Monday, July 21, 2014

A Simple Woman's Daybook~July 21, 2014

Our lives pass swiftly by! I want to do something to remember
the everyday moments and my thoughts about them.  
That is what this Daybook is all about.
Focusing on the little things that become my life.
One entry at a time.

Just for today~Monday, July 21, 2014 
Outside my window...It is cool, breezy and overcast today.  Just perfect after a few hot days.  Refreshing and comfortable.  It is one of those days that would just motivate me to get a lot done if I wasn't taking a little break from the busyness of last week.  So I'm just taking it easy and doing my favorite thing.  Writing this Daybook on my blog, it having been sorely neglected lately!

I am thankful and friends and especially for those that are both.  I like to think about how with all the many people that have been and will be born in this earth life we are blessed with just such wonderful people in our lives.  It is almost like they have been hand selected to bless us, cheer us and help us become better people.  I am feeling very wealthy in the friendship department.

From the learning room...I am combining this with the next section.

I am reading...The Apocrypha right now.  Very interesting.  I just looked at it this morning after our cousin and friend, Stephen, referred to it in our conversation yesterday.  The Apocrypha or Deuterocanonical books is a collection of ancient writings done primarily during the period of time between the Old and New Testament writings.  The word Apocrypha means hidden and they are not included in many versions and translations of the Bible. So in that sense they are hidden. They do appear in the Holy Catholic Bible.  The word Deuterocanonical means these writings are considered to be Second Canon in nature not canonized scripture in the traditional sense.  Canonized scripture is scripture that is deemed authoritative and has passed certain criterion established by the early church in order to have been canonized and considered as doctrine and authentic scripture.  The purpose was to unify various factions of Christianity.  You can see a simple article on this here: 

The Apocrypha is not only found in the Catholic Bible but also in some Protestant versions of the Bible.  Although the Lutheran Church is reported to have it I was never aware of it growing up in that faith.  They are not a part of the scriptures of  The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints which includes The King James version of the Bible.  So these writings are new to me. 

I have been reading the Book of Tobias today as that is what Steve referenced in connection with marriage. We were all talking specifically about with how our in-laws become our parents upon our marriage.  I like that idea.  Steve said that was pointed out in the book of Tobias.  

I think the in-law designation should just be done away with (in the non-legal sense) once a family is united in marriage. Then we are all just family.  Plain and simple.  To me "in-law" implied a forced, duty-driven relationship by law. (I know some of you may be thinking "Yep" about now.)  Regardless of the quality of your in-law realationsips... to me it feels like a divisive term rather than inclusive.  I think it is one of the very things that often makes these relationships all  the more difficult.  

One of my many quirks i guess. I've just never liked it and Jim hasn't either.  I view it in the same way that married people say, "My son, my daughter, my house, etc. when the much more unifying term is "our."  These subtle things make a difference in how we feel and act.

From the kitchen...The kitchen has been doing overtime this whole past week so on R and R this week.  Going out to dinner someplace tonight.  Leaving for vacation and so cleaning out the frig.  

Some spiritual thoughts I have been having...I have been thinking a lot about The Pure Love of Christ.  The kind of love that is a verb, is not self-serving or selfish, the kind that is pure and wholesome and good. The kind that just loves another person wholeheartedly and wants whatever they need, not what we need.  The kind of love that just gives and blesses another.  Christ's type of love. The kind of love the world needs a whole lot more of to be healthy.  The kind that brings no pain except when that person is absent through space and time or the temporary separation of death. The kind of love that brings joy for joy's sake. The kind that changes the giver and the recipient for the better.

I am hearing...Over The Rainbow by Eva Cassidy.  Beautiful song and beautiful vocalist.

One of my pleasures...reliving our memories and anticipating many more. Memory is such a lovely gift from Our Father.  May we never lose it!  And should we, He is kind enough to allow us to keep them in our what I'm betting. So that when the barnacles of our minds are swept away, only the beauty to which the heart clings will remain and bring us great comfort and peace. 

Pet Peeves...side effects of drugs to cure an ailment that bring on something new to take its place.  Sometimes the cure is worse than the presenting complaint.

I am quoting...Pinterest, love these they are my all time favorite quotes about family, friends and loving one another.

“An invisible red thread connects those who are destined
 to meet regardless of time, place or circumstance. 
The thread may stretch or tangle but it will never break.”
 - Chinese Proverb

If I could change one thing it would be...that we could understand others and they would not ever misunderstand us.  Wouldn't that be sweet?  And if someone's intent was to do harm or deceive their eyes would be red blinking signs of warning and their voices like shrill, piercing sirens to get our attention.   

An enjoyable movie/ TV show we have watched lately...Doc Martin, hands down.  Jim and I have never laughed so much as in this British TV series.  We never want it to end.  It's so dang funny, quirky, amusing!  Once you get in a couple of episodes you cannot leave it alone.

I am curious about...just about everything.  I wish I had been more curious in my youth when everything learned came easier and more quickly. 

Plans for the rest of the, work tomorrow, pack and head east for awhile after getting house sitter all squared away, etc. etc.  Enjoy time with our six grand kids still residing in the USA.  We have not seen the boys for a year so we are plenty excited about that.  And the girls are always exciting.  There is to be a mini-reunion with seven family members not able to attend.  There is also to be a lot of fun things and then camping.  The jury is out on that one for me but I am trying to keep a positive outlook for the enthusiasts in the bunch.  Bugs, dirt, bears...OK I'll not dwell on it.  Also on the agenda a quick overnight trip for Laura and I to Idaho to drop off Ross for a couple of days with his cousins on the other side of the family while Spencer attends classes at the Y.  It will fly by.  Everything that is but that crazy long, boring drive.  It doesn't fly, it crawls.

One of my favorite things...Italian serenades for little 87 years old ladies that bring them joy and a glimpse of their youth.

One thing that made me so happy this past week...entertaining quite a few guests in our home and yard.

The most surprising thing this past week...Having our cousin Stephen be able to come and spend part of Saturday and Sunday with us.  It was the best of the best weekends.

A photo I am sharing this week...a photo of Jim with Steve.  They share an Italian heritage that goes way back to a quaint little village in the Province of Genova, Italia.  Sweet reunion of the posterity some outstanding Ferreras of the past.  What a joy to behold.


❤♡♥♡❤♡♥♡❤♡♥s, Bon

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Roast Beef Marinade

Google image
When we were first married and living in San Francisco, our friend, Maureen, had this most delicious recipe for roast beef.  For years I made it and then one day I couldn't find the recipe.  We had lost touch over the years but reconnected awhile back on Facebook.  I asked her if she still had that recipe after 40 something years.  She had to dig a little but she did find it.  So here it is.  I haven't tried it again yet but I want to at some point.

Buy the beef roast of your choice.  I always used just a tender boneless roast.


2 cups Burgundy Wine (I'm going to try it with 
the non-alcoholic variety of wine.)
2 medium onions finely chopped
2 or more cloves of minced garlic
3 bay leaves crumbled
1 tsp dried thyme

Marinate roast beef overnight.
Cook roast as usual
Add the marinade last 30 minutes
Use along with drippings to make the gravy.

I remember this was the best ever meat and gravy.
I'll report back after we try it!

I'm so glad we are back in touch after all these years.
Thanks, Maureen!

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Independence Day 2014

One thing about the Fourth of July that you can count on is that it will be hot.  Especially in Utah.  It was a sizzler over there.  The morning was bearable until about 10:30 am.  The first thing we saw when we looked out the window was this flag in front of the house.  The Young Men and Women of the Church line the streets with American flags nearly every holiday that has anything to do with patriotism.  This is the way they raise funds for their special activities.  They do it for free but ask for donations from the home owners on a voluntary basis.  It is a winner. It use to be just the Scouts but now the Young Women participate as well which makes it easier on everyone.  Connor was on morning detail, getting up at 5:30 am to line the streets.  That in itself is great for all the teens to get up that early.  He put the one up you see above right in front of their house.  It is quite a sight when you step out and look up and down the street.

Provo is known for their Fourth of July Celebrations.  They have hot air balloons on years when it is not too hot early in the morning.  Over 70 degrees and the balloons will inflate but not ascend.  Bummer this year, too hot that early already.  But the City has plenty to keep families happy.  There is a big parade, a Freedom Festival, Stadium of Fire at BYU Stadium at night and probably a lot more activities I am not aware of as a visitor.  And of course the fireworks are fabulous.  We decided to pick just two activities so we went to the Freedom Festival and the fireworks.

The Freedom Festival was packed pretty early.  We arrived about 10:30 and left  after about an hour and a half.  It was just too hot and crowded so when the kids were done, none of us protested.  

A little group photo of Gramma and Grampa with the kids.
This was just as we were leaving~broiled to perfection.

Grampa likes the cooking booths so
 we stopped in there for a minute. 
 Here the grandkids are looking on.  
Connor, Owen, Aynslee, Zachary.
Missy is standing right next to Connor.

Loved being able to see the steeple on the 
new Provo Temple still under construction after the fire
that gutted the Tabernacle a few years ago.  
The Festival was just across the street
so when the crowd got to be just too much
you could look up to this and feel relief.

This was my favorite part of what the festival offered. 

They played some amazing Blue Grass music under a tent that had chairs to sit down and relax.  Awesomeness like only a "Hot Gramma" can fully appreciate. Hehehe!

I though the best part of the Freedom Festival in general was the sense of community and old-fashioned fun it engendered.  They had lots of vendors selling food and and merchandise and the mingling was good.  I am not a fan of big crowds but this was a gentle crowd.  No offensive language, no people there to cause a problem, no loud personal music, no smoking or drinking.  Just normal, everyday people out with their families enjoying themselves.  That is a freedom we don't have in a lot of places anymore and it was refreshing.

As we were leaving the Freedom Festival we saw this guy. 
 I'm telling ya, this town does it up right! 
Who among us has a handcart?

We went home and chilled and had lunch and watched National Treasure with the kids in the nice cool basement family room.  That was great.  We had a wonderful dinner and Chris grilled salmon and we ate out in their backyard under the umbrella and enjoyed the shady trees and the mountains so close and so big!

As the sun was starting to go down we packed up and went over to  the Temple lawn to watch the fireworks.

These last four shots and the one
 of us with the kids were taken by Chris. 
 This one is so pretty I think.
 I am loving the lavender hues of it.

It was the quintessential summer evening. No mosquitoes that I noticed. Warm but comfortable, pleasant people all around you and a spectacular bunch of glitter in the sky!  It ended all too soon.

pinterest photo

God Bless America
The Land of the Free Because of the Brave!

Monday, July 7, 2014

Visit With a Purpose

pinterest photo

We had some very specific reasons for making this trip to Utah.  Last month Jim wanted to go up to help Chris with some work but he was unable to make that trip due to lingering problems in his recovery from hip replacement surgery.  He was quite crestfallen about that as he loves helping our kids so much with their home projects.  So he devised a plan for accomplishing what Chris needed from home and we went up to deliver 18 cabinet doors that Jim made in his new work shop.  It was a bit of a challenge to say the least, but he did an excellent job and I am so proud of him.  The wall unit had 18 openings and each just slightly different in size by fractions of an inch.  Jim had our grandson measure the openings and recheck it.  Each opening was numbered and measured precisely.  Connor did an amazing job and he helped so much.

The shop is not done yet but projects are going on anyway!

Focus and precision is key!

He did all the painting at home and 
setting the hinges and added pulls.

When I went up to take the photos
Jim had both the big double doors wide open.
We had a visitor, one of two fawns born
recently.  They are about the size of a big dog now.
So tame and cute and their spots are nearly gone.

They spent the afternoon of the 3rd installing the doors.  Love how they turned out.  The cabinets add a lot of light and personality to the room.  Wonderful job, done from a distance.  And a successful three generation project for the guys.  Connor earned his wings on this one!  Great measuring, Con!  It is so great how these skills and talents get passed from father to son for generation after generation..  Jim's dad started it and it just keeps on giving and getting better.  

Chris had also needed Jim's help on a complete remodel of their downstairs bathroom.  He had it all gutted before he learned Jim could not come in June.  So he did this on his own.  He is an amazing guy.  He consulted with Dad and watched a lot of YouTube videos on how to do the tile.  Youtube is better than a compass for directions on anything you want to learn.

Love the tile and the colors and the glass half wall.
The floor and sink are cool too. 
 This will be the bathroom for the boys
 that all have bedrooms downstairs.

We girls went shopping while the guys finished this project up.  I bought some birthday presents from Jim to me.  The value of the birthday bucks went way up with a 40% off coupon and a semi-annual big sale!  Missy and Aynslee got some clothes too. We had a very nice dinner that Missy prepared.  It was light summer faire and it was great.  Lots of fruit, and veggies and French Dip sandwiches.  Everyone was getting excited for the 4th now that the projects were completed and the sun was setting in the west.

Everything had a deadline because we had plans to chill out on the 4th and because they are moving!  Their renters will arrive by week's end.  You'll never guess where they are going!  So I'll tell you.


Chris got a Fulbright Scholarship and they are going on Sabbatical for OneYear!  Sabbatical~so no classroom teaching but the luxury of researching and writing a book, and some projects papers. BYU and The University in England each pay half of his salary.  Sweet deal for sure and we are so happy for them.

 Of course their kids are not too happy because they don't want to leave their home and friends, but they will be fine once they get used to it.  Such a great opportunity to do this sabbatical with a young family.  We will miss them but know how fast times flies.

 It is nice to travel with the purpose of serving our kids and especially since it gave us a chance to say good-bye for now and to wish them well.  And sending the grandkids off with hugs and kisses knowing they will have grown a lot while away was not a bad idea either. Thank heavens for the Internet and for the prospects of going over for a visit in 2015.  That's called traveling for a reason. Pleasure and a reunion.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Liberty and Freedom~July 4th Weekend!

Taken at Church today!
Happy Liberty and Independence Weekend!

Reflecting back on our whirlwind trip to Utah it was really pretty awesome in every possible way.  The only thing that would have made it better was if Laura's family had been there too.  They were traveling in NY at the exact same time so we got lots of texts and pictures from them so it was almost like being with them too.

The drive, well you know how that is if you have ever been to Nevada.  Nevada has produced some of our most favorite people like Lee and Dave!  But that highway 80 leaves a lot to be desired where scenery is concerned.  But we need those kinds of contrasts to help us appreciate beauty when we see it.

The most interesting thing we saw was the new 80 miles per hours signs in Utah.  The jury is out on whether this is a good idea. Personally it seems it will just give license to driving even faster than 80 so I am not a fan.  We saw this right before getting to SLC.  So the 12 hours drive was only interesting and fun from the inside of the car where we talked and napped and listened to a book on tape and some music and made some plans. The best part...just being together and alone.  It is not what I would necessarily choose for my birthday activity (Nevada desert) but the carrot dangling at the end of it was our it was good.

We are happy that Jen and Lowell have moved to SLC because it cut an hour off the trip. Woohoo. We arrived by design...right before dinner!  Jen had such a nice dinner prepared, balloons and our little tiny Hazie sitting on the stoop waiting for us.  Her beautiful eyes lit up when we pulled in and it was a Happy Birthday gift like no other.  I love how little kids get so excited about birthday parties.  Jen is such a great host.  She just had it all dialed in.  It was a delicious dinner and cherry pie for dessert which she knows is my favorite.

They have this amazingly wide porch so we ate out there and watched the world go by at the park near them.  It was sweet I'm telling ya, you'd love that porch.

Yep, that's me all right! (Looking like I've been in the desert for 12 hours with the "Ugly Bug" that accompanies us on car trips.  Laura and I have discussed the phenomenon for years now.  You get ready for your day like you always do.  Jump in a car and just sit there all day.  By the first stop you look like the other word for heck.)  But it is amazing what you will do for your grandkids.  I am not a hat fan which includes headbands and anything but hair on my head actually.  But the little sisters where quite excited about me wearing this so OK then.  Hazie informed me that I looked like The Statue of Liberty.  Hmm...better than a penguin, right?  But then I wasn't walking either.

Chloe lighting the candle on the pie! 
Noise makers and party toys all around.
Chloe gave me a beautiful angel wings necklace.
It has little rhinestones on the wings.
Gramma likes a little bling.
They know I love angel's wings because 
they are Hazie's transportation. 

Hazie getting ready to watch me open my present from her.  
She was pretty excited about this gift.
Her enthusiasm is always contagious.

The present from Hazie was full of lip gloss, 
peppermint and peppermint chocolate and another flavor.
She wanted to try them out!  
Have you ever played with an angel?  It is heavenly!

Publicity shots!
For "Call Your Girlfriend"
The cups are the boxes.
See the Lennon and Maisy's 
Youtube video of this song.

After dinner we had a whole lot of partying going on.  The middle girls...our very own Lennon and Maisy look alikes and sound alikes, sang me some songs from the Nashville series.  It was so tender because I love Lennon and Maisy's voices and our precious impersonators. We recorded it and it was great.  However we are waiting for our family reunion to do it up right before sharing.  The big sisters sang some songs while I toured their bedroom with all its Beyond 5 and One Direction posters, their incredible art work and other fun teen girls' treasures. 

 Piper and Julia both play the guitar but Piper accompanied Julia some while she sang.  Piper is really good on the guitar and seems so at ease with it.  She has been writing some songs.  She is shy about singing in front of people (I relate) and doesn't like a lot of pictures (ditto on relating...I've only gotten over it since I started doing family history again four years ago.)  So I am adding one picture of her in from last year that I love.  

They are so much fun and I thought to myself how generous Heavenly Father has been to give me two daughters, one daughter-in-law and five granddaughters to fill in for the sisters I never had.  

To top it all off, Julia gave me a lengthy foot massage which has been her specialty since she was 5 and had her own company called "Julia's Happy Feet Day Spa."  She has made my feet happy for years.  She just keeps getting better at it too.  When all the adults went to bed the girls and I stayed up a while longer and just spent time together.  Cherished birthday memories for me that's for sure. I felt wrapped in a hug all day long.  (Facebook friends thank you for overwhelming me all day long with your kindness.)  

Precious girls!
Julia, Chloe Piper and Little Piper~Miss Hazie Jo
The sweetest girls, I love them all to the moon and back.

Thank you Jen and Lowell for always welcoming us with open arms and making it special to be with you.  We love you all.  Glad we are coming back for more soon.  You are so generous. Loved my Williams and Sonoma bag and my party.  Grazie and Ciao for a few weeks.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

June is a Month of Celebration!

My brothers, Steven and Gary

I think I could have spend the entire month writing about the celebrations of the special occasions that occur every year in June.  It is a good thing we do not imbibe as we'd have barely seen a sober day!  Haha!  Our birthdays for the month started June 1st.  My brother Gary turned 62 that day.  My brother Steve is 65 today.  That is who I planned to tell you about today.

But first let me at least give mention to some other great days this month just for the record, lest you think I'm kidding.  On June 2nd, our youngest grandson Owen turned 7.  June 4, was my cousin Chuck's 66th birthday, June 10th was our 35 baptismal anniversary, June 15th our 46th wedding anniversary and Father's Day, June 16th was our sister-in-law Emily's birthday and the baptismal anniversary of our cousin Stephen, June 23rd was our family sealing anniversary in the Oakland Temple 35 years ago, June 23rd my "new" cousin William turned 69,  June 27th my cousin Bob turned 70 and today, June 29th my brother Steve is having a turn.  Then let us not forget the graduates...Hazel graduated from Kindergarten, Ross from Elementary School, Connor from Junior High (all grandkids) and our great nephew Thomas from High School.  So now you can see I wasn't kidding if we had been toasting each and every one of these events.  Holy toledo!

Not only that but it doesn't lighten up for another week.  July 2nd my birthday turning...well getting older.  July 3rd Ross turns 12, July 4th we celebrate another year of Independence and Liberty and on July 6th Ross will be ordained as a Deacon.  After that a pause for a little while.

Here's one big pretty cake to celebrate June for everyone!
If I missed anyone, have a piece with us!

Jim: "That is not a cake!"
Me: "Yes it is, Honey!  It is a ribbon cake on
 a vintage cake stand!"
Jim:  "No way!  That is a big pile of ham on a fancy dish."
Me:  "Sigh..thought bubble....Men!"  ;-)

When I think of my brothers I think two things.  I love them to pieces and I miss them.  I miss the days when we saw each other every day growing up, even though they drove me nuts once in awhile back then.  You know how it is with younger siblings.   They are kind of ridiculous if they act their age and annoying if they think they are old enough to hang out with you and your friends.   Aside from the usual sibling things we got along very well.  At least that is how I remember it.  I am not sure what they would say.  Everyone's perspective is so different in any given situation even when all are there and present in the same scenarios.  

We grew up in a good home where our parents tried their level best to create a happy home for us and teach us correct principles.  We went to Lutheran schools which was a close community of friends and culture.  We felt loved and secure and I don't remember ever worrying about anything beyond kid stuff.  They sheltered us from the worries and cares of the adult world.  It was nice.

 The only times I remember feeling really scared as a child was during the Cuban Missile Crisis and when little Stevie got lost at the State Fair at age three...just as the sun was setting.  We were not wealthy in anything but a good family and always had what we needed and often what we just plain wanted.  We did not have a lot of clothes or stuff like our kids and grandkids do today. We didn't even know to want it I guess.   It just wasn't the way things were then. Our parents struggled with finances sometimes but we didn't know any difference between the normal times and the lean. 

Both my brothers got their college degrees and went on to marry my great sisters, Marilyn and Emily.  We have spent some amazing times together over the years but the busyness of modern times has taken its toll.  The raising of kids and hectic work schedules and other obligations have created a time when we just don't get together as much as I would like.  I am a real family girl; you know me!  But I love them both very much and am happy whenever we do get together.  So that is why I said, "I love them and miss them in the beginning!"  They both have good families that contribute to society in a great way.  

I am happy for the great kids they both have and the grandkids that Steve and Emily have.  And today as it is Steve's actual birthday I want to wish him the very best day with his clan.

Here is a picture of Gary on his birthday and one taken a few years ago with their two kids!   Their daughter had lunch sent in for them for Gary's Birthday this year. She lives in Utah now.  He looks pretty happy about that gourmet pizza!  Their son lives in NYC.  Sure miss them!

And below is one of Steve and one of their 
daughter's children and one of his son's daughter.

Cuties aren't they?

So happy celebrations to you and yours.  I believe in celebrations.  These are the days that set days apart from the ordinary and create great family memories.  Upward and onward to July!  Happy Fourth if I don't get back here between now and then.  Party on!  And be safe!

Friday, June 27, 2014

Cousins, Cousins Everywhere!

This is my cousin, Bobby.   Well, Robert Michael really, who now goes by Bob but in this picture he is Bobby.  Bob is turning 70 today.  Our mothers are sisters.  As we were growing up they lived a few miles from us in Sacramento. So I love this dear cousin and he is like my brother.  In fact, he is the only person I know today that has been a part of my life since the day I was born.  Of all our cousins, he and his older brother, Billy, were the only ones we ever lived near.

William Kenneth, AKA Billy

I have so many memories of them growing up.  Our moms were close so we were together a lot. All the holidays for sure and many many other just plain ole ordinary days.  It was wonderful.  We lived in a housing tract but they lived in a little paradise for kids. It was rural with acreage and farm animals and a barn and pastures and a chicken coup.  They even had a Grandpa that lived above their garage in a really nice apartment.  It was pure heaven to be there. They had cows and chickens and dogs.  Their family sure loves dogs.  They had a little dog named Perky that was very special to them.  They had a portrait of him on their wall.  In fact, as I write this and have added the photos of my cousins I am pretty sure these same photos were right up there beside Perky, one on each side of him!

I remember some other really unique little things about their house.  Aunt Wilma bought the most wonderful smelling hand soap.  It was green and oval and I loved using it.  We always had the white soap with sharp angular edges at our house and those oval green bars were so fabulous. I loved the feel of them in my hands.

They had those old-fashioned (now) metal chairs in their backyard that were all the beautiful colors and had a rounded shell shaped back on them.  I think they rocked a little, well it was more like they were bouncy.  Do you remember these?

I'd love some of them in our backyard now they are so comfortable and colorful.  I use to love to sit in one of those chairs and look up into the big trees they had all over their yard.  My favorite one was the rosy peach one but I'd take the sky blue or forest green if my favorite was in use.  I think some of the trees were sycamore trees and I loved them.  They had the biggest lawn in the front of their house too.  In the summer it was cool and breezy with those big shade trees.  They made those hot Sacramento days bearable.

They had a big brown cow that I use to watch my Uncle Bill milk sometimes.  They named her Bonnie.  I've never been too sure how I felt about that...even then?  But I'll consider it an honor to protect my self-esteem.  Same with another Aunt and Uncle that named their motor boat after me.  What the?  I see old photos of my Auntie Grace sitting in their boat that had my name in calligraphy "Bonnie Jo" on the side of it. When our little granddaughter was named Hazel Jo I was honored to have a little girl (finally a person) with my middle name.

I remember running and playing at their house and all the cool little nooks and crannies where kids could hang out and not be cooped up like in a tract house with a fenced yard.   I liked the gravel driveway that crunched when you walked or drove on it.  And shooting a real gun at a target when we got much older.  I think the dads supervised that one.

 After that when we thought we were too old to "play"we migrated to the boys' bedrooms to chat about things, play music, etc.  I remember Bob playing his guitar and telling me all about high school.  When he was there and I was only a mere child in junior high.  I hung on his every word not knowing if I was excited or petrified by what lay ahead for me.  He enjoyed being older and wiser and gave me lots of advice.  So did Billy!  I thrived on that role of not being the I was at my house. They really helped me a lot.  I knew the names of every cool car, how to dance (or so I thought) and what music was "cherry" because of them.  There is so much more, so many heart prints of those days.

Our Thanksgivings and Christmases with our dads smoking, lounging around and playing cribbage and watching football is vivid still.  I can just hear them saying "15-2, 15-4 and a pair is 8" while they slammed down their cards on the coffee table with a grin!   Meanwhile our moms cooked and prepared these amazing feasts for all of us.  They would chat and giggle a lot as they did this in the kitchen and always with a dress and an apron on...never pants.  And the boy cousins were always trying to sneak pie out of the mud room where they had been set to cool and be out of the way during the dinner preparations.  And if I'm not mistaken I think the boys succeeded a time or two at snatching a taste of the pies and our parents got after them for it.  Good times for sure.  I hold them so close to my heart now. It's funny how the years teach you what is most important. Like those carefree, childhood memories that shaped and bonded us forever.  Just the everyday simple things that make family special.  They were simpler days; the innocence and wholesomeness of them wash over me and I feel very nostalgic.  There are so many more things I could share.

Neither one of my cousin married young.  But when they did they both married such great women. Both Beth, Bob's wife and Leanne, Billy's wife are wonderful.  My sweet cousin Billy died at a young age (56) of heart disease.  That was such a shock, I'll never forget it.  Within 18 months Bob had lost his only brother, his dad and then his mom.   That was very sad, just too much really.  He and Beth don't live too far away and we have done a lot together since then.  They have a lovely family of three daughters and some grandkids to keep them busy as well as happy.

Some things I love about Bob...He is so sweet and I love his laugh. He has an awesome sense of humor and I love the twinkle in his eyes when he finds something humorous, or even better hilarious, and just watching him enjoy it is the best.  He was so good to his parents and helped them through their difficult years while his father took care of his mom and then suddenly died four months before she did.  He is a really GOOD person.  He gives great hugs!  He has a sweet relationship with Beth and is kind and helpful.  He still loves animals so much and if I know him at all, he is still grieving over his beloved Misty after a couple of years.  He use to take her out to sea on his commercial fishing boat and shared a twenty four inch bunk with her. She was a big beautiful lab.

He taught me the importance of following your dreams.  When he was in high school he use to say he was going to build a boat and be a fisherman.  I'm sure he got a lot of eye rolls on that one.  Well, guess what?  It took him awhile but he did it!  And he was a successful commercial fisherman most of his life.  He is a lot like Jim, he knows how to work hard and get a job done.  He is retired from fishing now but still he loves the sea.  He and Beth love to travel all over the world and most times they cruise to do it.

They are so bright and knowledgeable about so many things and are so well-read. We like the same movies, picnics, hanging out together and Cleo Lane, The Straight Story, and Kenny Rankin!  We love getting together occasionally with my brothers and their wives and watching old rock stars in concert on the Big Screen.  It is kind of a hoot to see how old those people are now.   Not us mind you...just them! We spend Christmases together again sometimes and other holidays depending on all the kids and our schedules.  And nobody throws a crab feed like they use to with crab fresh off the boat.  What's not to love?  Cousins are the best.

Have a wonderful birthday, Bobby!  Love you and Beth so much!  Big hugs from us to you today and every day!

Eat Cake, it's your birthday!

❤♡♥♡❤♡♥♡❤♡♥s, Bon and Jim