Sunday, June 10, 2018

Joyful Motoring

For several weeks Layne has been asking me what I'd like in an "around town" car.  For quite awhile I've mentioned that it would be a good idea to have a little car that takes much less fuel for short errands and such.  But it seemed along way off since we have two cars in our garage already.  And then...Layne invited me to check out a car he found on Craig's List.  So on Monday we drove into Boise to see the car.  It turned out to be a cute little convertible sports car; a Miata.  It was old, red and so fun to drive!  It was also pretty cheap.  So we bought it!  I drove it home with the top down.  I've gotta say that there is something magical about driving a stick shift red convertible, with the wind blowing through my hair.  I loved it! 

I went to bed that night thinking about the car and awoke with the same thoughts.  Tuesday I cleaned out the inside and we checked out the various workings of the car.  Layne took it to a mechanic to have it inspected.  They said it is in unusually good working order for its age.  All's well with its "innards."  It needs the windows fixed and some body work.  Layne says we will do both of those things.  And then it will be perfect!  I'm excited to have this little treasure.  I think it will serve us well and will be tons of fun!  I'm so grateful!

Now that Layne and I are missionaries I've been looking for more ways to "minister".  This week brought plenty of opportunities.  I found myself tending to someone every day.  It was rewarding and meaningful for me.  Things do seem to come in bunches, and this week has brought news of struggles for more than normal the amount of people that I know and love.  I did my best to do right by them all.  These experiences, and getting the Miata have made this a rewarding week.  

Our vegetable garden is bursting forth.  Layne has planted more than the usual amount as he asked me to get seeds for the plants I wanted.  And I found quite a few.  Angelica helped me so the pile grew.  Layne did his best to plant representatives of all of them.  But there are critters just waiting to help themselves to our harvest.  There are the pheasants next door, the various birds, the bugs and, this morning exposed us to a new arrival.  See if you can spot him in the picture below.

This little fellow brazenly appeared and checked out the grass and my growing herbs.  Hum.  I wonder what we can expect of him in future days.  And does he have friends.

There is a bird nest on our front porch.  It rests high in the corner.  The most obvious sign that it is being used is all the bird poop that is piling up below the nest.  When we are sitting in the swing, the nest owners fly in and out of the area as if to say, "get out, this is my space!"  As I was sitting there, one of the nesters sat atop our flag, bobbing its head back and forth and looking at me.  But I was not intimidated!

And so begins another week.  I plan to cruise though it in my little red car.

Sunday, June 3, 2018

Memorial Day and Beyond

Spring in Idaho is a little piece of heaven.  Life is sprouting everywhere.  The temperature is perfect.  Into this wonderful time of year comes Memorial Day.  That begins our home flag display; one for Layne and one for my Dad, in memory of their military service.  Memorial Day also offers a holiday to celebrate.  Daughter Jessica and her family decided to spend it with us.  Then Audrey and her family joined them.  So for the weekend we had 8 guests.  It was a lovely time!  It is a joy to me to be able to spend time with family.

Rayne's new husband, Dom, is a planner.  He came with all sorts of ideas for ways to spend our long weekend.  Add to that Layne's ideas and our time together rushed by.  We took Audrey and family to Idaho City on Friday.  It was once the largest city in Idaho and the center of the Idaho Gold Rush. That was in the 1860s.  There isn't much of Idaho City left, but remnants of western life make it a fun place to visit.  We ended it with lunch at Trudy's, a local cafe with excellent food.  Here we all are outside of Trudy's, with full lunch bellies.  Dom, having the longest arms among us, took a selfie of us.  Here is Dom, Rayne, me, Allegra, Audrey and Layne.

It turned cool on Saturday.  So Dom and Rayne's water plans were dashed.  We headed to Horseshoe Bend to treat the kids to lunch at a nearby restaurant; one of Layne's favorites because of their steaks.  For the non-steak eaters however, it was only OK.  Or in Rayne's case, a great disappointment.  As it turns out, the Triangle Restaurant does a very poor job of toasted cheese sandwiches. 

Jessica and kids arrived Saturday evening.  One of the activities Dom hoped for was roasting smores over a fire in the back yard.  Trouble was, we didn't have a fire pit.  We covered our old one over with flagstone and built a gazebo over it.  I tried talking Layne into buying a portable one but he resisted.  Until Dom came.  Once he knew what Dom wanted, he went right down and bought one.  So Saturday night, we had roasted hot dogs and smores!  

Here's Miles, Dom, Allegra, Seth and Gemma, gathered around the fire.

I was really looking forward to taking the family to a nearby park on Sunday, to see the display of flags meant to honor our local military.  I find it so inspiring.  It was at this park that I bought  flags for Layne and Dad a couple of years ago.  We walked among the flags for awhile, feeling the spirit of the soldiers that the flags represented.  

Here we all are.  Back:  Gemma, Audrey, Miles, Seth, Dom, Layne, Jessica.  Front:  Angelica, Rayne, Peyton and me.

Here are my lovely girls, Jessica and Audrey.

Sunday night we talked the kids into cooking us dinner, Chinese style.  Angelica directed with the girls following orders and the boys mostly looking on.  

Audrey and gang left early Monday morning.  We spent that day taking Jessica and family to Idaho City...again.  We toured the town and showed them the oldest home, once owned by a Galbraith family.  And, just like last time, we ended with lunch at Trudy's.  It was just as good!  Here we are in front of the Galbraith House:  Jessica, Peyton, Miles, Gemma, Angelica and Seth.  Layne and I were there too, somewhere out of sight.

Miles is fascinated with panning for gold.  He decided that, since gold was once found near Idaho City, it would be fun to pan for some in the river that kept us company on the drive back home.  So here he is panning, while Seth observes.

I truly love this family of ours.  I like every single person!  Everyone gets along.  The kids are all bright and beautiful.  Oh, do I sound a bit biased?  Well, I guess that is my happy privilege!

Jessica and family left Tuesday morning.  Then we were left with lots of last minute activities to finish up school for Seth and Angelica and get them ready to return home.  School ended on Friday and they flew home on Saturday.  Last night.  Happily, they arrived safely today.  They will spend the summer at home in Taiwan and return to us in August, in time for school to start again.  

So we are empty nesters once again...for a few weeks.  Here is Seth and Angelica at the airport, just before leaving for home.

Thursday, May 24, 2018

Wild and Crazy Weekend

Isn't it interesting how often things come in bunches.  Sometimes big bunches.  This past week was one of those times.  School is coming to a close, so both Seth and Angelica had closing events to attend.  Seth's choir concert was this past week.  It was amazingly good.  He loves it and has been blessed to be chosen for a more elite choir next year.  Here he is right after his concert.

Early Friday morning Layne and I drove to Draper Utah to attend my nephew's wedding.  Brent married a lovely girl named Shannon.  It is a second marriage for both of them so they now have a blended family.  Brent is a kid kind of guy so they are pretty bonded already.  It was a very informal affair, but lovely.  It was so good to be there and see them.  Here's Brent and his Shannon.

Here are the Berrett men (my sister's family):  oldest son Russell, Mark, Bob (the short guy), Bryan and the groom, Brent.

Early Saturday morning we drove back home and attended Angelica's dance recital. She is crazy for Hip Hop.  After seeing the recital I'm not keen on it.  I'd love to see her in more graceful dancing.  I'm pretty opinionated about dancing, I will admit.  Hip Hop is jerky and unfeminine in my opinion.  I think girls ought to aim for femininity.  It's what we are after all.  Here she is with a dancing buddy, taken right after the recital.  She is on the left.

As soon as we returned home from the recital we had to get ready to attend our final, Friends and Family, Treble Clef singing performance.  It was a wild and crazy Friday and Saturday for sure.  The singing went well, mostly.  We sang onstage for the first time.  It felt a little awkward but we did fine.  Except for just one thing.  During one of Layne's songs our leader Bonnie turned on a shop light and focused it on Layne, hoping to spotlight him.  It blinded him and surprised him so much that he forgot his lines.  We girls filled in but that really bugged him.  I don't blame him, and Bonnie felt very badly about the blunder.  Layne struggles with remembering lyrics.  He has from the start so he writes cheat notes for himself.  This year he's decided he's had enough.  He says he won't sing with us anymore.  I'm a little sad about that as it has been so fun to have him sing with me.  We will see what time does.  Maybe he will soften.

Sunday I gave my last pornography talk to a ward Relief Society in our stake.  It was short but I think it went well.  We also got some training for our new missionary calling.  Altogether it has been a very full weekend.  This past week has been full as well.  But I suppose it is better to be too busy than too bored.  Tomorrow Audrey and some of the family will be here for Memorial Day.  Jessica and her kids will join us on Saturday.  Looks like another fun, busy weekend.

Happy Memorial Day!

Sunday, May 13, 2018

Mother's Day

I've forgotten how busy life is in May when there are children in the house.  As the school year winds down there are concerts, recitals, tests, and so forth that come up in abundance.  Before the arrival of Seth and Angelica, I had allowed school events to slip by unnoticed.  But now we are wound up in it all over again.  It has been fun to have the kids here with us.  I have discovered that I struggle with the same parent issues that I did with my own children.  And here I thought I was ever the calm woman now, so mature in the dealing of my emotions.  Hum.  Well, perhaps I am a little better, but I'm definitely still a passionate woman, with strong feelings leaking out without my conscious permission.  Still, I have come to love and admire Seth and Angelica more than ever before.  There is something about living with a person that brings out, in spite of occasional frustrations, a deeper love.  I have found that to be true of this experience with these grandchildren.

Abigail sits in the foreground of this picture, taken at Rayne's wedding reception.  In the background you can see some of our grandchildren, including Angelica and, in the left background, Seth.  These children bring joy to my heart.  There is not a single grandchild that does not bring me feelings of gratitude, for the quality of their character and to have them in my life. 

My mother-in-law once told me that, once you have a child, you never stop worrying about them.  She is right; I think about and pray for my children and grand-children much of the time.  But I'm thankful that I have been blessed to experience a family life of my own, in this life.  My life's purpose centers around the people the Lord has sent into my family circle.  While there are many ways to experience a joyful life, I feel grateful for this one.  

Here I am, with two beautiful Mother's Day bouquets, one from Layne and one from Ben.  Angelica made the colorful cupcakes, and Layne made me carrot cookies, my favorite dessert.

Spring brings our Treble Clef singing group into action with a spring concert series.  We sing about 20 times, at various convalescent homes and assisted living centers.  It is a lovely experience.  Friendships grow, we bring pleasure to lots of people, we gain confidence and experience with music and we donate earnings to charity. Its sort of a win-win-win-win.  Here we are at one of our singing locations singing a song about California.  The theme this year is about traveling through the United States, through song.  Some of the gals sit behind the cardboard green car (which I made) for some of the songs.  It is full of fun as you can see from our appearance here.

Here I am with one of my singing buddies and neighbor, Carol Wintersteen. She is the one who got me involved in the group 4 years ago.

Spring is a lovely time here in Idaho.  Everything springs back to life.  The weather is unpredictable.  We had one day that brought wind, rain, thunder and lightening in such a dramatic way that I just had to sit outside on our porch swing and take it all in.  This picture doesn't really capture it, but here it is anyway.

Soon, another wedding will take place.  My sister's son Brent will remarry in a week or so.  This has been quite a year for weddings.  That's much better than funerals, don't you think?

Sunday, April 29, 2018

Weddings and Such

I knew this year would hold three family weddings.  So why have a family reunion with all of those family get-togethers?  We thus cancelled it for the year.  The wedding whirlwind began in March with grandson James and his marriage to Alejandra.  This month brought two more.  Grandson Scott (brother of James) was sealed to his sweetheart Jessica (yes, another Jessica!) on April 14th, in the Provo Temple.  Scott's Jessica comes from a large Mexican family from Texas.  Most of them were at the sealing, seriously outnumbering the family Galbraith.  They were a loving, friendly bunch and very protective of their girl Jessica.  It was a lovely ceremony, with a warm, happy spirit filling all of our hearts as we watched Scott and Jessica give their lives to one another for time and all eternity. 

The Ramos family provided a joyous reception in a nearby Church building.  Since the wedding and reception were both held in Provo, where almost none of either family lived, the attendees were mostly those who were also in the temple.  Smallish.  But so much fun!  There was food, and, most important, dancing! Those Ramos folks can dance!  I managed to drag Layne to the dance floor several times and get into the rousing rhythm of music that begged to be danced to.  I think Layne
even enjoyed it.  Here's the Bride and Groom.

Chase and Morgan came, with son Hunter.  They do live in Provo.  It was so fun to visit with them.  While we were, my nephew Brent and his girl Shannon came.  It was the first time we met Shannon.  We liked her right away.  She and Brent are to be married in May, in Salt Lake.  Of course we will be there!  As we visited, Reed and Dorothy joined our circle and talked and laughed with us for most of the reception time (except for our occasional dancing).  It was great fun.

Here are Scott and Jessica Ramos Galbraith.

Bob and Maryanne came to the sealing with us. We spent our down time with them, including Sunday.  That was fun too.  It has been awhile since all four of us have gotten together.  Maryanne is a genealogical genius.  Each time I visit, we go through some sort of family stuff--from pictures to records of all sorts.  Her mind is an encyclopedia of family information.  I am well out of her loop of knowledge but manage an occasional dip, which I try to record for future reference. 

On Monday Layne dropped me off at the Salt Lake Airport, then drove home.  I flew to San Francisco, after some delays of course.  The SFO airport is almost always delaying flights due to "weather."  It is most frustrating. But the good news is that I did eventually get there.  Since I was going stand-by that is always an issue.  I planned to take BART to Pleasanton, where Audrey, or some family rep, would pick me up.  But somehow at the transfer station I misread the rotating message containing destination information and wound up in Walnut Creek before I discovered my mistake.  So more delays while I took a train that actually took me to the right station in Pleasanton. 

Rayne's fiance, Dom, and his family picked me up there.  His mom, new step-father and younger brother were all piled in Rayne's small car.  It was a cozy ride back to Audrey and Cliff's, but fun, as we talked all the way.  With lovely British accents, they told me a little about themselves.  I so enjoyed them.  They felt good.  Imagine traveling all the way here from England, to be here for the wedding that they cannot witness.  Dom is a convert and the rest of the family are non-members.  But they were lovingly ready to support him by being here anyway.

I offered to come to California early to help Audrey, Rayne and family finish wedding preparations.  There was much to do.  Our days were filled with activity.  We worked on clothes, decorations, food and even the wedding cake, as the baker Rayne chose backed out too late to get a replacement.  Friends of Rayne and Audrey joined me as house guests.  On Thursday Layne, Gerald, Seth and Angelica arrived, adding to our household numbers.  It was crowded, busy, and fun. 

Building the cake became a group project.  Here you see the household girls putting candy pearls all over the cake.  It took quite awhile!

We got all preparations done and, on Friday, headed for the Sacramento Temple, where Rayne and Dominic were to be sealed.  The "google girl" took us on what appeared to us to be a circuitous route, but we still made it there early.  The grounds around the temple are somewhat wooded, with the temple located at the top of a hill.  The angel Moroni appeared atop the trees as we approached.  This may be the loveliest setting for a temple that I have seen so far!  Dom's family were there too.  I told them a little about the temple, its purpose, and what the ceremony would be like, hoping that they would feel comfortable about it.  But I worried that they would be sad to be outside as we all entered the doors of the temple without them.  I soon realized that....I had forgotten my recommend!  I rushed inside the temple to see what could be done and they were so kind and helpful.  With no hesitation the temple president allowed me to enter, and offered to talk to Dom's family, in the temple waiting room, about the Temple.  That turned out to be quite wonderful, and just what they needed.

Here is Dominic's family, the Rickards.

The Sacramento Temple is lovely.  We were led to a beautiful sealing room, where I was allowed to sit in the groom's Mother's seat.  Audrey and I thus sat on either side of the Bride and Groom.  That was a sweet privilege.  Rayne looked radiant as she knelt across from her handsome Dom.  Their vows were sweetly exchanged amid the embracing spirit that fills the temple.  It was lovely and inspiring.

Mr. and Mrs. Rickard, just exiting the Temple.

All of us gathered outside the temple to greet the emerging Bride and Groom.  Pictures followed.  Then we hoped for a quick drive home, as Scott and Jessica's Open House began just two hours after Rayne's and Dom's wedding.  It is a two hour drive, so we knew we'd be late.  Once again, the "Google Girl" took us on a merry ride through country roads that led us back to our starting place.  How does that happen?!  With some re-programming we finally made it to the Open House in Brentwood.  It was lovely.  We were late, but we were there! 

Mr. and Mrs. Galbraith, at the Open House.

Dorothy ordered tons of food, so much was left over.  We decided to use the leftovers at Ben and Jessica's on Sunday, as we planned to gather there for an extended family bond.  Now, no cooking was necessary!

Saturday morning Gerald left, to fly back to Taiwan.  He had been with us for several weeks.  When he comes, he stays long enough for me to get used to his company.  So when he leaves I feel the emptiness of it.

Saturday afternoon was Rayne's and Dom's reception, held at a garden location in Livermore.  It was a lovely place, and framed the happy occasion beautifully.  There was a ring ceremony, which included words from Rayne's dad and Dom's mom.  It was held outside, surrounded by trees with a pathway lined with rose petals for the Bride and Groom to walk through.  A meal followed, provided by Cliff, with some assistance from the family.  We met old friends and new ones there and had a lovely time. 

Rayne and Dominic at the Reception.

Here are my three Jessicas:  Jessica Ault Galbraith, Jessica Ramos Galbraith, Jessica Galbraith Gendreau.

Three grandsons served as ushers:  Miles Gendreau, Vincent Galbraith and Seth Galbraith.

Great-grandson Hunter (grandson of Audrey), all dressed up for the Reception.

Newlyweds James and Alejandra at the Reception.

The planning for these things takes months, but it is all over so quickly!  But forever memories are made by these happy events.  We spent Sunday at Ben and Jessica's, as we all met for dinner and visiting.  The cousins chased, talked and played around us as we visited and ate.  I love being with family.  We moved away from these events and I often regret it.  It takes effort now to be with family.  I love them and miss them.  All of them.

Grandkids bonding at Ben and Jessica's.

We are home now and have spent the week getting back to normal.  I'm tired, but happy.     

Thursday, April 12, 2018

A Visit From Taiwan

"Would it be OK if the folks visit", Gerald asked me in an e-mail.  He was referring to his in-laws, Frances' parents, from Taiwan.  Of course, we agreed.  We really like the Changs.  A couple of days later, they pulled into the drive-way!  So we spent last week entertaining our Chang family.  The folks Chang don't speak any English so we were dependent upon the kids, Gerald and Frances to translate.  But even without their help, we found a way to sort of communicate.  In a non-verbal sort of way.

We quickly planned some outings and spent last week touring.  We went to Boise City, a mining town that was once booming and is now set up for touring.  The oldest home there was built by Galbreaiths, but with a slightly different spelling.

Here we are in front of the Galbreaith house.  Papa Chang, Layne, Mama Chang, me, Gerald.  The picture was taken by our in-house photographer, Frances.  Here's a cute shot of her by another of the Idaho City houses.

The kids were in school when we took the Changs to Idaho City.  As you may remember, the kids were not very impressed with their experience there.  But this time we happened to meet up with a local lady who served as our tour guide and discussed much of the local history with us.  This became our best trip yet.

Later we took everyone to Walter's Ferry, which I've discussed in this blog before.  It is an interesting property once owned by a doctor and his wife.  When the doctor died, Cleo, his wife, turned the property into a meandering journey filled with all sorts of statues and bird houses.  Many of the statues are religious, with Christ's tomb re-created, as well as a small praying chapel and a rainbow on the hill above.  It is always fun to walk through this place.

Here we are in front of one of the statues of the Savior.  Papa Chang, Layne, me, Gerald and Mama Chang.

Layne and I surround Einstein and give him kisses.

The Chang folks.

We spent lots of time driving around town and taking it easy at home with these lovely people.  How I wish we could talk heart to heart but the language barrier is just that.  Still, we managed to make a generally sweet connection.  I think the folks wanted to check out the arrangement for their grandchildren and make sure it was going well.  I think they were pleased.  But of course I'm not sure of that!

Frances and her mom spent quite a bit of time shopping. That girl loves to shop!  I don't blame her though; prices here are much cheaper than in Taiwan.  She comes home from each shopping trip with bags of purchases.  "These were so cheap," she assures me.  And always, she gets something for me.  This time she bought me a plaid jacket.  I like it!

In addition to shopping for clothes, Frances also shops for Chinese food.  She bought a bunch in California, on their way here, and has filled my pantry with all sorts of Asian snacks.  I'm not sure we will get through them all, but I challenged the kids to try.  The good part of all this food is that Frances and her mom took over the kitchen the whole time they were here.  I did not cook at all!  Frances is a wonderful cook so it was a week's treat to eat her Chinese meals.  

Frances took this picture with our house in the background.  Here are Angelica, Mama Chang, Gerald, Papa Chang and Seth.

In our living room, Frances took this of all of us, except her.  Here are Gerald, Papa Chang, Mama Chang, me, Layne, in front:  Seth and Angelica.

Everyone but Gerald left on Tuesday.  So I'm cooking again.  Chinese.  I've got to since Frances left a collection of left-overs in the fridge.  But tonight Gerald and I made American sweet rolls.  We feasted!

Sunday, April 1, 2018


Here in Idaho Spring Break came at a great time; the week before Easter.  Snow greeted us at the beginning of our free days.  Not quite a spring greeting.

But in typical Boise style, it was almost all gone by the end of the day.  And look what greeted us after the snow melted!  Our yard is exploding with new life. That is the joy of changing seasons, as we experience here.  I never tire of seeing the magic the change of seasons brings.  It reminds me that, like the plants that seem to die in winter, we too will die and awaken to new life one magical day when we leave this mortality.

New life includes ground squirrels (in Idaho language, whistle pigs).  They are running all over the back field.  Layne has begun his war with them, as they invade our yard as well.  He began with a pellet gun and has moved on to gopher bombs.  I think he has cut down on the population but we still spotted some digging in the lawn.  So the battle continues.

As we anticipated a week with Seth and Angelica at home, we tried to plan activities to fill their time and be fun for all of us.  We started by going to see Black Panther.  We loved it!  Layne is not a movie guy so he didn't go, but the kids and I went.  So fun!

We thought it would be fun to take the kids to some of the local sights, so we began by taking them to Idaho City, an old pioneer town that boasts some pioneer Galbraiths.  In spite of all our enthusiasm, they were underwhelmed.  

Here we are in front of the oldest home in Idaho City, built by Galbraiths!  Spelled differently but still a part of our family...somewhere.  There was a decided lack of enthusiasm by the kids.  Can you tell?
They perked up though when we took them out to lunch at a nearby restaurant.

Nothing like food to cheer kids up.  That effort at entertainment didn't work out so well.  So I decided not to take them out sight seeing anymore.  They like food so we went out to eat various things on several of our days.  We spent a day baking.  Cupcakes.  We also spent time shopping which was great for Angelica.  We reviewed the life of Christ every day too; presenting His activities during the last week of His life.  We had movies every night.  That was fun.  I wound my life around those kids for the week.  But now the week is gone and the kids head back to school tomorrow.  

I could say that this next week will be good for relaxing but it wouldn't be true.  Gerald and Frances are coming tomorrow and bringing Frances' parents, the Changs.  So our coming week will be a busy one.  We will take them on the sights we were going to share with the kids.  Maybe they will be more enthusiastic about it...what do you think?

Easter is a wonderful time.  We are spending Easter day watching General Conference.  I'm loving it and the influence it has upon me.  I feel grateful to know that Jesus Christ is a real person who loves me and was willing to dedicate His entire life to the welfare of all of us.  I feel a renewed desire to be better and do better.  It is such a temptation to just let down and relax.  But, while a little of that is OK, I want to use up my life in doing things.  Good things.  I'm trying to talk myself into doing more of that.