Friday, February 29, 2008

Popcorn Popping on the Apricot Tree

Well, actually they are plum trees, tulip trees and something with white flowers..some say they are almonds. I do see a lot of nuts around here but not that kind! It is just breathtakingly beautiful here ~that is all I know. It is the kind of day when being inside feels stuffy. I think it will be a great weekend. I hope it is beautiful wherever you are!

This must be what inspired the Blue and Pink craze of the 80's!

A beautiful spot on our street. I loved the way the
light was filtering through the greenery and blossoms.

This is a tulip tree that I have wanted to photograph for years. It is very hard to do because although it is one of the most gorgeous trees in our town the house beneath it is pretty lame. There must be 8 cars parked in front and along the side all the time. Because of that it is nearly impossible to get a good angle. But I love it and it is only in bloom a few weeks each year. It is not completely popped out yet so maybe I will try again in a few days. The hills are all so velvety green and it is definitely "eye candy time" here in CA. And the women are stripping already. That is CA for ya. Bare midriffs, tube tops, shorts, and of course flip flops abound.

Happy Leap Day!

Laura has leaped over to a new blog...find her at cougarlou2 or just click on my link on Lou Lou Italia

"Leap Year or an intercalary year is a year containing one or more extra days in order to keep the calendar year synchronized with the astronomical or seasonal year. For example, in the Gregorian calender, February would have 29 days in a leap year instead of the usual 28. Because seasons and astronomical events do not repeat at an exact number of full days, a calendar which had the same number of days in each year would, over time, drift with respect to the event it was supposed to track. By occasionally inserting (or intercalating) an additional day or month into the year, the drift can be corrected. A year which is not a leap year is called a common year." Wikipedia

If Jim and I were born on February 29th we'd only be 15 today. Now there's an entertaining thought! How about you?

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Laura's Look-Alike Meter

MyHeritage: Family tree - Genealogy - Celebrity - Collage - Morph

Chris' Look~Alike Meter

MyHeritage: Look-alike Meter - Blank family tree - Pedigree

Jen's Look~Alike Meter

MyHeritage: Family tree - Genealogy - Celebrity - Collage - Morph

Monday, February 25, 2008

Jewelry Tip

I am a person who loves bracelets. Give me a bracelet and I am one happy woman. You can never be too thin, too rich, or have too many bracelets. Well, I am leading out in one of those areas, to be sure!

I was shopping around the other day and happened to be in Brighton...and I was telling the sales clerk how much I loved this one bracelet but that I really can't do the ones that have the clasps that require a gymnist or a second person to put them on. I told her Jim leaves at 5:00 am and I don't want to sleep in my bracelets or wear them in the shower, sooooo? That is when she gave me this fabulous tip.

Get a piece of scotch tape and tape the end with the loop to to your arm~ then hook the other side.~ remove the tape. OK then, this opened up a whole new realm of possibilities for me. :-) Just thought you'd wanna know!

And here is my own tip for you. Store your elasticized bracelets or bangles or watches on a paint roller. Works perfectly and they are easy to find. I feel the need to go grab my camera.

This is great you can clean out your jewelry, remove the hair from your arms, blog and take photos all at the same time. How is that for multi-tasking~ as only we ladies can? And you cannot really eat, or spend money or waste time watching what's not to love?


I received this post from a friend in Utah and now I am supposed to answer the following questions and tag four people. Ok I go...!

10 years ago I was: Recovering from three kid's weddings in four months, coping with a totally empty nest, anticipating a frightening hysterectomy and wondering how we could possibly be 50! I was also enjoying rearranging and re-purposing all of our rooms and enjoying being with just my hubby after 26 years of childrearing.

5 Things on my To Do List for Today:

Client Consultation
Grocery Shopping and Food Planning for the Week.
Weekend Laundry and Clean-up
Organize Bathroom Closet
Go for a Walk

6 Things I'd Do If I Became A Billionaire:
Pay off the houses of family members including siblings, etc.
Set up College Tuition Funds for all the grandkids
Get Hazel all set up with whatever equipment she will ever need and contribute to SB Research.
Contribute to the Missionary and Perpetual Education Fund of the Church.
Travel extensively with Jim and the whole family occasionally
Build him the biggest fanciest shop he could ever imagine in our fabulous new dream house.

3 Bad Habits:
Blogging when I should be working on my To Do List
Putting off exercising and not going to the doctor like I should.
Not getting enough sleep.

5 Places I Have Lived:
Sacramento, CA
San Francisco, CA
Las Vegas, NV
Pleasant Hill, CA
Concord, CA

5 Jobs I have Had
Interior Decorating Business Owner*****
Oral Surgery Admin. & Assisting*
Designing for Anitque Store****
Lamaze Teacher*****
Chinese Kitchen Worker (Ugh!) -*

Things Most People Don't Know About Me:
I would love to work in theater. I love everything about theater.
Being social is very hard work for me. I am a home body.
I will do just about anything for a foot massage.

OK...I am tagging:
Lou Lou

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Internet Witness Protection Program

You must realize this is a joke...just for fun and very silly. Just in case you thought I was never knows. Maybe I will put the winner on the welcome portion of my blog though. Camoflouging the real me!

Mandy thanks for the fun! You can get this exciting experience yourself by clicking here.
Don't forget to vote for your favorite on the right side of the blog post.

Bob & Beth's Annual Crabfeed!

Every year in February for the last several years our family has been treated to a wonderful tradition. My cousin, Bob, goes out and catches a boat load of crab and then we all go to Bob & Beth's house for a delightful time together. If you haven't ever had really "Fresh" crab you don't know what you are missing. It is beyond heavenly!

Each year we fill their living room with family and even still many were missing this year. We missed you, Emily, Ruth, Emily, Ken, Ben & Nate, Erin, Scott, Robert, Laura, Spencer, Ross, Chris, Missy, Connor, Aynslee, Zack, Owen, Jen, Lowell, Piper, Julia, Chloe, and Baby Halo! We'd have to rent a hall if everyone came the same year!

My first cousin once removed, Bob's Dog, Misty, was there but for some reason we did not get her picture. She is a big, mellow, donut lovin' black lab and such a sweetheart!

The last two years we have been so blessed to have our cousins Bill and Fran come down from Washington to enjoy the festivities. It is as close as we have ever come to a Reese family reunion. Bill's dad, Harold, Bob's mom, Wilma, and my mom, Jo, were siblings. This is a deep connection for me and I love these guys so much and I know my brothers, Steve and Gary do too!

~Five Reese Cousins~
Bob, Bill, Steve, Bon, Gary

I found a photo of Bill & Fran and me from last year so thought I'd put it in too. They are the sweetest and I am so glad they have made such efforts to come and see us over the years. It is definitely time for us to travel their way for a change!

Fran made a gorgeous "Crab Quilt" this year for Bob and Beth in honor of the occasion. What a talent! And our cousin Bill... he is a world famous artist and that is a story for a post of it's own! Coming soon!

We had such a wonderful time and I am already thinking about next year when we may have to skip the annual Crab Feed while Bob and Beth cruise around the world for 88 days! Can you even imagine what that will be like? So I guess we will have to let them off the hook (or should I say out of the net?)...they deserve it! Thanks dear cousins for the memories created yesterday! Jim and I love you both so much! And, thanks, Jim, for the great pictures!


Friday, February 22, 2008

REBECCA~ December 7~1971-February 22~1998

Today we are celebrating the life of our beautiful niece, Rebecca, who passed from this life ten years ago. Cancer took her mortal life but the love we have for her lives on forever. Becky was 26 when she died and left behind her mother, Gail, her husband, Michael, and her little boy, Thomas and all of us. When I think of her this scripture always leaves me with such comfort:

"Now concerning the state of the soul between death and the resurrection~Behold, it has been made known unto me by an angel, that the spirits of all men, as soon as they are departed from this mortal body, yea, the spirits of all men, whether good or evil, are taken home to that God that gave them life.

And then shall it come to pass, that the spirits of those who are righteous are received into a state of happiness, which is called paradise, a state of rest from all their troubles and from all cares and sorrow." Alma 40:11-12
Rebecca and Thomas
The Miracle of Her Motherhood
Jennifer & Rebecca ~Both age 3
Best Buddies

Gail and Becky
The Growing Up Years

Becky's Memory Lives on in Jen's Daughter
Miss Rebecca Piper
She even looks like her!

Becky, you are loved, remembered and cherished in each of our hearts always! We celebrate your life, our experiences with you, and your love of the Savior today!

No Rhyme or Reason~ Bon's Poetry Corner

Sometimes we tend to over intellectualize
That thing each morning that makes us rise
My eyes will often begin to flutter
Each day within moments of each other.

In these many years ~I've finally taken stock
It's not biorhythms or some internal clock
The thing that makes me rise and shine
Is not that alarming clock of mine~

At last we can forgo the chatter..
No need to Google on this matter~
It's just this old gal's bursting bladder!

By: BJM 2/22/08

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Cinderfella Story For Paul Potts

If you have not seen this uTube video I highly recommend it for that feel good experience of the day. This video is guaranteed to warm your heart and lift you up. Now I have another reason to be happy I have Welsh ancestry! Awesome folks! Thanks, Jen, for making me aware of this great man and his story.

I bought this album from Itunes, it is great!
Sold over 2,000,000,000 already

If you want to see more about his story click here.

Some of the videos are timed out but keep going to the end, there are several worth seeing near the end of the list.

Just think what would have happened if he hadn't taken that one chance! What a perfect name for his album Are you hiding a God given talent that could bring this kind of blessing to your world? I hope not!

Bravo, Paul!

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Confessions, Consumption & Counterfeits

I have been having a week long epiphany. This is probably one of those entries that should go in my journal to burn...but I have decided to put it here. I have to start out with a confession or two.


This will surprise some of you but before I was LDS I use to smoke. Both Jim and I fell into smoking almost as a natural matter of course as we grew up. 3 of our 4 parents smoked, Jim's grandmother did, and lots of the adults we loved and admired were smokers. There wasn't much of a stigma attached to it then and very little about it being a health hazard. Although really, how could anyone deny that it had to be bad for you? No, Dah! I think there was a smoking epidemic that got part of its surge to prominence from the war years when smoking was so popular. Anyway, we were not privy to Joseph Smith's views nor did we know of the Word of Wisdom at that time in our lives.

Many times during the time that we did smoke we tried to quit. It was seemingly impossible so we would try to cut back. We would just smoke a few cigarettes per day and that backfired because~the cigarette became the reward. You were just counting the minutes until you could light up. How dumb is that when you think about it? Using your poison as your reward?? It modified your behavior all right in exactly the wrong direction.

Long story short, we did quit on the same day and never smoked again. Why did it work when we went cold turkey? Because we sacrificed something we wanted for something we wanted more. We changed our behaviors by eliminating smoking altogether. We just said NO! We didn't get candy cigarettes, we didn't switch to a pipe or chew tobacco~we just quit. It was not easy but it was worth it. Divine intervention was most assuredly a huge component.

The epiphany that I have been having is in relationship to losing weight and being physically fit and healthy. This may be hard to believe but I am an expert at losing weight. I have lost the same 25 to 40 pounds about a hundred times. What has always baffled me is why I stop doing what I am doing after I get to a certain point in the weight lose journey. This is what led me to my thoughts on consumption.


As Americans we all consume far too many refined, processed, sugary, salty, fat-filled products. I hesitate to even call it food. This occurs for all the reasons we are well aware of. Convenience, stress, boredom, being over committed, great tasting junk food, happiness and celebrations, sadness, depression, just about everything in life brings us to the table literally and figuratively. So this is old news and we are all aware of it. I think that most dieting fails because in reality we do not want to give this stuff up. Some of you are probably thinking~well now, there is brilliance for ya! But really think about it. When we continuously consume the empty calories it is like putting chocolate pudding in our gas tank. It might fill it up but it sure isn't going to get you to your desired destination. And this is what got me to thinking about the counterfeits and this for me was one real key into why I have always stopped in the process of losing the weight.

When we are dieting we want to somehow continue liking and eating the stuff that makes us fat while actually getting thinner. We essentially want to have our cake and eat it too. So even from the very beginning when slimfast came out...what did it taste like? A Milkshake! I see the correlation between that and having a cigarette for your reward when trying to quit smoking. The kicker is that you can actually lose some weight with that stuff and still think "Milkshake" while doing it.

Think about so many of the diet pills out there. Eat whatever you want and still lose weight. We love something for nothing, so OK then. This is something I have never done but I think I understand it. Do you think people that take diet pills are eating carrots and drinking fat free milk while on the pills? Probably not. It is like you haven't learned to love new things that are healthy, but unfortunately for you, you lose a few pounds. You get a little positive reinforcement for your negative behavior. So when you quit the keep eating the incorrect, high calorie food choices and on comes the weight again. We even try to kid ourselves into believing if we rock back on the scale and the needle bounces down a little that the weight gain isn't real. Hello! The mind games are the never ending story.


So this is the thing I came to realize this week. When I would lose the weight I still wanted to eat the same things I just wanted to have a counterfeit version of it. Like the low fat, sugar free whatevers. The hundred calorie packs of the Oreo thingies or wheat thins would work. I wanted the baked chips, the fake ice cream, etc. I was trying to succeed without doing the work. Because I was losing the weight I didn't try to change my tastes, cleanse my palate and try to incorporate better, more nutritious food into my food planning. So when I would tire of the specialty foods and the stresses of life would come would the weight.

I hadn't learned to change. What I have learned now is that if I want my life to change I have to change something. Brilliant, huh? Just like I couldn't keep smoking and quit at the same time. Just like I had to say NO to the cigarettes, I have to say NO to those foods that are not good for me. I had to sacrifice the pleasures (?) of smoking for what I wanted more. And now I will have to sacrifice what I like for what I want more. That thing that I want more is authentic good health. (Just like my grandson, Spencer, doesn't eat peanuts because they can kill him..I have to stop eating the things that can kill me!!!) I will not just be a counterfeit thinner person without good health..because I have learned you can actually do that. But I will be truly healthy from the inside out from better choices made day by day one by one!

I have also learned with the help of a very great bunch of friends that I am a good person no matter what the scale says. Some bad habits do not = a bad character or =a weak person. They are just an indication of a person who is still learning new habits and that is not only OK~ but actually good!

Today I was looking in my grocery cart and consciously noting all the healthy choices in the cart as I emptied it. One by one I was giving myself a bravo sticker with each thing I lifted out of it. Today I was eating those little"cutie" tangerines whenever I wanted something sweet or a little snack. They are delicious...who knew? It made me feel so good that I am re-gifting myself with the flowers that Jim gave me for Valentine's Day right here on the blog at the top of this post. They are wilting now but through the camera's eye they can live on!

I know that this weight lose issue is a complicated one. I also know that what works for me may not work for you. Some of you may be able to have those things that I do not think will be working for me for the long haul. Carry on knowing you are loved no matter what! Each day is a new beginning and I am never going to give up on myself in this department! I have to believe it is not too late. Slow learner, yes; quitter, no way!

If this is something you struggle with, I invite you to view Lanette's Healthy Life Blog listed in my favorite clicks!

Monday, February 18, 2008

The Importance of One on One!

Today Jim and I spent the entire day together with no interruptions. I cannot remember the last time that happened without leaving the state. It was such a reminder to us of how important that is for couples, no matter how long you have been married. We spent the day thinking about and planning for our Italian vacation. Laura was great and sent us a basic itinerary and that was a fabulous springboard for us. The travel books that were resembling phone directories to me
now have been pared down by eliminating all the places we are not going. Now that I know what we don't have to investigate the task at hand seems much less daunting.

The day started out by sleeping in until 8:00 am which for us is four extra hours of sleep! Pure heaven! We got up and intended to go to the Clayton Library and work, take a little stroll on the walking path there and take some photos with our new camera, and then go to lunch and work some more on the trip plans. Well, funny but the library was closed so we thought problem, we'll go the the LDS Institute or DVC...both closed. That left Barnes and Noble or Mt. Diablo Hospital Cafeteria! Hmmm..we decided on our very own B&B~Home. On the way home we thought we'd swing by AAA for some maps and brochures..closed. OK, then the travel agent's office, you guessed it...closed. Everyone deserves a holiday so that was fine and home we went with an oath that we would not answer the phone or door no matter what!

We finally went to lunch at 2:00 and all I can say is if you truly are what you eat, I will soon be married to a Panda Bear. (Jim's new passion..Panda Express)
The rest of the afternoon was just great and we accomplished so much. We are a lot closer to packing our bags than we were 24 hours ago. It feels so good to be finally getting it all organized. It was super day all around. I hope yours was too! Take time for a one on one day with your spouse, it is wonderful reminder of the great person you married and why.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Much Ado About Nothing

While driving to church this morning I was listening to NPR and they were interviewing a chef from a posh restaurant in Washington, D.C. whose name escapes me. Anyway, he was talking about making soufflles and about eggs in general. He said that you should never crack an egg on the side of a bowl but rather on a flat surface so that you avoid getting any tiny shards of the shell in your mixing bowl.

I am afraid mine would look like the one to above on the counter top but you ladies who actually do this kind of stuff are probably better at it than me. Also he noted that you cannot have any "little goldfish" or streaks of yoke in the white for making the meringue as the fat in the yoke does not allow for optimum air to infiltrate the egg white. Always use a hand whisk and stop mixing the minute the white peaks and loses its shine.

Hmmm, I just had a flash that you probably already know was however news to me! I am very egg-cited. (I mean to crack the egg on a flat surface not to make a souffle!)

Friday, February 15, 2008

Bon's New Blog

I bet you thought, whew,that girl is finally silent after two and half months of fervent blogging. Well, no, not really...I just tried making a new blog on Decor and More. That is not the name of it but just what it will be featuring. Find the link on my favorite clicks!~Hope you like it.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Our Funny Valentines

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Happy Valentine's Day

It is Valentine's Day!

Dad & I want to wish all of our family a Happy Day. Enjoy knowing that you are loved unconditionally by both of us. You have made us so happy from the get-go! Thank you for being you!

Laura and Robert, Rossie and Spencer, enjoy your day in Italy!

Missy and Chris, Owen, Zach, Aynslee and Connor enjoy your day in the snow!

Lowell and Jennifer, Chloe, Julia, Piper and Baby Hazel~have fun!

To our extended family...we love you and wish you the best of days.

And to our favorite friends...keep feelin' the love!

Love truly can and does change everything!

* Posted this early for our Italian Family Members!