Thursday, June 30, 2011

For the Beauties of the Earth

Chi-rho-iota page from the Book of Kells
Hi again!  This is such a beautiful image I thought I would share.  It is from Iona, Scotland and is an example of an illuminated manuscript.  Apparently the monasteries made these gorgeous picture books for a commission.  They would have text, but then they would "illuminate" the text.  This was especially helpful when so many people were illiterate.  This particular page is rather gorgeous I think.  There is an X, a P, and an I painted in, which stood for Chi-rho-iota, which meant Christ.  If you look hard you can see little faces and angels painted in.  It looks like a good illustration for a children's book, don't you think?  I think I am getting so much cool information.  I am loving this class.
So today I have 5 of my grandkids again.  I picked them up from Liz's.  She has been watching Kim's 3 plus her 2.  But today she is having mild contractions and I just thought it might be better if I brought them here so she could rest.  An early baby would not be a good thing!  Anyway, I feel like I am working in a prime environment for funny sayings today.  Especially Gabriel.  He comes up with such funny stuff.  He is 6 and extremely brilliant.  But he is also extremely active and curious.  I am trying to think what he said earlier that was so funny.  Oh, I know.  He said, "Look, Grandma!  That place where I had a scab has completely disappeared!"  I said, "Wow, that is totally amazing!  Where do you think it went?"  He answered, "Well, it just healed itself away!"  Love it.  Then he was telling me how hard it is, cuz the other boys don't want to play with him.  That is true unfortunately.  I think because he is always telling them how to do stuff.  He is just too smart, and I think he is a little intrusive with his knowledge.  But he is learning to be more diplomatic.  It is hard to learn to listen.  I think I had trouble with that as a youngster.  And I still have to tell myself to just shush!  Not everyone wants to know everything I have learned!  So.... sorry.  You probably feel the same.  But just remember you don't have to read this:)
Well, I will get back to my studies....or the laundry.  I am trying to get it all caught up.  I finally went and got paper plates and cups to cut back on the dishes.  With the kids here it piles up so fast.  So I have been trying to make it easier on myself.  Reminds me of a song.  But then most everything has a song written about it.
Oh, before I sign off I should share the sign downtown.  It said, "Minimalist-                     ."  :)
So have a wonderful rest of the day.  I am still pulling for you!  We're all in this together!  I hope all is well.  Take care.  Melody

Time

Good morning!  I am up early again.  Mel must have woken me up as he left for the temple.  He had to do a substitute shift this morning for a friend.  I guess I should say he got to do.  He enjoys working at the temple.  I miss it.
So it is already Thursday.  I keep wondering if time has speeded up somehow.  It is going by so quickly anymore.  I heard a theory about why it seems to go faster as you grow older.  It went something like this.  When you are small you notice everything because it is all so new, and your brain is constantly taking notice and time seems very slow.  But as you get older your brain takes many things for granted that are familiar, especially routines, so the time seems to go faster.  I'm not sure I buy that.  My brain still is always noticing things, and besides that I am challenging it with new concepts and ideas at school.  And time just keeps racing forward.  I even talk to myself about it, trying to take note of special events.  But here it is Thursday, June 30, my little sister's birthday.  And instead of being twenty or thirty something, she is fifty something, which means I am sixty something.  And it is all a little foreign to my thinking, which can't seem to catch up with these time markers.  And worst of all I have no control over this time thing.  It just happens.  Which I guess means I just need to let it go.  Do you know how much I hate that saying?  "Just let it go."  Well, that is another rant I could go on about, but I will spare you.
Do I sound upset?  Sorry, I am not.  I feel wonderfully blessed and happy today, even though I do feel a bit tired.  I keep thinking about how fun it will be to go to the mountains tomorrow.  For me it is almost as good as the beach.  And Redfish Lake has a very fine, sandy beach that reminds me of the ocean sand.  And beautiful vistas of mountains and lakes.  I am going to take my sketchbook and paints along.  Just watercolors, but that will be nice.  Then if I get something really nice going I could translate it into oil.  Last time I was up there I did paint, but I wasn't too happy with the results.  I hope I have learned a little more so that I can do better this time.  We are staying right on the river and I have been thinking I could set up there and at least draw some nice things....maybe while Mel fishes.  The thing I notice about vacations though is they go even quicker than regular time.  So I have probably imagined myself into a very busy weekend.  I will just go and see.  There is pleasure in knowing that we will be going to a beautiful spot.  Here are a couple of pictures from our last time up there.

Mt. Heyburn and Refish Lake
Well, I guess I have said my piece.  I will get on with my day.  I hope your day is happy and fun.  Take care out there and remember I'm pulling for you!  HAVVVGW!!!  Melody
Another shot of Mt. Heyburn with Refish Lake in the foreground

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Islamic Art and the Middle Ages

Hi again!  I am studying and I need a break!!!  So I thought I would share a few cool images, and thereby reinforce my own knowledge of them.  The first is the Maliwiya Minaret.  I think it is quite interesting.  It reminds me of the RLDS temple we toured in Independence Missouri.  I kind of wondered where they had gotten their ideas.  The next image is of the Hall of the Two Sisters found in the Alhambra in Grenada, Spain.  I love this!  It is so intricate in design and it really does look a little celestial.  I imagine that when you visit it up close and personal it is magnificent.  I hope I can someday!  This view is looking up into the dome where they have carved out very beautiful shapes called mukarnas.  I may have the spelling wrong.  Then those windows cast light on it all through the day, sending different light and reflections.  If you visit, my teacher said you have to make a reservation online to see it because they only take a few visitors at a time, and only limited times.  She said be sure to see it!  I think that would be fun!
Those are both from the Islamic period.  We also started into the early Medieval period today.  I really thought it was interesting.  We studied a little of the stave churches.   They were made of wood and very interesting, but many did not survive because unlike stone, they are subject to the elements.  Here is a stave church that did survive.  It is located in Urnes, Norway.  I think it looks fun to visit too.
Well, I guess I had better get back to my studies.  I am feeling like there is soooo much to learn.  I have been saying that all month huh?  Well, we covered 1000 plus years today.  That is a lot.  And I am sure we barely covered what really went on.  I am enjoying this though.  It seems that I have been so ignorant all of my life about all of this....and I didn't even know it!  I suppose I am just as ignorant about most of the amazing and wonderful history of this earth.  I am glad I have the opportunity to finally get a little educated:)
So I hope your evening is going well.  Mine is a little quiet.  I had five grandkids here earlier though, so the quiet is kind of nice.  I kind of like the quiet, but not the solitude.  Mel will be back in a few hours.  There is no mutual though because all of the girls are at camp.  I hope they are having fun.  It is a beautiful spot in Oregon....about three hours from here.
Have a wonderful evening!  Relax a little...if you can.  Life seems to keep us all pretty busy!  Take care!  Melody

Excitement






Good morning!  I hope it is for you today.  It is cooler here today.  We had a good thunderstorm last night. Mel and I sat outside and watched it roll in last night.  Where we live we see (and feel) the new storms come in.  We get wonderful winds and rain out here:)  I have actually come to the point where I enjoy it, especially after a really hot day.  Last week we had quite a storm and a friend took pictures of the lightning.  Aren't they beautiful?
Yesterday my teacher assigned three essays to be turned in with the final next Thursday.  They don't have to be long....but they do have to be concise and well written.  At least we have a week to work on them.  But I am a little nervous about this.  One of them is supposed to be how her class has helped us in our major and future career.  That is probably the hardest one for me.  First, because I am not sure what my major will be...illustration or visual art or?   And second because I am not sure this really is leading to a career per se.  I guess I will work this one out in my head for a while.  Mel said it would help me when I am a world renowned artist:)  Ha!  He is soooo funny...and fun.  We are planning a weekend trip up to Redfish lake for the 4th.  I am glad to go.  It will be a nice respite from the everyday stuff here.  But I would really like to get these essays out of the way so that I can just relax.  We are staying in a little cabin next to the Salmon River.  So it is not really at Redfish.   But that is just as well.  It gets noisy there on holidays.  We can visit and stroll and rent a sailboat at the lake, and then retreat to the town of Stanley.  I like the little town of Stanley.  It is just a tiny place, but it is picturesque and quaint.  It is fun to go to church there too.  The chapel has these huge windows that go up twenty feet or more looking directly up at the Sawtooth mountains.  Even if you did nothing but sit there it would inspire you to worship God.  It is so beautiful and amazing!  And it is right next to the airport, so if you love flying like Mel does, it could be a bit distracting:)  But it is all good.   I think I will attempt an essay...at least the start of one.  I have a little time before I have to leave for school.  Take care out there in cyberspace.  I'm still pulling for you!  And wishing you the best!  Have a most joyous day full of inspiration and smiles!  Melody

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

A Little Bit More

I am sitting here in my little art studio....ha, ha!...thinking this day is waaay too hot.  And realizing how much I wanted this heat just a few weeks ago.  The fickle nature of the human soul!  Well, maybe not everyone is like me.  In fact I would imagine there are people with jet skis that are so excited for this hot weather.  I can actually hear them if I sit out on the patio.  I think it is funny we live right next to a lake and we have no boat.  Not even a kayak or a canoe.  So I think I am going to have to fix that somehow.  Maybe if it had wings too....Mel loves flying.  So a boat with wings would be just the ticket:)  I am being silly of course.  Even if we had a boat I don't know when we would actually use it.   Better just to rent one when we have the opportunity to get away.
Lactose Intolerant

Mr. Kiwi getting ready for the beach

Zombies love their brain

I got an email yesterday with some funny photos someone took.  It reminded me of the egg photos we took in my photography class, although none were as clever as these.  The artist is Terry Border.  I think they are all OK, but admittedly I haven't looked at his whole website.  Here is the address http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/01/12/bent-objects-the-awesome_n_420168.html
Mail order bride
I can never get the link gadget to work on here, so you will have to copy and paste.  I will put a few of the images here so you can get started laughing.  That one isn't actually his address I discovered.  So here is his address
http://bentobjects.blogspot.com/
Well, now that I have cheered you up:)  I had better get on with my day.  The dishes are calling!  And the laundry.  It kind of reminds me of a children's story.  Maybe I could start my career as a children's book author with a laundry theme.  Sorry.   I am just feeling so silly today.  I really need to get some sleep!  Have a lovely afternoon and evening!    Oh, one more thing...actually two.  I got back my quiz and paper from last week and I got.....shall I keep you in suspense?  Ha, ha.  Such fun I am having.  See?  I really am silly.  I got two A's!  I am happy about that.  I feel so validated in this major.  HAVVVGE!  Melody

Tuesday

Me as the Hobo:)
Good morning!  I am bravely showing off my sign for girl's camp.  With Mel's help we got it finished and on the trailer up to camp.  I think it will make the girls feel special:) They have a cute skit planned about being homeless.   And the conclusion is that song "Homeless".  I think it is by Michael McLean about how Jesus was homeless.  Was He really?  I will have to read up on that one.
So today I am off to school again.  Only 6 more classes!  That is the quickest I have ever gone to school.  I am thinking it is a good way to get classes done that don't require a lot of busy work.  I wouldn't want to take a painting class this way!
Well, just wanted to say hi, hope your day is going well.  Keep up the good work.  Smile. Stay positive.  Take a walk.  Smell the roses:)  I'm still pulling for you!  We're all in this together.  HAVVVGW!!!  Melody

Monday, June 27, 2011

The Last Lap

Good afternoon!  I passed one more test!  In fact I think I passed with flying colors...is that a weird saying or what?  Anyway, I knew all of the images and also all of the answers to the questions.  I just probably did some dumb thing....I won't know for a while.  The teacher is still grading the last quiz...and the paper we wrote.  But today she had some wonderful news....only one more test!  The final, which made me gasp to think it is next week.  She did say it won't be on all of the class but just on the information we haven't been tested on yet.  That is such a relief!  And it won't be until Thursday next week, the last day of class.  So I won't have to cram over the 4th of July weekend, which is also Mel's birthday weekend, since his birthday is the 3rd.  It will be nice not to have to worry the whole weekend about images and facts.  She did say we will have an essay question on the final.  I don't always do so well on essays under pressure.  I like to have time to mull things around in my mind and write it a few times...read it out loud...sing it...maybe even dance to it.  You know, until it feels comfortable.  I think she is going to give us the topics ahead of time though, so maybe I can do all of that.
Well, just sending out a quick howdy.  I hope your day is going well.  Keep smiling!    Melody

Another Test

Good morning!  I am up and studying some more for my test this morning.  Today we are being tested on the Hellenistic Greek period, Roman Republic, Early Roman Empire, High Roman Empire, Late Roman Empire, and Early Christian period.  It is a lot to know, and I am feeling just a bit overwhelmed.    I think I have the images in my memory now.  I am mostly worried about the short answer questions...like explaining the architectural innovations of the Romans.  Did you know they invented cement?  And the barrel vault and groin vault and coffers and triumphal arches.  I am writing all of this to reinforce what I have studied.  It is crazy to learn so much in such a short time.  But I do think it is helping me to understand the western world's view of art.
So, after the test ...and then lecture...which will be on Byzantine art today...I am planning to come home and take a nap!  But first:) I need to assemble the signage I have done for girl's camp.  I decided on a doorway out of fence boards with our "Welcome to Hobo Heaven" sign across the top.  Our YW president really wanted some kind of entrance, so I hope she is pleased with this.  It is rather silly I think to have these themes and make them so elaborate.  But...I am only a pawn in this game.  I just think women get a little ridiculous about decorations and such.  Camping should be about camping!  Learning to make a fire, cooking on one, hiking, lashing, fishing, etc.  Maybe swimming:)  I think the boy scouts would never have decorated a camp sight.  But perhaps that is the difference between male and female thinking.  I just guess I missed some of the female genes or something because I don't enjoy decorating as much as many women do.  I even like simplicity in my own home.  It starts to feel cluttered to me when things are not functional, but merely for show.  Oh well.  This is something I am learning to accept about myself and others.  It's not that I don't appreciate good interior decorating...I just don't want to live in it:)
Well, enough about me.  I hope things are going well for you out there in cyberspace!  I'd better get studying!  Keep smiling!  And HAVVVGW!!!  Melody

Sunday, June 26, 2011

The Rose

Good Sabbath!  It is a beautiful sunshiney day here today.   And I feel like life is good.  Not fair, but good. And I get to teach a lesson on moral agency to my young women today.  I think it  is a good lesson for them...and me.   I like being reminded that all choices have consequences.  Often the consequences are delayed, but eventually you see them.  A couple of years ago when my world seemed to be falling apart I think I lost faith in that concept a little.  I felt like I had done all of the things I was supposed to do for my children.  We were faithful with scripture study and family home evening, and family prayer.  But they were still making choices that I could see had terrible consequences.  And I questioned that seriously....how was that possible?   And of course it boiled down to the lesson I am teaching today.  We are all blessed with the right to choose....but unfortunately not the right to choose the consequences of our choices.  Now with a couple of years gone by, I can see that even though some poor choices were made that the Savior's love and grace are there for each of us, working to help us face the consequences and to strengthen us and forgive us.  I am so grateful for Him.  And it makes me think that all will be well eventually, and that the bigger picture is good and fair.  I am so grateful for that perspective.
So....my picture today is one that Mel took yesterday of a rose in our backyard.  One of the symbols for Christ is a rose.  I like that since they are my favorite flower.  And this year they are fantastic with all of the rain.  I have never seen them grow so large.  All of the fertilizer and insect and disease sprays I have put on them in the past, and all they needed was more rain:)  It makes me think I am a little like that....all I need is more of the water from the true well of life....like the woman at the well.  I think some day I am going to try painting that again.  I really love that story.
Well, I guess I had better get going.  Taylor is still here, so I need to get him up and going.  He has been such a delight to have here.  I think I need to have each of my grandkids here on a one to one basis.  I love the time to get to know them a little better.
Have a glorious, gorgeous Sabbath day.  Remember I'm pulling for you!  We're all in this together!  Keep smiling!!!!!  Melody

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Rushed

Hi there!  I have had a really strange day so far today.  I woke up with a phone call reminding me that I hadn't picked up my produce for Bountiful Baskets...I was supposed to be there by 7 and she called me at 7:25.  My bad, I guess.  Anyway I threw on some clothes and rushed to the drop off center.  I got quite a haul, which is good since I usually split it up with some of my kids.  Then breakfast...Taylor wanted waffles but we settled for French Toast (Mel's favorite).  Then I had to go pick up some wood for signs I am making for girl's camp, but had to put gas in the Explorer to haul the wood....went to Walmart and lost my keys:(  Went back in to find some kind person had found them and turned them into customer service.  Anyway, it has been a rather run around hectic kind of morning.  So I thought I had better blog and clear my head of all of these things buzzing at me.  I still have to study for Monday's test, although I have already put in a few hours and I think I have most of it learned now.  I also have a lesson on agency tomorrow for young womens, and I need to make a handout for that.  I put a first coat on the wood for the signs I am making for the Hobo camp the girls are doing as their theme.  I think we will call it Hobo Heaven, at least that way I can feel like a little good went into the theme.  I looked up ideas for a hobo themed birthday party and found some good ideas for other signs.  It is funny.  I think because I am taking art people think I am the logical choice for making signs.  But of course that isn't really so.  Oh well.  I will have fun making them I think.  It is old fence board, so a few paint strokes spelling out phrases about train crossings and such should do the trick.  I am not going to camp this year because of school.  I am kind of glad for that.  I love being with the girls, but I don't do the ground and tents so well anymore.  Last year I took my trailer, but I was a cook and it was allowed.  I don't know that a trailer would work as a camp leader.
Well, I hope your day is not as hectic as mine.  I plan to relax a little and take it at a more regular pace for the rest of today.  I'm still pulling for you!  Have a most wonderful day!  Melody

Friday, June 24, 2011

S'more Please

Good afternoon!  I just got this in an email and thought I would share.  It gave me a little chuckle.

"While on a road trip, an elderly couple stopped at a roadside restaurant for lunch. After finishing their meal, they left the restaurant, and resumed their trip.
When leaving, the elderly woman unknowingly left her glasses on the table, and she didn't miss them until they had been driving for about forty minutes.
By then, to add to the aggravation, they had to travel quite a distance before they could find a place to turn around, in order to return to the restaurant to retrieve her glasses.
All the way back, the elderly husband became the classic grouchy old man.
He fussed and complained, and scolded his wife relentlessly during the entire return drive.
The more he chided her, the more agitated he became.
He just wouldn't let up for a single minute.
To her relief, they finally arrived at the restaurant.
As the woman got out of the car, and hurried inside to retrieve her glasses, the old geezer yelled to her,
'While you're in there, you might as well get my hat and the credit card.'"
Pretty funny, huh?   I like those stories of old people.  I guess I am one now:)  Well, I hope your day is going well.  I am having fun with Taylor.  I bought some of those huge marshmallows to make S'mores for a fun activity tonight.  We may have to find a place to build a campfire!  Sounds kind of fun.  Maybe we'll just clear a space out behind the fence.  I don't know if you have to get a burn permit to do that.  HAGreeeat Evening!  Melody

O Ye Mountains High!

Good morning!  It is another beautiful day here.  And best of all Taylor is visiting us for the weekend.  He is my grandson of course, but also my best buddy.  We like doing things together.  We have already made pancakes from scratch using whole wheat and oat flour (YUM!)  and real maple syrup of course.  And we did have bacon too I must confess.  I don't usually eat like this, but it is fun to make a little boy happy with something as simple as a pancake breakfast.
I think we are going to have a library day today.  I don't think kids get to the library as much anymore with the internet so accessible.  But I think there is nothing so wonderful as a good book to read.  Taylor is a fantastic reader and so I think we will look for Treasure Island, or some such wondrous adventure.  He is reading C.S. Lewis at present..."The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe."  I am pleased that he enjoys reading too.  At 8 years old, I am not sure how vast his comprehension is, but I was reading things at his age that I only half way understood.  The nice thing about a book is you can read it again and again.
Half Dome in Yosemite
I am including one of my favorite pictures of Half Dome.  Ansel Adams took this one I think.  It is so peaceful looking with the moon rising.  I would love to be there in Yosemite valley.  I think we will have to take a trip there this year.  It is one of my favorite places on the earth.  I love how majestic the mountains are, rising abruptly from the valley floor.  And I love all of the waterfalls.  I think it is in the movie "Maverick" where there is a scene with the Indians in Yosemite valley.  They took the shot right where my family used to swim.  I love to watch that scene!
So I also will have to spend some time studying.  I have another test on Monday.  It sure makes the weekend less free.  And I wonder how much of this I will retain.  But it is all good.  At least I am challenging those brain cells, and hopefully fighting the plaque!  I think my mom was having some symptoms of Alzheimer's when she was seventy, and quite pronounced by 75.  So it makes me think I could also be challenged in a rather short time.  I heard drinking water helps:)  I am not kidding.  I heard from a friend that she read about how the synapse can break if it is not well hydrated.  I do hope the research can help find some more definitive preventative measures.  I really don't want to lose my memory!
Well, I guess I am being a little too worried about something I have no control over.  I will work on the things I do have control over.  I do love life, and I am enjoying it most every day.  I hope you are too.  Take care out there in cyberspace.  Life is so amazing.  I feel blessed to be here.  HAVVVGW!!!  Melody

Thursday, June 23, 2011

The Real Artist!

Mel just called me out to the backyard to witness this gorgeous sunset!  The picture is not even half as beautiful.  It was much more orange and purple.  But thought I should share anyway!  HAGE!  Melody
Mel said I should share this!

Scatter Sunshine

Santa Costanza

Buenos Dias!  I am writing to you from the inside of the Pantheon in Rome, Italy.....not really, of course, but wouldn't that be something?  Last night Mel said that he was talking to someone in the temple about how he would like to visit Switzerland, and it occured to him that he probably had better do more than wish for it.  I agreed, so we are going to plan a trip.  Of course it will be a long term goal I think, but I guess we will never go if we don't make it a goal.
Another place I think looks absolutely breathtaking is Santa Costanza, also in Rome.  I like these spaces where the light comes in through an occulus.  They look very celestial to me I guess. I hope I really do get to visit some day.  In class today the lecture was on the Early Christian period...from the beginning of AD til about 400.  It was very interesting.  But I had to admit that I am glad the lecture only went for a couple of hours.  If that had dragged on for a couple of weeks I may have not enjoyed it very much.  The art is really kind of flat and stoic.  I guess they were disgusted with the Romans by then and so didn't want their art to look like them.

Pantheon Interior
So I have a funny sign downtown today.  Are you ready?  "Entomology - fear no weevil"  I like that one!  Especially since I do kind of hate bugs.  I didn't use to when I was younger.  In fact I really liked catching bees and keeping them in a mason jar.  Especially those big angry wasps!  Of course they wouldn't have been angry if I didn't stick them in a jar.  I sure wouldn't do that now, although I am not particularly afraid of them...I just think they are creepy:)  I also had a particular affinity to roly polies, or pill bugs.  They are not really an insect according to the internet, some kind of isopod.  But I loved to collect them and then watch them curl up into little round balls.  My grandkids still enjoy playing with those kind of bugs.  They are easy to find out here.


The other funny thing I have to report happened yesterday as I was coming home from the store.  We live way out here in the country, so I do see things I haven't ever seen before every once in a while.  But this one I never expected to see.  From far down the street it looked like a woman walking her dog...a rather large, white, fluffy dog.  Then as I got closer I realized the head was way too big and fluffy for a dog.  About ten yards away I could see she was walking a sheep!  A very clean, well-groomed sheep on a head halter and a leash.  I almost turned around in the car to get a picture, but I didn't know her and I felt a little foolish asking.  Now I wish I had just asked.  I don't know if I will ever see such a sight again.  It was like a reenactment of Mary and her lamb.  Quite unusual and also unforgettable.  I would love a picture to reinforce the one in my mind! 
Well, I suppose I have chattered away long enough.  I hope your day is going well.  I like the smiles and sunshine of the summer:)  Take care and HAVVVGW!!!  Melody

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Yeah, yeah

Pont du Gard
So here it is. I finally got the gadget to work that uploads pictures.  Isn't this remarkable? I really like it.  Today our lecture was on more of the Roman period.  Those emperors were really rascals!  Luckily we don't have to dwell on the nasty particulars of what actually went on in the Coliseum.  We just looked at the barrel vaults, and such.  I like that our teacher said, "When you plan your trip for Rome, be sure to give yourself at least a week to see things."  It is kind of fun to think like that.  Today I am thinking, "When I plan my next trip it will be to Boise...for class:)"  It is about a 45 minute commute, and I do get tired of it sometimes.  It helps to have a fun little car.  I play a game with myself, trying to see how good of gas mileage I can get.  There is a little gauge that tells me.  I have found if I use cruise control that my mileage is not as good.  But that if I am careful I can get it up to 42 miles per gallon on the freeway!  Not bad for a Honda.   Remember the first Hondas, how cheap they were?  And they were built cheap too I think.  Now they are pretty reliable.  I am really liking mine!
Well, I didn't intend to write much.  Mostly just putting up a visual:)  I'm getting pretty good at the new age lingo!  Something I've noticed my teacher says a lot is , "Yeah, yeah!"  really quick, like a cartoon character or something.  I suppose it could be some kind of electronic influence coming into the language.  I can remember my 8th grade English teacher drilling us on how to say, "Yes" properly.  No yeahs allowed!  I must be in a talkative mood.  I keep adding stuff:)  Hope your day is going swell!  Melody

Water, water everywhere...and not a drop to drink

Good morning!  I have been trying to upload a beautiful scene of the Pont du Gard in Nimes, France.  I am having trouble getting the uploader to work.  I'll try it again when I get through blogging.  It is quite impressive...a Roman aqueduct that is so beautiful.  Those Romans knew how to build beautiful arches!
So today is another warm beautiful day.  It's supposed to be in the nineties here.  I like this warm weather, but the plants sure need lots of water!  I've been listening to the npr program on water the last couple of days, and it makes me realize what a precious thing it is.  I especially liked the story of the Indian professor from UCBerkeley that invented a system to purify water so that people in India...and now all over the world can have clean water.  It was an ultraviolet light set up.  The only catch is that it needs some source of electricity.  But it works and has improved health conditions.  I thought, wouldn't it be nice to feel like you had done something to help people in your lifetime?  I guess I have helped a few people.  But this man helped stop a cholera epidemic that was killing 10,000 a month.  I guess we are all blessed with different talents...some one , some 2, some 5.  In the parable that Jesus taught, I have always thought it was interesting that the one blessed with the least amount of talents was the one who hid it...and was later reprimanded for doing so.  I guess no matter what or how little we are blessed with, it is our duty to share and lift others.
Well, I need to get going.  Just wanted to send a friendly hello out into cyberspace.  Take care and HAVVVGW!!!  Melody

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Anxious

Hi!  I am a little anxious since I am headed to the dentist in about a half an hour.  So the best therapy?  Blogging:)  I suppose you think, "Why?  She never has that much to say!"  Well, it is not so much the saying as it is the writing and the reading and seeing what I am actually thinking.  That is what stopped me from writing all of those years ago after my son died.  I could see how really sad I was and I didn't like seeing...and frankly couldn't cope with it.  So I did a lot of other things to try to just "get through it."  I have learned since that it isn't something you get through.  It is something you learn to accept and go forward...even when it is really painful.  And at times it still is very painful.
So today I figured out a curious thing....I am half way through this summer semester...or at least my first class.  It has been 2 1/2 weeks already!  So 2 1/2 more before it is over.  That is incredible to me.  Then I will start another 5 week class.  This one will be the second half of foundational art.  I have to take it before I can take any upper division art classes.  The teacher is the same one I had for photography and for the first half of foundational art.  So I think it will be fun, since I get along with him well.  I just hope it doesn't get too busy.  I am glad it is one class at a time.
Well, what else can I tell you of little consequence?  I am baking a cake.  A banana cake...from scratch.  I had some very ripe bananas to use up.  And I love making this particular cake because it reminds me of my Grandma Phillips.  She was an excellent baker.  And her cakes were out of this world.  I particularly liked her banana cake...although this isn't her recipe:(  Those got lost when she died.  Probably most of them were in her head anyway.
Well, I have successfully blogged through my anxiety.  Hope your day is going well!  Take care.  Melody

Top of the mornin to ya!

Guten Morgen!  I am off to listen to a lecture on Roman art this morning.  I really don't know what to expect as I didn't read ahead in our book.  I find it more interesting to be surprised just a little.  Then I read afterwards and get a nice review of the lecture.
Today I have more dental work done.  I get crown preparation today:)  I know...it sounds like something for a princess:)  I wish!  I really am not fond of drills...or shots.   Hopefully I can distract myself with thoughts of the Roman Empire or at least maybe my dentist will start singing "Boom de ya da" again.  That really was funny last time.  I think we all have camp on our minds lately.  The girls go next week, and he has a daughter going I think...and the scouts have it sometime soon also and he is a scout leader.  I suppose I should teach him my song, "Road Kill".  The scouts would love it.
Well, I didn't leave myself much time to blog this morning.  I hope you have a cheery day!  Take care and remember I'm still pulling for you!  HAVVVGrrrreatW!  Melody

Monday, June 20, 2011

If I had the Wings of an Angel

Happy Family Night!  It is Monday night the world around:)  And I am feeling so blessed.  First because I think I aced my test today (Yay!).  I have to tell you that I was very lucky to have answered all of the questions right...at least the ones identifying images.  My mind was thinking well this morning, but I was confused about one of the slides.  It was either the Parthenon or the temple of Aphaia...and I couldn't decide which.  So I asked the teacher if she would show the slide again.  I am glad I did because she then said, "We have looked at many temples.  But you must realize that this one is most representative of the ones we have studied."  That sort of cinched it for me.  I crossed out the temple of Aphaia and put the Parthenon.  That was 6 points I would have missed.  Then after the test as we were going through the answers she asked me if I had gotten it right.  I think she was rooting for me:)  And I was thankful for the extra nudge in the right direction.  The lecture today was on the Hellenistic period of Grecian art.  It was very interesting.  I really like the emotion and movement in these pieces.  You can really see the people as they must have been, and it is amazing the works they did.  I think my favorite is this one: "Winged Victory".  It is beautiful!  Originally it sat on top of a fountain, and the flowing water must have made her garment look wet.  It is amazing how the artist made the garment look wet by making it look thin and gauzy.  I am amazed at that.  I think that would take such patience and skill.   It is now in the Louvre, in Paris, and my teacher said, "You must be sure to see this one when you are visiting at the Louvre."  I like that she talks like that.  It makes it seem possible.
As it appears in the Louvre
Tonight for FHE we had dinner out on the patio and listened to the Tabernacle Choir.  I am hoping we can hear them for their Pioneer Day concert at the Conference Center.  It is free, but you have to enter a random selection process online.  I would love to see and hear them...I think I have only heard them in conference.
We also examined all of our little fruit trees.  We are growing a small orchard I think.  We have an apricot tree that is large and loaded with fruit.  We have two small cherry trees that also have lots of fruit.  Then we have six or seven peach trees that we will also get fruit from this year. And a plum tree that is also loaded.  The apple, pear and other apricot trees are still too immature for fruit this year.  But it is fun to see how our little trees are growing and happy.
Well, I guess I should go dish up some ice cream or something.  I hope you are having a nice family night.  Take care.  HAWFHE!  Melody
P.S.  Did you know you can "like" Alexander McCall Smith on  Facebook and read stories?  He has some tea stories on his sight today.  I think he is a great author...and he seems to like blogging almost as much as me.  Of course he is much more interesting...and he makes money at it:)
A little closer

Monday Hi!

Good morning!  I have been up for a couple of hours now...studying.  I didn't want to study on Sunday, so this is the sacrifice...getting up early.  But I think I have the information in my head now.  I just hope I can pull it out as needed:)
It was fun to see the kids and grandkids yesterday who came over for dinner.  And it is nice when they all leave and it is quiet again.  I guess I am adjusting to the quiet....sort of.  It helps that there is schoolwork.  It keeps me thinking of other things besides how quiet it is.  I think it is funny.  When it is so quiet, I wish for some noise and activity.  Then when it is noisy and active I start remembering how nice the quiet is.  Maybe if I just keep a nice balance it will all be fine.
So here are some of the pictures from our little jaunt up north this last weekend.  I thought you might enjoy seeing some of the scenery...and the inside of my favorite restaurant in McCall.  It is called The Foglifter Cafe.  It has nice big windows that I love to sit by and soak up sunshine.  But there wasn't much sun.  It was still nice though.  Their food is good too:)
Looking toward the windows

Looking out of the window:)

Looking back toward the inside of the restaurant

The swollen Payette River

More River
  I also put a little clip on Youtube of the river with the noise that accompanies it.  The address is: http://youtu.be/v004HX58n8s
OK, I have been saving the sign downtown for when I have nothing to say:)  So here goes...."Huh - the primary word of a teenager's language".  And "Rocks - the original unfinished furniture".  I think that last one goes along with my art history class.
Well, I hope you have a wonderful day out there in cyberspace today.  It looks to be a good one here.  Take care and keep smiling!  Melody

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Father's Day

Mel with baby Matthew

My father and mother
Happy Father's Day!  I love this day to honor fathers.  And it has been great so far.  I had a nice long talk with my dad on the phone.  I am grateful for telephones....and cell phones.  It was funny...right in the middle of my YW lesson (I use my iphone to look up scriptures) I got a message from my dad:) I had to ignore it during my lesson, but it gave me a little extra boost knowing he was thinking of me.
My grandma and grandpa Duffin and great grandma and grandpa Riding  My
mom is the littlest one in the picture holding her grandpa's hand.

We have three of our kids and families coming for dinner.  That will be fun.  I have brownies in the oven that don't seem to want to cook all the way.  I keep putting them in for 5 more minutes.  I usually don't bake such a big batch when it is just the two of us.
In other news:)  I have memorized all of the images for my test tomorrow.  The test is on the Egyptians and the Greeks.  Kind of amazing we have covered two whole civilizations in four days.  That is a lot to remember.  I am having a hard time with names of places.  And I hope I can remember who goes with what place.  Also the different philosophies are interesting to me.  I was thinking today how in Egypt the temples and tombs were places to honor their dead.  In a way, our temples are also to honor the dead.  I guess all people have concern for their ancestors.
We had a wonderful talk by Brother Ellis, our high counselor, this morning.  He asked four questions at the beginning of his talk. 1. Why did Noah do so little fishing on the ark?  2. What did Noah use to light the ark?  3.  How did Jonah feel when he was swallowed by the whale? 4. Why did Moses wander for so long in the wilderness?  Okay...ready for the answers?  1. It's hard to fish for very long when you only have two worms for bait:)  2. Floodlights:)  3. Jonah felt a little down in the mouth:) and the best one....4. Because even back in Moses' day men didn't like to ask for directions:)  I love when talks start out with a little light humor.  I always pay better attention...maybe because I'm hoping for more jokes:)  It was a good talk about David and Goliath.  He compared the 5 smooth stones that David used to five tried and true principles that we all can use when faced with opposition.  It was so timely, because my lesson for the YW was on overcoming opposition.  Lately it has seemed things have been very coordinated that way.  I like when my lesson is reinforced by the messages in sacrament meeting.  Although since they speak first it is probably the other way around.
Well, I guess I had better get back to fixing dinner.  I hope things are happy and inspired where ever you may be today.  Take care and remember I'm still pulling for you!  Life is so wonderful at present.  I guess the trick is to look on the bright side of life...which I am learning to do!  HAVVVGW!!!  Melody

Saturday, June 18, 2011

A Father's Day Tribute

Good evening!  I trust it has been a wonderful day out there in cyberspace.  Things are good here too.  We are home and glad for the short break.  I just wish we had a week or so to really take a vacation.  Oh well.  Life marches on!
Since tomorrow is Father's Day I thought I would write a little something about wonderful fathers:) I have a line of wonderful fathers in my life, starting with my own father of course and extending backwards and forwards. Backwards to my grandfathers whom I knew quite well, and my great and great-great grandfathers that I didn't know at all except from stories from my parents and grandparents. I wish that home movies could have been invented then. I love to look at their pictures and wonder what they were like to know. But I think they know me. I hope that they are not too disappointed in their curly haired great granddaughter. They sacrificed a lot so that I could be here, in America, free from so many of the hard things in life. I am so grateful to them all. Their lives must have been difficult and unsure at times. I am glad for the good decisions they made.
And I am grateful for my own father who has always been kind and giving. He is a man among men. I think he is truly Christ like in so many ways. He has always been an example of love and good will to me. It has never been hard for me to imagine a kind Heavenly Father because my earthly father was so much like Him. Then going forward there is my sweetheart and best friend, Morley:) His real name makes me smile. It is a name he doesn't use much, preferring Mel. But I love him by any name and I am so grateful that he loves me. I wonder that he does. He has been a wonderful father to our children, and I know they look up to him for his example and also an occasional handout:) Yeah, he is pretty generous with them all.
I am also grateful for all of the other righteous men in my life...related and unrelated. It is reassuring to know that there are still good men that I respect and admire, who try hard to do what is right. I think they are getting to be a little less common, and I am so grateful to be associated with the ones I know. It is not easy to be a good person in this wicked world. So thank you for your example and precepts!  They don't go unnoticed.
Well, once again I have gotten a little gushy. I do that when I talk about things or people dear to my heart. I hope Father's Day is special and well celebrated in your neck of the woods. Take care and HAVVVGE!!!! Melody

Good mornin'

Good morning! Cascade is beautiful! I have the Egyptian images memorized. Now for the Greek! Flashcards help but I may have to draw clothes on the statuary to bring them up to church dress standards:). Even studying is nicer in the mountains! I hope things go well out in cyberspace today. I'm still pulling for you! We're all in this together! Have a wonderful day!

Friday, June 17, 2011

Muchness Found!

Good morning!  It is a beautiful sunshiney day here today.  And we are headed up north:)  I love to travel, even if it is just for a couple of days.  And the blue waters of Cascade Lake are calling me today.  They are bound to be a little cold though.  The news reports say that there is still plenty of snow in the mountains this year.  And it is only supposed to reach seventy something down here in the valley.  But warm or cold it is still beautiful!  And I always love it up there.
I am including this painting I did of our ward campout last year.  It is hard for me to believe only a year has passed since I painted this.  I have learned so much since then about drawing and painting.  But even though it is full of flaws, I can appreciate the painting more now.  And I think I am learning to be kinder to myself about the things I draw and paint.  I have learned a whole lot about methods and why things are done a certain way.  And I have learned why it is sooooo important to take the time to draw something accurately before you try to paint it.  Even with watercolors which tend to be so much looser, I guess because they are also so unforgiving.  I still love watercolors though.  I wish they taught it at BSU.  Yeah, they don't.  I am not sure why.  Maybe no one knows how:)
Well, I best be getting on with my day.  I hope yours is joyful and full of wonder.  I feel a little like Alice...I think I have found my muchness again!  Take care out there in cyberspace.  Life is certainly full of joy, despite the disappointments!  I am so grateful for the great plan of happiness!  And for my Savior who makes it all possible.  HAVVVVGW!!!  Melody

Thursday, June 16, 2011

More Gibberish...Tired!

Hi!  I have tried to sit down to blog a couple of times today.  But somedays it is harder than others to find a bit of alone time.  Yesterday I obviously had a lot of that.   Today not so much.  I got my first test back in art history.  I got a 39 out of 38:)  There was an extra credit question.  So I am feeling very good about that.  Then we had to turn in our review of the Time magazine article.  I only rewrote it 3 times.  But I corrected it more like 7 times.  I am a good proofreader generally, but every once in a while I get a word misspelled or a sentence not quite right.  So I suppose I am a little OCD about homework anymore.  I like it to look perfect anyway.  I don't know how eloquent it was:)
I had lunch with my daughter Kim today.  She is also going to summer school.  It is the first time I have seen her on campus.  It is a pretty large campus with lots of students and we are not in the same buildings.  Although today we were in the same parking lot.  I met some of her classmates and one of them remarked, "Did you bring show and tell today?"  Meaning me of course.  We both laughed and then explained that I was also a student.  Must be a little weird for her to be going to the same school as her mom.  She had no second class today so we had a nice lunch and visit at Baja Fresh.  Yummy food.  Then I stopped at the mall to pick up a Father's day gift for my dad and Mel.  So now I just need to mail the one to my dad.  I hope it gets there in time.
The thought occurred to me that I have been putting a lot of historical pictures on here lately and none of my beautiful environment.  There is a house down the hill...the one with all of the sheep....that has the most beautiful row of peonies.  This picture doesn't really do it justice, but it is so gorgeous I thought I would share and hopefully brighten your day just a bit.
It's a longer drive than it appears in this photo.  Foreshortening I guess:)
Well, I guess I have no wonderful wisdom to share.  I am pretty tired actually.  I have a lot to do still today.  My main assignment is to straighten out the auto pay in our checking account.  I switched banks because the service is so slow at the bank we have been going to, and they have been changing policies so that it is even worse.  And my son in law who is a banker said they are on their last legs as a bank.  So I switched to the bank we use for our business, which is local and friendly and never slow.  It is just a hassle to change things that automatically come out of the account.  So today I am going to get it all figured out.  I can do hard things!
So I hope this finds you well and happy.  Take care and keep smiling!  I will do the same!  HAVVVGW!!!  Melody

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

It's all Greek to Me:)

Temple of Aphaia, Aegina, Greece

It's Wednesday, and there's no mutual....so, I'm kinda bugged.  Will I ever get used to being in a lonely, quiet house?  I guess this will only last a couple of more weeks before the temple closes.  Then Mel will be home.  I would have gone with him, but I had homework and I was just there last night.  They cancelled mutual because of a ward campout this Thursday and Friday nights up in Cascade.  We are going up Friday night, but we are not camping:)   Mel said it is more expensive to drive the trailer up with our gas eating truck than to stay at the Ashley Inn:)  I didn't protest for a minute.  I am glad for a getaway, and I have already made the reservations:)  Yeah, I am not much of a camper anymore.  I remember I used to love to camp...especially in a sleeping bag out under the stars.  I think I did that mostly in the backyard though.  When we went camping we always brought a tent.  I do remember the fun of cooking on a fire...I got pretty good at it when we had kids of our own.  I remember making really greasy pancakes!  I love greasy pancakes....cooked in hot oil is what I mean.  So that they are kind of crispy on the edges.  Yum!  Then thick bacon and hot chocolate....I am making myself hungry, and I am not at all hungry.  Something about the smell of campfires that makes food taste better and writing about it almost makes it so I can smell the fire.  The other thing I remember about camping as a little girl, was swimming.  We always camped near a river, or lake, or some kind of swimming hole.  My family growing up really loved to swim.  We didn't think it was a vacation if we couldn't swim.  So I just assumed everyone loved swimming.  Unfortunately if you almost drown when you are small it kind of turns you off to swimming....which is what happened to Mel when he was very little.  He tolerates swimming, and swims quite well, but he doesn't love it the way I do.  So it has been one of those areas we have had to compromise.  The kids all learned to swim, but we went on lots of vacations without swimming.  And even now he would rather not be in the water.  Over the years I guess I have adjusted.  But I still love swimming and if I have the opportunity I love to jump in.  The ward campout will be next to the lake, but it is not a great place to swim.  Instead they bring up a few boats and ski.  I guess that is fine.  I love to ride around inside the boat.  My days of skiing are pretty much over I think.  Although I think I would try a jet ski.  You don't have to stand up to do that:)  I rode on one once about 20 years ago I think.  It was fun, but very fast!
Kore from the Acropolis
Today in class was good again.  We started learning about the Greeks.  I can see so much influence from their art in our culture of art today.  So far we have only studied the very early stuff.  But it is amazing and beautiful.  I like how it is starting to look more realistic.  The marble statuary is amazing!  How did they do that?  Do artists work in marble today?  Could I take a class on it?  Kenny took a sculpture class but it was more on making molds after sculpting clay.  I know I can do that, and I think I would love it.  But I would love to try a chisel.  Is that weird?   I guess I will just do what I am able for now.  It is all challenging enough.  One of the ladies in our ward asked if I would be bringing my paints to the campout.  I doubt it.  I will definitely take a camera...but I think it is kind of weird to try to do such a solitary thing as painting around a big group of people.  Last year I took a sketch book, and I felt a little strange sitting there drawing while everyone else was having fun.  So if I take a sketch book, I will go sketch somewhere else.  And what is the fun in that?  If we were going for several days it might seem more practical.  That's my story and I'm sticking to it.
I have been watching True Grit this evening.  I thought I would watch it while Mel was gone, since he was not too excited about it.  It is good, but it is a little more graphic than the westerns of my youth.  I suppose that is true of most everything anymore.  I do like the story line, but it was so intense that that is another reason I am blogging.  I have found I am too much of a...realist?  I always get so involved in a movie that it is hard to take a step back and see the pretend in it.  At least if it is done well.  And this one is.
Well, I guess I will stop talking your ear off....or filling your mind with more of my gibberish.  Thanks for reading this....or not....your choice as always.  I mostly just need to write.  And I guess I do like the audience or I wouldn't keep it up!  Here's wishing you all the best!  Take care.  We are all in this together, and I am definitely still pulling for you!  Have a wonderful evening!  Melody

Gibberish

Good morning!  It is supposed to be another beautiful day here....seventy something and sunshine.  I am a little tired, but not bad.  I will go to school and then take it easy this afternoon.  I like taking one class at a time.  It is not as stressful!  And I am liking this class so much.  Today we are studying Greek art.  So funny that in two days we have gone through Egyptian art.  I am glad there is a book with this class, or I might miss something:)  I think we only get three days for Greek art.  She said it usually takes 6 hours of lecture.  I was reading the chapter last night after the temple and I decided there was a lot to learn.  I hope I can retain this.  It is a little worrisome to me that memories are so elusive anymore.  At the temple last night I was greeted by one of the temple presidency brothers, someone I worked with a lot when I was a worker there, but it took me probably 10 or 15 minutes to remember his name.  I guess I am glad I remembered it eventually.  But it still bothers me.  I think it is good I am going to school.  It makes me think and exercise those neuro pathways....and create new ones.  I heard a story on npr about a mathematics professor that had severe Alzheimer's, but no one was aware of it until they did an autopsy after his death.  I guess his brain was full of placque, but they theorize he was constantly creating new pathways because of having to solve math problems.  As I am writing this I am thinking...is that accurate?  I suppose to be accurate with this story I would have to investigate npr's archives, and I have no time for that this morning.
Well, I must be on my way.  I hope your day is lovely out there in cyberspace land.  Take care and keep smiling.  I will do the same.  HAVVVGW!!!  Melody

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Pyramids and Chariot Wheels

Hi there!  I am having such a nice day today.  It is beautiful sunshine and warm today...I didn't even need a sweater this morning! :)  I always think I am such an old lady when I need a sweater.  My drive to school was especially nice.  I think seeing crop dusters really adds to the feeling of summertime in the country, and  I did see one this morning.  Then I guess it was nice to help out one of the other students in my class.  She had asked if she could borrow notes since she had a doctor's appointment yesterday, so I had them copied with images.  Don't worry, the teacher said we could do that.  Then class was interesting....all about the Egyptian Pharaohs.  When we were talking about Ramses II the teacher mentioned that he was the one believed to have been associated with Moses, although there is NO archaeological evidence to support that.   So I bravely raised my hand and asked if she had seen anything about the chariot wheels found in the Red Sea.  I said I didn't know if the finds were legitimate, but they were certainly interesting.  She got very animated and said no and where had I seen anything like that.  She has the computer on in there showing us slides, so she googled chariot wheels in the Red Sea.  It was amazing to me that she could do that.  Anyway, she told us why the evidence looked suspicious, but she said that she would investigate it further to see if there was any truth to it.  I like that she is open to students' queries.  Anyway, class went well.  Then after class the lady sitting next to me (also older like me) started asking friendly questions and told me she had lost her job and was back in school to get her degree, hoping she would eventually be employable again.  I asked her if she knew about the discounted tuition for seniors.  She seemed surprised.   So I explained it all to her and she was very happy to hear about it.  She was going to go over to the the administration building and find out more about it.  I hope she can get some money back.  It is funny to me that this is not well known in the community.  So I guess I am feeling good that I was able to help a couple of people today.  Then after class I talked to my teacher about the paper I have written.  It isn't due until Thursday.  I wanted to make sure I was on track with what I had written.  And she assured me I was.  Then I told her how much I had enjoyed the article, and that it was good to see that things had been discovered since I took a Bible for Literature class in 1970.  She said she had also taken a similar class and asked me where I had gone.  I told her BYU, and added that it might have been a bit biased.  She smiled and said that it sounded like it had been pretty fair.  Then she told me she had gone to Northwest Nazarene College here in Nampa, and that she was glad for the religious background in her education.  I told her I was also, and I think we both gained a little insight into each other's lives.  It is nice to meet people of faith.  I find that so many people do have faith in Christ and His teachings.  It is just harder in this day and age to share ideas about religion.
Then for lunch I came home and ate with Mel out on the patio again.  I guess we just started doing this because we have a new table out there with an umbrella.  Actually it is Kim's...she doesn't have room for it at her apartment.  It really does feel like a vacation to me to eat out there like that.  If I had known how I would feel about it, I would have gotten outdoor furniture long ago.  I think some of my earliest memories are of backyard barbeques at my grandparents house.  And I guess one of the favorite things I like to do on vacation is to eat outside....usually overlooking a lake or an ocean.  So eating outside is like an especially sensory experience for me.  Maybe as good as standing at the base of a pyramid in Egypt:)  I guess I forgot to write that yesterday my teacher talked about how wondrous it is to stand at the base of the Giza pyramids.  She said that they are huge, more huge than you imagine.  And that the desert is hot...more hot than you imagine.  And that the whole thing is an especially sensory experience that she hoped we could all experience some day.   Although then she said now might not be the best time to travel there:)
The Great Pyramids at Giza

The Sphinx at the Pyramids of Giza

So for the rest of the day....I am going to do a few errands, then study, and then we have a ward temple night.  I am glad for that.  The temple here is closing next month and will be closed for a year or so while they fix broken heating systems and what not.  It will be harder to even get to the temple as the closest one will be in Twin Falls, and it is small enough that you have to make an appointment.  They are building a new temple in Meridian, but they haven't broken ground for that one yet.
Well, I certainly hope your day is going well.  Take care!  I'm still pulling for you!  We're all in this together!  HAVVVGrrreatWan!  Melody

Monday, June 13, 2011

Post Script

I found the video.  It is called "Hugh Nibley- the faith of an Observer".   It is really insightful and I remember he had some very interesting insights into a tomb in Egypt.  I am going to have to watch it again.  I googled it and I think it is perhaps available in part on byutv.  Worth a try anyway.
Well, hope you have a restful night!  Take care!  Melody

I Passed the Test!

Buenos Dias!  It's been busy today.  I took my test and unless I missed something I didn't notice I think I got it all right.  Yay!  I am glad that is over til next Monday.  Today we started studying ancient Egyptian art.  It is without doubt some of my favorite, so I really enjoyed today's lecture.  There is a wonderful video about Abraham and Egyptian art ...one man's testimony or something like that.  The name escapes me now.
My visiting teachers came by today.  They are good friends!  I enjoy talking and receiving counsel from them.  Today one of them who is dealing with Alzheimer's with her husband, told me that there are different seasons in our lives, and that when things change she just tells herself, "Well, I guess I am in a new season."  She has such a positive attitude that I admire very much.  So I liked this insight into her thinking.  I think it would help me to be able to tell myself that.  So I am going to try it:)  I definitely am in a new season, and I just keep turning the corner to find something else new and different.  That should be exciting I think if I had the attitude to look at it that way.  I am sure I did as a child.  Maybe that is part of becoming more childlike.
Tonight is family home evening.  I think I would like to plan something fun....after I take a power nap:)  I feel a little tired.  But I think I would like to try a bike ride....or maybe just a short walk.  My knee is doing so much better.  I am glad for that.  Maybe the ducks need feeding:)
Well, I hope your day is going well.  Keep smiling!  There is so much to be happy about!  Take care and HAVVVGFHE!!!  Melody

Testing, Testing!

Good morning!  Just a greeting before I start studying for my test this morning.  I think I have the information pretty well memorized.  But I am still concerned about whether it will be easy to retrieve.  I have study pages with all of the essential information and images, so I will go over that and hope that it is an open note test:)  It won't be, but I can hope can't I?
Well, I hope you have a lovely morning.  I will write more later.  Take care out there.  And HAVVVGW!!!  Melody

Sunday, June 12, 2011

I Feel My Savior's Love

A Lovely Sunday Afternoon to you!  I have spent the last couple of hours outside at the patio table playing Cranium and Uno with Mel and Taylor.  Both games were kind of interesting.  In Uno for some strange grandchildish reason there were only green and blue cards.  I guess I never did get around to going through the games when the kids moved out.  So I will be on the lookout for the rest of the deck.  But we still had fun playing it.  Then Cranium had old dry playdo, so I went to grab some out of the playdo box.  Guess what?  No playdo box:)  As a grandmother I have always had a box with playdo and cookie cutters.  It is essential equipment.  I hope I can find it because there is probably twenty years of gathered cookie cutters in there.  I just wash them real good before I use them on cookies.  Sigh!  We still had fun playing games with Taylor.  He really likes playing games, and I think it is good for him to have some human interaction while he is playing.  He is a cutie.  He goes back home tonight.  Then tomorrow the rush and cramming information into this old head begins again.  I probably need a nap today just so that I can function again tomorrow.
My lesson went well today, but the best thing that happened was this.  I have a young woman in my class that at first was hard to reach.  She most often just skipped class, but when she came she sat away from the rest of the girls and frowned.  I have been working hard to reach out to her and I have felt that I made a small amount of progress.  But today she invited me to sit by her in opening exercises, and she called me her fearless leader, and then said that she only called the people who were her real teachers that.  It made me feel that once again my prayers and efforts had been answered.  She is a sweet young lady, and it is thrilling to see her in class participating and even smiling!  I do love teenagers!  They can be so wonderful.  I think most of them just need to know that someone thinks they are terrific!  As I recall I had a hard time feeling very good about myself, so that I really liked anyone who gave me any encouragement or friendship.  Come to think of it, things haven't changed all that much:)
The weather here today is beautiful!  Mel said he saw a deer in the meadow down the hill as he was going to Bishopric meeting.  I love to see deer.  We see them so often now, but it is still a thrill.  Sitting out in the backyard we could hear birds calling.  And there is a slight breeze that makes the sunshine just perfect.  I guess a day like today makes the gloomy ones quickly fade into ancient memory.  I hope we have more bright and sunny days.
I wanted to record a little happening before I forget it.  We were at the Faris's house Friday night with Taylor.  Jodell's family is full of famous painters...Leon and Del Parsons are her brothers.  Anyway Taylor was looking at a painting that Del had done of Jesus called, "I Have Prayed for Thee".   It is a beautiful painting.  I asked him who he thought it was.  He said, "Jesus."  I said, "What is he doing?"  He said, "Well, he is praying for the poor people so that they can be happy and won't have to have miserable lives."  It was very thoughtful.  He thinks deeper than I realize.  And it is amazing to watch a testimony grow.  I think he will be a good missionary some day.
Well, I guess I will go take that nap.  I hope your day is restful and full of the love of the Savior.  I have been thinking a lot about all of the blessings He has given to us, and to me personally.  I do stand all amazed.  And my heart is filled with love for Him and His wonderful saving grace.  May His blessings be with you and your loved ones is my wish today.   Blessings to you!  Melody

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Drat, dagnab it and all of that Jazz:)

From the ancient city of Percepolis
Good evening!  I think I just wanted to pretend to be Boris for a moment.  Anyway, I have had a great day until just a few moments ago when I realized I agreed to teach the Beehives and the MIA maids tomorrow. I don't mind the extra girls, but I realized... that also means extra handouts.  So I am taking a minute's break to kind of adjust to that idea.  It is really no biggie, just adjusting to the idea that I am not all finished is.  Sigh!  So, as I am writing this I am printing out 8 more handouts.  Then I will make 12 more goody bags:)  The lessons seem to be more well received if they know there is some reward for listening:)
I am feeling much more prepared for my test on Monday.  I have been studying most of the day.  I am including a picture I think is very cool.  It is from the Persian era.  I guess they were more peaceful than many conquerors.  Their art is even kind.  This stairway shows all kinds of different people going up to meet the ruler.  No lions eating any of them!  I guess women were still not treated well, but it was progress.  Besides learning all of the material we studied last week, I also had to write a response to an article she had us read from Time magazine.  I am so glad she had us read it.  It was from 1995, so kind of dated, but it was about the findings in the region we are studying and whether or not they support the Bible.  The interesting thing is that back in 1970 I took a class on the Bible as literature, and a lot of the "evidence" they said then, that showed the Bible couldn't have been written at the time they happened, has been shown to be false with new archaeological finds.  So instead of challenging my beliefs in this sacred record, it has strengthened them.  I think that is kind of cool.  One of the advantages of being around for a while.  I think I may start making a list called the advantages of being old:)  Today at the store Taylor said something about how really old people need a cane.  And I said, "Yes, I had to use one for a bit.  But I am not really old."  He got real quiet and smiled.  I said, "You think I am really old?"  He said, "Yes."  So I said, "Grandpa Phillips is really old.  I am only old."  He agreed.  But it made me think how he must think of me....like I thought of my grandmas.  They did seem sooooo old.  Am I really that old?  I don't think I feel that old yet.  It's just kind of weird to think about.  My dad says to me, "Just wait til you're my age.  Then it is really weird."  And I guess it must be.
Well, I'd better get back to my lesson preparations.  Thanks for listening to me:)  HAGE!!!  Melody

Hammurabi :)

Hammurabi's Law Code

Close up of Hammurabi with Shamash (seated)
Good morning!  I am including pictures of Hammurabi this morning.  This artifact was found in  Susa, Iran and is from the Babylonian period.  Ha, ha, now I can count this as studying:)  He was an interesting ruler apparently.   The law code was similar to the laws found later in the Old Testament (according to my teacher).  They were like an eye for an eye kind of laws.  I think it is fascinating.  I just am having trouble remembering that this was found in Iran instead of Iraq, and that it is Babylonian.  But I will keep at it.  Taylor is over and he was quizzing me last night:)  He is a very positive helper.  He would exclaim, "Right!" whenever I got anything right.  He is turning into a very sweet and considerate little boy.  I am so glad!
Today I guess I will be studying, but I also have household things calling me.  It is good to be studying ancient history.  It reminds me how lucky I am to be living now when women are well treated generally and there are machines that do so much of my work for me.  I have pictures of my grandma Duffin with her sisters out in fromt of the hotel her family owned...I think in Panaca, Nevada.  Grandma said that they washed the sheets and towels by hand....and ironed them.  I don't think they had electricity, although I may be wrong about that.  But I know they used tubs and washboards and it was tiring and tedious work. Clothes lines were a must.  Things smelled better of course, but it was intensive labor.   I just sort the clothes, put them in a machine with soap and then turn it on.  Later I transfer things to the dryer and then the hardest part is folding them.  I have it soooo easy!  I am grateful for permanent press!!!
We stayed up way too late last night.  We went to our friends' the Faris' for dinner and then played games way too long.  It is fun to visit and they have a beautiful yard!  Bob is an avid gardener and Jodell loves flowers and gardening too.  So it is fun to see all of the flowers blooming and so happy with all of the rain we have had.  Their irises were especially beautiful!  But this morning I am kind of groggy from dreaming about trying to find a tablecloth all through my dreams.  I hate when I have frustrating dreams!  I wake up kind of worn out!
Well, I guess I had better start breakfast and wake the troops (only 3 of us this morning).  Here's hoping your day is wonderful out there in cyberspace!  Take care and keep smiling and I will do the same!!!  Melody