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.


Tuesday, February 7, 2017

The RCA Dog Remembered

Whenever I have the question posed to me, "If you were an animal, what would you be?"  I have always answered with little hesitation, "A cat."  Cats and I seem to enjoy the same creature comfort.  Case in point:  heat on a cold, cloudy, rainy day.

I set up our little, portable dish heater instead of turning the whole house heater and it doesn't take long before Missy plants herself in front of it. She'll also do this when we have a fire roaring in the fireplace.  Silly girl.

Yesterday, as I looked at her blocking my heat she reminded me of the iconic RCA dog.  It's  been ages since that was a familiar sight. Am I the only one old enough to remember the RCA dog?

Sunday, January 29, 2017

I'm Hooked...Again

I don't usually spend much time reading for pleasure.  I'm lucky to average reading 6 books a year.  Although some books I tackle have been extremely long like Far Pavilions, Les Mesirables (the complete work) and The Agony and the Ecstasy.

I am a slow reader which tops off my mild struggle with reading.  Once I get into a book I do enjoy the process but it takes me a while to finish books.

This year something has changed.  Here it is not even the end of the first month of the year and I have completed two books.  I think the game changer that has made this small miracle possible is that I was able to borrow both of the books as e-books from the library to read on my phone's kindle app.  This means that any spare moment, any place, I am able to read.

The first book I read this year I learned about from The Costco Connection magazine.  It spotlighted The Girl Waits With Gun.  I can't tell a lie.  It was the title that caught my interest. 

I wondered why a girl would be waiting with a gun and what would she be waiting for?  And why was the title a short clip of a sentence?  The book is the first of a series about the Kopp sisters.  For whatever my opinion is worth I didn't really care for the book.  The main characters are not your usual sisters. Although is there really a normal?  While I was captivated by these sisters who were a bit quirky - the oldest was taller than most men, the middle sister with her hobby for carrier pigeons, and the youngest sister is a surprising twist - I just wasn't that captivated by the plot of the story to make it all worth it.  I was almost glad it ended and that I was able to find out why the book was titled as it was.

When I finished the book I was ready for a new book.  Not knowing what to read I went to my Pinterest   board of Book to read.  Scrolling through to find something of interest that I've gleaned through the years of books others have recommended I found one with an odd title.  I guess that would mean I pick books by their titles. 

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society.

I loved this book and was so sad to see that it ended.  The book is written as a series of letters of correspondence that were comical with the personalities of the individual  writers disclosed and at times thought provoking as they shared their thoughts and memories.  The characters become your friends who, through their correspondence, tell of their experiences under Nazi occupation.  I hated to see this book end without the hopes of reading more from this author.

Read anything good lately?   I'd love to hear.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

2016, It Was a Very Good Year

I was thinking about what had passed last year and the phrase "It was a very good year"  began running through my mind.  Then shortly it began to take on a melody from the old Frank Sinatra song, with that title, that I haven't heard in years.

So here is 2016 in review.

See the bird just at Missy's raised paw?

  • The best part was spending time with my Little Mann.  We loved any time we got to spend with him as he is such a happy little guy.
  • Missy turned 1 year old in October.  She has been has also brought so much laughter into our lives.  Missy is the first cat I have known personally that loves water.  She plays in her water dish at least once a week and I have to fight her for the shower.  She has a mind of her own, as all cat owners know, and she isn't afraid to let you know what she's thinking.  
  • I was privileged to go on a cruise for my birthday last spring.  We went into the Sea of Cortez and other ports near there.  Since I love the sea it was the best birthday present.
  • We had two family reunions we attended last summer.  My family's reunion we gathered all together in one very large house out inn the desert.  There wasn't much outside entertainment like we've had at reunions in years past, but the consensus by all is that this was the best reunion ever.  The house had a pool, outdoor kitchen, large indoor kitchen, game room, and theater which provided ample entertainment.  The house was also large enough for times when you needed to be alone or nap while perfect for visiting anytime you wanted with someone in the common areas.
  • I got to cross off an item on my bucket list with My Mann's family reunion.  I had mentioned to his siblings, one night, that I would like to see Mount Rushmore one day.  Apparently, I wasn't the only one who wanted to see it.  We all had a great time and Mount Rushmore is amazing as are the Black Hills of South Dakota.    
  • I decided to take a couple online classes during the Fall semester.  I learned that as much as I enjoyed the learning it wasn't the wisest thing I did this year.  It ate up all my time which took a toll on my relationships.
  • Speaking of relationships, we witnessed the most uncommon one when a finch would come to our window and tap on it with its beak.  This would attract Missy's attention and she and the bird would keep each other company for hours.  This went on for a few weeks.  I'm not sure if the bird saw its reflection in the window and was courting its reflection or if the bird could see Missy and was teasing her all during that time.  Either way it was entertaining to watch the two of them.
  • I started taking dance classes this Fall.  I'm glad I've started doing something like this again.

Favorite book of the year - The Devil's Cub by Georgette Heyer.  I really enjoyed reading this book early last year and have thought of it often throughout the year.  There are several twist and turns that make this book enjoyable.  

Favorite date night of the year - Seeing The Piano Guys in concert at the Greek Theater.

Favorite moment - When My Little Mann came up to me over the Christmas holidays and gave me a hug and an open mouth, slobbery kiss.  

Favorite movie of the year - The almost unheard of movie remake of The Magnificent Seven.  I thought the character evolution was done very well and that is what made it a favorite for me.  

Favorite meal of the year - The huge lobster tail dinner on the cruise was a stand out but every meal during that week was outstanding.  

Favorite find of the year - I learned about the Whale Shark and actually got to see one.  They are huge and being out on the water with them was amazing.  I wasn't brave enough to go into the water with them, but those who did were dwarfed in size next to the Whale Shark. 

All in all it was a good year.  We are almost a full month into the new year and I've been doing quite a bit of thinking.  
Thinking about my new word for 2017.  
Thinking about what I've learned from 2016.
Thinking about how I hope to move forward in 2017.
Thinking about how I want to slow down the pace for more time to think.

Saturday, January 7, 2017

Hi There 2017

A New Year.

A new beginning. 

I love new beginnings.  I love that each morning brings a new beginning.  But there is something big about a new year with a new month and a new first day of that month. 

New beginnings stir my mind.  It gets me thinking a lot about how I might change what I didn't especially like about the day, month, year, or time before.  It's all like a do-over in a sense like Bill Murray in the movie Groundhog Day.  I love how he learned each time he lived Groundhog Day over what made him truly happy.  Isn't it amazing that when he made others happy and did things for others that it made him happy?  Don't you just love how our experiences can teach us?

I'm glad for my experiences from last year.   From them I (re)discovered how important  family is and how much fun they can be to be around.  I was shown, from another, the sorrows that come from the regret of not making time for those you love so that I would learn and not repeat it in my own life from here on out. 

Throughout the year I (re)discovered, through several different experiences, that what really matters to me are a few simple things. What was a bit surprising to me was to find that those important things are not tangible.  For me, what matters most are how my life reflects my discipleship to my Lord and Savior, my relationships with others, and being the mother my children need and the wife My Mann needs.  I want to simplify my life in order to focus on those important things this year. 

How about you?  What did you learn from last year's experiences and what do you want to do-over this year?

Sunday, March 27, 2016

February Journal Peek

I've been wanting to share some of February's journal pages but haven't taken the time till now to download any  pictures.

I have a smattering of painting and magazine cutouts on my pages.  Some of my most favorite magazines to cut from are various magazines from Somerset Studios and Daphne's Diary magazine.
I've added quotes from books I'm reading or that I've heard and I would like to remember.  I also enjoy the freedom of just playing with the paint, the latest idea I've seen on Pinterest or whatever is laying on my table.
Some pages like the one above was thrown together pretty quickly in that the whole page is ripped pages from probably the Art Journaling Magazine from Sommerset.  It lended itself to my insert about Dr. Seuss' The Places You'll Go and allowed for all my journaling.

I also started to use ballpoint pen more for journaling because a) it was handy and b) the nibs don't get sucked dry from the acrylic paints.  I think the chalky dryness after the paint has dried is rough on my fine point Sharpies.

So there you have February.

Sunday, March 13, 2016


This weekend I am ​
  1. Bella Grace - I love looking at the pictures and reading through this magazine.
  2. Lemon Tart - a cute mystery novel which also includes food and actual recipes.
  3. Voyage of the Dawn Treader - This title came up in a conversation about C.S. Lewis.  I enjoyed this book in the series and I just pulled it out to re-read parts of it again.
  4. Carry On, Warrior - Didn't really care for the first part of the book.  After a few pages I skipped ahead to the second part,  Loving this part of the book.  The author just has you laughing, crying, and contemplating ideas all at once as you read each essay.

  • Sharky's tostada bowl.  Weekends we splurge and grab bites to eat out.  Friday we were at Sharky's, Saturday a friend and I ate at the Corner Bakery, then ended Saturday night with an order of fries and Cherry Dr. Pepper from Jack in the Box.  There you go.  Not the best eating selections over the last two days but I allow myself these luxuries since I'm really good on the weekdays.

  1. Water  - I drink a lot of water.
  2. Hibiscus Lemonade - I woke up Saturday morning thinking about this lemonade.  I really like it so that was my drink of choice at the Corner Backery
  3. Cherry Dr. Pepper - I love Dr. Pepper.  It's my weekend treat but to have it with a shot of cherry or vanilla flavoring is even more special.
  • to chatter in the hall, 
  • to summoning of prospective jurors to the assembly room over the intercom, 
  • to Devil's Cub on CD on my commute (don't know that I really care for this book but intrigued enough to keep listening.)

  • the 5th season of Downton Abbey and the Christmas special for that season,  
  • the rain fall then after a beautiful Saturday watching the beginnings of a second storm coming in late Sunday evening.  We're desperately in need of this moisture.
  • My Sweet Pea who is with Missy while I'm at jury duty.    She had to tell me all the crazy stuff Missy is doing.
  • Capture your 365.  I've captured 73 of 365 days for this year. 
  • the ordinary ways of these ordinary days.
  • the freesias blossoms with their heady scent
  • citrus blossoms in the night air.
  • that it's the weekend.
  • about Nancy Reagan and the woman she was.  What an amazing honor she was paid at her funeral. 
  • time spent introducing a friend who is a recent transplant from a small South African town to IKEA and the JoAnns' super store.
  •  to get the Quicken register up to date.  But since it's the weekend I'll worry about that more Monday.
  • content.
  • to work in my smash journal with a gelli plate.
  • nothing.  It's the weekend.
  • a letter to a cousin.

Sunday, March 6, 2016

February's Lessons

Rita Hayworth in Rose Marie Reid swimwear

1.  I love vintage clothing.  I wish it would make a comeback in the department stores.   I learned about the woman who changed swimsuit history.  Rose Marie Reid.  She believed "that every woman should feel just as glamorous in a swimsuit as they do in an evening gown and designed her suits accordingly." (Wikipedia)   Not only were her swimsuits glamorous they were functional and innovative taking us from the heavy, cumbersome swimwear to swimwear with patented fabrics for better function and fashion.  The bits I've learned about Rose Marie Reid and her life have whetted my interest to read her biography Rose Marie Reid: An Extraordinary Life written by her daughter Carol Reid Burr.

2. I learned that I like using baby wipes on my smash journal pages.   They allow me to smoosh the paint around to blend or blot off.  And it's just plain fun.  If I wipe of too much I can add more on making the process relaxing because it is so forgiving.

3. I learned that I needed to alter my focus point a bit for better results.  During January I was focused on getting some type of  exercise plan going making the much needed exercise a high      priority.  This meant getting up and going earlier each morning in order to exercise because I knew it wouldn't happen if I waited to do it after work.  It didn't take long for me to realize that by mid-afternoon I was feeling mostly tired and frustrated.  I could barely function once I made it home from work. Things weren't gong well and I didn't want to continue feeling this way through February or the rest of the year.

 I did a sort of re-evaluation trying to figure out what was going on.  During the month as I looked at my calendar the quote from Tony Robbins began to sink in.

"Your life is controlled by what you FOCUS on."

In addition to the quote I read some things that began to make me think that I may be focusing on the wrong thing.  January I was focused on the jiggly aspects of my inactive body.  During February I started  to adjust my focal point.  I still have to wake up earlier except now I don't get out of bed until I've spent time reading and studying my scriptures.  By getting that done first thing I've been happier and a lot less grumpy.  In addition I've still managed to find ways to be active 3-4 times during the week by walking 2-3 miles during my lunch break.

By changing my focal point from my physical to the spiritual areas of my life I have remembered how much better life can be when things are placed in their proper priorities.  For me if I place my spiritual life first everything else falls into place.

That's what makes life interesting.  There is always something new to learn.

Monday, February 29, 2016

Smiles All Around

It isn't everyday that an extra day falls into your lap. With time passing so quickly I feel like I have scored the lottery with this extra day in February.  March has been held off 24 more hours.  I won't think about the four years it has taken to build up time for this extra day.   I'm just going to take it as a gift.
I  am having so much fun in my smash journal.  I think I am settling into a routine of sorts for it.  It is so much fun looking back and seeing some pages with tons of writing on top of collage and paint.
Or pages where I've played with no expectations.  Just scraping a little paint here, finger paint there,  paste some trash scraps here, a pretty magazine picture there, and a found piece of washi tape there.  The best part is how it makes me smile just to look at it. 
The very early stages of this journal were a little more organized which look OK to me but they just don't make me smile as much.  It may be because I was working at getting the pages to look like others I have seen on the web instead of playing with the "art".
It was about mid month when I broke away from trying to conform and started to "practice" at doing different things.  You can see in the picture on the left where I tested out stenciling a hollyhock with sponge stencils.  When I did it I didn't notice my book was upside down.  But I love it anyway.

The picture on the right has a flap page where I added extra whatnots to my memory keeping smash journal.

I'm loving it all and I can't wipe the smile off my face when I look at it.  Those simple joys.

Monday, February 1, 2016

What I Learned January 2016

Last year I kept track of what I had learned each month in my smash journal.  But I enjoy seeing what others have learned because I learn from them.

1. Make note of it.  One of the first things I learned this month is that I have to keep track of who I'm learning from and make a note of it!  There are two things I learned from others this month and I'm sorry that I can't give proper credit to who they were.

2. Workflowy.  I was introduced to Workflowy by reading about it on someone's blog.  Unfortunately I don't remember which blog.  Workflowy is an amazing organizational tool that is great for note taking, list making, brainstorming, planning, and organizing your thoughts and ideas.  Since I learned about it earlier this month I've been using it in bullet list fashion.  I especially like the tag feature which allows me to quickly tag items with a completion date and then find them listed all together so I can stay focused on what is important for that particular day.  I also like the fact that I can access my list on any device I have at hand.  This makes it especially beneficial for capturing or looking up any idea/thought I had/need. 

The Workflowy team has put out a nice video giving an example of how to use Workflowy.

Image credit
3. Miracle Mornings. I learned about The Miracle Mornings by Hal Elrod from another blog (again I don't remember which one).  It's the practice of getting up early in order to have time for Silence, Affirmations, Visualization, Exercise, Reading, and Scribing (writing).  He uses the acronym of SAVERS to help you remember.  If you want to hear a little more about it Hal has a quick little video about it here but there are other videos he has done that go into more depth about it on You Tube.  I've been trying to implement this practice into my mornings.  When I've been successful I feel like my day has gone pretty well.  When I sleep in my day lacks focus.  It's been difficult going to bed early enough to get up early consistently, but I do know that it is a beneficial practice and I'd like to keep working on making it a habit.

4. How to keep a Journal. In the process of searching more about Miracle Mornings I stumbled on to some videos in You Tube by Robin Sharma.  He has a similar take on the importance of getting up earlier in the morning in order to have time for meditation, exercise, learning, and writing (journaling).  On his website I found a post about how he keeps his journal.  This year I've wanted to really write my story, to have more depth in my words and his blog post has helped to give me some clarity and direction so my journals are more than a boring narration of the day.

5. Not all cats are the same. If you've been following this blog over the past month you know that we have a new kitten, Missy, in the house.  You may also know that Missy has some interesting habits that none of our other cats in the past had displayed such as clumsiness.  I can't figure out why she is so klutzy and runs into things due to what seems to be her inability to judge how far to jump or stop before running into them.  There are other times when she plays with her toys and catches and follows them perfectly.  Our other cats were more graceful in their climbing and running.

Another oddity about her not exhibited by our other cats is her love of water.  Whenever she hears the bathroom sink or shower go on, she's there, anxious to check out the water as it goes down the drain.  In the sink she'll play in the water, using her paws to bring the water to her mouth.  Sitting in the sink her fur gets pretty wet and she doesn't seem to mind.  That just seems strange to me after the other cats.

I love learning new things.