Wednesday, December 9, 2009

The Denier vs. the Consensus

Galileo was an earth-centered-universe denier. In this year, the 400th anniversary of Galileo’s building of the first powerful astronomical telescope, it is good to look at his life and legacy.

The scientific, political, and religious “consensus” in his day was that the earth stood still and the universe revolved around it. This was Ptolemy’s theory. Because of the things he saw through his telescope, Galileo championed the theory of Copernicus that the earth and all the planets revolve around the sun. Because his views did not match the “consensus,” he was required to recant his views and spend the rest of his life under house arrest.

Scientists of the day had it all worked out: their models explained the motions of the planets and stars as they saw them. It was neat and tidy. There was just one problem:

The “consensus” was wrong.
The “denier” was right.

Thank you, Galileo.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

I'm a fan of...

Want a nice way to support military troops and their families this Christmas? Click on the picture above to go to the American Red Cross website about Holiday Mail for Heroes. The Red Cross and Pitney Bowes have teamed up to help provide some holiday cheer for service members and veterans here and serving abroad. From now through December 7, they are collecting cards and will distribute them in time for Christmas.

(Don't confuse this with those viral email stories about sending mail to Walter Reed Hospital. Those are not for real. This is.)

Monday, October 26, 2009

I'm a fan of...

preservatives in my cosmetics! Check this out:


Friday, October 23, 2009

road bullies

What is up with road bullies? I am amazed when some guy or gal gets behind me, rides my bumper, and seems irritated that I don't want to go 10 miles over the speed limit! If these people are in crowded halls, do they just push their way through with their elbows?

Wednesday coming back from Portland, I came upon a line of 3 or 4 trucks, going a bit under the speed limit. I wanted to keep at 65, so I pulled into the left lane. Not in front of anyone. Gradually, I was making my way past them. Suddenly, up on my bumper comes this gal, determined to go through me, I guess. When I didn't speed up, she crept closer and closer. Finally, I did get past the truck, but wanted to wait to get back into the right lane until I could see both headlights of the truck in my rearview mirror. I was taught to do that because it is dangerous to pull right in front of a big semi. Well! Apparently that infuriated my tail-gater even more, because she came even closer, and as soon as she barely cleared the truck, she whipped into the right lane (right in front of the truck), laid on her horn, and (as I could see but thankfully not hear) began shouting "colorful language" as she drove past.

What is with these people? Who gave them the right to demand that I exceed the speed limit? Who gave them the right to demand that I endanger my life, my son's life, and the life of a truck-driver so that they can blast down the highway at any speed they want?

I am sick to death of road bullies.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

the angel-mobile

Heather has a parakeet named Angel. She's a funny old bird. David and his friend Kyle made a Lego truck for her to ride around in. She seems to like it!


Wednesday, October 14, 2009

72-hour food kits

Several years ago, I found an idea for putting your 72-hour food kits into clean, un-used paint cans. You can pick up the cans for way cheap at any paint store. (Also get the little gizmo that opens the can. Tape it to the side.) The paint cans are nice because they have handles, so if you have to walk out, you can carry your food. You'll want a jug of water to go with it.

For about $10 per person, you can fill a can with survival food. (You CostCo gals can probably do it for even less.) Not great cuisine and not lots, but enough to survive. Here's what I bought today:

Notice that I've taped a piece of sand paper to the inside of the lid. That's for striking matches on. Also note that I've printed out the contents of the can and a daily menu. You can view those here.

It takes a little planning to get it all in. I start with the largest thing, the soup can. (Mine's a pop-top, btw.) Then place things around it.

For the next layer, I put in the cup, filled with crackers and matches, then the juice box. Then fill around those.

Lastly, drop in the menu and the list of contents.

Close the tops, label, and VoilĂ ! 72-hour food kits, ready for storage!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

I'm thankful for...

... Answered prayers!

Today, the sister missionaries asked me to go with them to an appointment, which I was glad to do. I got dressed, and with a few minutes to spare, I did some other things.

Then, when it was time to go...I couldn't find my keys! Panic! I knew they were in the house, because I went out earlier today and somehow made it home. I checked my purse, my coat pocket, my pants pocket, my dresser, my night-stand, my desk, the kitchen counter, the computer desk, even the ignition of the car. No luck. Time was getting short, and I needed to leave!

I dropped to my knees and explained my situation to the Lord. I wanted to help His missionaries. I told Him where I had searched. Please help! I stood up, with no clear answer. As I walked over to my purse, the thought came to me to check the side pocket of my purse where I usually keep my cell phone and my PDA. I never put my keys there. There they were! Thank you, Heavenly Father!

Lost keys? Cliché, I know. But true. It may have been a little thing, but I like to think that our Heavenly Father wanted me to be there for the sisters and the lady they were teaching.

Monday, October 12, 2009

I'm a fan of...


Ok, this will sound silly, but, think about it. Besides being essential to the water cycle on the earth, making life possible at all,
(can you say "besides" when you're talking about making life possible at all?)
it is so wonderful on a daily basis! And so easy to take for granted.

I can wash my dishes, stack them in a drainer, and come back in a few hours. Voila! My dishes are dry and ready to be put away! It just happens! I don't have to expend any energy at all. I can hang up a damp towel or shirt, come back later, and, voila again! It's dry! And all it took was time.

Think about it.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

♫ "...and the other gold" ♫

old friends...

It's amazing how you can reconnect with old friends and it's like you were never apart--despite the years.

After leaving Idaho on my trip to take Heather to BYU-Idaho, I drove to Washington state to reconnect with a couple of old friends. I stayed the night in Baker City, then drove up through eastern Washington and over to the Seattle area.

(Let me tell you--Eastern Washington is a wasteland! Thank goodness the Lord didn't send the Mormon pioneers there! It made Utah look like a lush garden. I digress...)

Growing up, my best friend was Arlynn. We met in Primary when we were three years old, and we soon became inseparable. Salt and pepper. Mustard and ketchup. Kathy and Arlynn.

Doesn't she look like fun? She was. I could do a whole blog about our adventures together. Our birthdays are only a week apart, so we kinda felt like twins. Then we kinda grew apart during the teen years. But that tie from our childhood remained.

All by myself (thank you very much), I drove to her place. Seattle traffic is way scary. (I guess I didn't do it all by myself. The Lord definitely helped me.)

For two days we talked and laughed and reminisced. We're both older and life has happened. She's had some tough times. Now she's looking happy. Good husband. Two great boys.

Wayne, Arlynn, Patrick (her other son is married and lives in Rexburg)

Things I love about Arlynn: great sense of humor, tender soul, willingness to forgive, looks for the good in others, caring about others, creative sense of fun, desire to be a peacemaker, love of family, infectious laugh, makes me feel like I'm someone special.

After leaving Arlynn, I wanted to drive to my other friend's place, on Whidbey Island. That meant taking the ferry. I was nervous about getting on the ferry, but the ticket taker gave me some good advice: "Just go with the flow. Piece of cake." I kept repeating that to myself as I drove into the line and up into the boat. Here's my view from inside the ferry:

The guy was right--piece of cake.

Then off to find my friend Lilian. She was my greenie when I served my mission. Here she is in Cologne. (Can you figure out what this sign meant? We couldn't.)
Lilian was a fun companion. A native Cuban, her German had a bit of Spanish accent. She liked to count Cocker Spaniels; she sliced bananas into the bottom of her soup; she would buy a large chocolate bar and make it last all week. (I ate mine in a couple of seconds.) (Fun fact: Her last city was my first city. She got to see a lady baptized that I found by tracting.) After our missions, we roomed together at BYU for a year.

Many years have gone by since we'd seen each other, but, as with Arlynn, we picked up right where we'd left off. She showed me around the sights of Whidbey Island. Beautiful. We spent two days talking, reminiscing, and catching up. It was so good. She's been through a lot, too, including cancer. But she's well, now.

Lilian and I in beautiful Coupeville.

The view from Deception Pass Bridge.

The view from the hills above Deception Pass.

Things I love about Lilian: ENTHUSIASM!, great people skills, deep desire to please her Heavenly Father, sense of humor, great laugh, tender heart, insightful, makes me feel like I'm someone special.

After leaving Lilian, I drove the six-hour drive home. So, I was gone a total of two weeks. Saw family, friends. Reconnected in many ways. It was a trip that did my heart good.

♫ "Make new friends and keep the old. One is silver..." ♫

Saturday, October 3, 2009

cemetery sleuthing

After leaving Heather at BYU-Idaho, I decided to drive around the countryside and go visit my grandparents' gravesites. Both my parents were raised not far from Rexburg. My mom's parents, Walter and Velma Siddoway lived on a farm just outside the village of Teton and were buried in the Teton Cemetery. This little cemetery is located away from the little town itself, out in the middle of farm land. Once I located the cemetery, I had to tromp around a bit to find "Grammie and Grandad." And suddenly, there they were. We had a nice chat.

My dad's parents (Davidsons) farmed on what is called Egin Bench. They were buried in nearby Parker. So, it was off to Parker, to find my Davidson grandparents. I was less sure how to get there, but found a sign:

Parker is literally a curve in the road with a grade school, a post office, and a cluster of houses.

The Parker cemetery is right next to the highway, near the elementary school and the post office. Parker people must want to be able to visit their kin more easily than do Teton people. The cemetery straddles a little hill. I remember standing there when we buried my grandfather--the wind was blowing as we gathered around and laid him to rest. My notion of what things were important made a major shift that day... On this day, I had to tromp around a long time to find "Grandma and Grandpa." Then suddenly, there they were. We had a nice chat, too.

My most interesting find of the day was a couple of headstones in Chinese! I wondered: Who were these people? How did they come to be here in Parker, Idaho? Do they still have family here? Does anyone know they were here?

Anyone read Chinese?

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

taking Heather to byu-idaho

Early this month I drove Heather to Idaho to attend BYU-Idaho. Our first stop was my Aunt Shirley and Uncle Robert's house, where we spent the night.

Don't they look like nice people? They are. My aunt is my mother's twin sister--and many people have confused them over the years. I guess my mother's undertaker nearly passed out when my aunt walked into the viewing. My Aunt Karen and Uncle Gene came over for a visit while we were there, along with my cousin Shawna. I didn't get pics, though.

Here we are in front of their house. Don't we look happy? Even after driving 10 hours together?

Heather made me buy her this shirt, which I couldn't resist, because she does look awfully cute in it. We had fun shopping together in Pocatello. This is in my Dad & Stepmom's kitchen.

Here we are with my Dad and Stepmom in front of their house. Don't they look like nice people? They are.

That night we drove to Rexburg, where we stayed in a motel. Up early the next morning and off to campus. Standing in long lines. (Sitting for a while in one line.) Getting dorm room assignment. Getting ID card. Signing up for new-student-activity team. Off to the dorm.

Heather found her room.

Unpacked. Where to put it all? There is closet space behind the mirror!

Was glad to get things in place.

Met her roommate. Doesn't she look nice? She is.

We went to a student/parent luau that night. Way fun. Polynesian dancing, singing. Even fire juggling! Pretty good food.

Heather spent the night in her new home. I went back to the motel. The next morning I went back up on campus. Final good-byes. "No crying, Mom!" So, just a bit of tearing up. A hug. Turning around and walking away. Letting go is hard. Maybe I'll blog about that sometime.

She'll do great!

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

going home

It's a weird thing when the places of your past take on mythic qualities and seem to have meaning beyond expression. In taking Heather to BYU-Idaho, I stayed in Aberdeen, my little home town, for a few days. I grew up a couple of miles outside of town--many long years ago. My dad lives in town with my step-mom now.

It's odd to walk around and see no one I knew or who knew me. It's equally odd to go to church and see old faces grown older, grown up children with children of their own, brand new faces.

I still have dreams about the road that led out from town to our farm. Sometimes I'm walking to the farm from town or vice versa, either in a snow storm or along a weird, tree-lined road. Sometimes I'm driving, but can't see where I'm going. They paved that road recently. In all my years growing up, I prayed every summer that they would pave the bumpy gravel road so I could ride my bicycle into town or to my best friend's house without being rattled to death . They never did--except now they did.

The people who bought my dad's house on the farm have taken out the garden spot and several of the trees. They've put up a new chain-link fence across the front. The barn is gone. The corrals are gone.

Aberdeen is a tiny oasis of trees and streets and houses amidst rich farmland. Potatoes, of course, and sugar beets, and wheat. Giant sprinkler systems irrigate this arid volcanic plain. Beyond the fields stretch miles of sagebrush and lava rocks.

In town, the elementary school and middle school are both new. The high school has been remodeled past recognition. There is now a one-way street past the schools, which seems ridiculous. Many of the buildings on Main Street are empty. The Villager no longer sells clothes. The Western Auto went out of business years ago. The one-time bank is a neat little senior center. The "frosty stand" is empty and black. There are businesses there--farm implements, computer services, groceries, a store, a post office. Vicentes' old bar is still there.

This little town has a five-lane highway down Main Street and a speed limit of 25 mph. No stop-light. No traffic. It's not really on the way anywhere. If you go to Aberdeen, it's because you're going there.

When I go back to Aberdeen, I feel like a girl again--I guess I feel like I did when I left there: an insecure teenager launching out into the world. I've forgotten many of the people I once knew. I'm sure many have forgotten me.

In my mind, I can revisit so many inconsequential places there. Somehow the dirt, the sagebrush, the rocks, the fields, the roads, the buildings all mean something. I wish I knew what.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Alsea Falls

Have you been to Alsea Falls? It's a beautiful and fun place for a day trip. We went last Wednesday when it was sooooo hot in Eugene. Picnic. Teensy hike to the falls.

David and his friend had a ball.

Nelson got a much-needed break from the phone.

Heather and friend found a bat!


After a while we took a more strenuous hike to Green Peak Falls, about a mile away, over rough and varied terrain. Nearly got heat exhaustion. But it was beautiful, too. See?

A lovely, memorable get-away.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

She is a natural blonde ....

So, Heather is at a friend's house with a group watching "Whose Line Is It Anyway?" One of the actors starts talking about getting a bikini wax. Heather asks:
(wait for it)

"Why would anyone want to wax a bikini???"

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

graduation #2!

David was so excited to graduate from 5th Grade! Can you see the pride in his eyes? He's really looking forward to middle school and playing in the band (trumpet). We're proud of him for doing so well, so far!

graduation #1!

She did it! My "little girl" isn't so little anymore. She's come a long way since Kindergarten. Still the same sweet smile, same sweet eyes. Always a "do it myself!" kind of girl . We're so proud of her. There were tears at graduation. Now, off to the next adventure!

Friday, June 5, 2009

dinner "conversation" last night at the Bishop's house

Have you ever wondered about the deep theological discussions that take place around the Bishop's table?

Click here for the deep profundity.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Heather's voice recital

After taking voice lessons for three years from her current teacher, Shirley Andress, Heather was in a voice recital Wednesday evening. She sang "La Vie en Rose" by Guglielmi and Piaf. You can listen to her by clicking here. (You may have to turn your sound up.) This was only her second recital.

We think she did a great job. She plans to study music education at BYU-Idaho, and we think she's off to a great start! [busting buttons here]

Friday, May 29, 2009

Heather juggles eggs

In an ongoing attempt to help my daughter audition for the circus, I present the following:


If you love old towns, antiques, history, pioneers, or anything like that, you must go see Brownsville. We've often driven past the sign on the freeway, inviting us to see Brownsville, but have never gone. This past Saturday, I had the opportunity to go with Lennae and family to help celebrate Lennae's birthday. What a great time we had!

Wade and Lennae in front on the Moyer House, a highlight of the historic tour. Believe it or not, that is NOT a tree behind them. It is a wisteria plant! It was huge!

The Moyer House.

For the amazingly low suggested donation of $2 (!) apiece, we were given a tour of this lovely Victorian home, complete with period furniture and wall and ceiling treatments. Our tour guide was very knowledgeable and fun to listen to. (I was particularly interested in the two victrolas and the cylinder player--each still playable!) Then we toured the museum, where you can see a bank, a barber shop, a beauty parlor, a covered wagon complete with contents, and more and more. It was packed with antique things, all arranged and organized and labeled. A woman from the Smithsonian visited there recently and said that the Brownsville Museum was every bit as good as the Smithsonian, just smaller.

After our tour and museum browsing, we had lunch in a delightful little restaurant that was a converted home. We were the only customers and got excellent service.

If you're interested, you'll want to check out They have lots of attractions and activities throughout the year. I want to go back!

Thursday, May 28, 2009

5th grade track meet

On Thursday, the 21st, 4j held their elementary school track meet. David had a good time.

David and friends await their turn at the long jump.

A happy David with a second place ribbon for the long jump. He also participated in the shot put and softball throw.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009