Tuesday, December 28, 2010

K 2, [P 2, K 2] 4 times

She asked for gift suggestions. The answer was "a knitting kit". At first she didn't believe me. On Christmas morning I was excited to receive a box with a skein of yarn and a book titled "My Knitting Teacher".

At the age of twelve I learned to knit a pair of slippers in a church class. They were white with red variegated threads. The pattern was simple with only knit and purl stitches required. Knitting needles never graced my hands after that.

Over the years I did lots of crochet work. Afghans, baby clothes and booties, doilies and pillowcase trims came easily. But knitting remained a mystery. Dropped stitches, counting rows and getting the gauge correct were intimidating.

Last night the box was opened and I started casting on. The basic knit and purl stitches came easily. The ribbed stitches were correct. But the cable pattern looked impossible. The first attempt was a disaster so I set my practice piece down and went to bed.

Tonight I picked it up again, determined to conquer. Four cables later I'm feeling pretty cocky! Zeus has already requested a sweater.


Friday, December 17, 2010

I'm sorry.

One of my internet acquaintances Sharyn, a fellow quilter who makes incredible quilts had an interesting post a few weeks ago. We are about the same age and her post was titled "I'm so over it". Simple yet very thought provoking.

Zeus and I talk a lot, especially when I'm trying to work through a difficult situation. Last night we had a long discussion about how things change over the course of time, often going in ways that are totally unexpected. We dissected the idea of planning for the future, working toward those goals but also realizing there are no guarantees that those plans will come to fruition.

On the other side of the future is the past. The past cannot be altered. It happened. The only thing I can do about the past is learn from it, make any amends possible and then try not to make those mistakes again. But I can say I am sorry.

1. I'm sorry that I sniffed out the brick of dipping chocolate and ate chunks at a time when I was a kid.

2. I'm sorry that I used to peek at Christmas gifts and ruined the surprise. Lesson learned.

3. I'm sorry that I photoshopped ten pounds and a double chin off of me but not you.

4. I'm sorry that I said that mean thing to you.

5. I'm sorry that I didn't know about thrift stores sooner.

6. I'm sorry that the little squirrel ran in front of my car and got squished.

7. I'm sorry that my religious beliefs/political opinions are not the same as yours and that this might cause you pain.

8. I'm sorry that I didn't climb Mt. Ben Lomond last year. Maybe this year?

9. I'm sorry that I misjudged you.

10. I'm sorry that the frozen tomato plant is still in the backyard waiting to ripen and you are still looking at it.

11. I'm sorry that my car was so disgustingly messy when you rode in it.

12. I'm sorry that you missed the opportunity to participate in their lives.

13. I'm sorry that you wanted to pass me on the road and I wouldn't let you.

14. I'm sorry that I graduated from a college and not a university. Wait. No, I'm not.

15. I'm sorry that there are only 24 hours in a day and that summer vacation is only three months long.

16. I'm sorry that I haven't finished those projects that I've started.

17. I'm sorry that I'm not in Hawaii.

18. I'm sorry that they grow up so fast.

19. I'm sorry that I can't fix it all.

20. .................

Now I need to get over it.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

It's what I do.

Two weeks ago I had the pleasure of giving a short speech about Little Ms. In front of people. People who intimidated me. At a church. Not my church. Whoo boy, that was scary.

After fretting about it for months (yes, months) I came up with a plan. A devious plan. If I stood in front of that group holding up photos of Little Ms. all of those people would be looking at the images and hopefully wouldn't notice the papers rattling in my shaking hands. It was hard to choose eight of my favorite images of her to share but I finally settled on some that best described her personality. The little tribute went off without a hitch and no one seemed to notice, or at least didn't comment on the sweaty forehead.

In cruising through my scrapbooks that week I realized that my all time favorite photos are those that tell a story. The child sitting on the edge of a cliff wearing a harness. Athena and Eris lovingly planting kisses on top of Zeus' balding head. The shadow of a bride and groom walking down the sidewalk. The sweaty faces of bike riders who just completed a feat they never thought possible. The runner caught mid-stride in the air. A father's face as he bathes his newborn baby for the first time.

The stories of my life. Printed. Shared with others. It's what I do.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Click! Click! Click!

Each day during the month of December I look forward to the late afternoon. From 5:00 pm to 5:15 pm the clicking begins. Timers set all over the house take turns tripping and lights begin to go on. The strands of garland, wreaths and our skinny old tree are strung with white lights that cast eerie shadows on the walls. At 11:00 pm the clicking begins again as they all turn off.

Eight timers in all, including one for the two wreaths that adorn the front of the house and one for the wreath in the lair window that only my neighbor can see.

I love all the light. I'm thinking of leaving the tree up all year in the Stupid Room (again, a future post).


Wednesday, November 24, 2010

The Rock

Last week I took my three preschoolers to our local Nature Center for a Pee Wee Pow Wow. The kids were treated to an hour of stories, song and art projects. They sat around a campfire where they learned about Native Americans and tasted journey cakes. They gathered in a tee pee where a coyote told them how he got his name. The kids loved it.

Earlier that morning before leaving the house the Princess found a rock on Grandpa's dresser and asked him what it meant. Later, as we were entering the Nature Center she found a similar rock and picked it up, telling me it was her Gratitude Rock. Not sure I heard her correctly, she repeated "It's my Gratitude rock" and then put the rock into her pocket.

This morning I am warm and comfortable inside my home while on the other side of the window, just two feet away it is bitter cold. There is food in my pantry, clothing in my closet and a car in my garage. There are piles of scrapbooks that tell the stories of the memorable experiences that have been shared with those I love.

Lately my emotions have bubbled up to the surface, something that is not a common occurrence. I am profoundly aware that I'm a lucky woman with a wonderful husband. I am surrounded by incredible daughters, treasured grandchildren, loving family and forever friends. I have been fortunate to watch them grow up and be part of their lives, hopefully creating lasting memories that they will cherish as much as I do.

Gratitude. It is a powerful word.

(More photos of the Pow Wow here.)

Sunday, October 24, 2010

The Happiest Place on Earth

Three days in Disneyland and California Adventure was everything we had anticipated, and more. It didn't take long for the contagious excitement of the park to affect all of us.

Planning had taken months, dates were finally set and reservations made. Four vehicles filled with fifteen excited kids, ages one year through 71 headed southwest. This would be an extra special holiday because four birthdays were being celebrated.

The Prince (age 1) was content to watch all the happenings from his stroller. He was especially enamored by the beautiful princesses.

Mr. Eris, Jr. (12) is a little more reserved but really enjoyed his time with Bubba (age 17).

The Princess (age 3) took it all in as fast as she could. She is an expert on fairies and princesses and loved meeting all of them.

Jubee (age 14) did it all! She loved the rides and was a super help with the little ones. That grin was on her face the entire time.

Little Ms. (nearly 8) is the fearless one of the group and had carefully measured her height to make sure she could ride all of the scariest rides. And she did!

Bubba gave his tearful mother a hug after only a few hours and thanked her for bringing him. He hauled Littlest around on his shoulders much of the time and loved every second there.

Littlest Ms. , age 5, was wide-eyed from the moment we first entered the park. I believe she was the perfect age and the look of wonderment on her face the entire time was a joy to watch. The above photo was taken at the Princess Lunch where they read a Royal Decree in her honor for her birthday!

Having my entire family together, sharing laughter and making memories is what makes my life complete. Earlier this evening they were all here at our home eating belated birthday cakes and reliving the fun of last weekend. Five cameras had been busy last weekend preserving history. Shutters tripped nearly 1,100 times. The scrapbook is now complete and will sit on the coffee table for months where little hands as well as big hands will open it each time they visit. The smiles on the faces in the photos will bring new smiles as the good times are remembered again and again.

I love you all!

To see more smiles and fun, CLICK HERE.

$.36 found at Disneyland
.06 in Euros found in Death Valley National Park
(numismatising while on vacation is tough work)

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Portraits by Little Ms

When young ones come to visit there are pretty strict rules. Don't step over the "line" with food. Spit out your gum immediately. No running around the island or coffee table. Stay out of the useless room (aha! future post!).

Movies, television and computer games are also rare activities. Instead, they know where to find the magnets to build shapes, beads to string necklaces, cars to race on the floor and clothes for dress up. They also know that there is an endless supply of paper on which to draw, scraps of patterned paper to cut and glue and erasable markers for whiteboards.

Two weeks ago Little Ms. got serious about her artwork. The rendition of Grandpa was easy to figure out. It took a little longer to figure out the Grandma drawing, but it is absolutely accurate. I must have been wearing my computer glasses. I still haven't figured out what shirt I wore that had letters on it.

There is a file in my desk with all kinds of memorabilia. School programs, drawings, admission tickets, each one special to me. My shelves of scrapbooks contain some of these things, often tucked between the pages of photos.

These are the stories of my life.


Wednesday, October 6, 2010

It's What Fun Is!

Last Friday was my birthday. About a week ago I realized that I was now closer to 60 than 50, a sobering thought that haunted me for a few days. Although I will always claim to be 39, a calculated number that makes perfect sense to me, Athena and Eris, the increasing number of spots from years of sun make that number slightly unbelievable.

Zeus was out of town for the weekend. When the girls asked about my plans for the day I told them I wanted to go to Lagoon. No kids, no hubbies, just my girls who all love the crazy rides like their mom. They all quickly jumped on board with the idea!

Lagoon is an amusement park located about 25 miles away that has been around since 1900. Just like the zoo, I remember going there as a young child with my family. Dad loved the roller coaster while Mom loved the Tilt-A-Whirl. Both rides are still in operation. Athena and Eris spent lots of time there growing up and like their mother, both love the scariest rides in the park.

We arrived shortly after it opened at 5 pm and went quickly from ride to ride, hitting the steepest, twistiest and fastest thrillers as fast as the lines would let us. The weather was a perfect 80. An added bonus was that Halloween is celebrated all through the month of October. Spooky decorations, interesting creatures and monsters were everywhere.

I braved two new rides this year. In 2001 Athena and Eris took little 9 year old Bubba on the Skycoaster, a giant swing that pulls you up to a height of 143 feet and then lets you free fall at speeds up to 80 mph. I've always wanted to try it. Athena and the Duchess were more than happy to be my swinging partners.

Eris strapped into the Catapult next to me. It was new to both of us and didn't disappoint. After being harnessed into the round metal frame by what seemed like a dozen belts you are catapulted up to 250 ft in the air. I knew immediately that I loved this ride!

After five hours of body slamming and stomach-turning rides it was time for the park to close. It took until Saturday afternoon before I could eat again and my ribs ached for two days from laughing so hard!

Thanks to Athena, Eris, Duchess and Googamus for making my birthday such a Frightmarish success!

Friday, September 17, 2010

Zoo Redo

Twenty years ago. That is the last time that I visited our State Zoo. Seeing wild animals in cages pacing back and forth or sleeping in a corner is not my favorite activity. It's usually hot, stinky and crowded with a million school kids putting their grimy hand prints all over the glass window and ignoring the "Please Don't Tap" signs.

In 1990 I took Athena, Eris and three nieces. Yesterday I spent the afternoon with Littlest Ms. The day was perfect. Eighty degrees, hardly any other visitors and an almost-5-year-old who had never been to a zoo. She had no idea where we were headed so the surprise made it even better.

The place has made some great changes but much is still the same. The little baby elephant was adorable. The giraffes were still very tall, the apes were still sitting in the corner looking bored, snakes slept under red lights and the beautiful tigers paced back and forth in their outdoor garden. We heard a peacock honk (weird) and saw a tangle of bats in a tree that looked like a bunch of bananas. The camel with the slumpy hump was funny. Littlest said her favorite animal was the orangutan, the orange one.

We rode the same train yesterday that I rode so long ago with the girls and that I rode as a child with my parents. I took pictures of her in the same prairie dog holes. She drank out of the same lion head fountain that I remember from when I was a child.

I'm still not a fan of zoos and probably won't return for another 20 years, maybe at that time with great-grandchildren in tow.

But until that time I will be content to browse my scrapbooks.

For the rest of the story, CLICK.



Tuesday, September 7, 2010

The Blue Cooler

It's officially over. Let the weeping and wailing begin. Our pool closed (yes, it is OUR pool now) for the winter. On Saturday we spent the perfect afternoon reminiscing about how great the summer had been and how much we all love our new digs.

By the end of August swimming suits are worn out (they each have two) and will barely stay on. Little girls' blond hair turned to green straw about a month ago. Suntans are brown and deep in spite of the religious application of SPF50 and lines will still be visible when new suits are tried on next year. Swimming skills have improved and new diving tricks have been learned.

But some things just don't change. Like my blue cooler.

I picked this monstrosity up as a purchase gift a number of years ago when we were building our home. The thing has all kinds of pockets, compartments and zip-out insulated lining. But the best part is the wheels! I can fill this baby up with soda pop, ice, towels, cameras, swim toys, napkins and still have room for a large variety of treats. No matter how much the seams bulge it follows along effortlessly. Way back before Memorial Day I stocked up on fruit snacks, cheese crackers, granola bars and other goodies, enough to hopefully make it to Labor Day. Little by little the stash was reduced to practically nothing.

Each season I wonder if the blue coolers' best days have passed. For years it has faithfully accompanied me on every outing. I didn't take it last Saturday and was asked a number of times why it wasn't parked in the usual place under the sportbrella. Oh yes, even the little ones know that inside that ugly exterior are sweet goodies of all kinds.

It bears the scars of hard use. Black electrical tape holds two wheel wells in place. The telescoping handle doesn't always lock in place. The bottom plastic is worn and frayed. The telltale odor of chlorine never leaves the interior. Still, it has been thoroughly washed, inside and out, and is resting comfortably in the back of my closet, waiting to be replenished in nine months with treats to make hungry little ones and big ones smile. It will once again hold the Ziploc bag filled with chicken wraps, a bottle of Diet Coke and my blue Hawaii towel.

Until Memorial Day 2011 the distinct sounds of the blue cooler rolling up the sidewalk will be unheard. The quiet is deafening.

To see more pool fun, well, you know the drill.

$3.94 1/2

Sunday, August 22, 2010


A few months ago during some rare, quiet time with Zeus we were discussing my new found love of cycling. When I started running/ralking six years ago he was uncomfortable with the car vs. pedestrian danger, as was I. Close calls from left-looking right-turners were scary but I soon learned that ultimately I, the pedestrian, was the one that had to avoid the collision because drivers simply were looking for other vehicles, not a slow-moving jogger. Over time I think Zeus got used to my jaunts on the roads.

Adding a bicycle started it all over again. He much prefers it when I am on a dedicated trail than on the road, although even those trails presented some situations that were a little dicey. Our local pyromaniac is still on the loose and the interesting fellows parked at the river keep me on my toes just as much as right-turning drivers. (I suspect that a few of the cyclists and joggers now on the trail are actually police officers on patrol.)

But back to the title of this post. During that conversation Zeus used the phrase "living on the edge" in describing me and my daughters. Although I've always considered myself to be somewhat of a chicken, I will freely admit that we are the first in line for the thriller rides at amusement parks. (Note: Disney's House of Terror will see us multiple times in October.) Athena and Eris loved his description and immediately dubbed us the "Living On The Edge Posse", LOTEP for short.

A few weeks ago one more activity was added to the LOTEP resume. kayaks. We loaded three rented kayaks into the back of a truck, headed up the canyon to a reservoir and immediately fell in love with rowing through the quiet canyons and the beautiful mountain scenery.

At one point Eris and Athena ventured further up a canyon while I hung back leisurely exploring the receding shoreline. Holy moly! I couldn't believe what was sitting on the side of the steep bank: a large tool box! Diligently, I stood guard until the girls came back. Their screams of delight at the "lake find" reverberated off those tall canyon walls! We all knew that it was a sign from Grandpa that he was with us that day enjoying the great outdoors! I suggested that each of us pick out one tool as a keepsake to take home. No way. The girls insisted that was absurd and totally against everything that we had been taught. We must take every single one of them home. And they did! Loading that large, heavy box on the back of the kayaks from the steep bank took some time and coordination, not to mention the added weight that made rowing back to the opposite shore against the wind even more difficult.

At the end of the evening we were all in agreement that kayaking was a success and that we would be doing it again, eventually with our own equipment.

Yesterday and today Eris' van was packed with kayaks and four families spent the days at a different bay (easier access) paddling on the water. Picnic lunches were eaten, a birthday was celebrated, sandy beaches were transformed into sculptures and those three kayaks were on the water for five hours straight. Even the few who are non-swimmers donned the required life preservers and cruised around the bay.

Mom told me a few nights ago that she already suspects what our next adventure is going to be.


Ummmm..... No.

To see more kayaking photos click here.


P.S. Sorry about the truck, D-Rock.

Friday, August 20, 2010


Wasps. Our neighborhood is full of them.

Wait. Not that kind of W.A.S.P. Yes, our neighborhood is brimming with those as well, but this post is about the flying, hive-making, buzzing kind.

For some strange reason wasps have been attracted to our home. Before we replaced the deck furniture they were always busy coming and going underneath the chairs where there was a perfect space for a hive. The little critters also were constantly building hives in the can lights above the table. They have been evicted from both places many times, as well as under the eaves and other odd places.

So far we have managed to coexist peacefully with no stings, a kind of detente between humans and hives. The problems begin when visitors get nervous and start swinging or swatting at them.

Zeus' brother is an experienced bee handler. Last week he kindly came over and once again removed a two inch hive out of the light over the table. Within a day those determined wasps were right back starting another one. Then I had an AHA! moment: one of those hotel shower caps that I collect would be perfect to keep them out. Oh yes, it worked.... for a day. At first they were confused and just hung around waiting for the shower to be over. Soon another hive was started, this time right next to the shower cap. Sigh.

Two days ago Little Miss led me out the front door and showed me the work of art under construction in the light fixture. I had noticed a few weeks ago that the bulb was not working. Now I know that's because two huge hives are growing daily.

The wasps are fascinating to observe and Zeus and I both hate to destroy the work that they have dutifully done. Unfortunately, I also need working lights. Hopefully brother-in-law will be here soon.


Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Um Um Good!

I love food, especially the foods of summer. Watermelon, cantaloupe, grapes, peanut butter and crackers, grilled turkeyburgers, chicken wraps, basically anything easy to prepare that can be consumed on the run from one activity to another.

Zeus and I have enjoyed many yogurt/fruit smoothies on the deck this summer. What a treat to end a hot day! I've experimented with all kinds but my handsdown favorite has to be blueberry. Three ingredients (milk, frozen fruit and yogurt) in the blender, it just doesn't get easier than that!

Chocolate doesn't fare well in our desert heat and must be eaten quickly. To keep it safe from melting I bring it directly to my lair where it stays cool until I eat it, generally a very short period of time. Jelly rings are especially vulnerable so it's important to take care of them quickly.

Is there anything more fun than watching kids eat the foods of summer?

3.16 plus three $1 car wash tokens

Friday, August 6, 2010

The End

Divorce. It sucks. The two people involved in the failed relationship are forced to start life over. Gone is the comfortable knowledge that you are part of a team, a team that was supposed to last forever, through good times and bad.

(Settle down. Zeus and I are not getting divorced.)

The end of a friendship can sometimes be as painful as ending a marriage. Divorcing a best friend for whatever reason carries lots of risks. That best friend knows wayyyy too much because you have told BFF all your innermost secrets. Danger!

The sudden termination of a BFF leaves a huge hole for both parties involved. You wait for the phone to ring, hoping it will yet at the same time relieved that it doesn't. Gone are the long, intimate chats where thoughts, feelings and hopes are discussed.

A breakup can be sudden, loud and traumatic. Both parties know the cause and are relieved that it is over.

Sometimes a friendship has to be abandoned before it really gets off the ground. You realize that ideals, values and belief systems just simply are not meshing. A congenial parting is in order.

Other times it can be a gradual slipping away. Like a doomed marriage it begins with separation. Phone calls become less frequent and finally they just end. Holidays and birthday go unacknowledged. Names are eventually deleted from address books, cell phone contact lists and Facebook pages.

I'm not sure which method of friend-divorce is less painful. I've experienced all three. Mourning the loss and what it could have been is a part of recovery and moving on. Sigh.

Jan and I will be celebrating our 29th anniversary this month. Or is it 30?? We've been through a lot together. Tonight I am feeling grateful for her unconditional acceptance of who I am and what I believe.

Thank you, Jan.


Sunday, July 25, 2010

I'm baaaaaack!

Last post: June 17th... from Canada??? That was six weeks ago! I'm not sure exactly how to update. In fact, that dilemma is part of why it's taken so long to get at it. I don't know where this post is going so it might be a little disorganized and will most likely take more than one day to finish. But here goes...

If you know me personally or have read my blog from afar you are aware that summertime is my absolute favorite season of the year. Zeus knows that I will be off playing at some activity from early morning until late at night. This year is no exception, plus a few bonus experiences along the way.

The lack of posts certainly does not reflect the amount of time working on this computer and finetuning the images on the monitor. For weeks the kitchen island was transformed into my workroom. From that vantage point at least Zeus and I could see each other as he also worked at his desk in The Sanctuario. My cameras have been put through their paces recording births, marriages, graduations, birthdays, dancing and summertime activities. Some of my favorite images will be available at the Shooting Blog for those who might be interested. For those who want the abbreviated version, here goes:

THE WEDDING: The wedding of my nephew and his lovely new bride was incredible! The day was perfect and the never-ending smiles on faces were priceless. The breathtaking setting of the Bountiful LDS Temple and the happiness on their faces made photographing the occasion an unforgettable experience. And it was so much fun! You can see more images here.

BABIES: I love to play with newborn babies. In the first week you can fold them like a pretzel and usually they sleep right through it. In May I was excited to play with the newborn baby of some friends whose wedding I shot three years ago. Little Obi is so cute!

A week later I picked on Bella, the beautiful daughter of our close friends. All of that dark hair was amazing! My own daughters didn't have that much hair until they were three!! (only a slight exaggeration.)

Then nearly three weeks ago Little Miss arrived, our newest great-granddaughter (our family tree is very confusing so I won't even try to explain). She is perfect in EVERY way and I fell totally in love with her the minute I saw her. Her mommy was a good sport about letting me play with her! More images here.

THE POSSE: This new found pleasure of riding has become almost an obsession. The exciting part is that since Eris convinced me that I should try it we have now convinced quite a few others to join us. Athena, who never does anything halfway, is now just as nuts about this sport as we are. The Duchess is riding, as are a number of friends who are affectionately referred to as The Posse. Others are talking about joining us and we welcome everyone! Yesterday was particularly exciting for Athena and me as we helped Jubee take her first laps on a bike. She is nearing 14 years old and had never been on one. She was awesome! Little Ms. Eris will be competing in her first mini-triathlon this next Saturday and you can bet I'll be there with a camera! More posse photos here.

Riding vs. ralking, sorry MoneyWalker. In the summer heat there is no comparison. This morning I spent 2 1/2 hours riding the parkway and loved every second of it. I have found a way to continue numismatizing although it will never be as lucrative as ralking. There is a truck stop wash a short distance from the trail that pays out quite well. I'm thinking that in the fall I will go back to ralking at least once a week but for now, it's riding as often as I can.

That's enough for this post. There are a number of other stories left to be told and hopefully it won't take another six weeks to get them up!

(The totals listed below have been collected over the last six weeks.)