40 Years to Redeem Himself

Date Night in the Rose Garden

My husband just redeemed himself after 40 years, and I will never look at him the same way again. He took great pains to make up for our very first date (which was disastrous). We were married in December of 1976, so our first date must have been early in 1975??? I don’t know. I’m not good with dates anyway, and that’s been way too many years ago.

Danny should have cancelled that first date because he had a very bad cold. To make matters worse, he has an eye disease that is sensitive to viruses, so he developed a cold sore on his cornea which prevented him from wearing one of his contact lenses. He can’t wear glasses due to his eye problem, so he was driving me around with one contact lens. Strike one. I didn’t need his cold, so strike two.

He took me to see the movie “Earthquake.” It was our first date, and he was trying to be a gentleman, so he didn’t even hold my hand. If you never saw the movie on the big screen, it was not the movie you see on television because there was terrifying sound effects, and you could feel the floor vibrating beneath your feet during the earthquake. What he didn’t know is that I was born in an earthquake–a bad one–and I’m just superstitious enough to think I just might die in an earthquake–so a little hand holding would have gone a long way. Strike three.

If all that wasn’t enough, he talked about his ex-wife all evening and the divorce. Isn’t three strikes enough? Strike four. After the movie, he took me to a local pizza parlor with an old Wurlitzer organ, Pizza And Pipes. That was nice, except he was mad at me for sitting across the table from him instead of next to him. Remember his cold? First date? Not to mention he had already struck out plus one. Strike five.

The evening ended, and I didn’t take his phone calls for the next eight months. The man is persistent, if nothing else, because after eight months I finally agreed to go out with him again. We celebrated our 38th anniversary on December 18, 2014.

Fast forward to today, May 29, 2015. He cleared the calendar to take me to opening day of “San Andreas.” He was the most supporting and loving date anyone could ask for, and he never let go of my hand–even when I squeezed very, very hard. (Of course, my arthritic hands probably don’t squeeze as tight as they would have in 1975, but you get the point.) He not only redeemed himself for that awful first date, but he also redeemed himself for not taking me to see “Titanic” until absolutely everyone in the world but me had seen it. I saw “San Andreas” on opening day!

So, I bow to the master of “making things right.” He not only redeemed himself for past errors, but he was as persistent in looking for a way to make things up to me as he was in his attempts to date and marry me. I feel very loved tonight. He just hit the ball out of the park–and it’s bye, bye baby!

As an aside, “San Andreas” is a good movie. I was pleasantly surprised that they didn’t just take the plot from “Earthquake” and put it in San Francisco instead of Los Angeles.

Caltrans Memorial for Fallen Workers 2015

Caltrans Memorial 2015 001I’ve written several times about the Caltrans annual memorial for fallen workers.  I would have thought that this would get easier as time marches on, but it never does.  This year as my daughter picked up her family packet at the family booth they asked her which family she represented and who she was there for, and she began to cry.  By the time she sat down behind us she was a mess.  I’m a mom — that’s all it took to get me started.

PLEASE SLOW FOR THE CONE ZONE.  PLEASE PUT YOUR CELL PHONES AND OTHER DISTRACTIONS AWAY.  DON’T TEXT AND DRIVE.  USE COMMON SENSE.

See here for 2014 Caltrans Memorial, here for 2013 Caltrans Memorial, 2011 Caltrans Memorial here.  See also a post for Bloggers Against Drunk Drivers here.

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Caltrans 2014 Memorial to Fallen Workers

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Today was the annual Caltrans Memorial to Fallen Workers and safety stand down at the California State Capitol in Sacramento.  I have written about this before on two different blogs.  I won’t attempt to reiterate my feelings here.  Frankly, I’m too emotionally spent to try.  I have previously written about the Caltrans Memorial, highway “cone zone” safety, and/or my stepson’s death here, here, here, and here.

Today was a bit different, as we honored two Caltrans workers who were killed in a rock slide in 2013, while trying to keep others safe  from rocks falling onto the roadway, as well as a Caltrans worker who was killed last year in a motorcycle brigade on his way to the Caltrans Memorial to honor other fallen workers.

We keep going to this memorial to support those families who have gone through a Caltrans death more recently than we have.  I pray the day will come when we all are so careful in the cone zone that this service is no longer necessary.  PLEASE SLOW FOR THE CONE ZONE, DON’T TEXT AND DRIVE, AND PUT AWAY THE CELL PHONE.

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Reading with A Critical Eye Versus Reading to Be Critical

Yesterday I watched as yet another writer was crucified by social media.  Ironically, most of the people casting stones actually agreed with the main point the writer was trying to get across–they just didn’t like the way it was presented.  I know that feeling oh so well!

Technology can be a good thing, but it has had a detrimental effect on how we read things.  We are no longer reading with a “critical eye,” but reading “to be critical.”  Allow me explain.  Reading with a critical eye is to realize that not everything you read is true.  It means that you read it, ponder it, and possibly do a little research on your own before owning it.  Reading to be critical is to deliberately pick up on something the writer says, vehemently (and publicly) disagree with it, run the author publicly in the ground (since it is Easter week, think hang on a cross), without acknowledging the main point the author is trying to make.

In the case yesterday, it was a matter of using a two-word phrase that got people all riled up.  Readers just couldn’t see past those two little words.  It didn’t seem to matter that if the author had left those two little words out, they would have agreed with the rest of it–in its entirety.

A week or so ago, I was in an e-mail chain where a discussion was taking place about an article written on a well-known and well-respected site.  The comment was made that the site should not have allowed this particular article to be published.  I was aghast!  The last time I looked, the Constitution still had a First Amendment.  The site had every right to publish the article, just as the author yesterday had every right to express opinion in the blog post.

It is important to remember that every writer has his/her own style of writing.  A writer may have very good points to make.  Those points will be overlooked by those who are reading to be critical.  Please realize that while a writer may not use exactly the same words that you would use, or may have a different style of writing than you prefer to read, the crux of the article may be exactly on point.

Above all else, be a courteous reader and respond appropriately.  If you wouldn’t say it face to face to your best friend, don’t say it to a stranger behind the safety of your computer screen.

Safety Reminder for Cone Zone

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Today would have been Matt’s 42nd birthday.  On April 22nd, Caltrans will begin the huge project of fixing the W/X freeway in downtown Sacramento.  Originally, the section was to be closed during the construction.  Caltrans has now caved to pressure from pretty much everyone and will be keeping a lane or two open during the construction–risking the lives of the private construction workers, as well as Caltrans personnel.  They are counting on US as drivers to be responsible and not get someone killed.  Heaven forbid that any one of us should be inconvenienced by the closure of a section of the freeway that has needed to be repaired for years.  I literally hold my breath every time I go over the W/X freeway knowing how they have been bracing it up from underneath for a couple of years.  These workers will now be faced with dodging impatient drivers as they try to do their jobs.  PLEASE FIND ALTERNATE ROUTES.  This website has been set up to provide further information.  If you MUST travel this section of the road, please SLOW FOR THE CONE ZONE.  Don’t be impatient.  These workers all have families that want them home at the end of the day.

Educating Children Is More Than Parent-Teacher Conferences

Parents underestimate the important role they play in educating children.  Don’t tune out, this isn’t a lecture about parent-teacher conferences, reading to your children, or listening to them read to you.  My children taught me that by conversing with them, we both learn.

My oldest two children were about 7 and 5 years old.  There was a fire on the Port of Sacramento, only a few miles from our home.  Huge piles of wood chips burned for days as fire fighters kept watch watering them down.  One Sunday afternoon, we were out for a ride and ventured near the port.  The conversation went something like this:

7-year-old:      What is burning?

Me:                  Wood chips.

7:                     Why are they there?

Me:                  We put those wood chips on ships, sell them to the Japanese, and send them to Japan.

7:                     What does Japan want with our wood chips?

Me:                  They take them and press them together really tight to make logs, then sell them to us for our fireplaces.

7:                     Why don’t we just make our own fireplace logs?

Me:                  Because of World War II.

7:                     What does World War II have to do with wood chips and fireplace logs?

Me:                  Japan was our enemy during the war.  After the war, we rebuilt Japan.  We made all sorts of trade agreements with them to help them rebuild their country, and we’ve been trading with them ever since.

7:                     Why would we rebuild Japan if they were our enemy?

Me:                  Because we are Americans, and that’s what we do.  We don’t hold innocent citizens accountable for what their government or armies do.

This conversation went on for a long time, but you get the idea.  My daughter is now an adult with children of her own, and to this day she is interested in the history of World War II.

We didn’t have a lot of money to take vacations.  Most of our vacations were spent in Idaho and Nevada with extended family members.  We would plan activities around which Camp Fire emblems or beads our children could earn.  I remember spending a lot of time one summer in cemeteries learning about family history, as well as learning a little math as the children calculated how old people were when they died from information on the gravestones.

It is so easy to brush off our children when they babble to us.  We have important things to think about, like how we are going to pay the bills this month, as well as some not so important distractions like what our next Facebook or Twitter post will be about.  Don’t miss out on those precious opportunities to educate your children.  As you educate them, you will also learn.  My husband and I were often found educating ourselves about topics that held the interest of our children.

Don’t be afraid to pull them out of school for educational opportunities.  (Teachers, you didn’t hear that.)  I remember keeping my children home from school the day the foundation was poured for the addition to our home.  We let the children gather things for a time capsule that was sealed in the foundation.  Not long ago, one of my kids was telling me some of the things they remember putting in that time capsule.  They learned about the earthquake measures that were taken to hold the addition to the foundation, and they learned that the old part of the house wasn’t subject to those same safety measures.  That spurred a conversation about which part of the house would be best to store our 72-hour emergency kit.  These are things that they would not have learned in the classroom.

Let’s challenge ourselves to put away the cell phones and other technology and listen to our children and grandchildren.  Let’s answer their endless questions, and let’s learn together!

Respecting Your Elders

Some cultures teach respect for the elderly.  Older people are considered wise and are revered for their knowledge and respected for having lived a good life.  Unfortunately, that is not the case in the United States–at least not to the degree it should be.

My husband is 71 years old, and the last year or two I’ve begun to notice a change in how he is treated by others when we are out in public.  Frankly, it makes me very angry.  He is the same sweetheart of a man he was two years ago, but is suddenly being treated like the most stupid man on the planet.

Today is a perfect example.  We were out shopping for groceries for a church function.  In order to keep within the budget, we had gone to three different grocery stores.  We also ran two personal errands.  By the time we finished, we were both hungry and stopped at Wienerschnitzel for lunch.

After ordering our food, I filled our soda cups while my husband collected napkins and condiments.  He tried to pump mustard into the small cups provided, but the pump wouldn’t work.  He summoned an employee and told her the mustard pump wasn’t working.  She told him to “prime the pump a little,” to which he responded, “I did.”  I was sitting at our table by this time, which was close enough for me to see the biggest and most sarcastic eye roll I’ve ever witnessed.  Her eyes literally said, “Stupid old man!”  I wanted to jump up and slap her.  She grabbed the mustard and pumped it 5 or 6 times–receiving no mustard.  I grinned.  Her supervisor then pumped the mustard another 5 or 6 times–receiving no mustard.  The mustard pump was eventually removed and either fixed or replaced.

I’m not sure what it is about an older person that says, “Kick me; I’m down.”  Are there signs on their backs?  Maybe it’s that their backs are a little hunched over from a lifetime of hard work?  Maybe the hair is a little too gray for mixed company?  Whatever it is, it certainly ticks off a whole lot of people in our society.

Let me tell you a little bit about the old people in this country.  They grew up in a time when people cared about each other.  They were taught to love their neighbors, respect their elders, work hard, provide for their families, be honest in all their dealings, serve their community and their country, love their spouses, and adore their children.

This particular “old man” walks two miles a day, serves his family, volunteers his services at church, mows not only his own lawns but often those of others, visits the sick, helps his wife with cooking and household chores, does 99 percent of the grocery shopping, and is always available to help out a friend, neighbor, or family member.

Young people:  The next time you see an older person, be patient if they walk a little slow–they’ve earned the right to slow down.  Be compassionate if they are hunched over–they got that way from hard work.  Don’t fret the extra 20 seconds it takes them to swipe their card in the ATM machine–these things are new to them.  Take a few seconds and throw them a smile–they’ve lived through things you can’t even begin to imagine.  Remember that life is short and you will be old someday too–unless, of course, you make me mad enough to jump out of my chair in a fast food restaurant and take you down for being rude and unkind to the person I love more than life itself.

To the employee at Wienerschnitzel:  Be grateful I move slower than I did five years ago before two broken ankles, or you probably would be nursing a black eye this evening.

Dollhouse 2013

Dollhouses are a family tradition for all the little girls in our family.  My mother (bless her little pea pickin’ heart) started this.  I had several dollhouses as a child.  The first one she made from two wooden orange crates that were glued together.  Several years later, she did an “add on” and a bookcase was decorated and set next to the orange crates.  As things would break or get lost, Mom repaired and remodeled.

When my first two girls were ready for a dollhouse, Mom built an “A-frame” for them.  Many years later, after my mom passed away, I redecorated the A-frame for our youngest daughter.

I did a dollhouses for my old boss’ daughter, and another one for my son’s little girls.  Today I just completed one for my oldest daughter’s little girl.  Next year I’ll do one for my second daughter’s little girl.  When my youngest daughter gets married and has children, I’m sure there will be another one for me to do.

NaNoWrMo (National Novel Writing Month) suffered the last few days (as well as my sleep) for this latest dollhouse, but as you can see from the pictures below, it was well worth it.  The A-frame was rescued from the rafters for this one.

Dollhouse 2013

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This is the front of the dollhouse.  As you can see, it is all decorated for Christmas.

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This is the back of it.  Yes, real windows.

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Starting at the bottom of the house, this is the living room, complete with Christmas tree and creche for Christmas.

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The lamp is an air freshener bottle I found at Dollar Tree and emptied out the contents and washed thoroughly.  (Making lamps is a bear, so this find was wonderful!)  The gold end tables are St. Patrick’s Day shot glasses that came off a green necklace.  (I put little things like that in a small bin awaiting the next dollhouse.)  The area rug was crocheted with white crochet thread.

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This chair is made from the lid of a hairspray can turned upside down.  The bottom is covered in burlap I had around the house.  The back of the chair is a piece of cardboard covered in green fabric.  The cushion is a small handful of polyester fiberfill with fabric wrapped around it.  The whole thing is glued together with white glue.

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This chair was done the same way with the lid from a can of Pam.

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The couch turned out really cute, and the picture does not do it justice.  The bottom is an old necklace box.  I debated whether to leave the lid so it could be opened for storage space, but in the end, I glued the lid on the box.  The cushion is sheer elegant fabric filled with polyester fiberfill.  I hand stitched a few times down the middle to make the back poof up.

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I went looking for little presents at the craft store, but I couldn’t find any this year (it’s a little early yet), so I ended up making my own little gift boxes from poster board, wrapping paper, and crochet thread.  They were tedious, but turned out cute.

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Another angle of the living room.

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Every living room needs a family picture.  I just printed a recent picture wallet size on printer paper (I didn’t even use photo paper), glued it to an index card, and hot glued it to the wall.  Notice the wallpaper throughout the dollhouse.  Paint stores often will give you old wallpaper books, and I just pick the smallest print in the books for dollhouses.

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Next we move to the dining room.  The table is made from craft sticks (notched popsicle sticks).  I stained them with some stain I had in the garage.  Everything that I make with these sticks I hot glue together or use wood glue so it doesn’t come apart.  If I use stain, I stain them before gluing, as the glue doesn’t stain well.

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Notice the curtains in these rooms.  Curtains are tedious business, even if they don’t look like it.  They are glued to a wooden dowel.  It’s just tedious to get them to look nice and hang right. The pot for the plant in front is a plastic wire connector.

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The chandelier is the top of a soda bottle.  When we took the A-frame down from the rafters, the chandelier was still attached.  I’m almost positive that my oldest daughter made that chandelier when I was doing the A-frame from my youngest daughter.  I left it in there because this dollhouse is now going to her daughter.  I thought it would be a fun little touch.

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The picture frame is made from craft sticks.  I try to personalize each dollhouse for the child who will receive it.

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Every home needs a picture of Christ.

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The plates are wood buttons, and the cups are electric wire connectors.  Since this dollhouse has to travel, I have put tacky putty under them to keep them in place temporarily, but that will be removed.  I’ve used tacky putty for some other things, as well.

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At the bottom of the room divider between the dining room and the kitchen are some extra cupboards which are made from pill boxes.  I cut the Christmas pictures off of some address labels that were hanging around and covered up the days of the week on the pill boxes.

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Another personal touch.  Every Mormon home has a corner somewhere with food storage buckets that don’t quite fit in the pantry.  These are made from small glitter containers with some address labels.  So we have wheat, rice, powdered milk, beans, flour, and sugar.

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Another angle of the dining room.

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This is the kitchen.  The stove I found in a dollar store, and I just stuck a block of wood underneath it.

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More pill box cupboards.

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The kitchen sink is made from an aluminum soda pop can, pipe cleaners, and the caps off of my diabetic husband’s lancets.  It is glued to a wood block.  NOTE:  If you do anything with soda pop cans, be careful to fold all sharp edges with a pair of pliers, and then hot glue over the top of all seams.

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It was hard to get a picture of the refrigerator inside the dollhouse, but here it is.

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Here’s a picture of the refrigerator as it sits on my kitchen table.  It is the plastic box that the individual pill containers came in, covered with contact paper.  The knob is the cap to a lancet.

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Food in the refrigerator.

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The little stove I bought came with some utensils.  Originally, I put them in the kitchen sink for dirty dishes, but finally decided to hang them on a ribbon above the sink (like a pot rack). This shot also shows the trays (plastic buttons) that are sitting on the divider between the kitchen and dining room.   The room divider is original from my mother, but it received a fresh coat of white paint.

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Moving upstairs to the second floor, this is the master bedroom.  The red furniture was picked up several years ago at the Dollar Tree store awaiting the next dollhouse.

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The area rug was crocheted with some yarn scraps.

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The master bed.  (Below in the children’s bedroom I’ve shown how the beds are made.)  The picture in front is a small picture frame I found at the thrift store for $.50.  I put a family picture inside.

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More family pictures to personalize the house, as well as a picture of the living prophet, President Thomas S. Monson, and his counselors.  I was pleased to be able to save the original brown wallpaper here that my mother placed in the dollhouse for my daughters.

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The lamp in the master bedroom sits on a plastic container covered with yarn.  I’m not really happy about the glue job on the yarn.  This is my “Dat-S0-La-Lee” moment.  Dat-So-La-Lee was a famous Native American (Washoe) basket weaver.  She purposely put a mistake in every basket so that she would not offend the Great White Spirit by pretending to be perfect. Raising my children, they would often get frustrated at their lack of ability to do something, and I would remind them of the story of Dat-So-La-Lee.

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Moving to the bathroom (always a challenge for me).  The toilet is two small glitter containers glued together.  The seat and the lid are cut from an old plastic lid.  The flusher (pipe cleaner) is stuck through a small hole in the seat and lid to keep it together, and is capped with a lancet.  Over the sink is a real mirror, which I have framed with a pipe cleaner.  You can’t see it (I couldn’t get a good picture), but next to the mirror is a medicine chest made from another pill box.

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The tub and bathmat.  The bathmats are scraps of fuzzy material that was hanging out at my house.

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The sink is made from an aluminum soda pop can, pipe cleaners, and caps to lancets.  It is glued to the spool from an old spool of thread.

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Likewise, the bathtub is made from a soda can.  It is difficult to see, but there is a tiny towel hanging over the edge of the tub. I just cut a small piece of terry cloth out of an old towel I was using for a rag.

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Next we have the children’s bedroom on the third floor.

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A picture of the Redlands, California LDS Temple.  I tried using toothpicks to sort of frame the picture (another Dat-S0-La-Lee moment).

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Crocheted area rug with toy storage.

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Another lamp.

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I was quite pleased to save the little fireplace with Christmas stockings hung from it.  I believe my oldest daughter made the fireplace for my youngest daughter.  This wallpaper is the original wallpaper that my mother put in the dollhouse for my oldest two girls.

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This is how I made the beds.  Craft sticks make up the frame.

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A soft sponge from the Dollar Tree store became the mattress.

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A piece of fabric for the sheet.

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I crocheted the blanket from scrap yarn.  The pillows were made from soft sponges cut into pieces.  I hand stitched white fabric around the sponges.

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From the back of the dollhouse, you can see the windows.  This is the only remaining original window that my mother made.  She was much better at windows than I am, and she put much more detail into it.

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This is the way I did my windows.  The frames are narrow craft sticks painted white.  I used plastic for the window cut out of an old report folder.

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All dollhouses have to be equipped with the American flag.  You can see the chimney in this shot, which was frankly a pain in the rear to put on an A-frame.  My daughter (an engineer) is going to laugh at me when she sees how I built the stupid thing.  It is poster board covered with red construction paper.  I just used a white crayon to make the bricks.

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You can see in this shot how the chimney is attached.  It rests on a stiff piece of cardboard which is hot glued to the A-frame.  Craft sticks are hot glued underneath the cardboard to keep the chimney straight.  As I’m typing this, I’m having an epiphany as to the way I should have built this stupid thing — but I’m not changing it at this point!  I obviously did not offend the Great White Spirit, but my daughter the rocket scientist will have a good laugh.

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Santa coming down the chimney.

There you have it — everything you didn’t want to know about building a dollhouse.

Extremely Clever Telephone Scam

This story has a happy ending, but that might not be the case for someone else, so a word of warning is in order.

This morning while my husband was out walking, I received a telephone call.  “Hi, Grandma.”  “Hi, how are you?”  “Do you know who this is?”  “Yes, Ben.”  (Ben is the only grandson who is an adult.  I haven’t talked to him in a while, but the voice was similar.)  “Did you hear about my trip?”  “No, what’s up?”  “My friend won a trip to Ecuador, and he asked me to go with him.”  “Wow, that’s nice.  When do you leave?”  “I’m there now.”  (Voice cracking) — “I’m in a little trouble.”

“Ben” went on to explain that his friend was driving and ran a stoplight.  They were pulled over by the police, and because they were Americans, they were told to get out of the car. The car was searched, and marijuana was found in the trunk.  “Grandma, my drug test was clean — you know I wouldn’t do that.  Don’t tell Mom.  I only have one phone call, and I called you.  I need you to help me.  The American Embassy gave me a court-appointed attorney.  I need you to talk to him.”  I made Ben promise that he would tell his mother, and told him that I wouldn’t.  He said he would, but wanted to do it himself.  I tried to get specific information about where he was, but he started crying, and I was passed off to the attorney.

The attorney identified himself as “Ron Stein.”  He explained what happened, verified the drug test was clean, and said the problem is that Americans usually have to wait 60 days in jail before getting a courtroom.  The attorney was able to get a courtroom today (in two hours), but only upon a “bail deposit — completely refundable” of $2,848, which I was supposed to get to the attorney via a money gram.

The possibility of a scam began to ramble in my head, but I kept hearing Ben’s voice in my head.  The voice had really sounded like my grandson.  I told the attorney that I needed to call my husband before I did anything, and asked for his phone number, which he gave to me.  I hung up the phone and called my husband to tell him to come home.  While waiting for my husband to arrive, I looked at the phone number “Ron Stein” had given me, and realized there was no country code.  (I’ve had enough family members serve as missionaries for the Mormon church to know that calling out of the United States requires extra digits in the phone number.)  On my computer, I looked up free reverse phone numbers and plugged in Mr. Stein’s number.  It came up as a number in Quebec, Canada.  Hmmm.  Why would the American Embassy get a Canadian court-appointed attorney for a kid stuck in Ecuador?  I still have no explanation as to why there is no country code.

When my husband arrived, I gave him the rundown of what was going on.  He remembered that my grandson didn’t have a passport.  I suggested we call Ben’s mother, and without telling her what was going on, just ask a few questions.  That phone call convinced me that Ben was okay.  Just to make sure, I told his mother to call Ben and find out if he was okay and to call me back.  It turned out that Ben had just done a photo shoot and was headed for the bank to make a deposit.  He was perfectly fine, and quite “local.”

A short time later, Mr. Stein called me back.  “Mrs. White, how are you?”  “I’m fine, and so is my grandson.”  He hung up on me.  I filed a police report.

Happy ending — Ben is fine, I didn’t get scammed, and the police are going after the bad guys. Just a word of warning:  Brain versus heart:  We all want to help loved ones in a crisis situation.  Our hearts sometimes get in the way of common sense.  Being the jaded curmudgeon that I am, I stepped back and let my brain take over for my heart.  I’m glad I did.  My grandson has now been given a code word to give me in case of emergency.  Beware of your heart.  Step back, take a breath, use your brain, and THEN, if appropriate, go with your heart.

Packed In My Brain As A Youth

Dad liked to help me memorize things.  He taught me the Lord’s Prayer, the 23rd Psalm, the Ten Commandments, the Beatitudes, and other things.  Dad was raised as a Christian Scientist, and he taught me some things that Mary Baker Eddy wrote too.  It has been many years since our family joined The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormon), but some of those things still mill around in my brain.  I was very young, maybe six or seven, when Dad taught me this:

Thy kingdom come.

Let the reign of divine Truth, Life, and Love

be established in me, and

rule out of me all sin;

and may Thy Word enrich

the affections of all mankind,

and govern them!

–Mary Baker Eddy – 1821-1910

When I learned that, I had no idea what it meant.  Today as I ponder those words, I am awe struck.  What if I truly allowed God’s truth and love to consume me?  What if I let His love expunge the sin in my life?  What if the scriptures had such an impact on mankind that we truly were governed by God’s word?

I learned this in a Christian Science children’s book:  “The 5 G’s:  God, Good, Guides, Guards, and Governs me.”  I hadn’t thought of that for many years.  Then one night, I was faced with what could have been a life or death situation, and those words came to my mind.  I was instantly calm and was able to control the situation.  I’m quite certain those simple words saved me from harm — possibly death.  There is power in words.

Little children are so often underestimated.  We don’t realize the power of little minds to memorize good words.  The good words that were packed in my brain as a child have guided me through my life.  Help your children and grandchildren to memorize the good things.  Sing to them often.  Words to many songs can be comforting in times of trouble.  Music is the universal language.  It touches the heart and soul.  I’ve spent many rough moments pondering the lyrics of good music.  My soul is often quieted by the little tunes learned in my youth.  “‘Give,’ said the little stream.”  “Teach me to walk in the light of His love.”  “Spring has brought me such a nice surprise; popcorn popping right before my eyes.”  “I am a child of God, and He has sent me here.  Has given me an earthly home, with parents kind and dear.  Lead me, guide me, walk beside me.  Help me find the way.  Teach me all that I must do to live with him someday.”

What messages are we packing into the minds of our little ones?  When was the last time we read scripture to our children or grandchildren?  Or even a good book?  When was the last time we sang to them?  Does the bedtime routine include family prayer?  When was the last time we rocked our little ones to sleep and let them feel enveloped in our love, as well as Heavenly Father’s love?

I cherish the moments spent learning at the feet of my parents.  I long to hear again my mother’s voice singing “Somewhere over the rainbow.”  I hold tight to the memories of rocking my own children, singing to them, reading to them, and helping them write talks to give in Primary (LDS children’s Sunday School).  Maybe — just maybe — something that I packed in their brains will help them through the rough spots.  I hope.