Thursday, March 29, 2012


I have just recently finished the book, The Hunger Games.  Of course this book has been quite popular for some time and now that a  movie has been made from the book it's become even more popular.  I came to the realization after reading that book that it's really hard to surprise me.  Don't get me wrong, I like to be surprised but after thinking about the concept of  surprise, I realize I don't surprise easily.  Anyway, as I was reading the book I would start thinking what turn the main plot would take. I then realized I was probably right and then I would find myself disappointed because I figured out what was going to happen.  This happens quite often with movies and I am so mad at myself for figuring things out.  For example, the Sixth Sense.  I didn't know anything at all about the movie when I went to see it.  About 1/2 way through the movie, I figured out that Bruce Willis was really dead.  I was so mad at myself for figuring that out that I could hardly enjoy the movie anymore.  So, back to the book.  I told Giuliana all my theories on what I thought would happen in the book.  As I told her my theories she was not allowed to smile or frown or give any indications if I was right or wrong in my assesments.   I gave her several theories about what I thought the author could do with the storyline.  It turns out all of the theories I put out there pretty much happened in the book!  I was actually surprised that the author included all the theories I had told Giuliana about. (I guess there was a surprise for me after all!) But the story line did not surprised me.  All in all, I enjoyed the book even if I thought it was somewhat predictable and I am looking forward to seeing the movie sometime.    I remember when I was 16 my friends threw me a surprise party....the problem was I totally suspected they were doing this and when I had to actually walk in the front door I didn't want to pretend to be surprised.  I just really didn't want to walk in the door--but I did, and yes, I acted surprised.  One time Paul bought me a bathrobe for Christmas.  I suspected that's what he bought me, (and it's something I really wanted) and I was right, I got a bathrobe and I acted surprised.  Haha, (Sorry Paul!)    So today I started thinking,  What kind of things have really surprised me in my life.  Honestly, I could hardly think of anything even though I'm sure there have been many.  Here are the few I thought of.
1.  Spencer's Mission Call.  When Bryan and Clint opened their mission calls I was not really surprised by their calls.  It just seemed to me that Bryan had a good chance of going to Italy--and he did.  I thought Clint had a good chance of going to either Taiwan, Hong Kong or Singapore and he went to Taiwan.  But for some reason when Spencer read his mission call aloud, and said, Cape Town, South Africa-I was completely taken off guard.  I had not expected that in a million years.  I'm still surprised every time I think about it.  To me it is a perfect fit for Spencer but that mission never even entered my mind, not even for a second.
2.Dan Marrying Laura.  When Dan started dating Laura I had high hopes they would get together.  After awhile I started losing hope and I was sure it wasn't going to happen.  I was quite down about it but you know you can't force these things.  I guess Dan decided to  take matters into his own hands and gave Laura a time limit to decide whether she wanted to marry him or not. It was a pretty short time limit.  We are not talking days, we are talking hours or maybe even minutes, I'm not sure.  Dan learned from Paul's mistake when he asked me and it took me a year to come back and say yes!  Anyway, I was surprised when Laura said "Yes!"
3.The time I heard a voice while sleeping that said, "Dan didn't get the job!"  Laura and I had made big plans to try and live near each other. At one point Paul was trying to get a job in Florida so that we could move down there, as that is where Dan and Laura were living.  We were both sorely disappointed when Paul didn't get that job and that we wouldn't live near each other that year, but we kept scheming.  Then it seemed Dan was trying for the perfect job in Colorado Springs.  I can't really remember what the job was but it had to do with leading a squadron of cadets and kind of being in charge of them.  Both Laura and I were really excited about this prospect because Paul knew he was going to be going back the AF Academy for a teaching assignment in a year or so.  Laura and I both prayed for this assignment for Dan.  Laura, would ask me every time she called, "Do you think we will get this assignment?"  I assured her that yes, I thought that they would.  One night I was sound asleep and I was awakened by a voice or this penetrating thought that said very clearly,  "Dan didn't get the job!"  I was startled by this revelation and I thought to myself that I needed to jump out of bed and start praying that he would get the job.  So I quickly got out of bed to kneel down to pray when the voice then said, "It's too late, the decision has already been made."  I remember I kept saying, "No, no," in my mind but that was it.  I felt terrible about it.  The next morning I told Paul about this experience and I'm not sure what he thought but I think it was later that afternoon that Paul somehow got a list of the people chosen for this job that Dan wanted and his name was not on the list.  Dan did not get the job.  Laura even called me that day with her usual question, "Yvonne, do you think we'll get the job."  I knew the answer, but didn't want to tell her, but I heard myself saying, "Yes, Laura, I think Dan will get the job. The most surprising thing about this whole story was Dan got a different job at the AF Academy, one that was much better for him and his family which allowed them to buy a house across the street from where we lived in Colorado Springs.
4. Paul being selected to get his PHD.  While Paul was working at the AF Academy he had the chance to apply to be selected to be sponsored for a PHD.  Both Paul and I thought it would be a great thing if he was selected but we both thought it was a long shot as they only pick one person from the History Department for this program.  We decided that Paul should try for this every year because maybe one of the years he would be selected.  Boy were we surprised when we learned Paul was selected that very first year.  What surprised me most is they decided to pick three people to get their PHD that year.  I'm so glad that Paul decided to try for it that very first year as his odds were the best for getting chosen the year he applied.
5.  Getting the highest grade in my class on a history test in 10th grade. When I was young I really didn't consider myself very academic.  In fact I thought I was just kind of average and I seemed to struggle a lot when it came to Math and Science. I remember one girl in my 9th grade earth science class say to me once,  "Yvonne, I used to think you were really smart because you wore glasses."  I remember I felt really sad when she said that.  But the one class I had that I seemed to do really well  in was Social Studies.  I never had any troubles in that class and one day the teacher handed out our tests that he had graded and announced that I had scored the highest grade on that test.    I routinely scored the high grade from then on, and I was always surprised.  I only wish that girl who made the comment in 9th grade was in my history class.
6.The Reverse Suprise Party.   Okay, so the one time someone could really surprise me on my birthday was the time Rick, (my brother in law) took me out to dinner for my birthday when I was doing a Spring term at BYU.  Rick was taking some final classes for his degree that Spring and I thought it was so nice of him to take me out to dinner.  I totally didn't expect him to throw me a surprise party as I didn't think he knew who my friends were.  We went to dinner at a really nice restaraunt and then he said he wanted to stop by his apt. for something.  I followed him in and sat and waited and waited.  After a good 15 minutes he finally fessed up and told me my roommates and other friends were supposed to be there to say "Surprise!" to me.  Man, that would have really surprised me and I was surprised Rick went to all the trouble to set this up.  We decided that when the people finally arrived I would be hiding in the back room and when everyone was there I would pop out and say, "Surprise!"  It was so funny and it worked like a charm.  Everyone who was there was so confused and just sat there not knowing what to do!  Oh well, that was a surprise I gave to them!
I guess I can conclude that life is full of surprises both good and bad.  They don't roll around too often but when they do it's a total surprise!

Friday, March 23, 2012

Happy Birthday Paul!

"Two thousand years ago, the proudest boast was civis Romanus sum.
Today, the proudest boast is PAUL GILLESPIE IST FÜNFZIG JAHRE ALT!"
~ John F. Kennedy (roughly translated)

As you can see, today you are 50,
Your hair will get gray, your eyes get shifty,
We'll love you even if you can't see,
But right now have a HAPPY BIRTHDAY PABLEETEES!!
~ original poem by Giuliana Gillespie

So Paul, you are 50 years old today!  I'm happy that I have been able to have spent nearly half of your life with you!  So in honor of your birthday we found at least 50 people who wanted to send you their Happiest Birthday wishes your way.  Although you can't be at home I'm sure you will be able to feel the love everyone sends your way!  Thanks to Giuliana who knew how to put this together on the computer!
We  hope it makes your birthday almost as enjoyable as it would be spending it with le famile :)

50 People for 50 Years

For a clearer picture, click on the link below |

Thursday, March 15, 2012

My favorite things...

Raindrops on Roses and Whiskers on Kittens, Bright Coppper Kettles and Warm Woolen Mittens, Brown paper packages tied up with String.  These are a few of my favorite things…..  What a song.  Recently I was invited to a party called, "A night of Favorite Things".  We were supposed to bring five of our favorite things, (There was a cost limit of $6.00), and then we would go home with five new favorite things.  This party sounded really fun but sadly I could not go as Giuliana had Ballet that evening and since Paul isn't around, I'm the only one that can do that job.  I started thinking about what are some of my favorite things that I use that I really love.  Now I'm not talking about my family, or the gospel, or the scriptures as those are truly my favorite things in life.    I'm talking about little things.  Things that, if they disappeared,  I could get along fine without them, I would just be sad I couldn't use them again.  For instance, I used to love these cookies that I had as a kid.  They were a round crunchy sugar cookie shaped like a scalloped flower.  There was a hole in the middle of the cookie.   On each petal there were raised imprints of 3 circles each circle inside the next circle, like a bullseye, and sugar was sprinkled on top of them.  Like I said, I remember having them as a kid and perhaps I only had them at school because I don't remember my mom buying them.  One day, in the mid 1980's, I was living in Pasadena California, and I went to the store to buy some groceries.  I saw these cookies on the shelf and it brought me back to my childhood.  Naturally I bought them and they were just as good as I remember them.  They were the kind of cookie that when you took a bite and then sucked on the cookie it disintegrated in your mouth and the flavor lingered there in your mouth.  I'm quite sure these cookies were made with coconut oil as that was the flavor of the cookie. They may have been called Sunbeam butter cookies but I can find no trace of them on the internet.  Anyway,   I continued buying these cookies quite regularly.  I didn't buy them every time because I also liked these cookies called Pogen cookies.  These were a shortbread cookie with raspberry jam in the middle.  Then again I often bought the bakery peanut butter cookies.  All of these cookies were melt in your mouth experiences for me and I would crave each kind of cookie, depending on my mood.  I don't know when I noticed it, perhaps after I got married and moved away from California, but I did notice I couldn't find the sugar cookies or the Pogan cookies in the cookie aisle.  I chalked it up to the region we were living in.  I told myself if I was ever back in California, I would go to the store and find the sugar cookies and the Pogen cookies and buy several packs of them.  Well, we have been back to California several times in my married life and much to my dismay, they are gone.  Gone forever!  I even resorted to looking up the cookies on-line to find out what happened to them and found out Pogen cookies were made by a Swedish Company but the last time these cookies could be found was in 1999 in Sweden.  I think they may have sold their business.    The Sunbeam butter cookies?  Who knows what happened with those.  These cookies  were totally favorite things of mine and yet now they are gone.  Devestating?  No, a little sad,  but I will always remember these yummy cookies and life goes on.  So the question is what are a few of my favorite things right now?  I'm not just talking food but all sorts of little things I use that I just really love that I would be sad if these things suddenly went away.  In no particular order here is my list, and it's probably not even a complete list but they are the things that come to my mind today.
1.  My BIC Wite-Out correction tape.  I used to use the liquid white out but sometimes it would get chunky and then I would have to wait for it to dry.  I discovered this when Clint sent Giuliana a Birthday gift of white out tape.  It was so easy and nice to use and I found I kept having to borrow her white out tape.  (I make a lot of errors in my checkbook)  I decided I better buy my own and was hoping they sold something similar to what Clint sent to Giuliana at our BX.  Sure enough, I found exactly what I was looking for and it is a dream to use.
2.My Mitsubishi pen.  Clint sent me this pen from Taiwan and I love it as it slides into my purse so easily. It's really thin, and it is writing is extremely fine.  I absolutely love this pen.
3.My big match!  I love this big match.  You fill it up with Butane and then you click the little switch on it and ..instant flame.  I got this at Smith's Food King in Utah for a buck.  What a deal.
4.Magnetix!  Technically these magnetix are not mine, they are Bryan's, but I use them all the time.  They are the best magnets for holding things up.  I use them weekly in primary, I used them daily last year in seminary.  Everyone who knows I have them wants to borrow them.
5. Church Library Key-This key not only opens the library but opens the gate to the parking lot.  Be jealous! Need I say more?
6.Speculoos-What a delicious spread this is! I spread it on pretzels, crackers, bread and it by the spoonful out of the bottle.  I have even sent it as gifts but I'm not sure other people like it as much as I do.
7.Magic Jack-This is a telephone number I give to people in the states so that they can call me in Germany without spending a lot of money.  The area code is a Utah area code so they are really only calling Utah but it rings to my phone here in Germany.  Sometimes I love technology.
8.Personal Progress Book-Although I have just started working on this book I love the orderliness of it all.  I find I think about the things I am working on all the time and wish I had had something this good when I was growing up.

9.  Breaking Ice-This probably sounds like a strange thing I like, but when it is a cold day and I am out walking I look for ice on the sides of the road.  When I see a nice smooth piece of ice I just feel the need to break it.  It's such fun and I don't know why I like to do it, but I do.
10.  Warm woolen mittens!  Believe it or not, these mittens are one of my favorite things!  A woman named Betty Buffington made them for me when I was a kid.  She actually made me 2 pair but for some reason these are the only ones I have now.  They are knitted and I love them because they are warm.  I have always loved these mittens and they don't match anything, but I don't care!

 So these are a few of my favorite things!

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Songs-take 2

So 2 weeks ago Giuliana was my guest blogger and her blog was about how certain songs remind her of certain people in our family,  It was a lot of fun to read and so I guess I'm going to copy what she did this week but instead of doing my family as in my children, and husband, I am going to do my family that I grew up with.  You know, my brothers and sisters and mom and dad.  There are reasons why certain songs remind me of each person so I will give an explanation of why these songs remind me of them.
So first up, Dad!  Okay, to be honest, for the longest time I struggled with this and could only think of one song that I thought he liked.  It was an album we had and I don't even know the name of it but it was a classical album but I think a synthesizer was used to play this classical music.  It sounded pretty cool and very electronic.  I seem to recall the song "Jesu Joy of Man's Desiring"  I recall it was played quickly and sounded very electronic.  The problem is, I'm not exactly sure if I am even remembering this correctly so I decided I couldn't really count this because it's not exactly clear to me.  One memory I do have of a song I'm quite sure dad liked was Flight of the Bumblebee.  I recall dad sitting at the piano plunking parts of this song out.  Then as I got older I realized the sheet music he was plunking from was called Bumble Boogie.  Clint loved this song as well and has worked on it here and there as well.  So for your entertainment.  Here's a clip of Liberace in his early years playing Bumble Boogie.  I'm pretty sure Dad likes all different genres of music just like me so it was hard to think of one that reminded me of him, but Flight of the Bumble Bee and Bumble Boogie remind me of Dad.

Mom was actually quite easy and two songs came to me right off the bat.  She taught them to me when I was young but I don't know that very many people know these two songs anymore.  I still know them both and can hear mom's voice singing them.

The second song is another one mom taught me and I always wondered what a rain barrel was and how do you slide down my cellar door?.  Anyway, I really liked this song because I could imagine myself playing with my little friends when I sang this song.  I couldn't find the exact version how I remember it but the following video is pretty close, except for their twangy accents.
Eric-Again I struggled because although I remember Eric listening to a lot of music growing up, I was not really familiar with the kinds of music he liked.  I do remember he had a guitar at some point  and remember him strumming the beginning of Smoke on the Water.  So whenever I hear those beginning notes, I think of Eric sitting on his bed in the basement with a carton of malted milk balls and perhaps an empty wrapper of marshmallows,  practicing that little phrase.
Doug-There are 2 songs that come to my mind when I think about Doug.  I think he would be surprised to hear that the first song I  think of that reminds me of Doug is a song by Abba.  I can't tell you if Doug started liking Abba before his mission or after, but in my mind it seems like it was before his mission.  My memory has faded a bit but it seems he came home after his first semester at BYU and played us this song that he liked.  I will forever think of Doug when this song comes on and although it's an older song, it still gets played quite a bit, and I love it.
The next song that will forever be associated with Doug and has a funny story associated with it.  One day Doug was at home, I think it was after his mission.  I heard him singing the song "Escape", otherwise known as "The Pina Colada song".  At one point he started singing the chorus of the song and I heard him say, "If you like bean enchilada's, getting caught in the rain...."  I wasn't sure I heard him right but when I heard him say it a second time I think I busted out laughing.  I thought that was hilarious!  Doug couldn't live it down after that and it's been a family joke ever since.  It's too bad Doug didn't make a parody of that song kind of like Weird Al Yankovich would do.  Doug could be rolling in the Benjamins if he had! I can hear it now, "If you like bean enchilada's, with sour cream or just plain, dominoes are my favorite, perhaps Mexican train..."

 Deanne-Of course I remember Deanne playing the piano and practicing her pieces over and over. Whenever I hear the song, Moonlight Sonata, I think of her as it is one of the few pieces I actually remember the name of that she played.

The other song I that always reminds me of Deanne is the song Summer Breeze by Seals and Croft. One year for my birthday I got 2 small records or 45's.  I think Doug and Deanne went in on the gift together but I'm not sure.  The 2 45's they gave me were, "The Lion Sleeps tonight" and the other one was Summer Breeze.  One day I went to play my record Summer Breeze and I couldn't find it.  Apparently Deanne had "borrowed" it for a party.  I don't recall if I ever found it but I always suspected this song was one Deanne really liked and wanted,  and that's why she bought it.....for me.  It's kind of like a Christina Gillespie gift, which got dubbed, :A fweeny gift".  You know the gift you really want for yourself but you buy it for someone else so you can use it.  Actually I quite like the song once I had listened to it but I remember when I recieved it, that I really didn't know it. I think Deanne must of liked it because the lyrics are quite poetic and Deanne is quite poetic herself.  I hear the song every so often and my mind always goes back to that birthday and of course Deanne.

 Last but not least...Laura!  When I would come home for a visit I was always interested in what Laura was listening to.  She would turn on the stereo and do all these gymnastic stretches including the splits while the music was on.  It always seemed like a Peter Cetara song was on while she was engaged in this activity.  I guess that's why I think of Laura.  I'm pretty sure she liked Peter Cetara , along with a different Peter and maybe the 2 have just meshed together in my mind but this is the song that always makes me think of Laura.
So there you have it. In my mind these are the songs that remind me of my parents and my siblings.  No one can argue with me because these are my memories, no matter how warped they are!

Thursday, March 1, 2012


Bryan gave me a book for Christmas called, "The Murder of Roger Ackroyd" by Agatha Christie.  I had never read an Agatha Christie book before and I'm not sure why.  I love watching programs about murder mysteries like Monk or Psych or even real life ones like 48 hours.  I really enjoyed this Agatha Christie mystery but must admit I would make a horrible detective.  Throughout the entire book Agatha Christie gives  all the clues needed to figure out who done it-but even by the last chapter I was flip-flopping on who I thought could have done the heinous deed.  Of course Agatha Christie wraps up all the loose ends and the clues we have been presented with finally make sense when you think like the perpetrator.  I guess I'm not very good at putting the clues together.

So for your enjoyment I have taken some pictures and want you to use my pictures as your clues.  See if you can think of what these clues mean overall.

Picture #1
Any guesses?

Picture #2
How about now?

Picture #3
Well?  Have you got it yet?  If you have you are a good detective, or you are just on the same wave length as me.  Haha.
Picture #4
Hmmmm...What could it mean?
Picture #5
Well, if you haven't figured it out yet-you will on the next picture.

Picture #6
Now you must know!!!  Okay one last picture.
Picture #7

If you guessed Spring is coming, you are right!  Picture #1-I noticed all this dried grass and straw all over my balcony the other day.  What in the world?  I decided the birds have started making their homes to have a place for their babies.  I actually had to chuckle when I saw this grass because our landlord just paid a lot of money last summer installing the following: 
There is a big problem with the birds making nests all over the beams of this house and so they installed these wires on practically every edge of the house.  Well, apparently the birds found a place anyway right outside our balcony between the house and the gutter.

Picture #2 just shows the land outside our backyard and the man is getting ready to plant his garden and the soil has been turned over.  Picture #3  I found this little bug, (perhaps a boxelder bug) sunning itself on a brick wall by the school bus.  Picture #5  It's finally warm enough to hang out the laundry!  Picture #6  Our little local hardware store has put out the seeds for planting-I wish I could plant a garden myself but there is no place to do it at this house.  Picture #7  The crocus's are out!  I love these little flowers as they come in all different colors and they are very unassuming.  You wouldn't notice them unless you pay attention.  Anyway, If you just casually looked around my village you wouldn't notice these things as it still looks like winter.  There are no leaves, in fact no buds on the trees.  The bushes are still bare, the grass is brown and it still gets quite chilly.  But if you really look close, things are coming back to life.  You just have to look for the clues!