Monday, August 30, 2010

Of Artichokes and Garlic

O.K., call me crazy (my kids always do!) but I am so excited about the grocery stores here. Produce is CHEAP! So, just to make you all jealous, let me share with you my receipt from last week. This is what $18 bucks will get you at a grocery store here.

a bag of celery
5 lbs. peaches
2 bags of spices
2 seedless watermelons (yes, two)
a thing of tofu
two red bell peppers
a bag of carrots
2 lbs. grapes
2.5 lbs. pears
a small bag of pepitos
3 lbs. brocolli crowns
7 ears of corn
a jar of crushed garlic
5 artichokes

18 BUCKS!!!!!! Can you believe it?!!

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Of Cove Fort and Whisky Pete's

Well, we are now here in Carlsbad California, and we’ve been here nearly two weeks. Here is a brief recount of our adventures for posterity’s sake, and some of my reflections thus far.

The trip out here was fairly uneventful. We split the drive up into three days, so it wasn’t too overwhelming. The first night we stayed in Utah at my folk’s house and dropped off Amari (my little niece), Joseph, and Enoch’s friend Will. Enoch was not so lucky. We kidnapped him and took on to California with us as entertainment for our kiddoes and muscles for unloading the truck. (His assistance was much appreciated, though!) The second day we drove to a place just past Las Vegas, where we spent the night. On that leg of the journey, we (amidst some minor groans and complaining from my dear Curtis and Enoch) stopped at Cove Fort, a church historical site, and had a wonderful tour from one of the senior missionaries that was there. Then on to Jean, Nevada, where Curtis insisted he wanted to stay because he had heard it was cheap. Two hours later, we had finally made it the last 15 miles from Las Vegas to Jean. The traffic was creeping along, with all the gamblers going back to California from Las Vegas. Leila was pretty cranky by that time from being in the car so long (so was her mother!) so we stopped at the first place we saw right off the freeway in Jean--Whiskey Pete’s Hotel and Casino. I’ll tell you, what a contrast in feeling from the peacefulness of Cove Fort! I didn’t particularly want to stay there, but our options were pretty limited in Jean. Cute little side note; On the way into the hotel, I asked Arden if he knew what whisky was. He didn’t, so I told him. He then informed me that he didn’t want to stay there anymore. What a good kid. Anyway, the place was booked, so we went across the street to check out the other hotel in town. It too was booked (apparently, everyone creeping along the road back to California gave up and decided to just spend the night in Jean. Either that, or like Ben suggested, Jean stages a pileup on the highway every Sunday night to try to get people to stay in their hotels.). Anyway, we decided the best course of action was to travel back 10 or 15 miles to the little town right before Jean. We still had to stay at a casino, but there was no line, and we got right in to a room that I think was still sufficiently inexpensive for Curtis. (No animosity there…)

The next day, after starting the day right with a delicious and very unhealthy breakfast dripping in gravy and a great Scooby-Doo cartoon, we were off once again. We arrived at our destination without any problems, and we very much appreciated the wonderful help we had unpacking all our stuff.

Now, a week and a half later, we are pretty much done unpacking (thank goodness) and have just a few more wall hangings left to put up. Arden asked me the other day if we were finally settled in to our new homestead. (We have recently finished the Little House on the Prairie series!) It is nice to be settled, although it was a bit of a challenge finding places for everything, as the place we are currently renting is about a quarter of the size of our house in Rexburg. It’s all good, though. I think we’ve got it all figured out.

So, California is nice. I quite like the area we are in, and our neighbors are great. I sometimes wonder how much they hear of us--we, particularly the kids--are not used to having to speak quietly so as not to disturb the neighbors! We are in a condo--a fourplex. At least we are on the ground floor though, so we can still jump around and dance and stuff. The beach is nice. The pool in our neighborhood is great (we go all the time). People here are incredibly friendly in comparison to Idaho and Utah. Why is that, I wonder? (No offense to Idaho and Utah--I love those places, it just seems to take a while to get to know people!) There are also a lot of spiders here. And ants. I sent the kids out to take a walk around our house the other day, and next thing I know, I hear this piercing shrieking coming from Maile. I rushed out to our deck, thinking she is being attacked by, um...some incredible scary creature. When I finally got Maile to tell me what was wrong, she sobbed out in great distress; “There’s an ant on me!” Get used to the bugs, kid.

Curtis and I are also in a little babysitting club with Kayla and Ben, and Jon and Jenny Whetten (thank you Jenny!), so we switch off every third week babysitting with them, and we get to go on dates the other two weeks. I am so excited for that! Curtis took me to an Armenian restaurant by the ocean for our first date in CA, where we got to enjoy some delicious food, live music, and even a belly dancer. It was really nice. By the way, Elvis lives. We saw him walking past the restaurant. He had great hair.

The ward we are in is also really nice. I hope I get called to the Young Women’s. The first Saturday we were there, the ward had a “Battle of the Bands” activity. Four bands duking it out. Lets just say, it weren’t no Janice Kapp Perry! I don’t think that kind of music would have ever been allowed in our ward! (Probably partly because our Rexburg bishop is a classical violin professor at BYU-I!) Anyway, it was fun. I enjoyed it.

Anyway, more to follow, but I don’t want posterity to think I am too long winded. Suffice it to say, I think we will enjoy it here very much, although I am still researching the Washington or Oregon areas to retire in. (One is never too young to plan for retirement!) Yeah, Curtis gives me a hard time about being here for a week and already wanting to move! (-:

One more note, I want to give a huge thank you to our wonderful friends the William’s and the Jackson’s for all of their help before we moved. I don’t know how we could have done everything without you. Also thanks to our great neighbors and friends in the ward who have been so good to us the years we have been there. What a blessing it is to have so many dear people we know we could have called on if we needed, and they would have been right there. Thank you, thank you!

Friday, August 6, 2010

Of Top Hats and Funerals

I am a big fan of Abraham Lincoln. We grew up in this beautiful old house in Illinois, and it was rumored that Lincoln had occasionally stayed there on his trips between Bloomington and Springfield.

Anyway, Uncle Steve and his family were here for education week last week. Steve was able to attend a class on Lincoln, and shared a cute anecdote about him. I decided I would take the opportunity while my kiddoes are visiting Grandma down in Provo to do a little more reading about this great man. Not only did I find the story that Steve shared, but I also found quite a few others I shall copy down here for my readers’ enjoyment.

Of course, we are I’m sure familier with Abe’s nickname “honest Abe,” and among his neighbors, he was often called upon to settle disputes. On one occasion, two men had been arguing for a considerable amount of time about how long a person’s legs should be in proportion to his body. They came to Lincoln to ask for his opinion. Lincoln listened carefully to the two men, pondered for a few moments, then offered the following opinion:

“This question has been a source of controversy for untold ages, and it is about time it should be definitely decided. It has led to bloodshed in the past, and there is no reason to suppose it will not lead to the same in the future. After much thought and consideration, not to mention mental worry and anxiety, it is my opinion, all side issues being swept aside, that a man’s lower limbs, in order to preserve harmony of proportion, should be at least long enough to reach from his body to the ground.”

It is well known that Abraham practiced law. At one point in his law career, he had an office in Springfield that was directly over a courtroom, and Lincoln could keep track of the proceedings by opening a little trap door in his floor and listening in. During one case, apparently things got a little out of hand, and Lincoln simply dropped down through the trap door and rebuked the audience! Can you imagine being in that courtroom when that happened?! What a surprise!

One time, there was a young officer who had been indicted for assaulting an old man. Lincoln opened the case by saying “This is an indictment against a soldier for assaulting an old man.” The defendant interrupted and said, “Sir, I am no soldier, I am an officer.” “I beg your pardon,” replied Abe. Gentleman of the jury, this is an indictment against an officer, who is no soldier, for assaulting an old man.”

The story I heard from Uncle Steve, and found in one of my books, was about a fellow who had come to Abraham requesting his services in regards to collection of a debt that was owed to him by an impoverished young attorney, in the amount of $2.50. Abraham told the fellow that his fee was $10.00, payable in advance. That was fine with the man. Lincoln then sought out the young attorney, gave him half of the fee, and escorted him to court where the man accepted judgement and paid the $2.50. What a great example of the compassion Lincoln had for others who were in distress.

Lincoln was not a very organized person, and often stuffed important papers in his top hat, so he could get to them whenever needed. Problems arose however, when he bought a new hat, and forgot to transfer the papers from his old hat. He had several people wondering what had happened to their important documents!

While in Quincy on one occasion, Lincoln met a young reporter and humorist. The two men talked about a number of things, among them, the recent death of a military figure who was held in high esteem by both his countrymen and himself. “If the general had known how big a funeral he was going to have,” said Lincoln, “he would have died years ago.”

O.K., I’m running out of time, so I will try to write more fun little anecdotes later. No promises, though!

I Wanna Be Rich! Ooo-ooo, oo-oo-oo-ooo

Curtis and I flew out to Carlsbad the end of June to look for housing. On the way there, we sat next to a fellow who was from Newport Beach. As we visited, we learned that his career is a financial consultant or planner or something for extremely wealthy individuals there in CA. We also found out he was LDS and a bishop of one of the wards there. Anyway, we chatted, and learned some interesting things about money, and perhaps why the Lord doesn’t see fit to give more of it to more of us! This fellow said that he could count on one hand the number of wealthy clients he had who had intact families with good relationships. I was curious, so I asked him if he thought that there was a direct correlation between being wealthy and bad family relationships, or because of other factors. He said it was absolutely because of their money, and the process he went on to explain was quite interesting. Apparently, when one becomes wealthy, one can afford to hire someone to do their yardwork, their housecleaning, their finances…then one decides to hire a decorator to fix up the house just how one wants it. Soon, it becomes all about what “I” want, and selfishness becomes a big issue. Of course that is devastating to a marriage. Not only that, but when one becomes rich, all of a sudden, one doesn’t know who their real friends are, or who is simply trying to pander.

I still kinda hope we might be cursed with riches, but I hope if Curtis and I ever do become wealthy, no one will know except the bishop who we pay our tithing to. I hope I always remember the source of our material possessions, but also remember to put God first!