Saturday, August 30, 2008


In the past several years Steve and I have watched as far too many friends and family members have lost loved ones. Car accidents, suicide, aneurysms.... We've listened to sermons that have lifted us up, been amazed at Christian parents thankful for the time they were given with their child, and heard the cries of unjustness in their agony.

Personally, I've had to come to terms with being the parent of a survivor when all around me are casualties....and frankly I still don't understand why parents have to lose their kids and good people have to die. I've walked out of church on more than one occasion in tears...and in fact have almost stopped going to church because what I can't seem to reconcile is the ways of a loving God when it comes to taking children and young adults and mothers....home. I know they are in a better place....I do....but watching my friends and family just doesn't seem much consolation.

....this song a small, simple, but not insignificant helps.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Conversation at Dinner

Commenting on Brads schedule of classes at Fresno State this year....

Sam: He's taking Swing dancing?

Mom: Hey, taking a dancing class is a great way to get a girl...girls love guys who can dance.

Wil: Are you saying Brad has a better chance with a girl if he drops her several times?

....gotta love brothers

The Hippo and the Tortoise

'Much of life can never be explained but only witnessed.'
- Rachel Naomi Remen, MD

NAIROBI (AFP) - A baby hippopotamus that survived the
tsunami waves on the Kenyan coast has formed a strong
bond with a giant male century-old tortoise in an animal
facility in the port city of Mombassa , officials said.
The hippopotamus, nicknamed Owen and weighing about
300 kilograms (650 pounds), was swept down Sabaki
River into the Indian Ocean , then forced back to shore
when tsunami waves struck the Kenyan coast on
December 26, before wildlife rangers rescued him.

'It is incredible. A-less-than-a-year-old hippo has adopted a
male tortoise, about a century old, and the tortoise seems to
be very happy with being a 'mother',' ecologist Paula Kahumbu,
who is in charge of Lafarge Park , told AFP.

'After it was swept away and lost its mother, the hippo was traumatized.
It had to look for something to be a surrogate mother.
Fortunately, it landed on the tortoise and established a strong bond.
They swim, eat and sleep together,' the ecologist added.
'The hippo follows the tortoise exactly the way it followed its mother.
If somebody approaches the tortoise, the hippo becomes aggressive,
as if protecting its biological mother,' Kahumbu added.

'The hippo is a young baby, he was left at a very tender age and
by nature, hippos are social animals that like to stay with their
mothers for four years,' he explained.

'Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take,
but by the moments that take our breath away.'

This is a real story that shows that our differences don't matter
much when we need the comfort of another.
We could all learn a lesson from these two creatures of God,
'Look beyond the differences and find a way to walk the path together.'

Save the Earth...'s the only Planet with Chocolate!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Vegie delight

I am not the food photographer extraordinaire that my good friend Tesa is, but I just had to share this recipe because it was so delicious. Plus, we actually got to eat a home grown tomato!

Start with one or two Green peppers and a Red onion (cause that's what I grew this year:) slice, then grill or broil. I just throw them (ok, so I place them) on the grill towards the end of cooking our chicken; they only need about 5 minutes depending on how tender you like them (and how hot your grill is).
Arrange on plate, top with sliced tomatoes, feta cheese (which personally I will eat on dirt) and drizzle with reduced balsamic vinegar. Yummy!

Early photo found...

...of the world famous swimmer.

thanks to Sheila V. for sending me this!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

In God We Still Trust

This probably makes me a sap of epic proportions....but I get goosebumps watching/listening to this. (and it is MY blog after all:)

Sunday, August 24, 2008


I've been doing a lot of thinking lately about fairness and working things out with adults who have different realities (yes, this is basically about my relatives :) Regrettably it seems, I have a innate need to see things made right; to look for a solution to every issue and make an attempt at reconciliation. I may not always be the first to pick up the phone but to me it is vital in any disagreement to be willing to at least TRY.

When seemingly mature adults refuse to sit down and talk....I become slightly suspicious of their motives. Do they truly have no interest in making peace or will talking expose their lies, their subterfuge, their shame? Will talking force them into seeing their missteps, and therefore hinder their tendency to color the situation in their favor? Have they become so comfortable in their role as victim that they simply cannot let go and play fair? Is this why it is to be avoided at all costs?

I know that owning your mistakes is a difficult thing to do. I've made enough bad choices to know that I am not immune to the propensity to avoid accepting my own stupidity. But the peace of mind that results from taking responsibility, the huge weight that can be lifted by simply admitting to being a jerk on occasion... talk about a peace that passes all understanding. Facing the problem may be hard, but running from it is even harder.

My sis and I have had our fights, so have my Mom and I. But I so love them both...and my world is a better place with them in it. News flash, they are not flash, NEITHER AM I. I need to forgive them if only so that they will be quick to forgive me....probably much more often than the former.

Why would anyone want to live in constant turmoil and judgement? It just seems a lousy way to get up every morning. I know, because I've been there and I don't like all.

I much prefer peace....I much prefer truth...even when it hurts.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008


Best year ever for green thankful we dug up the yard :)

Worst year ever for tomatoes. We have 2 plants with fruit on them and they're 18 inches tall and scraggly-looking. All the others appear to be fine.... tall, healthy-looking plants with absolutely nothing on them. Not sure what's going on but I guess that's farming (glad I don't do this for a living). I was so looking forward to making huge batches of salsa this summer; with the salmonella scare it's tougher to find in the stores and we have loads of home-grown jalapenos.
Oh well, maybe next year!

Monday, August 18, 2008

Pool Fun!

The Derrs from Napa came to visit this weekend....and we had a blast! With triple digit heat it was a blessing to have the pool up so our sweet cousins wouldn't melt.

Eli is ready for deep sea diving.....

Maya is camping out in the inner-tube....

and Maggie is having fun with Annie.

Wish they lived closer.....or that we lived in Napa. We always have a great time when we're together and the kids quote Steven...."a hoot".

More to follow...

Tuesday, August 12, 2008


A Dog's Purpose (from a 6-year-old)

Being a veterinarian, I had been called to examine a ten-year-old Irish wolfhound named Belker. The dog's owners, Ron, his wife, Lisa, and their little boy, Shane, were all very attached to Belker, and they were hoping for a miracle. I examined Belker and found he was dying of cancer. I told the family we couldn't do anything for Belker, and offered to perform the euthanasia procedure for the old dog in their home.

As we made arrangements, Ron and Lisa told me they thought it would be good for six-year-old Shane to observe the procedure. They felt as though Shane might learn something from the experience.

The next day, I felt the familiar catch in my throat as Belker's family surrounded him. Shane seemed so calm, petting the old dog for the last time, that I wondered if he understood what was going on. Within a few minutes, Belker slipped peacefully away.

The little boy seemed to accept Belker's transition without any difficulty or confusion. We sat together for a while after Belker's death, wondering aloud about the sad fact that animal lives are shorter than human lives.

Shane, who had been listening quietly, piped up, 'I know why'.

Startled, we all turned to him. What came out of his mouth next stunned me. I'd never heard a more comforting explanation. He said, 'People are born so that they can learn how to live a good life -- like loving everybody all the time and being nice, right?'

The six-year-old continued, 'Well, dogs already know how to do that, so they don't have to stay as long'.

that's just wrong

From the
Daily Mail...

It is hard to believe she was one of the most prolific actresses of the 1950's and 60's.
Her face is devoid of make-up, her hair is untidy and she is dressed in jogging bottoms and trainers.

he comment on Inside Edition was" her flowing blond hair is the only hint of the beauty that once belonged to the former glamorous movie star" who also made the incredibly "bizarre'" choice of changing her name to Clara Kappelhoff , a combination of a character she once played and her own pre-Hollywood last name.

An animal rights campaigner, she lives alone on her 11-acre fortress-like ranch. Neighbors have said the only time they see her in public is when she rounds up stray cats and dogs to take back to her estate

The woman obviously needs to be institutionalized. I'm certain she is a danger to herself and others. ;) <----notice international symbol for 'just kidding'.

Doris Day is still one of the most beautiful women in the world, inside and out. (btw, she's 84.... I'd like to look that good at 64!)

And on a related note...

China picked a 'cute' nine-year-old girl to mime at its Olympic opening ceremony after deciding a seven-year-old with a 'flawless' voice was not pretty enough to perform.

Rejected: Yang Peiyi (right) was banned from singing live at the Olympic opening ceremony and replaced with Lin Miaoke (left) because her teeth were crooked.

And may I add my disgust at the fact that this 'switch' was a "last-minute decision" I'm guessing little Yang was dressed and ready to go, family and friends waiting expectantly for the talented 7yr. old girl to perform for basically the entire world. cruel.

Is it any wonder that young girls are troubled and depressed about the faces they see looking back at them in the mirror.

Positive Perspective....

...Week 2. Who knew that finding a few things to be grateful for (when I live with so many!) would be so hard to write about. Actually, I did; that's why I'm forcing myself to do this. Got asked to do the football program again this year and tho it was definitely a 'learning experience' last year I did eventually learn something so I'm not nearly as nervous about it. I start today with head shots of the worst area of photography...straight on, no variations, 25 boys....etc. BUT, I'm anxious to try my new custom white balance that I finally figured out how to use. It should solve the color issues that I was having last year that made the situation so stressful and time-consuming. And I am definitely looking forward to the action shots; I love doing those!

Monday, August 11, 2008

First Day of School

....was actually last Thursday (whose decision was it to start school in the middle of the week?) and here are our last 2 High Schoolers ready to start the year. Not too sure how truly 'ready' Wilson was, but Annie was up and dressed by 7am. Hard to believe that our 'baby' is going off to High School. I still remember when Brad started (that would've been 2001) and can't believe the time has gone by so fast. I know everyone tells you it will, it's a cliche for a reason, but I'm still amazed watching our kids grow into ...people!
I didn't have a digital camera then, but here's one from!

Four more years and we will be done with free education....and probably renting out a few rooms to pay for college. Right about now you start wishing one of your kids wanted to be a bus driver or one of those guys that ferries luggage around at the airport!

ps. and Steve only has 10 more years till he 'graduates'.

Sunday, August 10, 2008


Frodo (the GIANT kitty) relaxing with his to good homes! (heck free to any home:)

Did you know that a cat can give birth twice within a 6-month period?
I didn't :O

(we so need to get mama cat to the Vet!)

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Gotta Love Shakespeare!

Thou churlish, tickle-brained know, that's a phrase I might have found useful in describing someone in my old negative days... I just think it's funny :)

And thanks to my well-read son Brad (who apparently has a lot of time on his hands before school starts) for sending me this site...

Friday, August 8, 2008

So Long Self

Therefore if any man is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.

2 Corinthians 5:17

...teach me to know what I knew then...

Thursday, August 7, 2008

The Beauty of Cell Phones...

...You can talk to your friends even in the grocery store!!!

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

I want LESS choices

How has picking out a flippin' white paint for our boys room turned into the most agonizing decision of the year? I SO love my husband for his patience and (feigned?) interest in my quest for the perfect color. Yeah, I know white is technically not a color (it's all the colors... tho I never truly understood that concept). Colors, real colors....those are easy. Sam's room is going to be deep turquoise blue, chocolate brown and celery green. I love each and every one of these colors and it only took a couple of test quarts to get the right shades. But of last count I have 4 gallons in various shades of soft white (not off-white or antique white or navajo white...geez) sitting on our back porch (too little colorant to make a quart...ugh). 4 gallons of white paint.... waiting to see who will be chosen as belle of the ball..... and who will be used as primer.

Aren't there more important, substantial, pressing, things a person should be worried about? Isn't paint color a bit, oh...ridiculous to feel depressed about....ok, not exactly depressed but definitely upset. People are starving in India for heavens sake! Oh wait, that's a reason to eat your peas.
Something bad is picking out paint colors -get over it! (and give your sweet husband a break:)

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Moving Out......

...and Moving In!!!!!

We spent most of Saturday loading Brad's belongings into a trailer and unloading them in his new (and disturbingly enuf, kind of dirty) apartment in Fresno. It was amazing how much stuff we took up; the apt. is unfurnished and tho Brad said all he needed was a couple folding chairs and a TV....his mom wanted him living just a bit more comfortably. Not to mention the fact that he might look suspiciously like some sort of psycho....just sticking around long enuf to plant the bomb :)

The kids had fun setting up the furniture, playing the x-box in unfamiliar territory, cooking, and of course in the case of 'Pops'...napping. It was a long, hot, tiring day but kind of exciting. Our young man is on his own for the first time in his life. He has no car, will get around on a bike and a long board, and plans on coming home with a buddy who works in Fresno...when he decides he misses us (or needs to do a load of laundry).

He will be living right across the street from the football stadium...Saturdays will be interesting...and 3 blocks from a neighborhood that looks slightly akin to South Central LA....eek! Mom is very happy that his building is gated and that you need a pass to get into the parking lot, especially since that is his front yard (5 minutes in the apartment and I'm calling to complain about the location, to no avail).

We finished the day at the Dog House Grill. Sam said that if he were going to Fresno State he would be at the Grill every day! Huge TV's (too many to count) all tuned into some sporting event and great food to boot (the best Salmon sandwiches on the planet!). We promised the kids that we would attend a football game this year. With Sam not playing for COS, I figure it won't kill me to go to another football game....just the one tho ;)