Saturday, May 5, 2012

USU Master's Degree

Megan is DONE!  Master's of Science in Psychology at Utah State University.  

The celebration was awesome with all the pomp and circumstance, good food, and family.

We are proud of her many long hours of dedication, selfless internship hours, and amazing vision that will influence all those around her.  Love you Megan!!!

Thursday, May 3, 2012


Hmm...any similarities?

Finn  -  Dennen

Wednesday, May 2, 2012


Just went to hide my new stash of Swedish Fish in my favorite hiding spot and found A WHOLE BOX OF SWEDISH FISH AND a half bag of hidden Cadbury Eggs.  All forgotten....but now discovered.

Yum - the future is mine.   HA-ha-ha- ha- gah-ha!!

Thursday, April 26, 2012


A day can be made or broken by the early morning selection of socks.  Two favorite pairs of running socks are carefully kept track of by this laundress - Nike, white, not too thick, tight enough to not slip down over the heel during a run and long enough to stretch over the massive length of my size 9 foot.  Yes, I'm short with a very secure foundation.  Nothing ruins the experience of fresh air, invigorating exercise, and scenic miles passing by like the frustration of stopping, unlacing shoes, and yanking up socks.  Usually an effort is made to do the yank without the unlacing, but the result is often a thumb through the side of the sock.

Dress socks for work must be mostly cotton and not too high or too tight.  It's maddening when the sock over the calf makes pants perch about 5 inches from floor length, so about 6 inches above ankle is just right.  Favorites are the 49 cent bin finds at the grocery store.  Midday relief has been sought by scissors slicing through the top band of anything too tight.  Then sorrow is felt for the assaulted sock when none can be found to match.

Although there is a deep love for just the right sock, freedom from socks is liberating in the spring when socks will no longer be necessary.  Raising 4 kids and keeping up with the accompanying laundry taught this mother to lose the socks early in the Spring, hiding them when necessary, to alleviate the constant washing, sorting, and storing.  Welcome Spring - watch out Garth!

Monday, April 23, 2012

Back in the Day

Way back in time, a person saved pennies and dollars and purchased an album.  An album contained maybe 12 songs total, and great care had to be taken to ensure that the album was not scratched or damaged in any way, for the result would be a song that would skip.  Interpretation:  the needle of the stereo would get stuck in one place and the same three words would repeat until someone got up and moved the needle to a new spot.  Most kids didn't have a lot of albums.  My sweetie had a lot more than me, but I did have maybe 10 total.

That's right folks, about 120 songs to listen to over, and over, and over.

Perhaps that is the reason I preferred activities that offered a bit more variety in my youth.  These tunes were playing in one of my old lady clothing stores the other day.  Took me back to sitting on the still-wet lawn with my pals in early springtime as the days lengthened and the promise of summer awaited.

Have You Ever Seen the Rain by Creedence Clearwater Revival on Grooveshark

Proud Mary by Creedence Clearwater Revival on Grooveshark

Them thar be dancin' tunes.

Friday, April 20, 2012

HA !!!

Justice is served!  I'm goin' to the bank!

Dear Mrs. Smith, 
Thank you for your email concerning our Orville Redenbacher's Original Kernels.
I am so sorry to hear you had trouble popping our Orville Redenbacher's Original Popcorn. This is not what you should expect, so I would like to send you a refund check. I will be sure to share this feedback with our Quality Assurance Team. And, thank you for including the code numbers because that really helps us pin point if there is a trend. Sharing your feedback helps us improve!
We appreciate the time you have taken to bring this matter to our attention, and hope you will accept the refund we are sending via regular mail to give us another try.
Thanks again for your feedback. We're listening!


Consumer Affairs Representative
ConAgra Foods
Case: 60890099

1-877-CONAGRA (1-877-266-2472)

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Dear Orville

Dear Mr. Redenbacher:

Being a popcorn enthusiast, I have come to know quality corn on a most personal level.  Each night, my air popper delivers a great bedtime snack right before my bubble bath and reading.  A full batch of popcorn is sprinkled with one and a half teaspoons of real butter and salt.  Swedish Fish or Dots are then added to provide wonderful textural contrast.  This is a fine science and crucial to my sleep patterns.  Without a bedtime snack, I wake at 3 a.m. ravenous for something to eat.

With all due respect, I have trusted you with this important element of my life and you have disappointed me.  8 lbs. of popping corn usually gets me through the winter, but after my Fall purchase at Costco, I am sorry to report that at least 1/4 of the kernels do not pop.

Actual Orville Redenbacher Popcorn and Swedish Fish
In addition to a superfluous quantity of unpopped corn, I have found that the size of the popped corn is much smaller than I have experienced in the past.  I have included an actual untouched photo of said popped corn next to a Swedish Fish for your reference.  As you can see, the kernel barely reaches from fish nose to lower dorsal fin (this is not a snackpack size fish, but regular).

From the photo on your label, you appear to be a very kind and happy man, but I cannot imagine such a sweet person wearing that smile if you knew the distress you have caused.  Parting your hair on the side would be much more flattering, by the way.  I have tried sticking a knife under the front of my popper to keep those unpopped kernels in the popper longer, but it is really hard to keep the popper balanced on a knife and I fear electrocution or fire.

Kind regards,
M. Smith

P.S.  3451132000 01 07:57 BEST BY NOV 10 2012 is printed on the lid.  I don't think I can keep eating it that long.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Tan Tourists

Two female Asian tourists posed, smiling brightly for the camera at the top of Dreamscape Lift, elevation 9,200 ft.  It was a picturesque day, sun glistening off the melting snow, air crisp and clean.

As a descendant of fish-belly white folk from the bog lands of Scotland, or Denmark, or Sweden (I'm a mixed breed), I am well aware that I will never be tan.   For a person of my lineage, it is not meant to be.  However, I have always considered Asian folk naturally "tan."

As the beautiful lasses posed, hands on hips, smiles flashing, sunglasses reflecting the springtime sun, snow-capped peaks in the background, one turned to the other and asked, "Do you think I look tan?"

.....really!.!??  I sniggered under my goggles and was still smiling as I slid softly away.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Experimentation with Blindness

For those unschooled in the availability of winter mountain activities, there are actually blind people who ski.  They and their guide wear bright vests and glide down the mountain.  I've always wondered how scary it would be knowing that your next turn might be your last.  Most sighted people struggle to make it down in one piece.

My funny grandson has taken to closing his eyes and just walking forward.  He scrinches up his face, closes his eyes and confidently takes off.  Yesterday was a particularly peaceful day on the mountain and I've experienced just about everything that a peaceful day offers, so I thought....blind skiing. With Finn and the blind skiers as my inspiration, I pointed the old boards straight down the mountain, closed my eyes, and took off.  I gauged my dissent in seconds, figuring how many seconds it would take before collision.

 1....2...3..4.5.  Then 1....2....3....4..5.6.  Then 1....2....3....4....5...6..7.  And finally 1....2....3....4....5....6.....7..8.

Absolutely amazing sensation!  Glad I lived to tell the tale.

Hilary - n - Me, The Uncrowded Lodge, The Right Gear

Snow Depth, Start Time, The Place

Cool Graphics, Raindrops on the Windshield, Moi

My Boards, My Lunch, My Resort

Wednesday, April 11, 2012


Crushing heartache, palpable and raw, constant at first, is dimming in intensity and frequency.

With age and life experience comes an astute connection between human spirits.  Pain felt by one is literally perceived and experienced in another and with it, the overwhelming realization that nothing can be done about it, merely ride it out, knowing that if appeasement is delivered, theft will rob around the next bend.  Soul to soul love and connection, parent to child, to grandchild, to parent, to family, so strong that a slight change in vocal tone, posture, or facial expression betrays outer fortitude and brandishes inner anguish.

Loss feels permanent and complete, not only for those connected flesh to flesh, but for those once or twice removed.  Grief for the loss and grief for the grieving cannot be explained in terms of eternity, with a simple explanation that life goes on and on.  Wrapping the mind around unfathomable reason warped by human experience is an impossibility for most. The complexity of understanding too enormous.

Somehow gaping holes torn through hearts are filled in, and like a scar of the flesh with visible reminders, hearts will never be quite the same again.   Tiny pieces and bits, bits of love and empathy of souls touching souls through God's hand take a place in the dark abyss creating a mesh, joining together to allow the healing, the going on.  The sensitivity and goodness of soul lends strength to another, but will one day desperately borrow back for its own survival.  Benevolence, kindness, generosity, and sacrifice, tools which make no sense for personal survival, make reason realized in the survival of all souls.

Rowan, I pray that I can always remember holding your tiny hand, your soft hair, your perfect toes and feet.  May I never forget the sweet love of your parents, enveloping you and your brother the day you came into our lives and then so silently left.

Monday, April 9, 2012


I have listened to this song for many years, knowing that it would have significance at some point. It was sung at Rowan's graveside service:

A Living Prayer by Alison Krauss on Grooveshark

In this world I walk alone
With no place to call my home,
But there's one who holds my hand
Through rugged roads, through barren lands.
The way is dark, the road is steep,
But He's become my eyes to see,
The strength to climb, my griefs to bear.
The Savior lives inside me there.

In Your love I find relief,
A haven from my unbelief.
Take my life and let me be
A living prayer, my God, to Thee.

In these trials of life I find
Another voice inside my mind.
He comforts me and bids me live
Inside the love the Father gives.

In Your love I find relief,
A haven from my unbelief.
Take my life and let me be
A living prayer, my God, to Thee.

Take my life and let me be
A living prayer, my God, to Thee.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Almost Two

Last Saturday at Brighton

Monday, February 20, 2012

Trip to Yuma & Algadonas

Mel and Jane treated us to a busy three days.

  • Yuma Territorial Prison
  • Swap Meet
  • Algadonas, Mexico
  • Scandinavian Festival
  • Manhattan Girls Celebration of the 30's and 40's
  • Delicious Meals
  • Breakfast at the Clubhouse
  • Walk Along the Colorado River Trail
  • Beals
  • Tour of the Fields (celery, lettuce, oranges, peanuts)
  • Tour of Old Town
  • Laughing 
  • Loving

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Valentine's Day

Finn's reaction to his Valentine cookie, Grandma takes it off his hands, Valentine dinner, Dennen's entree,  Finn calms

Our Amazing Future

A few posts have been made enjoying the humorous events that grace my workplace.  On the other side of the coin is tremendous evidence of a bright future for humanity due to a rising generation of hard-working, motivated and inspiring individuals.  Here are things I've seen them do as their footsteps have trod the miles through university life:

  • attend school after having traveled home and back to attend the funeral of a parent or sibling
  • voice expressions of gratitude for the opportunity to learn and attend school
  • check off  lists of requirements to serve humanity in the role of dentist, accountant, teacher, publicist, business manager, historian, archaeologist, counselor, father, engineer, social worker, biologist, researcher, mathematician, mother, environmentalist, coach, ...
  • show enthusiasm and excitement for their chosen area of learning
  • work full time and attend school full time
  • travel and study abroad in Scotland, Israel, England, Tonga, Japan, Thailand, Italy, Austria, Wales,  France, Brazil, Ecuador, New Zealand, ...
  • schedule school around weddings, surgeries, missions, emergencies at home, chronic illness, employment
  • enjoy giving service
  • commute 50 miles on UTA to attend school and work
  • spend their entire time at school from out of state without a car
  • spend their own hard-earned money for what cannot be seen inside the skull
  • complete their educational goals without genius, funds, or luck - just grit and guts
  • enroll in a sea of 20-somethings as a 50-something with only the memory of classes taken as a 20-something
  • rise above a background of defeat and discouragement
  • sacrifice home, health, and comfort to complete internships far away from conveniences, home and children
  • attend a semester living in the dorms for just one class, with residency and children left in Arizona
  • survive on 4 hours sleep each night two or more straight weeks
  • go it alone
  • set their own standards
  • realize that they are solely responsible for their future
  • enroll in my class because they see the importance of home and family
  • recognize a clean, moral environment
  • say "thank you"

Monday, February 13, 2012

Pork Chops and BLEACH

ReAlLy ????

At work, we provide sanitizing solution 
(1 tsp. bleach to 1 quart water) in a spray bottle to clean surfaces that have come in contact with the meat.

You guessed it, a student decided to spray the surface of the PORK CHOP.

Sunday, February 12, 2012


Tis true!
This can is the genuine result of three university-educated students putting their heads together when using a hand can opener to open a can of tomato sauce.  The student with the opener in hand explained that she HAD NEVER USED A CAN OPENER BEFORE.  This is sadness.  They used our good high quality chef's knives to finish off the job.  I pray that there were no severed tendons.

I love my job - always the unexpected !

Cool Bag


Nurse:  When you get home, put ice on your eye to reduce the swelling.  A bag of frozen peas works well.

Patient:  We don't have frozen peas.  What about canned peas?

Why God?

Where do i turn for peace,
Where is my solace?
When other sources seem to make me whole?
When with a wounded heart, anger or malice,
I draw myself apart, searching my soul.

Where when my aching grows, 
Where when I languish?
Where in my need to know, where can I run?
Where is the quiet hand to calm my anguish?
Who, Who, can understand? He only He.

He answers privately, reaching my reaching,
In my Gethsemane, Savior and friend.
Gently the peace he finds for my beseeching,
Constant he is and kind, Love without end.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Carpooling and the VERY BAD Mother

She was mean, perhaps too mean, but also very tough-skinned when one of her offspring exclaimed, "You are a wicked woman!"  Growing up, she lived 2 miles from her elementary school, wore dresses to school and walked bare-legged through the snow to class.  Favorite memories included wading in icy puddles just deep enough for the water to crest the top of her galoshes, walking of the top of iced-over snowfall and counting how many steps could be taken before falling through, and running like mad when the abominable snowman was lurking on Mount Timpanogos (thanks to a great story-telling big sister.)  Maybe this serves as an explanation for her behavior.

The neighborhood organized a carpool when her sweeties were all in grade school.  Aghast, at the mention of providing a tool for creating soft generations of the future, she politely declined the invitation to join.  The long distance of 5 blocks seemed a laughable reason to coddle the young.  So, being stubborn, tough as jerky left in the Utah desert sun for the duration of summer, she forced her poor children to walk to school through all seasons.  "There is no bad weather, just poorly outfitted humans," was a quote indelibly inscribed deep within her gray matter.

Over the pulpit at church, she shrank low in her pew when a fine member of the congregation explained that because his junior high aged daughter missed the bus (a distance of three houses) on a regular basis, his relationship with her had grown strong with the little chats that they were able to have over the two mile Suburban ride to school.  Ashamedly, she realized that she had been a VERY BAD mother.  Not only did her children have to walk to grade school, but they were forced to walk the two miles to the junior high if they missed the bus and thus those deep, bonding, closeness-enabling chatting moments were lost forever.

In her later years, she mused wistfully with perhaps a tear or two in her eyes as she passed the grade school and watched the long line of cars dropping off children in 45-degree, clear weather, knowing that the cars would return later in the day as the little darlings called home with requests for the delivery of their forgotten  lunches.  She also realized that these beautiful children would be greeted at the door by their lovely mothers ushering them in with plates of freshly-baked homemade cookies.  Her offspring enjoyed no such luxuries.

Despite her cruelty, each of her children had somehow grown into magnificent adults, each tough in their own way.  Their saving grace must have been their wonderful father and the pitying neighbors who allowed them to join the carpool when winds were 70 mph, or temperatures dipped to -11.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

I Consider Myself an Athlete

While conversing with a TA at work, it became apparent that I am not seen as what I think I am.  She is a PE major and VERY funny....lot's of great stories.  As we have swapped tales, the expression on her face as she honestly exclaims, "Sister Smith, I just can't see you doing that," when I speak of anything that involves athleticism:  running, skiing, biking, winning triathlons, canoeing across the Great Lakes, etc.  You get the picture.

Honeycomb Canyon at Solitude
The gym rat lifestyle does not suit me, so in all honesty, I have realized that I am not an athlete during December and January.  Chocolate and high-fat foods give me the cranked up high that thrill-seeking activities deliver other months.

Something about my appearance, or perhaps my occupation, simply does not place me in the group where individuals are pegged immediately as fitness buffs.  Perhaps I shall pump iron.