Thursday, December 4, 2008

A Visit with the Folks!

We drove up to Washington to see Randy's parents over Thanksgiving weekend. We don't see them as often as we'd like to since we live so far away. What we don't have in quantity, we more than make up for in quality! We had the best visit with them, including a fabulous dinner, a game of Skip-Bo, and some catching up on family news. They loved seeing Destiny and Lyric and were impressed with how bright and bubbly they both were after such a long drive.
Being the avid deer hunter that he is, Randy's Dad really liked the sweatshirt we gave him for his birthday. You look pretty spiffy there pal! We love them and miss them, and of course, honor them as they are 86 and 84 this year. They bowl in a couple of leagues each week and play cards with friends. I hope we can be that active when we're that age! Thank heavens for family, near and far.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Giving Thanks (on Thanksgiving!)

We spent Thanksgiving in Portland with Ashlie and her family. Oh how I love being with them, and how I love being able to play gramma!! Stephen's parents live close by so we all shared Thanksgiving dinner together. We got all dressed up and headed over to the Grand Lodge for a fabulous traditional meal -- turkey, mashed potatoes and gravy, stuffing, yams, and pumpkin pie. No cooking, no cleaning, no leftovers (ouch, now I DO miss that part)! Ashlie and Stephen had to work the next day so Randy and I spent the night at Sylvia and Tim's and kept Destiny and Lyric overnight. What a riot! Those two little people can program and play Wii games like the pro's. It was hysterical watching Destiny box and Lyric bowl. They got a good work-out, that's for sure! It was really special to sit down next to Destiny and listen to her read. She is not even in Kindergarten yet and she's reading 3rd grade books. She doesn't even stumble over four-syllable words. Incredible! And Lyric, who isn't even four yet, navigates the Internet until he finds the educational programs he likes. Whoa, have times changed since I raised my babies! Now to give thanks for the many, many blessings in my life: a loving husband; sweet children and beautiful grandchildren; friends that love and support me; physical, mental, and emotional health; love overflowing; knowing what's true and what's not; freedom to choose; freedom to worship; happiness far beyond my deserving; opportunities to serve others; and most of all . . . knowing that I have a Heavenly Father and a love for my Savior. I try not to take these things for granted. I have at various times in my life. I will try not to and I will make course corrections when necessary. Yes, my life is overflowing with blessings and I am very grateful -- not only at Thanksgiving time, but always!

Monday, November 24, 2008

CRAZY 8's (Susan tagged me!)

8 TV shows I love to watch: 1. Grey's Anatomy 2. HGTV 3. The Today Show 4. Evening News 5. Jeopardy 6. American Idol (can't wait for the new season) 7. House 8. Deal or No Deal 8 favorite restaurants: 1. Cocoro's 2. Arroyo's 3. Victoria's 4. Fatty's Kitchen in Honolulu 5. David Wong's 6. Hawaiian Ono Barbeque 7. Qdoba's 8. Panera Bread 8 things I did yesterday: 1. Went to church 2. Talked to Tiffanie on the phone 3. Talked to Courtnie on the phone 4. Talked to Jenifer on the phone 5. Talked to Patrick on the phone 6. Said good-bye to a few friends in Stockton 7. Tithing settlement with my Bishop 8. Visited my mother 8 things I'm looking forward to: 1. Thanksgiving with Ashlie, Stephen, Destiny & Lyric 2. Christmas with Patrick, Tammy, Nicholas & Jacob; Jason; Jenifer, Paul, Zackary & Joe 3. Moving back to Utah next month 4. Watching Brody learn to walk 5. Seeing both Courtnie's and Chelsie's new apartments 6. Working with Jim Smith 7. Being with my Utah friends again 8. Staying in touch with my Stockton friends 8 things I love about THIS fall: 1. Pumpkin bread 2. Colorful leaves 3. Hot apple cider 4. Sitting in the hot tub and looking at the stars 5. Having a fire in the fireplace 6. Bundling up with scarves and hats 7. Homemade soup and hot bread 8. Long walks with Randy 8 things on my wish list: 1. To see family and friends more often 2. A white Christmas 3. Less anger in the world 4. Less fat/calories in yummy desserts 5. Good dental check-up tomorrow 6. A new complicated digital camera 7. To have a "Tiffany Anderson" massage 8. More time with Randy 8 people I tag: Ashlie, Courtnie, Chelsie, Tiffanie, Shalee, Cori, Beth, Velvet

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Utah Bound!

This has been a whirlwind of a week -- emotionally, physically, mentally, and everything in between! The company Randy works for purchased a new facility in Clearfield and asked him if he was willing to move to Utah to be the General Manager there. Since four of our eight children live in Utah, it didn't take any time at all for us to make our decision. They want him to start before the end of December which gives us less than six weeks to finalize the move. The housing market in California (specifically in Stockton where we currently live) could not be worse right now. We have no choice but to rent our home out for the next few years until the economy improves enough to sell it. Next week we'll list the house with a rental agency, make arrangements with the movers, and begin the very intense process of another major move. We're going to Portland to visit Ashlie and Stephen and the kids for Thanksgiving; coming home for a week before the movers arrive to pack up the house; moving into the home we've rented in Layton; then going to San Diego to visit our three children and their families the week of Christmas. You're beginning to feel the whirlwind now, right? Not to mention preparing to say 'good-bye' to our friends here in Stockton -- it's already sadder than we imagined it would be. We have made some wonderful friends here, especially at church. We've talked to half a dozen of them today; each conversation was filled with laughter and tears; happy for us and sad for them. Life seems to be a series of hello's and good-bye's -- I like the hello's a lot more. So, "hello" Layton ..... I hope you welcome us as warmly as Stockton did five years ago (I think this is the last move we'll make). And "hello" Utah Booker's: Dustin and Shalee and Kaiya, Courtnie and Brody, Chelsie, and Tiffanie and Ben (sorry Ben, I know you're not a Booker)! Our hearts are ready to come home!

Friday, November 21, 2008

The Perfect Weekend!

Monterey, CA - The Perfect Getaway!
The Perfect Wave!
The Perfect Weekend!
Randy and I enjoyed three perfect days in Monterey and Carmel last weekend. We heard comments from people in town about the unusually "perfect" weather -- clear blue skies, no wind, and temperatures in the low 80's, unseasonably warm for November. We shared this special time with two other couples -- the guys played golf and the girls spent the day at the spa. The day began with a soak in a jetted tub filled to the top with bubbles in a private room overlooking the ocean. Soft music, fresh fruit, herb tea, and a private sun-deck made this day -- well, umm -- perfect! A tap on the door was the signal that it was time to move on to an hour-long facial followed by a therapeutic massage, then finishing up in the sauna. Ahhhhh ....
We visited the Monterey Aquarium on the infamous Cannery Row, enjoyed delicious seafood, shopped a little, and played a lot! We took the 17-mile scenic drive through Carmel which follows the coast line and winds through the notorious Pebble Beach Golf Course. No matter where in the world we go, our hearts are happiest near the ocean. There's just something rather special about the salt air, the sound of crashing waves and seagulls, and the warm sand beneath our feet. My idea of a perfect getaway for sure! For the record, this was a perfect weekend!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

California's Prop 8

One week ago today, California passed Prop 8 -- a very contraversial issue, not only in this state but in the nation.
In 2000, 61% of California voters passed Proposition 22 which banned same-sex marriage. In May 2008, four San Francisco-based judges overturned that vote and disregarded the will of the people, forcing Prop 8 to appear on the ballot as an amendment to the state constitution. In August, Randy and I were asked by the grassroots coalition to actively work on the "YES on 8" campaign restoring the definition of marriage to read, "Only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California."
We believe that the judges did not have the right to do what they did, the way they did it. Why do we vote if it doesn't matter anyway?
We worked very hard for three months on this campaign. We believed then, and more firmly believe now, that we did the right thing. We have friends and family who have been offended by our stand. We love them nonetheless. The state of California has a Domestic Partnership Code which allows them all the benefits and rights they desire, short of being married. If the majority of the state believes in traditional marriage, the law should not be changed. Plain and simply, that's how I feel.
Anticipating the failure of Prop 8, a local elementary school had begun teaching that there is no difference between traditional marriage and gay marriage. A friend of mine's niece came home from elementary school two weeks ago with a paper introducing this subject. A school in San Francisco took the children on a field trip to attend a lesbian wedding. Friends of ours who recently got married said the application for their marriage license read "Party A and Party B" instead of "husband and wife." The opponents of Prop 8 said this had nothing to do with children. It has everything in the world to do with children. Sadly, this is just the beginning of how children and society will be affected as we continue to address this issue.
The majority of people in California have, one more time, voiced their opinion through proper legal channels. There are not words to describe the chaos that has begun in California over this subject. I'm sad and disappointed in the way the opponents of this proposition have reacted -- vandalizing churches, protesting in front of LDS temples, verbally and physically abusing people, etc. Undoubtedly, this will appear before the voters again one day. But for now, the majority of registered voters in the state of California believe that marriage should be reserved for one man and one woman. My personal belief is that the divine sanctity of marriage was instituted by our God 6000 years ago. Who are we to change that?

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Steadfast in the Sun (and in the Son)

What I get from the sun and from the "Son" .....
The Sun:
Light - I need lots of this; lots of windows; I don't do well in the dark
Warmth - I'm a summer kind of girl; I love to feel the sun on my skin
Energy - Being outside during the day gives me lots of this
Brilliance - I adore vivid colors and hues
Inspiration - I get my best thinking done on long summer walks
Joy - Everything seems happier in the daylight
Memories - Growing up on the beach in San Diego and vacations to tropical islands
Hope - I can count on it coming up every morning, bringing me a new day
The Son:
Light - He "is" this in my life
Warmth - I can feel His presence, especially when I pray
Energy - He gives me everything I need to keep going
Brilliance - He is the Giver of all intelligence and wisdom Inspiration - He plants good thoughts in my mind and answers my prayers Joy - He gave me a happy spirit
Memories - I know where I came from
Hope - He gives this to me constantly and I know everything will be OK

Friday, September 19, 2008

What Goes Around, Comes Around

I wrote the following poem in 1997 and found the exercise to be wonderful (and very affordable) therapy during a difficult time with teenage children who were "acting out" (is THAT what they really called it?) -- and yes, that was a run-on sentence. They did it all and have pretty much made amends for their bad behavior (bad, bad, bad little children ....) When I’m an old lady (no home of my own), I’ll live with my children who are finally grown. I’ll move in with my kids, bring them all the same joys That they brought to me – my girls and my boys. I’ll run and I’ll play and just piddle away The time that I should be doing chores every day. I’ll run off to the movies and not wash a dish; I’ll beg for allowance whenever I wish. I’ll plug up the toilet, flushing onto the floor; As soon as they mop it, I’ll flood it some more. I will draw on the walls and scuff up the floor; I’ll run in and out without closing the door. I’ll pester my children when they’re on the phone. As long as they’re busy, I won’t leave them alone. I’ll spill orange Kool-Aid as I eat every meal; I’ll eat my banana and just drop the peel. I’ll hide beer in the fridge; “Play Girl” under my bed. Whenever they scold me, I’ll just hang my head. I’ll look like I don’t understand what they say, Then I’ll do what I want just to get my own way. I’ll hide men in the closet (maybe drugs in a drawer), And never pick up my clothes from the floor. I’ll throw the clean laundry right back down the chute; And pound on the furniture with my brand new flute. I’ll promise to clean, straighten, pick up my mess Before company comes (then forget and confess) That I really intended to get the job done, But my friends called me up and I needed to run. I’ll take all their flashlights, their batteries, and then When they buy new ones, I’ll take them again. I’ll put pets on the table, spill jam on the floor; I’ll break their good dishes as though I were four. I’ll steal pocket money from their wallets for spite; And sneak my friends in through a window at night. I’ll throw their wallets in fast-food trash cans; I’ll scratch, dent and damage their cars and their vans. I’ll answer the phone and say they’re not here; I’ll wash their best clothes in Drano, not Cheer. I’ll borrow an outfit and not give it back; I’ll complain that the house they live in’s "a shack." I’ll subscribe to the offers that I see on TV; When asked for a parent, I’ll answer, “That’s me!” I may pick my nose and wipe it on walls; I’ll probably skateboard through kitchen and halls. In the fridge I will leave empty cartons of drink; I’ll eat all their ice cream without even one blink. In the cupboards I’ll leave empty boxes of food; Then I’ll burp and I’ll fart if I’m in the mood. If I eat the last cookie and leave just the crumbs; When asked “why” I’ll shrug and look like I’m dumb. I’ll fling cooked spaghetti at the ceiling above; And record over video tapes that they love. With scissors I’ll cut all the sleeves from their shirts; And with permanent marker, I’ll draw on their skirts. If they dare to correct me, I’ll lie down and cry; I’ll kick and I’ll scream, not a tear in my eye. What fun I shall have, what a blast it will be .... To live with my children as they lived with me! -- dedicated to the Booker children who have all grown to be responsible and respectful adults (they know they are loved and adored by their mother and father) and we wouldn't trade them for anyone else's children!

Monday, September 1, 2008

I Filled in the Blanks - Will You?

I am: a child of God – the daughter of a King I think: I have a lot to offer I know: I am loved by my family and friends I want: everyone to be happy I have: the best husband in the world and very amazing children I dislike: mean, selfish, deceitful people I miss: being with my children and grandchildren I fear: not being with my family for eternity I feel: a deep sense of gratitude I hear: what I want to hear sometimes I smell: babies and flowers whenever I can I crave: sushi almost every day I cry: silently when someone hurts my feelings I usually: am the first to apologize I search: for answers I wonder: if my posterity will know what kind of person I was I regret: things I’ve said that may have offended someone I love: passionately and deeply, sometimes to a fault I care: about the feelings of others I always: fall asleep during a video I worry: when I absolutely have to; but if someone else does, I don’t I am not: a mean person I remember: to say "please" and "thank-you" I believe: there is good in everyone I sing: when I’m driving because I know no one can hear me I don't always: remember what people say, but I do remember how they make me feel I argue: with myself and try not to with others I write: a weekly update to my children without fail I win: at games very rarely I lose: things quite often, but I find them eventually if I look hard enough I wish: I could see my children and grandchildren more often I listen: with my heart and not with my ears sometimes I am talented: but not at art or music or sports or design or writing or .... (oh crap) I can usually be found: where I'm supposed to be I am scared: of snakes and spiders and creepy crawly things I need: my friends I forget: about problems when I’m with Randy I am happy: because I choose to be!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Busy Bees!

Another busy week! No matter where I go, it seems everyone has the same thing to say: I’m so busy; life is so busy; we’re too busy. Why are people always so busy? And, get this . . . I was asked to help with a major project recently and I was told, “If you want something done, give it to someone who’s busy!” Did they mean ME?? Ack! I can’t get away from that word! It’s driving me crazy. So I'm considered a busy person. Hmmmmm . . . I do hate it, however, when I ask someone to help me with something and they say, “I’m sorry but I’m too busy.” So I try not to say that. When did the world get like this? I guess I missed it along the way. I have made it a point not to be too busy to help people. Many times I drop what I'm doing to take someone here, or pick something up there, or deliver something that's late, or . . . you get the picture. Or are you too busy? My point is that I'm feeling a little overwhelmed right now because I really am very busy! We have a friend who is running for superior court judge in November. I have committed to be his fundraising manager. In addition to my stake calling in the Young Women's presidency, I've been asked to sub in Primary. This past weekend I was asked to supervise a portion of our city in the task of passing a proposition which will appear on the ballot during the next election. It would have been much to simple to respond with "I'm too busy" but that's not what I'm made of. At least not right now. So, if you need anything, call me. I'm never too busy for those I love!

Monday, August 11, 2008

The Things in Life That Really Matter

What really matters in life? My list would include love, families, tolerance, forgiveness, charity, service, time, and a little sense of humor. It's also very important to us to get the entire Booker family together once a year. That's not an easy task when you consider the miles between us and the busy schedules of two parents, eight adult children, their five spouses, and our eight grandchildren (#9 is due next February). We have successfully pulled it off for two years in a row now and we're already planning the 2009 reunion!
Last year we had a fun-filled reunion in Oceanside, CA where every single member of the family was present. This year we chose Park City, UT and were able to include my mother who will be 81 in a few weeks. For the record, I think Park City is one of the greatest places on earth! The mountains are majestic, the air is clean, and the people could not be more friendly. We rode bicycles, hiked mountain trails lined with wild flowers and trickling water, took long walks, played in the pool, and enjoyed amazing meals together. Those activities are only surpassed in importance by the simplicity of just sharing "air time" together. Being with our kids and grandkids is the most fulfilling part of our lives. It puts everything else in perspective and brings balance to life. It makes hard things easier. It turns sadness into gladness. It puts more laugh lines on the face. It brings me to my knees in gratitude. I count my blessings each day for the gift of being a mother (and now, a grandmother). I set aside resentments and disappointments and hurt feelings and concentrate on the magnificent human beings that God has shared with us. I can't forget to acknowledge the most important man in my life, my Randy. He tolerates me without complaint; he never criticizes me; he showers me with affection and adoration; and he loves me unconditionally. He doesn't call attention to the side of me that is definitely from Venus and he overlooks my adult attention deficit disorder (which is such a distraction at times)! He works hard so that I can focus my attention on things that are important to me. He's just an all-around great guy and the best friend I've ever had in my entire life. Did you notice the slight dose of ADD that just pranced in? I began this post by talking about our family reunion and got sidetracked . . . once again! Gosh, I don't even know how that happens. I hate it sometimes. Anyway, that's me -- it's who I am -- the mother of eight incredibly wonderful adult children: Patrick, Jason, Jenifer, Dustin, Ashlie, Courtnie, Chelsie, and Tiffanie. The spouses they've chosen and the families they are creating mean more to me than anything in the world. Nothing would make me happier than to spend eternity with them. So, am I planning the 2009 Booker family reunion??? You bet I am!! A condo in Lake Tahoe or maybe camping somewhere. Gotta go . . .
P.S. It's kinda cool when you get sidetracked and pull it back together again! I prefer to call it "multi-tasking" . . . what do ya think?

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Why? "Because . . ." (that's why)!

"Why?" It's all about peer pressure. That terrible thing that happens to all mankind at some point in life. I don't recall doing anything like this when I was a kid. So perhaps this is part of a mid-life crisis for me . . . "I don't know!" Now that I think about it, that's the answer I always got when I asked my children why they did some off-the-wall stupid thing. "I don't know!" or "because . . . " To which I'd respond, "What were you thinking?" And the obvious answer to that question was, "I wasn't." But in this case (the case of kissing the banana slug), I did know what I was doing. And it's like this: I was hiking with seven young women from the Stockton Stake. We were on a 20-mile trek over three days and we happened across a banana slug. The banana slug is actually the mascot for the University of Santa Cruz, the area in which we were hiking. Kissing a banana slug is a 5th grade science class tradition and, as they say, "everyone's doing it!" So - if everyone jumped off the top of a building, would I? NO! If everyone jumped out of a boat, would I? NO! But, for some reason, when each of these young women kissed the banana slug, I felt compelled to follow their lead. So there, Booker children, we're even! OK, OK, OK???

Friday, July 4, 2008

God Bless America

Sixty years ago my mother came to the United States, looking for a place where she could be safe and free. During World War II she spent her adolescent years in the Philippines, running from enemy fire. She and her family were forced to abandon their comfortable home and lifestyle as they literally ran to stay alive. They hid during the day and traveled during the night; they bathed in rivers and ate whatever they could find. After the war her grandfather put her on a ship all by herself and sent her to America to start a new life. English was a second language for her but she was determined to overcome that and, as time went on, many more obstacles. She got a job working in a factory and worked very hard to provide for my younger sister and me. She attended the required classes to become a naturalized citizen and never returned to her homeland. I'm grateful for the sacrifices she made so that her children could be born and raised in America.
I am thankful to her for giving me life. I'm so very thankful to live in America! I appreciate the freedom I have to make choices, good or bad, and I accept the responsibility of my choices. I respect our flag and the country it represents. I am grateful for those who lead us in righteousness. I'm thankful to be able to worship God as I choose and for the freedom of speech; to read what I want; to listen and discern right from wrong; and to live the lifestyle I have chosen. I honor those who have given (and continue to give) their lives to protect the freedom we enjoy in this great nation. God bless America -- always!

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

What Is She Good At?

This is Chelsie Victoria . . . seventh of eight Booker children, fourth daughter of five, and lovingly called Auntie Chels (or Chechie Bo-Bo) by her 8 nieces and nephews! I, for one, happen to think she is one of the greatest people breathing air on the earth! But I AM her mother, so I may have very biased opinions of this wonderful and beautiful young woman! Last week she sent me a text message asking what I think she's good at. I am honored to answer that question and think my thoughts are worth sharing!
First of all, here's how I responded: listening, reasoning, loving, and giving. I also made the comment that I could list many more things because there are so many, many things that she's good at. Here are just a few:
  1. sincerity
  2. confidentiality
  3. not judging
  4. spontaneity
  5. contagious humor
  6. eye-contact during conversations
  7. being a friend
  8. discernment
  9. honesty
  10. not easily offended
  11. careful to not offend
  12. creativity
  13. art
  14. music
  15. understanding
  16. empathy
  17. using her head
  18. using her heart
  19. writing (composing and penmanship)
  20. fashion
  21. make-up
  22. hair
  23. beauty, in general!
  24. laughing
  25. making others laugh
  26. sewing
  27. healthy eating
  28. respect
  29. spirituality
  30. affection for animals
  31. non-materialism (is that a word?)
  32. remembering Mother's Day and Father's Day
  33. remembering Mother's and Father's birthdays
  34. love for holidays, in general
  35. generosity
  36. playtime
  37. working
  38. sharing

I would really like to go on and on with this list, but I have to fix dinner.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Father's Day 2008

Holidays are not the same as they used to be. Back in the days when we were raising a large family, there were lots of bodies around and lots to do. Now that we live in an empty nest, the bodies are HIS and HERS and we still have lots to do! This Father's Day we packed a picnic lunch, rode our bikes to a local park, spread out a blanket, plopped ourselves down and devoured the best hoagie sandwiches around! We took a nap in the shade of a big old tree, laughed at the ducks, smiled at little children with their fishing poles, listened to birds chirping, and talked about life. Although the world only celebrates Father's Day once a year, there are men who should be celebrated much more often. I was fortunate to be married to such a man. Our children are blessed to have the Dad they have; truly a gift to all eight Booker kids. I wish I would have had such a Dad when I was growing up. So, my dear Ran, here's to you! Thanks for being who you are and for making my life so sweet -- so very, very sweet!! They say there's a season for all things and this is our season. We'd take the kids back in a breath. But for now, they are in their own season, making their own memories. We're just grateful for the understanding we have that we'll always be a family -- a forever family!

Monday, June 9, 2008

Happy Birthday, Randy!

Birthdays are celebrated so differently these days. Used to be I'd bake a cake and spend three hours decorating it, usually after midnight so the kids would be surprised in the morning. I have pictures of the cakes to remind myself of those days (Darth Vader, Strawberry Shortcake, Cowboys, Cabbage Patch Dolls, and Barbies). Where is that energy level now, I ask myself??
Today, with just the two of us, we'd rather have any number of other goodies instead of cake, so no cake for the birthday boy yesterday. We did, however, enjoy a fabulous dinner at the Elephant Bar and the waitress was kind enough to take our picture. Using my Blackberry phone, she took this picture (after deleting the first one) which to me isn't such an easy task. But for her? Click, click, click, without any hesitation at all, making me feel sorta silly about needing all 17 days that it took me to figure out how to use the stupid thing. I don't know -- are people just born today knowing how to program and use Blackberries, iPods, DVRs, digital cameras, GPS systems, X-boxes, and all four remotes that it takes to watch a DVD on TV???
Sidetracked again, sorry . . . Randy had a very nice birthday. All eight Booker kids called him on the phone (which when you think about it, takes up much of the day) and he enjoyed reading all the thoughtful cards that he got in the mail. So -- do I miss decorating those storybook cakes that I spent hours decorating a hundred years ago? In a word, yes!

Friday, June 6, 2008

Over the river and thru the woods .....

video OK, this is what happens when you set the camera on "Timer" then run to get in the picture, then run to stop the camera. My next camera will have a remote!

Monday, June 2, 2008

Into the Woods!

This is a tree laying on the ground on its side. Randy is standing at one end (which was the base of the tree at one time) and you can see what used to be the top of the tree (which looks like a hole at the other end). Is that awesome, or what?
We spent the day hiking at Big Trees State Park this weekend. It's just a couple of hours from home located in the Calaveras National Forest -- a beautiful place to forget about work, the phone, and people! We couldn't have asked for a better day -- just a handful of other hikers, clear blue sky, all the sounds of a fairytale forest, massive redwoods, fragrant pines, and an intimidating river complete with rapids -- yep, a perfect day!
Some of the trees were 20 feet wide and so tall that at times we couldn't see the sky above. Getting away like this recharges my spiritual battery. We kept saying that our kids and grandkids would love this. We solved all the problems of the world -- well, it seemed like it anyway! We reminisced about the past and dreamed about the future. On the way home we talked about the great day we had -- how glad we are to live so close to such an amazing place; how grateful we are to be strong and active; and how much we appreciate a company car and FREE gas! We came home feeling refreshed and rejuvenated and decided that we will probably fill the summer with mini-vacations just like this one!

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Words that start with "F" . . . . .

In addition to Family, Friends, Faith, Fotos, Food, Fun and Forever Fran, here are some words that come to my mind: fantastic, fabulous, fascinating, Farmington, fluffy, frilly, female, fifty-five, Filipino, frosty, faithful, foreordained, forgive and forget, fellowship, funloving, flip-flops, festive, familiar, fancy, fresh, fireflies, formula, fudge, February, fairygodmother, ferrari, fishing, firefighter, flavorful, filet mignon, fireworks, flowers, frisbee, 49ers, furniture, freedom, feelings, fantasyland, folksongs, flying, fountains, footloose and fancy free, Florida, feasible, floss, feminine, fruitcake, flexible, frolic, fairness, fireside, ferris wheel, fritos, fajitas, frijoles, fiesta, feathers, fantasia, Friday, fleece, fingerpainting, father-in-law, frankly, ferocious, flag, forest, fidelity, fiddle faddle, fig newtons, fizzy, fuzzy, funky, fashionable, ferryboat, froglegs, future, fabric, fragrant, french fries, fictional, favorable, flute, footrub, fern, fragile, festival, futon, fertility, fiancee, fuchsia, floating, finesse, fortify, fiber, far-out, fooey, FM (as opposed to AM), and 50/50 (as in my former Farmington fone number and my favorite ice cream bar when I was a child) . . . phew!!! (or is that spelled "few"?) There are other words that don't come to my mind as quickly (nor do I use on a regular basis) such as frazzled, fickle, fighting, fearful, famine, forensic, financial, France, filthy, fade, freak, freckles, flippant, Frankenstein, formica, for real?

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

I Left My Heart in San Francisco . . .

Tony Bennett made that song popular in the 60's and I've loved it ever since! We will find any excuse to drive into San Francisco. This time it was to celebrate Mother's Day. Riding the cable car down to Fisherman's Wharf brings out the child in me! I love the sound of the clanging bell and the feel of the wind in my face as we ride up and down the steep hills of the city! We stand on the outside step of the cable car as close to the front as possible, sometimes hanging on for dear life! It reminds me of the scene in "Titanic" when Leonardo DiCaprio is holding Kate Winslet by the waist as they're standing on the bow of the ship, her hair blowing in the wind and . . . sorry, I totally just got sidetracked there . . . ! Where was I? Oh yes, down at the wharf. We sat on a bench and ate a whole crab and a bread bowl filled with clam chowder. There's nothing better than to sit next to the water and eat shellfish! It's a great place to just sit and watch people, too, if you like to do that sort of thing (which I do). If you've ever walked along the wharf, you've most likely seen the "Bush Man." Free entertainment. He brings his own greenery, which he carefully hides behind, and awaits the unsuspecting tourist! At just the right moment he picks up the entire bush and jumps in the path of an oncoming victim, causing gasps and jumps and expletives that should be deleted! It's all in fun and he's part of the wharf!
Mother's Day 2008. Randy made it a perfect day for me . . . and, for the record, I didn't really leave my heart in San Francisco. He made sure I brought it home, along with lots of great memories and a promise that we'll go back again and again and again!

Friday, May 23, 2008

What Was I Doing 10 Years Ago?

I checked out Tiffanie's blog yesterday and found her game of "TAG!" Her question was "What were you doing 10 years ago?" and she specifically tagged me! So here is my answer, daughter dear, along with the list you asked me to complete . . .
  • Ten years ago I was living in our peaceful little town of Farmington and I still had kids at home. I was doing laundry, preparing meals, cleaning house, grinding wheat and baking bread. I was playing with flowers in the yard. I was driving kids to cheer practice and music lessons and going to karate tournaments. I was spending time with good friends (that I miss with all my heart right now). I was working full-time at Life-Line. I was speaking to schools, churches, and civic organizations about drug abuse. I had less grey hair, fewer wrinkles, and less time to do some of the things I'm enjoying today. But I still wish I was 10 years younger right now . . .

5 things on my to-do list today:

  • grocery shop
  • have my Xterra serviced
  • get a physical so I can go to Girls Camp this summer
  • pack for the weekend
  • get this list done!

5 snacks I enjoy:
  • fresh fruit
  • pistachio nuts
  • string cheese
  • skinny cows
  • popcorn
3 bad habits:
  • procrastination
  • falling asleep during a video
  • expecting way too much out of myself and others
If I were suddenly a billionaire:
  • Randy would retire early and we'd travel around the world.
  • I would buy a house for each of my 8 kids so we could be near each other.
  • I would buy a family business and provide job security for our whole family.
  • I would put enough $$$ in the bank for all our grandchildren to go to college.
  • I would give $$$ to families in our church who can't afford to send their sons and daughters on missions.
  • I would run a soup kitchen and feed the poor.
  • I would help Life-Line build a gymnasium and donate $$$ to their endowment fund.
4 places I have lived:
  • Alameda, CA
  • San Diego, CA
  • Farmington, UT
  • Stockton, CA
4 jobs I have had:
  • Secretary
  • Wife and mother (the best and my favorite)
  • Dental assistant
  • Director of Admissions
5 things people don't know about me:
  • I'm afraid of heights
  • I can't sleep when it's light outside
  • I eat the center of my pancakes first before I eat the outside
  • I hate the smell of "old lady" perfume
  • I love Western movies
I TAG anyone reading this who has time to do what I just did!!!! Remember, Tiffanie -- I've never told you "no" because you've never told me "no" . . .

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Celebrating Life

Blessings . . . I have many -- far too many to count. The one that's floating on the top of my heart today (which happens to be Mother's Day), is the one that's an answer to prayers offered on behalf of our daughter, Ashlie, by countless people who care about us. Ashlie called us on Monday night to tell us that she had seen the neurosurgeon that day and was scheduled for surgery the next day. Four months ago she was diagnosed with chiari malformation (when the lower part of the brain hangs below the skull) and pseudo tumors (pockets of trapped spinal fluid behind the eyes) both of which were causing severe headaches and distorted vision. A spinal tap would normally relieve the pressure caused by the pseudo tumors but because of the chiari, that procedure could have killed her. The only option was to insert a shunt from the right side of the brain down to the stomach. As she described what was going to happen, Randy and I felt a sense of peace. We knew we'd be getting this phone call eventually and felt strongly that we were not alone. I got on-line and booked a ticket, packed a bag, got up at 3:30 in the morning, and flew into Portland two hours before her surgery. Talking to her surgeon brought great relief as he described how well the surgery went. He assured us that she would be fine and that she wouldn't have the headaches anymore. I heard myself saying, "Thank you, God" over and over and over again. It's amazing that a person can have brain surgery one day and go home the next. It's truly a remarkable time to be alive on this earth. I'm staying until the end of the week and enjoying every minute with Destiny and Lyric. Ashlie is resting and getting stronger every day. Today she is being celebrated by her husband and two small children. I'd say it's a beautiful reason to celebrate Mother's Day! It never meant what it means this year. Life is a blessing, and we have so much to be thankful for!

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Missing My Grandkids . . .

Zack and Joe in San Diego Destiny and Lyric in Portland Nicholas and Jacob in San Diego Kaiya and Brody in Farmington

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Hooray, Hooray -- The First of May!

Before Randy and I got married we both worked for General Atomic, a large corporation located in Torrey Pines, north of San Diego near La Jolla. I remember one beautiful sunshiny day -- 33 years ago this very day -- flowers were in bloom everywhere! I took him for a ride in my '67 Ford Mustang during our lunch hour. We drove up the coast to Carlsbad to a farm that grows large, colorful, incredibly beautiful flowers called ranunculus that smell as delicious as they look! It was the very best May basket in the whole wide world! Seeing acres and acres of these bright flowers just took our breaths away! He says it wasn't the flowers that took HIS breath away . . . awwww!! Well, for the record, he still takes MY breath away! This picture brought back that sweet memory for me. It's taken in front of a flowering plum tree in our backyard. The pink blossoms seem to burst in the early spring and then are replaced with dark plum colored leaves which hang on until winter. Just thought I'd mention that I loved the man in 1975; I completely and totally adore him today! Hooray, horray, the first of May -- fun in the sun begins today!

Monday, April 28, 2008

This New "BLOG" Thing!

I've put this "blog" thing off for far too long (according to my kids who blog)! I'll get the hang of it eventually. But for now, this is as good as it gets! Hey, that just happens to be one of my favorite movies, starring Jack Nicholson and Helen Hunt. Sorry ... I got sidetracked there for a moment. Oh, and by the way, I've discovered that I have an adult case of ADD (attention deficit disorder). I start something, get up to get something, do something with that something that I got up to get, forget what I started to begin with, remember what it was, head back that direction and see another something, and about 90 minutes later I get back to the thing I began in the first place. I could say that I began this blog in 2005 and am just now getting around to finishing it but that would be a lie, and I try not to tell even little white ones, so . . . (where was I going with this?), oh ya, I will give this new "blog" thing a try.