Sunday, September 28, 2008
Yesterday, Reed, Parker, and I drove to Logan to watch Colby and the Lehi High School Band compete at the Bridgerland Marching Band Competition. For those of you not familiar with Utah, it's almost a two-and-a-half hour drive. Although Colby said that he didn't mind if we didn't come, I remember how many concerts my parents drove to for me, and we loaded into the Suburban! (Ed was stuck at a Stockholder's Meeting at work. Boo hiss!)
We enjoyed the competition and cooling off with shaved ice. We watched about nine bands and we cheered for everyone, but we went crazy for the Lehi High School Band! Last year there were only 17 students in the marching band, and this year they are up to 101! When they announced that information the whole crowd gasped and then cheered even louder! It was SO exciting to see how far these band students have come since the first day they learned to march! There were a couple of bands in our division who were clearly better, but I was hoping that the kids would at least get third place. . .
We left early because Parker wasn't feeling well, but Colby sent me a text to let me know that they had won 3rd place! What an accomplishment for this band of newbies! Congratulations to Brek Mangelson and all his support staff! Thank you to all the band parents who donate their time to help! What a wonderful Saturday.
Friday, September 26, 2008
Many people believe that the legend of Johnny Appleseed is an American myth, but he truly did exist. The man who was called Johnny Appleseed was actually named John Chapman and was born in Massachusetts on September 26, 1774. He served as an apprentice to an orchardist in his youth, learning a skill that would become his life.
When he was 18, Johnny headed west to the fertile ground of Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois. He was a kind and generous man, although a bit eccentric. He never had a home, preferring instead to sleep on the floor of a generous settler. He told stories to the children and preached to the adults. He was a fervent follower of the Swedenborg Church- a religious that espoused self-deprivation as a way to ensure a happy hereafter. When people gave him clothing or shoes, he always chose to wear the most ragged garments and would use the better garments and shoes to use for bartering or to give to people that he considered more needy then himself. He wore a metal pot on his head that served dual purpose as a hat and a mush pot and he went barefoot throughout all seasons.
Johnny collected appleseeds from the cider mills which he then used to plant tracts of land as a nursery. He built fences around the nurseries to keep the livestock out, and then he would leave the nursery in the hands of a nearby farmer as a manager. The trees were sold on credit, although barters were accepted. Every year or two Johnny would visit these orchards and collect his earnings, but if someone couldn’t or didn’t pay, he never attempted to collect the debt.
Today we celebrate Johnny Appleseed Day. Enjoy a fresh, American-grown apple or bake up a yummy apple crisp! Even better? Share one with a neighbor!
Wednesday, September 24, 2008
The boys and I entered the secretive world of Geocaching this past weekend. I had borrowed a GPS (Global Positioning System) from a friend and was setting up an event for the Boy Scouts when I decided that I needed some practice. I registered on www.geocaching.com , printed off the information to find a few caches, and off we went. We didn’t have much luck that first night- we only found one cache out of the five we searched for- but our imaginations were sparked. Parker and I found three more caches on Sunday afternoon when we were out picking up the containers from the Scouting event. He is all fired up to buy a GPS unit and get going- we have discovered that there are about 100 caches in Lehi alone! So, if you haven’t tried geocaching, here are a few tips.
1. Look for larger sized caches- the micros are REALLY tricky.
2. Give your GPS unit plenty of time to lock in on the coordinates. Accuracy is important.
3. Have a stick, some gloves, and needle nose pliers with you to get to those tricky caches.
4. Make sure you have a pen or pencil to sign the log and then log your find on the website.
Some caches have small trinkets in them. You can take something and leave something of equal value. My kids love this type! There are some where you can trade paperback books or tools! These are called theme caches. The micros and really small caches usually just have a log that you sign before tucking the cache back into its hiding place. There are also items called tracking bugs or coins that you move to a new cache and then log its travels on the website.
So, you don’t have a handheld GPS unit? Give letterboxing a try! In letterboxing you have to solve clues to find the cache and then you will use the stamp that you find to stamp your collector’s notebook. Check it out at www.letterboxing.org ! What’s better than a good treasure hunt?
Saturday, September 20, 2008
In a household of all boys, I was totally
confident that the only tights in the house would belong to me.
But that was before school spirit infected Colby. Last Friday night, Colby hung out with bean and mason until gametime. They are good boys, so I wan’t worried about my sophomore hanging out with a couple of seniors. So, there I was, working in the booster shack when my darling son came looking for his instrument. I was shocked and amazed to see these purple tights peeking out from under his shorts! Apparently, PartyLand is now stocking all sorts of purple paraphanalia. From the number of purple tights I saw on boys and girls, I’m guessing they sold out!
I thought the craziness would be confined to gametime, but yesterday morning Colby popped out of his room at 6:15am ready to go to marching band practice- wearing the tights! I let him. I figured that by the time he got home from school at 3:00, he would have a new found appreciation for the suffering that we women go through on a regular basis in the name of fashion and modesty. I am happy to report that at 3:01 the tights were off!
Everytime I look at this picture of Colby’s abnormally hairy legs, complete with ankle socks, stuffed into these purple tights I get the gigs. May you enjoy the same reaction!
Thursday, September 18, 2008
It's official. I have old eyes. I can't stand looking at the computer for too long because my eyes get all burny and watery. I can't see my scriptures anymore without these fancy little reading glasses. My eyes water more than they use to.
So, I went to the eye doctor because I'm way too addicted to Photoshop to not be able to be on the computer. He agreed that I'm getting older and cheerfully told me that my eyes would get progressively worse for the next 15-20 years. The reading glasses are here to stay apparently! But, the computer problems are probably due to dry eyes, so I have some groovy new eye drops next to my computer. Oh, and I have to remember to blink. I forget sometimes when I'm working really hard. (Perhaps I am a vampire, as described in the "Twilight" series!) The drops seem to be helping. Yeah!
So. . . I may have old eyes, but:
I can pretend I am having eye problems when I am reading something on the computer that makes me cry. I can pretend that my eyes are burning when I get all teary about some stupid commercial on TV. (I cry easily. . .) And, I can look really hot in my new glasses. As I understand it, it will only be a few years before I have moments of being REALLY hot! So, all in all, life's good!
Monday, September 8, 2008
Once upon a time I had a beautiful dining room! I loved to set the table with tablecloths, and fancy dishes and centerpieces. The hutch held a lovely display of seasonal items (or Mary Kay products!). I was never afraid to open my front door because I knew that my living room and dining room were always clean and put together.
Those days are gone. The dining room has turned into the school room. We needed more room to spread out and we needed to be free of distraction, so I bought a piece of vinyl to protect the table and *poof!* we are in business. In fact, it is working so well that I can't believe we didn't think of this several years ago! And perhaps the best advantage of the situation is that we don't have to deal with this mess in the part of the house where we actually LIVE. I guess this is a function over form decision!
Saturday, September 6, 2008
I think I had more fun than the rest of my family because going to the fair was very nostalgic for me. I grew up going to the Skowhegan State Fair (Maine) every summer. My mom and dad always volunteered at the Centenary United Methodist Church's Diner, which supplied a chunk of the church's budget for the year. The Diner is famous for yummy homecooked meals at a reasonable price. I remember how excited I was when I was finally old enough to be a dishwasher! I was a "busboy" for a couple of years, and then I was finally old enough to be a waitress. We got to keep our tips, so it was a very big deal to be a waitress. I loved working in the diner because everyone seemed to have so much fun.
When my shift was over, I was able to wander around the fairgrounds. I liked looking at the floral displays which were in a dark, cool area under the grandstand and the baby animals at the Children's Barnyard. I remember walking through the exhibition buildings and thinking how amazing all the products were that were being sold. I probably spent some of my hard earned cash on all sorts of crazy items, but they are long forgotten.
My children (and my husband) don't share my interest in wandering slowly through all the exhibition halls, but I did get to see most of them at a brisk walk! There were some interesting floral arrangements, but it was a paltry display compared to those I spent hours enjoying in my youth. I didn't see any tractor pulls going on and I don't think they do horse races here in Utah, but I had a good time anyway. I may have just realized today that I grew up in a very rural area where the fair was a major part of life. I'm glad I could share a little piece of my childhood with my boys today.
Friday, September 5, 2008
Although I grew up in Maine. . . perhaps BECAUSE I grew up in Maine, I have always loved summer. I love soft, comfy, loose clothing. Cold Diet Cokes on the backyard swing. Balmy breezes. Easy schedules. Children laughing while they play. The crack of the bat at the stadium. And hummingbirds.
This summer I have become twitterpated with hummingbirds. I put out feeders at my home and at our cabin in the nearby mountains in the spring so that the hummingbirds would know that they had a haven. It wasn’t long before they were zipping around and draining the feeder at the cabin before I could get down there to refill it! To solve this problem, I simply bought more feeders and kept them filled by making nectar by the gallon nearly every week.
As the summer deepened, my hummingbirds would wake me at first light with the buzz of their wings and their angry chatter as they defended their favorite feeders. They would feed and then zip over to the limbs of a snag to rest before coming back to the feeder. They seemed mostly unconcerned about our presence. At one of the feeders we could have reached out of the window and touched them as they came to feed, but our intention was to watch and enjoy- not to torment.
But things are changing. The air during the Labor Day weekend had a definite edge to it. Gone were the balmy breezes of summer; replaced by the crisp, clear mornings that are the harbingers of autumn. The hummingbirds seemed to have a new-found intensity in their feeding. The feeders were the center action as the hummers swarmed them. They must feel the change, too.
Soon the nights will become too cool and my tiny friends will have to migrate to warmer climes. I will miss the loud hum of the broad-tailed hummers, the chatter of the black-chinned hummers, and the aggressive behavior of the flashy rufous hummers. I will miss sitting outside on a warm morning trying to get that perfect photo. I will miss watching my son’s face as he stands at the window watching the hummers hover with rapt fascination. But, I will be ready for them again next spring as soon as the breezes shift to the south and nights become more mild. Until then, I’ll have to be content with the antics of my chickadees.