Tuesday, January 27, 2009

What happened to January?

I'm shocked that it's really been that long since I last blogged! Apparently, I've made better use of my January this year than in years past. Here it is, nearly the end of January, and I'm making it through okay. Don't interpret that as being thrilled about the snow, ice, and cold, but I'm okay. I will repeat that cross country skiing has changed my life. It's still amazing to me how a few hours in the sun having a great workout and good conversation with friends can make the weeks speed by. Thanks to everyone who has let me tag along this year as I've found new and exciting places to go skiing. It's been really fun.Then last Monday when my kids were out of school for Martin Luther King day, we went to Colleen's cabin and did all those snow things I haven't done for years (in some cases, decades). We sledded down her road (and climbed up again and went down again, and so on and so on). Then Colleen and I did a little midafternoon skiing on some pretty icy areas. Then I got to go snowmobiling! I haven't done that for about 16 years. I was just sad that no one could hear me "woo-hooing" except me inside my helmet!

Of course, I spent some time watching the Inauguration, mostly because I still think it's a pretty miraculous thing to see a consistent peaceful transfer of power in this great nation. Beyond that, I can't say as I've become an Obama groupie. My favorite commentator line of the day, though, came from my clever 13 year old son who came home from school, saw the coverage on TV and said, "Oh, this is the inauguration of the first halfrican (rhymes with African) American president, right?" He says that term just came to him because it seemed so descriptive.

And, I've enjoyed a little good ol' January reading time. All in all, it's been okay. But lest I sound a little too comfortable, I will confess that we are leaving tomorrow for a five day trip to Disneyland where the forecasts show a couple of bright and sunny 75+ degree days at the Happiest Place on Earth. I'm liking January more and more every day!

The pictures are just for the fun of sharing a little piece of my January. You may want to click on the ones with the big snow crystals 'cause they are pretty amazing when they are bigger. Enjoy, and watch for future posts about sunny, southern California!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Cheyenne's Creative Side

I've been thinking lately about how I often blog about Daniel's creative ventures. Well, it's tough to live daily with the Great Pretendo without it beginning to wear off on you. So it is that I'm seeing more and more of Cheyenne's creativity rise to the surface. She has learned from the master. If it's like the great art masters, someday, historians will have a hard time deciding if Daniel made something or if his learner, Cheyenne, was simply mimicking his great style. And now I'd like to share a couple of Cheyenne's latest creations.

I had some Dots gumdrops left from a scout activity. Combined with a few toothpicks, Dots can make a jeweled crown for a princess!

And you may recall the horse that arrived as the Christmas miracle. Well, she needed a stable. Now she lives in the stable in the basement. Notice the bridle (it looks suspiciously like a tie for a robe) mounted on the end of the stable. Ah, and then there is the definitive Daniel influence in her excessive use of blue painter's tape!

Never a dull or uncreative moment!!!!

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Bodyworlds, etc.

A little over a week ago, I went with my family to the Bodyworlds 3 exhibit in Salt Lake City. In a nutshell, it is an display of human bodies and body parts that are originally real bodies that have been preserved through a plastination process and then put on display with lots of descriptions and such. (Note: For anyone not familiar with the exhibit, you may go to their website here if you want to find out more about it.) Overall, I'd have to say I found the entire exhibit to be fascinating. I won't bore everyone with the minute details, but now that I've had some time to mull it over, think about what I saw, rethink what I saw, apply it to my life, etc., I wanted to record at least a few thoughts.

  • Our bodies are unbelievable works of art and function. It is nothing short of miraculous that they are capable of doing what they do as efficiently as they do it.
  • We did not just happen. There is undeniably a divine creator with a plan that created every aspect of these amazing machines.
  • Our ear bones really are as tiny as the books and teachers always said they were. How can they do what they do????
  • The circulatory system is incredible! No wonder we bleed no matter where we cut ourselves. And the nervous system is equally astounding. No wonder we can really feel those stupid little cracks I get in my fingers in the winter.
  • I know our stomachs are meant to expand to hold the food, but when you look at the size of one normally, I'm thinking we all eat too much.
  • A smoker's lungs are really disgusting. Black. Black. I hope that part sunk in with my kids. Looking at the emphysemic's lungs made me have great compassion for my dad and father-in-law who both died from it. Black.
  • An alcoholic's liver is equally ugly.
  • A cross-section of the body showing muscles surrounded by fat is sobering.
  • I cried in the exhibit showing fetuses at nearly every weekly age. What a miracle! There are visible hands with visible, clearly defined fingers at 8 weeks. How can someone abort that? Seeing the ones that were about the same age as Daniel when he was born was very touching. He's a miracle. They all are. We really must remember that.
  • Speaking of miracles, how does the uterus stretch that much???? I mean, I can understand a little expando magic, but that much?????? And then it shrinks again? Wow!!!
  • Wow! pretty much sums up the whole experience for me. Wow on so many levels. It was spiritual, intellectual, curiosity-filled, surprising, humbling, interesting, and emotion-filled. I'm glad I went.
  • Seeing what's underneath the outside of us has caused me a week's worth of pondering as well about the spiritual insides of us. There are so many lessons to be learned about our layers, our spirits vs. our bodies, our judging of others by looking at the outside. It really can be quite deep.
As I said, I won't bore with my week's worth of thoughts, but feel free to call me if you ever want to share a little philosophizing (sp?) on the subject.

Throughout the exhibit, there were interesting stories and beautiful quotes that accompanied the displays. This exhibit had a particular emphasis on the heart so many of the quotes had to do with the heart. One of the final displays had a quote on it that will now be recorded in my heart as one of the greats. I'll end my post by sharing it with you in hopes that you too may be touched by its sentiment.

"Faith is an oasis in the heart that will never be reached by the caravan of thinking."

- Khalil Gibran (1883-1931) Lebanese-American poet, artist, and writer

Friday, January 9, 2009

Some feelings about winter --- in Utah....

The moment I got stuck going up the hill while driving carpool:
Embarrassed - Nervous - Frustrated - Panicked - Grateful (for the boys in the carpool who pushed me)

The time I've spent shoveling my driveway for the umpteenth time in the last two weeks:
Tired - Healthy - Sore - Irritated (that it snowed again!)

The 30 minutes we spent digging out my friend who got stuck in an ice rut in our culdesac and got high-centered:
Mad (at the city for not plowing) - Relieved (that I wasn't the only one who got stuck) - Wet - Grateful (that Dale was working from home that day) - Strong - Hardworking

The day I spent in the mountains cross-country skiing with my sisters and some of Cathy's friends:
Astonished (at the beauty so near us) - Thrilled ('cause such access was free!) - Grateful (that Dale bought me good skis and boots) - Hot (a reference to my sweating, not how the ski pants looked on me!) - Rejuvenated - Strong - Healthy - Fulfilled - Excited (to meet new friends and go new places) - Awestruck - Happy - Satisfied

The moment I could not stop, despite standing on my brakes, while I slid through an intersection with a large van barreling directly toward me:
Terrified (like I've never been terrified) - Out of control - Scared - Worried (for Cheyenne in the back seat) - Prayerful

The moment I came to a stop two lanes over while I watched the van narrowly swerve around me
Grateful (like I've never been grateful) - Thankful (that the van driver was alert and not on a cell phone) - Grateful (for answered prayers) - Shaking - Anxious - Slow - Grateful

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Another year - another cake

 A couple of my very first blogs involved the preparation for and eventual presentation of a big wedding cake.  Since then, my blog has become the one place where I feel like I can share the cakes I make.  I mostly do it so I have a record for myself, but it's also fun to share an accomplishment with those that I think might find it interesting.  If you do, that's great.  If you don't, I never have to know you looked at it.  It's really a pretty low risk way to share!  Oh, but wait, I already took the risk 'cause I made this for a young bride at church.  The secret's out!  What was I thinking????