Thursday, June 22, 2017

Summer Love

Yesterday was the first day of summer. I guess it started out right with a Polynesian dance performance.  Now that I have the whole summer ahead of me these are some things I'd like to do.

RELAX OUTDOORS AFTER WORK. Missy likes being outside and the weather has been so perfect in the evenings. Much better than indoors. We have all Fall Winter and Spring to be indoors.

GET THE HOUSE PAINTED. We've hired a contractor and it looks like the painting will begin in a couple weeks. My Mann has been repairing some dry rot wood and giving the exterior some TLC in prep for the painting.

GO FOR MORE WALKS. Get out there and enjoy the sunshine.

TAKE MORE PICTURES. I have found that my practice of photography has slackened. I rarely use my girl camera and I forget that I have my phone camera. I need to pull these both out more often.

PRACTICE MINIMAL WARDROBING. Sometimes getting dressed takes time in order to figure out what to wear out of the abundance of shirts, jeans and clothes in my closet. I began to wonder last week what it would be like if I just had, say maybe three pair of jeans instead of ten, seven T-shirts instead of thirty-seven, and that's only the short sleeved Tees. Well, you get the picture.

GO TO THE LOCAL COUNTY FAIR. I missed it last year. And they have good concerts for the price of admission at our fair.

READ, READ, READ. No better time to read than in the summer.

GET MORE VITAMIN SEA. Vitamin sea is always good.

GO TO THE MOVIES. I'd like to go see some movies on the big screen this summer with popcorn and D.P.

REMEMBER LIFE IS GOOD. See the good and count my blessings.

What are your plans for this summer?

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Close to Home

Another installment for Nathalie's 30-Day Stroll Challenge. While we should be strolling through the neigborhood I don't get out much due to other commitments. The prompts we have had have caused me to look around the immediate area of my home, in some ways, with new eyes. It’s been pretty enjoyable to do and it’s pushed me out of my creative slump in more ways than one.

Now to continue. Day 10 Prompt of challenge: Wildlife

Our home is a little oasis of wildlife. I love hearing the birds and woodpeckers. Since we have no fence in the backyard and our backyard is basically a hillside we receive occasional visits by interesting visitors such as raccoons, bobcats, jackrabbits, quail, roadrunners, tarantulas, rattlesnakes, garter snakes, scorpions, mountain lion, ground squirrels, and coyotes. On this particular day I wasn’t able to site much in the wildlife category, including the humans and domestic type that occasionally get wild.

I was able to catch three hummers at or near the feeder at once. That was exciting for me to see. Usually, they don’t play well together.

Day 11 Prompt of Challenge: Sign

I had been out running errands on this particular day so I was on a lookout for signs near to home. Those things that you become very familiar with and barely notice. I first thought of my street sign on the corner but as I was out on the streets I caught sight of these very familiar signs up and down all the main streets of our town and thought how much I love seeing these and my gratitude to those who have served and are serving our country.

Day 11 Prompt of Challenge: Trash

I didn’t think you would want to see inside my trash can, yard waste, or the recycle bin. As I finished up my potluck dish for our family gathering on this day I thought that the empty milk carton after using all the contents for the dish was trash that I enjoy seeing. Just seeing the remains of it all had me anticipating the joy I have participating in the feeding and soon the laughing, talking and bonding that would happen around the dining room table.

Day 12 Prompt of Challenge:  Night

Night. I was itching to do some art journaling. That is when I remember I hadn’t done my prompt yet and it was night. So there I am. Making journal backgrounds. During the night. I had moved from my work table in the creation room to a side table in the great room so I could be near My Mann, who was watching TV.

Day 13 Prompt of Challenge:  Pattern

There are more than one patterns I am aware of in this photo. The obvious is the pattern in the paving stones. Next, is the pattern of the shadows from the potted plants. The last that I’m aware of is the pattern of battling the rabbits whenever I plant a vegetable garden. I had planted tomatoes in March and they weren’t touched by any of the critters. I was feeling pretty smug that I had foiled their pattern of devastation since they haven’t had anything delectable to eat with no veggie gardens planted for the last 3 years. The cucumbers managed to survive for about a week after I transplanted them but on this day I noticed they were eaten. Crisis in the garden.

Friday, May 19, 2017

Artful Adventures

I've joined Nathalie Kalbach of N Studio in a fun photo stroll through the hood challenge. I learned about this from Rae Missigman's blog. I am late in joining but I'm having a lot of fun with it. There are different prompt for each of the 30 days. I have a bit of catching up do as I've just joined a couple days ago, but I love, love the inspiration I'm getting from this.

This is what I have so far.

5/19 Prompt 4 catch-up: Mailbox

I had come out with the intention of taking a picture of the open mailbox and my letter to post inside. As I put my eye to the camera I noticed the shadow of the open mailbox with tongue gaping out, the angle of the shadows from it, the light post and the pagoda light drawing the eye to the house. I thought that was kind of fun.

5/17/17 - Day 8 of challenge: Ground
Our house kitty, Missy, has been coming out with me on a leash while I work for a bit in the yard. After I finished up a task I was doing I checked on her to see how she was doing. I found her laying on the damp ground amongst the oregano and zucchini squash with eyes darting here and there watching birds flit above and bugs fly teasingly in front of her.

5/18/17 Day 9 of challenge: Plant life.

I have been trying to spend a few minutes each day in the yard either watering, trimming, cutting, digging, pulling, looking, or simply enjoying. As I mentioned above, Missy has been looking forward to this time as well. This time I was trimming my wisteria. I think that plant grows and inch a day with tendrils reaching and stretching in search of the nearest subject to wrap themselves around. While trimming those tendrils I nearly trampled this beautiful bearded iris. It is one of the few that I have that isn't blue. Honestly, I didn't remember I even had this one in the yard.

After being on the romp through the hood of my backyard I have found the mojo to get back into my art journaling. Last night I made a few background pages, two graduation cards, and cleaned up my space a bit. The mess is probably the reason the mojo has gone. I'm so thrilled to be getting inspiration from this stroll through the hood. This is exactly what Nathalie said would happen with this challenge.

How about you? Are you doing something to get the flow of inspiration back on the move?

Sunday, May 7, 2017

The Power of One Photo

I am joining Paisley Rain Boots for a monthly link-up party to share a photo taken the previous month along with a short story or thoughts about the photo. This is my second month to join and you're going to think I'm pretty weird. I have chosen a photo that is pretty similar to the one I chose last month. Both photos are from the inside of a restaurant. You must think I'm obsessed with food. I like food. I also like architecture and as I sat eating my delicious sandwich I was looking at the brick buildings on the main street of this little town. Having grown up close to Los Angeles and living in cities near there where there are a great deal of people, cars, concrete, and stores this little town had a fascination to me.

I like memories too. And when I see this photo so many come swimming back.

The first memory is that I finally got to eat at the Great Harvest Bread Co. I've tried on a couple other occasions while in Rexburg, Idaho to grab something to eat at the Great Harvest Bread Co. My Sweet Pea had introduced me to the Great Harvest Bread Co. many years ago and I've thought about going back on the few trips that we've been there. This time it worked out. I don't exactly remember what I had ordered except that it was on pizza bread which sent the whole sandwich over the top.

Another memory that top picture brings back is the reason we were in Rexburg this time. It was for My Farm Boy's graduation from BYU-I. I am so proud of him. He has worked hard to graduate. He amazes me watching him meet and get through the obstacles he has had to maneuver. He's done good.

The top photo also reminds me of what a joy it was watching my Little Mann interacting with My Mann, his granpa. Little Mann would put his little toy in his grampa's shirt pocket then go fishing for it over and over again. Then My Mann began to do "magic" with Little Mann making his little toy disappear and reappear again. to see the little coggs in Little Mann's brain working andthe  amazement over his little toys disappearance and reappearance was pure pleasure.

Still another memory is of the CRAZY weather we had while in Rexburg. It was alternately cold, freezing wind off the Tetons cold, raining with wind, hail, and back to cold. I've never been through weather that changed in such a short periods of time; like 15 -30 minute intervals we were getting new weather. The day we left we woke up to this.

Isn't it crazy all the memories one photo can conjure up in your brain? 

Monday, April 24, 2017

Almost 62 in 62 Years

My 62nd birthday is this week and I thought it would be interesting to see if I could come up with 62 things I've learned throughout my life.  I didn't quite make it but I think I got a good smattering of how my life has been affected by the things I've been able to list.

1. I realize that life is better with a cat...or a dog.

2. I learned that peonies can be harmful to kitties who love to chew on plants. I had seen several bunches of beautiful peonies at Trader Joe's so I brought some home to enjoy. Missy spotted them on the counter, jumped up and nibbled the leaves. She was a very sick kitty for a few days.

3. I've learned that sometimes you can't dig yourself out of a hole by yourself.  You may need to have help from a therapist. There is nothing wrong with that!

4. The sun will come up in the morning.  By having faith in that I've leaned that when things appear rough, when you're in the middle of hard trials or sadness, with time you'll find that things have become less hard or that your sadness will also lessen. Just as the sun comes up after the darkness of night in time you'll be able to feel joy and peace once more.

5. Speaking of sun protect your face from the affects of the sun.  As much as the sun is wonderful it can be too much for the delicate skin on your face.  You rarely think of the sun doing damage while you're driving your car it is taking its toll on the areas of your face not protected by the front visor or coming through the side window.  Don't ask me how I now know that.

6. I've learned you aren't alone.  Somehow there is always someone placed in your life to help or lessen your load.  It may even be a stranger who offers a kind word or a smile, but they are there; angels sent just for you.

7. I learned how to make porcelain dolls.  That was over 30 years ago.  That skill is now lost.

8. I've learned that using moisturizer early in your life (early 20's) has its rewards.  Your skin will thank you for it when you're older.

9. I've learned that by focusing on the good things brings more good things to view.   Even when days are rough there is at least one good thing you can find, if you just look.  For instance, sitting in the E.R with My Mann the little blessing was the large chuck of time I had to read.  Large chunks of time to enjoy this simple pleasure is unheard of in my usual life.

10. I realize that I enjoy reading by the fire on a winter evening. It is refreshing to my soul.

11. I'm learning to trust in the Lord. This is really hard for control freaks like me.

12. I learned I get a little sad about going to bed on a good hair day.  I just know that when I wake up my curly hair has had a party all night long and has a mind of its own for the next day.

13. I'm still learning to take advantage of every experience that comes my way.  You never know how it will affect your life through the years.  How would I have known that learning to use the 10-key calculator by touch while working in my high school student store would benefit me in my job 30 years later?

14. I never wanted to be called a grandma. In my mind, that meant you were old, but I've learned that I should face facts. I AM getting old. Maybe, I don't mind being called grammy after all by my little Mann.

15. I learned that naps are good. Don't be afraid to take a quick little nap to give you a lift during the day.  The trick is to figure out what "quick" means for you.  I just wish my schedule allowed for them.

16. I learned that if you feel like you're going through Hell just keep walking.

17. I've discovered and learned my style in clothing (classic with a bit of girly-girl) and make-up (lots of moisture and make it simple).  Also, along this line, I've learned what colors make me look my best. For clothing, its the jewel tones and as much as I love yellow, for heaven's sake keep it away from my face. Knowing these things I find it a lot easier to shop.  I don't have to even think about the olive greens, oranges, yellows.  Even gray and brown can be passed by easily. 

18. I learned that there is a golden hour and it can be magical.

19. I've learned that curiosity never really killed the cat.  Curiosity only makes your life way more interesting than you could have imagined.

20. I've learned that you don't need a lot to be happy. For more than half my life it seems like life was about accumulating things. Much later I learned things just don't matter. In fact, things, if they aren't used or loved, have a tendency to cause stress and hinder joy. I wish this was something I learned earlier.

21. I learned to not let others define who I am. I am a daughter of our Heavenly Father who loves me and I love Him.

22. I learned at my mother's side that being out in the garden or yard breathes life back into one's soul. It's even better if you are doing something to tend that piece of land. I think Heavenly Father knew that we would do well to have this benefit in our lives and that is part of the reason He has us tilling and eating by the sweat of our face. 

23. I've recently learned that Garth Brooks is a pretty wise and humble human being. The more I listen to his new channel on Sirius the more I admire him.

24. I learned I love English horseback riding. Dressage and Hunt Seat work was teamwork with yourself and the horse. It was an amazing feeling to ride as one.

25. I learned that my son exceeds in the virtue of patience. I think he has the patience of Job.

26. I realize that my daughter would be a better mother than I have ever been. She is so much better at nurturing, showing love, and serving others than I have ever been. She teaches me so much.

27. I learned that my photography tends to focus on nature, sky, weather, seas, and architecture.

28. I learned that it is best to NOT purchase or bring anything into the house that I won't use frequently or really, really love.

29. I learned that I enjoy traveling and experiencing new sights.

29. Connected to the above I also learned that although I enjoy traveling I am a timid traveler. Not quite brave enough to do it on my own. I guess you can say I have learned my limits.

30. I've learned, finally, to be at ease with my curly hair after fighting with it for all but the last 3 year of my life.

31. I realize that I can tell instantly what clothing styles will look OK on my pear shaped body. This makes shopping for clothes fairly easy.

32. I've learned that I am more or less a creature of habit.

33. I've learned that the proverb "a stitch in time saves nine" is so true. The sooner you make a repair the less hassle or trouble it is than procrastinating the repair for

34. I have learned that I am loved and greatly blessed by my Father in Heaven.

35. I have learned how to care for orchids and get them to bloom year after year.

36. I learned how to hand quilt and machine quilt.

37. I learned how to applique.

38. I am continually learning that I have a choice. I choose how I let circumstances affect me. No one or nothing can make me do or feel a certain way. It is me who lets those things affect me. Long ago when I read this quote from Viktor E. Frankl I realized how true this is. He saw proof from his experience in the concentration camp "that everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms--to choose one's attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one's own way."

39. I'm learning to be grateful.

40. I learned how to sew my own clothing. That's how I got new clothes as a teenager, but I don't do it now because it is less expensive to purchase them. Fabric and time are too costly now to make it worthwhile.

41. I learned that I don't care for milk chocolate. Give the dark!

42. I've learned how to navigate my way around technology even though I didn't grow up with it.

43. I realize how true the following quote from Mary Jean Irion is "Normal day, let me be aware of the treasure you are. Let me learn from you, love you, bless your before you depart. Let me not pass you by in the quest of some rare an perfect tomorrow. Let me hold you while I may, for it may not always be so." I remember in my younger days wishing my life away always looking towards the future. I'm glad I learned this lesson fairly early. I'm am learning to enjoy each day and each moment.

44. I learned that if I'm feeling irritable, sad, forlorn, and un-motivated, all at the same time, for no apparent reasons I need to evaluate whether or not I've had enough sunshine. Lack of sun equals depression for me.

45. I've learned the truth of being non-judgmental and I'm working diligently at it. Although, I still find it difficult during my work commute.

46. I've learned about and done some art journaling.

47. I'm learning how to f'arapu, ami, and afata to name just a few Tahitian and hula dance steps as well as well as some of the Polynesian language.

48. I learned that the sea has a calming influence for me. The ebb and flow calms my soul and puts balance back into my life.

49. I've learned that we all want to be recognized. It does a body good to say "Hi" or smile to whoever crosses our path.

50. I've learned that what you do for, or do to someone will one day come around back to you.

51. I've learned how to tole paint back in the day when that was a popular thing to do.

52. I've learned that it is best to not eat anything after 8PM. But, darn it, sometimes I just gotta. 

53. I've learned that I am a lizard. I love it when the weather is hot. I am NOT a happy camper when the weather turns cold.

54. I've learned that I would rather have the gift of time with loved ones than anything else.

55. I've recently learned from a friend that manages avocado orchards that avocado trees don't like their roots sitting overnight in water. The trees "sleep" at night so there is no good in watering the trees in the evening. FYI: I don't like to sleep with my feet sitting in water either.

56. Last but not least I've learned that I still have a lot to learn.

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Winter In Spring

We have been away celebrating Farm Boy's graduation from BYU-I. We are so proud of him. We also enjoyed spending the time with his little family.

The college sits just below the Teton Mountains and is the gateway to Yellowstone National Park.While we were there the weather was much colder than what My Mann and I are use to as Californians. The weekend we were there we, in one day, experienced cold winds coming off the Tetons, then rain and wind or occasionally rain without the wind, if we were lucky, This cycle repeated itself about every half hour. 

The next day we were very fortunate to experience a lot of the same as the day before with the added weather of hail. Sometimes big and sometimes small. Then later that day we had another addition of a light snow like fairy dust which somehow never seemed to hit the ground. These cycled through and over each other about ever 15 - 30 minutes. 

The next morning when we stepped out early to head back home we found everything covered in a down blanket f snow. It was beautiful. I wish it had been lighter so I could take a picture of the  forsythia  blossoms weighted with a frosting of snow. 

When the sun finally came up I couldn't get over how beautiful it all looked. The pictures aren't great since I'm shooting from a moving car down the highway, but the wonder of it, for this California girl, takes my breath away and makes me a little giddy.

Before I close I want to wish you a beautiful Easter filled with  hope, beauty and happiness.  May God bless you.


Sunday, April 2, 2017

Good Memories

I recently began following Paisley Rain Boots and found that there is a monthly link-up party to share a photo taken the previous month along with a short story or thoughts about the photo.

Early in March we had gone to our usual local eatery for dinner. We sat done at our usual cozy table for two tucked in the corner. The table is in the front of the whole place with the front door to the right or left depending on which way you sit at that little table for two. While waiting for our meal since I'm kind of nosy and like to watch the people go in and out the door as I turned to see the next patron I happened catch out of the corner of my eye the sunset out the window. I am a sucker for a good sunset. I just kept saying to My Mann, "Look, how pretty," "Isn't it beautiful?" "Just look at those colors!" I finally grabbed my cell phone and snapped a picture.

Later when I downloaded the pictures and could really see it I noticed that not only did I not get much of the sunset but their were silhouettes of tree limbs, cars in the parking lot, and the reflection in the window of the inside of the restaurant.

The happy dance of this picture was the reflection. We literally go to this place to eat on a weekly  basis. We enjoy the casualness of it, the food is fresh, GMO free and organic, a large variety of choices on the menu, and it is Mexican Grill cuisine. Who doesn't like that?

One of our other visits this last month we took some out of town guests there. Some how we usually introduce out-of-towners to this place.  As a matter of fact while I'm writing this (now a week since we had the out-of-towners in town) I got a text from those out-of-towners asking what the name of the place was again. After texting my answer back I asked why they were asking. They said, Quote: "We were just saying how good the food was.". Yeah, good memories.

Sunday, March 19, 2017

A Spring Life is Grand List

Just a few random thoughts, just 'cuz.
1. Spring is springing up all over the place.

There  are buds popping out on trees.

Trees blossoming in frocks of varying shades of pinks.

The fields are alive with color.

Spring bulbs are blooming.

Days are filled with longer daylight hours and people are taking advantage of that daylight and warmer weather. 

2. My brain and body are feeling alive.  My internal clock is moving again. Until now it had been feeling like the clock in Disneyland's Haunted Mansion where the hour hand is stuck at 13 o'clock. When the winters are dark and dreary my brain also goes into those dark and dreary places of zombie non-life. I get feeling low and blase about most aspect of living. Well, except for sleep since that is what I would rather do during the winter. Maybe I would do well as a bear in the winter. But now I feel energized, released from my winter cave and ready to take on whatever life has to send my way. Thankfully I'm not as hungry as a bear in the Spring.

3.Since I'm more awake now I've been feeling like I can go on some walk-abouts. It also helps that the mud from all our much needed rains this winter is drying up. I took a few walks in the orchards and a couple in neighborhoods. On one of those neighborhood walks a Dial-a-Ride van almost ran into me as I crossed the street. Good thing the hospital was on that corner. Note to self: It's safer in the orchards. There I just need to stay away from the beehives.

4. I was also fortunate to participate in a Tahitian dance workshop with live musicians playing the drums (not recorded drums). Nothing like the real thing. The most fun part is that we all have so much fun doing it. I would never have thought I would be doing Tahitian dance at this time in my life. I love it.

5. My beloved son-in-law made me feel older than dirt. I don't think he meant to. At least I hope not. He, nonchalantly standing there with his beautiful head full of ginger hair, was telling us of their recent trip to visit my mom. He commented on how she would laugh wholeheartedly to jokes he thought only mildly humorous on some of the old TV shows they watched together. My Mann commented how those jokes were along the lines of vaudeville type entertainment. To that he innocently said, "What is vaudeville?" That comment from my ginger-headed son bowled me over into a a ball of laughter, hysterics, and squeals. I couldn't believe I actually heard him right. I feel so old right now. I still can't believe he said that. I thought everyone knew about vaudeville and the old classic movies. Well, I guess every old person and not the 20something adults. Can they be considered adults if they don't know what vaudeville is? I'm sure I'll get over this once I stop laughing and wondering if I am really older than I think I am.
Please tell me you know what vaudeville is.

Friday, March 3, 2017

My Letter Writing Goal

Hi, Ya

The other day My Mann and I happened to be in the garage working with the door up. After a fashion we could hear;  va-room, a latch open then the sound of a metal door shutting followed by another va-room, open latch, metal door clamp shut. I made the brilliant observation aloud that, "It's the mailman!" to which My Mann responded, "He must be bringing the trash."

I love getting letters or packages in the mail, don't you? Only that doesn't happen much any more. And My Mann's comment is pretty close to the truth 90% of the time. And if it isn't trash, it isn't fun mail.

I was thinking I would turn the tide a bit by bringing back some of the nostalgia of actually writing letters and posting them. This may bring others some joy to find some happy mail in their mailboxes instead of trash.

Some of the letters I posted were thank you cards, thinking of you notes, a birthday card, and  Valentine's day card. This month I had count an email to a complete stranger in the form of a Thank you note in order to complete my ten letters. So, I guess I kind of cheated, but not really.

This has been a more difficult goal than I thought it would be. I thought ten letters a month would be fairly easy. What I didn't realize is that I would need to find the time to write ten different letters. I also felt it was important to choose people who I don't typically consider close friends but yet could use happy mail coming their way.

There have been a couple people who have said Thank you for the happy mail they have received. It's been fun.  Now to do it again for March. Do you want to join me in the happy mail crusade?  Let me know if you do. I'd like to hear about your experiences doing it.

Sunday, February 19, 2017


Hi There,

Another week has ended and new one is beginning.  I have a lot bubbling in my brain.

A To Do list beginning.

I really need to get on some kind of exercise routine.  I wish thinking only about exercise would be enough.  I do that more than actually exercising.

Gotta make the weekly menu.  What's for dinner?  Sometimes those three words can be so grating on the nerves.  I have to stop myself and think of how blessed I am that there is always something there pull together and place on the table for dinner.  There are so many who may not even ask that question because they know the answer would be, "Nothing."

I've created a new base page for my journal.  Ya!  Go. Me.  This time I'm a little ahead of the game having a spread ready to write my story.

I got the current issue of Bella Grace magazine in the mail yesterday and I've been pouring over that since I got it.  I can't get enough of the photography and the articles always get the ideas vying for attention in my brain.

We have had rain for most of this weekend.  This kind of weather is best snuggled indoors with a good book and magazine.  I think I am changing my attitude about how I read books.  I am finding that I really enjoy reading from my Kindle app on my phone.  It is always with me.  At the moment I'm reading for the Widow of Larkspur Inn.  It was a free Amazon Kindle book.  It was just the ticket for me and I am enjoying it.

As I sit here I can hear the rhythmic drip of rain falling from the eaves above to the roof below, the tick of the grandfather clock, and My Mann munching kettle corn.  Sounds of content.  I love this time of quiet, peace before the start of a new week.