Thursday, May 28, 2009

Things That Smell

You've all figured out by now that I like the outdoors right? I prefer being outside to inside almost all of the time. Someday I want a cabin in the woods - without bears.

A few nights ago I was walking along the Provo River trail and was noticing all of the different scents. It had just rained and so the smell of rain was still in the air. Doesn't rain smell lovely? I think it does.

The chokecherries are in bloom and their scent is mildly sweet. The dogwoods are in bloom and they smell like a dirty diaper. What...they do...really. Regardless, it added to the overall experience.

I LOVE the smell of fir trees. I like to grab a handful of needles and rub them between my fingers. The scent lasts a long time...it's delightful.

The river has a scent too...but how do you describe the smell of water?

So - there I was walking along, smelling all of these scents, when out of nowhere a new scent appeared.

Marijuana...yep, that's what I smelled. Don't tell anyone ... but I actually kind of like the smell...

HOWEVER I don't like that smell in the mountains, only in Brooklyn, where the smell makes me feel right at home.

But since I'm not in Brooklyn, and since 'one of these smells was not like the other', it kind of ruined the walk for a bit...until I got past the secret hideout.

That's all I have to say about that.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Camp McCoy

After my grandpa died I was cleaning out his house. In a box stuffed in a corner of the basement I found stacks and stacks of letters - letters that Grandpa had written to Grandma while he was in Germany during the war. I have put most of the letters in the computer now, and hope to get them bound in book form for my mom and her sister.

For Grandpa Wednesday I am posting a letter Grandpa wrote to Grandma before he was shipped to Germany.

Consider it a love letter, in its simplest form.

* * * * *

Camp McCoy, Wis.
February 22, 1944

Dearest Vic,

I have about 10 minutes before lights out and I can’t think of a better way to spend it than writing you a note. I received another letter from you today. Boy they sure are pep to me.

You know, I feel a little tonight like you must have felt when you wrote that letter. Gee, it would be swell to see you tonight. I love you so much. We, you and me, have only got one thing to do, and that is make the best of it and get out of everything all we can. We know each other’s feelings I am sure. I know that makes things much easier.

We have been on a little hike today. Two hours steady marching with one 10-minute break. The only part about it that wasn’t so pleasant was the fact that it was snowing, but that wasn’t very bad. We were dressed for it. You know it started raining last night and until this afternoon, then it started to snow and we have 2 or 3 inches and it’s still coming. Anyway that covers up the mud.

They took us over to the P.X. again tonight for ½ hour. It was pretty good. I had to get a few things for inspection Saturday. They make you throw away some junk and then you have to buy more than ever. It sure is funny.

I haven’t weighed me but I don’t think I have lost any weight, so I guess it must be ok. They tell us not to go telling anyone how tuff it is, and how hard they are on us, because our looks don’t back up our story. Maybe that’s true, but I still think it’s hard to get adjusted.

Well honey, you want to keep your chin up and always keep busy. You don’t have to worry about me not keeping busy here. That is the only thing to keep one’s mind on the right track. I think I had better sign off now and get some shuteye. Boy, I’m sure ready for that bed every night and I’m not alone. They all are.

Good night Dear. If I dream it will be about you. At least I can before I go to sleep.
I always do.
Your Lyn

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

A Post About A Hike



A few weeks ago I was hiking with my dad. We were on a trail we have hiked for years. In fact, our stopping point is a little creek my dad named years ago: Platt Creek. When we were young and thought the hike would never end, Dad would always encourage us, "Just a little farther til we get to our creek. Don't you want to see Platt Creek?"

There are a lot of memories associated with the trail. I can see our trusty collie on the trail with us...running to the front and then to the back, always guarding her group of little hikers.

When we get to the waterfall I always think of the rock climber who got stuck. He was clinging to the wall for his life. If he fell he would at the least be badly injured, but the chances were even greater that he would die. When we heard his cry for help my dad and grandpa jumped into action. Dad ran back down the trail to get help (this was before cell phones) and my grandpa threw a rope down to the man who somehow managed to get it around himself. Grandpa Platt sat on the edge of the cliff holding onto that rope and reassuring the man that he would be okay.

He was.

I think of picnics and summer days and I am filled with peace.

But back to the hike a few weeks ago.

We had reached Platt Creek and were on our way back down the mountain. We had played the usual game of "What is the scientific name of this plant?" ... It's holodiscus Dad...see, I remember it. Dad stopped and pointed out a large juniper that had long ago fallen and was now rotting on the side of the trail.

"This was the largest and prettiest of all of the junipers growing on this mountain," Dad told me. And then he pointed to a spot and said, "It was growing right there."

"There was a big avalanche a few years ago and the tree was taken out. You can see how far the avalanche went," Dad said as he pointed further down the trail. "It stopped right there."

We talked about the avalanche for a few minutes and then continued down the trail.

I've thought a lot about that evening hike. There is something incredibly comforting in knowing that my dad is so keenly aware of his surroundings - that he takes the time to study and know the ins and outs of even our local mountains. I'm glad to know that no matter where I go or how old I get, as long as Dad is around, I will be taken care of.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Bubbles...

"They offer such a large promise but have such a small return,"
said my brother Ben as we watched Kate try her hardest to get just one.

















Thursday, May 21, 2009

Visions Of Loveliness

Our greenhouse guy is good!

Just look what he creates!




We have these hanging baskets all along State Street.

Lots of people want to buy them, but we tell them they're not for sell.

Unless they ask my dad...he will sell anything.




The flowers are what I LOVE about my job.

Every day I walk through the greenhouses and just smile.

The truck drivers are what I DON'T love about my job.

There are some really nice men in this world who drive truck; I know, I've met them.

However, there are some really mean, nasty men who drive truck. I've met them too.

Every guy who brings a truck in says the same thing:

"I've got a 52' trailer. I can't go where you are telling me to go."

And we say:

"Well, the last MILLION trucks who came here did just fine. Don't worry about it, you'll fit."

Yesterday we got a real winner.

He was not a happy person.

He yelled at everyone who drove past his truck.

I know because my customers who were yelled at told me all about it.

When he yelled at my sister-in-law...well, that was it for me.

He came in the office for me to sign his paper work and this is the conversation we had:

Me: "You haven't made many friends here today have you."

Him: "They were going to hit my truck!"

Me: "But they didn't. Not one of them even came close to hitting your truck."

Him: "That's not the point!"

Me: "Actually, it is."

Him: "I've been waiting here for four hours. I don't get paid to wait."

Me: "You haven't been here for four hours and we unloaded you as fast as we could."

Him: "I lose money while I wait for you to unload!" (His tone indicated he wasn't in his happy place.)

Me: "If hauling plants is that much of an issue for you, maybe you should look for something else to haul."

(I was just trying to help.)

And then he began to get all huffy again about how people might have hit his truck.

Me: "You know, you would get a lot further in life if you were nicer to people. I'm just sayin'..."

Him: "I don't need to get any further than where I am."

Me: "Hmmm...that's too bad. I think you would find you would be happier if you were nice."

Him: "Whatever."

Me: "Well, have a nice day anyway sir."

Him: "Whatever."

And then he left.

I really should just keep my mouth shut.

I'll work on that.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Sterling Stuff

I've mentioned that after Grandpa retired from farming he became a bus driver for BYU. Well, after he retired from driving bus he became a farmer again. He and retirement were not friends. When they moved to the 'big city' (Provo) they kept their home in Fountain Green because Grandpa never wanted to get too far from his roots.

Once or twice a week Grandpa would drive to Fountain Green and tend to his garden. He would pack food for an overnight stay and would work from sun up to sun down. He didn't have a phone so when we needed to talk to him we would call Grandma Lucy and she would walk to the fence and tell Grandpa to come over and call home. Convenient that the properties bordered each other right?

After my grandma got sick Grandpa couldn't go to Fountain Green as often as he would like to, and he could never spend the night. However, twice a week Grandpa would bring Grandma out to Mom's house and we would take care of her so that Grandpa could get away for the day. He loved those afternoons.

Before too many years Grandma got to the point where she didn't recognize anyone. And I think the day she realized that she no longer made sense when she talked was the day she quit talking. She never made a sound, except for an occasional cry of pain or fear. Grandpa's life must have been so lonely.

It was during this time that I learned to love my Grandpa. Up until then, he was always in the background. But watching this man care for the woman I loved more than anything...how could I not love him?

I knew without a doubt that Grandpa loved my Grandma, and this is how: every time he left, up until the time she died, Grandpa's routine was the same. He would lift Grandma out of her wheelchair, and into the chair in Mom's living room. He would put a blanket over her lap, and then he would lean down and kiss her and say, "Goodbye. I love you." She never responded, and never acknowledged that she had heard him. She just sat staring straight ahead. He never wavered though. It was always the same: "Goodbye. I love you."

One time I read a quote about one of my ancestors. It said something about her being made of 'sterling stuff.' Grandpa was made of that same 'sterling stuff' and I want to be like him when I grow up.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

No Title Tuesday

We made a bet this morning...not for money, just drinks...and not those kind of drinks...geesh.

We...and by we I mean Ben (my brother), Travis (my cousin), and myself, cannot speak a full sentence without mixing in a few Spanish words. Our goal is to go the entire day without speaking Spanish...unless of course we're speaking to someone who only speaks Spanish...and we do that a lot...so it's going to be a challenge.

Travis has nearly lost the bet twice, but he got off on technicalities. I think Ben and I are too generous in what we'll allow. I'm going to go and change the rules as soon as I'm done with this post.

Wish me luck.

In other news...I went to a chiropractor this morning. Second time ever. I'm not sure that I'm a fan. I have some back issues, have had forever. I've heard the physical therapist vs. chiropractor debate over and over again, and I have the names of about 10 different people who can make me all better. (I have very concerned customers. Bless them.)

Because my brother went to the trouble of calling his friend who is a chiropractor...and because that friend answered his phone while on vacation in Hawaii...I felt a small amount of obligation to go and pay him a visit. Twice. And now I have more pain than when I went in. As the nice friend of my brother was 'manipulating' my neck I said, "This can't be good for me." He just laughed.

BUT...the chiropractor thinks that whatever he does will help with my vertigo. I choose to believe him...because, why not?

And finally, as I was sitting at my mom's kitchen table eating breakfast this morning (I had only been at work 10 minutes before I realized I was going to starve near to death) a cute little bird flew right through the patio door and into the house. If you ever want to see the mother figure dance and holler, just bring a bird. She's got some issues...stemming from having to collect eggs as I child (I think)...and she does NOT like birds...at all.

She ran out the same door yelling for my dad and I just ate my Lucky Charms and laughed. I did direct the little bird back outside and told my mom it was safe to come back inside. I think it took an hour for her heartbeat to return to normal.

That's all I've got for now. I hope you all have a fabulous Tuesday!

Monday, May 18, 2009

When In Mexico

One night I was getting ready for bed. It was late - maybe 11:30pm. I was brushing my teeth, trying not to swallow the water when I heard a frantic knocking on the door.

"Noelle! Hermanita!!! Open the door!"

"Noelle! Ayudame!!!"

I opened the door and saw Ana Laura. She was freaking out. There was something in the bedroom ... and she needed me to get it. Like RIGHT NOW!

Only problem was I didn't know what I was supposed to get. I didn't know the word she was using. She kept saying it over and over again but it didn't do me any good. Dang Spanish.


We went into the bedroom we shared and she immediately put on her cowboy boots, picked up my flashlight and my Spanish/English dictionary, and said, "FIND IT!"


"What am I finding?"


I started looking for what I figured was some kind of bug and she looked through the dictionary. Oh, and she was standing on her bed, with her cowboy boots still on.


I couldn't stop laughing at her antics...she was sure she was going to die.

FINALLY, she found the word she was looking for: scorpion.


I was looking for a scorpion. Lovely.

We searched that room from top to bottom and finally found the scorpion under Ana Laura's bed, hiding beneath an old shirt.

She SCREAMED, and I told her if she woke her parents up we were both dead, and not because of the scorpion.

Ana Laura drowned the scorpion with bug spray and then I put it in a jar so that she could show it to her dad the next morning.

I thought we could finally go to sleep. But no, we had to line the entire perimeter of her bed with jars of water. Did you know scorpions can't climb glass jars? That's what she told me.

The next morning I got a lesson on scorpions. There are two main types in Mexico and one is deadly. Our friend scorpion? The deadly one.


Friday, May 15, 2009

Oh My...

I collect greeting cards.


I have a box full of them.


I pull them out and read them when I need a good laugh.


My favorite store at the mall is Hallmark.


I have a card hanging by my desk.


Right now it describes how I feel.


I'll share it with you.


"I wish I could be like, 'Houston, we have a problem,'


but I know I'd be more like,


'Houston! Houston! Pick up! Pick UP!'
and come off all needy."



I need 12 more hours in a day in order to fix this mess.

Can you help me with that?

Thursday, May 14, 2009

I've Heard It Said

That you're supposed to make a big deal about your 100th post. Technically this is my 102nd post. Go me. So in honor of such a big occasion I'm giving you my best dating story ever...ever. It's long and it's wordy (thank heavens for cut and paste). I hope you enjoy. (Oh, and I'm moderating comments...just in case.)

* * * *

Once upon a time I had a lapse in my normally mostly good judgment and signed up with an on-line dating service. The lapse didn't last long thankfully, and I un-signed up, (being grammatically correct is not important in this story), but not before creating a mess I had to get out of. The mess was someone I call FLC. Oh...and just to be clear...I'm the mess...not him.


FLC and I 'met' on-line and after a few weeks of chatting FLC wanted to meet for real. And that would have been fine in a normal situation, but nothing about my life is normal, and I have this dentist...I agreed to meet him only after I told him "well...there's this dentist and it's complicated and I'm a mess and I can't offer anything other than friendship and I know, what the heck am I doing on an on-line dating site...and stuff. If after all that you still want to meet, sure, we can meet."



Turns out he did want to meet (his lapse in what I'm sure is normally good judgment) and so we met for ice cream. FLC is nice but the entire situation was somewhat painful. Conversation did not flow smoothly and there was NO chemistry on my part. None, nada...


I thought that things would have a natural end with FLC, but no...he wanted to take me to a Pink Floyd laser show, and then do other 'cool stuff' ... but just as friends…because I have this dentist…and I’m still a mess.



One time he said in an instant message, "I'm going to be charming for a minute. (Wait, don't I get to decide what's charming or not?) You're pictures are great, but meeting you in person was so much better, and if that other guy doesn't get it figured out really soon I'm going to sweep you off your feet." (It would have been hard to do, if I’m being honest.)


How do you feel about long stories? I guess if you hate them you can stop reading. ANYWAY (I say that a lot) FLC didn't let up about the Pink Floyd laser show, and although everyone I talked to told me I wouldn't like their music I finally agreed to go, if nothing else, just to get him to leave me alone. I figured I would go to Pink Floyd and then tell him, if he wanted to ‘hang out’ again, that while I appreciated his interest...yada yada yada...no thanks. (Yet another lapse in good judgment. Is there medicine for this??)



Fast forward to the night of the concert...Friday. FLC texted me and said "I bought the tickets. You can't back out now." And then, while I was reading his text I got a phone call...from the dentist. "Hey. I know I told you I wasn't going to see you again until after Valentine's Day, but they moved my son's wrestling match and I'm on my way up to see him wrestle. I'll be there until Saturday."



GREAT I say in my mind. "Well Dentist, I have plans tonight with a friend but if you ask really nicely I could try and get out of them." But the dentist didn't want me to mess up my plans. He would go and see his brother instead and then we would do something Saturday night.So Pink Floyd it was.



The closer it got to the time I was supposed to meet FLC the more I felt that I really didn't want to go. I can't explain the feeling or why I had it, I just DIDN'T want to go. On my drive up to meet FLC the dentist called again. "Hey, I had another change. My son didn't win his match, which means he won't be wrestling tomorrow, which means I'm going back to Cedar tonight so that I can drive to Arizona and watch my other son in his track meet. How long are you going to be with your friend?"



"Until at least 11," I said. And inside my head I'm thinking "Are you KIDDING me? I have to go hang out with someone I don't want to go with, to a laser show I really don't want to go to, and NOW I don't get to see the dentist either???" And then, while all of this screaming was going on inside of my head, I realized that FLC had given me bad directions and I was no where near where I needed to be.



I was not happy...perhaps I was even bitter at the way my night was shaping up. Oh...and I had the beginnings of a migraine. So the dentist said he was going to call Becca and meet her at our house because he had something for me and that while he was sad we weren't going to see each other, he hoped I had fun with my friend. And then while I was talking to the dentist FLC drove up and I cursed in my head. (Maybe I did, I can't remember really, but it sounds like something I might do in such a situation.)



At this point it's 7:30. The laser show wasn't going to start until 10pm. FLC wanted to get something to eat but wasn't interested in waiting at any restaurant. (At first it bugged me, but turns out it was to my benefit later that he didn't want to wait.) We went to a little taco place and ordered our food. My meal cost all of $3.00 (and this is important because it makes what I did later not seem quite so jerky).



We ate...and struggled through some horrible attempts at conversation. I struggled...maybe for him it was perfectly normal. When dinner was through by 8pm I knew it was going to the longest night of my life and I had to get out of it. But how? I said I would go, he bought the tickets...tough luck lady...that's what I told myself. But the thought of leaving wouldn't leave my head.



We got in FLC's car and he said "So, let's go walk around the Gateway for two hours." No, let's not. I took a deep breath and worked up EVERY ounce of courage I had ever imagined I might have and said, "So...you know how you said your brother-in-law wanted to go to the laser show? Maybe you should take him."



He just looked at me. "Are you serious?" "Yes I am. I realize that I'm possibly the biggest jerk you will ever know, and I'm sorry. But I can't go with you to the laser show." Again he said, "Are you serious?" And this is where it gets worse...I am SUCH a jerk, but you know how they say honesty is always the best policy? I gave the only reason I could think of. "You know the guy I'm kind of dating? He's here, and I didn't know he was coming. I'm a jerk, I get it, but the thing is, I really want to see him and tonight is my only chance." (Even though the dentist was probably well on his way to Cedar City, I used him as my excuse anyway.)



And then I said, "I'm so sorry. And I'll pay for the ticket. But can you please just take me back to my car?" He said, "Yep." And he did, and I got out and then he drove away. And I sighed a HUGE sigh of relief and giggled. Yes, I giggled because I didn't have to spend another 4 hours of my night in such a painful situation.



I called my brother and told him what happened. "He'll hate me forever won't he" I said, and my brother said, "Yes, but I'm proud of you. You did the right thing."



BUT...here's the happy ending. Guess who hadn't gone to Cedar City yet. And guess who I got to go to dinner with. And guess who I had a REALLY great conversation with. FLC HATES me but there's a good chance the dentist doesn't, and in the long run aren't healthy teeth more important?

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

French Toast

After Grandpa retired from farming he moved to Provo and became a bus driver for BYU. He loved that job. He traveled all over the United States with the BYU students and talked like driving bus was the highlight of his whole existence.

He was gone a lot and Grandma didn't like being home alone. Becca and I spent a lot time at Grandma's house. We were there nearly every weekend. Grandpa would magically appear every Saturday morning to fix us breakfast. And it was always the same: french toast.

The bread was wheat, and Grandpa would cut it in half. We used Karo Syrup. Seems strange right? I'm not sure if he found a special brand that went amazingly well with french toast, but I've never been able to repeat that taste. In fact, Grandpa is the only person in the world I know who used Karo syrup. Makes me hungry just thinking about it.

French toast is about the only memory I have of Grandpa from that time in my life. My grandma was my world, and Grandpa just happened to show up once in a while. I'm glad that things change and life evolves.

* * *

It's my bedtime but I'm still at work...thus a short post. Once May is over I'll become wordy again.

Sandra, thanks! You're an angel!

Someone called today and said this to my brother: "I've been a customer for years. I love your selection and you have great prices, and you're nursery is beautiful! But must the Platt girls in the barn always be so ornery?"

Becca and I just laughed. I said to her, "Am I ornery today or are you?" She drew the short straw...so I guess the customer was complaining about her. People are funny. Dad told us that he didn't think we were at all ornery but I thought, "Hey, we earned it. Let us claim it."

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Once Upon A Time


My mom got married.


After four years of trying to have kids she had three - at the same time.


And then just two years later she had two - at the same time.


And then 18 months later she had another one.


And five years after that she had one more.


I think the nursery rhyme "There Was An Old Woman Who Lived In A Shoe" was written for my mom. Except that she wasn't old. But she did have so many children she didn't know what to do.


For not knowing what to do, my mom was amazing!


She sewed our clothes.


She canned our fruit.


She baked our bread.


She made us run around the house when we had too much energy.


She let us have waffle picnics in the living room.


She cleaned the house.


She supported our dad.


She loved us.


She helped us love each other.


She loved God.


She taught us to love God.


She wrote to all seven of her missionaries - even when three of us were out at the same time.


She ran a business.


She loved her neighbors.


She prayed for her kids.


And then her kids grew up and she went on a mission.


To Brazil.


She learned Portuguese.


She LOVED her missionaries.


She took care of her missionaries.


She loved the members, and they loved her.


She cried when she came home.


She still cries, and it's been two years.


In 20 years from now I know that Mom will still love God.


Mom will still pray for her kids.


Mom will still love her missionaries.


Mom will do anything in the world for her grandkids.


She will still bake bread and can fruit.


And I will still be her biggest fan.


I love you Mom!

Monday, May 11, 2009

Where I've Been

Okay Dave, I'm writing...see? Friends, Dave called me four times tonight...in a row...or so says my missed call log. The only reason I can see for such persistence is that I have yet to post today...like I promised I would. So...here you are, the promised post.

I've just been working. Last week I worked 70 hours. Impressive no? Saturday night after a super duper busy day at work I was in bed and sound asleep by 10:00pm. Even more impressive no?

I have second and a half degree burns on my feet. Have you ever heard of such a thing? I pretty much just tan. People say all the time "You are so tan!" And I just say, "occupational hazard." Because when I die some day it will probably be of skin cancer. BUT...back to the burns. I wore some sandals to work on Friday...not flip flops...good, sturdy, hiking kind of sandals. I think that my sandals had an allergic reaction to the sun and my feet got in the way. I have near purple spots all over my feet, and they are swollen and they hurt.

Did you know that most people just assume cashiers are dumb? I'm living proof. When I stand behind a cash register people assume I can't count. You would be amazed at how many people question my ability to count their pots of flowers. I just smile and say, "Yes, I would be happy to count your plants again...for the 15th time." Guess what, I'm always right.

Ummm...the smoke alarm is about to go off...that will be loud. (My mom's stove is dirty from a peach pie gone crazy...little sister didn't realize that.)

Do you think I'm babbling? It's because I am...and my brain is fried. I must to go bed.

Tomorrow I hope to have a very worthwhile post...maybe a late Mother's Day tribute to my mom.

This Is Not A Test


Fellow Because Nice Matterers:

This is Dave Woolley, staff blogger for Monday Mid Day news.


I interrupt the regularly scheduled Noelle to advise you of an Amber to Medium Yellow Alert.


No need get your home land security blood pressure boiling. Yet.


We're fairly certain Noelle is still alive, but the stress of humans showing up at the nursery is a frightful bit too much for her after a winter of total sprouting isolation.


I know you're all freaking at her recent sporadic posting schedule. Me too. I called 911.


When they got to the nursery they radioed back that she was going to put something up today.


The medic obviously doesn't know her like we do. She's not entirely out of her retail mind, but initial reports indicate she's volatile and armed. I warned them not to approve her gun license.


The attending medic called it mid-season traumatic nursery syndrome.


You know it as Spring Fever.


The good news?


She's coherent, upright and her barometric pressure is forecasting no change in the weather or her dizzy spells.


The bad news?


She's gone back into the arboretum.


With fewer than four sightings on Monday, we may never get her to a computer.


Stay tuned.


We'll post sighting updates along with our daily Sasquatch reports right here.


If the warning level goes above orange on our way to the unthinkable Red Home Land Nursery Warning Level, start fasting and praying.

Come out of the woods Noelle. Please.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Excuses, Excuses

Dear Blog,

I'm not neglecting you on purpose, I'm not! It's just that I'm tired and can't find a spare minute to add to your content. I had a great Grandpa Wednesday post ready to deliver...in my mind at least...but I didn't leave work until almost 10pm last night and didn't have the energy to write anything.

I know you'll understand when I explain to you what my days entail. All my time is spent running to and fro, helping one customer after another, walking the wide expanse of a 12 acre nursery all day long.

Yesterday I told a very rude customer that I would only help him if he could be nice to me. His attitude improved only partially. Later in the day he came back, wearing a suit and a missionary name tag. Hmmm...

Another customer asked me if I was sure I could do math because she was sure I was charging her too much.

Sometimes when people ask me if I know anything I just say no. Because really Blog, isn't that an ignorant question?

Blog, don't think it's just you. My friend Shane called me two weeks ago and I haven't called him back because I can't find an hour to talk to him. My friend JaLae and I have planned to go to dinner twice and we can't make it work. Some people think I'm rude because I don't comment on their comments...geesh Blog, can you imagine? Who has time to think out 12 paragraph comments? I certainly don't.

And Blog, you should see my house! Laundry piled everywhere, the refrigerator bare, the DVR 99% full...

I don't have time to tell you any more. I have to go and find a tree.

Please be patient with me and I'll try to write again tomorrow.

Tchau Blog...

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

It Is Cinco de Mayo After All

My favorite movie is An Affair To Remember...the older version with Carey Grant and Deborah Kerr. It's not my favorite movie because of the whole "I'll meet you at the top of the Empire States Building in six months" scene. It's my favorite movie because of the woman who plays Carey Grant's grandmother.

Do you remember that scene? They take a boat and arrive at a quaint little villa. The grandmother is enchanting and delightful and ________ (you come up with the next word). I have a soft spot for grandmothers. And do you remember how Carey Grant gave Deborah Kerr his grandmother's shawl after she passed away?

Now...remember that I lived in Mexico for a while? I did. I loved every moment of that experience...except for when I ate food I shouldn't have. I loved the family I lived with: four little girls, one great mom, and a dad I always called 'Pain In The Neck' in my journal. I laughed a lot last night as I read through those journal pages.

The four little girls had one amazing grandmother...and I adored her. Her home could have been the villa on the island, and she could have stepped rather easily into the role of Carey Grant's grandmother. "Aubelita" was a class act, and I loved spending time with her. She spoke perfect English and we spent hours together. I often found myself walking down the cobblestone road to her home (yes a cobblestone road, quaint no?).

One afternoon it was just the two of us. We spent an entire afternoon sipping lemonade and sitting on the patio enjoying the birds and the breeze. When the sun set she brought me a shawl to wear, and we sat in pleasant silence until it was time for me to leave. I've always thought of that day as my "An Affair To Remember Day."

I was incredibly sad to say goodbye to her at the end of my stay in Mexico. A couple of years ago I went back to visit the family I lived with. Before I even stopped at their house I walked that cobblestone road to Abuelita's home. Her maid answered the door and told me to please wait. When Abuelita finally came to the door she was in a wheelchair. She looked up at me and squinted for a minute and then said, "Noelle! You came back to us!" She stood to give me a long hug, and as we sat on her patio, once again sipping lemonade, I felt as if I had come home.

Monday, May 4, 2009

In Honor Of Mother's Day

I'm going to use this week to write about some women who have made a difference in my life. I have a long list of names, but I'm going to narrow it down to just a few. I was reading in my mission journal last night trying to remember some details about a lady we taught in Brooklyn. I find it very fitting that the week she was baptized was also the week of Mother's Day.

About the time I started my mission the church started advertising free Bibles. The hope was that missionaries could deliver the Bible, and perhaps place a Book of Mormon at the same time. Sometimes it worked, sometimes it didn't.

Francesca was from Nigeria. She hadn't been in the United States for very long when she called and ordered her free Bible. As she ordered the Bible she sent a plea to God: "If this church is the church I need to join, please let someone actually deliver this Bible to me."

We got her referral and called to make an appointment. We arrived late for the appointment. She had assumed that we weren't going to show up, and that she would need to look elsewhere for a church to join.

Francesca was married to a 3 star general in the army. He was the third most powerful man in all of Nigeria. She had over 50 bodyguards, and a house full of servants. She didn't want for anything...except for a husband who was faithful, and a religion she believed in. With her 2 year old daughter in tow, she left everything behind in search for a better life here in the United States. She knew one person who would help her, and when she arrived in Brooklyn, she and her daughter moved in with him.

We spent the better part of an afternoon with Francesca. We taught her about the Book of Mormon and the gospel of Jesus Christ. She loved it all and believed it immediately. She told us that she knew in her heart the things she was hearing were true. She wanted to join the church as soon as she could.

In order to live the standards established by the church, Francesca needed to find somewhere else to live. She told us that if we could help her find a place to live temporarily, she would tell her boyfriend that she was moving out.

My companion and I searched and searched for a place. We looked at the list of all of the members of the church who lived nearby, and didn't know where to turn. We asked for guidance from Heavenly Father and we both felt that we needed to call a lady who had also recently joined the church. We called her and explained the situation. Her response was this: "I'm making her a bed right now."

This sweet lady lived in the projects - the worst of government housing. On one occasion when we had gone to visit her, we were met by the policemen assigned to patrol that area. They waited outside nearby, and when we were through with our visit, they walked with us out of the area, just to make sure we were safe.

Francesca, who came from a world with everything, moved into the worst of circumstances - all because she believed in the message we shared with her. I was, and am still, inspired by her faith and conviction. Francesca didn't stay in Brooklyn very long. After she was able to access her accounts and obtain some money she moved to Rhode Island. She wrote to let us know that she had arrived safely, and was actively involved in teaching the children at church. She was happy.

I lost contact with Francesca. I have done everything I know of to try and find her, but to no avail. I would love to know what became of her. I would love to know about the life she has made for herself here in the United States.

Wherever she is, I am sure that Francesca is blessing the lives of other people. She is just that type of person.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Just So You Know


I take my job of being an aunt very seriously.



When Erika wants to know how to make the snapdragons snap,

I'll always be there to show her.



Friday, May 1, 2009

As The World Spins

I'm beginning to think that my world will spin every time a storm moves in. I went to my mom's, got pumped full of drugs and sympathy, and have high hopes that any minute now the world will put me back on solid ground.

One year at girls camp we sat around the fire telling our favorite jokes. (We didn't get the posh girs camp experience. We roughed it...every single year...just us and the bears. Really, there were bears.)

I heard a joke that had me laughing for hours...days...even years. It's my favorite joke ever and whenever I tell it to someone I still laugh...and laugh. (I may be the only one who ever laughs at this joke...but hey, that's enough for me.)

Here you go...my favorite joke...

Ask me if I'm a red fire engine.

(Go ahead and ask, "Are you a red fire engine?")

Did you ask?

My response is this:

No.

Just that...no.

Isn't it great?

Happy Friday friends.