Tuesday, August 31, 2010

NEW YORK CHURCH HISTORIC SITES

This is us between the two houses where Joseph Smith, Jr. lived. That's the Palmyra Temple behind us.

These are our sweet friends, the Jones' family. They live close to where we were visiting. We love them and their children. They are super kind, compassionate, loving, generous, and celestial.
Me and Georgia on her birthday. She is very creative. We got into a discussion on where her house would go if it floated away on balloons. For instance, I asked her what would happen if the house flew over Italy. Georgia replied that the people would look up and say, "Ciao and wow!" We giggled incessantly because of her charm. And she's a celebrity-Little Miss Ontario County!
This is the room that Joseph slept in with his siblings. The room off of this room is where his sisters slept. This is where the angel Moroni appeared to him three times in one night to tell him about "golden plates".
The photo above is of the "Sacred Grove". This is where 14-year-old Joseph Smith knelt in prayer, asking which Church to join, and received the 1st Vision of Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ.
This is the house that the Joseph Smith Sr. and his family (including Joseph Smith, Jr and his wife Emma) lived when Joseph Smith Jr. (a few yrs after the 1st Vision), finally was directed to the Hill Cumorah where the golden plates (later, the Book of Mormon) were buried in a hill. We saw a couple of the places where he had to hide the plates. This is the room where Joseph lost 116 pages of the manuscript and where he walked up and down lamenting losing his soul because he had not listened to his Heavenly Father regarding said manuscript pages.
This is the top of the hill Cumorah, where the golden plates were buried, which later became the Book of Mormon.

From here, we went to Michigan to attend a family wedding and meet with my in-laws, who were wonderful. Much love was generated.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

WE DON'T EAT THE EYES, DEAR.

Today we visited Rockland, Maine, where my husband lived as a child/adolescent and where he lived with his sons for a time. We also visited Sprucehead Island, where his friend, Jim, owns an island off the coast, because let's face it, it's tough to own an island that's not off the coast. If the island is located within a mall in a field, who's going to believe you?

The little house on the island that Peter's dad built when Pete was just a boy. That's the ocean in the front yard. I know!!!
Peter's father's grave. He thought it would be appropriate to lay an apple on it from the orchard.
Rockland, Maine harbor.

This is Jim's boat. And Jim's dog riding on the front of it. We loved this dog. It looked exactly like our Snoopy, except smaller. Even the markings were eerily similar. Great dog....and sailor.
This is the ladder one has to climb to get off the boat and up to the pier in order to get to the house on the island. Yea. When I was coming down, Jim said to Peter, "I think we gawt us ahn island girl heah". High praise, indeed.

Here's the four of us after dinner. We were stuffed but having so much fun together. It's me, Peter, Jim and his adorable wife Pam. Pam was Eli's "mommy" while he was in Maine. She took care of him in the morning before school, after school, and fed him all the time. She adored him. She had a lot of fun with him this trip.
Here's the motley two. They grew up together. Trouble.
Here was the FIRST platter of lobster that Jim fixed. He caught them himself. That's his profession. Aren't they pretty?

This was how it was served to me. For real. I just looked at it. Peter smiled. "Deb's never hahd a real Maine lobstah", he said. I heard those soft "R"s. So I just watched everyone and did what they were doing. Pam offered to tell me about the meat in the legs, but first you DO have to pull them off. Some people eat the green stuff inside, called "tamale"...seriously. It's not bad. I had to try it. I met another one of Pete's friends later in the evening and I said, "I wasn't prepared to see the eyes of the lobster" and she said, rather frantically, "Oh dear! we never eat the eyes"!
This is Pam, waving good-bye from the pier of her island as we left on the lobster boat. I love this picture of her. Good-bye Pam. We'll be back!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

OLDE NORTH CHURCH, COPP'S CEMETERY, RAIN, FOG, BOSTON

Above is the steeple of the Olde North Church as seen from the streets of Boston. It's the Church where the two lanterns were hanged (hung?) indicating that the British were "coming by sea"-letting the Sons of Liberty, of which Paul Revere was a member, to put their plan into action.
Some history of the Olde North Church.

In the Church itself, families "buy" individual pews that are enclosed. They are "assigned" seating.
Revere's descendants still maintain upkeep of the Church.
These are our feet on the Freedom Trail, which is marked by a narrow band of bricks along the sidewalk in Boston. You follow the bricks through the historic parts of Boston, which are plentiful.
This is Peter and I at the Copp's Cemetery. It's the oldest cemetery in Boston. It contains the remains of many of the pilgrims. Some of the headstones date back to the 1600s. I wish I had the words to explain the feelings present in that place. Truly, it was sacred space. I loved it. The history, the courage, the commitment to values and beliefs, the faith...everything.

I loved the above two headstones. They were joined together by intertwining vines. I was very moved by them. There were the only two headstones that I could find that were like this. I felt it was very poignant. I couldn't see any other stones with any vines on them, much less joining them with another stone.
Most of the stones had one of the three engravings above on them. Over 80% had the top engraving on the stones. When you see it, it's rather disturbing. We tend to celebrate life, but culturally, life was so difficult, I guess they viewed mortality differently. So, it looks rather gruesome when confronted face to face on those dark, stark, slate headstones in the rain and fog. It was unsettling. Below are the explanations for each of the etchings found on the stones in the cemetery. It's very interesting, so I thought I would include it.


Tonight, we're in Maine. Tomorrow, we will go to Rockland, Camden, and Sprucehead Island areas. I'm very happy to see where Peter and the boys lived. All is well.







Monday, August 23, 2010

OUR NEW ENGLAND TRIP THUS FAR: LEXINGTON, PITTSFIELD, BEDFORD, CUMMINGTON

The above picture is Peter at the old Leighton Orchards where he spent his summers as a youth. He was picking some apples to eat. He was so happy to be there visiting. We saw the old barn and old property. There are now some cows there who were quite interested in us. I fell in love with Peter all over again.
This was the Minute Man statue in downtown Lexington, Mass., where the Revolutionary War began. This area is so soaked in history, it's palpable (not to sound cliche...).
All of the houses and other structures here are SO OLD!!! This particular house was built in 1776! Can you image how many times you would have to update the appliances? Um...first you would have to INVENT the appliances!!!!
Yea...there are probably a few of the the same "old" family names that began this parish in 1691. Talk about turf wars.....
While we were snapping pictures of the house where Peter lived until 3rd grade, this wee tee tiny bird's nest fell out of a tree right in front of him. It was woven of twigs and horse hair. We saved it. It's so delicate and it seemed to find us, so....we had to save it.

So! That's our trip so far. We've taken over 70 pictures so far. These are just a few. We thinking of our family and loved ones. We love New England. It very cool here and some of the trees are already changing. I'll try to post more pictures tomorrow.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

HERE'S THE SUBWAY STORY-IT WAS MOUNTAIN DEW

Emmy sent me to get lunch for the three of us: Em, Clarkie and me. While standing in line, I had my gigantic plastic cup and straw filled with diet Mt. Dew. We all know what Mt. Dew looks like, right?
Exactly, but the contents are yellowish. Okay. So, I had an armful of several bags of chips. I was also holding my big container of unmarked Mt. Dew, my phone and my wallet. I dropped one of the bags and had to bend all the way over to pick it up. When I did this, the Mt. Dew spilled out of the container, making a loud, satisfying splashing sound onto the linoleum floor, and making a nice, neat puddle EXACTLY between my feet. I looked down, while still in the bendy position, realized what it looked like, and quickly jumped back up. I looked down again because I couldn't believe my eyes, or my ears, or my luck.

The man standing next to me in line then looked at my eyes, looked down at "my" puddle, back at my eyes, and then, less-than-covertly, moved back one step while attempting to appear that he was studying the menu.

I looked at him and said, "It's Mountain Dew. It spilled". Mind you, I had absolutely NOTHING on my person that indicated anything I held WAS or CONTAINED Mt. Dew because I had geniusly poured the Mt. Dew into a separate container earlier that morning. Also, that particular Subway doesn't even SELL Mt. Dew. He didn't respond. Smart move.

I then looked at my sandwich maker. I said, "Um, I spilled some Mt. Dew, but don't worry! It's diet, so it won't be sticky". What the heck! Why would I say that? What sane person would add more information than necessary? A sane person WOULDN'T do that. A desperately embarrassed person would. A person with Mt. Dew still clinging to her calves. A person who discreetly stayed in her puddle and continued to order her sandwich with some degree of enthusiasm...just to hold on for that last surviving shred of dignity...which was somewhere in that puddle of Mt. doggone Dew.

And that's the story.

Friday, August 20, 2010

PRESCRIPTIONS, BUICKS, SMILES

Here's what really happened. I had to go to the pharmacy to pick up a prescription. It was a lovely day and I left all the windows in my car down. Actually, the day was hellish, but my air conditioner is broken, but why complain, right? I was told to take one of the pills from my Rx IMMEDIATELY with a lot of water. I did this in the parking lot. I am nothing, if not compliant. *sure*

Anyway, they were horse pills-HUGE. So, as I swallowed this Buick, it became lodged in my throat and fought with all of its horsepower all the way down, sideways. I began to burp, which became quite "engaged", shall we say. I was belching and growling and guttural for the entire time I was backing out of my parking space. Imagine my shock when I turned and saw a very attractive gentleman nodding and smiling at me through my open back passenger window. I hit the brakes and sat there stunned. My hand flew to my mouth and I actually said the following, "Oh my gosh. I am so sorry. I never ever belch like that! I just took a big horse pill and it was stuck and I was trying to clear my throat. I am just so sorry!" The entire time my head is shaking, my eyes are huge, my hands was waving-the whole ditzy blond 9 yards, right?

His smile wavers for perhaps an nth of a second and this is his response, "Okay. I was just letting you know that you had more clearance while you were backing your car out."

I do NOT make this stuff up. Don't get me started on what happened at Subway today.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

JUST GET ME THERE ALREADY...

We're leaving on Saturday morning. Early. I have a UTI. I'm nauseous, feverish, in pain, and fatigued as all get out. I'm trying to keep my mind occupied but it's difficult. I have a constant fever now and all I want to do is kvetch. And then I remember this:

This is our big road trip with Elijah before he leaves on his 2-year, full-time, compassionate services mission for our Church. That, in and of itself, is exciting.

My husband will have 2 weeks off and that hasn't happened in I-don't-know-how-long. (My normally stoic hubby is actually getting a little giddy!)

My family ADORES him so on Saturday nite, it's PETER APPRECIATION NIGHT at my sister and bro-in-law's house and their fabulous yard (which reminds me a little of the Secret Garden *to me*). All the in-laws and out-laws arrive and everyone (including Peter) karaokes and laughs and eats and looks at pictures and teases and basically it's Heaven with a cool deck and some humidity.

I'll finally get to see Maine and all of my husband's favorite beaches and old haunts. He is excited to have me meet his old friends and see the house his father built.

We're driving back thru the Finger Lakes regions to meet with our friends, (if they're home), the Jones' (whom we adore!!!).

We going thru Kirtland, Ohio to visit some historic Church sites.

We heading up to Michigan to visit with MY in-laws and attend a wedding and have some good family time up there. It's over due and much good is anticipated.

Then we may hop over to Nauvoo and Carthage (more Church history sites).

Then back to C-bus for more family time and fly home. GRANDBABIES!!!!! MY BABIES!!!! DUCK & DOOV!!!! T.T!!!!!!!

THE MOMMA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Okay...I feel better already. Pics to be forthcoming.

In the meantime, here are some pics of Pete when he and his sons lived in Maine together several years ago. I'm going to make him look at these again, just to get him even more jazzed. Cause imma like that...and he's wearing lobster claws on his hat...so he's asking for it...

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

PAPA PETER, DINO, MAE, THE WHOLE SH'BANG

There are pictures following of PaPa Peter and "The Dean", or Dino. Peter hadn't seen him yet and was dying to get his hands on the new grandson. But, while we were there, Mae did her mothering thing. She handles Dino like a pro. She is protective, soothing, and confident with him. More than that, she is soft with Clarkie while she holds their new brother. Peter was so impressed by this behavior, he spoke about all the way home. He was amazed at her maturity, poise, loving nature and ability to juggle both siblings with so much patience and nurturance at her young age. He went on to say, "That is definitely a learned behavior she picked up from watching her mother. I'm so impressed with her."......me too..... I heart Mae Mae.

Now....PaPa Peter and Dino...





Saturday, August 14, 2010

CHOICES, HAPPINESS, DEPRESSION, PHONES

Interesting...

I was watching two lectures this afternoon. One was by Malcolm Gladwell. You may know him by his bestsellers, "Blink", "The Tipping Point" and "What the Dog Saw". He's very interesting and known for his observational skills and story telling prowess. He spoke about Howard Moskowitz and how he "changed the world" through spaghetti sauce. More precisely, how he changed the world by giving us choices. Moskowitz is a psychophysicist, which is a person that tends to measure things...like statistics or trends yada yada. In the early 70s, Mo (forgive me Mr. Moskowitz) was asked to test for the exact, perfect sweetness for the new field of diet soda. Pepsi knew that the range existed between 8 and 12 on the sweetness scale, but would Mo be kind enough to run some taste tests, look at the resulting stat curves, and come up with a marketable number and product? One thing led to another and Mo figured that there is no "perfect" food of any kind. There is no perfect soda. There are no perfect salad dressings and there are for sure no perfect spaghetti sauces. There are only different "types"...options....choices. From the early 70s, when there was only one kind of spaghetti sauce, we now have over 32 different types of Prego alone. Turns out, people especially like chunky. And they like it to stick to their pasta. The original spaghetti sauce people, Ragu, were basing their sauce on the original cultural recipes out of Italy, which were extremely thin sauces that ran to the bottom of the bowl when poured over the pasta. Well...that's the talk...choices choices choices=happy, informed and satisfied consumers.

Then I happened to click on another lecture. This one by Barry Schwartz, whose book I happen to have and which is called, "Stumbling Upon Happiness". His lecture was called, "The Paradox of Choice"....okay....

Turns out that we have too many choices in the world. We've always associated choices with freedom, right? We get to choose. Freedom of choice is good, right? Wrong. A couple or 3 choices is good. 32 choices is bad. It leads to paralysis and regret, to name a couple of things. He cited a company that offered over 50 different retirement plans to its employees to choose from. Guess what happened? Over the next year, only 10% of the employees took advantage of the matched-funds plans. There were too many to choose from! Maybe if there had been 3 or 5 or 10, but 50?!? Paralysis and regret. We also get slammed with a thing called, "escalation of expectations". This leads to increased depression...so add THAT to your paralysis and regret. Ugh. His summation? You'll probably never be truly pleasantly surprised and the key to happiness?...lowered expectations.

My husband is picking out a new phone. His son is pushing for a high tech, super computer phone that can take underwater videos, fax, open the gates outside our apartments and turn off our neighbor's dialysis machine. I just need a phone that can handle the interior of my purse. Choices, choices, choices. This has caused no small debate in our house. If he gets the high tech phone, my guess is he will be very very unhappy. Cause there's no telling what will happen to that phone....what buttons will get pushed...what screens may pop up....how often it will end up getting shut down/off...anyone getting me?

This cold is kicking my behind. I can reasonably expect to feel moderately better tomorrow, or can reasonably expect to feel the same as I do today. Either way, my expectations are low and I'm going to be okay with it.

:)

That's me...the little engine on xanax.


http://www.ted.com/index.php/talks/malcolm_gladwell_on_spaghetti_sauce.html

http://www.ted.com/talks/barry_schwartz_on_the_paradox_of_choice.html.

Friday, August 13, 2010

DR. TEMPLE GRANDIN...WE CAN SAVE EACH OTHER.

Is anyone familiar with the TED talks? They're incredible. Simply. Incredible. They are a series of lectures of various themes. The site is: http://www.ted.com/talks

You can choose a theme such as "creativity" "science" "culture" etc.

I was watching Temple Grandin. She was diagnosed with autism at a relatively young age. She holds a PhD. During the 80s, she revolutionized cattle slaughterhouses to make them more compassionate and humane. She now gives lectures and has numerous speaking engagements. She is a prolific writer, "Thinking In Pictures" is one of my favorites.

On this TED talk (they average 15-20 minutes), she spoke to an audience about the need to embrace those who think differently and how much we should value aspies and autists-those who have speech capabilities and other talents. She was asked a few questions at the end. One of the questions, but mainly her answer, left me reeling.

The question was, "Is it unrealistic for them (parents of aspies and autists) to hope or think that their child loves them?" *this question was asked because sometimes it may appear that people in the autistic spectrum are unemotional or non-responsive to affection*

Dr. Grandin's answer? "Well. Let me tell you, that child will be loyal and if that house is burning down, they're going to get you out of it!"

*melt*



Thursday, August 12, 2010

SO THEN DEBBIE SAID....

So here's what went down today at MY house...

The missionaries, which travel in pairs, came over to the house to "teach" my stepson, Eli, one of the lessons to prepare him for his mission. They were talking to him about the value of souls. They asked him what he felt were the feelings that Heavenly Father had for his children. This is the conversation that followed:

MISSIONARIES: So, Eli, how do you think God feels about His children?

ELI: Well, I'm sure he loves them. Except for the Chinese.

MISSIONARIES: *shocked expressions* Why don't you think God loves the Chinese?

ELI: Debbie said the Chinese have no souls.

MISSIONARIES: *leaning back against the couch in astonishment* She did? Wha???

ELI: Yea. She said the Chinese have no souls and God doesn't love them...at all.

At this point I leaned forward and with a very even voice I said, "Eli. Tell the missionaries that you're making all of this up. Tell them that you're lying. Tell them that you're making a joke. A very very bad joke."

After what seemed like an eternity, all three of them collapsed in laughter. I'm sure the laughter was fueled by relief on the part of the missionaries, and....on the part of Eli?...I have no idea....he just laughed.

That was just the beginning of my day....

My world. Welcome to it.

Friday, August 6, 2010

DOES THIS KITCHEN MAKE MY BUTT LOOK BIG?

Tonight I was at Em's fooling around in the kitchen. Mae was trying to get around me and I was between the stove, the sink, the open dishwasher and the silverware drawer she was attempting to get to.

I tried to squeeze myself up against the stove and Mae tried to manipulate around me. It was touch and go there for awhile. Mae said, "Grandma! Why are your hips so BIG?"

I asked, "Are they big? Really?"

She said, "Yea...they're big".

I love Mae. Truly.

Mae? Was that a thump I heard under your bed? I'm sure it's nothing....

Thursday, August 5, 2010

BABY DINO

video

BECAUSE I GET ASKED ABOUT THAT MOSQUE....

Regarding the building of a mosque at the former site of the World Trade Center:

Obviously they have the right to put a mosque anywhere they want. We can put churches anywhere. Or temples. It's simply poor judgment and insensitive to a country that is still reeling from the effects of 9/11. Look at the controversy it's causing.

I echo other brighter voices when I say if American Muslims want to honor peace and freedom, then please build a Muslim monument to peace at that location in place of a mosque. That would help to mend wounds and generate good will. This is not the place or time for a mosque in that location.

Because...really? Freedom isn't the question, sensitivity is. Good Lord, people. Is everybody afraid of being called a name or something? Lets get over ourselves.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

CLARK-YOU ARE A P-I-L-L

Those were the words his sister used to describe him this evening. Things got a little goofy at their house tonight. I picked them up from their other grandma's place and took them home. They're were disappointed they didn't get to see their new sibling, Dean, at the hospital. He's only a few hours old and Mom didn't get a room in time for Mae and Clark to go see them, so they had to go back to their house for a bath and bedtime.

We were just tired and loopy enough to be nutbars this evening. Clarkie officially entered middle-sibling-hood. Whoa Nelly!!! I would never tell HIM that, but yowsa!!! I'm hoping he calms down a skosh when Dean gets home....gets to use his charm and persuasive abilities in a nurturing capacity with his little bro....

This evening at dinner, Mae asked over and over and over if I would recount the story of the time I sat on a HUGE bug on the toilet. Of course, I acted out what the bug must have thought, what he said, and what he looked like afterwards...much to her delight. And when I say "over and over and over..." I mean it.

After that, it was bath time. When they escaped from their parents' shower, they jumped on my lap and that's where they were when their dad came home. At this point, their dad answered all of the questions about Dean and their mom. It was adorable to hear him speak about the new little guy and how he looks a bit different from the other kids. He told us about Dean's difficulties he experienced secondary to his large weight. Turns out that Dean is a trooper who laughs at danger in the face. He's a very very resilient young fellow. Good show, young man. Clarkie spoke all over the place. Mae was sitting on her dad's lap staring raptly into his eyes. Two kids, two totally different experiences. Come on Dean....bring it on, baby doll.....

And more than anything, I want my baby girl home. Safe. Happy. Bossy. Laughing. I want her home. That'll make me jump on the bed and sing and dance around that house, like Mae has all nite.

anyway, love them all....

WELCOME TO THE WORLD, BABY DEAN

Hello 9 lb, 10 oz, baby Dean. Nice of you to join the family. You'll round out the sibs nicely...a blond, a brunette, and now you with your pretty reddish hair.

Your mother is relieved, healthy and happy. Your daddy is proud and relieved as well. Everyone is already in love with you.

By the way, you're late.

Let's not make that a habit.

Welcome to the world, baby boy. It's a nice place, once you get used to it....(don't look under the fence gate, there are some creepy things there).

xoxoxoxo,

Moo Moo

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

SIGNS YOU MAY HAVE OUT GROWN YOUR HOME

Signs you might have out-grown your current home:

If there's a box of old lanterns next to your toilet.

If the big bag of dog food is in the living room.

If the dining room table is used to hold food-between meals.

If the bookshelves hold books...and flashlights...and a menorah...and tools....a stapler...a pipe....

If the oven is used for storage, as well as cooking.

If the fireplace begins to look like an option for someplace to put your shoes.

If you think the term "counter-space" is a new physics theory.

*help*