Thursday, March 31, 2011

How Very Cool Is This?!

I am pretty excited about the discovery of these metal plates in a Jordanian cave. There are about 70 of these small plates (about the size of a credit card) and they are bound together in groups of 5 to 15 plates and fastened with metal rings. Some of them are bound all the way around (sealed). Some have speculated that they carry secret information that may pertain to the temple. They date back to the period between 200 BC and 100 AD. Scholars suggest that if these plates are authentic they may be the most important archaeological discovery ever (including the dead sea scrolls). Right now there is a dispute over ownership and I'm hoping that some angry Bedouin doesn't destroy them or hide them somewhere. I wonder if the church will get involved as they did with the dead sea scrolls. I will be watching this story with interest.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Ward Fun

We had our first ward activity since the church did away with the Activities Committee. They divided the adults into groups of 8-10 and had dinner parties in individual homes. Randy and I hosted one of the groups. It turned out to be the night of the BYU basketball game. We had a little bit of a dilemma because some of our group (including, or maybe especially, us) wanted to watch the game, but we also had the missionaries and they were not allowed to watch. We solved the problem by having an early 5:30 dinner. The missionaries then left to go make some visists and the rest of us watched the game.

I really enjoy this kind of activity. It throws you together with a group you would be unlikely to get together with and provides a great way to expand your circle of friends.

Monday, March 28, 2011

The other day I was listening to the radio in the car and heard a little snippet about iodine being used as a treatment for nuclear radiation exposure. It has led me on an interesting little chain of thoughts.

When I was in elementary school our teachers would dispense iodine tablets to us every week. They were little round brown chewables. They tasted a little bit like chocolate and we really liked them. Sometimes when the teacher wasn't around we would try to get in her closet and sneak a few extra tablets. You could get in really big trouble if you got caught. That was during the time when the government was testing the atomic bomb in the Nevada desert. From my home in southern Utah, we could feel the blast, and some time later the cloud of radiation would drift over our community. We were unaware of it's potentially harmful effects. It wasn't until years later that sheep ranchers were able to prove that thousands of sheep died from its deadly fallout. It was many years before the government conceded that the astonishingly high number of deaths in the area from cancer might be attributed to radioactive fallout.

There were other things we didn't know at that time. We didn't know that iodine could protect you from radioactive fallout. If the body is deficient in iodine, it will absorb iodine from any source it can get it -- even radioactive iodine. They gave us iodine at school not to protect us from radioactive fallout, but to prevent goiters. I've been led to wonder how many more could have suffered from cancer if we hadn't received the iodine tablets.

Gratefully, I have never had cancer, but my thyroid began to malfunction in my early twenties and had to be removed. I wonder if there may have been a connection. The recent explosion of the nuclear plant in Japan has released radioactivity into the jet stream with nothing between it and North America but open water. Statistics show that 95% of Americans are iodine deficient. While the government is not saying anything about it, other sources are suggesting that it would be wise to take iodine to make sure the body is not iodine deficient and will not not allow radioactive iodine to bind in the body. You can read more about it here.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Earth Hour

I'm interested in looking around this evening to see if there is any evidence that people are observing "earth hour." The idea is that everyone should turn off their lights from 8:30-9:30 p.m. While I believe in conserving all of our resources all of the time, I do not consider myself to be a "green" person. The Lord created this earth. He knows all things from the beginning to the end. He knew precisely what would be necessary to sustain life on this planet until his purposes were fulfilled. I think He expects us to appreciate the beautiful world he has created and to take care of it, but I don't believe in global warming or that all the fuss about being "green" is necessary. Let's enjoy the beautiful creations God has given us!

Friday, March 25, 2011

Out of the Mouth of Babes

I know this is not a very good picture, but I found this on the piano after Clarissa and Clayton left and I thought it was pretty cute. The writing is not Clarissa's, but the words definitely are. And knowing how much they like Gummi bears I can hardly believe they parted with two bags full. Being grandparents is really the best!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Loving Yourself

I love this picture of Clayton. When was the last time you looked at yourself in the mirror with this much love and joy. These days I just try not to even look in the mirror unless I absolutely have to. It's hard to believe that the person looking out of the mirror is really me. What happened to the cute, young Judy I used to be (and still am in my mind's eye).

I like this quote from an anonymous source. "No one has the right to look with contempt on himself when God has shown such an interest in him."

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

One Brave Indian

Clarissa and Clayton are here to spend a few days. When my own children were small I never thought that stepping on small toys with bare feet was much fun. Neither was cleaning spaghetti off the floor, or crying babies, or water on the bathroom floor. Somewhere through the years those things became a pleasure.

About a year ago Clarissa was diagnosed with Type I diabetes. She was only three years old, and I wondered how in the world they would ever help her adjust to that. She has at least five shots a day and has to have her blood sugar tested through a finger "stick" at least that many times as well. What a little trooper. When you say, "Clarissa, it's time to check your blood," she comes running with her figure already held up. In fact, if you happen to say, "Clarissa, come here," she dutifully brings you her finger, when all you wanted to do is brush her hair. She hardly even flinches when you give her shots, never asks for treats or snacks, and allows you to go in during the night and poke her fingers without even stirring. At this point she is so young she may think that this is all just a part of life. She looks at her younger brother and asks, "When is Clayton going to get diabetes?" I worry about the difficult teenage years ahead when she will not want to be compliant, different from her friends, or denied the foods and snacks that everyone else is eating. She is being considered for a pump before she starts kindergarten next fall. That wouldn't change what she can or can not eat, nor would it change the amount of insulin she has to have, but it would make it easier for other people to learn to care for her, and the pump can be inserted with a needle that can stay in the same location for three days, That would significantly reduce the number of times she has to be poked.

How I wish that I could finish my life with diabetes in her behalf. It's given me some new thoughts about the atonement.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Get Them Out by the Roots

Well, it's Spring. I went out today to have a look around, and things look promising!
My tulips and daffodils weren't the only things growing. I pulled my first weed. I actually kind of like pulling weeds. It reminds me of the importance of getting rid of bad habits. There are those weeds that come out fairly easily, but you can hear a little tearing sound as they come out. That reminds me that there is almost always a little pain associated with repentance. I get a lot of grass growing in my berm. They look fairly innocent on the surface -- a single shoot of grass -- but when I pull them out I find that the root runs fairly close to the surface, but can be two or three feet long. Ohh, those little things that seem fairly innocent on the surface may not be as innocent as you think. And don't you just hate those stinkin' thistle weeds. You can't even touch them without getting a pair of gloves, and the roots are so deep that I can't even get them out with a shovel. It seems like there's always a little piece of root left in there to sprout up again. And never try to pull them out by hand! They break right off at the ground. Let's see, those would probably be pride, judging, selfishness, being grouchy, anger. Wow, I have a lot of weeding to do. My favorite weeds are the little tender ones that just kind of slip out without any trouble at all. Yup, gotta love that daily repentance!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Some Things Never Change

Last week after I wrote about Quinn Patrick's birthday and posted the picture of him with his little dog, Fudge, he sent me this side-by-side picture of himself with a dog named Weazel. I was so struck with the similarity that I want to share this picture and the story behind it.

Quinn has a really unique and cool relationship to dogs. His PhD research is in the area of cancer. He's developed a drug which promises to be really successful. Of course, it takes about 15 years from the time a new drug is discovered until it is FDA approved and on the market, so the end of that process is still a long ways in the future. While the drug is intended to eventually be used with humans, dogs also suffer from cancer and treatment for them is so expensive that most people cannot afford to get help for their pets. In conjunction with Quinn's research at the University, the Department of Veterinary Science is accepting dogs into a program where they can be treated with Quinn's drug, PAC-1, as part of the clinical trials necessary to get the drug approved. If you are interested, here is a link to a blog Quinn wrote about his work a couple of years ago. He can certainly explain it better than I can.

Friday, March 18, 2011


My brain is completely fried today. Do you remember last summer when I posted about the multiple trips to Goodwill with all of the things we were donating? Yesterday I had to figure out the original value of each item and then the thrift store value -- yes, every vase, every candle, every t-shirt, every potato masher -- all three hundred and something items. And now today we have to calculate every mile we have driven for the church for an entire year. I can't possibly think of anything worthwhile to post about. Could you just close your eyes and enjoy two minutes of Emily's beautiful harp music?

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Happy Birthday Quinn

Thirty-one years ago today a leprechaun found a newborn baby under a cabbage leaf. Not knowing how to care for a newborn, he brought the baby to us and said that we could keep him on two conditions: We must give him an Irish name (hence Quinn Patrick) and we must eat corned beef and cabbage every March. We quickly became crazy about both the baby and the corned beef and cabbage.

Perhaps there was something in those cabbage leaves he first sucked on, but Quinn's CQ (creativity quotient) has been off the chart since the very beginning. His grandparents once gave him a book entitled, What to do with a Squirt of Glue, and Paper, Paint, and Scissors too. Throw in some string, a few coat hangers and some popsicle sticks and Quinn was a happy boy. Always working on a project. If I were a really skilled writer I would write a book about Quinn. One chapter would be entitled "How to Save Your Energy."

One night after he had gone to bed Quinn thought of something he wanted out of his backpack, which was sitting on the floor a few feet from his bed. In order to reach it he would have to get out of bed, and that could use a lot of energy, so Quinn's little brain began to devise a plan whereby he could reach that backpack without having to get out of bed. "Hummm. First of all I need some kind of hook that I could grab the handle with. Let me just get a couple of coat hangers out of the closet. Oh, and I'll have to run down to the garage and get some wire cutters. Hey, this is working really great, but it's not long enough to reach the backpack. If I run down to the laundry room and get the yard stick maybe I can attach the hook to it to make it long enough. Yeah, I think this will work. I just need to get some masking tape from the basement. Perfect! Now just let me get back in bed here. Yes, I got it. What a great idea! Think of all the energy I saved by not having to get out of bed to reach my backpack!"

Have I mentioned before that somewhere along the way this little boy's IQ caught up with his CQ. Now he's just finishing up a Phd in Biochemistry and heading to Harvard for a post doc. Happy Birthday, Quinn. Love you to pieces! Thank goodness that leprechaun found you!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

59 and Holding

According to my iPhone, the temperature right now is 59 degrees. I just noticed that my neighbor, Daisy, has her grandson out digging in her flower bed. This might be my very last opportunity to post this picture of little Soren wearing his hat and mittens. (If I allow myself to believe that I'm setting myself up for disappointment. We're bound to see more snow before warm weather comes to stay.) Anyway, we haven't seen enough pictures of my adorable grandchildren. Who would post pictures of jello molds and toilets when they have pictures like this?!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Good Things Come in Small Packages

It is not true that all good gifts come in small packages. THIS was delivered to our home yesterday. Wow! What can I say? Thank you!!!

Monday, March 14, 2011


It has been brought to the attention of management that there is an error in today's Havin' Fun blog post. Quinn reminds me that they didn't put the toilet on the front porch of the girl he wanted to take to prom. They put it on the front porch of the girl his friend wanted to take to prom. She accepted, and she did not put the toilet on his front porch either.

I've also been reminded that my young gentleman son went to the home of the girl he wanted to take to prom and scattered rose petals in her shower and Hershey's Kisses on her bedroom floor. The sign on her door said, "I've showered you with roses and kissed the ground you walk on. Will you please go to prom with me?" Yes, Quinn chose the more romantic of the two options, but you can definitely believe that he was the mastermind behind both invitations.

Havin' Fun

Remember when I wrote this post in which I suggested that replacing a couple of toilets was sounding pretty fun to me? Well, we had some fun this past weekend. In case you're thinking about replacing a toilet, let me give you some advice on how to pick a good one. Color? Doesn't matter. Oval or round? Doesn't matter. Height? Doesn't matter. The ONLY thing I need to know is -- just how much toilet paper will it flush! We think we've got a keeper this time.

This is actually the second time we've replaced this toilet. The last time, we set the old toilet on the patio to wait for garbage day. Before long, it had disappeared. That evening we were informed that Quinn had hauled it to the front porch of a girl he wanted to invite to Prom. (The least he could have done was tell me so I could clean it). He put a sign on the lid that said, "Prom. If ya gotta go, please go with me!" Believe it or not, she accepted in some since forgotten clever way that, mercifully, didn't even involve the toilet being returned to our front porch.

I believe Prom is coming up. Anybody need a toilet?

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Making Jello

I'm teaching gospel doctrine tomorrow. As usual, Randy asked me what I was planning to do with my lesson. I said, "I'm making jello." I put all my ideas in a bowl, added two cups of boiling water, and stirred it for about a week while I looked for additional ingredients (some fresh berries and a little bit of lemonade concentrate sounded good). Despite my best efforts I have not found the perfect story, a great personal experience, or not even any really new insights. I'm afraid it may turn out to be just plain jello after all. I put it in the fridge for a few days to see if something would gel. When I checked on it this morning I decided it has turned out to be "jigglers". I think I've got to get it out today and whip it up a bit, get some air into it. I'm still praying that the Lord will provide the whipped cream (spirit) to fold in. I love being a teacher. I've been tasting this "jello" all week and it has been nourishing and tasty to me, but I don't know if one giant spoonful tomorrow is really going to be satisfying to my class.

If you're looking for a jello recipe, here is the one that our family has always loved:

Lemon Cream Jello

1 package lemon jello (3 oz.)
1/2 c. sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 cup boiling water
Dissolve all the above.

Add 6 oz. frozen lemonade concentrate
Refrigerate until partially set. Whip jello until frothy.
Whip 1 cup heavy cream. Sweeten. Fold into jello and pour into
jello mold. I use a ring mold. When I serve it I unmold it on a
plate and fill the center with fresh fruit -- especially strawberries,
bananas and kiwis. You can use a different mold and then arrange
the fruit around the outside edge. Enjoy -- almost like dessert!

Friday, March 11, 2011


Last night we had a Relief Society activity and made these little photo clips. It was easy to do and oh so much fun to be together with a great group of women -- sharing paper, trading embellishments and stories that made us all laugh and feel better about ourselves. There were plenty of brownies for those that needed that kind of comfort, and veggies and dip for the strong. Love these ladies!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011


Yes, you are in the right place. I've been looking at all these new blogs with adorable scrapbook paper backgrounds with flowers and bows. I decided that my blog needed a facelift. Yes, another trip to the apple store. We looked at a lot of options, but when it came right down to it, I decided that I'm really not a "cutsie" person. It felt a little bit like I was trying to wear leggings with a tunic -- doesn't really fit my age. So I settled on something that is perhaps not as much fun, but different for a change. I'm still playing with it a little bit, so keep watching.

How do you like the new family picture (that is only missing the last four grandchildren)?! It's impossible to keep up.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

2011 Trivia

My granddaughter Natalie made a 2011 Family Photo calendar for me. I love it and keep it here on my desk by my computer. I heard this little bit of trivia for the year 2011. This year we will experience four unusual dates: 1/1/11, 1/11/11, 11/1/11, and 11/11/11.

Now a little math exercise. Take the last 2 digits of the year you were born and add the age you will be this year. IT WILL EQUAL EITHER 11 OR 111! Go figure!

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Happy Birthday Kim!

Randy's youngest sister was born just three months before he came home from his mission. It had been nine years since there was a baby in the house, and, as you might imagine, she was the center of a great deal of attention. She was a year old when I met her, and I can assure you that I was just as crazy about her as the others were. She was not even four years old when our Kristin was born, and the two of them grew up more like sisters or best friends than aunt and niece.

Happy Birthday, Kim!

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Confetti Cake

Last night I finished piecing my Confetti Cake quilt top. While I worked on it I listened to a book on tape, The Quilter's Apprentice, by Jennifer Chiaverini. I actually learned a few things I hadn't known before.

The log cabin quilt top is a very common quilt. Traditionally, the center square is red (representing the hearth of the home) or yellow (representing light and warmth). During the Civil War and the days of the underground railroad a family sympathetic to the underground movement would make a log cabin quilt with a black square in the center. This might be hung in the window or on the clothes line, and signaled to a runaway slave that this was a home where they might knock on the door and expect to receive help. I love quilting, but still have so much to learn.

One thing I hate about quilting is threads, threads, threads everywhere. Last night I was wearing a fleece jacket. Randy took one look at me and said, "No one seeing you in that jacket will ever be able to call you "threadbare." I'm done, now where's the vacuum?

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Medical Partners

I know that my blog has a small readership, and on a day like today that is probably a good thing. I'm certain that this post will not seem like something the wife of a stake president would share, but frankly, I can always use a good laugh, and I got one today. Thanks to the friend who sent this to me. Hope you get to read it before Randy reads and makes me delete.


Best friends graduated from medical school at the same time and 
decided that, in spite of two different specialties, they would open a 
practice together to share office space and personnel. 

Dr. Smith was a psychiatrist and Dr. Jones was a proctologist; 
they put up a sign reading: "Dr. Smith and Dr. Jones: Hysterias and 
Posteriors". The town council was livid and insisted they change it. 

So, the docs changed it to read: "Schizoids and Hemorrhoids." This was 
also not acceptable, so they again changed the sign. "Catatonics and
 High Colonics"......No go.

 Next, they tried "Manic Depressives and Anal Retentives"....thumbs
down again. Then came "Minds and Behinds"....still no good. Another
attempt resulted in "Lost Souls and Butt holes".......unacceptable 

So they tried "Analysis and Anal Cysts".....not a chance. "Nuts and 
Butts" way. "Freaks and Cheeks".....still no good. "Loons and 
Moons".....forget it. 

Almost at their wit's end, the docs finally came up with: "Dr. Smith 
and Dr. Jones--Odds and Ends" Everyone loved it."

Now after you finish laughing, try to think about me as the prim and proper person I should be. Have a great day!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Music, You are a Friend to Me

Last night we spent another evening at the Chicago Civic Orchestra with some of our friends.
We all grabbed a quick meal at Panera Bread before the concert.
Orchestra Hall is always spectacular, and although I walked to the very top to take this picture, we sat in our usual seats behind and just above the orchestra. It was an unforgettable experience watching Esa-Pekka Salonen conduct the orchestra. But I received something yesterday that I enjoyed even more than the Civic Orchestra. Check out my ten-year-old granddaughter, Elise. I want her to play at my funeral too. I want my funeral to be a happy event, and I love "Millionaire's Hoedown," but unless Randy makes a whole lot of money in the next couple of years the whole "millionaire" thing just won't work! Better start working on a hymn, Elise.