Thursday, June 30, 2011

On the Road Again~Family Reunion 2011

On the road again....

We had been so busy getting ready for the family reunion and getting the house and yard ready for the wedding reception held here in our absence, that we were pretty wiped out from the get-go. But you know how it is once you get on the road, the work is behind you and you have a new spurt of energy and we were excited all over again.

It had been a few years since we had driven to Utah and we had forgotten how long and boring the drive is and how big Nevada is. Yikes! It is a bit like childbirth, you forget the labor after it is over but, when you get started again on your next birth you get that old familiar feeling~painful.

The first part isn't too bad, the Sierras are beautiful any time of year and this trip we got the added pleasure of viewing all the seasons at one time. We love the beautiful trees as you approach the state line and also the gorgeous mountaintops nearing the summit. So took a few photos to begin our journey.

We had never seen snow in June before in this abundance. Just a few days before we left the pass was closed to traffic due to a snow storm. Seriously? Once into Nevada the visual show is over. You see some variation of this for the next 8 hours. Ugh!

But the road wasn't particularly crowded and the sky was blue and the desert more green than usual. The carrot we kept dangling before our eyes was seeing the family sooner with every passing mile. And it did give us lots of time to discuss how we wanted the family reunion to go, somethings we wanted to share with the kids as a group, etc.

The funniest thing about the drive was we felt like it was taking forever. It usually takes about 12 hours but this time it was over 13? We were beginning to think that Salt Lake City had moved to Idaho or something??

But finally we arrived, safe and sound and tired at Jen and Lowell's. It was great to see them again and like we had never left, except that they had a brand new beautiful kitchen after many weeks of hard labor. Like the drive, most things that require work turn out pretty well if we just stick to it. Piper graciously let us bunk down in her bedroom again, what a great kid! Ah, it was great to have our heads hit the pillow that night. We needed all the energy and strength we could muster for the next couple of days when we shopped and cooked for the reunion.

Laura had thankfully made the menu that was Spencer friendly in the allergy department and the grocery list. That saved us plenty of time. But still Missy, Jen and I were gone for several hours getting everything we needed to feed 19 people for the better part of four days. I have never read so many food labels in my life. To avoid any soy and peanut contamination is a major chore. Count your blessings if you do not have life threatening allergies to food.

Jim's mom flew in to SLC on Saturday for the short time of the reunion. We had just about everything done by the time she arrived. Laura and Robert and the boys arrived that same night and stayed with Robert's parents overnight. We were going to church the next morning and then heading to Sundance and the big house. Everyone was pretty excited! Chris and Missy and their family had duties at their own ward so we were going to meet them at the big house in the afternoon.

Eagerly waiting for Laura and Robert and the boys.

We like to wait outside and charge
the car when people arrive!

Here they come up the court!
Molly is the first one to step out and welcome them!

Finally the long lost Auntie, Uncle and boy cousins arrived!

It was a grand reunion for us all.

Auntie Lou Lou had never met Hazie.
It was a long, long wait for them both!
Uncle Robert had passed through on Navy business
a few years ago to see her for a little bit
but it was the first time for Spencer and Ross
to meet her too.

Love at first sight!

It was amazing to see our oldest grandchild and
youngest child standing side by side...
Piper almost all grown up now.
Sunrise, Sunset swiftly go the days...!

Great Grandma and some of the kiddos.

We made Chicken Caesar Salad for lunch after church and then everyone was ready to go to the big house and wait for Chris and Missy, Connor, Aynslee, Zachary, and Owen to arrive. Fortunately, the resort house was only 30 minutes from home so it was a nice short drive to our destination.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

A Simple Woman's Daybook~June 29, 2011

So, For Today...

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Outside my window...It is 1:00 pm and the sun is trying to peek out and dry up the rain. Laura, Robert, Spencer and Ross are in flight to Rhode Island. We dropped them off a few hours ago. The house seems huge, the rooms look tidy, the silence is deafening. I tried to take a nap, exhausted, but not sleepy I guess.

I am thankful for...the month of June so full of special days to celebrate and commemorate and write about, I shall be busy catching up now for some time on the blog. I decided that starting with a daybook entry was a way to get my feet wet after a dry spell of three weeks. I don't think I have ever taken that long a break from blogging since I started in December 2007.

I am praying for... The only cloud in our June, and it was a huge, huge one was someone close to us was diagnosed with cancer. He starts chemo on Monday. He lives here in town so I am so glad we can be nearby to be a support and to assist him and his family in any way. The chemo has a good success rate we are told so that is the silver lining if there is one.

From the learning room..
.you just never know what life will bring. I believe we must be prepared by staying spiritually sound and healthy to weather the storms. A little oil in our lamp each day is a great way to fortify ourselves against the challenges we all must face. The love of the Savior makes everything seem brighter and more manageable.

I am reading...your blogs starting soon. I have been so out of touch with you and I miss you. I rely very much on your friendship, your support, your knowledge and wisdom. You are a very unique group of friends, I love you.

I am hearing...The washing machine and drier, the radio in the kitchen on a talk show. Ugh, I am not a fan. James is. I think I'll close my office door and listen to some Miles Davis.

I am quoting, myself...."A little bit of glitter and sparkle takes a day from ordinary to extraordinary." BJM

From the Kitchen...Jim cooked a gourmet breakfast this morning for the kids and us. We have leftovers, lots of fruit, a delicious oven omelet, and other goodies.

Today if I could change one thing it would be.. that time could have stood still just a little longer with our family.

I am wearing...sandals, jeans, a brownish, orangey top and a heavy sweater. It is freezing here today and so damp.

I am thinking the kids will arrive home tonight around midnight and will be getting up very early to meet the friends from church who will help them move into their new house. They had everything packed and ready to go before they came to Utah and CA. They are going to be exhausted. Rephrasing that, they are already exhausted. Youth is on their side though. Robert got his second Master's Degree the night before they flew out. They are amazing.

I am do as little as possible for the next couple of days. Writing excepted, I do want to do that. {P.S. I did take my nap and now feel ready to get going again so we'll see??}

I am missing...a sense of normalcy and routine. We are getting back to eating less, very healthy foods again already and not running around so much. Also missing the family...they leave a huge hole when they are away from us. A nice balance of our own time and time with them is best.

One of my joyous pleasures...thinking that Jim has been retired one year tomorrow and we have made it work well for us. You always wonder when you make such a huge change in your life style and it has gone pretty flawlessly. I think we are both more than a little surprised, but very happy about it.

Pet Peeves...
I mentioned it radio. Seriously I don't get why anyone wants to sit and listen to a bunch of people they don't know...talking. I'm weird I guess but, I don't get it. Half the time they are arguing or disagreeing about something that doesn't matter anyway. I hear enough talking in real time with people around me. I don't need the background noise or company of chattering voices. Am I alone in this? I find it very stressful as opposed to music which I find very relaxing.

One of my favorite things...The Farmer's it!

An enjoyable movie I have watched lately...Miss Pettigrew Lives For A Day with Laura! Love watching movies with the girls.

I am curious about...whether or not there will be flooding in Utah and CA when it gets hot at the end of the week and the snow pack starts melting quickly. I sure hope not!

Around the house...we have already vacuumed and I need to dust a few things, Jim washed the floors, bathrooms are clean and we are changing the beds. All is back to normal.
A few plans for the rest of the week...still kind numb from all the stuff of the past month. Cannot think of anything coming up. My birthday is Saturday, nothing planned for that or the the 4th. Maybe I'll plant some flowers in our pots. Not committing to anything at the moment. We are going to try some 'chillaxing' as our grandies would say. We are not that good at that so I don't expect it will last very long.

Here are a few photos and thoughts I am sharing this week... these photos were taken at an early settlement in Utah where we stopped on our way down to Las Vegas. This settlement was founded by the 3rd great-grandfather of our grandchildren, Spencer and Ross. It was so neat to stop there and view not only life as it was 144 years ago but also to learn another piece of their own family history.

I thought about how much I loved this bowl and pitcher and the shelf with the crocks on it. I thought they would look so amazing in our kitchen. So I took the pictures and I am planning to have them printed and framed. Digital photos are so fun, you can surround yourself with beauty and not spend an arm and a leg and not have to worry about taking up a lot of space either. The best part, a little bit of the little ones' family history is being brought into the cottage.


I thought this one might be fun in the laundry room but since I have no real choices of exactly where it would go due to no wall space left....I don't know?? You often have to sacrifice something you love to put in something new? What to do, what to do?

I hope things are going well for you,
I cannot wait to come by for a visit soon!

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Summertime, Finally!

Healthy can be Beautiful!
{Taken at the Ferry Building open air market this morning.}

Thursday, June 23, 2011

A Welcomed Sight!

Ahhhh, home sweet home! We have been gone two weeks but it feels like two months. We did so many really fun things and now we are just barely home, exhausted, and feeling like we need a rest. Laura, Robert and the boys will be here until Wednesday so after that maybe. Just wanted to say "Hi" and let you know I'll be dropping in soon for catching up and commenting on your many posts while I have been away. Hope you are all well, I have missed you. Thanks for all your sweet comments on the previous post.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Our Family

The Dad and Mom

The Dad and His Mother

The Kids

The Silly Shots

The Four Generations

Lowell and Jennifer

Their Family

Melissa and Chris

Their Family

Laura and Robert

Their Family

~The Grandchildren~
Julia, Piper, Connor,
Spencer, Ross, Chloe, Zachary, Aynslee
Owen, Hazel

The Mom and Her Son

~The Dads~
Robert, Lowell, James, Christopher

~The Moms~
The Gramma, Great-Grandma Gloria, Jen
Missy, Laura


Our Family Reunion 2011~Sundance Utah
Traci Hartman Photography (the very best)

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

A Simple Woman's Daybook~June 7, 2011

So, For Today...

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Outside my window...a week of June is now past and it seems like only a matter of time before summer gets here. But it still looks like early spring. We missed May's flowers from Aprils shower...maybe in July! It is supposed to be nice and sunny today. This early it is still overcast. Sunshine please bless our days, we miss you!

I am thankful for...the hope and gift of each new day. The blessing of a good night's sleep so that things look doable in the morning. And the Gift of the Holy Ghost which allows us know the truth of all things and especially for the gift of knowing through the spirit and actual turn of events that the Lord knows us personally and loves us.

I am praying for..peace, the people we loved dearly, the safety of traveling to our reunion for everyone, a great bonding time for all, good health for a lot of people, those seeking new jobs, new babies just born, and mostly that the Lord will heard our thanks of praise for His goodness.

From the learning room...miracles are a very big part of my life and yours. Acknowledging them and where they come from is paramount to happiness. There are no coincidences.

I am lengthy "to do" lists.

From the kitchen...Food prepared for the rest of the week and dinner made for tonight a family that just had a new baby boy in our ward.

I am I am going to do on my weight loss efforts over the next couple of weeks when I will not be on my routine. Doing lots of planning ahead to keep off the 25. Hoping added exercise and lots of walking will counter the different eating patterns and being really careful.

I am hearing...Pandora, Miles Davis mix. Very nice.

Today if I could change one thing...removal of the stress and anxiety of someone close and his family over some possible health issues.

I am quoting..."But let there be spaces in your togetherness, and let the winds of the heavens dance between you. Sing and dance together and be joyous, but let each one of you be alone, even as the strings of a lute are alone though they quiver with the same music. And stand together, yet not too near together: for the pillars of the temple stand apart, and the oak tree and the cypress grow not in each other's shadow." -Kahlil Gibran on marriage. Read at our wedding 43 years ago on June 15th.

I am thinking about...Getting dressed right now and getting to my 9:30 meeting on time.

I am going...enjoy being with all the family so much and the drive with Jim. We enjoy driving and having that uninterrupted time together. Looking forward to not having to hassle the airport, etc this time. And I am going to Utah in July for a week for a conference on Family History and then both Jim and I are going back to Utah for Education Week in August. And it is time to think about where we are going for Christmas. We have an idea but can't say at this point. So there's lots of traveling coming up in the next months. I am glad we have had a good long time here at home too.

I am patience. Time to get out of Dodge for awhile!

One of my joyous pleasures...having Laura on this continent so we can chat on the phone most anytime we want to!

Pet Peeves...water bottles that are now so flimsy you cannot get a good grip on them to open them without causing a big dent.

One of my favorite things...Gouda Cheese and fresh sourdough French bread.

An enjoyable movie I have watched lately...I am not a fan of old movies like from the 40's. I watched "A Farewell To Arms" and it was so hokey! Rock Hudson and Jennifer Jones where like paper dolls. We also watched "A Rebel Without A Cause." I think James Dean did an incredible job and I think he may have been one of the first to try improvisation. The fans went crazy because he was real. The newish movie called James Dean with James Franco is excellent.

I am curious about...whether people should buy gold and silver now and what is going to happen to the dollar.

Around the house...the storm before the calm. Almost there!

A few plans for the rest of the week...finish instructions for people that will be at the house and get their keys to them, wash the car, finish all the last minutes things...go to the Rocky Mountains High. I may unplug for a few weeks if I can stand it. Don't forget me while I'm gone, OK? I sure will not forget you.

Here is a photo and some thoughts I am sharing with you today....

Our families, crazy as they may seem and feel sometimes are all ours. We are a group of people selected by God to love and care for each other like no others. Each person adds a new dimension to our lives, helps us grow and change and become who we are supposed to be. Like the petals of a flower each person is needed for the total beauty to be seen and felt. The family makes our circle of love complete. So happy to be heading off for our reunion soon. God bless you all while we are gone!

Saturday, June 4, 2011

This Isn't Happiness?

The caption:
"Summer in San Francisco, This isn't Happiness!"

Jen sent this to us and it made me giggle first thing this morning. For those of you who may not know, these are the tips of the towers on the Golden Gate Bridge drenched in fog.

For those who put this on the Internet with its caption, they just don't know....
That for a true lover of The City...It Is!
Think cozy, warm, romantic fire in the fireplace...fewer tourists!

However, I will say this is downright annoying when
there is so much that needs to be done!

June 4th! Seriously, enough already!
We are trying hard to make things nice
for Tara and TJ's wedding reception but...
time is running out.
Jim is outside in a funny rain hat and
a tarp thingy trying to get stuff done!

The rest of us would have thrown up our hands
and come in for a movie by the fire.
Nothing stops his determination.
I worry constantly that he will wear out
but he sure won't rust out!

Friday, June 3, 2011

The Satisfaction of Tenacity! We did It!

There are 45,000 graves in the Italian Cemetery in Colma, CA. Today we went to the grave of Jim's great uncle that we found and purchased this marker for last week. As far as we know right now, 3 of those resting here, are our family members. If you missed the entry on how we found this 103 year-old, unmarked grave you can read about it here. Never, never, never give up!

The marker could not accommodate his full name.
I am kind of glad because with all the confusion
over his name some like Peter, some like Pietro,
but me...I like Petey Franchini!

The little marker is not fancy but it means a lot to us. This little, 8 day old infant died a pretty terrible death and we felt such joy in knowing he can at least be found now for future generations. And that we could pay our respects to him today by visiting and laying some flowers on his grave. His name is Pietro "Peter" Franchini and he was born in San Francisco, CA on July 20, 1908. He died at 12:30 am on July 29, 2008 of a severe intestinal disorder and pulmonary complications.

His parents were Pietro and Catterina (Lagomarsino) Franchini, of San Colombano, Genova, Italy. At the time of his death he had one older sister, Margherita Emma Franchini, age 5, (married name Marguerite Ferrera) who lived out her life as an only child. She tried to find his grave as an adult but was never successful. But today her daughter, grandson and I paid that long over due visit for her.

Pietro's niece, Gloria, placing flowers on his grave.

Jim, Pietro's great nephew happy to find him
now and finally dedicate his grave!

When we came last week we were slightly off in the location of the unmarked grave. We had the right area but discovered today that although we were in the right row, we were down a few from the right plot. This place is actually much nicer, more private and protected by a larger headstone behind it with a little lamb on top (love that!) and right near this crypt. It is just more protected from the wind and elements and when the sun is shining it illuminates the stained glass window in the crypt. It was amazing to stand on the same ground these ancestors had stood sorrowing, as they laid their precious baby boy and only son to rest.

While we were there we wanted to go to the crypt where one of Jim's great uncles on his maternal grandfather's side is buried with his wife. Gloria's cousin, Lorraine lives in Mill Valley today. We left them some flowers as well. I never did meet Uncle Louie (from Tasso, Italy) as he died the year Jim and I met. But I did know his great aunt Theresa and attended her funeral. I heard the most beautiful rendition of Ava Maria I have ever heard in my life that day and still remember it very well. She was a lovely lady. Jim's mom told me her uncle Louie had a great sense of humor; he was apparently a real character. This Louis is not Jim's grandfather's brother but possibly a cousin of his. Some Italians call their aunts "Lala" and their uncles "Baba" but these terms may have been used unofficially in the case of Baba Louie and Lala Theresa. We are calling their daughter this week to get a clarification on this relationship.

We have really enjoyed researching and learning more about those who have gone before us and are a part of our family's heritage. We've got the real "Roots" thing going on over here. Yet another fun thing we enjoy doing together now that we have the great blessing of discretionary time for such important things.

P.S. Would it be weird to tell you we had a little picnic at the cemetery? It sounds a little creepy and I thought it might be, but oddly it seemed very fitting, very normal and just fine. There is a tiny road right near the grave. Jim set up a little makeshift table and we just stood and ate and talked about the family and it was neat. OK, I might as well show you a picture so you won't think we were sprawling out on the grass or anything really weird like that!

I think maybe Jim's mom probably
wouldn't adore this photo,
but I am safe she doesn't have a computer!

She was playing bocce ball with her
old Italian cronies this morning
in the drizzle for three hours before we came here.
She is pretty amazing for nearly 85!
I hope Jim and all our kids and grandkids
inherited her health and longevity!