Saturday, January 30, 2010


"My life in just six words." 

That is the new popular trend. 

Writing your story in short bursts.

I have heard of it before.

I am writing this way here.

It is harder than you think.

Here are some starters to help.
The local newspaper put them together:
Don't forget to lick the bowl.
I look like a great cook.
Life is all about Plan B.
Life's funny secret: some assembly required.
I miss my parents every day.

You should try this for fun.

It is a great journal entry.

This is Val in a nutshell:

A Mormon woman on the go.
Sickness is always a uninvited companion.
I have children I wouldn't trade.
My heart feels heinveh for friends.
Traveling the world does seem doable.
Looking for my life's mission work.
Chance of a lifetime this month.

Have a wonderful, delightful Sabbath day.

Off to watch Miss America pagent.

Don't tell my feminist empowered girlfriends!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

And the winner is...

It is true.

The Anderson Backyard Pine Wood Derby (car of womanhood) defeated Tom's "Show Me the Money" car.  :)   Man, it felt good.  :)  Here's to us, ladies! 

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Gentlemen (and lady) start your engines....

We Anderson women have cars on our mind.

The Girl has some loud NASCAR thoughts running through her brain.  She has been without for the last several months, and all of that is coming to an end on Valentine's Day.  NASCAR season will begin that day, which obviously the men who scheduled that out are NOT married or are going through some nasty sort of separation with their wives.  Nothing says romantic evening like the phrase "Holy cow, that pit stop was only 11.45 seconds!" 

I, of course, have a car on my brain but it isn't related to the big expensive kind.

It is Pinewood Derby time. Read here for the backstory: 

This year's theme is "The Anderson Back Yard."  Everything you see here the yard really has:
tibetian prayer flags, monks, rocks, and koi.

Of course, the traditional splash of pink in my peace-loving monk.

Here is the wildlife sign on the back and my customary "Jesus is my co-pilot" bumper sticker.

I have to be honest, it is not looking good this year.  Tom has grown tired of being beat by a girl with a pink car so this year he has two battery powered engines he has installed to his car. 
We race tomorrow evening.  I will let you know how it turns out. 

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Bob the Builder Award: People who visit the dying

Death comes in threes.
Grandma Joyce died last month.
This week, Tuesday, Matt's great uncle Des died from an infection.  He was a stud.
The very next day, Matt's OTHER grandma, very nice and kind Lila in Canada, died.
He goes to Canada on Thursday.  They had to push the funeral back so that those going to Des's funeral could get to Canada for Grandma Lila's. 


I remember several years ago a young mother we knew was sick in the bed for reasons that were never figured out.  I felt strongly prompted to go to her home and clean it really really nice.  She had a husband and four little ones.  And no clean undies.

That Saturday, my buddy Sheri and I cleaned and cleaned.  It was a disaster, as you can imagine it would be with five males who could not keep up.  I remember when we were done her husband carried her through the house.  She was so happy.  "Now I can die," she said.  "The house is clean and I have clean garments."

What a silly thing to say, we said. 

She died two days later.  With a clean house and in her clean underwear.

I recently read about a young bull rider named Cody who was dying of leukemia.  A story in the newspaper told how he had a crush on the world champion barrel racer, Lindsay Sears.  When she heard about Cody, she rushed from Texas to visit him in hospice.  They talked about horses, rodeos and things that cowboys love.

She stayed for a couple days, and when he took his nap Friday, his parents said she had done so much.  His "house" was clean, and he had his clean "underwear."  He died Saturday evening.

God bless those who have the courage to visit the dying. 

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Georgia on my mind

Missouri when we left--that is frost

Daybreak from the plane

My beautiful traveling companions  :)--see their "guns"? 
"Georgia, Georgia,

The whole day through
Just an old sweet song
Keeps Georgia on my mind

I'm say Georgia
A song of you
Comes as sweet and clear
As moonlight through the pines
The pine trees smell sooo nice...when I could smell them.
I got sick enough from a cold/infection that I had
to visit the WalMart doctor...

Other arms reach out to me
Other eyes smile tenderly
Still in peaceful dreams I see
The road leads back to you
For those of you who know this family,
they are still wonderful and beautiful.

Big, fried and yummy.  That is the way to describe
the food in the South.  These are only ONE piece of cake each!
The chocolate slice was bigger than our forearms.


a sign from 1943

More modern day cultural "education"
(notice the voice recorder)

Savannah River
(that is South Carolina across the way--wave hello)

But of course

Georgia is lovely for exploring.  This was a stop
on the old stagecoach line.

I said Georgia,

Ooh Georgia, no peace I find
Just an old sweet song
Keeps Georgia on my mind"
Ray Charles

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Wanna take a field trip? Missouri Town 1855

Last month, we went to Missouri Town,
a 1855 historical village with re-enactors.
I used to be an interpreter at one in Salt Lake City....
I was actually assigned to the polygamous house
and played a polygamous wife. 
Of course,
I was the trophy hot wife :)
and got the better room of the three room house. 
It was fun to see how tourists
who were NOT locals or LDS and
used to the idea of plural pioneer wives reacted  :)...

Where was this fine decoration when I was in my "kranky" space?

The Girl and I are off to another field trip tomorrow...
the great state of Georgia to see our Snarky Sister Natalie. 
Maybe I will see Scarlett OHara! 
I should get me one of those dresses.
I am a former hot polygamous wife...

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Catch my drift?

I owe Laura Inglalls Wilder an apology. 

When I read her books and she talked about the winds, snow drifts, and zero visability to walk from one cabin to the one down the street half a block to get the food they needed to not starve to death, I was thinking...."Come on...I am from Alaska and we have it wayyyyyyyyy harder then there in the hard can it be to walk a half block in the snow?"

I didn't get it.

I do now.

driving on the state it ISN"T snowing
it is "drifting" which means winds so horrible
that the snow from the ground is flying sideways.
This is absolutely unedited and it is NOON
See how dark it is?

 This is part of the highway

This is no joke weather. 
If you look carefully in the middle of the picture,
you can see a car right in front of us.

We stopped at the grocery store on the way home.
Look what the cruel display was in the produce section...
are you kidding me?
It is like all those chocolate displays laying
around while I am deciding to go off chocolate.

The kids haven't been back to school the whole week.
Can anyone say "stir crazy?"
A three week Christmas break?  holy hannah

But being the eternal optimist that I am,
I wanted to end this blog on a happy note. 
All that sun and snow can make some lovely shadows.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

May The Grandma Rest in Peace

One of my best friends died two weeks ago.  It is Mr. Fun's Grandmother:  Joycie.  I have always called her "The Grandma" because she was the woman of all women.  You would have loved to sit and have a visit with her.  We planned for a year to attend her 90th birthday party in Utah on December 19th.  On Monday December 14th, she fell ill unexpectedly.  We arrived late the 18th, drove to Logan the am of 19th to say our goodbyes.  Then we went ahead with the party.  She had over 73 guests show up (she was in the hospital--we partied at the church) and only one guest was not related to her.  All hers and all loved.  If she had died by noon on Thursday, the party would have become a funeral, but she lived...because as my mother aptly pointed out Mormons are good prayers and keeping people alive.
The Grandma died three days later.

She was my best friend in my husband's family. I will miss that piece most about her. We lived with her for 4 1/2 years as newlyweds and until our first baby was three.  I learned so much from her:

how to make ribs with soda, enjoy KFC for any great gathering--especially some cole slaw, what a whitened seplicher from the scriptures is, the value of wind up toys, always have a candy stash of malted milk balls, buy treats for those who would love them just because, soft stuffed animals are best, have a sweater handy, sometimes you should just stop and watch tv, you can listen to conference and do something else while you do it, feed stray animals, let people live with you with no expectations, love someone you are not related to like you are, tell a great story, call the Prophets Billy Goat and Gordon, keep old letters and photos (but mark them on the back), share a great kid's book, keep a current recommend even if you can't use it, try to do your hair everyday, wear lipstick, match your handbag to your outfit, carry $50 in your purse just in case, remember when people you know used to be nicer, buy flowers even if they never make it to the ground, have Creamies on hand, call everyone Lovey with the perfect British accent

Four generation:  The Grandma, Mr. Fun, Big Daddy Nels and Seth

Would you like to read about some of her coolness? 
Mabel Joyce Bleakley Anderson, 90, passed away Dec. 22, 2009, in Logan, Utah. Joyce was born in Colombo, Ceylon (Sri Lanka) on Dec. 19, 1919, to James and Jane Bleakley. Her father worked in the British Civil Service as a professor of math and physics.

Joyce grew up on the island of Ceylon and moved to London in 1937 to attend university. She was granted degrees in Elocution and Pianoforte Performance from the Trinity College of Music in London. She was a gifted Indian dancer who was the first woman to perform the traditionally Kandian dances in the Ceylonese province of Kandi. During World War II, her Indian dance troupe performed in the West End theatre district of London.

A convert to the LDS church at the age of 19, Joyce met Wendell Bryan Anderson at the London mission home. Joyce and Wendell were married April 3, 1944, in London where Wendell was serving in the U.S. Army Air Corps. After the war, the couple returned to Logan, Wendell's hometown, where Joyce has lived for 62 years.

Joyce was an accomplished pianist, a gifted artist, a published poet and a masterful storyteller. She loved her roses and supported Wendell in his gladiolus. She loved literature and consumed current events and international news. She embraced the pioneer culture, learning to irrigate, can, sew and cook.

Recognizing a need, Joyce started a Cub Scout pack and recruited Wendell as the Cubmaster. She served as Den Mother for 10 years of Den No. 3. Her Cubs were the first Eagle Scouts of the Logan 13th Ward Troop 70. She also worked as a Brownie leader. An active member of the LDS Church, Joyce worked in the Primary and Relief Society. She participated in local party politics.

Despite all her personal accomplishments, her greatest gift was the guidance, teaching and love she provided her children and grandchildren.

I love you, The Grandma.  I will miss you.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

The first Bob the Builder Award of 2010: Marcia Merrick

They call her the "Mom of the Streets."  She is up by 4:30 in the morning, so she can be downtown by 6 am when the homeless shelters have their clients kicked out of the facility for the day.  She has a van she has stocked with 400 sack lunches.  Every day.  It has become so much work that she started a non-profit group called "Reaching Out Inc".  Check out her website. 

She was named by ABC daytime TV show "The View" last month as one of the top 3 ultimate volunteers in America.  A true blessing to the homeless of Kansas City.  Thanks Marcia.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

May I add my two cents?

I am not one for resolutions.  I always have goals, lists, projects etc... that I am always working on.  Why should one calendar day bring any more to the party?

But I do have two resolutions for this year.  One for others and one for myself.

First, did you know the leading cause of preventable childhood blindess is a lack of vitamin A?  It is true.    Found here in the States in milk, eggs, cereal, carrots and spinach, just to name a few.  A lack of vitamin A is also linked to childhood death from measles and diarrhea.

And did you know that this defincency can be completely eliminated by a 2 cent dose of medicine.  TWO CENTS!  Just in case you haven't thought what two cents really looks like in your hand, I have included a visual.  Money that we don't pick up from the ground or we vaccuum up out of the couch.

The boy and I have decided to save all the pennies we run across this year in a vase and at the end of December, we will write a check to donate the money.  It won't matter to me if it is $5.00 or $50 dollars, it is that many children that won't be blind.  :)

My second one is girly and since Bob the Builder reads my blog sometimes, it is better left unsaid.  :) 

See the cat digging out pennies for the cause