Saturday, December 15, 2012

Memories of Grandma

Memories of Grandma

            There are many ways one could describe Joye Ella Freeman Anderson.  She was a spunky court clerk who worked for many years alongside her husband, Judge Keith Anderson.  She was a devout member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.   Joye was an avid reader and had a deep love of music.  She was a socialite and enjoyed her monthly club meetings with her friends. One could even describe Joye as a ‘biker babe’ as she spent many a mile riding motorcycles with Keith.  But I would choose a different way to describe Joye.  I would choose a word that speaks of kindness, adventure, generosity, and love.  That word is Grandma.

            Grandma was fun. Childhood adventures were her specialty. Summer day trips on the Heber Creeper Railroad were an annual favorite.  We would ride the train up the canyon, visit the old fashioned shops at the Heber Station, and enjoy the scenery and each other’s company as we rode along to the clickety-clack of the rails. Other expeditions took us to the zoo, or to Salem Pond to feed the ducks and have a picnic.  I remember thinking Grandma must be rich because she would buy us a brand new bag of Wonder bread to go feed the ducks.  Once Grandma and Grandpa started collecting motor homes it was a special treat to join them on a trip to Yellow Pine in the Uinta Mountains.

            Grandma was beauty.  From the sparkling crystals hanging from the chandelier in the entryway, to the glorious blooms that always filled her yard, to the sleek lines of her Cadillac, Grandma liked beautiful things. High heeled shoes, fur coats, and shimmering gems were always a part of Grandma.  Appointments to get her hair “done” were a part of Grandmas weekly routine. You had to get up pretty early in the morning, literally, to catch Grandma before she “put her face on”, but if you did, she would let you sit in the bathroom and watch as she carefully applied her makeup in front of her mirror with the adjustable light settings. Grandmas home was always impeccable, and had a special smell- I think it was a mix of her moisturizer, combined with fabric softener, and a splash of Grandma magic mixed in. It smelled like love and security.

            Grandma was holidays. On Valentines Day each of us would receive our own tiny box of chocolates. On Easter, she would hide bags of candy and colored eggs throughout the shrubs in the backyard for us to find. On Memorial Day she would load up the trunk of the car with what seemed to be dozens of jars of carefully cut lilacs and irises, or pots of mums, and lovingly place them on the graves of every known relative and ancestor in the area. Never a birthday passed without a special wish from Grandma.  She spent the months leading up to Christmas creating some kind of crafty sensation in bulk. One year a whole gaggle of decorated wooden geese took over the back room, the next year a large flock of stuffed sheep were her project. Yet another year produced enough pound puppies to fill an entire animal shelter, each one embroidered with one of our names across its haunches.  But Christmas Eve was the crowning glory for Grandma. It was a truly magical time for all of us. Some years Santa or one of his elves stopped by after we’d enjoyed a lavish holiday dinner. There was always new Christmas pajamas and an abundance of holiday gifts.  We were spoiled- but it was marvelous!

            Grandma was food.  In recent years Grandma was a cheap date as her preferred meal of choice-a scoop of cottage cheese and a side of biscuits and gravy-would set you back about $3 at Jim’s Family Diner. But not long ago, she was a fantastic cook. She would make mountains of mashed potatoes, perfect lemon meringue pies, pink apple jelly, and the fluffiest scrambled eggs I’ve ever seen. We all recall bowls of macaroni and tomatoes, eaten on a TV tray while we watched the lunchtime news. Grandma would invariably offer you a drink if you came to visit, and there was always a plentiful supply of Sunny Delight and an assortment of sodas in the fridge.  If you needed a snack, there were pudding cups, bottled peaches, microwave popcorn, fruit snacks, and tiny colored marshmallows to munch on. If Grandma didn’t feel like cooking you could look forward to stuffing yourself at Chuck-a-Rama, or getting a kids meal at Wendy’s.

            Grandma was a haven. We all loved to have sleepovers at her house.  She would tuck you in with an army of stuffed animals to watch over you in the night. Then just before she went to bed herself, she would turn on the night light in the bathroom in case you needed it, and tiptoe in to make sure the blankets were snug around you.  I would lie there with my eyes closed pretending to be asleep while she came in.  If it was just the girls spending the night, she would let us each choose a flowing scarf, a silky nightgown, and a long pair of socks- pulled up to our thighs, and we would put on a performance. Grandpa would play the organ, and we would dance and sing with the whole valley as our audience, watching through the large bay window in the living room. 

            Grandma was ingenious.  She inspired us with her firm belief that a stack of paper cups was the answer to boredom.  Turns out she was right. You can go bowling with paper cups. You can fill a paper cup with berries that you’ve picked.  A paper cup makes a lovely temporary habitat for a bug you’ve captured. You can build a tower with paper cups.  If you have enough paper cups- and Grandma always did because she had a dispenser of tiny paper cups in every room in the house- you could build a fort, then knock it down and build it again. 

            Grandma was loyal. She loved her family fiercely, and once you were in, you were in. A break-up or divorce might cause a diplomatic removal from the picture mantle, but not ostracism. Her charitable nature left her with a soft spot for strays.  It wasn’t uncommon to find Grandma taking care of someone. From a neighborhood cat named Tom that would hang out at her house during the day, or a neighborhood kid that happened by, to a grandson that needed a place to stay before heading off to college, to the occasional ‘random friend staying in the basement until they can get back on their feet’, Grandma would do almost anything to help the people she loved.

            Grandma was generous. If you needed to earn money for something she would always find you some chore that needed done, and then pay you far more than you were worth.  We organized cupboards, mowed lawns, polished plant leaves with mayo, swept the porch, and washed cars.  I remember Grandpa watching with great trepidation as all the grandkids gathered in the driveway to wash his shiny black car one evening. The streaks and spots seemed to literally pain him, but both he and Grandma stood by and endured our “help”.  Another time, Grandma offered their new Cadillac as transportation for their 16-year-old grandson’s prom date.  Again, Grandpa stood by, pained, as Grandma sweetly smiled, and somehow got her way.
            Grandma was family history. She kept volumes of records on ancestors, and was proud of our pioneer heritage, and our family claim to fame as descendants of George Washington’s drummer boy. She preserved family memories with vast albums filled with photos.  If you sent her a letter she would save it.  If you were in a play at school she would save the program. If your picture was in the newspaper, she would buy about 20 copies and clip it. If you sent her a wedding invitation, baby announcement, or thank you note, it went in a file or a drawer. She was so proud of each of us, and each of you, that she treasured your every milestone.

            And now Grandma has gone on to her next milestone. And while we will miss her hugs, her super speedy phone calls “just to hear your voice”, and her unconditional support- we are so very thankful for the time we had, and are grateful that she can now go be with Grandpa, because she has missed him desperately.
            Grandma was love, and we will miss her.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Things I learned "Bach'n It!"

Here I sit.  All alone.   Jared, Brandon and his two boys have headed to the coast for a week of scout camp.  Andrea is off enjoying waterslides at a hotel in Idaho, and Collin is on his way to spend a few weeks in Canada working on his grandparents farm....leaving me...all alone.  I figured I'd enjoy my down time in true bachelor fashion.  Maybe order a pizza and sit on the couch in my underwear watching a bunch of movies. 

But I couldn't.

The laundry was calling, floors needed vacuumed, bathrooms need cleaned, and I've been on a redecorating kick lately. So first I set out to spruce up the kids bathroom.  Until today it has sported a lovely beige shower curtain, some beige towels, and a beige rug.  Spiffy, eh? As part of my redecorating fervor I found the cutest "like new" bright tree frog set on Craigslist to jazz up the "beigeness". But before I could put my newfound treasures in their rightful places I needed to clean the bathroom.

I rarely set foot in there, and I don't think I've cleaned the kids bathroom once in the 3 years we've lived in this house.  Now before you shiver in horror and decide I'm disgusting I will relieve your distress by telling you the bathroom does get cleaned every week...but the kids do it. However, what I learned today (among other things) is that they don't necessarily hold themselves to the same cleaning standard that my Grandma does.  Luckily for them I will continue to afford them the opportunity for further practice.

As part of my cleaning process I learned where that foul, radioactive stuff comes from that they inject into Superheroes to make them lose their powers.  I think it's the murky liquid from the bottom of the toilet bowl brush holder in my kiddos bathroom. Ewwwww. 

Moving on from that vomit inducing visual....

At this point I ran out of paper towels (because I used A LOT of them to clean out the aforementioned toilet bowl brush holder) and I went in search of a rag to use to finish the less offensive jobs.  Now, this shouldn't have been a problem as I at some point had a plentiful supply of rags.  However, like unattended cookie dough left in the fridge, they seem to disappear at an alarming rate. Today I learned why.  My husband is a hoarder.  Not normal gross hoarder things like food and old newspapers...nope.  B hoards rags.  I'm not sure what troubling event transpired in his childhood to bring this on- and I can't explain why one man would need boxes, bags, and bins full of rags. He has a plentiful supply of shop rags to use for his assorted home and automotive projects- but that's not enough.  He requests rags for Christmas- tells the kids he'd like rags for Fathers Day, and now he has apparently decided that all the rags in the house belong to him- in his garage.  There lying at the back of his workbench was my latest supply of rags- fresh from the laundry and neatly folded.  Whatever....

Now the bathroom was clean and I could put on the finishing touches. This was the point in my day when I learned I was cheap. (OK, I actually already knew that, but had it reiterated to me) As I put out my Craigslist bathroom treasures I recoiled at the listed prices on the still attached price tags.  $54.99 for a garbage can?  $18.99 for that adorable- but plastic- frog shaped soap dispenser? *gasp* $41.99 for the tissue box cover??? Who really needs a tissue box cover?  All these, along with the shower curtain, 2 rugs, a switch cover, curtain rings, and frog shaped mirror clings was mine for the value price of $40.  Ya gotta love my good friend Craig and his awesome list!

After replacing the shower curtain, rugs, soap dispenser, etc. I went to replace the boring white switch cover with my new delightful tree frog cover.  That is when I learned that just because you CAN pry most anything off of a wall with a flat screwdriver doesn't mean you SHOULD.  (Hopefully I can glue the fan dial back together and hide it before Brandon gets home!)

Anyway, enough of my rambling on.  I think I just heard the pizza delivery boy pull up!

Saturday, February 19, 2011

RX for Sunshine!

Dear Insurance Company:

A few weeks ago my husband went to the doctor for a regular check-up.  They called back recently to let him know that after running his blood work, he was Vitamin D deficient.  Vitamin D...the good stuff we soak in from sunshine.  As you may be aware, we don't see a lot of sunshine here in the Pacific Northwest from about October until May.  We are a pasty, gloomy people, trudging about in our galoshes covered by golf sized umbrellas. 

I, being a loving wife who is concerned for my husbands health, as well as my own, decided we must do something to remedy this vitamin deficiency.  I'm sure you can understand why we don't want to settle for possibly unregulated or imported vitamins from a bottle. I am currently working hard to find a sunshiney environment where we can soak up the necessary nutrients.

I realize whatever destination I choose will be out of my in-network area, so will only expect you to cover the cost at the out-of-network 70%.  Would you prefer to handle the reservations yourself, or shall I just submit our itinerary along with a copy of our medical coverage card?

Thank you for your ongoing concern with our health and well being.

Saturday, January 22, 2011


I have discovered that a sure fire way to get all those pesky little  chores around the house done is for me to start a big project that I dread doing. Last week I planned to paint the bathroom.  I didn't want to.  I taped off the molding, then walked away with an overwhelming urge to do laundry.  Came back a while later, slapped on a coat of primer, then felt compelled to clean out the fridge rather than continue in my drudgenous task. (And I am NOT one of those people that cleans out their fridge with any semblance of regularity)  Reluctantly I returned to put on the first coat in the bathroom, then was drawn away to organize a cupboard. A little more paint...think I'll go bake

Today  I have multiple "things" I'm procrastinating.  I'm supposed to teach a lesson in church tomorrow...hmmmm....maybe I better start the taxes instead.  Started the taxes.  This proved to be more stressful than the original lesson I was avoiding.  Decided it was urgent that I remove all the dead leaves from my plants, and water and fertilize them.  Came back to the lesson for a bit.  Had an anxiety attack. Watched an episode of Grey's Anatomy.  More anxiety as it left off with Izzy stopping her boyfriends heart in order to move him up the transplant list while Dr. Burke, the heart surgeon, lies bleeding in the parking lot with a gunshot wound. Aaaugh!!! (yelled in a Charlie Brown frustrated voice!)

I suppose I'll go rotate the laundry, get out the Valentines decorations, start dinner, itemize my charitable donations for the year, see if Denny survives Izzy's desperate act, and then I've gotta get back to planning my lesson!

Monday, January 17, 2011


I used to love to paint.  I painted everything: chairs, tables, an innumerable amount of craft projects, playhouses for the kids, the mailbox, even the kitchen garbage can (That may have been going too far..)Once  I  painted cute little stepping stones with winding ivy all over my front porch.  I thought it turned out adorable- the teenage boy across the street wandered over, took a look, and asked me why I'd just spent 2 days painting potatoes on my porch...sigh...  Then I moved on to bigger projects- painting the boys room like a medieval castle and  Andreas room like a garden bouquet. One bathroom became a springtime retreat with a sky blue ceiling and wispy clouds, a white picket fence and flowers, birds and bugs.  Another bathroom became an Under the Sea Adventure complete with bubbles, shells, anemones and everybodys favorite clown fish- Nemo and his friends. 

Then it came time to put our house up for sale.  In the name of creating a neutral, buyer friendly home, all traces of creativity were erased and all the walls were to be painted white...blah.  I drove to Home Depot and purchased a five gallon bucket of neutral eggshell colored paint.  After loading it into the trunk along with all the painting supplies, new garbage cans, new outdoor mats, and other "curb appeal" paraphernalia I headed home.  It probably would have been a good idea to have unloaded the trunk when I got home, but I didn't.  This proved to be a disastrous flaw.

Later that day my husband took my car to run an errand.  He returned home shortly with a look of outrage on his face.  "Why was there a 5 gallon bucket of paint in the trunk?" he asked through tight lips and clenched teeth.  "We need it to repaint, silly!" I replied. ""But why was is in the trunk???" Now , I'm a pretty perceptive person, and it was rapidly becoming clear to me that there was a problem with the paint.  I followed him out to the driveway where the trunk was open, providing a magnificent view of the paint spattered trunk and all its contents.  "Oooops....."I  softly whispered.  "I guess I should have gotten that out of there..."

After much ado the trunk was restored to some semblance of functionality.  But I think Brandon was scarred from the event. Whenever he is driving my car and hears something rolling around the trunk (which is pretty much always as I keep filled water bottles back there) he turns to me, tightens his lips, and asks: "Do you have paint in trunk?"

After living in our new house for the past 3 years with its very neutral, very plain walls, I finally decided to break back into the world of color slowly.  After a trip to Ace Hardware I started the process of taping, covering (a great use for that leftover Christmas wrapping paper!), priming, cutting and rolling our master bath.  It is now a lovely shade called Lorelei (a light mossy green) and looks fabulous.  And I made sure to seatbelt the paint can in for the ride home!
Confession: This is not my bathroom!  But isn't it pretty?  :) 
Mine is  this color however!

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Take me away...

Here in the Pacific Northwest, the rains start in September or October, and don't let up for about the next 9 or 10 months.  This means that by about January not only is my skin a pasty shade of vanilla but my overall mood has taken a serious decline from the lack of sunshine and vitamin D.  My darling husband has learned that in order to get me through the gray spring months and into my happy season (summer) I need a Spring Break trip.  The planning and anticipation are nearly as therapeutic as the actual trip. However, planning a trip is not without frustrations!

Someone needs to invent a user friendly vacation planning web site.  The kind where I just have to put in the dates I want to travel, inform it of my meager vacation budget (or rather the meager budget I hope to attain after filing my tax returns), hit the return...wait while the little glowing dots travel across my screen to show me it is hard at work...then Poof!  Out comes a list of suggested vacation destinations given my limited criteria. would like to travel in March for less than $500 can go to Boise,  Reno, or South Dakota.  Willing to spend $1000?  How about Las Vegas, San Diego, or Phoenix.  But no.  Everyone of the darn sites insists I put in a destination.  Honestly, I don't care where I go.  I just want to go AWAY!!!! And it's got to be sunny!


Sunday, January 2, 2011

2010 in Pictures

In January the boys went on a father-son snow cave campout.

In February Brandon took his kids to the mountain to build an igloo.

In March we took a trip to California where we went to
Disneyland, Hollywood, Huntington Beach and Medievel Times

In April Collin turned 16 and got his drivers license

In May my sister Cara and her family came to visit. 
We went to VooDoo donuts for their famous bacon maple bar.

In June Andrea got to go to girls camp for the first time.

Also in June my sister Cassidy came to visit. 
We went on a jet boat on the Willamette River.

In July we made the annual mecca to Utah for the family trip to the cabin.

We also went to the aquarium while we were there.

In August my mom, my sister Justine and her son, and my little brother Hamilton came to visit.
 It was great having so many visitors over the summer!

In September school started
Collin is a Junior 

Jared is a Freshman

Andrea is in 6th grade

In October Jared donned his short- shorts for cross country.

Collin sported a speedo for water polo

Also in October our friend Gary took us out on his boat where we learned to sail.

In November we celebrated Thanksgiving with a big dinner with all the kids
followed by a trip to see Harry Potter 7 at the movies.

In December Brandon and I escaped to a bed and breakfast for Christmas

Followed by Christmas gifts with the kids and a trip to Utah to see family.
What a year!