Monday, May 31, 2010

Happy Memorial Day

For many people, today is probably nothing more than a day off of work to sleep in and possibly have a cook out. That is a shame. It can be that, but please take the time to reflect on why we have this special holiday. Memorial Day is to remember all of the men and women who have died while serving our country during military service. The holiday started out as Decoration Day after the Civil War and eventually became Memorial day. Of course, I've left out a lot of the actual history of the wars and how the changing of the holiday came about, but I don't know the history that well and I don't want to get it wrong here.

The important thing is to remember these special people who sacrificed all for us to be free. Remember those who came home because they were forever changed by their service and sacrificed more than we will ever know. Reflect on those who serve stateside and never see a war because, believe me, those who serve in the military sacrifice a great deal for all of us and there are young men and women who volunteer for this sacrifice every day.

So today as you go about whatever you have planned, remember those we have lost and those who have served. Remember those who are serving now. And if you get a chance, thank one of them for doing it.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Our Little Pirate

Today was "Pirate Day" for CL's class. When we first got the note from the teacher that it was coming up, I was filled with dread. I couldn't think of one thing pirate-y to put on the child to wear today. Then I emailed my "quiltingfriends" group and asked for advice. They gave me wonderful ideas! Like the hat, a parrot on her shoulder, a white shirt with puffy sleeves, a patch on the eye, a scarf on her head, black pants. One dear lady, Krissy, even went out of her way to send us a hat and a great head scarf that had dreadlocks and beads sewn onto it! What fun! The photo shows what she ended up looking like.

Artwork by the Girls

Made by CV -- 9 years old -- 2 paintings in watercolor, 1 drawing -- May,2010

Third image made (by CV) from her name in cursive at school.

Last two images are by CL -- 7 years old -- acrylic paints -- 2 paintings -- May, 2010

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

The San Diego Zoo

We went to the San Diego Zoo on May 20th. That would have been M's 30th birthday. We took the kids out of school and hit the road. It was a 4 hour drive there and 4 hours back. It was expensive, even with the discount my son got for being active duty military and it was exhausting, but it was worth it. One tip I'll share with you, take a lunch and rent a locker to put it in. The lunch we had was very expensive and not good. The drinks were also very expensive ($5 each!) so you can save a lot of money by taking your own.

The zoo was in bloom and lovely. It was a great time of year to go. Also going during the week saved us lots of time in lines. We walked right up to the Panda exhibit and got right in. The Panda was really active, which was an extra treat since I didn't expect that and most of the other animals were asleep. It ran all over the place and at one time, got down on its knees with its back to us. It looked for all the world, like it bowed its head over its clasped hands. It made me think of a child praying next to a bed at night.

We got to see the polar bears in their new exhibit. It was wonderful to see polar bears! We missed seeing them swim though. Take a look at the polar bears yourself on their polar cam. There is also a new elephant exhibit and it was just great! We saw one of the elephants running toward another one! That was a thrill to me! The giraffes were a darker brown than the ones I've seen in TX. They had a baby giraffe and there was a baby camel too. I love to see the baby animals. They're all cute. No matter what the animal is. I could have sworn that the zebra had brown stripes instead of black, but it could have been the bright sun light. We even saw a white wolf (it was an animal ambassador).

I think the only animals we actually missed seeing were the gorillas and alligators or crocodiles. We also missed seeing the otters swimming, but we've seen them before. I think CV may have been the only one to see a koala. We all enjoyed the meercats. They had a really big exhibit and were fun to watch.

I was a little disappointed by their petting zoo, but we got there at the hot part of the day and probably just missed a lot. All in all, I enjoyed it, but I thought it was quite over priced. I do understand that zoos cost a lot to keep up and feed all of those animals, but I think they've cut a lot of folks out of ever being able to attend by their admission prices (Son was free and the rest of us were 10% off, three kids ages 6,7,9 and one adult was $106.00). That is really a shame. Zoos should be accessible to everyone. Just my humble opinion.

Monday, May 24, 2010


I've been wondering about this wonderful, HUGE plant in the back yard of my son's next door neighbor. It had these little blue flowers on it and I started to think that it just might be a rosemary plant. I love rosemary. The smell is just heavenly to me. Whenever I see it, I think back to when I bought this herb magazine that comes out quarterly. There was a letter from the editor in the first issue I bought in which she talked about how much she loved rosemary. She said she had a rosemary plant in the front seat of her car and that it reminded her of Christmas and that the smell made her happy. I feel the same way. The smell always makes me happy and it often reminds me of Christmas. I sure wish I had kept all those herb magazine issues.

The neighbors moved a couple of weeks ago and no one else has been assigned the house (we're on base) so, this afternoon, I sent my granddaughter CV over the fence to get a piece of it so I could see what kind of plant it is. It is indeed the largest rosemary I've ever seen! I hope to get some cuttings off of it before I leave so that I can attempt to root it. I know it won't be easy since it's such a woody herb, but it will sure worth a try. I also don't know how it would do in TX, since it's obviously thriving here in the desert. Beautiful!

Friday, May 21, 2010

I'm a Kiva Blog List Participant

I joined Kiva's blogger list a while back. This means that I will be posting some of the posts they have on their blog when they let me know that they have one that they want to share with my readers. The previous post that I posted today is the first one I've posted from Kiva's blog. I was supposed to do it on another occasion, but it was during the time that my daughter-in-law and sister had just passed, and quite honestly, I wasn't up to copying, pasting, clicking and all of that. So, I skipped it that time.

I was a little sad today to see that when I did it all this morning that the photos they had in the blog did not transfer over. So, if you want to see them, click here. This is the link to the blog itself.

I love the Kiva organization. I feel that they do a wonderful job. I hope you'll check them out.

Kiva -- Update on Jonathon Stalls' KivaWalk across the US

Jonathon Stalls and his travel companion, Kanoa, have completed 79 days and 1,009 total miles so far on their KivaWalk across the country! We've invited Jonathon to share more about his adventure with Kiva's community and, together, we're excited to introduce two new challenges to further engage his supporters.

Some updates from Jonathon:

Kiva Community,

Energy and excitement consume me every time I visit the KivaWalk Lending Team homepage. With currently 184 members, 4,195 loans, and just over $100K loaned ($109,325), our growing impact in the lending community is loud and clear. We started in September of last year (w/most of our dollars/members increasing once the walk started on March 1st). There is great potential in 'walking' for this incredible organization. I want to push, challenge, and invite the greater Kiva community to get involved and stretch their capacity as supporters. We have an opportunity to expand outreach to our communities and networks while helping people to see, feel, and better understand the impact of micro-finance. I am inviting you all to 'walk' with me towards a NEW goal for our KivaWalk Lending Team of $1 Million in loans by the time I splash into the Pacific Ocean at the end of this walk!

Are you in?

Not yet a member of our team!? - JOIN here.

I want to send a huge THANK YOU to all of you who have already joined our team and are supporting us along the way. Kanoa and I feel your strength every step of the way!

Further, I have thought long and hard about how I want to share this adventure more with you all. Frequently I find myself longing for more people to be out doing this. Doing what? Walking across the country?!? Well, not exactly. There are many of you who find yourself out walking, whether for exercise or to walk your dogs, and are equally as passionate about Kiva.

So, my summer solution....a Summer Challenge!

What: Get out and WALK w/ us for KIVA! Throw a sign onto your back and walk with added purpose (see picture below for inspiration). Why not? You will be surprised by how many people you may encounter that will find what you're doing to be inspiring. Whether it's a walk around the block, in a race, to the park, on a trail, or for a couple days to a near-by town, you'll still be walking with greater purpose! I get SO excited thinking about all of us out there walking to raise awareness for this incredible organization.

When: Whenever you want! (morning before work, weekend get-a-way, after school, lunch breaks, etc...) This is a great way to turn your friends on to Kiva. Have them join 'our' KivaWalk Lending Team so we can both track and build community around your efforts in getting them involved!

How: Take a piece of large white paper (cardboard and/or plastic) and write, type, or print " ...across America". Then, prepare to tell people in your community about Kiva! I got my water-proof plastic sign from a local print shop and after they knew what I was doing they donated it to me for free - Give it a try!

Please email me if you have any questions or to share any pictures & stories from your walk(s) - I would LOVE to post them to my website and my KivaWalk Facebook page!

So, what do you say....are you in??

Walk on!!

Jonathon & Kanoa

Recent press about KivaWalk:

The Madison Courier

Fox19 Morning News

Xenia Daily Gazette

Denver Direct

FOX Channel 2

We wish Jonathon continued success on his trip and will provide updates to the Kiva community along the way! You can also follow Jonathon's trip on his KivaWalk website and his KivaWalk Facebook page.

**Disclaimer: Please note that the KivaWalk website is operated and monitored by Jonathon Stalls, and is independent of, and not affiliated with, Kiva Microfunds (“Kiva”), including its website ( Kiva and “Kiva Walk” are two separate and non-affiliated entities, and any transactions an individual may decide to make through or for KivaWalk or otherwise for Jonathan’s trek—whether financial or non-financial—would be solely for the benefit of KivaWalk and would not be for the benefit of the Kiva organization.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Poem By CV


wavy, blue
wishing, swishing, whirling
fish, seaweed, shells, crab
singing, fishing, swimming
big wet

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

I'm Sick to death of Dora the Explorer

JT has been sick and home from school for two days now. I'm sick to death of Dora the Explorer and all of her little friends on the Nickelodeon channel. I do now know why my granddaughter CL says "Oh Man!" all the time. It came from the Dora show. She has gotten on my last nerve on my than one occasion with that phrase. CL, in particular, loves to push me past my limit of endurance when it comes to just about everything from going to bed to brushing her teeth to eating breakfast to.....I could go on for quite a while, but I'll stop now. I end up yelling at her and I feel horrible for that each and every time. So, I've yelled my last yell. I'm going to start giving her chores if she doesn't do what I ask the first time. It will save my sanity and my voice and possibly teach her to stop that crap.

There is also a maintenance guy here to fix the air conditioner. It's been running constantly and leaking water. I'm glad I can be here so that my son doesn't have to take off work.

The car was towed in to be worked on yesterday. It broke down on Friday on the way home from picking up the kids from school. They're going to fix it and go ahead and check it all out to make sure it will make it to Louisiana, just in case my son does get the transfer. I think that's the most distant point he requested to be transferred to. Of course that doesn't really matter when you get right down to it, it could be wherever they decide to put him that's closer to TX - hopefully. He's heard great things about the Shreveport area as far as doctors for the kids and that sort of thing, so he's really hoping for that area. I've got my fingers crossed too. I'd feel better if we could just hear something officially about it and we could get on with it all.

As for me, I've had some down time to read two books recently. I just finished The Scent of Rain and Lightning by Nancy Pickard (really enjoyed this one! and plan to read more by her) and Dead in the Family by Charlaine Harris, which is the 10th in the Sookie Stackhouse series (I was a bit disappointed in this one, wish I had waited for the used paperback). I also, finally, finished knitting my first dishcloth and I even used it last night to wash some dishes. I love those knitted dishcloths! Have you ever used one? They're great.

Hope your week is off to a better start than ours. That everyone is healthy in your home. That you are seeing sunshine and feeling a mild breeze and seeing beautiful blooms. Talk to you again soon.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Saturday's Gratitude

Today I am grateful that I can give into the lazy feeling that I have because it is Saturday.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Most Precious Gift -- Life

I read a letter today that my son received earlier in the week. It had me in tears for quite a while. It was a letter telling us a little about the people who received the organs that were donated per M's wishes at her death on March 26th of this year.

Her left kidney went to a 55 year old married, father of two in TX who likes to fish. He's now doing well.

Her right kidney went to an 11 year old boy in CA. He has several siblings and he's been on dialysis for more than a year. He enjoys playing soccer and riding his bike. It says that his family is very grateful for his second chance.

Her heart went to a 51 year old man in CA who is now doing very well.

Her liver went to a 58 year old woman in CA who is the mother of three children. She enjoys spending time with her family and friends. She asked that they send M's family this message: "Thank you for the gift of my life. I am so sorry for your loss."

I'll have to admit that I've been more than a little angry with M on more than one occasion this week. Then I read this and just lost it all. She did indeed do a lot of good during her life. She was a good person, who was mentally ill and caused problems because of that mental illness toward the last part of her life. I need to try harder to concentrate on the good. Like the three beautiful grandchildren she gave me. The fun she and I had together early in her marriage to my son. And now, the extremely generous gift of life that she gave to 4 people. I'll cry from now on when I think of that. Four families have their loved ones with them today, because of M. When I stop and think of that, I am totally blown away by her generous spirit. She did have one. I saw it years ago. And now again at the end of her life, I've seen it again.

God Bless you all.

Second Post of the Day

I'm sure there are many of you who don't believe in ghosts or in spirits visiting from beyond. Well, here is something you don't know about me.....I do believe in them. I believe in them because I've felt them. I know I just lost some of you with that and I'm sorry to see you go. If you're still reading, I want to tell you about a little "visit" that I think I had from my sister the other night.

It was late at night. I was the only one up and the only reason I was up was that I needed to go to the restroom. So, I walked into the kids/guest restroom and had quietly shut the door so that I wouldn't wake anyone. I turned on the light and just as it was totally quiet in there -- the kids Colgate bottle started to tip back and forth. It did this 5 or 6 times. There was no breeze. No air conditioner running and no heater. There was nothing happening that could have made that toothpaste move. Nothing else was moving. Only the toothpaste. The same brand we used as children. I've pretty much used Colgate my whole life. I don't know what Teresa used as an adult. To me, that was her, "waving" hello to me. I can think of no other reason for the tipping. Can you?

Someday, I'll tell you about the times I felt my dad after his passing. Of have I done that already?

Wonders never Cease

The wonders today are about M. She was an ill young woman, for many years. Probably more than any of us expected.

My son and I have been going through all the boxes, cabinets and closets in their house and through all of M's stuff, trying to clear out things that are no longer needed in case he is transferred in the near future. We're donating many things and giving away a lot of others.

Some of the things we've found have just made us shake our heads and wonder "why?". Like the box full of clothes that my momma had sent the kids for Christmas 2 years ago. They still had the tags on them. I remember M calling and letting me know they got here and telling me how cute they were and how much the kids liked them. Why? Why not just say she didn't like them and exchange them for something she'd let them wear? Or let them wear them? Especially since they're wearing clothes very similar to them. I just don't understand it.

Then we found the kids dental ID cards in a box full of old school papers that should have been thrown away ages ago. The ID cards had never been opened. They were at least 2 years old.

The thing that really ripped my heart out though was finding a Christmas present that CL had made for her in 2007 stuffed into a kitchen cabinet, still wrapped. CL opened it and was just heartbroken when she realized her momma had never even looked at it. I told her she could give it to her daddy that night. That I knew he'd love it. So, she re-wrapped it and gave it to him. He proudly brought it out to show me her little hand print in plaster after he opened it. She was beaming, right up until she asked her daddy why her momma never opened it. All her daddy could do was hug her and tell her that her momma had been real sick. Mental illness is very hard to explain to children.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Happy Mother's Day!