Friday, April 30, 2010

Bending the Wire

I have always enjoyed making beaded jewelery and find it very relaxing. A few years ago, I came across some beads that took me back to the 70s which had a feel of "flower power" and "peace" to them. My hand would not let the strand of beads go. As I ran the smooth glass through my fingers, I could see a chunky necklace that was happy with the colors of blues and yellows, hanging carefree around my neck. I bought the beads and later, I also found a sterling silver pendant that had some flowers resembling the flowers on the beads. Everything sat in a paper bag for two years. The necklace I pictured was with links and I knew only how to strand beads. I found myself a little (okay a lot) intimidated by bending the wire.

I finally got over my fear of messing it up and sat down and gave it a try. I thought to myself, 'If I "mess" it up, I can just take it apart and start over again, it's no biggie.' Are my loops perfect? NO. That is okay... I am learning how to bend the wire and having fun while I am at it. I have already made three more necklaces by bending the wire and making links! Every time I make a necklace or bracelet, I get a little better at it. I have already fixed the necklace (I am showing you), in some of the areas I was not too happy with. Needless to say... I am having a blast! It feels good to step out of the box I have put myself in, which has made it capable for me to be more "creative" and not so constricted. Let the creative juices flow!


Thursday, April 29, 2010

60 minutes

Diandra asked me if I would want to meet her at the college; she had some time between her classes. I haven't really seen her much with both of our conflicting schedules; with the school year winding up, she has become incredibly busy, more so than she already is. As we walked around campus, this little family stopped us in our tracks as they crossed in front of us. I grabbed my cell phone and took this picture.

We came across so many different families. It was so sweet!

Diandra would point out where she had class, tutored, worked, went to the library and parked her car. It was nice to be able to put a face to the places she has mentioned to me when we talk about her activities for the day. Some of the water fountains were running and the grounds were bursting with color!

Although it was a quick hour, I thoroughly enjoyed spending time with my baby girl!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Heart Of Compassion ~

It was a horrible two weeks when we lost our dog Jack. Charlie was getting ready to go to the store for our weekly lotto ticket, he asked me if I wanted anything. Usually I will tell him a "Lean Green Tea," "Diet Pepsi," or a "Hershey's Chocolate bar with Almonds." I was so down, I didn't want anything. Charlie came back with the biggest Hershey's Chocolate bar with Almonds, I have ever seen in my life! As Charlie handed it to me, he said, he thought I needed some BIG comfort. I couldn't believe how big it was! I couldn't even unwrap it, let alone eat it. It still sits unwrapped and uneaten. When I come across it, I am reminded of how sweet and thoughtful my husband is.

The day before yesterday, he did a job for a Sheriff that pulled up in front of the house recently. The sheriff explained that his son and daughter-in-law were getting ready to have a baby and would like to have a ceiling fan put in before the weather got too hot. The sheriff asked Charlie if he had any grandchildren. Charlie replied, "I have seven, and you? Is this your first?" The sheriff said, "Yes and no, I should have three, my son and daughter-in-law were going to have twins and they lost them when she was seven months along. This is there second time getting pregnant." Charlie apologized and told the sheriff he couldn't even imagine. Charlie told the sheriff, "You know what, just tell me where they live and I will put it in, no charge." The sheriff was shocked and told Charlie, "No no, you don't have to do that." Charlie insisted and told the sheriff he wanted to and wouldn't have it any other way. As Charlie was getting ready to do the job, he expressed to me, "Ange, can you imagine? I mean, with what we feel about losing Jack, what this family has felt and gone through?"

A grieving heart transforms into a heart of compassion and helping others.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

The Run Down

Lately, we've been spending Saturday mornings watching two of our grandson's baseball games. They start at 8:00 and only last an hour. Charlie and I will usually go out to breakfast afterwards. Although this last Saturday, I walked in the March of Dimes - march for babies fundraising event. I was bummed to be missing a ball game, but knew it was for a good cause. I was touched to see families who wore t-shirts in memory of their own babies. My heart felt for them and in turn, made me feel so very grateful for my own children and grand-children.

The walk was 4.2 miles but felt like 5 miles, because you had to go at such a slow pace in order to walk with over a thousand people. There was a great turn out!

Charlie went to the baseball game by himself. When I got home, he mentioned to me that his ex-wife was there. I was proud of Charlie for staying; he usually "hightails it out" whenever she is around. I wish I was kinda there though... just to see it all unfold.

We had our first B-B-Q of the season Sunday! Rob and Nessa came over. Diandra was home; still doing her homework, but she came out and moved her studies to the kitchen table while we watched a movie. It was really nice.

I have been fighting off a cold and so far, it hasn't gotten the best of me. The last time I was sick was over a year ago during my studies with algebra! I shouldn't complain. I feel bad though, last week I had a low grade fever and now Charlie is feeling icky. This will be the first time in two years he has been sick with a cold. Isn't that crazy? Charlie never got sick during his chemo; this is not counting the chemo symptoms which is completely different.

I have a test tomorrow night and only four classes left! So far, I have gotten 100% on all of my tests. It is getting harder as the weeks goes by. Wish me luck and say a prayer for me!

Monday, April 26, 2010

Sea Fever ~

Sea Fever

I MUST go down to the seas again, to the lonely sea and the sky,
And all I ask is a tall ship and a star to steer her by,
And the wheel's kick and the wind's song and the white sail's shaking,
And a gray mist on the sea's face, and a gray dawn breaking.

I must go down to the seas again, for the call of the running tide
Is a wild call and a clear call that may not be denied;
And all I ask is a windy day with the white clouds flying,
And the flung spray and the blown spume, and the sea-gulls crying.

I must go down to the seas again, to the vagrant gypsy life,
To the gull's way and the whale's way, where the wind's like a whetted knife;
And all I ask is a merry yarn from a laughing fellow-rover,
And quiet sleep and a sweet dream when the long trick's over.

John Masefield


Charlie tends to worry about me when I venture out to take photos. He tells me one of these waves will take me away.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Polly Put The Kettle On...

Strange how a teapot
can represent at the same time
the comforts of solitude
and the pleasures of company.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

What It Is ~

I enjoy living a slow and fulfilling life.
I enjoy living every moment, no matter how ordinary.
Reflection and Meditation.
Starting and ending every day by looking inward.
Know how to love life for what it is - not for how it should be.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Awareness ~

It started when my Nina sent me an e-mail two years ago about plastics that we use and it made me more aware of the effects it has on our bodies. I was discussing this with a friend who also has the same concerns. Her mother has ovarian cancer and we both think there is more to the plastic we use on a daily basis then we realize. We both grew up in the 70's and drank soda out of glass bottles. Our condiments came in glass; almost everything did. Glass has been slowly phased out and plastic is now the norm. We both were trying to be more conscientious of what we bought and what contains it. It was then, we noticed just how much comes in plastic. Try it, just look in your refrigerator and take note of all the plastic. When we were younger, we hardly heard of anyone having cancer. Now it seems there are three out of five people we know personally or through someone close to us, that have some form of cancer (Cancer is not the only concern). I know that in addition to heredity and the environment, what we take into our bodies and how we live also can have a role. I am not trying to give plastic a bad wrap (no pun intended), but I would like to be more educated on the subject.

I have stopped drinking from plastic water bottles and switched over to stainless steel. Through the years, I have gradually been adding a stainless bottle here and there because one is not enough; I fill them with soy milk, juice, or green tea. Grabbing a plastic water bottle is easy, but planning and being more aware and conscious makes me feel like I am making a small difference in how I live, what I put into my body and it is Eco friendly too! Earthlust is the brand name of some of the stainless steel bottles I have; how suiting is that!

Here are several short but interesting interviews on YouTube.

Safe Water Bottle Review

Coming Clean


Please share with me what you are doing. I would love to know and maybe I can put it into practice.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

The Blustery Day ~

The Rain Rain Rain Came Down Down Down...

The sky grew very dark and the rain poured down fast. The rain hit our roof and windows hard. We noticed there was some hail, although it melted as soon as it hit the ground. Our daughter Diandra came out of her room with wide eyes and the dogs were nervous too. Charlie and I giggled and acted like little kids as we walked out to the back porch and felt the rain. When Charlie seen the rain was coming down faster than the drains could let it go down, it was then, he started to get nervous. He mentioned something about the walls and checking for leaks. I on the other hand, snuggled on the couch with a blanket and took in the sound of the rain.


What is the weather like in your part of the world?

Monday, April 12, 2010

I Am A Slogger Girl ~

When Charlie and I escaped recently to the Pacific Coast in February for our anniversary, I visited one of my favorite garden shops. It is a basement that sits under a charming little restaurant. You have to enter it from the side gate and follow the stone walkway that is overflowing with plants, water fountains, statues and plaques. At the end of the walkway, you can either turn right and go through the basement door to the shop or you can step up to a little nook, where at the end of that nook, there is a garden shed. I love going into the garden shed first, because you can find reduced items and unique gadgets and gizmo's you wouldn't find otherwise. I came across a rack of garden shoes. I took my boot off and slipped my foot into the clog... Mmmm it felt wonderful! I looked at the price and thought, "Geez, why do I like everything that wants my leg or arm in return for me to purchase it?" I looked at the tag again and saw the tag had a web page. I jotted it down, put the garden shoes back and continued on my way. When I got home, I looked up the web page and found that they were not only cheaper than they were in the store, but they also came in different styles and colors. I have ruined more pairs of shoes cleaning/working in the back yard and spraying the dog's messes; I am saying it politely as I can. I love these shoes because you can't hurt them. I hadn't realized it, but I have been a Slogger girl for quite some time. In the trailer, I keep some rubber slip on clogs that have holes in them and a strap on the heel. I think they are the ugliest things, but they are the best to slip on in a hurry. I was spraying them off and noticed they were also Sloggers. I was surprised and couldn't believe it! It is funny, after realizing they were a pair of Sloggers, my attitude about them changed... a little, teeny-tiny bit.

These are slip on clogs and come in several colors. They fit like a glove and your feet feel wonderful wearing them! Although, I have to warn you... they make a suction noise at first (Fffart!) until you break them in a little. When I wore them at first, I kept telling who ever I was around, "That wasn't me." This particular pair go on sale for $9.99 at CVS/pharmacy. If you have a CVS membership card and get the $5.00 coupon in the mail or on the Internet, that is even better! I sent these to a girl friend who lives in her garden and can't drag her out of it! Her hard work can be seen though; beautiful, take your breath away garden. She loves them too!

Sloggers come in a print also and they have several to choose from. These are my favorites. We have three different doors going outside to the back and both of the side yards. I have a pair sitting at each door so that I am not running to where ever I left one pair; I know it seems much, but it saves me time going back and forth and less ranting to be heard on my part . I can understand the saying, "Everything has it's price."

When I seen Sloggers also carried rain boots, it brought back memories from my childhood. I had a pair of red rain boots when I was little. I couldn't wait for it to rain, so that I could wear them and splash around in the puddles. I purchased them in a red paisley print and I might add... I do not wait for the rain.


Saturday, April 10, 2010

A Single Step ~

The longest journey starts with a single step ~

Charlie finished his last chemo treatment in May 2008. In June, he sat me down and said we had to come up with "plan B." Charlie shared with me, that it was killing him to think that if something was to happen to him, what was going to happen to me. He wanted me to go back to school and get my high school diploma, learn a trade and get a job that would able me to support myself. The thought of that scared me to death; not to mention that it also made it all the more real for me, the possibility of losing my husband. I enrolled in the Adult School Program August 27, 2008 and got my diploma in May of 2009. The next part of plan B was that I needed to learn a profession quickly. I enrolled in the Phlebotomy program in September of 2009, at Gurnick Medical of Arts and took the NCCT this last January and passed. I have waited for my license to go through processing and it finally came in the mail this last week. I am now applying for a job. I walked into this thinking it would never happen. I felt it would be much worse to not try, than to have failed with trying. Eleanor Roosevelt said, "You must do the thing you think you cannot do."

As I look back and think about how scared I was enrolling in the Adult School Program and now to the present, it has felt like a never ending whirl wind. I can't believe I am in the last phase of our plan B. I think about what it has cost me; friendships and not being able to be there for friends and some family members. On the flip side to what it has cost me, what I have gained; some self-confidence, and giving my husband the security of being assured I will be able to take care of myself if something happens to him; that peace he needed... and I suppose, I needed too.

What Would You Be?

What Would You Be?

If I were a month I’d be October
If I were a day I’d be Sunday
If I were a time of day I’d be sunrise
If I were a planet I’d be earth
If I were a sea animal I’d be a dolphin

If I were a direction I’d be east
If I were a piece of furniture I’d be a kitchen table
If I were a liquid I’d be wine
If I were a gem stone I’d be amethyst
If I were a tree I’d be a willow known for their resiliency

If I were a tool I’d be a hammer
If I were a flower I’d be a oriental poppy
If I were an element of weather I’d be light and breezy
If I were a musical instrument I’d be a guitar
If I were a color I'd be green

If I were an emotion I’d be passion
If I were a fruit I’d be a mango
If I were a sound I’d be laughter
If I were an element I'd be water
If I were a car I’d be a jaguar

If I were a truck I'd be a 48-53 Chevy
If I were a food I’d be spicy
If I were a place I’d be an Italy
If I were a material I'd be fine cotton
If I were a taste I’d be sweet

If I were a scent I’d be after a morning rain
If I were a body part I’d be the side of a neck
If I were a facial expression I'd be a smile
If I were a song I’d be sung by Sarah McLaughlin
If I were a bird I'd be a bluebird

If I were a gift I'd be a book
If I were a street I'd be unpaved
If I were a city I'd be Paris
If I were a door I'd always be open
If I were a pair of shoes I’d be two inch heeled boots

And what would you be?

I enjoy these types of "surveys". They're always fun, a pleasure to read and answer as well. Please feel free to cut and paste to your own blog ~ Adding your own answers of course.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

She's Home! ~

Load of unclaimed luggage at Sacramento Airport

We picked our girl up from the airport and talked non-stop on the way home. Diandra showed me pictures she took while she was there on her camera and from what she showed me, Washington has my vote. She met one of the professor's there and they spoke for about 90 minutes. Diandra made me laugh, as she said with much excitement, "MOM! He even let me hold a brain!"

Diandra and I spent our first morning together getting a Jamba Juice, browsing through Target and getting what she called "the works" (i.e. Pedicure's and Manicure's). Although now she is back to hitting the books, her presence here feels so good!

So far, my Spring vacation has been spent making beaded jewelery, going through pictures and closets, and going to our grand-son's baseball games. It has felt carefree and strange at the same time not going to class this week. It has also been a time of reflection; embracing what I have felt with losing Jack.

I did see the movie Precious... I didn't like it. It was disturbing to me and I wish I never saw it. I knew what the movie was about when I rented it, I just didn't know to what extreme. It was too much for me. It's not that I want to look at life through rose colored glasses or I am in denial that abuse takes place. I KNOW it takes place. There are real monsters who live on this earth and believe me when I say, I am not one to turn my head and pretend I don't see it or it doesn't happen. At times, I have gotten myself into dangerous situations by stepping in to stop abuse from occurring when I have witnessed it. There are some books I have read or movies I have seen that are to much for me to take. I will never forget reading in Corrie Tin Boom's book The Hiding Place where Corrie's father tries to explain to her how some knowledge is too heavy to carry. There are some things we are not supposed to bear; this is the only way I know how to explain how this makes me feel.

I have gone to the nursery and picked up some succulents to plant later today. The weather will be in the low seventy's. So Nice! Natural vitamin D is a good thing!

Oh ~ someone won the lotto $37 million... it was not us.


Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Our Jack Man ~

We had Jack for 12 years. He was a huge part of our family. He was with us for half of my marriage to Charlie and more than half of our daughter's life. He was with us through cancer in the family, losing family members, marriages, grand-children, nieces and nephews added to the family, graduations, good times and not so good times. He was intelligent and powerful, playful and clownish, loyal and consistent, and a self-confident protector. Rotties are often misunderstood and many do not see the softer side to them. Despite being huge, Jack loved to sit in my lap, romp around like the girls did when he would come in the house. He couldn't understand why we got onto him and not the girls over that. In the morning I would come home from work sit on the swing in the back yard and eat a yogurt with a banana. This was one of Jacks favorite times of the day because I would share my meal with him. Jack loved when Charlie made homemade popcorn; he'd wait to get a piece. Charlie would throw it up in the air and he'd catch it every time.

He gave us unconditional love. I thank God for creating dogs!

Jack as a pup.

Jack would see my camera and run to the corner of the pool where the ivy grew. That corner was a perfect backdrop for "first day of school" pictures or an event like prom. He learned very quickly when he saw my camera that it was picture time. I can't help but laugh when I see this pic. You can see him on the edge of the right side of the picture running to the corner.

He knew how to pose too.

When the kids went swimming, Jack wanted to swim too. Occasionally, Jack would jump in when no one was in the pool and take a swim to cool off.

Mike and Rob running to catch a wave. Jack following.

Jack made me laugh.

Jack loved the ocean as much as I do.

Jack trying to get Rob. We had some great times together.

Jack went everywhere with us. He loved the water. We had to be careful when we went to the Sierra mountains though; there are a lot of broken fish hook lines in the river and along the bank. At night we would play hide-and-go seek. Charlie would hold Jack and the kids would hide, Charlie would then let Jack go, and he would find them.

Jack loved to take pictures. Here he ran to the picture spot and struck a pose.

I was a nervous wreck here. This is my family standing next to a cliff at the Grand Canyon as our back drop to this photo.

A first day of school picture. Jack insisted that he be in the picture and made the kids crack up.

I had this collage hanging up at work for years until I had to update it with our growing family.

Jack with his bone.

Jack watching Charlie outside. Yes, as you can see, we did have to chain him up at times.

On any regular night, after settling down, you could always find Sophie curled up on my lap or at the end of the couch watching the door. Sophie could sense there was something wrong with Jack because at times I would wonder where she was and find her curled up next to Jack.

When our vet suspected Jack had cancer, I loaded him up in the back of my car and took him to some area's around town to take his picture. My favorite pic's are right in front of our house. He loved getting out.

We noticed around Christmas time, when Charlie would pet Jack's head, he would whimper like it hurt. We then noticed a rise in his forehead over his left eye. During the past years while we had Jack before his getting cancer, at different time's, he had two knee operations on both of his back legs. We gave Jack some pain medication trying to make him comfortable to relieve the pain in his head and also from arthritis pain in his legs. In doing so, he felt better, but then didn't move as carefully. Two days after giving him the medication, we heard a pop and he re injured one of his legs. I will never forget Charlie checking him out and Jack then seeing me and hobbling over to me quickly, like a child does when they see their mommy; my heart broke into pieces. It was then he took a turn for the worst. The rise on his forehead grew over time and then three weeks after he re injured his leg, the rise in his forehead slowly went over to the right side. On March 26Th the right side of his face was swollen and his right eye was smaller. Charlie couldn't take it any longer and decided to put Jack to sleep. I prayed and prayed that God would just take Jack naturally while he was sleeping. That didn't happen. Images of that final day haunts me. Charlie held Jack as he talked to him and I kissed Jack's face as he licked mine... and then he left us. It was horrible! The two Veterinarian's that were in the room assisting, could be heard crying with us. When those last moments creep across my mind, I try to wipe them away with moments like these photos.

In the rest of these pictures, I can tell a difference in his posture and facial expressions. At the time, I didn't want to see it.

Our vet told us Rottweiler's life span are generally 8-11 years. We were blessed to have him longer than expected.

Sophie can not keep a stuffed toy around for very long. She will rip them open and pull the stuffing out. Although she doesn't do that to her teddy bear. I can find her or Simone cuddled up with it as if it were their security blanket. While Jack wasn't feeling well, I would find the teddy bear next to Jack. As I sat on the couch, I would see Sophie bring her teddy to Jack and lay it on his blanket to try to comfort him. It would melt my heart.

We miss you Jack Man ~

Monday, April 5, 2010

First Easter Without ~


This was our first Easter without our daughter. As I type this, Diandra is in the state of Washington looking at a college; the first of many. She has decided to get her Doctorate in Psychology. We have been fortunate to have her here at home while she got her Bachelor's and now her Masters. It looks like leaving the state of California is unavoidable this time. Although there have been countless text messages, phone calls and some e-mails, nothing compares to "in the presence." I feel like this is a trial run of what will become my future. I miss her so much!

Our Easter was spent with our daughter-in-laws family at their home. I am grateful we have gotten close to our in-laws through the years. How can we not? We share much in common. I wouldn't want it any other way!

I hope your Easter was Happy!