Wednesday, June 27, 2012

So, anyway, during the past year or so...

Everyone just keeps blogging, and I feel totally left out! So I'm just putting up some random pictures from the last year and using them as my bridge back into the blogging world....

The biggest news of the year...Walter Levi Johnson's arrival on September 3, 2011. People told us about how much you love your grandkids, but...really, I can't believe how crazy we are about this guy.

The quilt I made for the little guy.

The other big news...Krista Colleen and Paul got married, June 2nd.  Woo-hoo!  

Third exciting news... Maggie passed 9th grade!  Can't wait to hang out with her at the big VHS in the fall. (Kids love to hang out with their moms who teach at their high school, by the way.)

Our two babies. Scott and I can't even think about how much we love these two without getting all emotional. We are getting old.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Some kids just know who they are

Tyler age 5

Tyler age 13

Tyler age 25

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Boots - one of the best

On the evening of November 3, 1992, a skinny little black kitten showed up at our kitchen window and begged to be adopted. I was able to resist. Scott was not. When he came home from work that night, he brought the kitten in and put it in bed with me. A done deal.

It's easy to remember the date because it was election day. Bill Clinton--who had a cat that looked a lot like this kitten--was elected president that day. Boots and Socks both got new homes.

For 18 and a half years Boots guarded our home. We loved every day with her.

She was an outdoor cat for years, having no interest in coming inside. Occasionally, on especially cold nights she would sleep in Tyler's room, but it wasn't until one night when I made her stay in the bathroom with a litter box--and use the litter box--that she was trusted in the house much.

A little wisp of a cat, with fur as soft as a rabbit, Boots ran the place. She would slowly walk into the dog run, and Max and Ginger would stand and watch her eat some of their dog food. We learned a lot about an alpha presence from that little thing.

When new houses were being built in the field behind our house, Boots would bring home the biggest, gnarliest rats and lay them at the door for us. We felt protected and provided for.

The kids always were a bit wary of her friskiness. She loved to be petted, but she used her claws and teeth to control things (in a loving way, of course).

One bittersweet memory I have of Boots is of that awful New Year's Eve when Tyler (age 18? 19?) walked home from SLC. He arrived about three in the morning, unwilling to talk about it. He must have been chilled to the bone because he went out and sat in the hot tub. I remember walking into the dark kitchen, looking out, and seeing in the moonlight that Boots was up on the edge of the hot tub, rubbing along Tyler's head. I felt such gratitude for that cat, for loving him, and offering him the comfort that he would accept.

As she aged, she spent one winter in the upstairs bathroom. Some visitors surely thought it curious to have a cat with them in the bathroom, but I think we all enjoyed the company.

For the last couple of years, she mostly stayed in the laundry. She occasionally enjoyed sunning on a warm day, but seemed happiest in the peace and quiet of her room downstairs.

Every one of us knows the sweet loving comfort of a cat coming and lying by us (or usually on us) when we are sick--or just stationary. We have had so many loving cats. How lucky we've been. Boots was the last of the old guard.

She is buried up at the base of the ornamental cherry tree, one of Tyler's favorite places. She was a great girl and is greatly missed.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

What I'm excited about this month

Take a look at the photo below. Housewives (and other food shoppers), how much do you think that produce would cost? Grapefruits, bananas, apples, asparagus, zuchini, cucumbers, romaine lettuce, bell peppers, pears, carrots, tangerines... How much? $25? $20? Wrong -- Thanks to my sister Karen, I have joined a local food co-op and I got that food for $15.  Basically right off the truck--without the middle men--no food wholesaler (bye, A to Z produce!), no friendly produce guy at Dick's.
The co-op was organized in Arizona, and they send trucks up this way every week, overnight Friday, for pick up on Saturday. You never know what you'll get for sure. My first week I signed up for the pick up in Layton. This past Saturday, I picked up at the West Bountiful City Hall. Here's what I got...

Again, $15.
Below is the Mexican pack I got the first week for $7.50 and the next one is the Italian pack (also $7.50) from this week. By the way, those tortillas in the Mexican pack were unbelievably wonderful.

So... it's fritattas for breakfast, fajitas for lunch, big pans of sauteed veggies for dinner--nightly, 2 bananas a day and an apple and a mandarin orange or tangerine. It takes a concerted effort to eat this stuff, but it's what we love (Tyler and Daniel would roll their eyes at this comment) and what we should be eating. Today (Sunday) I made roasted cauliflower and garlic in pasta, marinara with fresh basil, and asparagus.

It's so delicious and wonderful. If you're interested, the website is

Final photo - the cutest baby I know. My new grand-niece Jenna Christine Levie. So cute (and I love her name, which is my name, except mine is little Jenna. I kept the whole "we share the same name" thing to myself until after the official naming because I didn't want all of the other aunts, cousins, etc. to feel bad--until now.)

P.S.  Send zuchini recipes.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Sew Cool

Mom's quilting frames had a semi-permanent residence in the living room as we grew up. Made of some incredibly hard wood, they had narrow strips of denim attached along each side of the frame. Quilt after quilt was pinned to those strips of denim, and for days--sometimes many, many days--my mother would sit and stitch. She quilted--mostly single-handedly--literally dozens of quilts. We girls would occasionally pull up a chair, but I'm sure we (at least I) never made much of a significant dent in the job. As we grew older, she quilted less and tied quilts more often. She gave away so many quilts to newlyweds and new babies. She was not interested in the piecing of quilts, but she loved the quilting.

Until my sister MaryLynn--anticipating a first grandchild--became interested in quilting, none of us girls had carried on this hobby of Mom's. Thanks to MaryLynn's coaching, and motivated by the beautiful lap quilts she has made in the last couple of years, I am a quilter. (Can I claim the title after only one quilt? Well, I did. I've said it. I have quilted, therefore I am a quilter.)

Below is my first pieced quilt, a nine-patch variation (I think?), based thematically on herbs. Why? Because herbs are wonderful, and green is a favorite color around here.

The above pillow was a little experiment. I want to make a quilt with 15 of the above star pattern, but I wasn't sure I was up to the task of piecing that pattern.  I tested it on a Christmas pillow. It's not perfect, but it gave me the confidence that I can do it. So, Winter Star quilt is in the line-up.

Below is a scrap quilt Krista made for her boyfriend for Christmas. Allison also made one. (Did we take a picture, Alli?)

Next, a "quick" little appliqued wall hanging. Hah, right. This project was fun for the first two days -- the applique part (Thanks, Maggie, for doing most of the zigzagging.) After that, not so fun. Sort of wore me out. Wasn't finished until after Christmas, so it's packed up with Christmas stuff. Maybe when I take it out in 11 months, it will make me happy and the painful work will be forgotten. Like happens with childbirth.

Below, Maggie took scraps and made this cute little pieced quilt/sleeping mat for her grimy, entitled Westie, who surely doesn't appreciate it enough, but Maggie doesn't care.

Next, not exactly quilting, but reflective of my renewed interest in sewing--aprons for my girls. Maggie and I picked the fabrics, then I sewed them over Christmas break while the kids were sleeping (any time before 11 a.m.). I used the scraps I had left to make a little apron for Maggie

Finally, the fabric for my next quilt. It somehow seems wrong to take so many perfectly good-sized pieces of fabric and cut them into dozens of 2 1/2 and 3 inch squares. But it's exciting to imagine how they will all come together...hopefully into a quilt that looks like a field of daisies and red poppies.

That's the new hobby. As I look back, despite all the hundreds and hundreds of hours she spent quilting, I don't think my mother ever used it as an excuse to skip cooking a single dinner. Well, I don't either. Because I gave up needing an excuse years ago!

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Sunday, November 1, 2009

To Autumn

Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness!
Close bosom-friend of the maturing sun.
(Just a little piece of Keats's amazing poem about this beautiful season.)

We've been enjoying the fall. Each beautiful day is so precious because we know what's coming (and unlike Daniel, most of us aren't that excited about it).

Some fall stuff follows:

Maggie's first violin concert at CJH.

It brought back memories of Tyler's days in the orchestra.

Scott and I had so much fun taking the dogs up in the foothills above Centerville yesterday.

Those dogs are the most willing hiking companions. You never have to ask them twice.

See the picture below to get a sense of the cheerful additude we got when we made Daniel and Maggie go along on the hike today.

We actually had a great time. Daniel's smiling on the inside.

Halloween. Maggie and her friend McKenna--with their best 80s look going. McKenna's mom made Maggie's bangs look...actually a lot like the bangs I had circa 1986.

I know, I know, another blog post ending with Scott sitting in front of the fire. But this actually was a pretty cool fire. Scott's idea, Halloween night, a big fire on the driveway and corn dogs and apple juice for the trick or treaters. We sat out there for about three hours and had a great time.