Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Bob the Builder Award: Free mail on Dearelder.com

notice the microwave popcorn...a girl needs her favorite snack

This is me.  Me at the missionary at the Missionary Training Center in Provo, Utah for the LDS Church.
This was 21 years ago.

I was there for 9 weeks.  That is a story for another day, but suffice it to say it is the most akin to the idea that I had been teleported to another planet than anywhere else I have been on earth.

When missionaries enter the MTC, it is like a spiritual missionary boot camp.  No tv.  No newspapers.  No cell phones.  No facebook.  No email.  No real connection to the "outside" world...except for good old fashion mail.

Mail.  Ahhhh, glorious, beautiful, precious, amazing mail.

Any mail.  From anyone.

I learned last night for those who might be interested that there is a free web site called.

You don't have to register to use it to send mail to the MTC.  Punch the Provo MTC (if that is where your missionary is).  You write the email and they drop it in the missionaries mail box the same day.  Free.  :)

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Alaska flower book


Mr. Fun's dad is a master gardener.  LOVES it.

I decided to take advantage of the 2 for 1 book sale this weekend and made a picture book for him for Christmas (shhh....don't tell). 

We think he will dig it. 

Some of the pictures have been lighted because of the grey skys, but the flowers really look like that.  :)

Friday, September 16, 2011

Please Pass The Maggots

I am a fan of Heifer International. 

If you don't know what that is, go here:  http://www.heifer.org/

I used to give them my money (well, actually Mr. Fun's money) but they have gotten too commercialized as well as we are giving some money to the Indian Widow Project.

Regarding Heifer, I get their quarterly magazine.  This week it arrived, sharing all the inspiring stories of goats, pigs and trees making a difference in the world.  Who knew that a cow could do such a cool thing?


There was an article about utilizing the world's natural resources that we tend to overlook as food:

Look, an after school snack

That's right.  Bugs.

June beetles.  Crickets.  Silk worms.  Terminites.  Palm weevels.  Mealworms.  Weaver Ants.

There are 1,700 types of edible bugs on this planet.  And because I always started this blog to share a little of me and more of stories you might not have heard in the mainstream media, I think this is the perfect place to share it.

Did you know that the United Nations Food program is seriously stepping up efforts to include edible insects in the world food options.  The article said the population is supposed to grow from 7 billion to 9 billion by 2050, and insects have what is called "attractive sustainability profiles."  

What is an "attractive sustainability profile" in the bug world?

They require less space for living, water, and feed.  They produce less waste.  Look at this lady bug...no space at all.

An amateur chef in New York said the following:  "I host brunch or dinner parties with wax worm fritters and everyone wants to try them." 

Yeah, right.  Hey, friend, save yourself a stamp and don't mail an invite to me.

They says that insect indulging is falling in style in the West, but out of style in the developing Eastern countries. Catch that?  Countries that actually have been using bugology as lunch are now developing and figuring out there are tastier things to eat.

(sunday dinner this week in Andersonville)

Of the whole article, here was the best part:
A Taster's Guide to the Bug Equivalant
If you like scallops................eat maggots
If you like peanuts.............eat locuts
If you like fried eggs..................eat witchetty grubs
If you like caviar.........................eat weaver ant larvae
If you like mushrooms..............eat wax worms
If you like herring....................eat black witch moth larvae

And in case this hasn't "bugged" you enough:

He looks nervous....like he's read this article, too.  :)

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Photo contests

I am not one to really enter contests, but I decided this morning that I could try this one. 

I guess I am feeling like risk-taking.  I did enter this picture at the local Walmart in June
(theme:  butterflies and sunflowers) and I won the grand prize of a $50 gift card.  Which I used to buy a camera strap and some photo paper.  :)  You know...feeding the addiction.

Last night, reading Travel and Leisure Magazine, there was a fellow that won their monthly contest using a camera that is not as good as mine. 

So this morning, I thought, "Why not?"

I entered this picture under that "Landmark" and "America" categories.

If you click on picture, it pulls up the write up about the photograph.

I guess I like the Landmark definition:

1. An object or feature of a landscape or town that enables someone to establish their location.

There is no doubt that Alaskans know this feature.  :)
The tallest point on the North American continient...
how could you not? 

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Bob the Builder Award: The Old Guard--featuring Kelly Lord

There is a favorite family of mine in our congregation, the Fullmers, whose daughter is married to a member of the Army Old Guard. 

He is featured in a short clip about their activities:

How cool is that?

If you would like to read more, go here:

Thanks Brother Lord and your unit for your service.

Monday, September 5, 2011

An open letter of apology

To those relatives or friends of my relatives who may or may not be reading this:
(as The Girl would say)

Your grandmother may be laying in my recycle bin.

I first want to introduce myself.  I am Valerie, granddaughter of Richard and Betty. 

First, the good news:

I recently came into 5 boxes of genealogy that spanned 90 years.  That is correct. 

90 years.  Five boxes.  That is like finding a gold mine in the Mormon world.

There is a long backstory with these papers, but suffice it to say that I waited almost 19 years to look at it and get my hands on it.  Age was on my side, and my father recently received it all in the mail for me to go through and take care of. 

I have learned a couple things sorting through these papers and pictures.

First, do it in the living room where the tv is. Put in a long movie...something like "Thorn Birds."
(thanks Carol T. for the movie!)

Next, have snacks and drinks available. A girl can get parched.

Do it when the family is out of town. Less distractions...less interacting to throw your focused mindset off track. And you don't have to cook dinner.

One last thing and certainly the most important:
If you are going to hold on to photographs of people you may or may not be related to for 70 years, you should write their names on the back.

Now, for the bad news....especially if you have a relative in one of these pictures below:

That pile of picture spread out on the living room floor is every single person that I do not recognize.  I do not know who they are (they don't look like family.)  They have no names, dates, or places. 

I cannot assume they are family because I learned going through the papers that my grandmother, Betty, if she could have done any job regardless of money or skill, it would have been to be a....hold on for this Brian....

a photographer. 

My dad only learned this just yesterday.

Her grandmother Mary was an amatuer photographer.  Betty was an amatuer photographer.  My brother is an amatuer photographer.  And even though I am not related by blood, I like to take pictures too.

And as people who take pictures can tell you, you take a lot of pictures.  And keep a lot, even if their "story", as Dave would say, might not mean anything to anyone else.

The point of my tale here is that all these photographs you see in the picture, they are now in the recycle bin.  I pulled out some "art" kind I will assume Betty took to show you here next post.  For all of you who may incidentally be related to the people in these photographs, I am sorry to say that they are gone.

The good news for my family is some were marked.  Like a couple of these:
This is Grandpa Richard (Dick) in the early 1940's with his son, Michael.  Michael was killed in a car accident when he was 9.  My grandparents divorced in about 1950.  Grandpa died in 1983.

Look what I found, unmarked in my pictures....

Here is me, my dad, and brother in Ak in the late 1970s.

Here is grandpa another day in the 40's.  What is interesting to me is that my grandmother died in 2008.  They were divorced almost 60 years, but she still held on to this picture.  There were no kids in it.  I guess I always imagined that when you get divorced, you would get rid of the pictures of your spouse if they didn't have the kids in them.  I think maybe this picture tells more of a story than it looks. 

First, the composition is really great.  In the last 1/3rd of the frame.  He is smiling, genuinely.  He is a light shirt so it must be warm.  He has sort of muscley arms so maybe he does some kind of manual labor (found out later he was a house painter).  The new car is in the background.  How do I know it is new?  Because I found a picture that WAS marked. 

I like that he looks happy.  Maybe my grandma kept it because it was a happy day for her too.

All the pictures in the world are not going to mean anything to whoever they end up with in 70 years if you do not mark them somehow.  Those pictures, the ones now floating about in the blue recycle bin on the porch, each have their story to share.   It just makes me sad that I cannot send them to the family who would enjoy those stories most.  My apologies.