New Look

2016
02.12

I’ve wanted to paint the entry way of our home for a few years now. But because of the large staircase and tall walls up there, I didn’t really want to tackle that job myself. So, instead, we would talk about it, then let the idea fall by the wayside. Finally, when we were making our budget (there’s that WORD again), I asked if we could PLEASE use some of the extra to paint. More specifically, to PAY someone ELSE to paint. Hubby agreed.

I got a couple of bids and picked a painter. Then I picked up paint samples.
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Here we have the before walls. Stripped of all pictures and art.

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Ryan had a business trip scheduled for this week, and I thought it would be great to do some painting while he was gone. We scheduled it for Tuesday. I proceeded to take pictures off of walls, clean baseboards, and even asked Ryan to take off a few wall sconces before he left. For as long as we’ve lived in this house, I’ve had a saying on the wall above the kids’ pictures on the wall that says, “All because two people fell in love”.

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I took down the pictures of the kids and peeled off that vinyl saying. The wall looked SO barren.

Tuesday turned into Thursday before the painter could actually come. That gave me another day to take the face plates off the plugs and tidy up a bit more. Thursday afternoon a guy came. He patched up walls and got to work painting.

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So nice to see a color on the wall. Even a neutral color (I think this one is called agreeable grey, or something like that) is nice. It’s not a huge change, but it will look so clean and fresh.

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In just 4 hours, he’s got all the main floor areas painted. Yes, it’s a little awkward to have him painting and we are all right here hanging out in the kitchen and family room, but we can deal with awkward. We have valentines to make and stuff to do, so let him paint. Not sure if he’ll get this finished this weekend, or have to com next week as well, but it’s fun to have this project going.

Not really a writer, just pretending sometimes

2016
02.10

I’ve been in the Bells on Temple Square for 10 years- almost 11, now. After our first concert, someone I didn’t know came up to me and asked me a few questions about the concert. She said she was from the choir’s newsletter, and could she email me? The choir has a newsletter? OK, Sure. That led to them asking me if I would write an article for the “Keeping Tab”, which is the Choir’s biannual newsletter.
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Here’s me and my dear friend Liz.
I didn’t realize at that time that it was a permanent thing. But every 6 months, I would write one or sometimes two articles about what the Bells on Temple Square were up to. After a couple of years of doing this, they invited me to be set apart for the magazine staff. I got to go meet President Mac Christensen in his office in the Tabernacle. I invited my family, and they thought it was pretty cool to go backstage with us and President Christensen (Mr. Mac to those of you not familiar with him) and he set me apart as a member of the writing staff.
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The Choir has lengthy articles about their latest tour and concerts, and I’m all like, well, we did a spring concert, and a fall concert, and several music and the spoken word broadcasts in between. And we rehearse every week. Hmm. So, I would try to come up with other things to talk about. I wrote about our summer parties, about how many people in Bots were related, about what it’s like to play bells, backstage at the Christmas concerts, etc. Some articles were better than others, of course. My favorite part of the magazine is always the “mint slippers” or the funny things that the directors say in rehearsal. Thankfully, I have a helper, Theresa, who has always written those down for me. I write a few down, but she has a more comprehensive list. Larry, our associate director, is now always saying, “Oh, don’t write that down!” because he says such funny things in rehearsal.
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Me with some dancers backstage at a Christmas concert

It’s been fun to write the articles, but as the deadline rolled around and I had been newly called as Relief Society President, I wondered if it were appropriate to be asked to be released from the writing job. It’s not like it takes a ton of time, but even a couple of extra hours when you have a lot to do is a bit much. And shouldn’t someone else get the opportunity and blessings, as well? I spoke to my director and she agreed that it was fine to be released, and suggested someone to take my place.

A few weeks after that, I got this presentation at rehearsal one night. A thank you for my service of writing for the newsletter for 10 years.

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In case you can’t read the small print, it says “Keeping Tab Pulitzer Prize, Best Literary Articles, Paige Erickson, For making the star studded directors look almost human, and making the ringers look more important than the directors.”

We don’t take ourselves too seriously, obviously.

It’s been an honor and really a lot of fun to be on the writing staff. When my days in the choir are over, I will look back at all those keeping tabs and smile as I read about our concerts and adventures.

Snow and More snow

2016
02.07

I try to not be a complainer, but I am So. Tired. Of. Snow. And cold.

Trudging out to take the garbage can and shuffling through 4 more inches of new snow.
Shoveling the path to the chickens. Again.
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It seems a lot of people are escaping the snow and going to warm place because I keep seeing their pictures in Hawaii or on a cruise or in California.
Ryan gets to go to a warm place next week and I’m jealous.

I know it’s winter and we need the snow for our water supply this summer. Yes, I KNOW that. But these gray cold days make me depressed. I don’t see the joy in the snow. I’m not a skier. There is no snowman in my yard. My kids don’t even want to go out in the snow. Only grouchy that I ask them to shovel again and again and again. When I ask them to shovel, they say, “But I DID shovel last week.” Um, right. And there’s more snow. Our snowblower is broken, and we have a big driveway, so it’s not getting shoveled all the way anymore. We have a wonderful neighbor who will often come over and clear our sidewalk and front walkway, just to be nice. He’s pretty awesome like that. Once he even cleared the whole driveway for us.
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The chickens have no where to go. They end up huddled underneath their house. The cat looks at with her sad little eyes silently begging to be let in.

Tonight John has the Klondike campout. Where they go camping. In the snow. It’s 25 degrees outside, and our boys are going to go camping? How awful does that sound? If I were a scout, I would definitely be skipping this one.

Update- He actually had a great time at his winter camp! What?

You take the the good, you take the bad, you take them both…

2016
02.01


Kind of a wild weekend here. Full of ups and downs. But in each “bad” we can also see a “good”.

Natalie and her friend Maggie slid off the road in Heriman on Saturday morning on their way to a debate tournament and had to be helped out of the snow.

They took first place in duo at that tournament.
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I twisted my ankle in the parking lot of the stake center for our Women’s conference. I grabbed onto the side view mirrors of two cars. Thankfully, I did not break those mirrors.

It was a wonderful conference full of great speakers and fellowship and I’m so glad I was there.

Jenna’s parakeet flew out of the house at the end of her party when two of her friends went out to get into the car and flew away from us when we tried to find it. We tried to catch her, but she kept flying away and landing in higher and higher trees, until she flew over the house and we lost sight of her.

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Jenna’s friends all came outside to help us look. When we couldn’t find the bird and Jenna was in tears, all of her friends gathered together to say a prayer. Even though it was freezing outside, those girls were out there, some without coats, searching the neighborhood for that bird. It was dark and getting late, and I had to take them home, but they didn’t want to go. They all wanted to keep searching for that bird because they knew how sad Jenna was to lose it. Those are some good friends.

Megan drove home from our house back to her apartment on Sunday night. Roads were very slick and she had to go quite slowly. I was worried when I hadn’t heard from her, even though it had been over two hours since she had left.

Megan’s roommate had also been traveling back to school, when she slid off the road and hit the barrier. She was able to drive her car to Nephi after the accident, where Megan picked her up and took her home with her. Later, the roommates insisted she go to the hospital to have her injuries checked out. Minor concussion and bruised rib, but she’ll be ok.

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Things happen. Good things. Great things. Horrible things. Annoying things. But even in the bad, I think we can still find some good.

Life is all about perspective. The sinking of the Titanic was a miracle to the lobsters in the ship’s kitchen.

New Wheels

2016
01.29

My husband is great. However, impulsive he’s not. He’s always trying to use words like “SAVE” and “BUDGET”.

So Monday evening when I saw in a facebook buy and sell group that a guy was selling his 1997 Chevy S10 pickup for $1500, I was intrigued. He wasn’t asking very much, and we’ve been looking for a truck for over a year. I told him I was interested and asked if we could come and see it Tuesday night. Sure, he replied. So, I went to show Ryan the listing and ask if he was interested in going to see it. (Usually this is where he tells me that it is junk for these reasons, and to stop trying to buy things online.) But this time he said, “Wow, that looks like a good deal. The guy’s a mechanic and it looks like he’s maintained the truck really well.” But then the guy replied and said, “Not a problem, I do have one kid who wants to come look at it tonight and if it does sell then I’ll let you know.” To which I replied, “Ok, we’ll come in half an hour if that’s ok.”
What? It’s 8:30 on a Monday night? I was seriously just about to go get in my pajamas, but instead, Ryan and I hopped in the car and drove to Orem to see this truck.

When we pulled up, the guy was outside taking his stuff out of the truck. “Oh,” he said, “I was expecting someone else. But that’s ok. Want to take it for a drive?” Of course we did. We couldn’t find anything glaringly wrong with the vehicle in the few minutes we drove it, and decided to be impulsive and get it. As we returned to the house, the other guy had come to look at it. Oh, no. We don’t have cash. All I have it a check. How much cash can I get at 9 at night? $300 from an ATM? We decided it was worth it to us to offer him a bonus if he took our check, since there were multiple buyers interested. “We would like to buy this truck, but we don’t have that much cash on us. Would you take a check for $1700?” He said yes. So, now we have a truck again. A manual truck. The kids can learn to drive stick shift again.

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Natalie was excited about the new addition, since that means she will have something to drive, but of course, she’s the one who didn’t learn to drive stick. Some lessons may be in her future. I think Cole and Ryan are excited to drive it, too. We’re all happy to have a truck again to haul stuff instead of hooking up the tiny trailer, which is honestly such a pain.

So you see–even Ryan can be impulsive and spontaneous sometimes.
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Of course, the next day he said, “It’s time to work out the budget.”

Auditions. Such fun.

2016
01.10

Friday I checked my email and there was a note from a theater friend of mine, letting me know of a play, Curious Savage, I should audition for. I looked into it, and thought,
“Oh, I do miss theater, and it’s SO close. And I don’t have any bell things coming up, besides our regular once a week practice, and not too many Relief Society things are at night, And the play is at the end of Feb, so it wouldn’t take up my whole life for very long, and they do call for women in their 40′s and 50′s. Let me look at the calendar and see how many conflicts I have.”
It takes me about 2 minutes to go from ‘I’m too busy’ to ‘I’ve got time’.
I checked with my hubby to make sure he didn’t have any qualms about my auditioning, and then I looked for a monologue that I could do for an audition. I was not completely memorized, but I went anyway.
It was fun. In a nervous energy, not sure of yourself, what am I doing kind of way.
On Saturday, there were call backs. Even though this play is in Highland, I didn’t know a single other person there. They had me in consideration for three different women’s parts. One of them was Mrs. Savage. What? No, I didn’t want to be that part, I’m here for this smaller part of one of the “patients”. But, most of the people there were younger. there were only 2 other “mom” types. OK. Here goes. So, I read with several different people, in several different roles. They had four mini scenes, and they kept switching people out to see how they worked together, reading these different scenes. It was fun to be acting, even if it was just cold reading. I don’t exactly know what they are looking for, but I did my best.

I know that my bell choir director would frown upon me missing more than one rehearsal, and I could see by the schedule that there was a performance on a Wednesday, and for sure there would be a dress rehearsal the week before. I decided to send an email to the director letting him know that I have Wednesday night conflicts. I could be there for the performance, but couldn’t commit to being there any other Wednesdays. Then, if they decide that’s too difficult to work around, they won’t cast me in their play. (That sounds kind of arrogant. They might not like me for those parts and wouldn’t cast me anyway).

Today, when I opened the email with anticipation, I read over all names and did not see mine. For the first time EVER, I was not disappointed. I was a tiny bit relieved. I would LOVE to do a play. I LOVE theater. But I could recognize that I have a bit going on in my life, and I don’t really need the added stress of a play. As I think about the lady they did cast as Mrs. Savage, I think, “Ok. I think I was better, but maybe I don’t exactly fit into their vision of the play. Maybe I’m not old enough. Whatever.” And I was relieved that I wouldn’t have to memorize all that. How lazy of me! But I’m not disappointed. For the first time EVER after an audition and a not getting the part (which happens SO very much), I do not feel like I wasn’t good enough. Maybe I’m not good enough, or maybe I don’t fit the look they are going for. Or maybe they don’t like the fact that I have too many Wednesday nights I need off. It doesn’t matter. All that matters is that I did my best, I was honest, I wasn’t trying to impress.

I hope I can do a play this year. I will audition for more this spring and this summer. There may be a few weeks that we don’t have bell rehearsal when the choir goes on tour, and that gives me a little bit more wiggle room at that time. But I hope that I can have this same attitude the next time I audition. Instead of feeling bad that I wasn’t good enough, to recognize instead that I just may not be what they are looking for.

2015

2015
12.31

2015 brought a lot of good. So much good.

-Missionary returned. He worked and started school again. He’s also got himself a cute girlfriend and we’ll see how that goes.
-We have TWO kids in college, now. Both of them are about halfway through their sophomore year. Megan will need to decide where she wants to apply to go next year, as Snow College is for getting your associates. I’m so glad she has good roommates this year (all of them) and that she is having fun.
-Natalie started teaching piano lesson AND got herself a part time job at CVS. She’s doing well at school, has lots of friends, enjoys debating, and is even out there dating.
-9th grade is good for Jenna. She is creative, always drawing, or playing video games. I think she may be a game artist someday.
-John is dyed his hair for halloween, and we are finally used to it being brown. Although he got a haircut today and it’s a bit blonder. Scouts is great for him. He enjoys school, too, which is great. He got a pogo stick for Christmas, too.
-Ryan continues to work at Control4. At home, he tinkers, fixes things, uses his 3-d printer, takes long bike rides, and works on all kinds of projects. He tolerates the cat, likes the chickens, now. He had too many days off that he didn’t take, so he’s ended up with every Thursday and Friday off for the past 6 weeks. He’s loved having the time to work on some things. Today, in fact, he installed speakers in the basement. I’m hoping I can talk him into painting the entry way this year.
-A big change for me this year was being called to be the Relief Society President in April. It was totally unexpected, and not something I thought I could do. But I did receive an answer that I would be blessed for accepting this calling, even with my time consuming bells calling. Playing bells is kind of like my part time job that I go to once a week and for three weeks a year. And I love it. I can honestly say the RS gig is not as bad as I thought it was going to be (at least not this year). We have such a wonderful ward. I love that my ability to care for people has increased. I don’t know if I can help them as much as I would want to, but I do my best. I love my counselors and really love the sisters we serve. I didn’t do a play this summer because of that calling, but we’ll see what 2016 brings.
-We did also host quite a few people this year. For a month in the winter we had those two Brazillian boys. That was really not a great experience, but we’re trying to put that behind us. We took a risk and hosted again, with Rika from Japan, who stayed for 2 1/2 weeks in the summer, and then Nozomu, who came from Japan to and stayed with us a week in October. Robin and Ron also came to stay with us twice. We are even considering hosting a full year exchange student again. Thinking about it.

Our chicken count is up to 14 right now. I was disappointed that the three chicks I got in the spring all turned out to be roosters, so I got three more chicks. I’m pretty sure one of them is a rooster, but if the other two are girls, I’ll be happy with that. 14 is a lot to keep through the winter, but I hate to get rid of them. I really enjoy the chickens, even if they aren’t pulling their weight right now in egg production.

For 2016, I’m sure we will see more changes. I’m hoping to get my teen chime choir going. Cole will maybe decide that she’s the one. Or she will break his heart. Megan will finish up at Snow College. John and Jenna will both move up to middle school and high school. So, even though I hope that not much will change, I do anticipate changes this year. Good ones.

May 2016 be a great year for you, too.

Sometimes it’s the little things

2015
12.27

The church bag. Every mom has one. The church bags evolve through the years. What was once filled with cheerios, books, crayons and toys, now carries a huge Relief Society Binder, calendar, and many papers. It was time to get ready for church, and I had to make sure I had everything I needed. Can I take some stuff out so it’s not so heavy? Where’s my journal/notebook I like to have with me at church? Down at the bottom of the bag was a birthday notebook, tied with a bow. It’s not my month to deliver birthday gifts anymore. Just more stuff to lug around. Mine is the only birthday left this year, anyway. I should take it out. But in looking for something else, I didn’t take it out.

At church, I tried to take advantage of the few minutes before sacrament meeting to talk to a few people. I haven’t been in sacrament meeting for two weeks because of other music commitments, so it felt like I hadn’t talked to certain people in a while. I slid into the bench next to Ryan with about a minute to spare. Behind me, a young college student was sitting with her family. I haven’t seen her in quite a while, but thanks to facebook, I remembered that it was her birthday. “Happy Birthday!” I turned and said.

During the meeting (which was awesome, by the way–6 of our young single adults spoke on challenges they have had this past year, and what they have learned), I remembered that notebook in my bag. It was still sitting there, and it was her birthday. After sacrament meeting, I turned around and handed it to her and told her happy birthday once again.

Later, in Relief Society, the person conducting decided that everyone should sing happy Birthday to both this young sister and to me. We both could have done without that, but maybe people will remember our birthdays (Remembering my birthday is BIG with me, and I’m quite impressed when people DO remember it, since it’s right after Christmas and all).

Later, when hubby came home, he made a point to tell me that this young sister’s dad had come up to Ryan. He told him to tell me that he really appreciates the job I’m doing as the Relief Society President, and how sweet it was that I was prepared and gave her a gift. That touched me that he would think to pass along his gratitude. Today I didn’t really feel like I’m doing such a great job in this calling. Things have been so busy, and I feel like I haven’t been as available or as on top of things as I should have been. So it was so nice to hear this man’s sweet comment. As I thought about the birthday notebook in my bag, I realized that I was about to take that out, but a loving Heavenly Father knew that this sister was going to be there today, and he knew that she, like me, would really appreciate being remembered and thought of on her birthday.

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It’s moments like this that remind me that we are here to help each other, and Heavenly Father will help us to help each other. He will plant ideas in our heads, he will place people in our path, he REALLY is in the details of our lives. So many little coincidences go unnoticed, but if we pay attention we will notice. And we will feel His presence.

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I’m thankful that I was able to fulfill a tiny need, and I’m also grateful that someone noticed, and was able to comment, thus helping fulfill My tiny need. I’m thankful for the church bag.

Leaving the comfort zone

2015
12.09

Even though I’m an outgoing person, I don’t really enjoy going to visit people I have never met. Especially older, somewhat crotchety people who might be mean to me. (Crotchety? Is that even a word? I don’t mean people who crochet, but grumpy people). But because of my calling, I have to step out of my comfort zone and go and visit people sometimes. And it’s hard. I really have to psych myself up and do a little pep talk each time I make a visit. Today was no exception. We had cute little favors for each of the women in the ward for a little Christmas gift from the Relief Society. We handed them out on Sunday after our special Christmas lesson. But there were many who were not there that day, and we had to deliver them. I took 5. Three of them were easy. I had a nice chat with a friend I don’t see often enough when I delivered hers, another one wasn’t available when I went by, but I gave it to her son, and a third, I knew I would not catch her at home, so I put it in the mailbox (that’s not a cop-out, really!). But now it’s Wednesday, and I should have delivered the last two by now. One is a sister I have never met. I don’t think her husband is member, and she’s recently had some healthy problems. I really SHOULD have met her by now. But I was scared. The other is a new sister, and even though I’ve met her already, I knew she wouldn’t be home during the day, and I won’t have time to go by tonight, so I just left it at her house for her.

There is the bag with the little packages in the front seat of my car, so that every time I get in the car, I see them. And I feel guilty that I haven’t already gone and delivered.

Today, after another visit, I thought, “I need to go and deliver that package to Sister F.” I was right there, it’s day time (you can’t go visit old people at night), and I had no excuse.
Buck up!
I pulled into the driveway, went up to the door, still afraid of what they would say. No doorbell. That’s not a good sign. So I knocked. Mr. F came to the door. I don’t remember what I said, but he let me in to see his wife, and we talked a little bit. They were both nice, although not super friendly. But who can blame them, I am am literally a stranger coming into their house. I was blessed with courage to talk to them, and after asking about her health I noticed a case of trophy belt buckles. Wow! This old guy used to Rodeo and has won a TON of belt buckles. Who knew? We were able to talk about that for a minute and I realized that these are fascinating people and I would probably really enjoy learning more about them. I left them with the offer of help, and it was genuine.

As I was leaving, I was proud of myself. I had done it, and it wasn’t scary. No one yelled at me to “get off their lawn”, and no one was rude to me. I need to keep this feeling of courage for the next time I have to do this. And I’m sure there will be a next time.

In which I complain a little

2015
11.09


I am not usually a complainer really. However, today I just have to vent a bit. I was supposed to have lunch with a friend today, but that didn’t work out. Ok, I got stood up, if you must know. After waiting and smelling the yummy food, I was quite hungry on the drive home and decided to just pick something up. Fast food, you know. Fast food, by the very nature of it’s name, should be fast. However, it was not.

I wrote this letter, and because I am still irritated, I thought I would post it here.

I’m not usually a complainer, but the service today was absolutely terrible. I waited in the drive thru line for 10 minutes. I would have left, but I was boxed in by other cars. When I got up to pay, the person taking the orders got my change wrong, and I had to correct him. There was no apology, no service with a smile,or even a “Sorry for the wait.”

More waiting to get from the first window to the second window. Really? Can we not get a few more employees?

At the second window, the girl handed me my food bag, but not the drink. I waited at least 60 seconds while she tried to get my diet coke. She did say sorry, at least, and that the machine wasn’t working.

In my opinion, this kind of service is absolutely not acceptable. My food was no longer hot, and I had wasted 10 minutes.

As I was sitting there waiting for my drink, I dialed the 800 number on the window for comments about my service. The number that says to call anytime, 24 hours a day. I was put on hold. I live 5 minutes away, and talked to a live person just as I got to my driveway. The live person told me that the number I called does not support the McDonald’s location I was calling about. Really?

You don’t need to contact me about my experience, unless you are offering me my money back.

Harsh? Yes, probably. But I can’t be nice ALL the time, now can I?

And then I saw this on facebook.
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So, no, I’m not angry. I just thought I should share my experience as a warning.

Right.