Tuesday, December 16, 2008

I have been busy getting Christmas ready before I had surgery on my hand, which happened last Thurs. Everything went well. I had the new age version of valium instead of the anesthesia and didn't have any side effects.... and it is wonderful to have the full use of my hand back.

I have made 9 quilts to give for Christmas, none of which I can post yet. The little skirt was made by one of my quilting friends for Mackenzie. I found this cute t-shirt that looks like it was made for it. Thanks Kathy for your generousity.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Will the real boss please stand up...

We, (Ken surprised me at the airport and came with me... I was so excited and totally surprised I jumped up and down like a kid at Christmas who got the new bike they wanted.... with as little time as we get to spend with the grandkids it is nice to be able to share it together.) We had a marvelous week with Miss Mackenzie who is always entertaining. She is really into figuring out who has the power in life and campaining for it to lean in her favor as much as possible.

Every morning we walked to a little gas station for a diet coke and she got to pick out a tootsie pop. On the 3rd day she announced she was boss of the lollipops, which translated into we will buy her as many as she can fit into her fist and eat them in sucession if she so desires.

One day she helped Grandpa Ken with some clean up chores (Ken is the boss of the cleaning at our house... which translates into he does most of it) She announced she was boss of the glass table in the living room, which translated into.... you will let me spray as much windex on it as I want to. However, she did a very nice job of polishing and arranging the items on the table. I was very impressed.

We also had fun making cookies. Yes, she was the boss of the cookies and I am a less controlling grandma than I was a mother. I let her hold the beaters by herself... roll the dough out by herself and let her put the decorations on any way she wanted. (no kids, she didn't have to count out 5 chocolate chips to make the mouth)

She also enjoyed stitching with me and I was amazed at how good she was at it. Had I known it would interest her, I would have made her, her own stitching kit. That will be something fun for us to do when she visits next time.

She was also cute with her tea set. She immediately set up tea and treats. The 2 dolls became her sisters... one day I could hear her telling them.... "Do you want to be a part of this family? If you do you will not wake up your sister anymore in the middle of the night. That is just rude and I won't have it anymore." She is a very no nonsense mother. Too funny.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Colorado Rocky Mountain High

I'm on my way to Denver to see Miss Mackenzie and help celebrate her 4th birthday. I have had so much fun putting together an awesome present for her. I purchased a backpack to fill it with a tea party to go. I made a tea party quilt.... bought a picnic tea set, and play food and 2 dollies (that I got from the silent auction at For Every Body's Think Pink fund raiser. I can't wait so we can play house and fix ourselves some fancy snacks. I'm taking my pumpkin cookie cutters and recipe for soft sugar cookies so we can do some Halloween baking. Then I made us matching butterfly jammies since I will be sharing her room. It was nice of Tyler to give me a months notice. I'm also hoping to visit with a few good friends....

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Tagged by Brenda...

.... my quilting friend who doesn't know that I only know about 3 people and they are all my family that might plot my demise if I send this to them. But since I'm having a difficult time lately drumming up something to blog about, I'll play along...
What I was doing...
20 years ago...
1. Moved to Lompoc, CA where we bought our first home
2. Went on our first family vacation that didn't mean driving to just Utah. We went to Olympic National Park which started our tradition of camping and hiking in a different National Park every summer.
3. Bought our first VCR (the budget was cut to the bone saving to buy our house) We must have been the last family in the United States to own one. We still didn't have a remote for the TV.

10 years ago...
1. Lived in Broomfield, Colorado where my heart still belongs
2. Did away with the TV stations for the next 7 years and only used the TV for renting movies. Was that ever a mistake.... I would much rather Tyler and Andrea were watching the TV other than the things they were actually doing.
3. Had stayed married for 17 years and loved every year of it, except for that time Ken cosigned on a motorcylcle for Tyler. I wasn't happy then.

5 years ago...
1. Lived in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina and walked every weekend on the white sandy beaches and swam and body surfed in the warm bath-like water of the ocean. Those are my happiest, wait my only happy memories of living there.
2. Made my first quilt
3. I quit smoking. Yeah for me. I was finally able to cross that goal off my list where it had been for 20 years.

1 year ago...
1. Almost died from pnuemonia... spent a week in the ICU on life support. I don't think I would have survived it had I still been smoking.
2. I quit making lists of the things I didn't like about myself and what I would change and started just doing things I liked doing. I'm as good as I'm going to get and I've made alot of quilts.
3. Moved for the last time to Orem, UT. I love our little condo and my own "creating" room.

This year so far...
1. Experienced the sadness of having a sibling die.
2. Felt the love and closeness of all my family and extended family.
3. Made 8 quilts for Quilts for Cancer.

1. Picked out more Asian fabric for a quilt that will go on the cousin list
2. Finished an Asian theme wall hanging for one of the bedrooms. Now I need to get it to Kim to work her magic and turn it into a work of art.
3. Bought a new pair of levi's.

1. Babysat for Quik Quilts, otherwise known as Mecca or Jeruseleum by my family, while they are at the Utah Quilt Guild Festival
2. Cut out the next block for the Block of the Month quilt.
3. Picked up some grape juice and Gaterade for Annie on my way home. She has a horrible sounding cold and I'm sure it doesn't feel good either.
1. Still babysitting at Quik Quilts
2. Cutting out kits for Shop Hop
3. Eating the rest of the little snicker bars Melissa left on her desk.

So closing my eyes and picking 3 names out of a hat are Marshall W (or Jana), Misty B, and Stacey W. You're it.

Monday, September 22, 2008

For Dinner Tonight...

We are having one of my favorite meals... chicken sandwiches on a croissant and potato salad. The most difficult thing about potato salad is getting the dressing right. I use Hidden Valley, the original ranch dry packet with 1 c. of milk and 1 c. of salad dressing. I figure Hidden Valley has mastered putting the spices together so why should I spend time trying to improve it. All I put in is potatos, eggs, celery and Kosher baby dills.

The chicken sandwiches are crumbled up Quorn chik'n tenders, a small apple, red grapes cut in 4ths, chopped celery, and a pkg. of cashews.... I moisten it with some of the dressing I put on the potato salad. The croissants are from Costco. And there you have it... I have plenty of time to make gourmet meals but I still like to do what is fast and easy. Some days I spend more time cutting, slicing and dicing things I need for different meals during the week... and then on those days I spend a minimile of time just throwing everything together.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

We're Going Asian...

I know.... it has been awhile.... thanks for the prompt Rachel. All of a sudden I ran out of things to say.... not that, that has changed... but here are the things I am working on now... aren't you getting tired of recipes and quilts? Everytime I get the urge to mull over all the ways I could improve as a human being, I go work on a quilt until the urge passes :) However we are looking forward to a visit from the Wilcox gang and other exciting news, for me at least is Tyler & Lindsay, sent me a ticket to Colorado so I can be there for Kenzie's 4th birthday party.... so of course I am working on a super dooper birthday present...

Ken just finished a remodel of the downstairs bathroom which we (Ken) painted purple and green. Now he has retiled my bathroom and is painting it purple.... my room will be a very pale purple.... so I am trying to get new quilts done for the beds.... we are doing an Asian theme.
I pulled out the paper pieced cranes I started working on last year and I need 60 more to do one quilt.... the other one is going to be like the star in a star quilt except using the Asian fabrics. All the fabric has a gold thread that runs through it, giving it a very elegant look. Otherwise I've been busy trying to finish "the boys" bug quilts for Christmas and one for Jana from T-shirts she had of races she has been in. Next on the agenda will be quilts for Kyle and Diane from David's levis, which I've found a cute pattern for.... and so it goes, there is no end to the quilt projects I want to do...

Saturday, August 30, 2008

On The Cousin List

I just finished two easy panel with border quilts for the store's displays. The one on the top, "Come Sit In My Garden" is going on the list for one of the quilts the cousins can choose from. (you really need to click on it to see it up close to see the beautiful design of the fabric.... and yes, see Kim's fabulous quilting on it) Yesterday Erica and I picked out fabric for her first quilt. It was so much fun.... she's a natural picking out colors and adapting the quilt so she could make it bigger. She's going to take a beginning class from Melissa at Quik Quilts in Oct. It was just like taking one of your kids to the first day of school. Being an aunt is so much fun.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

On The Wish Train

I’ve been reflecting lately about all the time I have on my hands. It seems I’ve always been waiting for certain events to take place so life will be good. I couldn’t wait to get married and have kids…. be a mom and build a happy home. Then I lived for the day those kids would be out of diapers…. into preschool…. then eagerly anticipated all four of them in regular school. I was fortunate and was able to be home with them…. but it seems the whole time I lamented how life was passing me by and I would never mature into a successful career. When I did go to work, I found out I hadn’t missed a thing and could work circles around all the twenty somethings. By that time the kids were in their teens and I couldn’t imagine that would ever end. I was always waiting for them to outgrow some "stage" they were in. Oh, I enjoyed big chunks of that life, but not as fully as I could have looking back on it now…. waiting…. always waiting for all the responsibilities to lesson. And now, it seems in lightning speed the train pulled into the station and I’m living the life I wished for so longingly…. And I’ll be danged if I’m going to lament this time away. I’m a slow study, but life is pretty darn good now, especially with a long term illness in a state of remission. I have to run with the wind while the sun is shining. As I see it I’m on the caboose of the wish train…. what’s left to pine after… a knee or hip replacement, a dose of dementia? So I’ll continue to love every minute of the quilts I sew.

Along the way I must have lost my mind. Isn’t this the craziest hobby…. cutting up pieces of fabric that fit into a small size 11 ½ by 9 inch container and then sewing them back together again. It doesn’t look like that tiny amount of fabric will be big enough to wrap yourself up in…. but it is. This is the newest fabric that arrived at the store this week. I just love all the new bright prints they have for kids now…. I love how there is always a new technique to learn…. my association with other quilters…. new colors….. new ways of putting things together…. yes, life is good….

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Rasberry Chicken Salad

This is a recipe I had at a luncheon at my cousin's baby shower. There's nothing like a good (& filling) fresh salad on a hot day.

1 bunch iceburg lettuce
1 bunch romaine lettuce
1 bunch spinach
1 sm. red onion, minced
1 cucumber sliced
Pkg. Quorn Chik n' tenders
2 c. fresh rasberries
2 c crushed peanut brittle (when I can't find this, I use honey roasted peanuts instead)

Dressing: Mix together
4 Tbsp. rasberry jam
4 Tbsp. red wine vinegar
2/3 C. oil
3 T. sugar

I have been busy this week trying to organize my quilt room.... get all my projects together and see what I need to get to complete them. (pictures forth coming) I'm going to carry on the Grandma Porter tradition and make a quilt for all of "the cousins" (my kids generation.... this includes you too, Dewey & Stacey) The only difference being that mine will be the lap size, snuggle up quilts. So if I post one that you like, send me a note and I'll put your name on it. This will be a project that will span a few years. I'm also trying to machine quilt one of my quilts for cancer. I'm starting with a meandering (stipple) stitch which is not as easy as it looks (pictures not forthcoming) I feel like a Kindergartner writing on my quilt. I have 2 more quilts to get done for the cancer project so it will be good practice. I hope everyone is having a good week.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

One quilt and a recipe coming up...

Here is another easy, easy recipe. In fact you will probably say.... "I haven't thought of making that for a long time... I'm so glad Denise posted this...."

Broccoli and Cheese Sauce over Potatoes
I like to clean and wrap potatoes in tin foil to cook them. I spray them with a little pam. Steam a bunch of broccoli. Thin some cream of celery soup with a little milk and add some grated cheese and heat, to pour over the top of the potato and broccoli.... you can top with some vege bacon (I'm the only one who likes it that way) This meal just tastes so wholesome and nourishing. Make enough for two nights while you're at it. Ken did rebel on the third night of black bean & zucchini burritos last week.... however, his only recourse was to make his own dinner.

So, I am now officially Grandma Porters cutter outer of her quilts. I love the cutting out part, it is soothing to me and I love to use up every bit of the fabric. I have several quilts going that use 1" strips. When it's done, there will be over 9,000 pieces in it. Some people might think I have too much time on my hands.... and I do. Anyway, mom is amazing how she keeps on sewing with limited eyesight and turning out majestic quilts. She loves to show them off so I thought I'd keep you all posted on what she's making as well. Kim Peterson is now the official machine quilter, as you will notice by the beautiful quilting on it. Uncle Evan has spoken for this one.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Bugs In A Jar

I have still been quilting up a storm. I have mostly done displays for the store from panels and then I put some kind of border around it. I used to dislike doing these, as it didn't seem like real quilting, but the fabric out now is so cute. I have been working on bug quilts for "the boys" for Christmas... and one for Aunt Kathy's new grandson (he is 7) and I'm giving the ladybug one to her new granddaughter (she is 1) Kim did the machine quilting on it.... she is just amazing and turns any quilt, no matter how poorly sewn, into a work of art. Click on the picture to see her echo quilting around the daisy's and ladybugs.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Bonus Recipe

I made Val's recipe last night and it was so delicious.... I've added her link so you can view it. (you need to click on the picture to see the enlarged version... it looked like it was right out of Better Homes & Gardens) Very classy, Val. The things I did different....... I cut the corn off the cob first and simmered with onion, only adding a couple of Tablespoons of water to cook them. I added the other ingredients at the end and let them heat through for a few minutes. And instead of the salt, I added garlic salt and italian seasoning. (the two spices I think makes everything taste better) We had it over Quorn's Naked Cutlets and I steamed some cauliflower to go with it, as it is Ken's favorite.

Valpal & the Sea of Stories: Delicious Salmon Recipe

Monday, August 4, 2008

Recipe of the Week

Another easy does it recipe. Again I make double, and have enough for a few days & some for the freezer. I just can't seem to pare down my cooking to adjust from 6 to just the two of us. It seems like too much trouble if I only cook 2 portions.

Black Bean and Zucchini Burritos
Cut up one onion, cube a zucchini and yellow squash.
Season with garlic powder & italian seasonings (basil, oregano, parsley, if adding separately)
Cook until just getting tender. (you don't need to add any water... just spray with some pam)
Rinse a can of black beans and add to the mix. It is done when it's heated through.
Put on one of those big specialty burrito shells.... you know the ones with spinach or sun dried tomotoes in them, and the wheat ones are good too.
And there you have it. It is yummy with sour cream and salsa. Sometimes I add a tomato.

Make up a package of Spanish Rice as a side dish.

I owe a big thanks to my mom for instilling in me the importance of a nutritious dinner meal. Even if my day is a total bust, I still feel a sense of satisfaction if I have made us a healthy meal at the end of it.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Now Only Four Leaves A Great Gaping Hole

I posted this on my other blog.... but decided to post it here as well.... part of veering away from the notion that everything on this blog doesn't always have to be about the routine, free of any difficult emotions place.

It has been a month since David took his life. The word dead, seems to roll around in the back of my throat and swallowed before I can say it. I can barely type it. It is said the first stage of grief is denial. I used to always think, how can you be in denial when someone has died? Dead is dead. And there it is in a nutshell. I startled awake in the middle of the night this week, my heart lurching in my chest…. David is dead. It’s like I acknowledged for the first time what that really meant. All of our experiences with him will now only be memories. How we’ll miss him cooking up a feast on Christmas… teasing all the cousins… making silly jokes. We were just beginning to renew our friendship this year, after years of my living away. In the past we didn’t talk often or long, but that was beginning to change. I cherished the times we had conversations where he revealed what he was really thinking. He always had an interesting perspective on things. That will be no more. So much lost just as it was beginning to be refound.

Having tried twice myself to put an end to living, I can’t help but reflect on all the joy I would have missed out on had I been successful. Watching my kids grow up to be such awesome adults. Happy days with the grandkids…. listening to all the endearing things they have to say….. marveling at their little personalities taking shape and changing. I’m so sorry he will miss all that. His life free from the chains of alcohol had taken flight. Now a new love ended just as it was beginning to blossom. It’s like a second life starting again, once your kids are grown and on their own…. adult friendships grow in the place of parental strife. He had that. So many new firsts out there waiting for him to discover are forever out of his grasp. I am saddened more for his losses than the ones I am left with.

It seems I still think about him every hour of every day. Thinking of his precious kids, knowing how they hurt. Hearing the melody in my head, Blackbird Singing In The Dead of Night…. And I can only whisper again, Godspeed, David, Godspeed. I miss you and all that you were becoming.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Recipe of the Week

Ryan called me for this recipe last week and Tyler requests it every time he visits. It's an easy one (the kind I like best) and nutritious too, and you guessed it.... it freezes well. I always like to make more of things and then have a backup in the freezer for when I am too busy (ya, right) or I don't feel like cooking (more like it)...

Broccoli Chicken Casserole
Spray a 9X13 pan with cooking spray. Put a package of stuffing mix (Mrs. Cubbins herb mix is vege friendly) Sprinkle with 3/4 cup water, and mix thoroughly. You may need to add a little more water.... but you don't want it to get too soggy. Steam a pan of broccoli (I am generous with the amount) Layer on top of the stuffing mix. Then I use my favorite chicken substitute (Quorn Chik'n Tenders) and put on top of the broccoli. Thin a can of cream of celery soup with a bit of milk and pour over the mixture. Loosen the mixture with a fork so the soup kind of sinks down in.... sprinkle with cheese and there you have it. Cook at 350 for about 45 min.

(Attn: Stacey - did you see the recipe I posted for the fresh bean salsa?)

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Twenty-seven, is that all it's been, years....

It feels like we've been hanging around together since Kindergarten. I wrote this a couple of years ago when a friend asked me what married life was like. It's still as true today:

The trials and tribulations of married life
….. Twenty-seven years later we are living the dream all young couples make, growing old together, sharing a lifetime. Aaaahh, but the beginning wasn’t so promising. My third marriage, 2 kids included, his first. That should say it all. I was six years older which then in the realm of experience was a chasm. He is steady, persistent, and thinks things through. I am impulsive, emotional, and changeable. He needs order, one task at a time. I can have projects strung out across three rooms. When something bothers him he doesn't need or want to talk about it. I must. Our biggest argument however; who was the smartest one to discipline the kids. Discord ruled and we nearly parted ways. He initiated the remedy that saved us. “Lets forget about our ideals of the perfect husband and wife, instead focus on being best friends.” I added, “Let's view each other as individuals with lives in the making, not always connected with the other. We will be learning lessons together, ones uniquely our own.” A metamorphosis occurred that led to acceptance, a blending of all those differences. A million challenges since then have pulled us apart, made us question again. In the end only make us stronger and closer.

I love the way he makes me laugh when I’m ready to crumple. How we talk and giggle or read books together in bed at night. How we say the same thing at the same time. How he is more handsome today than when I first met him. He has given my life back to me repeatedly with his care when I’m ill. I have given him tolerance, kindness, and more compassion. We do not socialize often, which suits us fine. We have common interests and separate ones, freedom in friendships. He has been the family rock. I have been the keeper of the hearts.

He has kept his promise from the beginning when I was so afraid to give marriage another try. Denise, I promise you that every year with me will be better than the year before. In thirty-five years you will not regret saying yes. (But don't start slacking now, Ken.... you still have 8 more years you can keep convincing me) In a world where so many things have gone wrong, sharing life with Ken is so right. Happy Anniversary!!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Recipe of the Week

So here you go. This is a recipe my neighbor, who is also vegetarian, made us when I had pneumonia last year. It is soooo yummy. You're supposed to eat it with chips..... but we will be doing without those while we're on the beginning stages of the South Beach Diet. I double the recipe and put some in the freezer (it freezes really well) or if you're like us we eat it for a couple of nights.

Rinse: 2 cans black beans
1 can small white beans
1 can black-eyed peas (I found these by the peas not the beans where you'd think they'd be)
Drain: 2 cans white shoepeg corn (I found these at Wal-Mart by Jolly Green Giant) - or not if you're Jana

Chop: green pepper
6 green onions (or 1 med. yellow or red onion)
4 large tomatoes
a bunch of cilantro

Mix together with a bottle of Italian salad dressing and refrigerate overnight (I then drain off the dressing) Makes a big pot full.

Our diet and exercise plan is rolling along smoothly since it is only day two. Andrea is not above wrestling me to the ground to retrieve a bagel I'm about to devour. Thanks, Annie, for covering my back....

Here's a few tips about healthy eating....
The first must is to plan menus for a week - we do ours from Sun. - Sat., and do the shopping on Sunday. The benefit to this is you won't be taking extra grocery trips during the week to be lured down the candy bar isle.... because you're hungry and you don't know what to make. It saves you money as well. (also that frenzied feeling you're going to get from having to drag the kids along)

Since you were good and made your list first, you know exactly what you're going to be eating that week. Now, I cut up all the vege's my recipes require (so Ken & Annie can help - remember it's Sunday.) This may take an hour or two, but it really saves time during the week, especially when you're hungry and tired at the end of the day.... and cutting up all those veges seems like too much effort. (I always have onions and green peppers cut up and in the freezer) When the kids were little I even put together what I could of their lunches. So much easier when you have everything out.... do you remember counting out the crackers in even little piles, Jana? That still makes me laugh when I think of it.... however, I still count out the tater tots to go with our burgers on Fri. nights.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Twenty-seven, is that all it's been, years....

I wrote this a couple of years ago when a friend asked me what married life was like. It's still as true today:

The trials and tribulations of married life
….. Twenty-seven years later we are living the dream all young couples make, growing old together, sharing a lifetime. Aaaahh, but the beginning wasn’t so promising. My third marriage, 2 kids included, his first. That should say it all. I was six years older which then in the realm of experience was a chasm. He is steady, persistent, and thinks things through. I am impulsive, emotional, and changeable. He needs order, one task at a time. I can have projects strung out across three rooms. When something bothers him he doesn't need or want to talk about it. I must. Our biggest argument however; who was the smartest one to discipline the kids. Discord ruled and we nearly parted ways. He initiated the remedy that saved us. “Lets forget about our ideals of the perfect husband and wife, instead focus on being best friends.” I added, “Let's view each other as individuals with lives in the making, not always connected with the other. We will be learning lessons together, ones uniquely our own.” A metamorphosis occurred that led to acceptance, a blending of all those differences. A million challenges since then have pulled us apart, made us question again. In the end only make us stronger and closer.

I love the way he makes me laugh when I’m ready to crumple. How we talk and giggle or read books together in bed at night. How we say the same thing at the same time. How he is more handsome today than when I first met him. He has given my life back to me repeatedly with his care when I’m ill. I have given him tolerance, kindness, and more compassion. We do not socialize often, which suits us fine. We have common interests and separate ones, freedom in friendships. He has been the family rock. I have been the keeper of the hearts.

He has kept his promise from the beginning when I was so afraid to give marriage another try. Denise, I promise you that every year with me will be better than the year before. In thirty-five years you will not regret saying yes.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

The Time Has Come...

Today is the day Andrea and I commit ourselves to a more healthy lifestyle. About 6 years ago we went on the South Beach diet together. I lost 30 lbs. and Annie lost 15. So, we are going to try it again, making the necessary meat substitutions. I like this diet because it plans all your meals for you.... all we have to do is the grocery shopping and well, slicing and dicing all the myriad of vege's it requires. Jana, Lindsay, Alissa and Val, all looked so fit and healthy when they were here...

Annie even bought a pair of running shoes so she could use the treadmill and I am going to start walking on the Provo trail where David ran. I'm tired of never having anything cute to wear and my energy level is not anywhere near what it could be. I look at pictures of just 2 years ago, of all the places we hiked that year and I can't believe I actually hiked there. I want to do that again....

So good-bye over-indulgence and laziness and in with the new and improved.... fit and healthy....

Friday, July 18, 2008

Random Act Of Kindness

So, I’ve been spending a lot of time at the quilt store this week. I took two classes, one for a pieced lone star quilt and a machine quilting class. There is always something new to learn. It has been good to have something to focus on….. yet, even behind all my activities, I think of David every minute of the day and I am so sad, for all the new things he will miss out on.

Yesterday, a lady came into the store to get a backing to put on a baby quilt she was making for a friend. She wanted to use a minkie fabric (for those of you who don’t know, it has one of the softest, most luxurious feels) She was agonizing over the cost, at $17.00 dollars a yard, it adds up. Another customer said…. just go for it, price doesn’t matter. It does to me she replied…. I have MS and my monthly shots cost me $2,500 a month. They then had a conversation about her illness and the other ladies son who has Chron’s disease.

Well, she had me cut the minkie, and when she wandered away to find some binding, the other lady told me to ring up her fabric on her bill. She then left the store. When the minkie lady went to pay for her fabric, she burst into tears having a random act of kindness cross her path. It was so touching. People can be so generous.

“No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted.” -- Aesop

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Attention All Arizona Porters

I would like all of you to look at the list on the side of my blog under family. You will soon realize that not one of your family members is listed there. We, and I think I speak for everyone, find this totally unacceptable. Whether one or more of you start one individually or you do a family blog together (which would be cool), is totally up to you. Kati.... I have read some of the comments you have left on other blogs and you are very eloquent. And Toni I know you don't lack for words. :) Or for that matter, either do you, Evan. So don't anybody tell me you don't have anything to say. I will expect to see something up and running by Sunday at midnight. Or else...... and the or else is scary, scary.... you don't want to know....

Monday, July 14, 2008

David's Celebration Of Life Photos

I have uploaded almost 100 photos that I took on Fri. & Sat onto Snapfish. However, the only way I can tell that anyone can view them is to send you an email invite. So, if you are interested in seeing or ordering any prints please leave me your email address and then I will forward the link along. (You can send it to me privately at shahe05@msn.com if you prefer)

Sunday, July 13, 2008

David's Day

It was a comfort to have all of our children gather to be with us. We were only missing Marshall and Canyon, who stayed home as they felt Canyon was too young and sensitive to experience the emotions of the time. Standing from left to right is Alissa, Ryan, Andrea, Jana and Auggie, Denise, and Ken. Kneeling is Tyler, Lyndsay and Mackenzie.

This week has been lived in a true “Steel Magnolias” style. Laughter through tears. We have all been so touched by the outpouring of love and generosity from family, friends and some who don’t even know us at all. Yesterday we had a full day of honoring and cherishing David’s unique style and perspective of the world. We started with a service where all the siblings shared our thoughts and experiences… recounted the many ways we were formed and changed by his presence in our lives. The church in his neighborhood then provided us with a lovely luncheon. Family and close friends met in Canyon Glen and his children, Kyle and Diane, spread his ashes on the Provo Canyon Trail where he spent countless hours running and training for the many marathons he ran. There was a releasing of the white doves symbolizing eternal peace and the spiritual flight home. The flight of the beautiful white doves lift your eyes to the heavens and create a tranquil moment of silence…. except for the gentle sound of wings against the wind. We ended the day with dinner at the Founders Grill at Sundance. It was a perfect ending to a perfect day surrounded by the serenity of the mountain air and gentle breezes. David loved well and was loved well in return.

I am posting, in their entirety, the 3 pages of thoughts I expressed at his memorial service. I will also be posting pictures to my Snapfish account so anyone who wants to can order prints.

Hello everyone…. My name is Denise, known as NeeNee by my brother David. I am his big sister just 14 months older. We didn’t share a lot of our adult lives together, as I moved out of state when I married, but we had a rich and adventuresome childhood experienced side by side. You might say we had a charmed childhood and lived under an umbrella of shared innocence. What happy, happy times it was then….

Water seemed to be a big theme for us. We were fascinated by any creek or body of water and wanted to see what was in there. I think of walks to the bottom of 8th south, were we lived, to swing on a rope into the small river that was there. How we filled up our buckets with polliwogs and brought them home to a plastic pool in the backyard. There was a park in Provo where Geneva Steel had their company picnics. A creek ran the length of it and we loved to watch the skeeter bugs and again look for polliwogs. Every summer we had a pass to the Scera Pool where we took swimming lessons and went swimming nearly every day. And in the winter when the water froze we ice skated on Utah Lake. It seemed the sun was always shining in our world then.

We lived in the days when Orem was still full of cherry and apple orchards. I remember playing Cowboys and Indians among the trees. I know mom must of kept a close eye on us when we wandered off but it felt then as if we tramped the world at large, exploring anything we saw of interest. We gathered asparagus from the orchard borders and sold them to the neighbors for a nickel a bunch. We picked cherries for 3 cents a lb. every summer from the time we were eight until our jr. high school years.

A lot of our fun took place in trips to the grandparents. At Grandma Porter’s house we were best buddies. I still see us racing in the house together to get in the game and art cupboard. We played endless card games of war and chinese checkers. We were always anxious to explore the basement we’d explored dozens of times before but even finding the same old things, together, made it feel like a new adventure. We went out on the red desert bluffs and caught lizards in glass jars. With our cousins we caught grasshoppers and made box houses for them in the backyard.

We had just as much fun and excitement at Grandma Erickson’s house and with our cousins there. We got to do animal sticker books with glue grandma made from flour and water. We made chocolate chip cookies and Wyler’s lemonade and hid in her raspberry bushes. We loved to explore her basement as well, and played with her old hand wringer washing machine. We loved Aunt Pat and being in the whirlwind of activity at her house and riding the ponies and having water races at Aunt Yvonnes.

As we grew older and took on more responsibilities I found out how fortunate I was to always be paired up with David because we were the closest in age. We mainly had responsibility for the kitchen and I was only allowed to wash the dishes so he could do the rinsing and make sure my job was done properly. He then shooed me away and said he would take care of the rest, which meant a thorough cleaning of the countertops and cupboards and even polishing the units on the stove.

We lost a lot of our closeness during the high school years when I was adamantly forbidden to talk with or even acknowledge his friends. I thought this was a total rip off of one of the best benefits I had of being his sister. He had a lot of cute friends.

We also lived under an umbrella of the unconditional love of our mother. Then and throughout our lives it is one thing we never had to question. We all knew we were loved by mom. She taught us to have respect for the differences among all the people of the world and that is a quality all the siblings share. She also had the innate ability of instilling values in us and then setting us free in the world to have our own thoughts and chart our own course. And so mom, David knew…. . knew how very much you loved and cherished him.

David and I talked this year about how the years had taken us more into our own lives and we shared several emails about our thoughts on growing up and our place in the family. Here is what David had to say and I quote. “I remember stabbing you with a pencil in the top of your head one day. The lead stuck in. I think that was the last time we fought. I have nothing but pleasant memories of dad in our childhood. He taught me many things and was a good friend. I could talk to him about anything. I felt very loved and secure by him. I think Susan feels the same way. I loved him dearly and cry a lot realizing all the good things he instilled in my soul.

I did try to become close to you after you married Randy. Try to remember all the times I would come to visit you. I was in love with Scooter and Sissy and could not get enough of them. I wanted children just like them for my own. Then you married Ken and moved away and that was that. And David did get himself some of those children…. Two absolutely wonderful and talented children, Kyle and Diane, who were both instilled with his intelligence and he loved you both with all of his heart and more.

David continued by saying. When I was 17 or 18 I quit teasing Evan and use to beat the bleep out of Paul if he came near him. This was about the same time I stabbed you with that pencil. I had an awakening. Evan may be the most stable of all of us and is very well read with a keen memory. I was the motivator or influence that caused Evan to lose 100 pounds and run a marathon. I also put him through Electronics school and he would have never done either one of them without my support. This is the way I see some of these things. I may be wrong but in my mind that’s what I see. I don't see Susan much but when I see her it is pleasant. I love her children.

I would be remiss not to mention the thread of depression and bipolar illness that runs through our family. Many of us have felt its sting…. have battled the days of despair, lack of energy, and joy of life it steals from you. It has been my quest to bring it to the light of day in our family, as it will surely affect many of us in all the generations to come. I have wanted to create an atmosphere where it can be acknowledged and talked about. And there should be no shame…. no shame at all in having an illness of the brain with a genetic component that can be passed along like a hoard of any other illnesses. I like to compare it to a cancerous tumor that goes in and out of remission. David came over last February and told me he didn’t think Dad and I were the only ones in the family with that diagnosis. He felt he was also suffering with some of its symptoms. I think his assessment was correct. At the time he was feeling the glowing part of it where you have never felt so wonderful and you are on top of the world…. he talked about his incessant need to keep talking, the feelings of self importance and his excessive exercising. I made a mental note to keep an eye on him because I knew what could happen when the glow begins to fade.

This past year David had fought and successfully conquered one of his biggest battles with life…. his addiction to alcohol and lost nearly 100 lbs. while doing so. He did it with the 100% conviction and determination that David had whenever he did anything that he did. He also told me how hard it was being single again in his fifties. He was happy for Kathy that she had found love again and soon thereafter he made a special trip to my house to tell me he had found it again as well, with his high school girlfriend, Debbie. He glowed when he talked about her and described her as one classy lady. He really came to life this year and it was a great privilege to be invited into his inner world. Still, David was a private, fiercely independent, competent and intelligent person. And when you reach a certain level of despair, it doesn’t matter how many people love you, how enriched your life might actually be…. instead it becomes an illness of endurance…. riding the waves until the good days surface again, which they always do. It is my firm belief his final act was not a selfish one, but was instead, in his mind, however misguided, his final show of the greatest love he had for his family as he was trying to shield them from any of his pain and being any kind of burden to them. And I’m so sorry David, so sorry that you felt you had to walk that road alone. And yes, I think his assessment was correct…. he was battling a formidable foe. Let us make a vow to burden each other if we ever need to do so.

At a time in my life when I felt devoid of hope I read this quote. “Hope is... not the conviction that something will turn out well, but the certainty that something has meaning and makes sense, regardless of how it turns out” David your life made sense and had meaning. It meant something to everyone who loved you and the countless friends that crossed your path. It meant something to me. I loved you and you will be missed. You are my brother. Godspeed, David, Godspeed.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Godspeed, my brother, godspeed

This is one of the last family pictures we had taken together as a family.... all the siblings together. From the back left is David, Paul, Denise, Mom and Susan. Evan is sitting in the front. I have so many feelings and thoughts that haven't found a place to light yet. For now I'll just say how much sorrow I feel that you have left us, David. You will be missed by so many people that loved you. I loved you. You were my brother.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Mackenzie On The Red Carpet

Keeping in line with a post by Stacey on her blog that kids say the cutest things.... is Mackenzie.

Mackenzie has top billing as she is a 3-year-old diva…. in every good sense of the word. She is definitely the star in her world. She talked to me for 12 hours straight with hardly taking a breath, on our way to Lompoc. Yes that's right…. 12 hours of non-stop talking. ... Cute as she is I have to admit my brain turned to mush and drizzled out my toes. However, one of the cutest things she told me was, she was bringing all of her faces to Canyon’s house with her. She actually said it like that. So here they are.... she was quite happy to model them for me...

Her mad face

Her happy face

Her sad face

And her attitude face (she actually calls it that)

And this is the face she uses when she is the teacher and she is sending you to the “baby room” She is just halarious.... and very serious about all the roles she takes on.

She is also all about pink…. anything Dora…. playing hide & seek…. singing songs that she makes up…. She hates her hair put in piggy tales…. and she is deathly terrified of bugs.... even an ant sends her shrieking out of its way. I just want to scoop her up in my arms and hug her into everything that is good in the world. We miss all the endearing sides to her....

Stay tuned next for Spotlight on Canyon....

Sunday, June 22, 2008

For All You Fellow Vegetarians & Vege Lovers

It’s officially summer when I make kabobs for dinner. They just sit there looking so wholesome and nourishing. I just love the color of the summer veges. I can almost forget my unhealthy ways…. I hate to exercise, I have an unsatiable sweet tooth and love of breads, and needless to say I weigh 30 more pounds than I want to. But for a brief moment while I eat my kabobs I am the picture of optimum health. I will drizzle sweet and sour sauce on them just before throwing them in the oven. We will also have herb seasoned potatoes and a strawberry pie (that grandma is making) Yum.

For all you vegetarians who are out there….we have found a meat substitute that we love….. it is the Quorn brand (I can only get it at the health food store.) They make it in cutlets, burgers, nuggets and cubed. I use it in all my recipes I used to put chicken in.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Play Dough

So we’ve been deposited back on our desert island…. where something note worthy to post might happen in another 6 months or so. So I can either keep posting cute pictures and thoughts about the grandkids or post pictures of the flowers in the garden, my latest quilt (you’ll get those anyway) or nothing. So there you have it…. grandkids it is.

The kids loved playing with the homemade play dough. Mackenzie’s specialty was birthday cakes… Canyon liked to create bird nests…. Auggie made some fine looking eggs for the nest...and then they made the space ships with the straws that came down and smashed it all. That is how almost all of the activities ended….. in pieces and one or all of the kids fleeing in tears. Good times.

Play Dough Recipe
1 cup flour
½ cup Morton salt
2 tsp. cream of tartar
1 cup water
1 Tbsp. oil
food coloring

Mix the ingredients together in a pan. Add food coloring (they loved that part) and cook until the mixture pulls away from the sides and forms into a ball. Keeps for a long time in a plastic bag in the fridge.