11 November 2013

So it's been over two years...

Have you been wondering what happened to us?
Well many things; it's been two years after all!!

Poor health (chronic daily headaches/migraines) has kept me from doing much besides work, eat and sleep. Thankfully, life keeps going on. I still have migraines daily but many days are pretty good ones now. I went part-time at work to see if it would help; it didn't, but I sure enjoyed not having to work as much! Then our Idaho home flooded and needed some attention, so I retired last June. They actually had a hard time finding a replacement. I was scheduled to retire in April, it ended to be mid June. So I went back to ID to oversee repairs. Then, hold not your pants, Kent actually retired September 30, 2013! That pretty much sums up the past two years, except we caught some salmon... I was pretty happy to have caught mine!

And then, trying to log back in has been even more of a headache! The mobile phone listed to my blog account was my company phone, which has been turned in so I no longer have access to it. Plus, we do not get cell phone service at our house... I'm still trying to learn how to update my info and password. Somehow I got in so I could write and decided two years ago was a very long time between blog postings.

Today will be a very busy day as we are having new carpet installed tomorrow and Wednesday. We need to move furniture so carpet can be installed, plus KT and her family are coming tonight to help us unpack as our Anchorage belongings are arriving on Thursday.

The flood, caused by frozen and popped-by-pressure pipes (18), wreaked havoc and damage to our basement (walls, ceilings, bathroom and belongings), main floor (ceilings, walls and floors in the kitchen and dining room as well as laundry, half-bath and side door hallway), and our master bathroom shower upstairs. It was extensive damage. Fortunately our insurance (Allstate) is paying for  repairs. Unfortunately, our replacement policy was only to replace building and not contents. This means that so far, $33,000 of belongings were damaged due to water and mold yet we only are receiving on third of that. Sad that beautiful antiques were damaged beyond repair and yet no thought is given to them being antiques, just old furniture that depreciated to pennies on the dollar...

As our hardwood kitchen floor needed to be replaced, which meant that the rest of the adjoining floors would need to be sanded down and refinished so it would all look the same, meant that we got to do some remodeling in the kitchen and put in hardwood floor in the dining room. I know have a beautiful, almost finished kitchen and a wood floor in the dining room. My kitchen went from "U" shaped to an "L" shaped kitchen and we added an island with another sink and oven! So much more cooking space...and flat space to clutter up.

Interesting that moving the "U" to an "L" meant we only lost one cupboard and the bar space. The cupboard was the one under the bar so it was dead (but useable storage) space. It won't be missed however. The island has a smaller bar space, but you can still pull up a stool and visit or help.

One day, I'll post before and after pictures. But not today.

The carpeting had to be replaced due to cats, not flood damage. We thought a good carpeting cleaning would take care of the carpet until we were financially ready/recouped from the kitchen redo to do it but no. The steam cleaning took out the stains but brought up the smells something fierce! No airing, spot cleaning, candle burning, vinegar spraying got rid of it. One friend suggested using a spray that they use for their apartment rentals, but by then carpet had been ordered. Kent chose style and pattern while I chose color and padding. We liked Hart Flooring but another company had softer, silkier feel carpeting that we liked better. It turned out Hart could order the same carpet so I got the texture and installers I wanted.  This is the first carpet I've ever chosen in our 35 years of marriage. What a fun experience. And even better, they were able to get the carpet in less than a week and will install it before our shipment arrives from AK. YES!!! (Less furniture and boxes to move this way.)

So it is a busy day. The start to a busy week. Lots of "gets" (get to see some grandsons, get to see our daughter, Katie and her husband, superb chef Brian; get new carpeting; get electrician here as he just called, to put in vent and island electrical; get my "Anchorage things" so all of my "things"  will be under one roof). Lots of firsts. Lots if business. Lots to do.

So we've wandered back "home" to live in the house we bought back in September  2001. We'll be combining 3 households (abroad, ID, and Kent's parents') for the first time. And in case you're wondering, no, I don't know when our yard sale will be.

06 September 2011

Christ's love and Mother's love

While I was waiting for my ride a couple of weeks ago, I saw a picture of Christ being surrounded by lots of white sheep. Christ is holding the only black sheep in the flock. It just struck such harmonious notes with me. I've often felt like I was the black sheep in our family as I didn't always follow the traditional ways of my sisters, I was the youngest and left out of much, yada---yada---yada. It wasn't that I was rebellious so much as I felt left out of all their doings and they were not a part of my doings because they were older and moved on. But it struck me that Christ is holding ME! That He loves ME.

Then I got to thinking about my kids and when they've acted out and been the "black sheep" of our family for a time. I felt the love Christ has for each one of us. I know that the one constant with my kids is that I have continued to love them and have tried to separate what they've done with loving who they are. Whether or not i was successful is up to them. They must decide if their mother loved them even when they knew they were doing what I wouldn't have approved of. But I realized that was also a Christ like attribute.

Then I thought of my mother. You loved all of us. You were involved in each of our lives. You really try to make me feel special, that I was worth talking with and have a little less sleep time, this I was of worth to mend a yellow nightgown and get me a wonderful rocking chair when money was tight. I think of all the many times you so willingly pick me and my family up from the airport and take us back to the airport, who loves for us to come visit, pick some oranges, play some games or play dough with my new little ones. No wonder they love you and want to be around you! Thank you Mother, for your love, and your Christ like example.

Since seeing the picture and wanting to find a copy, I found out it is a Minerva Teichert art and that it is called 'Finding the Lost Sheep'. Now, that kind of ruins my thinking. I wasn't lost, I was just different and lonely. I was picked up and loved. That message applies to so many more of us. We try our best, do our best, hold on to that which we know is true but feel left out of the "Norman Rockwell" picture. I like my first impression of being with the large group, being different and being loved. So think outside that box of "Christ is rescuing the black sheep..." Think about the love Christ has for each one of us. Think about him holding you and giving you a break from the rest of the flock. of getting to know you, letting you know he knows you and loves you. It's not rescuing you because you're not doing wrong things, it's loving you because you're doing the right things!

Thank you mother for being an example of how to live as a senior, a widow and selflessly serving others. Of being involved with those around you, fulfilling church callings dependably, of going over 100,000 miles on your exercise bike, reading your scriptures and praying daily, enjoying the nature around you (even when it means figuring out how to prune trees, water all those plants and keep order in your garden. Of knowing how much you can do and saying "no" to that which you can't. Of taking classes to learn new technology. For enduring hearing aids so you can still take a vital part in our lives.

When I was little, we still lived in Orangevale, CA, I remember my sister Eileen and my mother having an argument. I do not know what it was about nor do I care to, for it is unimportant. I remember waking up from that nap on the couch, hearing their voices in the dark, and hearing another still, quiet voice. It said, "You're mother is right. Listen to your mother." I have tried to do that. And I have wished that my children had been blessed with that inspiration also. Oh well, i guess I am not always right. At that time however, I realized my mother was a wise woman and to listen to her. As you can see, she continues to show me by her Christlike example wisdom in every stage of life.

I do love my mother more and more.

22 April 2011

So much for monthly posts!

My journal writing has gotten lower and lower on the priority list. I do have a good reasons though.

December came with Grandma & Grandpa actually getting projects done and fun stuff sent before Christmas. I made "ABC books all About ME" for each grandchild. I was able to use some of the same pictures but not too often. It really was a lot of work and a labor of love. It was fun to hear the kids express their enjoyment with their own books.

My headaches came back January 1, 2011. nice way to greet the new year. I have been busy with doctors, new meds, PT, sleeping and working. Work is exceptionally patient with me. I'm trying but there are many days I'm not pulling my weight. Haven't figured out the right combination yet.

Kent and I are still here in beautiful Alaska. The moose still visit us. Stretch (the cat) got declawed. Got a new grandson, Jaxon Walker Butler. I'm looking forward to helping Katie the end of May and meeting Jaxon, seeing Tyler and Brian! Brian made some real good looking toy bins I want him to make for me too! Don't forget to look at KT's blog and Eliz's blog. I enjoy talking with Abby on the phone. Sometimes I even get to hear Tyler on the phone but he's usually busy.

28 November 2010

Time Flies By, Part 3: Changes

Part 3: Changes
Anchorage, Alaska

The end of September I was called to be a temple ordinance worker. I work Thursday evenings. I worked September 23rd then the temple was closed for two weeks for General Conference and cleaning. Since then, I've been able to get passed off on all the ordinances. It's a lot of memorization but it is so wonderful to read and know what is said, be able to take in the significance of many of the words used and humbling to administer these sacred ordinances.

October brought a trip to ID for Kent (for retirement planning), Halloween and cold weather but no snow. It didn't snow until November and then it has hit with a vengeance! Lots of accidents that first real snow day and then people drove slower, made sure their studded tires were on. Then the weather warmed and froze the melting snow. That coupled with sleet made the roads slicker than snot! More accidents. Fortunately we didn't have any trouble or accidents and knock on wood our accident-free time will continue.

Thanksgiving was spent at some friend's home. The Barruses invited us and to my surprise Kent accepted. He just didn't want the mess for the two of us. Surprised me because he has never, ever wanted to go anywhere else for Thanksgiving dinner. I did miss the smell of turkey cooking throughout the day. Kent made 2 pumpkin pies and a yam/apple casserole that I actually enjoy. I made some deviled eggs and a Texas Fudge Pecan Pie. We brought home most of the yam casserole, and almost all three pies... Nobody was hungry after dinner. There was lots and lots of food. Nice friends and they have a nice family and friends that joined with us.

Black Friday has come and gone. Didn't get so much this year. Didn't even leave the house until 6:30... Not much held my interest. But there is still a thrill of getting a bargain. Lowes had 2-quart poinsettias on sale for just $.98! I got 12. They will be used for the ward Christmas dinner and home teaching/visiting teaching families. Right now they are clustered on our iron baker's rack and really look quite festive!

I've just been moved from teaching the 8-9 year olds to becoming the Primary pianist. I will miss teaching. My class was great and it was a joy to teach them. Kent is still ward clerk. I wonder why he gets to keep the same calling in a year while I get moved around... I'm glad to be of service but will miss my class.

So our wandering for the year 2010 is finished. But the wondering is still on-going. Wondering what the kids are up to (even though we speak with them often), what Kent got me for Christmas (he went shopping today), and wondering what I'm going to get him, wondering how school is going for Daniel and David and Tawnie, wondering if Andrew will get a new job, wondering where Katie and Brian will be living when their new son is born. Lots to look forward to! And wondering what the new year will bring.

I don't want you to wonder what we are grateful for. As I work with the elderly and disabled, I am so grateful for good health for all of our family. I'm grateful that my mother is still enjoying an active life. I'm grateful to be able to go to the temple each week. I'm grateful that Kent and I both have good jobs. I'm grateful for a cat that likes to sleep with me. I'm grateful for great kids and greater grandchildren! I'm grateful for the Savior and the gospel. I'm grateful for church leaders who work tirelessly for me and you. I'm grateful for a warm home, a working car (that even still looks good) and a plan for retirement that includes our home in Idaho. I'm grateful to live in the States once again, to be able to vote, to be able to read English and not to struggle with another language. I'm grateful to have moose come visit us in our back yard and to enjoy the wonder of nature. There is so much to be grateful for!

27 November 2010

Time Flies By, Part 2: Denali Lottery

Part 2: The Lottery
National Park September 18-20, 2010

Two weeks later we went to Denali National Park, also known as Mt. McKinley National Park. It was the last weekend the Park and nearby motels were open. To get into the park that weekend you had to enter a lottery and win. I won! Normally visitors can only drive a few miles into the park and then you have to take buses but on the lottery weekend, lottery winners were able to drive the park roads. And we did. The weather was perfect: sunny and not too cold.

We left on Friday so we could get to town that evening and be able to go into the Park first thing Saturday morning. We stopped along the way to see various sites. We stopped at a memorial to the many veterans from the various services.

At one turn off, we found Devils Club. It has huge leaves and HUGE thorns.

You don't want to get into the Devils Club! Alaska may not have poison ivy but it definitely has some plants you want to stay away from!

We stopped at the South Side of Denali View Point to get our first glimpse of Denali.

This is my favorite view of Denali
taken on Friday, September 17, 2010. The park is located on the other side (north) and the pictures aren't as good.

Early morning at Denali National Park; Saturday, September 18, 2010.

I wish I knew how to do a slide show so the pictures could be enjoyed more easily.

And the animals! We were quite fortunate to see so many. Some of our favorites:

The Bears: We saw 4 of them near the road. Of course we weren't the first ones to come across them. There was a line of cars with people outside their cars taking pictures. Now, we had all been told not to get near the bears, to stay in your car. Did we obey? Of course not. I got out of the car and did stay downwind from them and watched. They didn't want to cooperate and stay close enough together to be all in the same frame. At least my pictures of the bears are more than a dots and you can tell what they are...

We saw some cross a river. They were too far away to get a picture To see them cross the river as they has been done for generations gave me a sense of what my pioneer forefathers might have seen. I wonder if they were in awe or thought, "Where's my rifle? There's some meat for dinner tonight!"

A ranger came by shortly after we found the bears and staying in her truck, called all of us to get back in our vehicles on her bullhorn. I did obey. Then the bears came up over the slight rise, across the road and wandered on the other side of the road out of our view. Aren't they incredible? Real live bears! Not in a zoo. In their own habitat. Wow!

A Bull Moose. Usually we see the cows and calves near our house. Rarely do we see a bull moose in town so it was great to see one in the wild.

A wolf.
He was eating wild blueberries.

I think this picture makes the wolf look like it's defecating but it isn't. It is just going up the hill sniffing for berries.

There was a line of cars with people all over the road, crowding around trying to get pictures. The wolf seemed to ignore all of us. The rangers were rather excited themselves as wolves are rarely seen in the day.

Dall sheep
. Dall sheep are often seen on the hillsides all over Alaska. They aren't as elusive as the other animals but are still fun to see. With them, it's like searching for Waldo.

We also saw eagles, squirrels, voles and birds. We thought most of the birds would have migrated south but I guess the ones that are still here are hardy ones. You are requested, and can be fined if caught, not to feed the animals, especially the birds. We sat down for lunch and a bird flew down and landed on the table across from where Kent was sitting, looking around for food. Unfortunately I came over and he flew away. He stayed in the tree near the picnic tales and would swoop down to get the crumbs.

We saw the sun rise and set...never over Denali because it wasn't in the right position but it was so beautiful! I kept wishing Katie was there to capture it "right".

Taken at first turn off where you can finally see Denali!

Kent waited an hour for the sun to set so I could get a picture of the sun setting over Denali. Two problems, first the sun glare and two, the sun doesn't actually set over Denali at that angle and the season we were in. I took a picture of the sun beginning to set, a quick picture of Denali and then back to the sunset where the sun was slipping behind the mountains.

And then you could see the full moon rise.
It was so quiet, peaceful and oh, so beautiful.

We left early Monday morning for home. It was nice to get home on the early side so we could get the car washed and be rested for work the next day. I enjoyed going to Denali and wandering around. It's good to be free to wander.

Time Flies By, Part 1: Fairbanks

I'm wondering where they time has flown by since I last wrote! Much to tell, much to be in awe of as well as grateful for. I will divide this up into 3 parts: Fairbanks, Denali, and Thanksgiving in hopes that it will be easier to read.

Part 1. Labor Day Weekend
Fairbanks, September 4-7, 2010

Labor Day weekend (Saturday through Tuesday) Kent and I drove to Fairbanks. We had planned on going with the Van der Martins before Dorinda had died. I think it was too tough on Wes to go with another couple so soon and he made plans to do some hunting with friends so Kent and I went by ourselves.

We had a leisurely drive up on Saturday. When we were by Denali we couldn't see anything through the fog and rain going to Fairbanks or coming back home. I kept thinking, "This is a huge mountain, we should see it!" But we couldn't see a thing. We didn't make any stops other than a restroom stop (which was in a private park as there were no other rest stops for miles!) because between some road construction and no visibility we just wanted to get there. And we did. Glad we had a GPS though to find our hotel. It made it so much easier to find places.

On Sunday we went to the University of Alaska, Fairbanks' museum. It's a really nice museum. It was a good activity while it rained. The museum has wonderful Alaskan artifacts. Here are some of my favorites.
This is an outside view of the listening room. It is supposed to have amplification of sound in the room so you can hear earthquakes and what not. It was just a peaceful, quiet place while I was there. No earthquake.

The flowers around the museum were beautiful.

At the front of the hall where most of the exhibits are, you are greeted by a huge Grizzly bear.

The native dolls are quite labor-intensive works of art. They use doe skins for the skin. Different furs are used for clothes, coats, mittens and boots.

And the gold display. Wow! It is still beautiful. It's amazing how it doesn't change colors. No wonder it has been highly prized throughout the centuries.

We then visited Santa at the North Pole! You could tell we were at the right place. The light poles in town are all in the shape of candy canes.

I loved the murals painted on the walls.
There were even some reindeer out back.

OK, so it may be dorky but I got a kick out of seeing Santa at the North Pole. Kent got a picture but it really isn't very clear... Santa encouraged me to sit on his lap but I didn't want to hurt him so he couldn't drive his Christmas sleigh.

The rain did clear on Monday when Kent planned to go fishing. I enjoyed picking up rocks and reading. I actually got pretty good at skipping rocks. We enjoyed the beautiful scenery as we drove around finding the perfect fishing spot. He didn't catch a thing but we both enjoyed the sunshine and the serenity while fishing.

On Tuesday we drove home. The fall colors were beautiful but you couldn't see very far. Still couldn't see Denali.

We saw one moose on the way home and that was it for wildlife. We got home and had a cow and her baby in our backyard...they wandered around to the neighbors flowers, where the calf enjoyed a meal and then across the street for a meal of branches.