This is a picture of one of the joyeous moments in my life. I recently found the wonderful list of reminders on finding joy:

  1. Surround yourself with color--use colors that make you feel good
  2. Start or keep us a blog--express yourself
  3. Schedule guilt-free indulges--like chocolate
  4. Swap CDs with a friend--find out a little about them through music
  5. Be more spontaneous--do something at the last minute just for fun
  6. Spread cheer--smile at strangers, give compliments, be a good listener
  7. Think like a kid--make up a holiday to celebrate
  8. Find the humor in it--whatever it is, find a reason to laugh about it
  9. Make one new friend--only one if it is going to be a true friend, not just an acquaintance
  10. Get more sleep--at least 7 hours a night, lying in bed relaxing while you fall asleep counts
  11. Put your right brain to work--create an artists wall of your own work and change it often
  12. Have a pot luck with friends--strengthen the bonds of friendships and include your new friend
  13. Explore your hometown--you should know all about your surrounding community
  14. Do something that scares you--like jump out of an airplane :-)
  15. Simplify without stress--purge one thing every month for a year
  16. Take a "me" day--Schedule a one-day vacation that is just for you, do whatever you want
  17. Host a closet raid--invite friends to empty their closets and have a trading party
  18. Give good kisses--kissing releases a chemical that makes you feel euphoric
  19. Play hide and seek--write down fun things to do and hide them, when you come across one of them, do it
  20. Make your family laugh--do the unexpected, surprise them, be goofy for a change

  1. Christmas deocrations--Only a Nativity scene

  2. Cookies baked, candy made--None

  3. Parties attended--Two

  4. Christmas songs listened to--Lots

  5. Papa's Grow Sticks made--Ten

  6. Christmas cards sent--None

  7. Christmas gifts sent--None and won't be until after Christmas

  8. Hours spent at work--160 in 2 weeks

  9. Papers graded--90 in 2 weeks

  10. Cold medicine taken--8 Tylenal cold tablets this week.

  11. Chicken soup consummed--5 cups

  12. Christmas movies watch--Ha, when would I possibly find time to do that.

There is always next year

I do not have time to blog right now, but I can't let this go by unrecorded.

This morning, I had to be at work starting at 7:00 a.m. I started out as usual going north on 19th Ave. As I approached an intersection, I looked over and saw that QT gas was $1.74 per gallon. At the last minute, I thought, "I'm half empty, I'll just pull in and get gas now."

I pulled in. Got out of my car as the light turned green. As I began to slide my card I heard a huge crash behind me. At the intersection where I would be waiting, there was a 4 car accident.

A car was headed west and turning south in front of where I would have been parked at the light. The light had turned red. Another car going east, ran the red light and hit the turning car. The turning car ran into the car where I would have been and because the two cars behind it had pulled up too close--the first car was pushed into the second car and the second car pushed into the third car.

If you are reading this, remember, when you pull up to a stop light you should be able to see the road between you and the car in front of you if you want to be a defensive driver.

I know I was protected this day and said my appropriate thanks to Heavenly Father.

When I was a young married woman and staying home with my children, I got caught up in soap operas. In one of “my shows” a girl got pregnant by one brother, who then went off to war and went missing, so she married the other brother to be the father of her baby because he was the only one she told about the baby, then the father of the baby turned up alive and came back to a bewildered woman who couldn’t decide who she really loved. Well, the evil girl in the show decided to see who the woman really loved and invited her and the father of her child >> but not her husband >> to a party. The woman with the baby had refused to talk to the father of the child and her husband, the brother of the father of the baby, refused to talk to him about it. The woman was asked if she was going to go without her husband, when they all knew the reason for the invitation was to catch her in a love triangle, and she decided to go simply to prove that she loved her husband, dun-dun-dun.

I quit watching soaps after that.

So, I said to myself how stupid that was that something so personal could go on in a family and they couldn’t just talk to each other about it. Throughout my life, I have had to relearn that lesson over and over. It is difficult to talk to people you love about problems in your relationships. This weekend, once again, I learned the value of speaking up; the reality that not saying anything, because you don’t want to offend someone, only magnifies the problem; that family love is strong and can perpetuate forgiveness even in the worst of circumstances.

I am thankful for family.

Tech Support: Yes, . how can I help you?
Customer: Well, after much consideration, I've decided to install Love. Can you guide me through the process?
Tech Support: Yes. I can help you. Are you ready to proceed?
Customer: Well, I'm not very technical, but I think I'm ready. What do I do first?
Tech Support: The first step is to open your Heart. Have you located your Heart?
Customer: Yes, but there are several other programs running now. Is it okay to install Love while they are running?
Tech Support: What programs are running ?
Customer: Let's see, I have Past Hurt, Low Self-Esteem, Grudge and Resentment running right now.
Tech Support: No problem, Love will gradually erase Past Hurt from your current operating system. It may remain in your permanent memory but it will no longer disrupt other programs. Love will eventually override Low Self-Esteem with a module of its own called High Self-Esteem. However, you have to completely turn off Grudge and Resentment. Those programs prevent Love from being properly installed. Can you turn those off ?
Customer: I don't know how to turn them off. Can you tell me how?
Tech Support: With pleasure. Go to your start menu and invoke Forgiveness. Do this as many times as necessary until Grudge and Resentment have been completely erased.
Customer: Okay, done! Love has started installing itself. Is that normal?
Tech Support: Yes, but remember that you have only the base program. You need to begin connecting to other Hearts in order to get the upgrades.
Customer: Oops! I have an error message already. It says, "Error - Program not run on external components." What should I do?
Tech Support: Don't worry. It means that the Love program is set up to run on Internal Hearts, but has not yet been run on your Heart. In non-technical terms, it simply means you have to Love yourself before you can Love others.
Customer: So, what should I do?
Tech Support: Pull down Self-Acceptance; then click on the following files: Forgive-Self; Realize Your Worth; and Acknowledge your Limitations.
Customer: Okay, done.
Tech Support: Now, copy them to the "My Heart" directory. The system will overwrite any conflicting files and begin patching faulty programming. Also, you need to delete Verbose Self-Criticism from all directories and empty your Recycle Bin to make sure it is completely gone and never comes back.
Customer: Got it. Hey! My heart is filling up with new files. Smile is playing on my monitor and Peace and Contentment are copying themselves all over My Heart. Is this normal?
Tech Support: Sometimes. For others it takes awhile, but eventually everything gets it at the proper time. So Love is installed and running. One more thing before we hang up. Love is Freeware. Be sure to give it and its various modules to everyone you meet. They will in turn share it with others and return some cool modules back to you.
Customer: Thank you, Tech Support.

Learn to look at the signs of the times with a positive attitude >> look forward to the return of our Savior when there will be a thousand years of peace on this earth >> remember that the righteous will suffer with the wicked, but in the end the righteous will prevail >> move through this life with a spirit of joy and hope and excitement >> be of good cheer >> if you are prepared you shall not fear >> look to the Lord in every thought, doubt not, fear not >>

I love it when the lesson is inspiring and we are uplifted and filled with joy and hope for the week to follow. Thank you Sherri Wright you are an inspiration to all of us.

I woke up Friday morning thinking what a glorious 3 days I had ahead of me. Tarzan was going fishing and I had 3 days to myself to get caught up--NOT.

All of the details are not important, but just say, I was busy doing things for other people 80% of the time, the other 20% was for sleep and my stuff, LOL.

The important part is what happened to Tarzan on his fishing trip. On Saturday, I lost contact with him and I decided he had wandered out of phone range. Saturday night about sundown I got a sick feeling in my stomach that he was in trouble. I tried to call him several times, but could not get him on the phone. I did that thing I always do when I have no control over a situation. I said a prayer, and made myself think about other things. Even though I was not actively worrying about him, I didn't fall asleep until 3:00 a.m.

Sunday, I went to church and called Tarzan after Welfare Meeting. No answer. I called him after Sacrament Meeting. No answer. He should be coming home by now. I called him after Sunday School. No answer. I got up in the middle of Relief Society and called the house. He was home. We were supposed to go to a wedding after Church--


When I got him on the phone I could tell by his voice there was something wrong...

Here is what happened on Saturday night just about sundown. He and his friend had gone to an area with a boat dock and fire pits so they could fish and cook and have a safe place to spend the night. Tarzan was walking down some stairs to the dock. The bottom step had a loose board. When he stepped on it, it gave way and he began to fall toward a big metal pole. He saw the pole and turned his head, but he hit it full force. He heard his neck crack and thought he had broken it. He blacked out for a few seconds and then his friend called out to him--"Are you okay." He answered, "no, I don't think I am." His "friend" didn't even put his fishing pole down.

Right then, three young people, two boys and one girl came over to see if he was alright. They made him lie still while they checked his vitals and asked questions to see if he was okay. When they determined he was alright, they said a final,
"are you okay then?" He answered
in his best weak voice, indicating the cute girl with them, "I think I need her to give me mouth-to-mouth." They all had a good laugh and he got up and settled in for the night. Tarzan is a nut!

I called Brother Carden to come over and give him a blessing. Tarzan really likes him and readily accepted the blessing.
We were both worried about a blood clot. In the blessing Brother Carden counseled him to go to the doctor. He has an appointment on Friday, so he is waiting until then. I made him promise to watch for any signs of trouble today as he skipped off to work.

Right now, he has a bruise the size of Texas (Come to think of it, the bruise is kind of shaped like Texas). It covers his right breast and shoulder and is under his arm as well where he hit the pole. The only reason his eye didn't swell up and bruise is that he turned his head. He has a doozy of a headache.

The final result of all this is that tomorrow we go out and buy new chargers for both of our phones to use in the car.

I sure Love Tarzan.

Maybe I should rename my blog "Life with Tarzan."

As we watched this historical moment unfold before our eyes in the comfort of our home, Sandi and I both regressed mentally thinking about people who mean a lot to us, some of whom are no longer here: my mother, who passed away just this summer, my grandfather, Sandi’s father, grandparents, and mother, our children, and our grandchildren.

Sandi and I have an interracial marriage. We don’t see things as black and white, but we often discuss them as black and white. We know that this election was not about race. We know it was about greatness and a movement toward change in Washington. We have vowed to support President Elect Obama, not as a black man or white woman or an interracial couple, but as Americans with common problems and common hopes.

We appreciate the fact that we now have a new, great thinker for our next Commander In Chief, and as an extra point of appreciation for us, he is a black man in a world where we thought there was a limit to what a black man could accomplish.

There is something to ponder about this man that has been said to us. What are the chances of a young black man from Kenya going to Hawaii in the 1960’s >> and a young white woman from the heartland of America, Kansas, also being there at the same time >> that they would meet >> and overcome the racial attitudes of the time to marry and produce an offspring >> who weaved himself through school, turmoil and political mine fields >> to become the orator and great thinker that he is >> and to have won over America where we as a nation have placed our hope, future and destiny in the hands of a 47 year old man who happens to be black.

There is something else to ponder about this election. In the 60’s we had the rebellion of the young folks, the hippies, the war protestors, fighting in the streets and general unrest. We had another rebellion from today’s young folks. The way they rebelled is a testament to all of us. They became involved in the process, informed on the issues and chose the ballet over the bullet. With this in mind, I can say to the rest of you seniors, we can feel confident that our young folks can make sound decisions. We should not be concerned about passing the gavel of authority over to them when needed.

We believe that the torch has been passed, not only to us, but to all Americans. Obama has asked each of us to do our share to help him govern. He has asked us to except the challenge to talk to our neighbors, to look out for one another, and at home, turn off the TV and get more involved with our children and families. What could be greater than that?

The past few hours have been emotional, thrilling and filled with hope for the future. We pray for and support President Elect Obama and hope that America will rally and we will no longer have red and blue states, but that we will have purple states and become one people, one nation—under God.

A sad thing

While driving home last night, we listened to a radio piece on NPR about hate crimes against people who have stickers on their cars for Obama/Biden. We have a magnet on our car. It was a sad choice for us to remove our magnet to insure our safety. We decided not to put our opinion literally on the street, but to keep it in our conversation, on our blog and in our vote. Isn't that sad? Since we have double jeopardy being a mixed race couple and having the magnet, it was a hard choice, but one we took seriously.

On a lighter note.

Today, I stopped by the UPS Store to pick up a package and I was so excited, not knowing what it was. It had "Longaberger" stamped on the outside of the box. I thought, "Someone bought me a basket. How great." I couldn't think who it was or why they would be buying me a Longaberger basket -- no birthdays, no holidays, hmmmmmm. I threw it in the car unopened because I was going to be late for work. At a stop light, the curiosity got to me an I opened the box.

Bummer, it was a life jacket for our DOG. The Doggy Store had used a Longaberger box to ship it. Pooh.

Here is a great contest by a really good photographer, see if you can enter and win. Go see some of her kewl pictures.

Squirrel hunting—two words I never thought would come out of my mouth in reference to my weekend activities, but there you go, I said it. Friday, we drove up to Springerville, Arizona to stay in my Mom’s house before she had it winterized. Tarzan went with his new sidekick Toy—“Me hunt squirrel” I asked if he was going to hunt “moose and squirrel” with the appropriate Russian accent—he didn’t think it was funny. The wind blew, the rain fell and still Tarzan and sidekick hunted with dog in tow.

I slept in until 10:00 a.m. read my book, went to the drug store (Oh, if you are not from Springerville you can’t appreciate that comment—I went to the drug store—if you want to find something to spend your money on, they have it at Western Drug. They have everything you could ever want there from hunting paraphernalia to fabric, ribbons and patterns along with all the other drug store type stuff you would ever want. It is amazing.)

They shot 5 squirrel between them. Tarzan gutted, cleaned and prepared them for the freezer – showered and went to bed before the sun went down.

6:00 a.m. Sunday off they went again and got more squirrel (no moose). I watched old movies and read my book “The Fourth War.” I graded papers and napped. It was glorious. Monday we cleaned Mom’s house and washed our sheets and towels and came on home.

I commented on the way home that I wished every moment of my life would feel just like I felt at that moment. Relaxed, no worries, not thinking about politics or the economy, no worries about any of the sisters in our ward or my kids or grandkids…..sigh!

Lousy: Wrecked car 2 weeks ago
Good: Tarzan found a used Lexus that we could afford

Lousy: Someone threw large cement pavers through the double paned, tinted sliding glass doors at our rental property the day before the renters were to move in
Good: Insurance paid for it

Lousy: They stole all the light fixtures and ceiling fans we had ready to be installed.
Good: Insurance paid for it

Lousy: The renters in our other rental property had marital problems and changed their minds about renting from us
Good: They forfitted their deposit

Lousy: No renters
Good: New renters the next day for $100 more

Lousy: Tarzan put the first dent in the Lexus
Good: I still love him

Have you ever been working with a man and had him freeze in his tracks because you asked him a question about something that he had not been thinking about?

Did he become incapable of working and sputter, “uh, uh” and get a little irritated?

Have you ever been working with a man, while he tried to get a piece of big-fancy equipment to work so he could blow out the leaves from the porch, and you got the broom and swept the area clean before he could get it going, and then he was disappointed that he didn’t get to use his blower?

Have you ever been working with a man, while he was trying to get a sprayer to work so he could spray an even layer of cleanser on the refrigerator you are cleaning up, and you got a bucket of water and a bottle of spray cleaner, and cleaned it before he could get his sprayer to work?

What is with guys and their need to have “the right tool do to the job?”

It’s not very fun to write about the good stuff, but I have to say that good things have been coming my way. Here are a few of them.

  • The doctor who charged me $50 for a no-show when my car wouldn’t start took the charge off my account
  • I wrecked my car and have been driving a rental--the rental company gave me a free upgrade
  • We found a wonderful painter who is not overcharging me
  • We found a carpet layer who is great and did not overcharge us
  • We found a laborer who is strong and grateful to have work so we can afford him as well
  • We have rented all of our rental property
  • I did not get a lung infection this time when I had my recent allergy attack
  • The dog is housebroken
  • We found a great place to buy appliances new and used
  • I love the classes I am teaching
  • My grandchildren e-mail me every day
  • We have money in the bank
  • Tarzan and I really like each other
  • Direct TV gave me Showtime free for 3 months
  • I find life solutions in the Book of Mormon
  • I have lost 6 pounds

I saw this on Lindsey’s blog (she is my cousin’s daughter) and thought it would be a great way to spend an hour. And, since Lindsey was so kind as to share the instructions for how to create this gem, I thought I would follow suit. Now you too can make a photo mosaic all about YOU!

How to:
a. Type your answer to each of the questions below into Flickr Search.
b. Using only the first page, pick an imagen (I browsed, lots of pictures not just the first page).
c. Copy and paste each of the URLs for the images into fd’s mosaic maker.
d. Copy the mosaic image (right click, save image as -- or just drag image to desktop) to your computer.
e. Upload image to blog and voila!

Here are the questions:
1. What is your first name? Sandi
2. What is your favorite food? Tacos
3. What high school did you go to? St. Johns
4. What is your favorite color? Red
5. Who is your celebrity crush? Brad Pitt (lame, I know)
6. Favorite drink? Virgin Margarita
7. Dream vacation? Italy
8. Favorite dessert? Peach Cobbler
9. What you want to be when you grow up? Writer
10. What do you love most in life? Tarzan
11. One word to describe you? Excited
12. Where do you live? Arizona
(Credits: 1. Pencil Sandi, 2. Taco Bell Mascot Statue, 3. Basilica of St. John, Selcuk -Ephesus, 4. Gizmo, 5. Brad Pitt, leaving Venice, Italy with Angelina Jolie and their children, was in town to promote his new film, 6. If You Like Virgin Pina Coladas... (Day 58), 7. Positano, 8. I Have A Sweet Tooth!, 9. Fifteen accounts of life, death, and everything that interferes., 10. Ahora estoy leyendo, 11. Young At Heart, 12. Tse Bighanilini, 13. Spider of Darkness)

We seem to go through life just doing what we do, trying to be contributing member to society and not expecting any recognition for it. However, every once in awhile, someone says "thank you" and it feels so good. This week I had two thank you's, the first has a funny story (of course, nothing happens to me without a funny story, right?)

Sunday night I was home alone and I had Dottie in the house with me. She was sleeping under my desk and I was working on grading papers when I heard someone knock rather loud on the kitchen door.

I was expecting Tarzan to come home and figured he had his hands full and needed me to open the door for him. I went to the door and yelled out--"who is it?" NO ANSWER. I got a little spooked and peaked out the window-- NO ONE THERE. I looked out the front window-- NO ONE THERE. Yikes, now I was really spooked. Dottie was running around in a panic feeling my emotions.

I turned OFF all the lights in the house and turned ON all the lights outside. NO ONE THERE.

Next, I went into the bedroom to get the hand gun and Tarzan had moved it. So, I looked for the shot gun, Tarzan had moved it. YIKES. And our alarm system is disconnected for the decorating we are doing in the living room. DOUBLE YIKES.

I said a little prayer and sat back down to my computer without opening any doors or questioning further. I felt for some unknown reason safe with Dottie there. She would at least lick them to death if someone broke in.

Later, Tarzan came home and said, "Some of your Church People were here." He responded to the puzzled look on my face by holding up a bag of cookies with a thank you note neatly typed and stapled to it. So, whoever left us cookies -- Thank you they were delish and it warmed my heart, once it quit racing about uncontrollably.

The second thing was a simple phone call from a lady who has moved to California. I helped her off and on for a couple of years and then when she moved, I never heard from her. She just called to thank me for helping her. Believe me, I didn't do that much, but in today's disjointed world even a word of encouragement is a big deal.

Has anyone told you thank you lately?
Did it make you feel warm and fuzzy?
Have you remembered to thank anyone lately?

It is so sad that there are still people in this world who cannot see past the color of your skin. We recently had a business person give us a quote for some work we needed done. When the quote was too high, we looked for another alternative to get the work done. When he did not hear back from us, he send us a rude e-mail accusing us fo using him and wasting his time. He has never met me, only Tarzan and in the e-mail he said among other things---"I am use to working with white people that have integrity, not random ghetto acts of 'take advantage of whomever, whenever.'"

What a huge dissappointment to have someone be so small and unthinking that they can say such cruel words with no remorse.

I pray for good things to happen to me.
I was in a wreck; the other guy was on the phone, and would not stay for the police. The good thing: I have insurance and they consider it a no-fault accident and will cover everything, including a rental car. It will only cost me the $500 deductible.

I pray for good things to happen to me.
We took the trash to the Gila Bend dump and drove the trailer over the edge and cut a big gash in the trailer tire. The good thing: It was going to cost us $150 to get a new one, but Tarzan talked the guy into $32.

I pray for good things to happen to me.
Tarzan has been the victim of identity theft. The good thing: The government has put in place a path to follow to get it corrected.

I pray for good things to happen to me.
I have had a migraine for two days. The good thing: This only happens a couple of times a year, it used to happen twice a month.

I pray for good things to happen to me.

This weekend I realized, that I do not just casually experience life. Rather, I see events. I see big happy occasions, and devastating sad occasions. I see happy things as more than passing moments, but stories to tell, stupid things as funny or irritating and story worthy. I also see the actions of others as great or even pitiful. With that said, let me tell you about fishing with Tarzan and the boyz.

I had a headache for three days last week and needed some true down time, when I didn’t think about (in alphabetical order) car trouble, children, church, cleaning house, dogs, etc., grandchildren, health, heat, money, redecorating, rental property, work.

Tarzan was going fishing with the boyz this weekend, so I asked if I could go. I said, “I either need to go away with you this weekend or I need to get a hotel and watch old movies while I eat ice cream and pizza.” He said I could go.

I went out to get in the truck after packing up a few things, putting together four meals to cook for the group and packing some kitchen items to cook with. He had put everything in the CAR not the PICKUP with no plan as to where we would sleep. I threw in two sleeping bags and an air mattress.

We started out at 6:00 p.m. and Shirley, his GPS system, told him we had 300 MILES to go. I thought we were going to Blythe, about 1 ½ hours away. First choice, get up tight because I have a five hour drive ahead and knowing we won’t get to the campsite before midnight? No problem, I have turned off the world, sit back and relax.

We do travel well together and when we arrived at Moreno Valley, he pulled right into a motel and got us a room so we could get some rest rather than trying to find the boyz in the dark. Good move, Tarzan. 4:00 a.m. wake up call, we took it and fell back to sleep. 6:00 a.m., up and at ‘em. We rushed around, jumped in the car and called Al to tell him we were about 15 minutes away from the lake and ask how to find him.

Al, was at home in bed.

They had not gone out the day before as planned.No rush now, a little Walmart shopping, they are the only store open at that hour, and we drove on out to the lake, got the best spot available in the camp ground and cooked breakfast. Here is my kitchen cupboard.

Here is breakfast, yes, that is a pound of bacon, we expected the boyz to show up before we finished breakfast. When they didn’t the two of us managed to eat the whole pound by ourselves. Oh, yes, and that is the pan that snagged Tarzan. He says he married me for love, but I saw his eyes light up when he say me great skillet.

The boyz showed up around 2:00 p.m. So, we just relaxed until they came. Here is Tarzan playing with his fishing gear.

Then the boyz showed up. Al and Lt.

Al asked if I was ready to fish, but I made it perfectly clear that I was not there to interfere. I was there to relax, I would not be getting on the boat today. They took off with a whirl of excitement while I settled into a day of doing NOTHING. It was so wonderful. Here is what I did all day. Sorry about the bird poop, see my Kindle, Armand is his name, I have actually given him a name label now so I will quit changing his name, see the iPod, see the crochet, see the snacks, you can almost see the lotion and the purple container is the nail clippers so I could cut and file my fingernails, awe, the joy of nothingness.

Oh, yes, and I napped--a lot.

It started to get dark and the boyz didn’t return, so I decided to cook. I really should have taken a picture of the beans. I had made a pot of chili beans for dinner before leaving home. It sat in the sun all day on the ground. I picked up the pot to begin heating it up and OH MY GOODNESS, it was full of ants doing the backstroke. I skimmed the ants out thinking a little protein never hurt anyone and I wouldn’t even tell the boyz, got the cook stove fired up and set the beans on the stove. When I took the lid off the thing was bubbling and it wasn’t from the heat of the fire – it had gone bad in the heat of the day, I guess that is what attracted the ants. Dumped the whole thing in the trash and began cooking the pork chops and potatoes. Everything was cooked and the boyz finally came back. It was completely dark, they had stayed until “the last dog died” to leave the lake. As they got out of the truck, Al said, “We would have been here sooner, but we had to wait for Lee to come back from wherever he went all day.” I said, “Hey, don’t get out of the truck making excuses when you have been out having fun.” Joking is part of being friends with the boyz. I can hold my own.

Had I not cooked dinner these three boyz would have gone to bed hungry, they were exhausted. They snarfed down the dinner I had cooked, and went straight to bed. We slept in the car, he on the reclining passenger side and me in the backseat. Thank goodness for Excedrin PM. At about 11:00 p.m. the spot next to us had a group of young adults move in. They set up bright lights, loud RAP music (mostly about rape and murder) and began to laugh, talk, play games (of questionable value), drink alcohol and laugh-loud. I asked them to turn the music down once, but it was soon back up as loud as ever and they didn’t stop until 3:00 a.m.

When we got up at 5:00 a.m., I turned on the Andrew’s Sisters mixed with Nat King Cole and a bunch of church songs. My music wasn’t near as loud as theirs, but I figured it was irritating enough. We then commenced to fix a breakfast feast of bluegill caught the day before. The boyz cooked the fish, I cooked eggs and hash browns and we had some of my good bottled peaches. We had a wonderful morning, even though I was eating the fish and saw a funny looking bone and threw it out into the field then suddenly realized it was the temporary cap from my tooth. Lt. did a wind direction and projectile velocity and walked right out into the field and found it. Isn't that amazing

I must say a word about the young adults. They were clean cut kids, obviously had money (or a lot of debt) and they had no clue what life is all about. There was inappropriate activity going on over there, inappropriate talk, inappropriate music and I could go on. The park has a strict rule of no alcohol anywhere in the park. These young folks were having beer for breakfast by the time we got ready to go and they were going to go out on the lake with their jet skis.

We packed up and jumped my car (that is another whole story I won’t bore you with about the day before). As we drove out of the campsite to go to the lake, Tarzan stopped at the park ranger booth and told them about our neighbors. He explained that since we are old folks, we just hunkered down and tried to ignore them, but it was a perfect setting for a serious confrontation. If we had been a young family with babies, he would have (he didn’t tell this to the ranger) taken his shot gun over and blown up the radio like Clint Eastwood and then gone back to bed. There was something about this group of kids that haunted Tarzan and I, we mentioned them several times over the next 24 hours, wondering how far astray they were and if they had a chance at happiness with the path they were obviously taking.

Then we fished.
Here come the boyz to get me.

Here we go.

Al at the helm.
Tarzan seriously fishing.

The first fish caught.
Lt. always catches fish. The fish see him coming and all get together and say, “Hey, Lt. is here, who wants to go first?”
Al caught a few, Lt. caught a few, but sadly, today Tarzan never caught one.
I napped and read. It was great.
We packed up our rods and left about 2:00 p.m. and headed home. What a fun, relaxing two days, I am completely rejuvenated. Come on world, I’m ready to take you on again.

After the big rains we had over the past week, I went down the hill this morning and saw these strange creatures growing up along the edge of our property.

Any idea what they are? The only thing I am sure of is that they don't look like mushrooms.

I was at Sharon's desk and she had a Starbucks Plastic cup with the cutest crocheted holder on it to catch that liquid that runs all over your desk when you have a cold glass of any liquid.

She told me her grandmother crocheted it and she has not been able to duplicate the pattern. I told her I could get the pattern off of it and she carefully put it in a plastic bag and gave it to me to take just over night.

I was able to get the pattern and made one last night for my Fresh and Easy water bottle. Isn't it cute? I am going to make one the size of a soda can next.

Here it is, I L-O-V-E it. My hand didn't get cold while I held my Ginger Ale to drink it.

  • Had a day off.
  • Had scheduled doctor appointments throughout the day.
  • Went outside and got in the car to go.
  • It would not start.
  • Called the first doctor, no problem, rescheduled
  • Called the second doctor, no problem, rescheduled
  • Called the third doctor, Dr. Bruce Sand, they are charging me $50 for a no show even though I called them 4 hours in advance and explained why I couldn't make it. I didn't bother to reschedule, I will just find another oncologist. I don't think they have a legal right to charge me since I have signed nothing stating I know about this policy and was not told about it when I made the appointment.
  • Went to pick up our 300ZX and it wasn't ready, after 3 weeks
  • Paid $1,100 for repair work done so far
  • Drove it home, not running any better
  • Had repairman lined up to do work in rental property in Gila Bend
  • Gave us quote for inside house and outside house
  • Outside quote was too high
  • He refused to do inside work unless we also gave him the outside work
  • No reason to go on, suffice it to say, I am in one of those funks.

I am not a text messager, however, I just learned these great codes from my granddaughter, Maddison. So, be listening for them in conversation with me.

tma: Typical Mormon Answer- going to church, reading your scriptures, saying your prayers,ect.
pmb: Perfect Mormon Boy- a common phrase used at girls camp.
ilgp: I love girls camp- I love girls camp
ctr: choose the right- I'm sure you knew that one.
sfmc: Shopping For Modest Clothing- long sleeves, pants that go down to your knees ect.


We bottled peaches, but it is not near as thrilling to show the process. So, let me just tell you about the adventure. I got everything in place. Tarzan started the water boiling to process the bottled peaches on the stove outside on the patio.

Inside, the first batch of peaches went into boiling water for a couple of minutes and then quickly dipped into ice water. The peel came off just as it should and I took my little pairing knife and cut the beautiful peach in half and -- Oh no! -- they were not cling free peaches. The fruit would not come off the pit. Yuck!

By the time I got all the peelings off and the fruit cut into slices (There was no other way to work with the fruit without mangling it) I had a sticky mess in my kitchen. Meanwhile, Tarzan is outside gleefully working in the yard waiting to put the bottles of peaches into the boiling water.

I mixed the syrup for the peaches, 3 cups water 2 cups sugar, brought it to a boil, poured it over the peaches, wiped off the rims, put the sterile lids on along with the rings, tightened the bottles and called in Tarzan to do his part. I was really disappointed because we like peach halves. But, to my delight they turned out real nice.

Now, here is the best part. I still have a few bottles of peaches left over from last year so I made peach cobbler with them and it was P-E-R-F-E-C-T. I used the recipe from How To Cook Like Your Grandmother. I had to modify it just a little because my peaches were bottled and already had a little sugar on them and her peaches are fresh. But, did I tell you it was a P-E-R-F-E-C-T peach cobbler. The crust is excellent and it is so easy. Next, I am going to make a pie with the peaches we froze. My quest to be a Domestic goddess is never ending.

Prickly Pear Jelly
First, you should be sure you have a Tarzan to pick the fruit, it's not called Prickly Pear for nothing. The little white dots on the fruit is cactus prickles. Use tongs and stand back from the cactus. These cactus are in our front yard. Next, you will prepare the fruit. I didn't get all the pictures for that step. Tarzan does this first part and I had to leave to run an errand while he was doing it. But this is what you do. Wash the fruit--handle it with tongs. Rub the fruit on the bottom of the sink to remove the prickles. Then you cut the fruit in quarters and boil it for 10 minutes. You can remove the seeds if you like, we don't bother to do that.

Then put the fruit into a cheese cloth and squeeze the juice out into bowls. Tarzan tells me he strains it 3 times. First, he uses a potato masher and smashes it into a mush, then he puts it through a collander, then he puts it through a wire strainer and finally he puts it through the cheese cloth.

I am putting the recipe next and then there are pictures. There are a few pieces of advice I would give.

  1. This is very sweet jam so don't skimp on the lemon juice.
  2. There is a rule when you are making candy--don't scrape the sides of the pan while it is cooking or it will turn to sugar. I followed that rule for my jam and it turned out great.
  3. My friend from Russia, Boris, makes a rice dish he brings to work from time to time. I have asked him for the recipe and he can't quite give it to me, but he does say this. When you make this dish, you have to be in a good mood. If you are not in a good mood, it won't turn out right. I think that holds true for this jam. Have fun, make it with love, relax and take your time, it will turn out right.
  4. The instructions say to take 5 minutes to add the sugar, I take closer to 10 minutes. Put a little sugar in, stir until it is dissolved and then let it almost boil again stirring frequently.
  5. Oh, yes, and I added a little red food coloring. When we made this last time, as the jelly aged, it lost its natural ruby color, so I thought I would see if a few drops of food color would help it keep its color.
  6. This is called a hot pack, so you don't need to cook it after it is in the bottles, just put the lids on tight and let them pop.

The Recipe

Prickly Pear Jelly

3 ½ cups fruit from Prickly Pears
1 bottle or 2 packages of liquid pectin
Juice from 2 lemons
8 level cups sugar

Remove fine thorns and blossom ends from 3 pounds of ripe cactus fruit. Cut into small pieces, crush and add 1 cup water. Stir until boiling, cover pan and simmer 10 minutes. Place in cheese cloth bag and squeeze out juice. Measure sugar into a separate pan. Bring juice and pectin just to boil, stirring constantly, and begin to add sugar slowly with constant stirring, taking about 5 minutes to add sugar, and keep juice nearly at a boil. Then bring to a rolling boil and boil for one-half minute. Remove from fire, let stand a few seconds, skim, pour quickly into jars and seal hot.

Next canned peaches

Tarzan and I saw the familiar little sign on the side of the road, "Okra for Sale." So we drove down the country road to a house and the farmer (whose financial situation has improved from our bussiness for a few years now) let us in. We bought all he had picked and all of his cherry tomatoes. Yum. Now, what?

I reached back in the recesses of my mind and searched the Internet for quantities and we pickled and froze okra.

Frozen Okra is the easiest so I will tell you how to do that first. You should remember this-- okra doesn't get slimy until you cut it open, so whole okra is the only way to go.

  • Get your deep pot and fill it with salty water
  • Bring it to a boil
  • Drop a bunch of okra into the boiling water and let it boil for 3 minutes
  • Remove the okra from the water and place it in single layers on large flat cookie sheets and freeze it
  • Once it is frozen, place it in freezer safe Ziplock bags
  • Oh yeah, and put it back in the freezer

When you are ready to cook it, simply put the frozen okra in boiling water and cook it through. It should not be limp, rather it is better if it is still kind of firm. All it needs is salt and butter, but I have a bunch of other ways to use it if you need them just ask.

Pickled Okra
Once I get started on a bottle of pickled okra, I may as well just enjoy the whole bottle without guilt. It is better than pickles especially when the seeds pop in your mouth. Here is what you need:

-Fresh whole okra pods (the smaller okra works best, but it is not necessary)
-1 cup water
-1 quart white vinegar (don't get creative here, this is canning not a gourmet salad)
-1/2 c. salt (there is a special pickling salt, but it is hard to find, so remember the important thing is NO IODINE. We used Kosher salt)
-1 cloves garlic for each bottle
-Dill seed
-Fresh dill weed
-Hot dried chilli peppers (we like the red ones)

Sterilize your jars and lids in a hot boiling water bath (or the dishwasher if you have one).

Wash the fresh okra; drain well. In hot clean pint bottles, pour a little dill seed in the bottom of the bottle, pack the okra pods, as tightly as you can without bruising them, leaving 1/2 inch head space. Add 1 chilli pepper, 1 garlic clove, a little more dill seed and 2 sprigs of dill weed on top.

Combine the water, white vinegar and salt. Bring the mixture to boiling. Pour the hot liquid over the okra pods in the jars, leaving 1/2 inch head space. Wipe jar rims, adjust lids. Process in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes.

Let the bottles stand for 2 weeks before opening.

Yum!, Next--Prickly Pear Jam

I feel the need to write this personal note.

During the time that I have been Relief Society President, I have had the privilege of working with the most awesome women, as counselors, secretaries, teachers and other leaders. The entire time I have been in this position, I have been richly blessed.

Today we had our presidency meeting and I felt the Spirit so strong there. Our secretary, Shannon Taylor-Hutchinson, carefully invited the Spirit to be with us and then each of us in turn contributed to the meeting. Our Enrichment Counselor, Kim Butler, has put together an awesome program for the month of September with great ideas for activities that will serve the sisters well. They are activities that will give the sisters a reason to come and to bring a friend. Our Education Counselor, Amberly Robinson, has the most clear thinking ability. She is able to clearly identify something that needs to be addressed and offer concrete suggestions on how to handle things. She both gives and accepts counsel with such a great spirit, I am always glad to interact with her. Shannon, is so organized and creates such an atmosphere of expectation that we all want to rise to that expectation. She is our constant reminder and cheerleader.

I am so grateful for each one of these sisters and the privilege that is mine to work with them. I love my Heavenly Father and each day I strive to draw close to him. Some days with more success than others, but I always know he is there, that he knows and loves me and meetings like today lift my spirits to the sky and I praise his name.

I always find it interesting to take these tests and see how I come out. I consistently fall in the same category. There is something inside me that needs affirmation. My personality test says I am an extravert, my insides say, I am shy and a loner. That is weird. But, then you look at my Thinking Pattern test and you see that I am a “concrete” and “random” thinker. I guess that says it all. I have made a few comments in orange.

The Giver

You strive to maintain harmony in relationships, and usually succeed. Emphasis on the "usually." Articulate and enthusiastic, you are good at making personal connections. Sometimes you idealize relationships too much - and end up being let down. Oh, so true. I live in a dream world a lot of the time. You find the most energy and comfort in social situations ... where you shine. This surprises me, I don't view myself this way. In love, you are very protective and supporting. However, you do need to "feel special" - and it's quite easy for you to get jealous. Thank goodness Tarzan knows how to make me feel special. At work, you are a natural leader. You can help people discover their greatest potential. I like helping others meet their potential. You would make a good writer, human resources director, or psychologist. I better contemplate this some. While I have a few things published (Ensign, USDLA magazine, SJ college newspaper) I think I would find joy in being a serious writer. How you see yourself: Trusting, idealistic, and expressive. When other people don't get you, they see you as: Bossy, inappropriate, and loud. Oh my gosh, this is so true, I am often viewed as bossy, inappropriate and loud. How can that be when I feel so shy?

Your Thinking is Concrete and Random

You are naturally inquisitive and curious. You're excited by new ideas, and you are a true independent thinker. You are interested in what is possible. You like the process of discovery. You are often experimenting, challenging old ideas, and inventing new concepts. I love learning and finding out about new things and trying new things. Rules, restrictions, and limits don't really work for you. Within limits, this is true. I'm pretty good about following the rules, but I do bristle sometimes. Like the time I was a cub scout leader and sewed a ruffle and a thin piece of lace on the bottom of my cub scout skirt uniform, you would have thought I had committed adultry by the uproar. You have to do things your own way, and you can't be bothered to explain yourself. I hate to say it, but it is true, sometimes I just want to get things done without having to explain to anyone else.

I stole this from Monique Fullmer:"I read on another blog that the average adult has read only 6 out of 100 of the following books! (I don't know if those stats are true, but I guess it doesn't matter)."

I Googled 100 books you should read and got 13,500,000 hits. I guess there are a lot of different opinions on which books should be on the list. I have highlighted those I have read (49 in all). Some many years ago. How many of these have you read?

1. Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen (awesome - one of my favorite)
2. The Lord of the Rings - JRR Tolkien (I love SciFi)
3. Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte (great book)
4. Harry Potter series - JK Rowling
5. To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee (Excellent read, great life lessons and the movie is wonderful)
6. The Bible (once from cover to cover)
7. Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte (I bet I read this a dozen times in high school)
8. Nineteen Eighty Four - George Orwell (totally kewl book)
9. His Dark Materials - Philip Pullman
10. Great Expectations - Charles Dickens (high school)
11. Little Women - Louisa May Alcott (Love it. Have a set of these books my grandmother gave me)
12. Tess of the D’Urbervilles - Thomas Hardy
13. Catch 22 - Joseph Heller (high school)
14. Complete work of Shakespere (have read many of them and love them)
15. Rebecca - Daphne Du Maurier (Love it)
16. The Hobbit - JRR Tolkien (great book)
17. Birdsong - Sebastian Faulks
18. Catcher in the Rye - JD Salinger (high school)
19. The Time Traveller’s Wife - Audrey Niffenegger
20. Middlemarch - George Eliot
21. Gone With The Wind - Margaret Mitchell (movie makes text easier to visualize)
22. The Great Gatsby - F Scott Fitzgerald (depressing)
23. Bleak House - Charles Dickens
24. War and Peace - Leo Tolstoy (painfully long, a laborious read)
25. The Hitch Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams (Not as good as I thought it would be)
26. Brideshead Revisited - Evelyn Waugh
27. Crime and Punishment - Fyodor Dostoyevsky
28. Grapes of Wrath - John Steinbeck (This is a painful read. The copy I have has annotations in the margins written by my grandmother for her book club)
29. Alice in Wonderland - Lewis Carroll (love it-when I read it I always think I will be able to figure out if it was a dream or real, never have been able to)
30. The Wind in the Willows - Kenneth Grahame (high school)
31. Anna Karenina - Leo Tolstoy (boring, wouldn't recommend it)
32. David Copperfield - Charles Dickens (high school)
33. Chronicles of Narnia - CS Lewis
34. Emma - Jane Austen (couldn't put the book down)
35. Persuasion - Jane Austen
36. The Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseini
37. Captain Corelli’s Mandolin - Louis De Bernieres
38. Memoirs of a Geisha - Arthur Golden
39. Winnie the Pooh - AA Milne (Who doesn't like Winnie the Pooh?)
40. Animal Farm - George Orwell (high school)
41. The Da Vinci Code - Dan Brown (Love it)
42. One Hundred Years of Solitude - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
43. A Prayer for Owen Meaney - John Irving
44. The Woman in White - Wilkie Collins
45. Anne of Green Gables - LM Montgomery (Can you tell I am a romantic?)
46. Far From The Madding Crowd - Thomas Hardy (and I liked the movie too)
47. The Handmaid’s Tale - Margaret Atwood
48. Lord of the Flies - William Golding (high school)
49. Atonement - Ian McEwan
50. Life of Pi - Yann Martel
51. Dune - Frank Herbert (Better than the movie)
52. Cold Comfort Farm - Stella Gibbons
53. Sense and Sensibility - Jane Austen (kind of slow and repetitive)
54. A Suitable Boy - Vikram Seth
55. The Shadow of the Wind - Carlos Ruiz Zafon
56. A Tale Of Two Cities - Charles Dickens (high school)
57. Brave New World - Aldous Huxley
58. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time - Mark Haddon
59. Love In The Time Of Cholera - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
60. Of Mice and Men - John Steinbeck (skip over some of the descriptive stuff and it is good)
61. Lolita - Vladimir Nabokov
62. The Secret History - Donna Tartt
63. The Lovely Bones - Alice Sebold
64. Count of Monte Cristo - Alexandre Dumas (great book)
65. On The Road - Jack Kerouac
66. Jude the Obscure - Thomas Hardy
67. Bridget Jones's Diary - Helen Fiedling (was that a book too?)
68. Midnight’s Children - Salman Rushdi
69. Moby Dick - Herman Melville (high school)
70. Oliver Twist - Charles Dickens (high school)
71. Dracula - Bram Stoker
72. The Secret Garden - Frances Hodgson Burnett (excellent book and I love the movie too)
73. Notes From A Small Island - Bill Bryson
74. Ulysses - James Joyce (Painfully long)
75. The Bell Jar - Sylvia Plath
76. Swallows and Amazons - Arthur Ransome
77. Germinal - Emile Zola
78. Vanity Fair - William Makepeace Thackeray
79. Possession - AS Byatt
80. A Christmas Carol - Charles Dickens (a great book, but not so fun to read out loud)
81. Cloud Atlas - David Mitchell
82. The Color Purple - Alice Walker (can't stand the pain in this book)
83. The Remains of the Day - Kazuo Ishiguro
84. Madame Bovary - Gustave Flaubert (high school)
85. A Fine Balance - Rohinton Mistry
86. Charlotte’s Web - EB White
87. The Five People You Meet In Heaven - Mitch Albom (okay, but not totally inspiring as I expected it to be)
88. Adventures of Sherlock Holmes - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (Love Sherlock Holmes)
89. The Faraway Tree Collection - Enid Blyton
90. Heart of Darkness - Joseph Conrad
91. The Little Prince - Antoine De Saint-Exupery
92. The Wasp Factory - Iain Banks
93. Watership Down - Richard Adams (sorry, I thought this was stupid)
94. A Confederacy of Dunces - John Kennedy Toole
95. A Town Like Alice - Nevil Shute
96. The Three Musketeers - Alexandre Dumas (better than all the movies they made of it)
97. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - Roald Dahl
98. Les Miserables - Victor Hugo (Read every word loved the book-- well except some of the war fighting scenes. hated the play)
99. Age of Innocence - Edith Wharton (high school)
100. Twilight series - Stephanie Myers (how did this get on the list of great books? I liked it okay, but don't consider it one of the "great" books)

This weekend our grandson, Harris Morley, got baptized. Tarzan and I got to attend in Texas. We love Harris. He has an insatiable curiosity for life. He is smiling all the time. Harris has a tender heart and when you visit him, he is always sad when you leave. After the baptism, we all sat around and talked about memories. It was fun and the meal Tori and Bob cooked was awesome. Two of Harris’ friends were being baptized on the same day. I didn’t think to get a picture of all of them together. I have to get better at this picture taking thing. Here are the fun pictures I got. Remember, I never wait for posing.

Tarzan, Grandi and Harris, the official picture. New Suit, new shirt, new tie, new shoes, Wow.

Tarzan is loosening up for the teasing to start (with Maddison and Amber).

My sister is on the left, Tarzan is talking to Maddison. The other man is their home teacher.

Now, there is a series of pictures of Harris, being Harris. See the twinkle in his eyes?

After the baptism, Maddison, Papa, Tori (my daughter in pink)

There’s my Amber in the pink blouse. Isn’t she a cutie?

Here is my Maddison. She is so grown up. She has totally turned into a beautiful young woman.

Harris got the best present from his Home Teacher. He got a bag with a scout night light. It was green and could be clipped on to anything in a tent so you could see in the tent at night and it had an emergency handbook with it. He also got a prayer pillow that said “Brush your teeth, say your prayers and read your scriptures.” What a great guy.
My Harris

My Sister, Inez in the yellow blouse, and her friend, Daniella, Harris, and Bob (Harris’s Dad), Papa and the Home Teacher are in the background.
I love this picture of Harris standing among the brethern. He is part of the "club" now. In four short years he will hold the Priesthood. This is Harris, Papa (on the left) and the fabulous Home Teacher behind Harris.