do have within the system.

One of the ladies said that she had many stories from inmate experiences that she chooses to forget once she leaves the facility...and added an expression that led us all to wonder what she was trying to forget. The other lady acquiesced with her subtle nod. Now we were very curious; and the first consented.

"Well, there are activities that our friends out there participate in that are not allowed, yet these women are SO isolated and oppressed they just can't let an opportunity go by that would give them a little feeling of, what is it?" leaning to the other one for the words.

The other nervously giggles and hides her head in an embarrassed "I'm not going there!..."

So the first finishes in struggled searching for the right words..."Well, oh this is terrible! It's just that they are so lonely and aching for friendship and love. They do things they wouldn't do if they were out in the world. (literally blushing at this point) And if the authorities knew I knew about this -we would be in such trouble! These women just need companionship. They are looking for a friend. (long pause to screw courage and confess) The women tell us that after they have cleaned up in the kitchen, they sneak over to the fridge and steal extra desserts to smuggle back into their cells! (eyes wide open at this confession of guilt) It's kind of a 'if one of us gets caught we all get caught' so they just go along with it! In reality it's not that bad, but it does break the rules!"

Man, my mind was not in the fridge. I have seen way to many made for t.v. movies.

I need to go repent now. And boil my brain.

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Sunday, April 22, 2007

It isn't easy being green....

Thanks to the over hype of Mr. Gore's "Inconvenient Truth", his 'do as I say not as I do' attitude and the fact that he admits to lying to get his point across, many people are either completely freaked out about global warming or completely apathetic.

Today is Earth Day. For me, I choose to commune with my inner hippy chick earth mother flower power girl and celebrate. Hey anything for a party right? I am here to convince you -not to join a camp, but to be a nice person.

Back when I was a little girl there was a campaign to help folks realize that somehow the trash faeries had left the planet and that if you threw your trash our a car window it would just stay there and blow around until it decomposed or found it's way into a fence or bush. They also explained to my ten year old self that things like diapers, styrofoam, and many other items would never decompose or take thousands if not millions of years to do so. Think Twinkies.

Because I bought in to all the hippy chick news back then I have always tried to reduce - reuse- recycle. We have energy efficient appliances, lights, and our heating and cooling bills are minimal due to our trying to use as little of those appliances as possible. We have low flow showers and toilets, and our landscaping is xeroscaped and au natural for our environment. We have recycle rubbish tins in the house and take care to take our trash back with us when we are out doors on vacations, etc. I have a zillion canvas bags to use instead of paper or plastic. While shopping at bulk stores I refuse boxes, because frankly, I will roll the groceries out to my car, put them into a trunk and drive them to my doorstep. All I have to do at that point is make a few more trips back and forth into the house, and I don't need to throw away a bunch of weird shaped boxes.

A couple of years back we here in California experienced an "energy shortage" wherein the government officials begged, plead, and offered bribes to those of use who would reduce our energy bills by 20%. The plan was that the utility companies would review your bill/statement record and calculate how your energy could be cut. The trouble with that plan was there were those of us who already were in energy conservation mode and had reduced as much as we could. Then there were the middle ground folks who earnestly tried the plan; and the people who feel the rules never apply to them and use whatever whenever they please, knowing the others people will take up the slack. grrr.

Here are a few Earth Day suggestions I would like us all to consider:

Whether or not one believes the earth is warming/cooling/or otherwise self destructing- wouldn't we be better off to pick up after ourselves, to conserve what resources we have; in other words just stop being so selfish and greedy and expecting someone else to clean it up or save it for us.

Here are a few more suggestions for folks who really want to go the extra mile:

"Carbon Footprint" Find out what a Carbon Footprint is and what you can do to reduce yours!
"Green Dimes" A place that helps you reduce those nasty junk mailers and plant trees at the same time.
"The Nature Conservancy" where you can find more info on adopting an acre, rescuing reefs, and donating to other green projects.
"Tree People" The answer's in the name.
"National Arbor Day Foundation" A terrific source for not only trees, but gardening, finding you agricultural zone and if you join you get a free tree!
"Kiva" A very cool site that helps you get a third world artisan's business up and going. You loan them the money and they pay you back!
"Heifer International" Another way to help in nations where people are struggling to get on their own feet. A little can go a very long way. And in the long run the folks you help are required to help someone else.
"LDS Foundation" I suggest the Humanitarian Aid (these are the folks the Red Cross go to first for help- you help them, they help the Red Cross, without the middle man getting a piece of the pie) and The Perpetual Education Fund (which loans college funds to dedicated students who then pay the money back so that someone else can have that opportunity also. Hence the name...perpetual!)
"The Emerald Market" A great source for buying "green".
"National Geographic" I threw this in just for inspiration...

Anyone else out there have terrific places for us to go and help out our dear Mother Earth and the people who live here? Let's have it!

Happy Earth Day everyone! Peace baby!

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Saturday, April 21, 2007

The Mormons, on PBS

Through perusing the PBS webpage and at the urging of good friends, I became aware of this independant 2 day documentary "The Mormons" , that will be shown on PBS April 30 - May 1

I invite all to watch and perhaps learn more of the LDS people. The website also contains links to a press release and also a "companion Web site with--

Frequently asked questions and answers about the intricacies of the Mormon religion, its core tenets, its history, growth and controversies, and its contemporary issues and realities;

An interactive map on the Mormons' westward trek;

Profiles of key people and events in Mormon history;

The extended interviews with leaders and members of the church, leading writers and historians, and supporters and critics;

The major themes explored in this report, with commentary drawn from the extended interviews;

Teachers Guides on Mormon history and the issues of religion, politics and the separation of church and state;

Readings and Links;

A "Join the Discussion" area for viewers;

And, the full four-hour program video streamed for viewing online."

The documentary is a combined effort of both "Frontline News" and "The American Experience" (Produced by award-winning filmmaker Helen Whitney ["Faith and Doubt at Ground Zero," "John Paul II: The Millennial Pope"]).

I plan on viewing this to see how the outside world interprets the LDS people, hopefully with a fair and honest eye, and hope to open a discussion after the viewing with all of you to get your take on the documentary and to answer any more questions that may arise following the presentation. I am by no means an expert on LDS theology, but I consider myself an active member of the religion along with 11million others, so this should be intersting at least!

See you there!

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Thursday, April 19, 2007

Love at Home

Alec Baldwin and Kim Bassinger were married at one time, had a daughter, got divorced and put their child through the wringer.

Mr. Baldwin, frustrated at being stood up by his 11 year old daughter "yet again", decided the best way to handle his disappointment and anger would be to let her "have it" verbally on her message machine and threaten to discipline her for her bad, insulting, and disrespectful behaviours upon his next visitation with her. He repeatedly called his daughter names and also his daughter's mother names that needed to be bleeped out when it was aired on the television this morning.

Ms. Bassinger, frustrated and angry with Mr. Baldwin, decided the best way to handle her emotions would be to hand the taped message over to her publicist and lawyers, and they thought it a grand idea to send copies to every major news station in the country.

When I heard the tape this morning I was ticked, saddened, and many other emotions, however I was not shocked. I have heard worse in the grocery store from a mother, a father, and between siblings. I do not think it, meaning this berating verbal abuse, is limited to Mr. Baldwin nor to couples who have divorced. I have seen "happy" families who verbally abuse each other on a daily basis. They have become so desensitised to name calling, loud tones, destructive words and accusations that this kind of verbal exchange is not a one time behaviour, but the norm when things get heated.

I know a certain man who has much admiration and status among his working peers and his church membership. Those same friends and coworkers would be appalled if they knew this same man told his 6 year old son, upon the court deciding to grant custody to mom, that he didn't know if he could love this 6 year old little boy as much as his new wife's children because he would be living with them every day. He went on to say that if the 6 year old wanted him to receive his father's love, the little boy would need to leave mommy and come live with he and his new wife.

This man and woman have been to court back and forth for over 8 years. The two children involved have been to every court date, heard all the accusations, been asked to make decisions between their parents, and give their opinions as to who is more right, who is more wrong, who is a liar, who is telling the truth.

Both parents hold recommends to attend the temple. Both parents have friends and support from their leaders. Both parents still, after 8 years cannot get through one day without talking to the other parent and making a heated exchange that both children hear.

I have heard both of these parents and others in and out of religion use as bad of language and worse than Mr. Baldwin's today on the phone. I hear it almost every time I go out into public. I have seen frustrated, over tired parents talk to each other and their children as if no one can hear and as if the targets of the words are the world's worst enemy.

Just this week we saw tragedy in Virginia in which a young man, confused and mentally ill took out his anger and frustration on 50 innocent people. I can't help but wonder how many times someone had talked to this young man as a child in the same tones, with that same disgust and anger as Mr. Baldwin used towards his 11 year old daughter. I do not excuse the shooter in Virginia, I do wonder however, who talked to him as if his worth was infinite and his potential divine? Do we sometimes, in our anger and frustration, create mental illness in children?

I do not like contention. I grew up in a home where contention was the norm. "Fighting with your spouse is 'normal' and if you don't get it out, you will be unhealthy." This was the advice I was given as a young bride. I agree that couples need to discuss their disagreements, I do not agree that it needs to be in elevated tones or with angry words. I do not buy into the perceived notion that an argument needs to be a screaming match filled with cursing and punctuated berating.

Thor and I decided very early in our marriage that if our children were to talk to each other with respect they would need an example. What is considered typical sibling verbal exchanges were not allowed in our home. Our kids were not allowed to talk back to us or each other; nor were they allowed to berate, "dis", or name call. Arguments were not allowed to escalate to the point of high pitched emotional outbursts. We tried to teach them how to disagree and still maintain control of their thoughts and emotions. There were times when things did not go as planned, but we had a pretty high success rate.

In General Conference "this talk"by Elder Holland spoke directly to us about the power of our words and how we should control them and use them to edify rather than demean. Then later in the conference Elder Oaks gave us this counsel "on Divorce", and how it is destroying our children in more ways than we think. I have seen this in my own life. I know we have the power to change our habits and make positive changes for our own children.

I am saddened that this little girl has had to live out her childhood being the ping pong ball that her two grown adult parents use to bat back and forth in an effort to "win" the divorce game they are in. Look around your own neighborhoods and you will see plenty of Alec Baldwins. The only difference is, he got caught publicly and will be disciplined to make a point. No one will punish the parents in the mall, down at the grocery store, or sitting behind you in the pew at church.

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good for avoiding more serious material

So this was fun. I think it is a dating service of some kind...but oh well, I liked the visuals and it was fun to find out that I am grossed out by "plastic pumped up people", like the beach, and love chocolate. Yeah, because I didn't know that before.

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overheard, perhaps over watched? I don't know...

O.k. while waiting for an errant R.S. woman to call me back and inform me at what time we need to be in a dress and go visiting I was watching the ever popular (at least at S'mee's house)LA Morning News when I saw what was perhaps the best thing ever.

A group of young women in straight jackets tap dancing!

Yes, you read that correctly. Hopefully the above link will eventually include a clip of that because, frankly, it was awesome! I actually sat here and laughed a bit to myself out loud. The story is one of Gayle Anderson's, (she gets all the good stuff), and was promoting a dance convention. You can learn all about it by using the scroll button on the above link to get to her videos. ahem...

The interview is broke into segments that are shown during the separate hours of the morning show. During the clips the director informs viewers that the idea is to do a dance that is technically correct, yet different...I think teen aged girls in straight jackets hits the mark perfectly.

Just FYI. Carry on.

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Wednesday, April 11, 2007


Sisters! I tell ya. Dear ol' Food Chronicler tagged me as a (get this!) "Thinking Blogger"! hah! o.k. So now I am supposed to define this somehow, give you an example of my mental prowess, and tag a few more blogs that I think think. (aren't you glad you checked in today???)

Defining "thinking blog". Well for me there are more thinkers out there than you can hit whilst swinging a cat; it's the groups I suppose that are being defined. For me anyone who gets me to think qualifies. This can be uber serious blogs that are all news -all the time (insert a very serious non-smiling face), a crafter who always amazes me with their technique, an artist who encourages and motivates each time I to their site, a Spiritual insight that inspires me to change and ponder, or someone who has amazing abilities with humor. All these blogs are more to me than just sitting down and, let's say, show off travel photos. I have had a few glimpses of grey matter, but usually I am just the "hey this is my life" type of posts.

Today I give you "manners". First, because they are more enforced by mothers than any other group I can think of, shouldn't they be called mommers? It's like cookies. Shouldn't they be called bakies? Now "sandals" - they're aptly named. But I digress. I was going to give a long dialog on the lack of manners and its effect on modern society and the decline thereof. Instead I shall praise those who make me think on a daily basis.

Mark- What a guy! He writes only things from his heart. Whether the subject be his wife, children or music, his words are thought provoking, always.

Chookooloonks This wonder woman thrills me everyday and encourages me to go out and take a risk with my camera. She captures her everyday life within the frames of her camera and shares just one photo a day with us...any more and we would get the visual equivalent of a diabetic coma.

Danny, My hero. Fearless motivator of artists everywhere. He not only analyzes his own work, but praises the work of those who submit theirs to him...generous tutor extraordinaire!

The Blog Fathers - Want to hear the male version of the mommy blogs? Here you will find a keen insight into a group of really awesome and dedicated dads. I look forward to this group daily.

Lisa - My friend. "Just a mom" she would say. However, I beg to differ. I read with interest her dealings with the government, hospitals, and other agencies and the bureaucracy that accompanies her daily life as a mom with a mission.

Mary - Inspiring and edifying, she writes with a deep desire to understand the holier things of this world. She makes me long for things that are eternal; and she asks good questions.

Sarah - Anyone who can write humour on a daily basis is a genius in my book. Think it's easy to be funny? Try it. Sarah has decided to go through life as a shadow of Erma Bombeck, a type of Lucille Ball, and prove that Mormon women can be religious and still have a sense of humour.

Robert -I know he must be a geometry major at heart. No one can fold a piece of paper like this man...and I am hooked! He is the kind of artist that makes you think "hey, I should try this!" then second guess yourself over and over...but eventually you give in and give it a try.

not the famous John Watson... -just the John Watson behind all kinds of software toys and tools, the fabulous photographer and the guy who writes about his wife and kids with such great joy.

Keiron -gets my vote for most positive blogger...ever. Sporatic posts that are worth the wait. Keiron chats about his life since losing his arm in a tragic birthday accident...and he always has a happy ending.

So there you go folks...the folks who make me think and ponder and wonder and move to action, and then laugh out loud. Some of them are my friends, the others wouldn't know me from any other lurker on their blog. Well, until tomorrow, when I write them and gush on how I chose them as Thinking Bloggers!

(o.k. can add the "thinking blogger" doohickey to the side bar now!)

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Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Monday, April 09, 2007

Carlton's log, Utah!

Thor and I had the most wonderful experience when we were young. When he was 18, and I 17, our church leaders made the arrangements for us to attend the April Conference of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. We drove up in caravans and spent our nights in hotels, girls in one, boys across the street in another. We spent a couple of days exploring Temple Square and the 'new' Church Office Building. Yup, it was that long ago! Back in those days the church had employed church maintenance teams, and as Providence would have it, our building maintenance man Sam was asked to be the head guy for the new building in Salt Lake City.

Sam was elderly by that time and he wanted to see what he would be in charge of and so he came along as well. We got a private tour of the building before the public or other members were allowed in! We also ran into Paul H. Dunn and were given an audience with him in his private office.

After the last session on Saturday we were also allowed to go back to Temple Square. We were invited back after the Square had closed for the evening and someone special gave us a private tour of the Visitor's Centers and also the Tabernacle and Assembly Hall. We finished with the Assembly Hall and while still inside had a very special testimony meeting. It was one of those times in life that neither of us ever forgot and probably will remember always.

Thor has such strong feelings associated with that trip that he wanted his own young men's group to have the same kind of experience. (Originally the girls were invited, but there were some difficulties that could not be resolved and Thor and his brother were the only ones would could actually take the group, and it ended up being only one small group of boys.)
The boys packed their bags, snacks and lunches and we headed out for conference at 5:00 a.m. Friday! We drove in two vehicles and took the slow route, stopping at as many places as the boys wished to see. We stopped in the Moapa Valley to visit the Lost Valley Museum, we saw the Monument to the Moapa Valley Saints who were sent there to establish the church in that area. While there the boys learned a lot about the Native American Indians who lived there and their history.

Back on the road the boys decided to stop and drive through Zion National Park. They wandered through the Museum at the Park's Southern entrance and then decided to hike out to Weeping Rock and then up the cliffs to give me a heart attack. Back into the car we drove through the tunnels and then the adults went back out the tunnels so that we could take photos of the boys atop the arch (you can only get a good shot of that from across the small valley).

Back into the car we drove northward to cross over the mountain pass and get back onto the 215. At the summit the boys stopped to have a snowball fight and take in the most pretty view of glittery mountain tops still covered with crystallized snow.

We didn't arrive at the hotel until late that night. They packed it in and got a good sleep. At that time I headed over to my best friend's house out in South Jordon. She had a friend who gave us first morning session tickets for Saturday and we were so close! We sat three rows back from the roped area on the floor. Crazy! The boys in our group also had tickets for that session and they had great seats in the balcony. Everyone had such a great experience! Thor and the group went to Temple Square and took tours and walked until their feet fell off! They took in all the Saturday sessions by finding seats in the JSMB. This was a very nice day for the boys and the leaders. They really felt the Spirit.

Sunday we had to head home so we listened to conference in the car. The boys still directed the drive and we went home via as many Temples as we could get in. It was terrific timing and we didn't miss any of the sessions at all! The boys climbed all over temple hill at Manti and then explored the St. George Temple and Las Vegas Temple too.

One of the things I thought was amazing was the dedication the boys had keeping the Sabbath while on the trip. They went shopping Saturday night so they wouldn't have to stop for fast food on the Sabbath. We picnicked in the park for both lunch and dinner. Then after the conference was over the boys used the walkie talkies we had to communicate between cars to sing hymns the rest of the way home.

This trip was awesome for the boys as well as for us.

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Carlton's log, DC, Odds and Ends

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Saturday, April 07, 2007

Happy Resurrection Day!

Just a soft note today to warm you heart and bring on spring a tad quicker. Thoughts go back to that garden, and women who went in search of their Friend, their Saviour, and found the tomb empty. I know for me, there is no greater gift than the Atonement. The opportunity to repent and be forgiven, to have my sins remitted and to be allowed into the presence of my Lord and my God once again.

May we all live our lives in such a way that we may be confident in the presence of God. It's hard to do, but then again, what the Saviour did for us was much harder.

May we, as those women at the tomb, go in search of our Friend and Saviour. May we find Him, and rejoice in the Good News... "He is Risen!"

Happy Resurrection Day everyone.

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Carlton's log, DC, Temple

Ooooh! My favorite spot in all of D.C. is here: The Temple for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.

It doesn't matter what time of day one goes for a visit, the grounds welcome you to enjoy the peace that can not be found anywhere else.

The visitor's center is open daily 10 - 9, and the people who work there are friendly, informative, and will answer any question you may have about the church, the religion itself, or what the temple means to the LDS people. I spent a lovely time there one evening just chatting with one of the young women who serve there. She was delightful and sweet.

The minute I drive into the parking lot the feeling I get is calming. The grounds are supremely quiet. The birds sing and one is free to walk around the grounds and explore or attend the visitor's center and visit with the folks who work there. There are free films to watch and displays to explore also. It's just an overall beautiful experience.

The architecture is impressive with streaming stained glass corners that run the entire length of the building...which you must see at night. This is another one of those structures that is different from any angle, the walk around it affords you an opportunity to focus on the spires which lead your eyes heavenwards, and your thoughts as well. There is a quaint gazebo tucked in a garden, and walk ways and paths that wander about. The fountain in the center of the front lawn and walk way is large enough to sit around and take in the soothing sound and floral atmosphere.

The temple is tucked in the middle of a wooded residential neighborhood. If you are driving on the 495 beltway, the temple pops up out of the trees as you come around the bend in the road. At night it is striking to see.

For members of the church who hold a current recommend they may enter the temple and attend a worship service, baptisms, or other forms of service. For me this is the best reason to go to the temple, I love the service sessions.

If you are in the area this is number one on my places to see.

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Carlton's log, DC, Air Force Monument

The first night we were in D.C. Thor, his two companions, and I went for a site seeing tour at night. Thor's business associate was our travel guide and driver. We saw all kinds of very interesting sites, made all the more beautiful and striking in the contrast of dark night sky against masterful flood lit masterpieces.

One eluded us. Far off in the distance we saw these beautiful slim silver streams reaching into the black sky. It took us two nights of driving to finally find the exact spot where these arches stood.

I took some photos using my phone and they looked rather good, although I am inept at downloading them. So the following morning I found myself back out at the site and snapping away. The fog that morning gave the monument a special quality. The polished steel looked cold against the grey landscape.

I went back another day to share the sight with Chronicler. That day the monument shone in almost blinding white spots in the rich blue of a clear warm day. This monument is symbolic of the jet stream that follows aircraft. I think it is effective and impacting as you look at it. It takes on a different shape from every view, each step in a direction will change your vision of the piece. Flanked on each end by large black walls, tributes to the men and women of the Air Force are etched on the black marble surface. At one end there is a glass wall with the engraved image of the "Missing Man Formation". Balancing on the other end is a larger than life bronze statue of four men in the colour guard stance.

This is another one not to be missed. In both grey skies and blue it is spectacular.

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Friday, April 06, 2007

Carlton's log, DC, National Cathedral

Some images from the National Cathedral in the Chevy Chase neighborhood. It's stunning. Gothic in architecture, it took 75 years to complete and was actually just completed during George (the first) Bush's presidency.

The grounds are as beautiful to me as the structure. There are small buildings here and there that house libraries, small residences, and yes, gift shopS. (even inside the cathedral)

One of my favorite strolls is through the Bishop's Garden. There are arches and gazebos, small stone rooms for private repose, and benches set perfectly underneath large shady trees. There are birds and squirrels everywhere and the view is 360 of Washington D.C.

The outside of the building is full of gargoyles and flying buttresses, dripping with the black stain of years in the weather. The front facade of the entry has the Creation depicted in three panels. It captured my attention for quite sometime. I am always in awe of such artists who can capture fluid motion in stone. There are also statues of God, Adam, and John the Baptist among other Apostles.

Inside you are met at every angle with arched door ways and stained glass images. There are detailed carvings in every wall, floor and especially alters. The alters themselves can occupy hours of your curiosity. They have depicted stories of the gospels, apostles, and the life of Christ.

There are several private chapels for those who can afford the price for such luxuries. There is a small scaled chapel for children with a statue of the Christ as a child. There are also crypts tucked between the pews and the outer walls; also for those who can afford or for those who has accomplished much in the eyes of the church. Many Bishops, Priests, and also people such as Helen Keller are buried in the tombs. The basement continues with numerous crypts, private chapels, public chapels, a chapel specifically dedicated to silent prayer, and the most magnificent mosaics of Christ. Brilliant colours mixed with bright shiny gold and an abundance of turquoise. And of course, a book store and gift shop.

I was greeted by the gentlest of women in almost every area. They were friendly and informative, answering all my silly questions and offering me pamphlets and other information. In one area of a chapel I witnessed a man, on his hands and knees, meticulously scrubbing the marble at the base of the wall. He worked under heat and bright lights so that he would not miss anything. The room we were in was cool, very cool considering it was made of stone and deep within the building, yet this man on his knees sweat as though he were mowing a lawn with a push mower in the middle of an August heat wave. Such dedication was inspiring.

All in all the experience was terrific and I find myself spending at least a couple of my D.C. hours there each time I am in town. I did have one ill encounter, an anti-"Mormon" who was imposing his sophomoric views on the small party he decided to high jack from the regular tour group. I listened to the Spirit and handled it in a way that was more positive than negative, and that assured this certain man would no longer be commandeering bus groups for his own amusement.

My enjoyment of this space in our nation's capital city is always peaceful and sweet. For anyone reading this post I can recommend the National Cathedral as a place to visit if you tire of all the politics and hustle-bustle that is down in the business district that is D.C.

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Thursday, April 05, 2007

Carlton's log, DC, flowers

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