March 24, 2012

Scents of Sonora California

I have had the feeling lately that I need to practice writing. I do not have any aspirations to write the next Hunger Games or any other book for that matter. I just feel the need to practice. Without further explanation, here is my first writing exercise.

All it takes sometimes is the tiniest molecule to send me back in time. The molecules I am speaking of are scent molecules and the time I am speaking of is when my husband and I lived in Sonora, CA.
We had just landed our first job post, college degrees, in Sonora, California. After traveling two days and two states later we arrived at our first home. We house sat for a retired Seventh-day Adventist minister and his wife. Their home was beautiful with white creamy carpet, a dining room and a separate breakfast area and a room completely devoted to whatever this minister decided to do in his spare time.

As we traveled, the gigantic moving truck we rented with its equally large trailer for our VW bus, were always thirsty for the good stuff. That’s right, diesel and lots of it. That is the first smell I associate with our move to California. Allen Palmer, my father-in-law, always shielded his hands in gloves while fueling our caravan. I had never smelled diesel in my life. That was back in the day before every passenger truck on the road was a loud, gurgling diesel-guzzling machine. Now, when I get a whiff of this particular vintage of petroleum product, I am whisked back through time, to many a service station we patronized while on our journey to our new life on our own.

We arrived at the end of December, leaving 17 degree Utah for 55 degree California. I thought we were in paradise! It was raining and there was a distinct smell of vicks and burning wood in the air. Hungry to see what was lurking behind the front door I let myself into my new home. What was that smell? Earthy, musty, damp, and kerosene? Our new home was equipped with the latest energy saving heating system. On the side of the garage sat a 200 gallon vessel that contained the liquid heat that would keep us warm. Kerosene was a new, headache inducing smell that my pregnancy shark nose immediately found offensive in the first degree.

August 3, 2011

October 8, 2009

Do you Zumba?

Until today, my answer to that question was no. A friend from my other exercise classes told me how great Zumba was and that I should give it a go. So, today I let go of my inhibitions (because you have to in this class) and let it shake, shimmy and salsa.

Zumba is a Latin dance based exercise class. The music is great, very dancy and just really good. Our instructor's name is Cass, but I think she should change it to motor butt or swivel hips or Caffeinated, because she is all that and a bag of sliced fresh fruit (she doesn't look like she eats chips). The moves were fairly simple and the time flew by. It was like doing a huge group dance with a bunch of strangers, mostly women and the lone man. Gotta give it up to the lone man.

BTW, this isn't my class, but it is a really good representation - and they even have the lone man.

So will Zumba be a repeat class for me? Hard to say right now. I was really sweaty after class and there were times of maximum heart rate, but I am not sure. I think I will give it a few more tries before I cast my vote.

Raspberry Dreams

Last night I dreamed that my raspberry bushes were loaded with perfectly ripe raspberries. Oh well, a girl can dream.

September 29, 2009

Mustard Pickles

While Toby was out of town a couple weeks ago, I purchased the Ball Complete Book of Canning. And now, thanks to the great recipes in that book, I have at least a 2 years supply of mustard pickles sitting on my shelves. I don't understand my obsessive compulsive behavior when it comes to projects, but I am sure I will be glad to have the 20 pints of mustardy goodness on my shelves in the winter. (I can't tell you how many times people say that I will be glad to have the grape juice, pears, plum leather and now mustard pickles in the winter. I wonder why only the winter?)

September 25, 2009

Hawaii Mission Memories part 1

Most people know that I served a mission to Hawaii. Yes, they really do have missionaries there and I know I was truly blessed.

After spending 6 weeks in the missionary training center, I was ready to fly the coop. Actually, we were supposed to stay for 8 weeks because we were learning Japanese, but we left earlier. Not a moment too soon for I was ready to get to work. Script for tram tours memorized? Check. Speaking and understanding Japanese? Yeah right. Ready to hit the pavement? You bet!

So, when we arrived we spend the first day at the mission office. The AP's were so helpful to all of the new bleary eyed missionaries by passing a huge candy bucket around every 15 minutes or so to ward off sleeping. First night was spent with one of the couple missionaries. I remember the apartment smelling like bengay liniment. Every time I smell that strong pepperminty smell, I am right back in that apartment. The next morning we were picked up by the district leaders from Laie and off we went. I was awestruck by the beauty of that island. Once through the pass, the mountains were surreal in their beauty. Seriously, how could a place be more beautiful. I loved the monkey pod trees with their vast canopies and another flowering tree with orange flowers and the many plumeria, papaya, and coconut trees. I seriously had visual sensory overload for the first couple of weeks.
Often the ocean was quite close to the road and I was amazed at clear aqua water. I had never seen water so clear and sand so perfectly sandy.

I met my new companion, Sister Ishihara and Sister Padeken met Sister Kaito and we had lunch at Subway. I remember this because it was one of the most awkward meals I had ever had - lots of silence. Not that silence is bad, but that memory just sticks in my mind.

Sister Ishihara and I were on trams that evening and boy howdy was I ready to do my thing. If you haven't been to the Polynesian Cultural Center, let me explain what we Sisters did at that park.

We conducted tours from the PCC though the town of Laie, sharing information about BYU-Hawaii and its campus all the while driving to the top of a roundabout where we directed the audience to the right-hand side of the tram to take in the beauty of Temple Beach, aptly named. Then we conveniently segued into our dialogue about the Hawaii Temple and asked the crowd to take a look on the other side of the tram, down the long street lined with huge palm trees ending with the breathtaking, gleaming white Hawaii Temple. Truly one of the most beautiful places on this earth, in my humble opinion.

Photo by Rick Satterfield, 2005

Anyhow, just a thought that was in my head. I have more I would like to share so if interested, stay tuned.

September 7, 2009


Autumn arrived at our house today in the form of beautifully ripened bartlett pears. I purchased them on Thursday and they rested in the dugout until today. I knew that it was today or never, so after an invigorating gym class, I draped my apron about me and began to get the kitchen ready for canning. I have to wipe all surfaces down before I preserve anything - it just doesn't feel right if I see crumbs or fingerprints.

The process was long. Longer than I remember from last year. Perhaps it was that I was flying solo for the first batch. Maybe that invigorating gym class sapped my energy(it was a great class). Whatever it was, I was glad to see those last seven quarts in the boiling water before I headed in for my shower. After what seemed like eternity, I have 13 quarts of pears sitting on my picnic table in the backyard. I swear I canned more than just 13 quarts - at least if felt like I peeled more that 13 quarts worth of pears. I still have pears left over - a little green for canning. They are resting and growing sweeter with every passing minute. These guys will get to try out my new drying sheets for the dehydrator. I'll let you know how pear leather turns out in the next couple of days.