Why I have a blog

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Since I never seem to get around to sending out Christmas cards or letters, I decided to blog a bit to keep my fans updated. :-)

Wednesday, April 22, 2009


The tulips survived last week's heavy spring snow. Hurrah!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Which of these have you done?

I've successfully ignored all the "tagging" thingies, but this one appealed to me. (Thanks Daurene!) The game is, you copy and paste it into your blog and bold the ones you have done. If you don't have a blog, either start one, or, as a backup plan, leave a comment. :-)

Give it a try if you have a few minutes.

1. Started your own blog
2. Slept under the stars
3. Played in a band
4. Visited Hawaii
5. Watched a meteor shower
6. Given more than you can afford to charity
7. Been to Disneyland
8. Climbed a mountain
9. Held a praying mantis
10. Sang a solo
11. Bungee jumped
12. Visited Paris
13. Watched a lightning storm at sea
14. Taught yourself an art from scratch
15. Adopted a child
16. Had food poisoning
17. Walked to the top of the Statue of Liberty
18. Grown your own vegetables
19. Seen the Mona Lisa in France
20. Slept on an overnight train
21. Had a pillow fight
22. Hitch hiked
23. Taken a sick day when you’re not ill
24. Built a snow fort
25. Held a lamb
26. Gone skinny dipping
27. Run a Marathon
28. Ridden in a gondola in Venice
29. Seen a total eclipse
30. Watched a sunrise or sunset
31. Hit a home run
32. Been on a cruise
33. Seen Niagara Falls in person
34. Visited the birthplace of your ancestors
35. Seen an Amish community
36. Taught yourself a new language
37. Had enough money to be truly satisfied
38. Seen the Leaning Tower of Pisa in person
39. Gone rock climbing
40. Seen Michelangelo’s David
41. Sung karaoke
42. Seen Old Faithful geyser erupt
43. Bought a stranger a meal at a restaurant
44. Visited Africa
45. Walked on a beach by moonlight
46. Been transported in an ambulance
47. Had your portrait painted
48. Gone deep sea fishing
49. Seen the Sistine Chapel in person
50. Been to the top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris
51. Gone scuba diving or snorkeling
52. Kissed in the rain
53. Played in the mud
54. Gone to a drive-in theater
55. Been in a movie
56. Visited the Great Wall of China
57. Started a business
58. Taken a martial arts class
59. Visited Russia
60. Served at a soup kitchen
61. Sold Girl Scout Cookies
62. Gone whale watching
63. Got flowers for no reason
64. Donated blood
65. Gone sky diving
66. Visited a Nazi Concentration Camp
67. Bounced a check
68. Flown in a helicopter
69. Saved a favorite childhood toy
70. Visited the Lincoln Memorial
71. Eaten Caviar
72. Pieced a quilt
73. Stood in Times Square
74. Toured the Everglades
75. Been fired from a job
76. Seen the Changing of the Guards in London
77. Broken a bone
78. Been on a speeding motorcycle
79. Seen the Grand Canyon
80. Published a book (Does my self-published family cookbook count?
81. Visited the Vatican
82. Bought a brand new car
83. Walked in Jerusalem
84. Had your picture in the newspaper
85. Read the entire Bible
86. Visited the White House
87. Killed and prepared an animal for eating
88. Had chickenpox
89. Saved someone’s life
90. Sat on a jury
91. Met someone famous
92. Joined a book club
93. Lost a loved one
94. Had a baby
95. Seen the Alamo in person
96. Swam in the Great Salt Lake
97. Been involved in a law suit
98. Owned a cell phone
99. Been stung by a bee
100. Seen Mount Rushmore in person
101. Learned to play an instrument

Friday, April 17, 2009

Bad influence?

A friend called me on Friday to see if I would go with her and her daughters to the Animal Shelter to "look at" the animals. The girls have been begging for a pet for a loooonnnng time. She wanted me along to help her be strong. I told her that if they went and looked at potential pets it would be hard to come home without one. I did agree to go, but secretly, I knew I would be little help, since I am a sucker for cats and dogs.

When we arrived at the shelter, we checked out the dogs first -- the medium-to-large ones. There was much barking going on, and the youngest daughter clapped her hands over her ears for the duration. We took a couple out on a "walk" in the parking lot and decided that they were just to rambunctious.

Next we tried the small-to-medium dogs. They weren't quite as loud (because there were fewer of them), but the girls didn't see any they were interested in.

We then looked at the cats. They were nice and quiet (score 1 for the cats). One by one, we took nearly every one out of his or her cage. We all liked a small gray female, and when I picked her up, I thought to myself, "I wonder if she is pregnant?". When the Shelter employee returned, we asked about the cat because there was no information posted on the cage. She looked it up and determined it was a stray, so no info was available. She then picked up her and said, "Oh, this one is pregnant!" (Apparently that had not been noticed previously). She was a very sweet cat, did not seem nervous that we were handling her, and seemed to be shedding far less than the others. So...she came home with us.

Guess what the first joke of the day was? My friend called her husband at work and told him that they were sheltering an unwed mother.

If anyone asks my friend, she will say that it is MY fault they now own a cat. All I did was point out how sweet and calm she was. Sheesh. She really is lovely little cat - very affectionate and a purring machine. I think they are going to call her "Nudge" because she frequently comes up and nudges you with her head to send the universal "Please pet me NOW" signal.

Here's the second joke of the day. The woman at the shelter guessed that the cat will deliver in a couple of weeks. Not long after we got the cat home, it occurred to me that in two weeks my friend and her husband will be out of town for a weekend and I will be staying with their children (and now their cat) while they are gone. I'm guessing the odds are very good that the kittens will arrive on MY WATCH.

On a related theme, my parents are test-driving two 3-year old golden retrievers this weekend to see if they want to keep them. I suspect they will. Harveys are suckers for cats and dogs...All of 'em have pets except for me.

Why am I holding out? Two reasons.
1) I don't like cleaning up after them
2) A couple of close friends are highly allergic to furry animals (husbands excepted) and I don't want them to be uncomfortable in my home.

So, for now, I will have to get my pet therapy when I visit my friends and family.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Why I love living in UTAH!

When I came home last night just after 9PM, it was not snowing. It had snowed earlier in the day, so I had a few inches on my lawn, but nothing on my drive or walks.

This morning, I peeked out at the patio in the back and saw this, so assumed the front would look the same.

HA! What a surprise when I opened the garage and found at least 8 inches of snow, if not 10 or 12. Apparently, the maple tree in the back shielded the patio from the snow.

My tulips are SO CLOSE to blooming, but I'm wondering if they will survive this. They are hardy little things, so I give it a better than 50/50 chance.


The apple trees look quite fetching in their temporary white coats.


The maple tree in the back did not fare as well, and I have 2 limbs down.



The mailbox

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Remembering my Mission President

My Mission President, Paul L. Ward, passed away this month. At the last minute, I decided to travel up to Boise for the funeral. As I listened to the speakers, many memories of President Ward flooded my mind. Here are a couple.

Not long after I got my second companion in the field, our mission president told everyone that if a missionary complained about an inability to get along with a current companion, that companionship would be extended at least another month so that the two individuals could work it out. That wasn't a problem Zuster Pollard and I were having -- in fact, we had been great friends from day 1. Our problem was that we hoped to spend the holidays together, and that neither of us would be transferred out before the New Year.

That year, we managed to acquire some cans of pumpkin (not a normal Dutch commodity -- we made a connection with someone at a US Military base) and found we could order small turkey at a local store, so we decided to put together a Thanksgiving dinner with the rest of our district. (Prep day was on Thursday then.) Since we had such grand plans, we extended an invitation to our mission president and his wife, and to our delight, they accepted!

During the meal, President Ward asked "so sisters...how are you getting along?" Just the opening we had hoped for! We told him that we hated each other and were not getting along, and needed to stay together at least until after Christmas in order to "work things out". He laughed and told us he would keep it in mind. And as luck and inspiration would have it, we stayed together until January.

Later in my mission, I had a companion who was not a native English-speaker (nor a native Dutch-speaker). I was her second companion since she had arrived, so she was still struggling quite a bit with the language. Communication between us was tricky, because she had to listen the first time I said something and determine whether I was speaking in Dutch or English, and then I would have to repeat what I'd said so that she could sort out the words. Those who know me well know that I'm a bit of a smart-aleck and rely on humor to get me through many a rough spot. Well, humor was lost on this poor girl who was struggling with both English and Dutch. I soon was only saying what was absolutely necessary, in the clearest way I could. That meant no plays on words, no goofy comments, pretty much no funny stuff at all.

About 2 months into this companionship, our president paid us a surprise visit. He asked to visit with me, and we went outside and sat on the front steps. "How are you doing Zuster Harvey?" he asked. "Fine, President" I replied.

"How are you really doing Zuster Harvey?" he asked? "I'm really doing just fine" was my reply.

"Zuster Harvey, how are you really doing?"? he asked again. The third time was the charm and I finally shared my struggles and concerns. I was so touched that he would go out of his way to stop by and check in with me and give me a chance to express my frustrations. That seemed to ease my stress level and give me the capacity to deal effectively with the communication challenges for another 2 months.

My Mission President was one of the best men I have ever known. Kind, compassionate, fully committed to doing what was right. I know his wife will feel his absence keenly, and my heart goes out to her. Farewell for now President Ward!