Friday, December 26, 2008

Christmas Eve at The Conners

Every year I think that the kids will feel like they're too old and won't want to act out the Christmas story. This year I even decided to just have everyone read the different parts in kind of a reader's theater--I'm so glad that I was wrong. I'm the narrator because Casey has always been the donkey--well, since Mal's been gone anyway! This time I got laughing a little because in my peripheral vision I could see Alexa frantically signaling to the angel to get back up in the sky....We enjoy this tradition so much and an informal poll tells me that Christmas Eve is the favorite over Christmas Day (although they REALLY like the presents).

Before performing the Nativity, we have a simple, traditional candlelit dinner of oyster stew, fruit salad, homemade crescent rolls, and punch. After the play, we have pavlova and the kids sometimes watch a movie while we wrap the gifts that I have put off doing--pretty much all of them! This is the first year that I was unable to find pomegranates to decorate the pavlova and add to the fruit salad--ah well.


I probably write pretty much the same thing every year, but I love Christmas Eve--the world seems quiet and serene. It feels lovely.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Good People

Listening to the news and reading the paper, we sometimes forget that the world is full of them--and this one's from Maine! This came in an email from my cousin--it's worth reading.
CHRISTMAS AT ARLINGTON CEMETERY
Arlington�National Cemetery

Rest easy, sleep well my brothers.
Know the line has held, your job is done.
Rest easy, sleep well.
Others have taken up where you fell, the line has held.
Peace, peace, and farewell...

Readers may be interested to know that these wreaths -- some 5,000 -- are donated by the Worcester Wreath Co. of Harrington, Maine . The owner, Merrill Worcester, not only provides the wreaths, but covers the trucking expense as well. He's done this since 1992. A wonderful guy. Also, most years, groups of Maine school kids combine an educational trip to DC with this event to help out. Making this even more remarkable is the fact that Harrington is in one the poorest parts of the state.

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Boogie-Woogie Jake!

video

Sorry about all the laughing in the background...I couldn't help it....

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Forgive Me My Debts

It was my father's rock-solid creed--DON'T SPEND MONEY YOU DON'T HAVE PERIOD THE END. But, at least in the U.S., it isn't that way. It's one thing to go into debt for a house or an education--it's quite another to go into debt for Christmas presents--ahem, ahem--or (out here where we live) christenings and birthday parties. The reality is that millions of Americans do it on a regular basis, and if they ever get out of the debt, many of them turn right around and do it again! And we blame the politicians, the media, the banks, the people who have big families, the town drunk, but please, please don't put this on our doorstep--oh no! And, oh yeah, would you hurry up and fix this bank thing so I can get on with the American dream--which USED to be that hard work and persistence equalled self-reliance, but NOW it's that I am "entitled" to whatever I decide I'm entitled to. (OK, I have to stop now because the cynical evil twin has taken over....)

Sunday, November 30, 2008

It's Maddening

Question: How much of this recession is a result of people acting on media-driven perceptions? My husband thinks it's about 100%.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Twilight: The Book vs. The Movie

Twilight (The Twilight Saga, Book 1) I read this book as a preview check before giving it to my daughter for her 12th birthday last year. I came so close to tossing it a hundred times before I got to the last few chapters when the action began. I found Meyer's writing mediocre at best. Her descritive phrases are redundant (i.e., "...his eyes tightened"). Her heroine is such a poor model for teenage girls--here's a girl who sees nothing good or worthy within herself and becomes so enamored by her "love" that she is willing to kill/destroy herself for him depending on whether she thinks he loves her or not. Teenage girls have enough issues without romanticizing the problems that are already rampant among them.

I saw the movie last weekend and liked it very much--I thought it was well done. In fact, it was one of the very few movies I've ever seen that I thought was actually better than the book. It got rid of most of the nauseating descriptions of Edward's perfection and created a much more tolerable Bella. At least it kept her "I can't live without you" manic episode to a hospital room where it could be partly written off as trauma.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Pie Night--A History

Well, it's that time of year again when I go a little crazy and bake every kind of pie on the planet--okay, it FEELS like I do. The crazy thing is I love doing it.
Many years ago, when the big kids were littles, we started a tradition of asking each of them what their favorite pie was and making sure we included it on our Thanksgiving menu. We also started having several guests over and including each of their favorites as well. As our family increased to its full size of 10, it wouldn't be unusual for us to have 20+ for Thanksgiving dinner and for me to make 12 to 15 pies (there were duplicate requests plus I make at least two of each of the big 3--pumpkin, pecan, and apple).

Of course with all this pie baking we had leftovers, but that was okay because the morning after is "Pie for Breakfast Day" which my kids consider part of the Thanksgiving holiday and I consider an absolute necessity after so much kitchen work the two days previous--it allows me to stay in bed and have happy kids who aren't pestering me or each other. It's wonderful.

Then a friend of mine invited us to our very first Pie Night. She held it on Thanksgiving "Eve" and invited many friends and neighbors to come, bring a pie if desired, and enjoy the traditional Thanksgiving dessert before you were too full. How fun! We really enjoyed it and it was especially fun to get together with everyone--it reminded us of how thankful we were for good friends!

Then we moved to Saipan. I love what a great place this is to live and raise a family (with the exception of the fact that it is so darned far away from aunts, uncles, cousins, grandparents, and the chicks that leave the nest and move back to the States), but at first it needed a few tweaks to make it feel a little more like home, so I decided to invite friends over and have a Pie Night--on Thanksgiving night instead of the day before.

Our friends have become our extended family here--Pie Night gives us a chance to share the holiday with more of them and unload some of the pie as well. Guests can bring pies that are leftover from their dinner or not--no matter. We eat pie, play games, talk, have sing-alongs. In the past the girls have danced (island-style). Downstairs we have a movie going to settle the kids down a little--this year it'll be the b&w version of "Miracle on 34th Street."

I really miss our family back home, but I am incredibly thankful for the people who have given us family here. I love them all.

Pie Night. I can't wait!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Shhhhhh...

I'm gonna be a grandma...and grandpa plays the banjo.

Life don't get much better than that--oh yeah. :)




Monday, November 10, 2008

Elder Conner

Well, he's off! Sam went into the MTC on October 15th, had a wonderful experience there, and is now serving in Hawaii. We received an email from his mission president telling us he had arrived safely and is with his first companion in his first area, but they didn't tell us where that was! So he's somewhere on either one of the Hawaiian Islands, Johnston Atoll, or Midway Island. Somewhere. Oh well, I'm sure we'll hear soon enough.
Sam intended to get his hair cut before he left Saipan, but when we got home from Maine he found out that the barber that he usually went to had gone out of business, so he and Casey just decided they would have it cut in Utah before he went into the MTC. They never did and he went in with long(ish) hair. As you can see, that has been rectified!!

GO-bama!

I'm pretty much a family-post blogger with a few tirades thrown in here and there, but this email from my son-in-law made me think about something my husband had pointed out to me. I've included my response.

Here is an interesting quote from Elder Maxwell given in 1979. I thought of Proposition 8 in California when I read this. -Michael

"Make no mistake about it, brothers and sisters, in the months and years ahead, events are likely to require each member to decide whether or not he will follow the First Presidency. Members will find it more difficult to halt longer between two opinions. President Marion G. Romney said, many years ago, that he had 'never hesitated to follow the counsel of the Authorities of the Church even though it crossed my social, professional or political life.'

"This is hard doctrine, but it is particularly vital doctrine in a society which is becoming more wicked. In short, brothers and sisters, not being ashamed of the gospel of Jesus Christ includes not being ashamed of the prophets of Jesus Christ...Your discipleship may see the time when such religious convictions are discounted. . . This new irreligious imperialism seeks to disallow certain opinions simply because those opinions grow out of religious convictions.

"Resistance to abortion will be seen as primitive. Concern over the institution of the family will be viewed as untrendy and unenlightened...Before the ultimate victory of the forces of righteousness, some skirmishes will be lost. Even in these, however, let us leave a record so that the choices are clear, letting others do as they will in the face of prophetic counsel. There will also be times, happily, when a minor defeat seems probable, but others will step forward, having been rallied to rightness by what we do. We will know the joy, on occasion, of having awakened a slumbering majority of the decent people of all races and creeds which was, till then, unconscious of itself. Jesus said that when the fig trees put forth their leaves, 'summer is nigh.' Thus warned that summer is upon us, let us not then complain of the heat."
Elder Neal A. Maxwell"A More Determined Discipleship", Ensign, Feb 1979, pgs. 69-73


When Elder Maxwell says, "...others will step forward, having been rallied to rightness..." and "...having awakened a slumbering majority of the decent people of all races and creeds..." I thought of the millions of [racial minorities in the U.S.] who voted during this last presidential election, many for the first time, having been stirred to hope by the candidacy of Barak Obama. Millions of voters who have a great tendency to be socially conservative when it comes to family values. Thanks for the quote. Mum

Monday, November 03, 2008

PROJECT VOTE SMART

A website I ran into that's worth checking out before Tuesday--Project Vote Smart. A somewhat non-partisan (or at least multi-partisan), site with candidate bios, voting records, issue positions, etc. all in one place.

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Hey! It's Our Anniversary!

Yes, he's one of the Good Guys--they do exist. Overly kind, overly generous, overly thoughtful, and overly attractive/attracted--all toward ME! And he's kept it up for 28 years. He's a wonder.

People Are Just People

Do we have to classify people by something other than good or bad? Friend or foe? I get so tired of discrimination and so-called "reverse" discrimination (you know, instead of "we're good and they're bad" it's "they're good and we're bad").

I understand applying identifiable descriptions to people ("Oh you know--she's an American, black, about 35, drives a red Corolla."), but to actually put character attributes, positive or negative, to people because of the color of their skin, the country of their birth, etc. . . . come on.

I'm not totally unaware of general cultural effects on people's behavior--Americans tend to be more assertive, Japanese more fastidious, Islanders more laid back, etc.--but to either hate people because of a circumstance of birth or wear your "love" of them as a badge of honor I don't get.

There's been a lot of efforts, in the U.S. anyway--I don't know about other countries--both promoting and attempting to do away with discrimination over the years, but unless we can rail on someone or praise someone because of their choices and not their circumstances, I don't think it's going to happen. Wouldn't it be great to put aside "political correctness" for just plain old goodness? Couldn't we recognize our diversities, but celebrate our commonalities? Until we do, I doubt we'll ever have what I'd like to think we're all looking for.

"I hate them, they're black." "Handicapped people are so sweet." "I can't stand people from California." "Poor people are so humble." Oh really? Ugh.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

My Tag

Susannah tagged me!!! (How DARE she!) Okay, here it goes:

Seven (!!!) random--and/or weird--facts about me:

  1. I don't remember when I first met my husband.
  2. I have eight children and every time I hit an even number I had an equal number of sons and daughters--i.e., 2 kids =1 boy, 1 girl; 4 kids =2 boys, 2 girls; etc. Cool trick huh?
  3. Eating raw carrots and fresh homemade bread makes me hiccup.
  4. I throw like a girl and sew like a man. (I don't want to read any comments about female pitchers or male seamstresses--you get my point.)
  5. I've had this blog since January of 2005.
  6. My office at BYU was once searched for a bomb. That's what you get working for the History Department I guess.
  7. I once ended up in the ER here in Saipan for a suspected heart attack that actually turned out to be my weird body's reaction to the caffeine in a bowl of Jamocha Almond Fudge ice cream. That wasn't even the most embarrassing part of the night, but that's one of Levi's most entertaining stories and I just can't do it justice.

Oooohhh--now I get to tag people (yet another fact about me--this is the first time I've done one of these tag things). Cool. I tag:

  1. Mallory
  2. Michael
  3. Lee
  4. Joey
  5. Selena
  6. Lincoln
  7. Tikla

Monday, September 08, 2008

Alooooo-HA!

I never did post where Sam is going to serve his mission. If there was ever a place that deserved a photo-post, this is it!


Sunday, September 07, 2008

Beautiful

Thanks Selena. Happy birthday honey.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

And in The End...

...I got the blueberries (see below).

...I didn't get out to the beach, but the kids did.

...I didn't get to go to a movie downtown, but I did get to play Scrabble with Mom and Hope and Steve. I can go to the movies anytime.

...Jake got his blessing.

...Mom, Kait, Ez, Eden, and I went shopping on Monday until I couldn't stand it anymore! I'm not really much of a shopper.

...The trees are changing in the marshy areas. The ones on the roadside are getting that yellowish cast to them. They'll be really incredible in a few more weeks.
...I bought some new apples at the grocery store--a hybrid variety called JonaMacs. They were good. Mom bought some Duchess from an orchard. The orchards look like they're loaded!


...Hope and I are now thoroughly sealed to our parents. I don't know the words to express how I feel about it, so I won't.

...I took the kids to the fair (again, see below).
It's hard to leave--again.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Did It!

One last trip to the temple before I leave here. We've been waiting for this particular trip ever since my mother joined the Church 38 years ago. It was wonderful.

Boston Temple--The Church of JESUS CHRIST of Latter-day Saints

Just a few more things to do--leaves, beach, apples, shopping--before Wednesday!

Thursday, August 28, 2008

A Little Creepy...


I have GOT to tighten up those email settings...

Monday, August 25, 2008

Check. Check. Double Check.

We (Sam, Jake, and I) drove to Farmington on Wednesday, August 20th for Jake's patriarchal blessing. It was a lot of fun being with the boys and it was a beautiful drive. They were very impressed with the UM-F campus.

Yesterday I took Eden, Kait, Ezra, Moses, and Sean to the fair. My kids have really been looking forward to this all summer. Promising them a trip to this fair got me out of having to go to the Liberation Day carnival back home, so I was locked in. I'll try to post a couple of the pictures I took of them on rides when I get back home.

I had told Kait about entering flowers in the fair when I was a kid and so she went along the old railroad track bed and picked as many different wild flowers as she could find. She also included a pine tassel here and there when I told her that was the Maine State flower (we couldn't find many good cones at this time of year). From what she picked she made up 4 arrangements using assorted containers from around Grammie's and ended up winning 2 blue ribbons (1st place) and 2 red ribbons (2nd place). If you click on the photo above you can see one of her blue ribbon arrangements right in the center of the picture. (It's the one with Queen Anne's Lace and the jar it's in is sitting on the edge of the ribbon.)

I entered braided French bread from the same recipe that I entered before we moved to Mt. Desert all those years ago--I guess the judges still like French bread! I'm still not a carnival fan, but I'll admit that it was pretty fun to take the kids to a place where I had so much fun and excitement growing up. It marks the end of summer here in Dover--school starts Monday!




Friday, August 22, 2008

Got the Blueberries!

Check. They're not only delicious (and soooo much better than the big cultivated kind you find in the stores), but blueberries are without a doubt the most beautiful of the berry plants. In the spring they flower and even when the berries have gone by the leaves turn a beautiful red to end out the summer. Every time I lift a stem laden with plump, juicy berries I want to break it off and take it home just like that. So pretty.


Today we picked over at Blinn's, friends of ours in Brownville. Even being as far into August as we are the picking was incredible. It took us just over an hour to hand-pick 5 1/2 quarts!

Fall is coming--the sky seems to be getting clearer and clearer by the day as the humidity of mid-summer evaporates. My favorite time of year in Maine. Beautiful.

(Blueberry barrens in the Fall)

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Before I Leave I Really Hope to . . .

...pick blueberries.
...go out to the beach.
...go to a movie downtown.
...get Jake's blessing.
...do some more shopping.
...see some of the trees change.
...buy/pick some new apples--preferably Macs.
...have one last temple trip.
...go to the fair.
...did I say pick blueberries?

Monday, August 18, 2008

Picture Tag

I saw this on Susannah's blog and it looks like fun so I thought I'd give it a try. The rule is to post the info by searching Google images and choosing from the first page only. It takes some time, but here we go:

my age


my favorite color


my favorite vacation spot


where I live


where I grew up



where I'd like to travel


my favorite food



my favorite treat



my favorite animal


a past love


my first name


my middle name



my last name

a bad habit



my first job




college degree




what I'm doing right now