Thursday, December 27, 2007

Good Game

I do. Our family grew up playing games and I still love them. I remember as a youth asking my mom to play a game with me because none of my four siblings would, and she would agree as long as it was Scrabble. I would always sigh, wishing she would go for Monopoly or Life, but would then agree to Scrabble. I was so desperate for "the game." Now I am thankful to my mom's more narrow interest in the game arena, because playing Scrabble has helped me learn my words. Though these skills come in handy for really no other reason than to take people on in Scrabble, I'm learning words just the same.

We were always impressed when Wendy's friend, Robyn B., would come over and kill us all in Scrabble. They were REALLY good in that family.

Ray has been my latest victim. When I met him, I learned that his family was big into Scrabble. That's when I knew I was in--I would even play with them without Ray! They are all really good too. They play "open dictionary" style in order to learn words, which is nice, though it does make for a long game. Nonetheless, Ray and I have adopted the "open dictionary" style ourselves.

Ray is better at the game than I would like him to be, and beats me more than half the time. That's OK--it doesn't make me want to quit playing. I've found that staying home and caring for these foster babies has increased my interest for more mind-taxing activities in the evenings. Besides that, its cold and dark outside. Thankfully Ray has been willing to humor me.

Here is the start of our game board tonight. It made for a tougher game later on because we had nowhere to build on!

And later...note our "2-letter words" cheat sheet at the bottom of the photo.

The finished board. Ray won, of course.

Go to this link if you need word lists for your Scrabble playing. Lists like: words with J, X and Z, 3-letter words, words containing 66% or more vowels, Q words without U, etc. They're very helpful!

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Killing Elephant

November 2006: I found myself needing something small and helpless to care for. Enter Milo. She stood out among the other birds in the cage at the D&B, and I had to have her. I thought she was a male, but turns out I was wrong. Isn't she a beaut?

In the wild, parakeets flock together by the thousands, so Milo got lonely. She would just sit there on the perch all day long, barely moving. Even two parakeets together are lonely, but at least they're not completely alone. So in March I couldn't stand seeing such a lonely thing, so got her a she-friend, whose name is "Ele" (short for "Elephant", named by nephew Ethan.) Milo was beside herself with joy. Here they are together.

Last week I almost killed Ele. I thought I'd wait to write about it just in case she actually did die, but she's still alive.

Long story short: I clipped their wings (you have to do it every few months or so if you don't want them flying around the house). I thought while I had them there I would go ahead and clip their toenails. If they get too long they get their feet caught on things. Don't clip their toenails too short, or you might hit a vein and they will bleed. I hit Ele's vein but she only bled a little and it appeared to stop--so I didn't think much of it. Until I came home a few hours later and found bird blood all over the perches in their cage. Aaaaah!!!!

I ran and googled for help. They said use corn starch or flour. They also said that a bird can die after losing just a few drops of blood. Ele had lost much more than that. That's when I started to panic. She wouldn't stay still to let the cornstarch work--she just kept bleeding.

I took her to the vet (first time in my life--taking a pet there!) who said she wasn't sure, but it looked like not just her nail but part of her toe had been cut off too!!! Aaaaaah!!! That's right around when I started to cry. She had me come in the back while she worked on Ele, because "birds often die when they are in trauma like this, and I need you to be here to witness it. For vet liability issues." Aaaaaaah!!!!!!!!!! "I killed my parakeet."--that's all I could think, and the tears ran down. But I knew I had not clipped that much off--I'm very careful when doing that.
About 5 traumatic minutes later Tana, the vet, got the toe cleaned she said that actually it did look like just the nail had been cut after all. She applied "bloodstop" and the bleeding immediately stopped. She sent some bloodstop along with me and wished me luck. I'll admit I was grateful that she didn't charge me anything. The whole way home I wondered if Ele would die because of all she'd been through. So far so good. She's still chirping as annoyingly and loudly when "Amelia" is attempting to nap.

Here they are after a bird bath, looking like wet dogs!

Thursday, December 6, 2007

McCall, Idaho

Have you heard of it? It is beautiful. McCall is located two hours north of Boise by Payette Lake. We try to get up there several times a year. Ray had some work he needed to do there so I tagged along with him and stayed two nights. We got to bring "Amelia" (the same foster baby we have had for 10 weeks) along with us and it was so fun! It snowed about 18-20" while we were there. Here are some pics from our hotel room.

Ray had to work early in the morning moving equipment in a bank so they could re-carpet, and then move it all back late that evening. So we had all day to find ways to spend the time. I iceskated at the rink overlooking the lake while Ray held Amelia. I didn't fall once, though I only made it around the rink about 8 times before my legs started to wobble from pure fatigue!! How sad that I am such a wimp. Notice the lake in the background.
All of our cutest pictures taken that day were of Amelia. I wish I could post them--she was so happy and smiling! Maybe someday...

For today, here she is pictured wearing her snowsuit by the lake and touching snow for the first time.

And here she is wearing her beret in the ice rink. She has some cute hats!

Thursday, November 29, 2007


You probably won't like the name (I didn't.) You probably won't like the looks (I didn't.) You proably won't like the loooong aisles (I didn't.) But once you shop there, you will like it. WinCo is one of the best parts about Idaho. Serious.Cheap prices, and bulk bins that never end, with even cheaper prices. WinCo's signature brand, "Flavorite", is decent as well. All in all, its the place to shop. They just opened a new location in our area, so everyone's especially excited.

Look: you can even buy your pet food in bulk! (OK--that grosses me out to have at the food store, but for some I'm sure its a convenience.)

I took a friend from Utah who was visiting to WinCo, and she couldn't get over how low the prices are. And while it may be a warehouse-type store, it doesn't have that warehouse feel that the one by Leatherby's did in Provo. BYU Grads: what was the name of that one grocery store? I forgot!

This is where I discovered my favorite Vinta Crackers--for the low low price of $1.98!
Long live WinCo!

Monday, November 26, 2007


Black Friday. Check out Wendy's blog to find out why we go (this was out second annual outing). One thing that Wendy didn't mention is that it is a great time to find things you've been needing for your home at excellent prices. I am somewhat of a cheapskate and really only like to spend money on deals. So while others are there merely for Christmas presents, I am out there for home items that I've been needing. My best purchase was a Chicago Cutlery knife set for $40, originally $90! Cutting has never been so nice.

This is outside Target. You probably can't see the news van in the background, but its there.
Look: the mists of darkness that BF is, actually captured on film!

Look at our great front row spot at the mall! Its happened two years in a row now.Anyway, here's my favorite story from that morning. We eventually found ourselves at Mervyns--our fifth store that morning. I found the Christmas present for my sister in law that I had gone there for and proceeded to the jewelry counter. That's where I always try to buy things in those types of stores, as there is never a wait. It doesn't have to be jewelry for them to ring it up.The girl behind the counter was calling "71? 71?" really loudly. So I asked her where to get a number. She pointed behind me and asked me what number it was. I told her "78" and she said, "OK--there must be people that have these other numbers." No one responded to 71, so she began calling 72. I looked around me and saw only 2 customers at the counter, both of whom do not appear to be ready to purchase. She then called out 73 and waited a little less time. Then 74 and waited even less time, but she still waited. I told her I liked her style as she sped up her calling out of numbers. Then 75, 76 and 77 while we both looked around, waiting for someone to run up saying that that was their number. Nobody came. Finally, she called out "78" (not loudly, but she still called it out! :) and I stepped forward with my clothing purchase and handed it to her. She said, "I'm sorry, ma'am, but do you have a jewelry purchase as well?" When I said "no", she said she couldn't ring up my purchase. I began laughing out loud as I went to find a different register, wondering in the meantime what that girl was going to do with her free time behind the jewelry counter!

After coming home from that early-morning adventure, do you think I slept? Nope--I raked the backyard! Just look at the piles!

Tuesday, November 13, 2007


Here's Ray (pictured holding two very cute babies on his lap!)

Sometimes he has to drive huge trucks like these. He does just fine.

Here's me.

Sometimes I have to drive a huge Suburban like this. Sometimes I do just fine.

Once there was a trash can tall, tall, tall.

Then I got behind the wheel of the Suburban, now that tall trash can is oh so small!

The scariest part is I didn't even feel or hear it when I hit it, rolled over it, and dragged the trash can for almost 50 yards. I was just beginning to wonder if there was something wrong with the Suburban when I saw a man a few houses down waving his arms wildly. "OK", I thought, "I must have a flat and he's noticed it."

When I got out and walked around the back of the car, I noticed this random gray trash can, crushed and still wobbling, in the street. "That's weird", I thought. "I wonder what that's doing there?" It still did not dawn on me, so I continued to inspect the tires. When the nice man finally got to my car, I glanced back down the street and noted trash (mainly Amelia's and Peter's diapers) strewn along the street all the way back to my house. I looked back at the now still trash can, and it all became clear.

Roger (the nice man) attempted to re-shape my trash can, to no avail, and then said he would pick the trash up. I told him that I would do it but he insisted, being the gentleman that he was. So I climbed back into the Suburban, feeling bewildered yet grateful, and headed on my way.

That is how my Monday started. Apparently it was a theme throughout the day, because this is what I knocked over later that morning. (With my foot this time, not the car.)

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Hymns of Thanksgiving

I like singing in choirs. Ever since Concert Choir at MVHS, in the days of Mr. Koliha, I discovered how much I love this sport. At some point it became a little dream of mine to sing with the MoTab.

Well, I don't sing in the MoTab, nor will I ever. BUT I am getting a chance to sing with a 280-voice community choir in our area. Its just for one show called Hymns of Thanksgiving, done around here every Thanksgiving. And guess what? We're singing many of the beautiful arrangements of Mack Wilberg (the MoTab conductor's famous arranger), so my joy is complete.

Here is a pic from last year. Looks like I will even get to wear a top similar to the snazzy ones they wear in the Tabernacle Choir! If you're in town on November 18th, come see the show!

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Twins? No, Thanks!

I never thought I'd say "No" to twins, but now I am. Ray and I (well, mostly Ray) have often talked about how fun it would be to have or adopt twins at some point if the opportunity presented itself. This week we've had a taste of what twins would be like, and now would likely run from the idea!

When foster parents go out of town on vacation they often can't or don't want to take the infants they are caring for with them. So the children go to "Respite Foster Care". When I went to North Carolina in October, a nice foster mom named Linda took care of "Amelia". So when the Department called me to see if I would take a 4 month-old for a week, I thought I would give back and say "yes". I thought we would gain experience, and I also wanted to see if I could do it--totally assuming that indeed I could, difficult though it would be. I can't.

I haven't left the house much this week. I haven't done much of anything, except take care of Amelia and "Peter". Both babies sleep through the night under normal circumstances, but this week I have been up with them anywhere between 3 and 9 times a night. I'm exhausted! AND Ray had to go out of town two days this week. Needless to say, I am counting the hours (4 more at the time of this post) until Peter gets picked up.

The saving graces this week were: both Amelia and Peter are awfully cute; my mom, sister and friend Tracy each brought us dinner this week (and how NICE it was that they didn't ask, they just did it!); my sister came and took one of the babies for me for 5 hours one day! Ah, yes. These thoughtful, gracious acts seriously saved my sanity and I am feel very indebted to them!

In summary, no more respite foster care for me!

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

A Brief Spotlight

So sue me. I love candy corn. I also love their cousins, pumpkin cremes. I thought Amelia would never fall asleep last night. When she finally did, I left her and Ray snoozing and went to Winco for the beloved candy that I must eat at this time every year. I had such a sudden hankering for it. Imagine my surprise when I got to the bulk bins and found NO candy corn anywhere. Only their sisters, harvest corn, which for some reason does not appeal to me (candy corn with the brown bottom, not yellow.) They always taste a little stale, and not unlike fake chocolate. So I scraped the bottom of the barrel to get the remainder of the pumpkin cremes, sadly check the pre-bagged candy aisle to make sure there was not candy corn there, and went to pay. Can you believe the entire stock of candy corn in that store was gone?? It tells me one thing and one thing only: while so many joke about candy corn as not being worthy to be an A-list candy, more people like it than will dare admit it.

Are you one of them?

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Ode To Wendy On Her Birthday

In true Greenbaum fashion, here is an ode to my little sister, Wendy, on her Birthday!

Happy Birthday, Wendy!!!

First, let's honor her with some photos.

Then (age 4, I think):

Then (age 6, I think. Wow--from blonde to brunette in 2 years!):

Now (blue sweater):

Wendy, Wendy, you're my sis.
How many years 'til you're 36?
Four more, four more, that's how many,
But by then I will be 40!

Wendy is a sweet, little dear.
She makes friends both far and near.
She would never hurt a fly.
Only spiders...they must die!

Salmon, garlic spaghetti, and a salad,
All these things are good on my palate.
Wendy sure can cook this meal.
Call her, visit her, she's the real deal!

I love you, Wendy!

Friday, October 19, 2007

Carolina Blue

I just got back from North Carolina. They say that its famous for its blue skies, so you see in the photo. It is blue! Probably because of the billions of trees! I spent the last week with my in-laws seeing the sites. I had a great time! I traveled out there with Ray's sister Michelle and we stayed with Ray's parents who live near Lincolnton/Lake Norman, 45 minutes north of Charlotte.

Michelle, Ray's mom Loneta, and I drove two hours to Asheville to see the Biltmore Estate. It was beautiful and much bigger than I had even imagined. No pics allowed inside, but here are some outside, including one with a view behind the estate.

I couldn't understand why Loneta seemed to be rushing through the tour of the house. Once we got down to the gardens and greenhouse, I saw why. Between the two, the gardens / greenhouse were my favorite! So amazingly beautiful.

And my favorite flower that day...the Chinese Lantern:

Here is the walkway down, with luffa gourds hanging down. I was tempted to pick one (there were so many!) to make a luffa for the shower.

From Asheville we went north to Tennessee. Loneta had tracked down some distant cousins of Ray's dad (Ben) and a part of the family was going up to see the old farm of their fourth great grandfather. Here are the family members who came...
Note Ian's 3 watches!! :) He's the same funny nephew who said, upon arriving at the old cemetary: "Mom, I'm going to go find a headstone that says, 'I'm gonna get you for this!' " :)

And here are the distant relatives. This is Ruth (Ben's cousin) and Wilma, her mom. They own a 200-acre plot of land in the Blue Ridge mountain area, with the ancestral farm being on the property. In the south, family is family, no matter how distantly related. So Ruth and Wilma showed us fine southern hospitality, and I refrained from saying "What?" too often, with their accents as thick as they were! The coolest part was that it felt like we'd known them for years. They really did feel like family!

We took a train ride through part of the property, and it was beautiful. On our way home, we stopped at the Mennonite farm and bought some good food they sell in their store. Here is the Spiced Peach Jam that I bought. It is soooo good! If you saw the movie, "Holes", you'll appreciate the jam. Not too spicy. Tasted like pie filling. Mmmm. (Did you know Mmm is an accepted word to play in Scrabble? Its true. And with no vowel and all.)

Sorry, I have no pics of the fried food. They sure know how to fry food down there! And if you were wondering, "Amelia" went to respite foster care while we were gone. She's back with us now, and I'm glad! I missed her!