"Women of God can never be like women of the world. The world has enough women who are tough; we need women who are tender. There are enough women who are coarse; we need women who are kind... We have enough women of fame and fortune; we need more women of faith." -- Margaret D. Nadauld

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Love Is Overflowing

Since I wrote my previous post about things I love, I continue to have loving thoughts run through my brain. I'll see something, hear something or eat something and I think, "I absolutely LOVE this! I should have blogged about it!"

Well, why not?

I give you the second half of the Things That I Love and Adore

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I LOVE Judge Judy! This is not a new declaration or a new love. I have enjoyed her show for a really long time. Every day at noon, you will find me folding laundry or making my bed or doing some sort of task in my bedroom in front of the TV, so I can have my 'Judge Judy' fix. I enjoy watching her yell, "ARE YOU STUPID?" or "ON YOUR BEST DAY YOU'RE NOT AS SMART AS I AM ON MY WORST DAY" or "I'M THE BOSS APPLESAUCE" or "ARE YOU ON ANY MEDICATION?"

Seriously, how can you go wrong with a woman like her around?

I was sad when I read in yesterday's news that she had been rushed to the hospital. This world would be a sad place without her sharp, acerbic wit.

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I LOVE chocolate covered cinnamon bears. Again, this is NOT a new declaration or a new love. I LOVE that Winco sells them in bulk.
Thank heavens Florin doesn't have a Winco which means I have to drive 1/2 hour to Guilder to purchase them, which means I don't consume them as often as I would if they were right here ALL THE TIME!!!

Of course I'm a little concerned about my move to New Florin. The town is very small (population 5300) and what if there isn't a store that sells them? I may have to resort to making them myself.....

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My newst love: I LOVE the TV show Modern Family. Call it my 'guilty pleasure.' It just makes me laugh. Out loud. LOUDLY!! I love the characters... Sofia Vergara is HILARIOUS as the gorgeous wife of Al Bundy from Married With Children. Whenever she opens her mouth, I just know we're going to get lambasted with hilarious lines! Her comedic timing is genius.

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I LOVE (as well as the rest of my family LOVES) Nestle Quick chocolate milk powder.

I buy the BIG TALL container of this... 72 servings... and it disappears within a month's time. That's how much we drink! I usually have a glass every morning with my extra-crispy sourdough English Muffin (another LOVE) and Buttercup and Inigo will have a glass every day.

Buttercup has never been a regular milk drinker, and I encourage her to drink this so she can maintain her calcium levels. I'm just happy when Inigo puts anything in his mouth. He's so skinny that anything he eats or drinks will help keep him from flying away in a strong wind storm!

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I LOVE my new Alfie Boe CD Bring Him Home. I loved seeing him in concert. The music was so stirring and emotional. I was worried that the audio CD would be flat and leave me wishing I could just live in Alfie's bathroom so I could listen to him while he sings in the shower. That would make me seem slightly perverted, so I'm pleased to announce that the CD fully satisfies my Alfie listening pleasures. The CD just came in the mail yesterday and Alfie show tunes are filling my house.

My next purchase will be the Les Miserables anniversary CD. (Can I admit I'm hesitant to purchase it? I really don't know if I can stomach listening to the Jonas Brother singing the part of Marius. He is certainly NOT Michael Ball... why they cast him is beyond me.)

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I still LOVE clouds. And now that winter is releasing her grip on the skies and the ground, I'm finding more and more interesting cloud formations. I hope to increase photos on my cloud blog (clicky on the top link on the right sidebar).

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I LOVE having perspective! We've had some personal struggles in our house the past week and 1/2 and I have felt nervous and stressed. But when I have left home, and started talking to others, I realize that I'm not alone. There are a lot of people who are going through hard times right now... situations that would make me buckle under the pressure...and (for the most part) these people are handling their situation with grace and cheerful attitudes. They are an inspiration to me.

I also LOVE that Heavenly Father hears and answers prayers in the most amazing ways. And the comfort He can give at the most distressing time has made it possible to move forward with finding the help that is needed in our situation. Our struggle is not going to be fixed immediately, but through the power of prayer I know that we will be able to endure and find the solutions we need.

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Note: If you follow this blog using a Reader, you may see that there are several posts titled "Test" or "Testing" that have been deleted. I am struggling with Blogger right now. I had to type this whole post under the "Edit HTML" tab because Blogger is not adding any hard returns right now.

For example: I would have written this under the "compose" tab, hitting the "return" button for my paragraph breaks and when I push "Publish" all the sentences would have run together and there would be no visible breaks in the text.

I'm hoping that using the HTML code put the break between each paragraph and fixed the problem.

Is anyone else struggling with this?

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Love and Adoration

It has been a long time since I have done a post of the things that I love and adore. Tastes change over time and so do the things that catch my fancy, so let's enumerate them now:

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I love that my husband wasn't found dead on the roadside last night. Sounds weird I know, but he had been travelling on icy roads at midnight; I was sitting home worrying and the reassuring text he sent me to tell me he made it back to New Florin alive and well got jammed up in his phone and wasn't delivered to me. Needless to say I was a wreck when I woke up this morning (pun intended). (Sometimes he sends the texts late, after I go to sleep.) My frantic-ness was only enhanced when he slept in and didn't hear my repeated phone calls - I dialed somewhere in the area of 10,000. I had given myself the deadline of 8:30 am before I called the police. At 8:00 I got his sweet text, "Good morning."

Ahhh.... music to my ears (or eyes as the case may be).

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I Love Great Harvest's Potato Dill Bread. I bought it on an impulse one day and haven't looked back. I usually eat toast or an English muffin for breakfast each day and this bread makes the yummiest toast you'll probably ever eat.

Seriously. Try it.
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I Love that the two feet of snow I had in my back yard melted in the space of about a week and 1/2. I Love that I can see my grass again. Sure it's brown and matted down and covered in a winter's worth of Lola Dog's lawn bombs, but it's GRASS!!! And there's something else that's cool popping up in my yard... the very tips of my tulips are poking through the wet dirt!! Glory Hallelujah! Spring really might come.

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I Love that I get to see my sister Wees and her family at my sister Red's house in a month's time when we all converge for my niece SaJo's graduation from the Blue University. You know... that school that coined a new VERB: Jimmer. I Love that we will also get to go through the Temple with my nephew JackO as he prepares to serve in the Salt Lake City Spanish Speaking Mission!! Time with family Rocks!!!

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I Love that when my young adult daughter comes home from school/work, she'll sit down and have a conversation with me. It's been a long time in coming, and now that she's opening up, it's FANTASTIC!!!

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I Love that my 8 year old son practically sits curled up on my lap every night as we read the Fablehaven books together. It's so wonderful that he still is so openly affectionate towards me. I cherish the evenings we have together, knowing they won't last forever.

♥ ~ ♥ ~ ♥ ~ ♥ ~ ♥ ~ ♥ ~ ♥ ~ ♥ ~ ♥ ~ ♥ ~ ♥ ~ ♥ ~ ♥ ~ ♥ ~ ♥ ~ ♥ ~ ♥ ~ ♥ ~ ♥

I Love Paint the Moon action sets for my Photoshop Elements. They have helped me so much as I edit my photos. These action sets take a mediocre photo and make them look a step up from mediocre. Thank heavens or my friend Leo would have had to get married all over again (and hire a real photographer this time!!)

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I Love that we were able to get tickets for General Conference this year. Can you believe we have never gone? When the bishop stood up at the pulpit and said he had a few tickets, I whispered to Max that we ought to see if we could get some. It would be fun to go while we still live only a few hours away. (Next Conference we'll live SEVERAL hours away!) When we asked if we could have some, we found out that the Bishop was only given 3 tickets and he only had two left. Well, we need 3. The reason we hadn't requested tickets before was that Inigo wasn't old enough to go. Now that he's'of legal age'(8 years old), we want him to go.

Since there weren't enough, we shrugged our shoulders and said that we'd try another time. No big deal.

A week passes and the Bishop approaches Max in Priesthood Mtg and gives him an envelope with 3 tickets!! Apparently he went to the Stake President and asked for more! Woo hoo! Thanks Bishop Love!
♥ ~ ♥ ~ ♥ ~ ♥ ~ ♥ ~ ♥ ~ ♥ ~ ♥ ~ ♥ ~ ♥ ~ ♥ ~ ♥ ~ ♥ ~ ♥ ~ ♥ ~ ♥ ~ ♥ ~ ♥ ~ ♥

And mostly, I Love that I can go to bed tonight. After a short night last night, worrying about Max's mortality, I'm finding that I'm getting increasingly short tempered and grumpy as the day goes on. Inigo has a friend over and I can't tell you how many times the little boy has rang the doorbell to come in and ask me a question.

DingDong DingDong DingDong DingDong DingDong DingDong DingDong DingDong DingDong DingDong


Saturday, March 19, 2011

Alfie Part Deux


Born under a lucky star, I guess.

I wonder how it would feel to actually be him.

We went to our second Alfie Boe concert last night. This time we decided we'd try to sit closer to the front. Since the concert was open seating, as soon as the doors to the recital hall were opened, we rushed in and grabbed seats in the middle of the third row.

(Really, in this recital hall, there are no bad seats. The venue is small enough that you can sit on the back row and still see the performer's face. So even though we sat in the back on Wednesday night, we weren't disappointed.)

But.... the perspective from being this close is completely different. We were close enough to see the sparkle in Mr. Boe's eye; a clearer view of the emotion on his face. Our eyes could actually meet and he could actually see me hold my camera up.

And he could actually see Inigo sitting between Max and I. Inigo who had been fighting a headache and was a little tired and who looked a little zoned out.

So after Alfie sang his third song, he looked out into the audience and said, "Is that your son?"

Ummm.... wait.... are you talking to US?!?!?

Apparently, he was!

He had noticed Inigo and thought that our boy was totally bored out of his mind. He didn't know that after the first song, Inigo turned to me and said,

"Mom, this is AWESOME!"

He bantered back and forth with Max for a moment, much to the delight of the 700 people in the audience. (Alfie Boe has a great sense of humor and is a genuinely NICE person.) He made sure to tell Max that Inigo "looks like a nice chap and you need to make sure to take him out for a burger and fries after this is over." Max said he thought a piece of pie would be better! :)

He went on to sing another song and noticed another little girl, about Inigo's age, sitting on the front row that was displaying the same lethargic attitude. He promised her that the next song he was going to sing would wake her up a little more. She then stuck her tongue out at him and... believe it or not... he stuck his back out at her.

(In defense of these kids, however, the first half of the concert was in Italian. Of course they're not going to show a lot of enthusiasm!)

After finishing the first half of the program, Mr. Boe and the Sinfonietta left the stage for intermission. The audience was standing up to stretch and chat with their neighbors about the wonderful program we were enjoying. A very few left for a potty break. We looked up at the stage and the girl who said the prayer at the beginning of the concert walked out carrying a microphone.

She announced, "I'd like to have the little boy in the middle of row three come up on stage. Alfie Boe has a little gift for you."

She was carrying a handful of candy bars.

Again, the audience roared. Again, we were stunned. My boy was in the spotlight again!!

She may have said something else, I don't remember. I just remember Inigo scrambling to get out of the row, everyone standing up to let him by; patting him on the back; smiling at him. I remember Inigo not being scared at all to stand on stage and say his name into the microphone. We all laughed when she asked him what his favorite song so far was and he stood there shrugging his shoulders... Duh! It was all in Italian! (Although, now he would say it was O Sole Mio.)

She also had some candy for the little girl on the front row, but for some reason she wasn't invited on the stage.

Inigo was pretty stoked. He got a Heath Bar, some Swiss chocolate and a couple of locally made candy bars.

After intermission was over and Alfie walked back on stage, he looked at Inigo. Inigo gave him a thumbs up. Alfie quickly returned the signal with a warm smile and those sparkly eyes.

The second half of the concert was Show Tunes and it was so fun to listen to him sing.

However, when he was singing On The Street Where You Live, he messed up the lyrics! It was hilarious. And the great thing was that he laughed about it, which made us all laugh about it without feeling bad. (You'll see it in the video.)
Another funny moment in the concert was during the second half: He was getting ready to sing one of the Broadway songs and the Sinfonietta had started playing the intro. It was just about time for him to start singing and he says into the mic, "Stop! Stop! I'm sorry! I just noticed that there is a woman out there who wants to take my picture and we can't let a moment like that pass by." (NO....it wasn't me! Amazing, eh?)
So he walked out on the stage and posed and let her take the picture. (Of course I wasn't going to let that moment pass me by either!) After the pose, he went back to the mic and wowed us some more with his amazing voice.

Having Alfie notice Inigo was the most amazing thing of the night. The second most amazing thing was at the end of the show, when he sang Bring Me Home. Since we were sitting so close, we could really see and feel the emotion of the song. Many members of the audience were wiping tears from their eyes as he sang and we noticed that Alfie's eyes were rimming with tears as well. It was simply amazing and breath taking.

I wish I had the money to fly across the pond to London where I could see him play the part of Jean Valjean. Inigo has expressed that wish as well.

Who knows? Inigo seems lucky enough. Maybe if I let him buy a lottery ticket.....

I put a bunch of clips together of some of the songs he sang. The first song, O Sole Mio was Inigo and my favorite of the Italian songs. I got nervous videoing though, so turned it off in the middle. The rest of the songs were videoed on my knee. You can't see Alfie very well, but you can hear him. And that's what's important, isn't it?
Oh, and I'm still learning how to edit videos together. I have a long way to go. :)

(Notice that on about second 25, he looks directly at me! Eeek!)

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Groupie. Groupy. Groopy.

I thought I knew how to spell the word 'Groupie' until I typed it in.

Then it just looked weird.

Kind of like when you say the words 'toy boat' 7 times fast, you all of a sudden think, "What? ...Toy boat? Those are a couple of the weirdest words in the English language!"

When I type in 'Groupie,' it all of a sudden looks jibberish.

Which is why I typed in other phoentic spellings of the word. Maybe if it looks weird to me, it looks weird to you too and you won't know if I'm spelling it right...

Weird looking or not, I think I may have just become a 'Groupie' (the correct spelling.)

Last night I went to a concert. It was a cultural event. Some might call it 'high brow.' It wasn't a concert that you wear torn jeans and skanky tank tops to. People definitely didn't throw their undergarments on stage, or bring their lighters to raise above their heads swaying to the rhythms (did that just date me or what? I think people use their cell phones now).

It was a concert of beautiful Neapolitan (Italian) opera music, mingled with Sinfonietta performances, mingled with Rogers and Hammerstein, mingled with show tunes, performed by an amazing tenor voice.

Alfie Boe is the newest and greatest tenor that is making headlines these days. If you happened to catch the Les Miserables 25th Anniversary Concert at the O2 Theatre (recently broadcast on PBS), then you happened to catch Alfie Boe. He was cast to play the part of Jean Valjean. His rendition of Bring Him Home is stunning, breath catching and simply phenomenal.

And when he sings in the Jean Valjean quartet.... well, watch it for yourself!

Every time I watch it, it takes my breath away. And since I'm known locally for being a cry baby, I will admit that it makes me cry. Especially when Mr. Boe starts singing... Holy cow.

Isn't music wonderful? Isn't it amazing how it can move you? How it can touch your heart and uplift you? Music soothes my soul and brings peace to my life. Especially music like this. Especially talent like this. (I really hope that I can have a beautiful singing voice in the next life. I feel so gypped that I was born with a love of music and I can't sing it the way I want to!)

Anyway, I found out that Mr. Boe was coming to MY LITTLE TOWN to perform a concert at the University.
My little town of 25,000?
After performing on a stage in front of THOUSANDS with some of the best talent in the world? He's coming to Florin to perform a concert in front of a few hundred?
What the heck?

That gift horse wasn't going to get kicked in the teeth. I was going to take advantage of it. I called my parents and asked if they'd like come up from Guilder and go to the concert with me. No hesitation on their parts -- even my dad -- and I had a date!

We got there early, settled in our seats and the minute Mr. Boe came out on the stage, we were blown away. He started off by singing 7 Italian operatic songs and after a short intermission he sang show tunes from his current album. My mom cried, I cried and (amazingly) my dad had a smile on his face.

Afterward, I really felt bad that Max hadn't been there with me. I know he would have loved the concert. And I also knew my children would have enjoyed it as well. (I'm so grateful that they were born with a love for good music!)
Good news!!
Lucky, lucky me. Mr. Boe is performing TWO CONCERTS here!
Yay for the groupie!!
The next concert is on Friday night, which is the night Max comes home. So I called him and asked him to commit to leaving early enough to get here on time -- and I bought 3 more tickets. Yep. I'm going to make Inigo come along as well. Poor Buttercup.... always working. (I'm probably not telling her that we're going. She felt bad she couldn't go last night.)

I apologize that the video moves so much. I didn't want anyone to be bothered by the LCD screen of my camera, so I held it on my chest. Yes, the camera captured my breathing.

So does this make me a 'Groupie'?
But I promise NOT to throw any unmentionables on the stage!!! :)

Thursday, March 10, 2011

"How's Your Dog?"

Most people don't like Monday.

I have never been like "most people."

As a matter of fact, I try hard NOT to be like "most people." Being normal is kind of BORING!!

So what day of the week don't I like?


It's a hard day for me. I have been a single mom for 4 long days, and I know that Max will be home in 24 hours (or less) and I'm just READY for him to be here.

And it's Cub Scout Day.

I love those little guys, but HOLY COW they wear me out!

I have "sole custody" of 5 little Bear Scouts (we're working on getting a second leader for me, but until then, to keep the "two deep leadership" rule, we share a room with 8 equally rambunctious Wolf Scouts. It's NOISY and CRAZY!!)

Today was a little more work. Two extra boys showed up for our meeting. One of the boys is 10 and should be going to Weblos, but the Weblos leader is not holding meetings. This poor kid was craving some scouting experiences! His little brother, age 6, came along and really added to the noise and confusion. (He is really excited to join Cub Scouts.)

I really need an assistant!!!

Before Inigo and I left to go to the church for our Den Meeting I noticed the neighbor's dog sleeping under some pine trees. I was impressed that this dog actually found a spot in the yard where the snow had melted and grass was showing. I was impressed that she was able to recognize a nice soft place for her afternoon constitutional.

I love this old dog. Her name is Bandit.


HER name.

She's a big, OLD, black lab that has a heart of gold.

She defends her family as well as she can with her old bones. But she also recognizes a friend and will knock you over with her wagging tail, offering you doggie kisses while she waits patiently for a pat on the head.

I was happy her old bones had found a comfortable spot.

I silently wished her a happy rest and we left for our Den Meeting.

After Cub Scouts, Inigo and I had a bunch of errands to run, and we returned home about 2.5 hours later.

Bandit was still sleeping under the trees.

At first I thought, "WOW! She really is OLD! That's a long nap she's taking!" and went in the house to put groceries away and start cooking dinner.

Then I realized exactly how long a nap it was and she hadn't changed position.

And my heart sunk.

So I went outside. I stood at my garage door and I whistled. She didn't move.

I yelled her name.


But she could have bad hearing, right? After all, she's OLD!!

I whistled again. This time louder. (Which really isn't a problem with me. I have whistling skills. Most people go deaf if I whistle while standing next to them.)

Bandit didn't even stir.

I debated putting on snow boots and trudging through snow drifts to go take a look at her (we still have substantial snow drifts in our yards)... and I will admit, I got scared. I have a very tender heart and I didn't think I could handle it if she truly was deceased.

So I got on the phone and called her owners.

Jewels answered the phone.

"Hey Jewels, it's Valerie. Please don't think I'm weird, but I have to ask you a question."

"Okay, Valerie. I love you and you can ask me anything."

"Jewels, how's your dog?"

Jewel's voice got soft and she asked me, "Is she dead?"

"Yes, Jewels," and I started to cry, "I think she is."

This poor dog, who had been a member of their family for over 12 years (I think it was 14) had gotten into some poison -- they think it was antifreeze -- and they had tried to help her, but her poor old body couldn't fight the poison, and she went to the warmest, most comfortable spot available in our neighborhood to rest her weary bones and leave her earthly existence.

Little did I know that when I wished her a "happy rest" that I was wishing her a "happy eternal rest."

Sleep well, Bandit!!

(It's silly of me to weep over a dog that doesn't belong to me, but I can't seem to help it. I have always had a tender heart when it comes to pets.)

Bah! Thursday!

• • • • • • • • • •

I did feel a little better later this evening when I went to Roundtable for Scouts and I won a box of TWINKIES!! Who doesn't love a frozen Twinkie now and then?

• • • • • • • • • •

I put this on Facebook today, but it was so sweet I need to write about it here.

This morning when I woke Inigo up to get him ready for school, the first thing he said to me, with sleep still in his eyes was,

"Mom, where's your favorite place to drive to?"

I originally said, "Disneyland," because I REALLY want to go back there, but then I revised it to "Yellowstone."

Then I asked him where his favorite place to drive was.

He sat there for about 3 seconds thinking, then he answered,


• • • • • • • • • •

I finally finished Leo's wedding pictures. They are on the jump drive and ready to mail.

Why am I so nervous?

I hope she likes them!!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

So Excited


I have some news!

We were able to get tickets to this:

We go in May.

Color us GREEN with excitement!!!