Saturday, February 28, 2009

Post 200: A good deed goes unpunished

The Colorado State Patrol has withdrawn the $22 jaywalking ticket issued to a good Samaritan who was seriously injured by a pickup after he pushed three people out of its path.

"A Good Turn Daily" wins! Hooray for Mankind!

Sunday: yummy steak at Popperville
Monday: 24
Tuesday: no hospital stay for Seth
Wednesday: good meds
Thursday: I can drive to help out
Friday: hormone replacement therapy
Saturday: a functioning brain

Just for the record: I haven't missed a single day of gratitude yet this year. Whew. This is getting tricky.

Friday, February 27, 2009

A place to "lose the maddness"

We don't watch rated R movies in our home. The last one I saw was in 1989 and it was "Tango and Cash." I was a new member of the LDS church, and I learned later from the girls at the dorm in Brigham Young University that LDS people try to avoid watching them. So I do.

I won't lie. I feel like I have missed out on some great movies. I almost cried when "Schindler's List" (rated R) came out. I read the book instead. I was sad about the movie "Alive" (rated R). Read that book too. Honestly, it is just not the same. I am a visual girl.

However, with the miracle of cable (and after 17 years, I finally lost that battle and we got it) and reruns, we have begun to sort of "catch up" in our movie deficiencies. We have many, many recorded originally Rated R movies that are now edited. We have finally seen "Troy", "Gladiator" and I have even seen "Schnidler's List."

One movie that got so much attention (about 15 years ago) that I finally watched last month was "The Legends of the Fall." Brad Pitt. Torn up lovers. Crazy people in the mountains. I sure enjoyed it! :) Sounded like growing up in AK.

There is one line in there from Anthony Hopkins that I have given a lot of thought to. The dad (Hopkins) in the story takes his family to the mountains after his service in the military because he said it was a place to "lose the maddness."

I liked this line because it said a couple of things about the dad.

One: He was self-aware. He recognized that he was losing it, or perhaps already had. He saw that the pieces in himself that were broken and that he had lost precious parts that he didn't want to lose. I am slow to see those things about myself and think I will work on that.

Two: I like how the dad figured out a way that (at least for him) worked to get his brokenness straight. I like how he desired to have a change (of heart I would guess) and did the physical work to address it. For him, it was a move. Change of lo-cal or scenery.

So, this leads me to what are my maddnesses and how can I lose them? I will have to let you know. Lucky you!

Thursday, February 26, 2009

No good deed goes unpunished

"DENVER - A good Samaritan who helped push three people out of the path of a pickup truck before being struck and injured has gotten a strange reward for his good deed: A jaywalking ticket.

Family members said 58-year-old bus driver Jim Moffett and another man were helping two elderly women cross a busy Denver street in a snowstorm when he was hit Friday night.

Moffett suffered bleeding in the brain, broken bones, a dislocated shoulder and a possible ruptured spleen. He was in serious but stable condition Wednesday.

The Colorado State Patrol issued the citation. Trooper Ryan Sullivan said that despite Moffett's intentions, jaywalking contributed to the accident.

Moffett had been driving his bus when the two women got off. In the interest of safety, he got out and, together with another passenger, helped the ladies cross.

Moffett's stepson, Ken McDonald, said the driver of the pickup plowed into his stepfather, but not before Moffett pushed the two women out of the way.

When he awoke in intensive care, he learned of the ticket. "His reaction was dazed and confused. I was a little angry," said McDonald.

The other man also was cited for jaywalking, while the pickup driver was cited with careless driving that led to injury. Sullivan said the two elderly women haven't been cited but the investigation is ongoing." Where are the jaywalking tickets for the old ladies? Do you think this guy was a Boy Scout? Is there legal respresentation for a scout who does a good turn daily? A mother of a boy scout needs to know these things!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

6th picture of the 6th file

The game is share the sixth picture of the sixth file from your photo files. This is two seasons ago when we had a "malfunction" (water, not wardrobe) in the pond and the whole thing had to be drained. Mr. Fun is doing the de-sludging and I am there as window dressing. Yes, I am stuffed into a garbage bag. I can't remember why. Tom took this with his phone, because of course he was there to assist us (add it to the blog list of yesterday!).

Tom so graciously also reminded me about the reroof, the new plugs, the new bathroom ceiling, ripping the rock out, installing two new ponds, the grass tear up, installing new rock, the flooded sub-basement...:) He estimates our house should be worth double it's value since we have hooked up with him! :)

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

That Guy: Tom (insert deep voice here)

Tom is very different than me.

For as high as my voice is, his is deep. For as small town I am, he is from the Center of the Universe: San Fransisco. For as trusting and outgoing I am, he is careful and reserved. For as opinionated as I am, he withholds his thoughts unless directly asked. For as healthy as I am, he is surviving Stage Four Terminal Kidney Cancer. A cancer that should have claimed its victory over a year ago. But he lives is just how he is wired.

Tom was one of the first people we met when we moved here and we have enjoyed him ever since. He has been a godsend to our family. One of our most treasured blessings for all time.
He is one of "those guys" you call when your heater goes out, you need new China for dinner, windows insulated, basements flooded, brush thrown out at Popper Holler, painting in the family room, tools to be bought, cars to be fixed, games to be played, Jack Bauer to be watched, Star Wars to be enjoyed, Oklahoma women to woo, scouts to be driven, coloring to be colored, eat too much Burger King giant burgers, drop your trousers for a kilt, music parties to be listened to, Burnt Sienna crayons to break, tattoos to be gotten, NASCAR to be NASCARed, rides to be given (James, take me to the WalMart please), bowling to be bowled, figures to be rubber-banded, when you need a fake dad, potato guns to be shot, fun presents to be received, sledding in the dark, Camaro to be cruised, world records to be broken, tips from the Man Manual, temple worship all together, pine wood derby car to be beaten, strawberry sundaes to enjoy, photo field trips to be taken, teaching Man Skills to Mr Fun, wood for the Popper stove, laundry to be folded, when times are hard, cds need to be burned, and dinners to be eaten.

Don't call him if you have swear words you need to be said. He hasn't said something like that since he was 10 (I however, could possibly assist you if my family isn't around) :)

And don't ask him to remember much without his calendar. His memory isn't all that it used to be.

Tom, we wanted the world to know (at least the 5 people who might read this blog post sometime someday--including our Bobert) that we think the world of you. You are super terrific. Actually, "Hoover Dam" cool says it best. You are the one that taught me about being "That Guy" (of which this blog sub-topic was named after) and I want you to know that you will be remembered as such.
Do you know that I carry my talk for your funeral around in my scriptures? I see it every Sunday, and often I have had to update it because of all that you have and are doing. Someday I will have to give it, but know that no family that you are not related to (unless that DNA testing shows you have Butler blood from Ireland :) ) will ever love you more than the little family over here on ------- Avenue (I know how you paranoid city people feel about giving personal information out!). :)

We are especially most thankful to our God above (and yes, I am believing in Him today) that you are still alive. Keep up the good work, Tommy. :)

Monday, February 23, 2009

Wanna take a field trip? Let's go to Kansas

Now that I can drive, the All-Powerful Green Truck has come
out of its year long restful sabbatical. The truck and I took a
field trip to Kansas to the furniture store. For those of you
have had the privilege to ride in it, it is
still as smooth and divine. It got the old stereo out of
the Camaro so it actually can play some
serious tunes along the way.

I cannot get enough of these old barns scattered all over the place. :)

A view from the Motherland--Kansas NASCAR Speedway. There is
going to be ONE very happy young woman sitting somewhere
over there come October. :)

"Oh Shenandoah,
I long to hear you,
Away you rolling river,
Oh Shenandoah,
I long to hear you,
Away, I'm bound away
'Cross the wide Missouri. "

When I was a little girl, we would sing this "Oh Shenadoah"
folk song all the time under the direction of
Mrs. Brocal (or Broccoli as we called her), the scariest
music teacher EVER,and Mr. Lindman, the skinniest
music teacher ever.
I used to always wonder where Missouri was and
how wide was the "wide Missouri."
Now I have the answers. :)
A girl likes answers.
See that "The Show Me State" slogan? They really take it
seriously here. As lovely as Kansas is, I am always happy
to come home to Missouri
(and please note: Kansas and Missouri are separate states)

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Bob the Builder Award: IHOP (International House of Pancakes)


"This Fat Tuesday (I feel fat most Tuesdays so how is THIS Tuesday any different...I guess a holiday of fatness is not such a bad deal), feast on free buttermilk pancakes from IHOP and help out with a great cause at the same time.

Tuesday, February 24 is National Pancake Day (which always falls on Fat Tuesday) and in celebration, IHOP restaurants across the nation will be giving away free short stacks in return for donations for Children's Miracle Network Hospitals (

Last year they gave away more than 1.5 million pancakes and rose over $875,000. This year they're hoping to set a new record and raise $1 million.The Children's Miracle Network is an alliance of premier children’s hospitals across the country with hospitals in every state (the Andersons know about Children's Hospitals...we are going to one on Fat Tuesday. Again)

Every year over 17 million children benefit (and some are still waiting to benefit) from state-of-the-art care, life-saving research and world-class doctors. An array of companies sponsor their cause, including IHOP."

From one of those children's families, thanks IHOP! :)


Sunday: Nascar began (hooray for the girl)
Monday: Puddy from Seinfeld (hooray for Mr Fun)
Tuesday: Spring is really going to arrive soon
Wednesday: The scriptures
Thursday: Blogging
Friday: Plastic Cow and Pig
Saturday: a solid presentation (hopefully)

Friday, February 20, 2009

I stand corrected

Apparently I was shopping at the wrong $1 section in the wrong store for my lawn decor.

Who knew that you CAN buy your plastic pig and horse in the $1 section (see February 16th post) for your yard.

Did these two come home with me?
You know it.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

What would you watch?

I recently read this: "Suresh has broken his own Guinness world record for non-stop broadcast-television watching clocking 72 hours in Sweden. 'I feel fine. I drank between 25 to 30 cups of coffee.'" His previous record was 69 hours and 48 minutes.

If you had to stay awake for 72 hours watching tv, what would you watch?

You guessed it.

Suresh watched three seasons of my personal favorite: Jack Bauer/24. :) If you have ever seen it, you understand why it kept him awake!

"Dammit!" This picture is for you, Creester. :)

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

What I Know

"Have you ever sat down and written out what you know? And we're talking about the things you really really your matter what. Try it sometime. Find 15 minutes of quiet (we know how hard that can be!) and just start writing "I know" statements--short and simple--but make sure they are things that you KNOW--no matter what."

I found this today so I am going to try it. Sounds hard.

I know I will always love my baby "goats."
I know that I will never have long hair.
I know that I will always love photographs.
I know I will always be so thankful to be raised in Alaska.
I know that becoming Mormon is one of the best decisions of my life.
I know I will always love certain people in my life, even if we never spoke again.
I know I will always love the colors teal and green.
I know that someday I will have seen all the Seinfeld reruns.
I know that I have been blessed with special life experiences, good and bad.
I know that I will never have a vast musical knowledge.
I know that I will never own a snake.
I know that I am the only girl who drove the Camaro when Tom owned it.
I know that I love a good thrift find.
I know that I am never going to be sorry I joined Rotary.
I know that my favorite church callings were Primary Secretary and Librarian.
I know that I can lose my temper over dumb stuff.
I know I don't understand people who are malicious.
I know I am a simple person.
I know I am not cut out for a large family.
I know I only have three minutes of this activity to go.
I know how to throw an event.
I know I always love my dad's BBQ red meat.
I know that I look like a pig when I eat chinese food or Olive Garden soup and salad.
I know I used to be a terrible public speaker.
I know living with someone as nice as Mr Fun has been good for me.
I know how to make "cow eyes."
I know that people think I am "weird."
I know this was as hard as I thought it might be.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Bob the Builder Award: Playing for Change

October 24, 2008

"Bill Moyers sits down with Mark Johnson, the producer of a remarkable documentary about the simple but transformative power of music: PLAYING FOR CHANGE: PEACE THROUGH MUSIC. The film brings together musicians from around the world — blues singers in a waterlogged New Orleans, chamber groups in Moscow, a South African choir — to collaborate on songs familiar and new, in the effort to foster a new, greater understanding of our commonality.

Johnson traveled around the globe and recorded tracks for such classics as "Stand By Me" and Bob Marley's "One World" — creating a new mix in which essentially the performers are all performing together — worlds apart. Often recording with just battery-powered equipment, Johnson found musicians on street corners or in small clubs and they would in turn gather their friends and colleagues — in all, they recorded over 100 musicians from Tibet to Zimbabwe.

The unique composition of the film which has musicians playing together yet in their own traditions, made Johnson think anew about what world music means:

Just thinking in my mind... what would be unique instruments to juxtapose against each other that had never been heard before: a talking drum and a tabla, they're very similar but they never really come together, or a sitar and a dobro, very similar but how often do you hear them play together? The idea was to go to places that would have some sort of instruments that they could add to the spectrum of the global music that we were trying to find."

Monday, February 16, 2009

Spring Fever--a taste of yard art

I have been inspired by a yard I saw last week in my wanderings,
and have applied to be recognized as a National Wildlife Federation habitat
yard. I think it will motivate me to make sure I keep up outside this summer.

I have spring fever so I have been starting to collect my thoughts
about the yard. I found most of these little bird houses at the $1 section
of the craftstore. They are kind that you paint. Yesterday, as part of our
unofficial "family home evening" activity, we had Tallants for
dinner and painting.

Mr. Fun
painted this pink and purple one.
He has always has
had this freakishly good tole-painting
skill that has skipped me. It is nice
that he could represent the family at a
RS Enrichment tole painting
paint-off if necessary.

The ski chalet was painted by
professional artist, Dave.
Why else do you think we
invited him over? I needed
a fancy house so we could
charge those birds a little more.
It's a real estate investment!

I was feeling good about our stab at
nice yard art, thinking that it was
a fine caliber
and could make the grade.
You know, help create a lovely yard.
The kind you don't forget.

Well, perhaps I didn't buy
the RIGHT kind of yard art.

I forgot that we live in Missouri: home of some
unbelievable yard art. And I mean unbelievable.

By far and away, this

life-size plastic horse

(standing in a boat the Girl says)

and pig

takes the cake. I didn't see those creatures in the $1 section! :)

Is there such a thing as a Certified Plastic Animal Habitat?

I have a nomination!


Monday: A Boy diagnosis (Cyclic Vomiting Syndrome)
Tuesday: Old friends--really just more family
Wednesday: Inspiration
Thursday: Rotary
Friday: Engine started and the car drove...hooray for Dave's Hot Rod Shop
( Check out the current projects link to the 41 Willy's. That thing is LOUD!
Saturday: Val goes out alone to do mindless shopping. :)
Sunday: NASCAR season begins for the Girl and birdhouse painting

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Wanna take a field trip? How about the mall...

The United States government does not seem to understand that I needed that $330 we just spent on passports yesterday at the mall post office. That money could buy me some beer I wouldn't drink at an Irish Pub, some U2 trinkets in Dublin, or perhaps let me stand on the top of the castle from the Braveheart movie for a scenic photograph. Oh well. The mall passport outing made for some great fun...of course it did... we had Mr. Fun with us. We had to book his time just like we were some of the powerful executives at his work.

He loved it (not).

A topic of conversation as of late is that my friend Becky's mother, Lynn, who lost her leg last month in a freak auto accident, has renamed her grown children. Becky is Water Buffalo, her sister is Howler Monkey, and brother John is Pink Squid. This of course led to the discussion at our house if one of us was strung out on pain killers, what animals names would describe us.

Here are some answers. Just in case you were wondering.

These are photos taken in the mirrored ceiling (why are there mirrors on the ceiling in the mall? So you can lay down to take a rest and stare at yourself and your new purchases? Creepy) We were loitering because hey, we had nothing better to do (the PO opened late. Mr Fun was thrilled)

The boy won the

"Raccoon" Award.
No, sadly this

photo has not been


Here is Raccoon at the local watering hole.

My mother has always said the Girl has a beautiful neck, so she won the Giraffe award (she does not have the blue long slick tongue to go with it...sorry). Here is Giraffe, enjoying a snack at the "food" court. Actually, this mall is SO lame that it doesn't have a food court so this IS as close a snack as you get. But it has a post office, so in my book it is not a total loss.

Mr. Fun dubbed himself Sir Grizzly. When his hair grows out, it doesn't get long. It gets fat and furry, like a bear hide in winter. Here he is, enjoying his interpretive lounging bear grotto. His employers would be very proud to see his good use of time on a late Friday morning.

To be honest, the family was afraid to dub me any animal since I control the laundry and food. One nomination was a parrot since they can cuss. :) Another was ostrich because Dave painted a picture of one that is on loan to us. It has poky hair and it's mouth is always open. Although I resemble that remark, it was decided that I am like a horse because I eat weird things like alfalfa sprouts, flax seed and have galloping evidenced here. :) I kept the mall in the shot so you could enjoy its beauty and wonder.
Good thing my brother is a wildlife biologist so he could treat us
if we had illness...or put us down if necessary. Nature can be cruel. :)

What animal would you dub yourself?

It's all about the LOVE

I love lots of strange things. Here are some of them:
(Note: I don't know why this is all underlined. Blogging ignorance.) I love living in Missouri. No, really. This is two years ago when we
were waiting to hide in the basement from a tornado.
Strange I am smiling so nicely since our stuff might get blown
away. Seth is ready. Hockey helmet anyone?
I love to see a good family picture. Any family. I love that we
had severals versions to choose from this Christmas. I will
blog that another day. It is funny.
Honestly, I love that I am retired Friar Val. I never owned
the robe though. Thanks Brian and Genie for the chance.

I love to meet strange people who have a story. This is
some dancing guy I met in Copenhagen.

I love the sun in the sky, in morning or evening. I cannot
stop from staring at it. Now I am addicted to photographing it.
Don't tell Mr Fun, but I took this while I was driving. Now
you might see why I lost my license in the first place. Someone
yesterday guessed I had a DUI. I can neither confirm or deny. :)

I love photographs with detail. Like Pop Up Video within a picture.

Happy Valentines Day

Thursday, February 12, 2009

True Unlove Songs

The KC Mom blog ( today hit a subject that I was going to address on Saturday, so I will address it today.

The Love CD--the new fangled version of the "Mix Tape." I remember my first mix tape...boyfriend in 10th grade. It was true love. Until he slept with his best friend... Andrew. Yeah, I know. Yuck. Super yuck.

Recently I read in the paper some of the most misunderstood "love songs" in popular culture. I thought I would share them with you. Like KC Mom, there are just some songs you might not want to give your sweetheart. And I quote the article:

*"Every Breath You Take" by the Police. The most popular wedding song in the 1980's. "Every move you make, every vow you break, every smile you take, every claim you stake, I'll be watching you." Stalker anyone?

*"More Than Words" by Extreme (an Anderson family mocking favorite). "More than words is all you have to do to make it real. Than you wouldn't have to say that you love me, 'cause I would already know." Maybe they should have called the song "Put Up or Shut Up". (gross says Val)

*"Your Love" by the Outfield. "Stay the night but keep it under cover. I just wanna use your love tonight." Doesn't the word "use" suck all the romance out of the room?

*"Escape--the Pina Colada Song" by Rupert Holmes. "I was tired of my lady, we'd been together too long. Like a worn-out recording, of a favorite song." And when they see each other at their cheating meeting spot, they laughed. Yeah, right.

With the availabilty of Google, I would recommend that you look up the words of your mix CD before you give out.

I am a good example of a bad example. I had the Girl make a mix CD for my International RYLA students last summer. One song she asked me if I was sure I should add it. It is loud and has a great beat. Of course, I say. Add it. So she did. Since I don't know the words of any songs, it was only AFTER it was on it's way all over the world with the RYLA kids did I learn that the real name of the song was "You and Your Hand." Sung by a girl who had just split from her husband.

Yeah, I know. Yuck. Super yuck.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Tender Mercies in a Bucket

Once, one of our church leaders gave a terrific talk about the "tender mercies" of God to us as human beings. The term has taken root in LDS culture and I hear it a lot. Another term for it might be "coincident."

It means something that happens to us that gives us a lift, some sort of little blessing that seems insignificant to the "big picture" of things, but we enjoy.

Like when I bring a doughnut home for the kids for no reason except I love them and they would like it.

I thought of tender mercies when I saw this bucket the other day at the Lowe's hardware store.

Since Tom has lived well beyond his expected time, he is now having to replace some of the things that he has already given away. He is doing some work in his house and some of those tools he has given away, he now needs.

He picked them all out the other day at the store, piece by piece. As we were leaving, we wandered past the clearance rack, stuffed full of ugly house numbers and big weird man lights.

Low and behold, there was this bucket full of the exact tools he needs for his project. Even the bucket is a tool he needs to mix his grout stuff. All in perfect condition, all there, and all on clearance.

Do I think in the big picture that God's eternal plan for Tom would have been messed up if we hadn't seen the clearance bucket? No. Do I want to believe that this is a tender mercy to Tom just because God loves him and He knew Tom would like it? :) You bet. Like a doughnut from God.

I hope you have a tender mercy moment sometime this week. :)

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

18 Mr. Fun sayings

The Girl recently said that our family would not be able to communicate if we did not quote movie lines. I think she is right. We have the self-proclaimed "Mr. Fun" (Matty) to thank for that.

This is our 18th Valentine's day together and since we are both getting "stout", I decided instead of chocolate we would give Mr. Fun a different kind of love note. Mr. Fun--this one's for you:

in no particular order (feel free to play along)

1. I want my two dollars
2. Whose scruffy looking?
3. I don't want to kill you and you don't want to be dead
4. Is this corn hand shucked?
5. I can't pull the wagon
6. Sorry your mom blew up, Ricky
7. Mr. Anderson
8. Dar-tan-ion!
9. Mmmmmmmm....mmmmm
10. Jack not name, jack job
11. 210, 220--whatever it takes
12. I must break you
13. It burns us
14. You've been playing the foozball?
15. You whine like a mule
16. Shoo fly, don't bother me
17. I'm feeling very Olympic today
18. Sadly temporary

:) Happy Valentine's Day...from the Fun Family

Monday, February 9, 2009

Wanna take a field trip? Let's go to the City...

Kansas City on a lovely February Day

Perhaps a future vacation home? :)

This is perhaps the coolest van I have ever seen! I was saying to
Matty, "I wish I could see who drives a Captain America Van." I
imagined a long hair, young, blond skinny guy with a flannel shirt

and some hiking boots. Perhaps with a German Shepherd puppy...

Look at the lucky break I got...the van man.
I was right about the flannel. Little off on the young, skinny part.

Another photo from the car. I like how the church is clear
but the tree is fuzzy. Love the red doors.

One closing shot before we headed home. These towers reminded
me of the towers from the Star Wars Jedi Temple. Can you say,
"Valsy, you need to get out more if you know
that." No kidding.

Bob the Builder Award: Lingerie??? and Task Brasil

Don't be afraid to read this. :) No pictures of lingerie will appear and it is still G-rated.

I guess I like this because it is not up to me to decide that the way someone choses to help another. Service is service is service.

Evangeline Lilly of "Lost" has a new lingerie line that will benefit Task Brasil. In case you weren't aware, Brasil has a terrible problem with abandoned street children. You can read all about it at

And I quote: "I'm offering beautiful Brazilian-made lingerie as a fun and enticing way for you to not only invest in yourself, but in the poor and abandoned children of Brazil." This isn't a sentence I would imagine I would read anytime, but I am guessing the abandoned children of Brazil could care less what Evangeline was selling to help them.

Friday--The Girl hears rumor she was a winner at an art competition
Saturday--Listening Party
Sunday--another lovely evening with friends

Sunday, February 8, 2009

For football fans

I grew up with my mother folding laundry on Sunday afternoons, watching football and saying "I have been a Broncos fan even when the Girl Scouts can beat them." I, however, am not only not a Broncos fan, but I am not a football fan of any kind. Since I have become a mother, we don't watch football --just no interest here.

I know the Superbowl was last week (didn't watch it) and so many of you may be sad that your Sunday pasttime is on vacation. I have a NASCAR girl and fortunately she has Christmas and the holiday season to fill her time while their sport (is NASCAR a sport?) is on break. She would be very cranky otherwise without those distractions.

I got this link from Rotary Dave (30 years Air Force) and it almost made me cry. The note attached made a comment about the airpower of the United States...and it is true. Here is to Scott O. and all the other airmen who get it done. We event planners LOVE it when it executes perfectly!

Saturday, February 7, 2009

A benefit of driving

The girl has a part time job, and I pick her up at 5 pm everyday
(the optimum phrase there being "I pick her up"
as in the all powerful green truck--go driving!)
Everyday we see these trees and this pond at the sunset time
and everyday I kick myself that I don't have a camera
and I don't stop. So the other day, I planned ahead
and these last two shots came out of it.

Happy Sabbath

Have a lovely Sunday. Read the paper, take the dog for a walk,

have a picnic in your car if it is cold outside...just have a lovely day. :)

Friday, February 6, 2009

Bob the Builder Award: Midori Ito Harbison

If I was cool enough to write Japanese, this is what I would write to Mrs. Midori Ito Harbison, children's enrichment teacher volunteer extraordinaire. It says "thank you."

I have only met her once, but I see her name a lot when it comes to education. She is a tiny, old japanese lady...soft spoken, gentle and sweet. And man, is she dedicated. We met in a speakers guild meeting for our school district (in which she has no children enrolled in) and I was so impressed. She had brought her tens of thousands of dollars kimono to share with us on the proper way of wearing it.

I was checking out the free classes offered by the community library system the other day and Midori's classes were all over in their brochure. Calligraphy, origami, Japanese culture, wearing the Kimono... all separate classes.

What I love about her when I see her name is that I know her desire to share her culture is sincere and she is willing to put her money where her mouth is. :)

Japanese for "You go girl."

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Early Valentine's Day Presents

From Matty:
He called me this morning on his way to work to tell me Red Bandana's name. You know the guy...the one I have been stalking for two and half years (see blog for January 13th). He back to holding the stop sign, and shock of shock, Matt rolled down his window, blocked traffic and asked. Thanks Matty

Wouldn't you know it....he goes by "Chipper" because he is so cheery. :)

From Rotary International:
I got an email from the new incoming president of Rotary International next year and he asked me to serve on the international RYLA committee again. This is a big compliment to me as a Rotarian and a young female--err, Dave would say I am not so young but compared to the average Rotarian age of 58 and white male, I am young. The international meeting will be in Montreal in 2010. I am planning to say yes. :)

Tuesday--Driving Miss Daisy has come to an end
Wednesday--Rotary letter
Thursday--certifing as a merit badge counselor to promote world peace

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Bob the Builder Award: Chelsey "Sully" Sullenberger

You knew this was coming. This is the pilot that landed the plane in the New York River on January 15th. Saving all those lives is certainly good enough for the Bob award. My friend who was in the Air Force said to land the plane so perfectly was a tremendous act itself, without nosediving straight into the Hudson.

That isn't why I picked Sully to win this highly esteemed honor (heh!). This photograph was taken when the town of Danville honored him for his duties as pilot. He stood up to give his acceptance speech on behalf of the crew, which lasted a whopping 27 seconds. I liked that.

I read today that one of the personal things Sully lost in the crash was a library book he borrowed from the California State University, Fresno, through his local library. He has contacted them and asked for an extension so he could replace the book. The librarians were so surprised at his "sense of responsibility (they) did him better: They're waiving all fees and dedicating the replacement book to him. The book subject? Professional ethics."

Good news--355 days later

See Val. See Val drive. Go, Val, go.

I have been cleared. As in good to go, carry on, go to it. Yep, 355 days since my first "episode"/seizure, I have been free for 9 weeks and I have just received medical clearance to drive. Hooray!

Monday, February 2, 2009

Just 10 easy little steps--who knew? :)

First, I have a new map over there on the right. It shows the hits from the day before. If you click the black words of visitors and places it shows a whole list of different places. I like it. My new way of stalking you! :)
But for the real words today. I recently read an article about the 10 simple steps on how to be happy. Scientists have figured it out. Who knew that happiness could be scientifically figured out? No offense to scientists, but they don't seem like the cheeriest bunch for knowing the secrets but then maybe being happy and cheery are two different matters.

In case you aren't happy and want to be, here are the answers. I believe these are in no particular order, but I will share them as they were listed:

1. Be the center of your network. I am feeling like the center of the network I am in because I do the laundry and cook the dinner. I am the most popular person in the house.

2. Surround yourself with people you like/who like you. I have been around people that didn't like me. I didn't feel too happy.

3. Watch less TV. Watching tv has always sort of been like a little treat for me. With Jay Leno leaving the Tonight Show and taking Headlines on Monday nights with him, that will save me at leat 20 minutes a week. easy to cut back.

4. Be active. Does driving count? Driving would make me happy. Verrrrrrry happy.

5. Manage your time. Sleep in until I am not sleepy. That sounds like a good start. :)

6. Find coping skills. Dark chocolate, won ton soup, and a telephone. Skills coped.

7. Set and pursue goals. Did I mention I have a goal to drive? Go to Africa, win the Nobel Peace Prize, drive, and cure the boy who is in full flare up again. Did I mention I have a goal to drive?

8. Don't think too much. Oh, I like these scientists!

9. Practice Gratitude. Speaking of gratitude, Monday gratitude is a cheap way to enlarge my photographs--$6 at Sam's Club. If I have gratitude, am I still only practicing?

10. Experiment with being happy. Good luck. If it doesn't work out, see #6 and you will feel much better! :)

What does the Smithsonian want from me?

"LOS ANGELES - The Smithsonian Museum wants Aretha Franklin’s Inauguration Day hat.
The Queen of Soul’s big-bowed headgear has become a hot property since the legendary singer wore it to belt out “America the Beautiful” at President Barack Obama’s Jan. 20 inauguration.
The Los Angeles Times reports that the hat’s designer, Luke Song, has been overwhelmed with demand for the $179 item. (Aretha’s custom-made version cost over $500.)"

Hey, Aretha, the Smithsonian called and they want your hat. Of all the memorabilia they could have from any of the events, this is the piece that they want to preserve in the halls of history along with the Nauvoo Temple Sunstone, some space ships, and the Fonz's leather coat (aaaayyy!).

This begs the question: If the Smithsonian called me, what would they potentially want? Not to mark some world political occasion of course, but just some sort of tangible representation from me, plain ole Val. I wandered through the house and came up with some ideas. :)

Of course, I naturally thought of the Olympic Torch first. It the one thing that I think I own that is actually cool and people don't have. Of course I am sure there is one or two for sale on EBAY, but isn't quite the same as actually earning it I guess.

I have done genealogy/family history research since November of 1988. I have a lot of papers and information about the people that I come from. Some of it is pretty neat. I have a great grandmother who assisted in the Revolutionary War and which nominates me for DAR. I have grandparents who ran this Butler Dairy, which I only recently found out are direct decendants from the "powerful" Butler Clan of Kilkenny, Ireland (hence the trip there). I have story after story down in the basement so God forbid we have a freakish house fire.

This is my wood carved fish from a the unofficial pot-smoking mayor of Cooper Landing named Jim. Salmon will always make me think of Alaska and our roots there. Fortunately, some of the Missourians are a little goofy like Alaskans so I get to think of home often.

The last thing I think I would contribute is some of my photographs. It is not like I think I am Ansel Adams because I don't. It is not like they mean much of anything, or will usher in world peace. What I like is they are pretty and make me very happy.

So tell me, what would you give to the Smithsonian?
Friday: travel agent Matt
Saturday: mellow times with friends
Sunday: a tv that works

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Bob the Builder Award: Rae Wilson and North Platte Canteen

"From December 25, 1941 until April 1, 1946 more than 6 million servicemen and women who traveled through Nebraska during World War II fondly remember the hospitality of the North Platte Canteen where every troop train was met by volunteers who prepared and served sandwiches, coffee, cookies, cakes, and other homemade ‘goodies’ during stops there."
I have served in PTA a number of years, and one year as the President. I had a board of at least 40 ladies (not including their committee members), volunteers who wanted to serve their children's school in some way. It too quite a bit of time, the equivilent of a part time job to administer the program that year, but of course, well worth it. A tiring year.
Rae Wilson lived in North Platte Nebraska during World War II. She happened to organize over 55,000 people to volunteer for the North Platte Canteen that you can learn more about at this link: It makes you feel warm and fuzzy. :) Have a great Sunday.