Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Does Leap Year Solve the Problem?

Today we've been given an extra day. Good? or Bad? It's good this year because it's a beautiful sunny day with temperatures near 60 degrees, but one leap year really messed me up. Three of our children were born on the 18th of some month. It made it really easy to remember their birthdays. Quinn was born on the 17th of March in 1980, which happened to be a leap year. Had it not been a leap year, he would have also been born on the 18th. Rats!

So why leap year? Well, in case you didn't know, it actually takes the earth 365 days + 5 hours, + 48 minutes, + 46 seconds to circle the sun. No big deal, but over time it begins to add up. So they created the Julian calender which added 1 day (4x5 hours + 48 minutes + 46 seconds) or approximately 24 hours every fourth year. Great, the problem is solved! Wait a minute! Every year the Julian calendar is about 11 minutes too long. No big deal, but over time . . . So, in 1582, Pope Gregory XII created the Gregorian calendar (used today) which says that every century year could only be a leap year if it was divisible by 400. So, the year 1900 was not a leap year, but the year 2000 was. The year 3000 will not be a leap year, but the year 4000 will be. Ok, so are we good to go? Not exactly. The Gregorian calendar puts the calendar year very close to the solar year, but it is still a tiny bit off. But it will take around 3000 years for this tiny difference to add up to an extra day, so astronomers have a few years to figure how how to deal with that problem.

It's a little mind-boggling, so just go out and enjoy this extra day, and let the mathematicians worry about the calendar!

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Red Letter Event

Our friends, Tim and Rindy, love to play games. They play with their kids, with each other, after lunch, after dinner, on weekends, and times inbetween. Needless to say, they are really good, and REALLY hard to beat. Randy and I prefer to veg on the couch and watch a movie, because, understandably, it's not really fun to play games when you already know you are going to lose!

So Tim and Rindy came over Saturday night and we played Double Nines. And just take a look at that score card! It's posted prominently on the refrigerator. Oh, and BTW, low score is the winner!

Monday, February 27, 2012

Another finished project

For some unknown reason I am in the mood to clean things out, organize what's left, and finish up a lot of unfinished projects. This is a Brazilian embroidery piece that I started in 2007 and finally got the finished piece framed and given away. It is the most complicated piece of handwork that I have ever made. It involved using a pin cushion underneath the fabric, four needles with three different threads, my knees, both hands, and my mouth to make the large flowers. I remember working on it in an airport once and I had a lot of interested onlookers who couldn't believe what they were seeing. You might like to check out this previous blog to see pictures of the process. Nice to have another project out of my sewing basket.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Speed Read

In January I started a "speed read" of the Book of Mormon. I finished it today. Generally, I like to savor the Book of Mormon, read all my margin markings, and check all of the cross references. But occasionally a speed read is helpful. When you read the whole book in a short amount of time it clarifies the "big picture." Did you know that if you read 10 pages a day you can read the Book of Mormon in 53 days, and in one year you could read the Book of Mormon seven times. OR, in one year you could read the the Book of Mormon 3 times PLUS the Old Testament, the New Testament, the Doctrine and Covenants, and the Pearl of Great Price. Why not start tomorrow?

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Flat Stanley

Is there anything we wouldn't do for our grandchildren? Not much! Have your grandkids ever sent Flat Stanley to stay with you? With 19 grandkids, Flat Stanley has been to our house several times. The idea is that Flat Stanley is so flat he can fit in an envelope, so he can be sent around the world to have exciting adventures in new places. Then he gets mailed back to school so he can share his adventures with the boys and girls.

Once when Flat Stanley came he got to go to California with me. Another time he accompanied Randy and me to South Africa. We got pictures of him sitting in the airplane cockpit, dancing with African children, on safari, etc. Well, this time, Flat Stanley arrived just days before Randy went into surgery. I was pretty sure that he didn't want to return to Washington only to tell about hospitals, IV tubes, and bed pans. I really didn't have time to even take him into the city, so here's what I came up with:

In Wheaton there is a wonderful C.S. Lewis museum. This is a picture of Flat Stanley standing in front of the very wardrobe that inspired C.S. Lewis to write The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe.
Then a trip to Wheaton College to see the Perry Mastadon, a prehistoric elephant discovered in Glen Ellyn in 1963. Archaeologists at the Field Museum helped to restore the skeleton and it is on display at the new Wheaton College science building. It was locked when I got there and I finally found someone in the basement who was willing to open it up for me. He said, "Shut the door when you leave." I wonder if he had stuck around if he would have approved of me allowing Flat Stanley to climb on the skeleton.
We also visited a sports memorabilia store and took pictures of the Chicago skyline. Stanley wanted to take a Chicago sweatshirt back for each of the kids in the class, but he didn't have enough money so he purchased postcards for everyone. I couldn't believe that the teacher had enough nerve to suggest that we might want to make new clothes for Stanley that would reflect the weather we were experiencing. Aaarrrrgh! We were having pretty pleasant weather and I thought he'd probably be okay in his shirt sleeves, but I did take time to make him a little corduroy jacket in case it was cool in the evening. Good job, Grandma!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

A Finished Project

I started this project years ago. Then in the crush of life it got set aside and forgotten. I uncovered it last October and most of the block letters were done so I said to myself, "Hey, this will be a piece of cake to finish up." That's because I hadn't tried any of the flowers or vines. I was actually less than halfway finished. Each alphabet block took about five hours to complete, and times 26 that's about 130 hours. Who would have thunk? But I do think it is beautiful!

Monday, February 20, 2012

Washington's Birthday

In December, Randy and I both undertook a project to read a book about George Washington. I chose Being George Washington, by Glenn Beck. It was an interesting and quick read. I finished it on our trip to/from Utah.

Randy chose George Washington, a very comprehensive 800 page treatise (very small print) by Ron Chernow. After three months of reading, he's finally on page 509. So if you want to know ALOT about George, follow Randy's example, but if you just want to know a little more, do as I did. I don't suppose Randy would want me to characterize his experience as "agony", but comparatively, I will say that reading mine was "ecstasy".

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Soren, Meet Grandpa

Here's a little guy (grandson #10) that we finally got acquainted with at Christmas time. I was in California when Soren was born, but this was the first time that Randy had seen him. He's such a cute little feller who's the apple of his daddy's eye and followed everywhere he goes by a gaggle of siblings who just can't get enough of him.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Clever Idea

I wanted to share this clever idea. Somehow we got started exchanging gifts with family members at the quilt retreat. What a bunch of creative people! My niece made these little books for each of us. It's a pocket-sized Book of Mormon. I think it is so cute, and perfect to carry in your purse or take with you when you travel. Yeah, I know you can read the scriptures on your iPhone, but I'm a totally visual learner, and I identify with scriptures by where they are on the page, what's written in the margin, that little chocolate fingerprint where I turned the page, etc. This little book is perfect for me, although I confess that it takes a pretty good pair of "peepers" to read the fine print.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Quilt Retreat

When Randy decided to have surgery the first of January, my only question was: Will he be well enough for me to leave him alone in February? The doctor said yes, so last week I attended my annual quilt retreat at Ruby's Inn. My daughter, Kristin, and my daughter-in-law, Britt, went with me. We had such a wonderful time. I wonder if I will live long enough that all my girls will be in a position where they could join us. Here's one of the projects I finished. It's off to be machine quilted. You'll undoubtedly get another look at it when it is finished.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

A New Start

You know how it is with journals -- you get behind and you have all these things you want to record and it seems impossible that you will ever catch up. Finally you just have to choose a designated point and start again. That's what has happened here. We went away for almost a month at Christmas time and then came back to face back surgery for Randy. It's been a tough month, but he's doing really well now. I think he feels that the surgery has been successful and "worth it." At this point, I can agree! We're so grateful for the Lord's blessings and for the wonderful outpouring of love and support. Thank you!