Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Ring Out the Old, Ring in the New

Well. Somehow each year seems to speed by ever faster. Ironically, the earth has apparently slowed down by one second, which necessitates a "leap second" being added at midnight tonight. I wonder if anyone has calculated the rate of slowing, and has projected just when the earth will stop spinning altogether? (The moon doesn't spin on its axis. Technically, it turns once on its axis each time it goes around the earth--about once every 28 days. Just imagine the earth doing that around the sun!)

Seriously, it is alarming how fast this year has gone by. Every month I was amazed: "What? The month is over already?" I expect the same will be true in 2009. -- What?? 2009?? What happened to ... the last decade?? As time zooms by, I am ever more aware that I should be using my time wisely and well.

The poet Alfred Lord Tennyson had a cheery optimism as he bid farewell to the old year and welcomed in the new. In his poem, part of which follows, I find inspiration for creating a truly happy new year.

Ring out the old, ring in the new,
Ring, happy bells, across the snow:
The year is going, let him go;
Ring out the false, ring in the true.

Ring out the want, the care, the sin,
The faithless coldness of the times;

Ring in the love of truth and right,
Ring in the common love of good.

Ring out the thousand wars of old,
Ring in the thousand years of peace.

Ring in the valiant man and free,
The larger heart, the kindlier hand;
Ring out the darkness of the land,
. . . .

I know that what Tennyson envisioned and hoped for can happen. One person at a time. Tennyson's words paint a vision and plant a desire in me to have a larger heart and a kindlier hand, to drive out any darkness or lack of faith in my life, and to value and uphold truth and right and goodness.

Happy New Year to my family! I love you all.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008




Monday, December 29, 2008

Brain Games

I found some games online that are supposed to keep one’s brain able to "leap tall buildings at a single bound"—Superman-like, you know. Believe me: at some point you, too, will begin to worry about the health of your own brains.
Alzheimer’s researchers seem to think that certain kinds of games are the mental equivalent of doing push-ups and sit-ups and lifting weights. These games are supposed to actually create new brain cells or neurons to make up for those that are lost due to aging.

Since I value my intellect, I decided to try out a free trial offered by I explored several of their games. One game was like Concentration which requires you to remember what is hidden beneath the tiles on a grid. Another game was called bird watching and required you to pinpoint a bird that appeared briefly on screen and simultaneously remember a letter that appeared briefly in a box at the same instant, and then reproduce both, and then deduce the name of the bird.

Although these games were entertaining, I quickly became bored. My trial membership expired after a week. Good riddance, I thought. I next tried out the free games found by Googling “brain games.” One game called “colored lines” was quite addictive, and I quickly became pretty good at it. In all, I have probably invested at least a dozen hours to “exercising my brain” with these so-called mental calisthenics. I probably won’t continue. Here is why:

Today I read two lengthy articles by David Berlinski. One of them was called, “On the Origins of the Mind.” (You can read it yourself at ). In this ten page article, Berlinski discusses three similes that have been used to scientifically describe or explain the human mind. Berlinski is a mathematician and a philosopher. He is at ease with and quite proficient at vigorous mental calisthenics.

It was not the content of Berlinski’s articles that dissuaded me from playing brain games anymore, although the content helped me come to my conclusion that the brain games were a scam. It was the mental sensation I got as I read and contemplated and analyzed what he was saying. Talk about vigorous mental calisthenics!

I concluded that I will better utilize my time, as well as exercise my brain and add new neurons, by reading challenging material and learning new things. The plus side: Doing so is exhilarating! In the process, I may even add to my stores of wisdom and discernment. Sounds like a win-win to me!

New Year's Resolution number four . . . .

: D

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Worst Movies of the Year

Jeff Vice, the local (Deseret News) movie and TV critic, today published his list of the nearly two dozen 2008 films that he “genuinely loathed.” I personally like these Best/Worst lists because it usually saves me time and money in the long run. Here are Jeff’s picks for bad flicks:

1. The Happening
2. The Spirit
3. Meet Dave
4. Everybody Wants to Be Italian
5. The Love Guru
6. Four Christmases
7. Delgo
8 and 9. (a tie) Hancock, Seven Pounds
10. Sex and the City

There were so many other bad movies that Jeff listed “The Rest of the Worst” as follows: An American Carol; The Day the Earth Stood Still; How to Lose Friends and Alienate People; Miracle at St. Anna; The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor; Punisher: War Zone; Speed Racer; Star Wars: The Clone Wars; What Happens in Vegas; X-Files: I Want to Believe.

I watched two of these turkeys: Hancock and X-Files. I also would nominate “Mama Mia” to be added to this list.
Sad to say, we are the duped owners of two movies from the above lists. Hancock and The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor, as well as Mama Mia. (Sigh) I was persuaded to go along with the purchase of Mama Mia before I had a chance to research it first. My Bad—as they say. I keep issuing moratoriums on buying DVDs . . . unsuccessfully obviously. (But, “tomorrow is another day!”)

New Year's Resolution number three . . . .

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Mirror Neurons: Happiness is a terrific gift to share with others

Did you know that you have “mirror neurons” in your brain? I did not know that until I read it in this morning’s newspaper! : D

Mirror neurons are what make you smile when someone smiles at you, or make you laugh when others laugh. Actually, you may not even crack a smile for your mirror neurons to still be doing their magic, making you happier.

“A happy face is one of the first lessons a mother teaches her own creation,” says the writer, Dr. Cramer. “Happiness is not a finite commodity; it is constantly created, it is continuously shared. We are members of the emotional-industrial complex of manufacturing happiness. Yes, it is a personal responsibility or, better, an individual opportunity. However, those who favor the philosophy of sole personal responsibility for all individual feelings forget that perhaps their actions in the social network are contributing in some way to the sadness of the others in their environs. And for those who think happiness is something owed to them by society or that it is there or not there due to some genetic mutation or income, they are also wrong. Happiness is both. It is self-generated and collectively distributed. All of us have both the obligation to others and the opportunity to ourselves to produce happiness.”

While reading this article, I made a New Year’s Resolution to spread more cheer in the coming year. I plan to:

Ac-cent-u-ate the positive
E-lim-i-nate the negative
Latch onto the affirmative, and
Don’t mess with Mr. In-Between

I know, I know, I sound like a silly song-and-dance routine reminiscent of old Broadway, Bing Crosby, and Frank Sinatra.

But Dr. Cramer made some good points. He suggested a metaphor: “to become emotion-efficient we may need to swap out some old wasteful incandescent light sources and seek other kinds of illumination. Maybe instead of the glow from the TV screen or the silver screen we should receive our light from the beauty around us, or that brightness that is reflected from millennia of accumulated wisdom or scripture.”

I know that after spending several hours on the computer, if I go outside and look at the snow-capped mountains and the blue sky, I feel wonderfully cheery and suddenly have a better focus on reality. Additionally, I recognize that I am really cheating myself of wonderful inner joy if I forget to read a little scripture everyday. And I get great uplift from reading other things that are true and edifying.

Dr. Cramer pointed out some emotional hangups that are real joy-killers: “There are worn-out energy-sucking appliances in our lives, like old exhausted memories. Repeatedly opening up the door to these freezers of past pain just burns up power better suited for personal progress, and it wastes chances of giving back to others.”

I think his last observation boils down to forgiveness and compassion. It is a gift to ourselves as well as to others. Who enjoys being around others who are endlessly nursing old wounds? Or are cranky at every slight and offense that occurs around them? (Like fuming about other drivers on the road, for example.) Being angry, or even a little cranky, is terrible thing to do to ourselves and to others. Obviously, our mirror neurons not only spread happiness, they can also spread unhappiness, too.

So, my most important New Year’s Resolution will be to try to remember that any unpleasantness in my life is not an excuse or a license for being a grouch. “All things shall work together for my good if I walk uprightly.” Challenges to my cheeriness are opportunities for me to be a better person.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Angel Baby--Happy Birthday!

Christmas fell on a Monday that year. We lived in Garden Grove, California, so the weather was sunny and warm on Christmas day. Grandma Mead had been visiting in the morning, but left after lunch.

After all the presents were opened and the three children were playing outside or napping, I crawled around on my hands and knees, picking up the toys that were scattered all over the living room and the sun-room. I was pregnant. See the pregnant 27-year-old mommy in the photo below. (Twelve days past my due date.)

In the afternoon, Paul was feeling nostalgic, so we took the kids for a drive to Carbon Canyon to see his boyhood neighborhood. During the drive, I began to have contractions. I was not overly concerned— But, I knew!! (At last! Hooray!)

In the evening, Paul and I played games (Monopoly?) after putting the children to bed. We were patiently timing contractions. Around 10 p.m. I finished the laundry, and then took a shower. At 11 p.m. Karl Farnsworth and his wife Jackie came over to sleep on the sofa while we went to the hospital.

David was almost a Christmas baby; he was born about 28 minutes past midnight. A day later, he came home in a red and white striped “Christmas stocking”: a late Christmas gift! David was named after his great grandfather David Edwards, and the City of David, and also the Angel Gabriel because it was Christmas. For a long time, I referred to David as “my Angel Baby” because he was so unfussy. He only became “Crazy Dave” later. : D

My favorite photo of David:

So full of life!

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas

Sing sweet as the flute,
Sing clear as the horn,

Sing joy of the children
Come Christmas morn!

Little Christ Jesus
Our brother is born

Wishing you peace on earth and good will toward men.

* * *

I saw on the snow
when I tried my skis
the track of a mouse
beside some trees.

Before he tunneled
to reach his house
he wrote "Merry Christmas"
in white, in mouse.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

The Way We Were

Time Capsule: 4 January 1988
(Nearly 21 years ago)

(Dad age 45; Mom age 42; Becky age 20; Jen age 18.5; Chris age 17; Dave age 15; Missy age 13.5; Emily age 9; Dara age 6.5)

1. Biggest fear or worry
Dad: my daughters won’t get married
Mom: Satan will get the upper hand because I forgot to pray
Becky: not being married
Jenny: not having enough money to pay all my “bills” (dying with dirty underwear on HA! HA!)
Chris: that I might not get my eagle before my time is up
Dave: loss of money
Missy: nuclear war or an earthquake or house burning down
Emily: Nickey getting killed
Dara: Melissa keeps on scarying me

2. Greatest/most important desire
Dad: to be found worthy to get back into the Celestial Kingdom
Mom: enough Holy Ghost to keep the miracles coming
Becky: to be married or engaged within the next 18 months
Jenny: spiritually—exaltation; physical—New Car
Chris: to get a date for the senior prom
Dave: join the Navy
Missy: to be a model
Emily: I want to be a pet shop owner
Dara: my friend Jenny

3. What I hope to improve this year
Dad: my writing skills
Mom: lose 10 pounds, hike 15 miles to the sea, Holy Ghost constantly
Becky: to be a full tithe payer
Jenny: 1. not beating up on Dave & Chris 2. controlling spending of money 3. loose 10 lbs
Chris: everything
Dave: be stronger
Missy: self control and loosing 10 pounds and look better
Emily: clean my room more often
Dara: learn to color

4. Favorite friend [note: full names were omitted due to privacy--I thought it unwise to include full names on the internet]
Dad: my wife
Mom: Nancy B....
Becky: Katrina L..., M...
Jenny: Amy N....
Chris: Agent X
Dave: David B....
Missy: Stacy D...
Emily: Kaylynn
Dara: Jenny next door

5. Thing that makes me happiest
Dad: overcoming great difficulties; coming off triumphant
Mom: pleasant helpful children in an orderly house
Becky: a letter from ....
Jenny: Payday & being with Amy & beating on Chris & Dave & Food
Chris: living (I guess)
Dave: food
Missy: having money and clothes
Emily: food
Dara: the family

6. Favorite memory
Dad: laying flat on my back on a wind-swept, grass-covered hill
Mom: hiking my first mountain
Becky: going to the snow with [a friend]
Jenny: I don’t remember
Chris: my dreams
Dave: I lost it
Missy: when we moved from Indiana to here; dreams
Emily: when I got Kris Mutt
Dara: reading story books

7. Favorite food
Dad: flan
Mom: fudge brownies
Becky: turkey breast sandwich
Jenny: anything that tastes good going down (and doesn’t pack on weight) POTATOES & CHIPS & SalSa
Chris: Steak--medium
Dave: all you can eat shrimp
Missy: angel food cake and seafood
Emily: cake and ice cream
Dara: ice cream, banana splits

8. Favorite book
Mom: Robert Frost poetry
Becky: the new RS book “Come Unto Me”
Jenny: haven’t read any good ones lately (Lehr Cats—Kathryn Kurtz)
Chris: The “Myth” Series (Myth adventures, Myth Alliances)
Dave: Lord Foul’s Bane
Missy: Are You There God It’s Me Margratte
Emily: about animals
Dara: The Little Match Girl

9. Favorite TV Shows
Dad: ST New Generation
Mom: NONE!! Yeah!!
Becky: Cosby
Jenny: anything that makes me space out; LOVE CONNECTION & MTV
Chris: Sledge Hammer, Max Headroom
Dave: Sledge Hammer, Moon Lighting
Missy: MTV
Emily: Sledghammer
Dara: cartoons

10. Favorite movie
Dad: Out of Africa
Mom: One Flew Over the CooKoo’s Nest (among others)
Becky: Hiding Out and Made in Heaven
Chris: Back to the Future
Dave: Once Upon a Time in the West, Summer School
Missy: Buckaroo Banzai
Emily: any cartoons
Dara: Robin Hood [Disney]

11. My hero
Dad: [? illegible]
Mom: Jane Fonda because she is 50 years old and looks like 35
Becky: Dad
Chris: Sledge Hammer, Max Headroom
Dave: Thomas Covenant
Missy: Bugs Bunny HaHa, Dad
Emily: Bugs Bunny
Dara: Bugs Bunny

12. Favorite song
Dad: Bright Eyes
Mom: Lord I Would Follow Thee or any Tabernacle Choir song
Becky: Behind the Water Fall
Jenny: Could’ve Been (Tiffany), Hazy Shade of Winter (Gangels)
Chris: Expose & Money for Nothing (Direstrats—video)
Dave: White Snake, Here I go Again
Missy: Mony Mony—Billy Idol—George Richerd
Emily: This is God’s House and any church song
Dara: Really Rosie

13. Favorite teacher
Dad: Jack McKendrick
Mom: Brother Hyde
Becky: none
Jenny: I don’t have any—all my teachers are rejected at Moorpark! (Mrs. Martin last year)
Chris: Mr. Maddox, Mrs. Martin, Mrs. Blizen, Mrs. Crandall, Mr. Agular
Dave: Mr. Hairless (hairess)
Missy: Mr. Voris
Emily: Mrs. Elison
Dara: Mrs. Beeler

14. Favorite joke or comic strip
Dad: comic strip Bloom county
Mom: comic strips Rose Is Rose, Garfield, Nancy
Becky: Wide Mouth Frog
Jenny: Garfield, BloomCounty, CHRIS & DAVID
Chris: Sledge Hammer, X-Men, the one with the “brick-plane” & Dick Tracy, Brenda Star, Spider Man, He-Man, Garfield, etc.
Dave: Sledge Hammer, Dick Tracy, Brenda Star, Spiderman
Missy: Brenda Star & Garfield & Rose Is Rose
Emily: My Little Pony
Dara: My Little Pony

15. Favorite hobby
Dad: stamp collecting
Mom: hiking, fitness classes
Becky: stitchery
Jenny: SLEEPING, Watching TV, eating, tacking men to my ceiling
Chris: collect trash—all kinds
Dave: models
Missy: modeling
Emily: collecting stickers
Dara: going to the park

16. Favorite holiday
Dad: Christmas
Mom: Valentine’s Day
Becky: Valentine’s Day
Jenny: Christmas, Valentine’s Day, Halloween
Chris: Halloween & Christmas
Dave: Halloween
Missy: Thanksgiving
Emily: Christmas
Dara: Halloween

17. Favorite game
Dad: Skip-bo
Mom: whatever I can win at
Becky: Aquire
Jenny: Skip-bo
Chris: chess, snake byte
Dave: Risk
Missy: Skip-bo & Uno
Emily: Christmas Game
Dara: Christmas Game

18. Favorite activity
Dad: reading
Mom: sleeping, eating
Becky: Bowling
Jenny: Hanging out w/Amy & Teasing the cat, beating on Chris & Dave
Chris: read books, write things
Dave: reading
Missy: going to the mall and buying clothes & wasting time
Emily: playing
Dara: scratching Dad’s back

19. Favorite place
Dad: on the water bed
Mom: any place quiet, peaceful and beautiful
Becky: in the snow in the mountains in a cabin with a fire
Jenny: Amy’s house, Shopping malls
Chris: Earth
Dave: Sear’s Tower
Missy: home or my friends houses. Any where fun
Emily: the Park
Dara: 7-Eleven

20. Most proud of/ most important accomplishment
Dad: my reference books
Mom: growing up
Becky: getting an A in speech; getting a job at G.W. Bank exactly one year tomorrow
Jenny: High School graduate
Chris: School (I guess)
Dave: beating up this geek!
Missy: being the fastest runner in the 7th grade (girls)
Emily: getting “A’s” 3 times in a row
Dara: cleaning my room

Jen added # 21. Favorite Words: Spiffy, Waygay, Special
Missy added #21. Favorite sports: all but Golf! #22. Favorite colors: black—white—blue—red

NOTE: This is the last Time Capsule that I will be posting.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Third Time Capsule

Time Capsule January 6, 1985 (Simi Valley, California)

1. Biggest fear or worry:
Dad: that my family won’t be the example they should be
Mom: my children
Becky: not having a boyfriend ever
Jenny: getting lung cancer from the Smokers at Royal High School
Chris: I am afraid of my alarm clock going off at a good dream I have
David: robbers
Missy: getting into trouble
Emily: wolfs
Dara: spiders

2. Greatest desire:
Dad: to live with my posterity with Heavenly Father
Mom: to have sufficient for our needs
Becky: to be married in the Temple
Jenny: getting an orange kitty
Chris: to get straight A’s for a scholarship
David: J.N. (Jenny N.)
Missy: Stickers
Emily: Mommy Cat & Baby Kittens
Dara: French fries, ketchup & hamburgers

3. What I hope to improve about myself this year:
Dad: be more patient
Mom: being sweet and kind
Becky: I would like to become kinder and sweeter
Jenny: better in sports
Chris: sports and grades and making friends
David: better grades
Missy: being friendlier
Emily: homework
Dara: learning more rhymes

4. What makes me happiest:
Dad: when my wife is happy, especially about being and talking with me
Mom: when every one in the house is happy
Becky: going out on dates and going to Stake dances
Jenny: kitties
Chris: bringing home good reports and doing good things
David: [first response was Money, crossed out] Dads [?]
Missy: Stickers
Emily: playing Barbies
Dara: frogs

5. Favorite friend:
Dad: Mom
Mom: Vera
Becky: everyone is the same, but I prefer boys to girls
Jenny: Brenda Mo...
Chris: Philip L..
David: Chad Prov.....
Missy: Jennifer Wil....
Emily: Jenny
Dara: Kirna

6. Favorite memory:
Dad: listening to the wind in the pine trees in the mountains
Mom: buying ice cream cones and fritters at the BYU Dairy (when we were first married)
Becky: going on the band field trip to Nashville and going to the New Years Eve Dance
Jenny: when we used to have cats & Toby
Chris: remembering all the things that happened in Indiana
David: being with Chad
Missy: when I was on the train
Emily: Toby
Dara: ---

7. Favorite food:
Dad: Prime Rib
Mom: anything that I haven’t fixed
Becky: fruit, especially bananas and grapes
Chris: Steak, Hamburgers, French fries, pancakes, egg sandwiches, jello, potatoes, fruit, bananas, oranges, apples, lemons
David: Big Mac, Fely Fish, Corder pounder, French fries, icey cock thick shake Sunday and apple pie
Missy: Hamburgers and Ice Cream, fruit
Emily: jello
Dara: French fries & ketchup & hamburgers

8. Favorite book:
Dad: Magician; Book of Mormon
Mom: Robert Frost Poetry
Becky: Where the Red Fern Grows; Weathering Heights; Jane Erye; The Last Unicorn; etc.
Jenny: The Looking Glass Factor; picture books of kitties that I looked at at the bookstore
Chris: Monster Maher [? ]
Missy: Snow Queen
Emily: Pink Panther
Dara: ---

9. Favorite TV show:
Dad: Star Trek, Masterpiece Theater
Mom: Bill Cosby Show
Becky: Happy Days; Laverne & Shirley; Love Boat; Charles Is in Charge
Jenny: Charles Is in Charge; Private Benjamin; Get Smart; DTV
Chris: Disney Channel
David: Inspector Gadget; Get Smart
Missy: Disney Channel and Scooby Doo
Emily: Pink Panther
Dara: Scooby Doo

10. Favorite movie:
Dad: 2010
Mom: Starman; Chariots of Fire
Becky: Red Dawn; Heaven Can Wait; Dune; Chariots of Fire
Jenny: Scary Movies= Carrie; The Shining; Psycho II; Red Dawn; House of Long Shadows
Chris: Starman
David: Indiana Jones, R.O.T.2A.
Missy: Amityville Horror! Carrie! Halloween Two; House of the Long Shadows
Emily: Superman III
Dara: ---

11. Favorite hobby:
Dad: computers, music
Mom: calligraphy; piano; painting plasterware
Becky: art work and music; working on crafts and collecting things
Jenny: anything to do with kitties
Chris: computers, sports, reading, collecting cards, music, models
David: models, TV
Missy: collecting stickers, Barbies
Emily: collecting things--marbles
Dara: yellow blanket-carrying and finger-sucking

12. My Hero:
Dad: Heavenly Father and Jesus
Mom: anyone who brings out the best in me
Becky: Heavenly Father and Jesus
Jenny: ---
Chris: Heavenly Father, Holy Ghost
David: The Greatest American Hero & Inspector Gadget, Heavenly Father
Missy: Madonna, Prince, Purple Rain, Tina Turner, Cyndi Loper; Frico
Emily: Superman
Dara: My Daddy

13. Favorite song:
Dad: Voyages; Pardon Me; Jerusalem
Mom: Rhapsody in Blue; O Divine Redeemer; Break My Stride
Becky: all the songs by Chicago, Air Supply, Lynol Richie, Wham, Chariots of Fire
Jenny: Careless Whispers (Wham); You’re All I Need (Frisco Jones on G. H.); Everybody Run the Home Coming Queen’s Got a Gun (Abraham’s Theme)
Chris: Spirit of God Like a Fire Is Burning
David: Inspector Gadget
Missy: Girls Just Wanna Have Fun
Emily: Superman
Dara: I Am a Child of God

14. Favorite teacher:
Dad: Jack McKendrick and Ivan J. Barrett
Mom: Mr. MacVey (HS English teacher)
Becky: Mr. Smailes & Mrs. Sullivan; Mrs. Rose; Mrs. Cocrew. Mr. Merkel.
Jenny: Mr. Treece & Mr. Yochem, Mrs. Dougherty
Chris: Mr. Viscus, Mrs. Rehm, Mrs. Bitner
David: the scriptures; Dad
Missy: Mrs. Henck; Mrs. Bitner; Mrs. Chastain; Mrs. Bowerman; Mrs. Witman; Mrs. Kowalas.
Emily: Sister Tholen
Dara: Sister Rogers

15. Favorite waste of time:
Dad: TV; hoping for Purdue to win something
Mom: TV
Becky: laying around & writing letters & Day Dreaming
Jenny: Reading, Playing outside; watching TV
Chris: Sleep, watch TV
David: TV
Missy: Sleep; Day dreaming; TV
Emily: sleep
Dara: 2 fingers & a yellow blanket

16. Favorite holiday:
Dad: Spring Break
Mom: Christmas
Becky: Valentine’s Day & Christmas
Jenny: Christmas; Summer Vac., Spring Vac.
Chris: New Year’s Eve because of the New Year’s Eve Dance
David: all of them except for Labor Day
Missy: Christmas
Emily: Halloween
Dara: Christmas

17. Favorite joke:
Dad: Taco Bell / Pardon My Roy – type (Nacho Cheese)
Mom: ---
Becky: Don’t have one; Practical Jokes on others not on me.
Jenny: Putting toothpaste inside of Oreo Cookies instead of the filling and Bishop Nuttall & Kevin Janeway ate them and thought it tasted good.
Chris: Joshua Hunt......, and about brick laying joke
David: Dad-Mom-Becky-Jenny-Chris-Missy-Emily-Dara and Me The Comedian.
Missy: the Airplane joke
Emily: Knock Knock, Who’s there? Boo. Boo who? Why are you crying?
Dara: ---

18. Favorite game:
Dad: Monopoly; Trivia Pursuit
Mom: Clue; CIA; Trivial Pursuit
Becky: Trivial Persuit; Aquire & Scrabble
Jenny: hand ball; basket ball; volley, soft, tag, jump rope, C&C
Chris: Trivia Pursuit
David: ---
Missy: Mystery Mansion; Clue; Chaos
Emily: The Christmas Game
Dara: ---

Monday, December 22, 2008

Put On Your Thinking Caps!

“In Other Words”
Can you guess the names of these Christmas songs?

1. Tucked into a desolate point halfway to spring.

2. Winged beings belonging to effulgent kingdoms.

3. A chocolate-covered cake blithely floating above.

4. Questions come to me while I aimlessly rove.

5. A special winter day devoid of any color.

6. Ascend, Oh crook user and come after.

7. I won’t be off in some distant place when it’s time to open presents.

8. The smog-less bewitching hour arrived.

9. Leave and do an elevated broadcast.

10. That exiguous hamlet south of the holy city.

11. Oh, member of the round table with missing areas.

12. Cup-shaped instruments fashioned of a whitish metallic element.

13. May the Diety bestow an absence of fatigue to mild male humans.

14. Obese personification fabricated of compressed mounds of minute crystals.

15. Tranquility upon the terrestrial sphere.

16. Listen, the celestial messengers produce harmonious sounds.

17. Nocturnal time span of unbroken quietness.

18. An emotion excited by the acquisition or expectation of good given to the terrestrial sphere.

19. Diminutive, masculine master of skin covered percussionist cylinders.

20. Move hitherward the entire assembly of those who are loyal and devout in their belief.

21. The Christmas preceding all others.

22. As the guardians of wooly animals protected their charges in the shadows of the Earth.

23. In a feeding trough for farm animals placed in a distant location.

24. 288 hours of Yuletide.

25. Do you perceive the same longitudinal pressure which stimulates my auditory sense organs?

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Blast from the Past (part 2)

Time Capsule Jan 1, 1984 (West Lafayette, Indiana)

1. Greatest concern (or worry or fear):
Dad: that my children and their children are successful in the Eternities
Mom: the righteousness of my children
Becky: solving “differences”
Jenny: the house burning down
Chris: getting good grades in school
David: when Jesus comes
Missy: that the house will catch on fire
Emily: bears
Dara: Where’s my blanket / bottle / Mom?

2. What I want most:
Dad: the knowledge that I am making a contribution to humanity
Mom: to live up to my potential, to live life to the fullest
Becky: I don’t know
Jenny: everybody having what they need
Chris: a new coat
David: to live with Heavenly Father
Missy: a big stuffed bear
Emily: candy
Dara: to go outside and play

3. What I hope to improve about myself this year:
Dad: I am going to try to live without sin
Mom: to forget myself and think of others
Becky: cutting my hair better, better makeup, be nicer to everyone
Jenny: getting along with people better
Chris: to he helpful around the house and to be nice (since I’m a teenager—heh, heh)
David: be a better student
Missy: that I’ll have more friends
Emily: being good
Dara: get along without my bottle / blanket

4. What makes me happiest:
Dad: quiet peaceful times after moderate successes and achievements
Mom: using my talents and abilities to help others
Becky: music
Jenny: being with friends
Chris: I don’t know
David: funny jokes and when holidays come
Missy: having a lot of things to do
Emily: Missy playing Barbie dolls with me
Dara: lots of attention

5. Favorite person or friend / most admired:
Dad: my wife / most admired: Joseph Smith
Mom: those who have overcome hardships or drawbacks and have become successful (Neal A. Maxwell, Helen Keller, among others)
Becky: Ruth Wi.... [beautiful, white-haired Primary President in our Ward]
Jenny: Elizabeth; Marci Berg....
Chris: Philip—my best friend, he’s nice
David: Chad Prov.....
Missy: Jenny Car..., Becky L...., Jenny Wil...., Stephanie Mis..., and family
Emily: Joel (he’s in my class at school)
Dara: anyone who loves me

6. Favorite memory:
Dad: lying in my bed in the cabin at night listening to the creek
Mom: carefree childhood days on the farm
Becky: my second year at Youth Conference
Jenny: winning the essay and poster contest in fifth grade
Chris: going to the Kirtland, Ohio Encampment
David: when we went to visit Santa in the mountains in California
Missy: a dream about stuffed animals
Emily: Grandma Mead gave me candy
Dara: Santa gave me an orange and a candy cane!

7. Favorite food:
Dad: huevos rancheros
Mom: high calorie gooey or crunchy desserts, also fried foods (chicken, etc.)
Becky: McDonalds or KFC
Jenny: corn, spaghetti, rice, steak
Chris: steak
David: corn, pizza, hot dogs, hamburgers, French fries, casserole, shepherd’s pie, rice, etc. etc.
Missy: shepherd’s pie, pizza
Emily: jello
Dara: candy, gum, popcorn, ice cream, McDonalds

8. Favorite book:
Dad: other than the scriptures, Moby Dick and Tolkien’s works
Mom: ---
Becky: Where the Red Fern Grows
Jenny: Mrs. Pigglewiggle books
Chris: The Bible
David: Garfield Eats His Heart Out
Missy: The Girl with Silver Eyes
Emily: Tigers
Dara: Childcraft

9. Favorite TV show:
Dad: Star Trek
Mom: All My Children
Becky: none
Jenny: Webster
Chris: Automan
David: Automan
Missy: Manimal
Emily: cartoons
Dara: commercials, the Muppet show

10. Favorite movie:
Dad: Lawrence of Arabia
Mom: Chariots of Fire
Becky: Chitty Chitty Bang Bang; Sound of Music; E.T.
Jenny: Superman
Chris: The Last Unicorn
David: Beast Master
Missy: The Last Unicorn, The Fog
Emily: Dark Crystal
Dara: ---

11. Favorite song:
Dad: anything by Debussy or Rimsky-Korsakov
Mom: currently: “Romance” played on the oboe
Becky: all sorts of songs
Jenny: Michael Jackson songs
Chris: Celento Lindo [Cielito Lindo?]
David: The Spirit of God Like a Fire Is Burning
Missy: ---
Emily: 10 Little Indian Boys
Dara: “Jingle Bells” sung by dogs: “arf-arf-arf”

12. Favorite activity / hobby:
Dad: learning, knowing, understanding; being creative
Mom: learning new things
Becky: art and music
Jenny: collecting things
Chris: mostly Scouts
David: building things
Missy: collecting marbles, Barbie dolls
Emily: playing games
Dara: having fun

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Time Capsule: January 3, 1983

Family Home Evening activity for Monday, January 3, 1983 (nearly 26 years ago). Dad was 40 years old; Mom was 37; Becky was almost 15; Jen was 13.5; Chris was 12; David was 10; Missy was 8; Emily was 4; Dara was 18 months old.

1. Biggest worry:
Dad: not being at the right place at the right time to make the best contribution.
Mom: meeting obligations (financial-matters and the Ward Dinner-Dance)
Becky: that I won’t be righteous enough to live with Heavenly Father
Jenny: the house burning down
Chris: paper route, getting ready for things
David: when its time for the Last Judgment
Missy: my enemies
Emily: [none]
Dara: losing my yellow blanket

2. What I want most:
Dad: materially= to be trouble-free financially; spiritually= contentment (“at one”)
Mom: good kids, nice family, less worries
Becky: Temple Marriage
Jenny: to win the sweepstakes
Chris: lots of things
David: mansion to live in
Missy: to sleep upstairs
Emily: [nothing]
Dara: to be paid attention to

3. What I hope to improve:
Dad: understanding the scriptures better and narrowing the gap between what I know and what I live
Mom: how I handle stress
Becky: impatience
Jenny: control temper
Chris: doing good
David: remember the times-table
Missy: grow taller
Emily: [nothing—just happy to be here]
Dara: grow taller, talk better

4. Things that make me happiest:
Dad: when the family is growing and improving
Mom: being successful
Becky: music
Jenny: when people don’t tease me
Chris: lots of things
David: I forget
Missy: a clean room
Emily: Santa
Dara: my yellow blanket and my two middle fingers on my left hand

5. Favorite people:
Dad: Mom
Mom: good people
Becky: friends—anybody who doesn’t bother me and is cute and intelligent … Kendall
Jenny: friends—Carolyn, Beth Baldwin, family
Chris: Ken, Andrew, Robbie, Joel, whole family
David: Shannon, Roy, Travis
Missy: Misty, Kim, Mom and Dad and brothers and sisters
Emily: Cali
Dara: Mom, Dad, Becky, Jenny, Chris, David, Missy, and Emily

6. Favorite memory:
Dad: the week we got married
Mom: past successes (like the recent classes I taught in RS)
Becky: Roadshow—1st year in Mutual; Tim’s Valentine gift (Garfield)
Jenny: going to Utah
Chris: don’t have one yet
David: [none]
Missy: ABC—Numbers
Emily: birthdays and Christmas
Dara: ? [what’s a memory?]

7. Favorite food:
Dad: round steak and vegetables with garlic
Mom: anything fattening or anything I don’t have to cook
Becky: fruit
Jenny: baked potatoes, spaghetti
Chris: all kinds
David: cheese and crackers
Missy: pizza
Emily: pizza
Dara: milk

8. Favorite book:
Dad: Leaf by Niggle
Mom: Robert Frost’s Poetry
Becky: And Then There Were None
Jenny: Ghosts I Have Been
Chris: Bible, Book of Mormon, funny books, scary books, mysteries
David: [none]
Missy: Bible
Emily: Childcraft—Life Around Us
Dara: ones I can scribble in and tear up

9. Favorite TV show:
Dad: M.A.S.H. or Barney Miller
Mom: All My Children
Becky: The Quest, Bring Em Back Alive, The Gold Monkey
Jenny: Mork and Mindy, Greatest American Hero
Chris: Gold Monkey, Dukes of Hazzard, Greatest American Hero, The Quest
David: Bring Em Back Alive
Missy: Wonder Woman
Emily: Scooby Do
Dara: commercials

10. Favorite movie:
Dad: Last Unicorn; Being There
Mom: Chariot’s of Fire
Becky: Last Unicorn
Jenny: Rocky III
Chris: Last Unicorn
David: E.T.
Missy: Dark Crystal
Emily: E.T.
Dara: life all around me

11. Other favorites:
Dad: reading, learning
Mom: Spring, Minnesota summers, winning at Chess (or other games), laughing at Dad’s jokes (if they are really funny), bird song, spring peepers, teaching (inspiring others)
Becky: drawing, thinking, playing piano, crocheting, knitting, reading
Jenny: wood burning, roller skating, swimming, track (sports), eating
Chris: [none]
David: friends, my Dad
Missy: Stephanie, toys, E.T., Last Unicorn, Jigsaw Puzzle Book, tap dancing, unicorn collections, lots of dresses and nice clothes
Emily: books, books, books
Dara: climbing, running, laughing, being held, animals, toys, dancing

(Which ones should I post??—Are you interested??)

Jan. 1, 1984
Jan. 6, 1985
Jan. 4, 1988
Christmas 1989—Predictions for 1995
Christmas 1995—to be opened Christmas 2000
Jan 1, 2000 (only Jen’s, Chris’s, Missy’s families)

Friday, December 19, 2008

He's My Brudder!!

"Who's the Bad Guy?" five-and-a-half-year-old Jenny asked.

"David's the Bad Guy," said seven-year-old Becky.

Two-year-old-Bad-Guy-David galloped around the livingroom on his invisible horse.

Four-year-old Chris, shaking his head, put in earnestly, "David NOT a Bad Guy! He's my Brudder!!"

True story.