Thursday, January 31, 2008


Last summer I lost about 15 pounds. I had a very boring diet--for breakfast a bowl of oatmeal, for lunch a chicken salad wrap, and for dinner a lot of talapia with zuccini. Of course, during the holidays I ate anything (and everything) I wanted. Now it's time to get serious again. One problem--grapes, which are a key ingredient in the chicken salad, are somehow between crops and, if you can find them, very expensive. So I'm eating my alternate lunch.

Start with a multi-grain wrap (made with flax it says on the package. Very good for you). One of these wraps has only 100 calories. You can get them at Costco.

Spread the wrap with peanut butter and then sprinkle with raisins or Craisins. It's a bit like eating "Ants on a log."

Add a half of an apple, sliced, and then sprinkle with roasted salted almonds.

Roll it up and enjoy with a glass of cold milk. It's satisfying and very filling. Even Randy likes them!
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Wednesday, January 30, 2008

A Learning Opportunity

Hello, all you bloggers. I beg your indulgence tonight while I try to learn something new. I'm going to try to link to something. I'd like to share this Tribute to President Hinckley by Glen Beck. In case you don't know Glen, he is a radio talk show host and a convert to the Church. I was really touched by the expression of his feelings toward President Hinckley. There are so many wonderful tributes out there right now. I hope this works. Everything is a huge learning experience for me.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Hunkering Down

We've had such cold weather for the past couple of weeks. It had actually started to warm up the last couple of days, but the honeymoon ends tonight. Temperatures are dropping. The wind is howling, and the wind chill temperatures are expected to get down to 25 below. We've eaten a bowl of hearty split pea soup. The heater's running on high and the TV blankets are warmed up. We're hunkering down to watch the Florida primary returns. Come on, Mitt!!
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Monday, January 28, 2008

Good-bye, President Hinckley

Do you think there is a Mormon blogger anywhere who is not posting about President Hinckley today? This is a day that we have all known was coming, yet we are saddened to have to say good-bye. He has been such an incredible example of strength and commitment. Reading Sister Hinckley's book, Letters, (which I absolutely loved) gave me a better glimpse into the rigors of President Hinckley's life and travels. He always pushed himself to the limits of physical endurance, yet was always so positive, so cheerful, and yes, even funny! I have such a tender feeling for this man, who, along with President Kimball, has most touched my personal life and spiritual growth. President Hinckley's son, Elder Richard Hinckley, called Randy to be stake president. When I arrived at the stake center, Elder Hinckley was talking to his dad on the phone. President Hinckley's health had begun to fail him, and Elder Hinckley was checking up on his dad. When he asked President Hinckley what he was doing that day, President Hinckley said, "Oh, I'm just loafing." He paused and then he said, "But I've earned the right to loaf. You haven't, so get back to work." I often remind myself that I have not earned the right to loaf and had better get to work.

Randy and I have had a few personal treasured encounters with President Hinckley. In 1963, President Hinckley laid his hands on Randy's head and set him apart as a missionary. In April of 1987, Randy and I were in the Chicago Temple with Randy's parents when President Hinckley set his father apart as a sealer. Most recently, Randy and I had the privilege of celebrating President Hinckley's last two birthdays with him --at the ground-breaking of the Hinckley Center on his 96th birthday and at the dedication of the Hinckley Center on his 97th birthday. At his 96th birthday, we shared his birthday luncheon. I was able to hand deliver a birthday card from my grandchildren, Adam and Emily. After the meal, his family gathered around him (a large group, I must say). They brought in a cake with 96 lighted candles (the "no open flames" rule also applies on the BYU campus.) President Samuelson stood by nervously while we all sang Happy Birthday and then requested that President Hinckley quickly blow out the candles before he got into really deep trouble. With a little bit of help, they managed to blow out all 96.

This photograph was sent to me after the dedication with this information, "This photograph of President Hinckley was taken on the day of the dedication, and is a limited edition print (1 of 500) destined to become a family heirloom." I do treasure it.

We love you, President Hinckley, and will miss your quick smile, your voice, your twinkly eyes, your cane, your wit and your leadership. We are happy that you are with your beloved Marjorie again!
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Sunday, January 27, 2008

More About Sleep

Not everyone in our family has trouble sleeping. Thought I'd share a few of my favorite "sleeper" photos. Ahh, wouldn't it be "loverly".

Isaac and Woody at the crash site!

Plumb tuckered out. I love the boots. They are huge, but he loved them and wore them night and day. They looked terrific with pajamas.

This might have worked better if both children had been sleeping.

Even The Persian Pickle Club couldn't keep this one awake!

Harvard graduation. You'd have thought these two received Ph.d's. It was hard on everyone!

It can be tiring to make a football helmet "shine like the top of the Chrysler Building".

"Why won't anybody put me to bed?"

It's those cowboy boots again. Boy, they keep your feet toasty during the night!

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Sleep Issues, continued

When I first started having to deal with sleep issues, Randy had a hard time accepting the idea that anything he was doing could be a contributing factor. A few years ago while we were on vacation I got up in the night to use the bathroom. I couldn't resist the temptation to snap this photo. You be the judge!

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Friday, January 25, 2008

Laundry Day

When I was a girl my mother had a wringer washer and hung the clothes on the clothesline (summer and winter) to dry. She did laundry every Monday (clothes) and every Thursday (bed linens). My sister and I were expected to stay upstairs and entertain ourselves on those days. We played with lincoln logs and paper dolls or spent hours trying to make houses by leaning playing cards against each other. It's tricky. We spent a fair amount of time whining at the top of the stairs about how long it was taking and when would she be done! If we were really lucky we got to go into the basement and watch her run the clothes through the wringer (How many times were we warned to keep our fingers away from there?!). Today I laundered our bed linens. Fortunately I didn't have to hang them on the line. We've had temperatures below zero for the past week.

When I got old and started having sleep issues, we looked for ideas that would keep us in the same bed but reduce the potential of keeping each other awake. We did away with sheets and blankets and went to separate comforters. I never feel him turn over. No matter how he tosses and turns and winds himself up in his comforter, it never affects me. Since we both lived in Germany, we learned the art of using a comforter to stay warm in the winter and cool in the summer. We love our bed so much! It's amazing that we ever want to get up!
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Thursday, January 24, 2008

All I Want Is . . . .

For Christmas, Randy and Dick conspired and gave Lynette and me tickets for the four of us to see My Fair Lady at the Cadillac Palace Theater. Last night was the performance, and it was really spectacular. I fixed a nice dinner for the four of us before we drove into the City (which was a harrowing almost two hour drive). The cast came from London for this special two-week run, so the accents were authentic. It was an absolutely delightful evening. Thanks, Randy!
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Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Best Buy of the Day

Sorry I couldn't blog yesterday. I was too busy shopping. I doubt that there is anyone who likes a bargain more than I do. Randy got two new suits. The first was a $325 brown suit for $38.

He has really liked a black suit he wears a lot. It's starting to look shiny. This $500 black executive suit was only $44. Now that's a deal!
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Monday, January 21, 2008

Meet Adam

This is our ten-year-old grandson, Adam. Have you ever seen cuter dimples?! Adam is so lovable and so loving. He loves to play with babies and is very thoughtful and tender with them. Adam can be a wonderful peacemaker. He doesn't like feelings to be out of sync. He offers to make really deep sacrifices to preserve feelings. For instance, once when he and Emily were at odds with each other I heard Adam, who was concerned about repairing feelings, say, "Okay, Emily, you can decide what kind of truck we're going to buy." The decision about that truck had been a special bond between him and his dad for weeks, and it would have required a heap of love and concern to cause him to make that offer.

Adam has had some struggles in his life. There are a lot of things that don't go well for him. But Heavenly Father is such a great Compensator. He has given Adam some wonderful gifts. One of them is skiing. Another is wonderful parents who have made incredible sacrifices to make it possible for Adam to excel at skiing and to see it as a special gift and something he can take pride in. Adam can now ski any double black diamond ski run in the state. His dad does his best to keep up with him. Adam loves ski racing!
Here he is before a recent Park City race visualizing the course.

He's out of the chute!

Go, Adam, Go! That's my grandson! Love that boy!
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Sunday, January 20, 2008

Oh, Oh, Now I've Done It

There is nothing left of tonight's dinner but a pile of dirty red napkins and a story. It's been quite a day for me. It was our ward conference, and one thing that Randy (my husband and the Stake President) has asked me to do is to prepare a 35 minute talk to give to the combined Melchizedek Priesthood quorums in each ward. I have sweat bullets over this talk. The theme this year is Strengthening our Eternal Relationships. My topic was Strengthening our Marriages. I was so worried that I might offend one of the men or that something I would say would be inappropriate. Priesthood meeting came and went and I didn't faint and I felt okay about it.

We had invited another couple to come and have dinner with us tonight. You know what it's like the last 30 minutes before dinner guests arrive. There are a million last minute things to be done. Randy was up in his office. I was in the kitchen chopping carrots and talking to my daughter-in-law on the phone when the doorbell rang. Randy came down and answered the door and then went back up to his office. The next thing I knew, one of the women from Church was standing in my kitchen. I quickly hung up, greeted her and asked if she would like to take her coat off. She said yes, she would. I started to think that something was not quite right here, and then it hit me. It was my talk. Her husband had gone home and talked to her about it. I had worried that I might offend one of the men, but in reality I had offended the women.

I explained that I was in the middle of cooking and asked if we could talk while I sauteed the carrots. She agreed. We small- talked about cooking and recipes. I watched her very closely. I noticed each time she swallowed hard and thought, "Here it comes." But after an awkward silence, she would think of another question to ask. I mentioned to her that we were having company for dinner and thought that she would surely get right to the point. She seemed to be having such a difficult time getting started. Finally, I turned off the stove and said, "Why don't we just sit down and visit for a few minutes." We made ourselves comfortable. I swallowed back the urge to say, "So, what's on your mind?" I wanted to patiently wait for her to bring it up, but she seemed not to understand the urgency here, and then (wouldn't you know it), the doorbell rang. Our dinner guests were here, and now it was too late. She would surely excuse herself, and after dinner I would have to drive all the way to her house to find out what was bothering her. But she just sat there while I greeted our guests, explained that Randy was upstairs on the phone, and invited them to sit and visit for a minute. More small talk. Then one of our unsuspecting dinner guests innocently asked, "So, Paula, where's your husband tonight. I cringed. "Oh," she said, "he's upstairs with President Peterson." WHAT?! "Your husband is upstairs?" And I thought to myself, "Well for goodness sake, why didn't you say so? You're not offended? You're not having marital strife that you want to talk to me about?" I burst out laughing. "Wahoo! You're staying for dinner and I still have cooking to do." We put two more place settings on the table and everyone pitched in to finish the dinner preparations. As we sat around the table I told them what I had been thinking. We had a really good laugh. The moral of the story is: Don't take yourself too seriously. No one else does!
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Friday, January 18, 2008

The Real American Deal

Hey, all you bloggers. If you do not live in Chicago, you need to count yourself lucky. It is REALLY cold here. I went to a meeting last night, and when I came out two hours later my locks were frozen. I was finally able to get the passenger door open and managed to crawl to the driver’s seat. It reminded me of another journal entry Randy and I read the other night. It was written October 25, 1981. We had two little Japanese girls and a Suzuki instructor stay with us for several days. Basically, I just about killed myself preparing and entertaining them while they were here. As I re-read about all the cooking, cleaning, transporting our guests to rehearsals and performances, taking them to the mall for shopping, meals consisting of appetizers, full ham dinners with potatoes, veggies, salad, dessert and homemade muffins, lunches of sandwiches made on homemade bread with cookies fresh from the oven, craft activities for the girls, taking them to the ward Halloween carnival, midnight snacks and airport runs, I wondered how we ever did it with six kids of our own to take care of and busy schedules that had to continue for us. After dropping our guests at the airport I recorded these thoughts.

“I have enjoyed this experience, but at the same time I have had some really strange feelings. I must be an insecure person to always have such feelings of inadequacy in situations like this. I wanted to be a really good hostess and do everything possible to make them feel at home and comfortable. I made so many plans and certainly expended a lot of energy getting ready and tried to have everything just right, but after it’s all over I often feel very foolish – like how could I have possibly thought I could do such a good job and it was actually so inadequate. I looked around at all the host families and felt certain that their preparations had not been so humble as homemade bread and cookies. They took their guests to Japanese restaurants and had nicer home, smaller families, fewer children crying and quarreling. They have cars that you don’t have to crawl through the hatch and open the doors because your key only fits the back. They have piano pedals that don’t squeak. They took stacks of Polaroid pictures – not colored prints with their little instamatic camera held together with rubber bands. They didn’t have to run into the bathroom each time someone came out and jiggle the handle to make the toilet stop running. I saw Nora Borso at the store the other day and she said, ‘You’re hosting some of the Suzuki children. Gee, your house must be huge. We would love to do that, but we only have three bedrooms’ (with 2 children). I didn’t tell her that with our six children we only have four bedrooms, but where there’s a will there’s a way. As we could not communicate, I guess I will never know how our guests felt. I hope that I only feel like a fool – that others don’t think I am, or most of all that I’m really not.”

I guess I’m a more secure person now. I think, “Who wants to come all the way to America to eat in a Japanese restaurant? I think our guests probably got the best taste of real Americana—life in the burbs, real American food, a big and active family, Halloween, the art of crafting, and a shopping mall. They probably had plenty of things to tell the others about as they flew back to Japan, and I’ll bet they have never forgotten it!
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Thursday, January 17, 2008

Recipe of the Month

This is my new favorite recipe for soup. I made this so many times during the holidays, and Randy never seemed to get tired of it. It is fast and easy.

Tomato-Basil Soup

3/4 cup onion, chopped
2 (28 oz.) cans Italian stewed tomatoes
2 c. tomato puree
4 c. chicken broth
2 t. dried basil
1 Tablespoon butter
1 Teaspoon salt
1/2 Teaspoon pepper
1/2 pint heavy whipping cream

Saute onion and butter. Add all other ingredients except cream. Simmer 10 minutes. Cool (if you have time) and blend in blender. Reheat and add cream. Do not boil after adding cream.
Note: If you don't have Italian style tomatoes, just use regular canned or bottled tomatoes and add the Italian spices (oregano, basil, and garlic).

We had it for dinner tonight. Yummm!
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Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Cowboy Boots and a Marimba

I recently stumbled onto this blog (The Pioneer Woman). This gal is incredibly talented as a writer and is also an excellent photographer. If you don’t have a couple of hours to spend, don’t even get started on Black Heels to Tractor Wheels: A Love Story, but I have to admit that I thought it was hysterically funny.

I, too, once had a crush on a cowboy. He wore cowboy boots, a cowboy hat, and a wide belt with a cowboy buckle. He hailed from a cattle ranch in Northern California and was quite a phenomenon in my little Southern Utah home town. He played the string bass and the marimba, which he hauled around in the back of his “souped-up” black pickup. He’d just been elected student body president at the local college. I was just finishing high school, and who can even imagine why he might have found “small-town local girl” interesting, but he asked me out. We had our fling, and then when school ended that year he returned to the ranch and I went back to work my fourth summer at the Grand Canyon. We wrote to each other every day for three months. As the beginning of school drew near, he returned to Utah for student body officers’ leadership training, and stopped at the Grand Canyon to see me on the way. He arrived the day of the Grand Canyon Lodge Dining-room Staff Dinner Dance (Wow, what a mouthful!). Finally being together again was so romantic. I was pretty proud to be dining and dancing with “my Cowboy.” I took a couple of days off work to share “my canyon” and do some exploring. One afternoon, we were driving the truck across the Cedar Mountain Flats. I was wearing my new brown and white striped sunglasses. Cowboy said, “You know, I’ve had a lot of time to think this summer. I’m not sure it would be a good idea for the student body president to be all tied up in a girlfriend.” (Does that sound like a mother talking?) We had a discussion that stretched an eighteen-year-old’s ability and understanding, but agreed that when he dropped me back at the dorm that night we would say our final good-bye. It was sometimes awkward being on campus together, but I never lacked for dates, and with the resiliency of youth I always took the attitude that it was “his loss.” We were in the same Trigonometry class. I “bested him” by quite a bit. Toward the end of the year when my parents were out of town I was taking care of our farm alone. He showed up a time or two to help me with the chores. I think he might have been interested in taking another lick of the spoon, but it was too late. I was one year older and one year wiser. Even though he played a mean marimba, I realized that a cowboy hat, suntanned face, strong arms and riding around in a “souped-up” pickup was no longer enough to make my heart skip a beat. Thank goodness we grow up!

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

A Slice of the Past

I happened to be looking through an old journal and came across this post which was recorded 26 years ago today. So here's a little slice of my life from January 15, 1982.

"I want to quickly record a few things before the children come home from school. This morning I met with Joyce Smith to receive the materials for the Young Women's program. Just before Christmas, the Bishop and Paul Smith came to the house and asked me to serve as Young Women President. I was not well prepared for the call (I had six children--the oldest not yet in YW and the baby not even 2 years old). I told the bishop that I would give it prayerful consideration and discuss it with Randy, but that I would have to receive a burning witness that it was right before I could accept the calling. Over the next week I prayed about it and deliberated endlessly. The burning witness never came. But, in a quiet way, I began to feel that I should accept the call. I kept thinking of the scripture, 'If you would know of the doctrine whether it be of me, ye must do my word and then ye shall know.' I hope that if I try to serve diligently I will receive a stronger confirmation that this is truly a calling from God. I know that I will need His help to fulfill this stewardship and take comfort in knowing that if He asks me to do this, He will be there to guide me.

"What I actually started out to record today was two little things:
1. Robert (5 years old) asked me this morning why I had so many phone calls. I said, 'Oh, probably because I'm such an important person.' He looked at me startled and said very honestly, 'You are not.'
2. Quinn (not yet two) has been going around the house singing a song the last few days. I finally recognized that it is Jingle Bells. He carries the tune very well, although the words are not recognizable."
I'm grateful for all of the journal entries I have made over the years. I only wish I'd been more consistent!

Monday, January 14, 2008

Rise All Loyal Cougars!

I am really not very good with technology. Whenever my kids are around I try to get them to help me with some little project. While Rob was home for Christmas he got tired of hearing my standard T-Mobile cell phone ring, so he offered to download something fun. I ended up with the Cougar Fight Song. I love it! Sometimes I call my own cell phone just so I can hear it again. I am a loyal cougar fan. I have wonderful memories of the years I spent at BYU. I am grateful that all of our children and their spouses have been blessed to go to BYU. For the past 12 years I've been involved with the BYU Alumni Association, serving on the national board of directors for the past four years. What a great time to be involved! Our board was very involved in raising funds, designing and building the new Gordon B. Hinckley center, which was dedicated last June on President Hinckley's 97th birthday. Randy and I were honored to have lunch with the Prophet that day and to have our picture taken with the First Presidency. This was President Faust's last public appearance. I love these great men. I'm grateful for the privilege of giving back (in a very small way) to an institution that has made such a difference in my life.

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Friday, January 11, 2008

Meet us at Grizzly Jack's

Today is the last day before Randy's new semester begins, so we took off this afternoon and drove to Starved Rock State Park to check out Grizzly Jack's Resort as a possible site for a family reunion next summer. We're quite excited!

The lodge was still decorated for the holidays and it was warm and inviting. I'm sure it will be plenty warm in August, although I don't think it will look like this.
We think we could accomodate our entire family in a log cabin and a villa , and these two facilities could hopefully be right across the drive from each other. They are only a year old and are very nice inside. The log cabin has a nice kitchen/eating area, living room, three bedrooms, 4 baths, and sleeps up to 18. The villas are smaller with two bedrooms and three baths, and sleeps up to 9.

In addition to the nice accomodations, you get free access to an indoor waterpark (waterslides, wave pool, etc.), an indoor amusement park, and miniature golfing and fishing in all the small ponds next to the cabins. The resort is located just outside the Starved Rock entrance, where there is all kinds of hiking, canoeing, etc. Start thinking about 3 days at Grizzly Jack's. We're thinking about August 14-16. Chicago activities can be tacked on the front or back end if desired. Give us your feedback!
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Thursday, January 10, 2008

A Friend Forever

Speaking of friendship (yesterday's blog), yesterday marked the fifteenth anniversary of the death of my dear friend, Helen. She died from cancer at the age of 45, the mother of six of my children's best friends. We both moved to Naperville in 1977 and our families bonded immediately. For sixteen years we sang together, played together, worked together, traveled together, ate together, dreamed together. She was a gifted musician and started the Young Naperville Singers, which still thrives today. All of our children benefitted from her teaching and personal interest. With the exception of Randy, I've never found another friend who has shared so completely my heart. I have missed you, Helen. You were beautiful in every way. I treasure this thought which she shared with me.

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Wednesday, January 9, 2008


Christmas is over! The decorations are all down, the storage area is organized and clean, the Christmas dishes are all washed and packed away. The only thing left is the cards. Every year I say, "No one is going to send cards this year. People are too busy. It's too expensive, and no one got a card from us this year." We get so many beautiful cards. Often I'm so busy I don't have time to do more than skim through the letters. Occasionally we find one that got put into the basket without even being opened. BUT, the last thing I do each year is to sit down with the Christmas card basket and re-read every single card. I savor them! I check to make sure we have the correct address. I check to see if they include an email address or a blog. I study the pictures, and then I scrapbook them. Some of you are in my scrapbooks year after year. It's fun to go back and see how your families have changed. This Christmas Finale is a precious day to me because it's really true . . ."Seasons come, and Seasons go, but FRIENDSHIPS LAST FOREVER!

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