Saturday, May 5, 2018

Thursday, May 3, 2018


Nik had a spare keyboard he gave me as my wireless mini-keyboard didn't have space for the numbers in their own section to the right side.  The new keyboard is a bit swirly but not too ergonomic. It's just the right size.

Nik raved and raved about how there is a backspace bar just to the left of the space bar. It also has a backspace key in the regular location. That seemed weird and I figured I'd never use it. I was wrong!  It takes a little getting used to but it's a total dream to use.  I'm now in agreement with him that all keyboards should have the option.

Having a backspace key has saved many a problem with typed messages/email/etc. It's probably one of the most-used non-letter or non-number keys. How many times do you think, "Boy, I'm grateful THAT didn't get sent?" 

Wouldn't it be nice if we had a backspace option for life? There's a ton that I wouldn't want to go back to visit, but there are surely a lot of times I'd like to backspace and do over, or for that matter, delete. 

Thursday, January 25, 2018

She'll Be Coming Around the Mountain When She Comes...

She won't be riding six white horses, probably driving a silver Camry, but whatever works.

My non-professional goal, being the non-professional I am now since retiring recently from 29 years at the Court, is to find a malt just like the old-fashioned ones made by the malt/diner in Downey, Idaho well back into the last century. I am referring to the ones with real ice cream and malt mixed in those wonderful mixers like this: Image result for ice cream malt mixer
My recollection is that the one in Downey was green and could mix two or three at a time. Part of the charm is they had to stop it mid-cycle to make sure the mix was doing well.  Maybe that was just to build up our anticipation and delight. If that wasn't their reason for doing so, it worked that way anyway.

It used to be that a good malt was the norm. Somewhere along the line, someone decided to thicken the malt so it couldn't be drawn from a straw. Someone else had a thought on the other side of the spectrum and made malts so thin they were like a runny syrup. They also decided to half the malt flavoring, anything to save a few pennies. 

Now a perfect malt, in my opinion, is one that you could drink with a straw or use the long spoon to dip in if you wanted a change of pace. The whole idea of a malt is to enjoy every sip. I have not found a malt in years where they fill up your glass (made of actual glass), hand you a straw and a malt spoon and lay the balance of the malt in the container where you can finish it off at your own pleasure.  

I've taken a survey of friends and former coworkers as to possible malt places in Utah County or its surrounding counties. Here are the current contenders: 

 1-The Malt Shop in Ephraim 
 2-Stone Drug in Spanish Fork
 3-Eli's in Payson
 4-SOS Drug in Springville
 5-The Trolley in Springville
 6-Barry's in Spanish Fork
 7-Glade's in Spanish Fork
 8-Leatherby's in Draper
 9-BYU Creamery
10-JCW's in Provo
11-Granny's in Heber City
12-Farr's  (Orem & Ogden)
13-Peach City in Brigham City
14-Pace's Dairy Ann in Bountiful
15-Casper's in Richmond'
16-The Bluebird in Logan
17-Nielson Ice Cream in Bountiful
18-The Purple Turtle in Pleasant Grove

Nik made me an Instagram account called malt_maven just for the adventure. Neither he nor any of the rest of my family knew what a maven was (apparently not a word used these days) so I looked it up and found--

"A maven is a trusted expert in a particular field, who seeks to pass timely and relevant knowledge on to others in the respective field."   I'm a NATURAL!

I'll be looking for the following:  texture, taste, atmosphere, 3 points in each catagory, a 1 point bonus if it's served with a cup of water and a 1 point take-away if they put a cherry on top after I've requested they not do that. 

Several people have said they'd like to go, too, but my grandson, Jesse, said, "Grandma, when do we go?  I'll drive."  SO, we are off to the Ephraim Malt Shop this Saturday.  I will keep you posted.  (By the way, Happy Birthday today, Jesse!)


Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Life Is Like a Car Wash

Last year after our trip to Canada, my car (Simon) was buried in 2000 miles worth of bugs. It was more than the regular car wash could handle so I went to brand new the Fancy/Schmancy drive through car wash. A nice young lady took my money and directed me to drive around their sign...where she and another young lady wielded their wacky wands at full pressure.  It felt as if they might blow off the front grill. It was a little shocking.

While bracing myself from such a frontal attack, I noticed something grabbed Simon's left front tire and started to suck us forward.  We had lost any control and into the vortex we went. I've never been in a drive-through car wash where you couldn't see the end as you went in the entrance, but this looked like a never-ending black hole.

We got sucked further and further through the cave and there were big things flying about everywhere. It made the wand girls seem tame. There was an assortment of huge flapping multi-colored brushes spewing multi-colored soaps. And the NOISE was incredible. Vertigo took over and I felt as if maybe we might crash into the ground somehow. Then motion sickness set in, and it was quite a terrifying few minutes.

Though I had never heard of a news report about anyone trapped inside a car wash, that thought did pass through my mind. Headline--"Elderly Woman Stranded in Wild Car Wash; Jaws of Life Needed".

Finally, the light appeared and the tsumani disappeared.  With heart pounding like being chased by The Thing, I peeled out of there like a bat out of Clifton. It probably took five years off the life of my tires' warranty.

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

That's Who I Am?

Follow up to the Christmas DNA party:

First, we filled up on ham, scalloped potatoes, salads, and rolls. I tried to make individual chocolate cakes in ceramic mini-bread pans for the little people to decorate but they stuck to the pans and fell apart. I decided we all had plenty of treats recently so threw the failed cakes in the garbage. Maybe next year. We passed out the little owls to the young kids to decorate and gathered around the computer.

Nik's test was delayed and won't be here until mid-January so I had him pick names from cards as to the order viewed.. Jared went first.  (He is the only kid who ever thought he was adopted which is kind of understandable since he has that nice olive skin the rest of us got denied.)  He was 58.4% Scandinavian, 23.9 % Irish/Scottish/Welch, 8.4% Baltic, 7.2 % Iberian and 2.2 % Italian.

Next was Kyle.  He is 48.8 % Scandinavian, 36.9 % English, 10.4% Iberian, 2.1% Irish/Scottish/Welch, and 1.8 East European.

Next was Jason's: He is 76% Scandinavian, 13.8% Northern and Eastern Europe; 8% Iberian, and 2.2 Western Asia.

My results showed: 53.9% Scandinavian, 30.5 Irish/Scottish/Welch, 7.4% Iberian, 5.4% Baltic and 2.6% Italian.

Also, it showed we are all related as mother and sons so, Jared, you can't escape now.

No surprises on the Scandinavian as my mother's grandparents were from Sweden. Also, my kid's father has Norwegian ancestors. The Irish-probably not Scottish-and Welch was not surprising as my grandmother Rice's grandmother was Irish and the Rice line has ancestors from Wales. Totally surprising was the Iberian, the Italian, and the Western Asian. Maybe the Western Asian came from their dad's side, but there must be someone we don't know about who jumped into the family from Iberia, the Baltics, and Italy.

If anybody knows who those strangers are, please feel free to chime in.

Also, I decided to throw a little packet together of ancestors, photos, and family histories on both sides of the kid's lineage back a few generations. What started out as a "little project" turned into a massive undertaking but it was wonderful to see those old photos from the early 1800s and to read some of the histories. If you think you have it hard now, be glad you didn't live back then.

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Whooo Are You?

That's the theme of my family Christmas party which I had to move from Saturday to Christmas night. It isn't that I'm inviting random people off the streets to see who they are.  If any owls stop by, we might invite them in, but the ones I have are made of paper and look like these:

The Who-Are-You theme came about when I decided to get the boys DNA text kits for Christmas. I would have done Sherry but we can barely get a card across the border, let alone DNA samples. The DNA kits came in time to swab the kids at our last party, October's Emergency Preparedness activity. Vince didn't want to do it, so I used his kit and sent them all off in the same envelope on Oct 24th.

After three and a half weeks, I got the results for everybody but Nik. After multiple email exchanges, and waiting the obligatory month before they would send a replacement kit, they finally said Nik's sample had not arrived at the lab but they would be oh-so-nice and send another one free of charge. Since they were all mailed in the same package, I said that the mailman must have opened the envelope, taken out Nik's sample, sealed the envelope back up, and sent it on its way, but thank you for being so kind as to send a replacement.  We just got his new kit last week and send it to the lab (with a tracking #); it should be there this week so he will have to wait until January to see if he is related to any of us.

The results show a mother/son relationship, so no big surprise there.  I've been studying all sorts of YouTube videos to understand what the results mean and have a tiny grasp of the basics. It was interesting to find out that there are third-party sites where you can download your raw DNA info from one of several testing places so there is a broader base of results.

I'm pretty excited to see how it goes and will be back with an update.

Monday, December 18, 2017


I was looking through my recipe box (which contains exactly 58 recipes, about 1/3 of which I actually use) and came across a Toffee recipe.  It's pretty good so I decided to throw a little life into my blog, along with a bit of Christmas cheer!


Melt 1 cup butter in pan
Add 1 & 1/3 cups sugar
1 T light Karo syrup (if they still make Karo)
3 T water

Stir occasionally and cook to hard crack.  Pour onto greased surface and spread with chocolate chips.  Ok, you don't have to do the last step but at this house, we spread the chocolate chips on a lot of things. If you like nuts, throw those on, too.

Monday, October 9, 2017

100 Years

One hundred years ago today, my mother was born on the farm in the outskirts of Preston, Idaho. It got me reminiscing about all the things my mother's hands did over the years

I'm sure she helped her parents on the farm. She mentioned how far she used to walk to school and back as a child, something like a mile and a half each way, in a dress. She didn't say whether or not it was uphill both ways.

Just jotted down a few thoughts last night:

Cared for 4 newborns, sleeping on the couch

hauled hay

did laundry in a wringer washer, hung clothes on the clothesline outside even during winter
ironed on Tuesdays (including pillowcases, handkerchiefs and levis, in between cooking and working on farm chores

stoked up the coal stove after she got to sleep in until 6:00 a.m.

cooked about 6700 homemade meals

sewed doll clothes and new Christmas pajamas with flat-felled seams

canned fruits, vegetables, bread and butter pickles, and jam

ran errands for Dad and us

visited her mother once a week

bought all the groceries

made ringlets sometimes and curled our hair with pincurls on Saturday nights

made wonderful fudge...about this time of year

played solitaire

grew a big garden

drove thousands of miles on her bicycle with Dad each summer

made mush every morning, had to double the batch when my kids were there

made meat loaf without onions though she liked them because we whined so much about it

made the best ice cream with her Junket recipe

tended us when sick, probably even when she was sick

had the most beautiful handwriting of anybody I know except my sister, Pauline. They were equals.

Saturday, September 23, 2017


We try to teach the boys to think of others.

Last week Teddy was walking to school with his Mama when they saw a man with a metal leg who was working in his yard.  Teddy said, "Mama, we need to pray for that man."

This morning before school I was showing the boys a video of the hurricane in Puerto Rico and its devastation.  Huck said, "Oh, that's so sad.  We should go play with them."

Good stuff.

Monday, June 26, 2017

Exes and Such

Last night during their goodnight bed routine, Teddy told Nik that tomorrow he wanted Papa to make waffles while they listened to "All My Exes Live in Texas" by George Strait.

I can imagine him at kindergarten working on a project while humming or singing the song, probably thinking, "All my X's Live in Texas".  He might wonder what about all the Y's and Z's, too.