Showing posts from May, 2008

The Splendor of the Gorge

Today I went hiking with our ward Boy Scout Troop. Or Venturer Crew to be more precise. They are getting ready for a fifty-mile hike this summer so they are prepping for that with some shorter hikes. I got up very early and met up with two other moms who were tagging along. We drove up the Gorge to Beacon Rock. Beacon Rock is a 1 mile hike with lots of switch-backs--straight up a huge, ancient volcano plug. I am an old woman and I really don't know what possessed me to leave my warm bed on a Saturday morning and go out in the rain and climb up a big rock! Oh, but this was just the morning's warm-up. We still had to conquer Hamilton Mountain! A seven mile jaunt that was pretty much straight up the mountain... in the mud...on a narrow trail with a sheer drop-off on one side. The other moms are at least 10 years younger and one of them does triathlons for fun-- so you can see I was really out of my league. But, I would like to say I think I represented all the Old Mormon Mothers …

Only in Ramah...

My Grandmother, Idelle, passed away April 23, 2008. I was not able to go to the funeral, but my sister sent me pictures. This was the first one I got in her e-mail. It had no explanation --and needed none--because we know how things are done out in the middle of nowhere in Ramah, NM. It's a place where they do things their way. They don't need a graduate of Mortuary Sciences, a Director of Funeral Services or an embalmer. They just need the big walk-in cooler at the trading post, and as you can see here: a good, readable thermometer.

Gazing Upon Mortality (Only in Ramah)

This is my Grandmother Idelle's coffin. My Uncle Joel made it for her. She requested that he make her one after he made one for my Grandpa Joe (her husband). I took this picture when I was visiting last October. My Uncle Joel and Uncle Kent and I carried it into my Grandmother Idelle's living room so she could see it and give her approval on it. She is one of the blurry figures in the background. It wasn't varnished yet and he put the handles on it there in the living room. He asked her: "Does it have your approval? Yes or no." She said, "Yes or no." He said, I need to know so I can fix anything you don't like." She said, "It has my approval and then some!"
Later that night she sat straight up in bed and proclaimed: "First order of business tomorrow...get that box out of my living room!" Early the next morning, my Aunt Tami and I carried it out the front door and around to the back of the house and set it on two chairs. So G…

Faith and Gumption

I was going to post funeral pictures but I realized it is only proper to remember that she lived first. My Grandmother (that is my Mother's Mother) was born in Ramah, New Mexico in 1918. Her Mother gave birth to her in a log and stone house that still stands sturdy and stalwart-- a testament to pioneer craftsmanship and a metaphor for my Grandmother. She was the oldest in her family. Her Pa came and went and eventually went for good. She watched over her younger siblings and cared for her Mother. She met my Grandfather Joseph Nicoll when she was 16. He later said he used to take his horse to the pasture across from where Idelle lived. He could hear her playing the piano (self-taught, no lessons!) and he would linger and imagine that she was playing just for him. Then, one day she invited him over for some of her homemade chocolate cake and that was it for him-- he was completley smitten. When he asked her to marry him, she said, "Only in the temple, Joe Nicoll." and he …

Good-night You Princes of Camas...

A few nights ago I went to tuck in "the boys"-- that's the collective name of our two youngest sons. I went in Sam's room: no Sam. So I walked down the hall to Shane's room I didn't see anyone right off so I turned to leave and then I heard the distinct rustle of Legos. Back in the corner of the room, they were working intently with heads bowed over their creation. Shane glanced up and saw me, and fully comprehending the lateness of the hour and the distance from his bedtime he immediately piped up: "Aren't you glad we're having brotherliness time?"
Sam said, "Yeah, my smoke alarm keeps beeping so I'm bunking with Shane tonight."

I told them it didn't look like any 'bunking' was going on. Then Shane, ever the voice of reason and persuasion says: "But Mom, you know Legos are so good for us-- we are using our imaginations and we're actually cooperating with each other. Plus, they teach us about architecture and…

Spring is In the Air!

Gentle Reader,
I'm sorry I have been distracted from the computer lately by the great outdoors! I rented a rototiller from Home Depot and got my garden whipped into shape. My arms ache and I've spent the last few days either sweaty and dirty or rain-soaked and muddy (that's the Northwest for you). But I have been loving every minute of it. I start each spring with high hopes: the memories of slug invasions, nasty weeds, plant-devouring deer and out-of-control blackberries from the summer before have dimmed. I look at my garden through rose-colored glasses. The birds are singing, the lilacs smell wonderful and I am ready to start all over again. Dreaming of delicious, sun-ripened tomatoes. Sweet strawberries. Corn that will be knee-high by the 4th of July. Ahhh, hope Springs eternal!

Be Prepared!

For FHE this week we dragged out our 72 Hour Kit to go through it and see if we needed to update anything. My how time flies! The change of clothes I had in there for Shane were for the 3-year-old Shane--that was only SEVEN years ago. (Including a pair of 'Winnie the Pooh' underwear-- there's something disturbing about underwear that has Pooh on it). We all had a good laugh over the bright pink and purple jackets that were packed in there. Scott's old Orlando Magic sweatshirt was a big hit. The food was all expired and the Lifesavers were mushy. That would have been a little disheartening when we showed up at the shelter in the midst of some devastating disaster. "Mom, I'm hungry." "Here's some green tuna honey, and just lick those Lifesavers out of the wrapper." We made a list of things we needed to replace. One of the kids suggested we pack cigarettes and coffee. They pointed out that those would be hot commodities to stressed-out nicotin…

Some Things to Think About

"I don't want to drive up to the pearly gates in a shiny sports car, wearing beautifully tailored clothes, my hair expertly coiffed, and with long, perfectly manicured fingernails. I want to drive up in a station wagon that has mud on the wheels from taking kids to scout camp. I want to be there with grass stains on my shoes from mowing the neighbor's lawn. I want to be there with a smudge of peanut butter on my shirt from making sandwiches for a sick neighbor's children. I want to be there with a little dirt under my fingernails from helping weed someone's garden. I want to be there with children's sticky kisses on my cheeks and the tears of a friend on my shoulder. I want the Lord to know I was really here and that I really lived."--Marjorie Hinckley

"Our decisions determine our destiny." Elder Russell M. Nelson

"It is easy to see that the moral sense has been bred out of certain sections of the population, like the wings have been bred o…

Why I Homeschool: Part II

This week in school --our home school which I like to think of as The Gale Academy of Classical Education, but more realistically it should be The Gale Institution of the Borderline Criminally Insane ... OK I'm exaggerating... just a little. Anyway, we have been reading the account of Helaman and his 2,000 stripling warriors in the Book of Mormon. A suggested assignment was "List 10 things your mother taught you". The boys need all the practice they can get with writing (fine motor skills are slow to develop for boys) so I gave them paper and pencil and the assignment. I sat back with a book and waited. They seemed to be struggling with what to write. I started to wonder if my whole life was just a sham...a waste of all that time and effort keeping them alive those first few years with food and bathing and nose-wiping and stepping between them and the street traffic. Really, they were drawing a blank! I pretended to be reading as they discussed the topic with each other …