Tuesday, April 29, 2008

"Expressions of Gratitude"

I found Debbie Overton's blog the other day; she is turning 50 this coming Sunday (CELEBRATE!!!!!!!), and she is calling for bloggers to share things they are grateful for, so here is my humble contribution:

I have much to be grateful for right now, so when I start to feel sorry for myself, (easy to do for me--I admit it), I automatically start some "self talk" to list things I am thankful for so I can get myself out of a negative place. First of all, I am very fortunate to be healthy, and every day I am thankful I can enjoy another day of life. I love this world so much! I am like a child in that I am constantly amazed by every new sunrise and sunset I see--I am amazed by cloud formations, seeing the moon during the daytime, and watching shooting stars fall from the night sky. I love the new growth in the spring and am enjoying all the beautiful flowers that are blooming everywhere right now! My husband doesn't understand why I get so excited--when I try to get him to share a sunset with me he often says, "I've already seen the sunset." Bless his heart, they are not all alike--and I have scads and scads of photos I've taken of them the past few years to prove it! Still, I love this guy so much, and I am so grateful he is a part of my life. I am grateful for my wonderful kids and the beautiful grandchildren they have given to me. (Number 9 is on the way--I just cannot believe it! How wonderful is that!) I'm grateful for my two terrific sisters and for my lovely mom. So today, this is what is on my mind, and I am smiling.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Click on the photos for a better view!

My husband and I had the great pleasure of spending the day Saturday with 2 of our grandchildren; we took them to a nature center, where we explored outside exhibits, experienced hands-on exhibits indoors, and then took a long nature walk at the preserve. It was fun and exciting to see things through their eyes. Indoors we saw live salamanders, snakes, turtles, and a beautiful great-horned owl who was sleeping most of the time. He finally opened his huge gorgeous eyes before we left! There were also exhibits showcasing the area's birds and fish. Outdoors, we saw a little Indian village, complete with wigwam-style huts, which showed how the Native Americans of the area used to live. We also saw polliwogs and little frogs, wild turkeys, lots of birds, including woodpeckers actually in the process of pecking the tree bark to get a tasty treat, deer, squirrels, and a large and interesting assortment of bugs! (The kids were most fascinated with those, I tell you!) We had a wonderful time with these two (our 9 year-old grandson and 5 year-old granddaughter) and were very proud of how good they were and how respectful they are of the natural world! We capped it all off with a trip to an ice-cream store and then took them home with us for awhile. We're so very blessed!

Saturday, April 26, 2008

My husband was on his laptop this evening and I heard him laughing . . . this is what he was watching. (If you want to enjoy a few good "laugh out loud moments" just pause my Playlist at the bottom of the page and sit back and enjoy for about 5 minutes! The part where W.C. Fields grabs a pool cue and starts to play pool is just classic!)

Friday, April 25, 2008

Well, I finally made my first ATCs!!--I've created many cards and a few art pieces over the years as gifts for family and friends, but I've never done an ATC before. I decided that I'd give it a try; I don't think these are very good, but they're a step in the right direction for me, I think. I love creating things with paper and embellishments, but it takes me a long time to do it. Having OCD all my life has been both a blessing and a curse. For example, being a perfectionist, as I like to call myself, has helped me succeed in academics and other areas (I was obsessively driven to get perfect grades when I went to college in my 40s), but checking the stove, the locks on the doors, the closets, etc., about 50 times a night before I go to bed has not been productive! Actually, I USED to do that when I was younger--I'm much better now--I only do it about 3 times a night! If I notice a spot on the floor or counter I've just cleaned, then I have to do it again, no matter how small the spot. What a goofball I am! My husband laughed at me at first, but now he just takes my little "defects in character" in stride. I'm not hard on other people, just myself! What I'm trying to say with all this nonsense, is that it takes me a long time to make a card because if it isn't "just perfect' then I will throw it away and do it over again. These first 2 ATC's however, are just what they are--I didn't try to redo them, although I see things I'd like to change and think they can be a lot better. Oh well, if at first you don't succeed . . . go to Starbuck's and have a cup of coffee and a muffin, and then come back and try, try again!

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Baby, Take a Bow!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, SHIRLEY! 80 years young today!

How Can I Thank You
(from "Little Miss Broadway")

How can I thank you, how do I start
The words are somewhere, around my heart
If I could say in a word or two
How much it means to be loved by you

Then I could thank you, for all you've done
But I don't know what to do
What can you say when a dream comes true
How can I ever thank you
- Lyrics/Music W.Bullock/H.Spina

Tuesday, April 22, 2008


I love books. I'm addicted to them. Old, new, and in-between, they are all precious to me. I've been hooked on books ever since I first learned to read. I learned early, I think, mostly because my mother read to us all the time when we were growing up. She would often read from her third grade reader, which I loved, because it had all these really nice old color illustrations, and the stories were just fascinating to me--there were magical stories about princesses, fairies, and trolls under bridges, and stories about historical happenings, too, like the very first Thanksgiving. There were poems in that book, and songs. When I was in third grade myself, we were living in San Francisco, and my mother would take us to the library and leave me reading on a little bench in the children's area while she took my little sisters with her and went to look for books in the adult section. I found the most marvelous book in that library! It's called "The Magician's Nephew" by C.S. Lewis, and it is part of the Narnia chronicles. I LOVED that book and borrowed it from many libraries over the years. When I found out later on that it was part of a whole series of books about Narnia, I was in heaven! I remember applying for my very first library card when I was in fourth grade, at the Panorama City Library in the San Fernando Valley in southern California, where we'd moved; I treasured that card! I visited that library and checked many, many books out over the years, until I grew up and left home. Now, one of the very first things I do when I move to a new city is to go and get a library card. (And I've moved a lot over the past 15 years!) I read to my children all the time when they were growing up, and now it's so rewarding to see that my children have made it a priority to read to their little ones, too. I love reading to my grandchildren, also, and it makes me so happy that all of the older ones learned to read early and are now very advanced readers. Books open up whole new worlds to children, I think, and there is nothing more satisfying to me now than to curl up with a good book and a cup of tea and lose myself in another time and place.


"Books are the quietest and most constant of friends; they are the most accessible and wisest of counselors, and the most patient of teachers." ~Charles W. Eliot

"A book is like a garden carried in the pocket." ~Chinese Proverb

"You know you've read a good book when you turn the last page and feel a little as if you have lost a friend." ~Paul Sweeney

"Lord! when you sell a man a book you don't sell just twelve ounces of paper and ink and glue - you sell him a whole new life. Love and friendship and humour and ships at sea by night - there's all heaven and earth in a book, a real book." ~Christopher Morley

"Outside of a dog, a book is man's best friend. Inside of a dog it's too dark to read." ~Groucho Marx

Friday, April 18, 2008

Today it's been 4 years since my dad passed away. It's hard to believe that much time has gone by already because I can remember everything just as though it was yesterday. Still, the pain and sorrow has lessened somewhat in that I'm not thinking about it constantly like I once was. I took this photo at the cemetery the day of his funeral--I take some comfort in the fact that it was one of the most beautiful funerals I've ever attended, if a funeral can be described that way. Many years ago, a friend of mine gave me this poem when her brother died; it was the first time I'd ever read it, and I often think of the words and what a sweet poem it is:

Do not stand at my grave and weep
I am not there; I do not sleep.
I am a thousand winds that blow,
I am the diamond glints on snow,
I am the sun on ripened grain,
I am the gentle autumn rain.
When you awaken in the morning's hush
I am the swift, uplifting rush
of quiet birds in circled flight.
I am the soft stars that shine at night.
Do not stand at my grave and cry,
I am not there; I did not die.

(Attributed to Mary Frye)

Rest in Peace, Dad. I miss you so very much. Every day, along with my other prayers, I pray this little one: "Please, dear Jesus, please let my dad be in Paradise with You this day."

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

I found this photo of a card I made about a year ago for my youngest sister for her 50th birthday. I am one of those women who isn't "growing old gracefully" because I'm too hung up on silly things like wrinkles, gray hairs, wattles (where'd THAT come from?), sagging boobs and little spider veins mysteriously appearing on my legs. Well, today I decided that I'm alive, healthy, and I have a lot to be grateful for, so I'm going to quit belly-aching about growing old and just enjoy being along for the ride in this great thing we call life. My youngest sister and I made a pact that we are going to make it to 100 years old, and so I need to get started on that by keeping fit (start walking again, I love it), eating healthy (yeah, right--I love Cheetos and chocolate cake) and changing my attitude (I can do it)!

"Father Time is not always a hard parent, and, though he tarries for none of his children, often lays his hand lightly upon those who have used him well; making them old men and women inexorably enough, but leaving their hearts and spirits young and in full vigour. With such people the grey head is but the impression of the old fellow's hand in giving them his blessing, and every wrinkle but a notch in the quiet calendar of a well-spent life." ~Charles Dickens

Monday, April 14, 2008

"Of Ladies and Gentlemen"

Part Two: And Now, THE LADIES

Well, here are the "ladies" I mentioned on my post of April 11th. I've always thought it was interesting how, in the animal and especially the bird world, the "menfolk" are often the ones who have all the color and majesty, while the females are rather drab by comparison. Think of male and female lions or deer and elk, for example, or male and female goldfinches, cardinals, red-winged blackbirds, pheasants, and, of course, peacocks! Then, think of humans--it is mostly the women who are "painted" and decorated. We are the ones who put color on our faces and nails, wear fancy earrings, put pretty decorations in our hair, and dress up for our men. Funny.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Happ--ee Birth--day to meeeeeee! Oh, my gosh! I, like many "baby boomers" I suppose, am shocked to come to the realization that I'm middle-aged now. As my lovely oldest daughter pointed out, (as she was putting all the candles on the beautiful cake my youngest daughter brought home), "Mom, you're the same age as the speed limit!" (Well, one speed limit, anyway--there are higher ones!) It's a wonder that I didn't set off all the smoke alarms in the neighborhood!!! My sister sent me something I thought I'd copy to my post; it's funny, and yet, so true. I don't know who the author is, or I would gladly give credit where credit is due, but here goes:

"THOSE BORN 1920-1979:

TO ALL THE KIDS WHO SURVIVED the 1930's, 40's, 50's, 60's and 70's!!

First, we survived being born to mothers who smoked and/or drank while they were pregnant.

They took aspirin, ate blue cheese dressing, tuna from a can, and didn't get tested for diabetes.

Then after that trauma, we were put to sleep on our tummies in baby cribs covered with bright colored lead-based paints.

We had no childproof lids on medicine bottles, doors or cabinets, and when we rode our bikes, we had no helmets, not to mention, the risks we took hitchhiking.

As infants and children, we would ride in cars with no car seats, booster seats, seat belts or air bags.

Riding in the back of a pick up on a warm day was always a special treat.

We drank water from the garden hose and NOT from a bottle.

We shared one soft drink with four friends, from one bottle, and NO ONE actually died from this.

We ate cupcakes, white bread and real butter and drank Kool-aid made with sugar, but we weren't overweight because,


We would leave home in the morning and play all day, as long as we were back when the streetlights came on.

No one was able to reach us all day. And we were OK.

We would spend hours building our go-carts out of scraps and then ride down the hill, only to find out we forgot the brakes. After running into the bushes a few times, we learned to solve the problem.

We did not have Playstations, Nintendos, X-boxes, no video games at all, no 150 channels on cable, no video movies or DVD's, no surround-sound or CD's, no cell phones, no personal computers, no Internet or chat rooms.......

WE HAD FRIENDS and we went outside and found them!

We fell out of trees, got cut, broke bones and teeth and there were no lawsuits from these accidents.

We ate worms and mud pies made from dirt, and the worms did not live in us forever.

We were given BB guns for our 10th birthdays, made up games with sticks and tennis balls and, although we were told it would happen, we did not poke out very many eyes.

We rode bikes or walked to a friend's house and knocked on the door or rang the bell, or just walked in and talked to them!

Little League had tryouts and not everyone made the team. Those who didn't had to learn to deal with disappointment. Imagine that!!

The idea of a parent bailing us out if we broke the law was unheard of. They actually sided with the law!

These generations have produced some of the best risk-takers, problem solvers and inventors ever!

The past 50 years have been an explosion of innovation and new ideas.

We had freedom, failure, success and responsibility, and we learned HOW TO DEAL WITH IT ALL!

If YOU are one of them, CONGRATULATIONS!

Kind of makes you want to run through the house with scissors, doesn't it?!"

Friday, April 11, 2008

"Of Ladies and Gentlemen"


I saw this guy strutting his stuff up on top of a barn roof while we were visiting a place called "Daffodil Hill" -- It's located about 12 miles outside of a darling town named Sutter Creek, CA. I've never been so close to a peacock before! When I was in 4th grade, (a hundred years ago), we weren't allowed to use ballpoint pens; instead, we used cartridge pens, which were a type of fountain pen. There was a small, plastic cartridge full of ink that you inserted into the barrel of the pen. The ink was usually navy blue, sometimes black, and they had red, also. Then the Sheaffer company came out with a new color, "Peacock Blue." I remember begging my mother to buy the little plastic cartridges in the new color because that was the "in" color at school. It was a very pretty color, similar to the color in this bird's tailfeathers. Isn't he something? His beautiful plumage speaks for itself, I think!

"The pride of the peacock is the glory of God." (William Blake)

Thursday, April 10, 2008

After back-to-back trips to Oregon and then to North Lake Tahoe to see family, I'm home today, taking care of my 3 year-old granddaughter, who is just a doll. (I think, as so many grandparents do, that my grandchildren are just absolutely adorable, but I'm hesitant to publish photos over the Internet because it makes me a little nervous--you never know who is viewing your blog--although it appears that almost no one knows my blog is here, anyway!) My little grandbaby is very much into "Hannah Montana" like so many girls are right now--and she's been playing with her Hannah doll, which is the size of a Barbie. The doll talks and sings if you push a little button where her belly-button should be! It's made me think about my first Barbie doll (I was older when I received it for a birthday and how I wish it hadn't gotten lost over the years!) This has also made me think about how things have changed with each new generation, yet one thing remains the same: little girls still love their dollies, no matter what century they live in. The photo above is of my paternal grandmother, probably taken about 1906 or so. She looks like she's about the same age as my granddaughter is now. My grandma was a great lady and the most wonderful grandmother, and we were very close. I often think of her and miss her so much. I hope that I can always be the same kind of loving, sweet grandma to my grandchildren that she was to me.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

I'm in Oregon right now visiting my oldest son and grandchildren here. Will post when I get home!

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

"Bad Hair Day"

I went and had my hair cut and colored the other day. It was getting shaggy and starting to turn gray at an alarming rate, so I decided it would boost my self-esteem a little to go and have something done about it. I was so looking forward to being "pampered" a little after these last couple of stressful months and the depression I've been fighting, and, well, it didn't work out too well! I went to a "salon and spa" (their description) that really wasn't either one of those things, and, unfortunately, paid a lot of money for a lousy haircut and a too-dark color that was left on way too long--the gal just left me sitting there for almost an HOUR while she cut and colored other clients' hair, and then rushed through the cut she gave me. I've never had anyone do that before! Stupid me, it was my fault for not getting up and saying, "Um, do you think you could wash my hair before this stuff sears the skin off my scalp?" Oh well, it isn't as horrible as this poor person's hair in the photo, but it was disappointing, to say the least. My sweetie just said, "Oh, your hair looks nice," and when I said how sorry I was that I'd gone there, he said, "Well, wait a month, and you can go somewhere else and get it done the way you want it." I thought that was awfully nice of him, since he's the one who paid for it! By the way, I don't know where I found this cabinet card--it was in some antique shop a couple of years ago, I think--I can't imagine what this poor person had to go through to get their hair crimped like that-- but she looks as though she thinks she's pretty stylish!