Friday, February 28, 2014

A Simple Woman's Daybook~February 28, 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~Friday, February 28, 2014
Outside my window...I had every intention of starting this early this morning...well it is after 1:00 PM.  The duties of running a household often interfere with the best laid plans of mice and men  women.  Today is an overcast day with some wonderful rain earlier in the day.  There are some raindrops forming on my window now so it looks like we will have more rain throughout the day.  In spite of our need for rain, I find I really need sunshine on my shoulders to be my best self.  I always feel a little melancholy when it is hiding.  But I remember my grandmother's words, "Continual sunshine produces only a desert!' and I endure the gray skies with hope and  prayers that this will never be a desert.
I am thankful for....our faith today.  I am grateful to have a believing heart that does not doubt and question my faith in Christ at every turn.  That would be a curse for sure and something that would continually produce angst.  I wouldn't want that and I am grateful it is not a part of my life.  I am happy with what I choose to believe and it is enough.  Others may believe as they wish as well.  This is one of our greatest liberties both spiritually and constitutionally.  Politics and social relativism do not cause me to waver. 

 My spiritual experiences are the basis of my testimony in Jesus Christ and the blessings of choosing His way.  I am thankful that Jim and I are both well-grounded in it and for the peace and happiness it affords us every single day.

From the learning room....things change in our lives continually.  It is wonderful to know that God does not change.  In him we can be sure of many things.  His love for us, His plan for us, and that that is an oasis of rest and comfort in good times and in bad.  His laws and His gifts for being obedient to them do not change.

I am reading...The Book Thief.  Love this story.  I plan to read it aloud to Jim while he is recovering from his surgery in a few months.  I will need to come up with some things that he will love doing while he recovers.  He loves it when I read to him.  A lively discussion always ensues and it is fun to share books that way with your spouse.

From the kitchen...We are all stocked up for the winter like the squirrels in the yard.  I always stock up more during the winter, it is a nesting thing I assume.  Anyway we have lots of choices for meals this week.  The plan for today is to have a nice lunch and then our popcorn night and movie.  We are watching Gravity tonight?  I am a little hesitant but people say we will like it.  We'll see.  Lunch is going to be quite late it seems as Jim is helping a friend and is not home yet.

Some spiritual thoughts I have been having...a lot of them I have already added in today above.  I just feel such a contentment in our choices and thankful to have the Lord center front in our lives.  It makes all the difference in how we face the challenges and enjoy the blessings.

I am hearing...You are the Sunshine of My Life.  One of my all time favorites songs. It always cheers me and makes me think of my family and close friends.

Pet Peeves...Facebook.  I have a love/hate relationship with it.  I love the uplifting things and the news of friends but the rest of it is beyond annoying.

I am quoting...Pinterest

That's what it's all about!

If I could change one thing it would be...that Jim could have his surgery now and not have to wait until May or June.  Poor guy.  He is so courageous in his suffering.  I would be a screaming maniac by now.  Not him, he just keeps on going.

An enjoyable movie/ TV show we have watched lately...Downton Abbey.  We are in withdrawals now so have been re-watching the whole series.  There is just something about it.  It might be that it just sweeps you away to another time and place.

I am curious long it is going to be before my beautiful friend, Carol, gets over her illness that she has had since Christmas!   The meds are not working as they should and she is exhausted.   Not sure what virus she has but it is a bad one.  Praying for you, my friend.

Plans for the rest of the week...nothing finite on the calendar yet but work and a hair appointment.  And getting the taxes paid which can I just say will not be pleasant but just want to get it over with ASAP!   I need to do some writing and some family history and all kinds of fun stuff but the " have to dos" have been choking me lately.  They are getting heavier or I am getting slower or something.
One of my favorite things...getting the house all in order which has been ongoing since the holidays.  How can it possibly be the last day in February already?  I have been doing a lot of cleaning and puttering around and organizing but it is honestly never-ending.  But you know that, right?
Three things that made me so happy this past week...Getting my family history information on a program to preserve it.  And getting the sweetest little note for Julia and Chloe today.  Grandkids sure can boost you up so high with the smallest little thoughtful things they do.  And lastly getting some thank you notes done that were far too late not to be embarrassing.  But I did it! Whew!

The most surprising thing this past week...that we owe so much money to the IRS.  Yikes. Never sell a piece of property and take a retirement distribution in one year...never!

2 photos I am sharing this week...

A fun and spontaneous picnic we had the other day
 before Jim's appointment with his surgeon.

How pretty it looked outside when we finally
 got some rain yesterday morning.
It was nice to wake up and hear
 it raining on the roof!


❤♡♥♡❤♡♥♡❤♡♥s, Bon

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Paying Your Toll in the Learning Process

This group of tree represents to me the way I often feel when I am immersing myself in a forest of things I need to learn. I get on the path and the hike seems like it should be easy enough but inevitably I run into some fog.  The farther into it I get sometimes the more dense the fog.  I am not a big fan of learning curves is something that just occurred to me as I was writing this.

In analyzing that, it is not because of the work involved but because of the confusion I often feel when I am trying to make sense of something.  I am never content to just learn the mechanics of something I want to know the hows and whys also.  So my struggle is not only the mechanical aspects of a process but the "big picture" I want to have to sustain it.

When Jim was teaching us about the ProScanners 2000 last week in our staff training, he said something that really struck a cord with me.  He said essentially...People either love or hate the scanners depending on their experiences while using them.

They can work for a few hours doing a marvelous job of scanning and editing until the image is perfect and then simply go ballistic when they cannot figure out how to save or print their work.  At that point they are so fed up and tired, they just want to throw up their hands, quit and go home.  He further stated that the machines have a few idiosyncratic software hiccups that if the person had known would have changed their entire experience.  It's our job as staff to make sure they get that information before they do actually give up in disgust and leave.

For me, that is exactly how just about everything I learn in genealogy or technology goes down.  I cannot tell you the number of times I have thought I understood what I was supposed to do, studied it and noodled it through, even practiced it a few times.  Just when I think "I've got this" something will happen that stops me dead in my tracts.  I can see the finish line but there is a fog, a hurdle or an obstacle that will not allow me to proceed because I don't know how to navigate that one little place.

It is usually a step I didn't see when someone tried to teach me and sometimes something completely unforeseen that will close the toll booth for me with that bar coming down that holds me back.  But unlike that toll booth situation...I do need to back up regardless of what it does to my tires and take another look at it. This stuff does not come easily for me like designing or writing or some of the other things I do.  This stuff makes me sweat for everything I learn. Perhaps that is one reason why it is so satisfying when I finally get it.

That is the hard part when you'd rather just blast thought that flimsy, wooden arm that separates you from your finish line and forget the whole blankety-blank thing and escape into your comfort zone. Then what really frosts me is that I just spent a bunch of time that accomplished nothing and I still don't know how to do something important in my journey!  But maybe that "accomplished nothing" phrase is not quite correct.

I think it is at precisely this point that a lot of people just walk away from something they are trying to achieve.  It is at that exact moment that we need to forge ahead with all we have.  We have learned  99% of what we needed and now just a few little idiosyncrasies in our thought processes stand between us and what we really want.  It is that last little surge that propels us to understanding~when we are so tired and frustrated and lacking in motivation that we need to push as hard as we can against that restraint.  It is only when you have forged ahead and push through the fog and rounded the learning curve on the path that you fully recognize this.  That big push is what separates those who learn it and those that don't.  The truth is we have to get out of our comfort zone.  I simply hate that, but it is true. 

This principle applies to everything as we try to progress.  I think all of us are good at this in certain areas and still struggling or have even given up in others.  It makes me want to revisit some of the things I have struggled with and abandoned and look at it again.  It seems a little foolish to quit when the finish line is in sight.

That one last big push is what is needed to remove the obstacle in front of us.  It is the toll we have to pay to get to the other side of the challenge.  Once we do the fog lifts, the barriers are remove and the path is straighter around that learning curve.  Finally we can see where we are going and it is worth it.

Naw, it's not me.  Well, um maybe it is.
You'll have to decide.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Kids and Serendipity ~January 2014

The Mama Bear and her Cubbies
Laura and Jennifer

Last year in January Laura came out here for her birthday.  Jen joined us.  It was a wonderful mother/daughter time.  This year Laura called me after Christmas to see if she could do it again! Was she kidding? Then Jen joined in and Grampa agreed to do Grampa Camp with Jen's girls in Utah and a tradition was born. 

 Doesn't two years in a row constitute a tradition?  I sure hope so.  So we got to see Chris and Laura and Jennifer by January's end.  Something we sure were not planning on and something that was pure gold serendipity and a great way to begin 2014!

Jim and Chris
I know I just posted this picture earlier 
in the month but just wanted to add it in again.  

We only got to see Chris for about 24 hours while he was here teaching a class at Stanford.  But we'll take whatever we can get.  Time alone with him is a very rare and special occurrence.   These pictures are about as current as it gets with our nuclear family.  Such an exciting January!  You know you are not quite over the empty nest syndrome when this reunion of the five of us with the month caused so much joy and a yearning for the good ole days when they were little.

One day before Jim left for Utah and Laura and I were here, we all went to SF and visited the Palace of the Legion of Honor. It is all a blur now but I know we saw something good among their exhibits.  Outside it was so overcast when we came out of the museum and the fog came barreling in. It was fascinating to see it over take the whole area in just a short time.  At first it was just sitting on the water and then it swooped right over us.  Burr!  But not before I got the shot of the little houses on the hill to the west.  We visited various places that day and then took her to dinner at a really authentic Italian Pizzeria in the Mission District where they had almost perfect Margherita Pizza just like Naples.  And just down the street, our favorite ice cream shop (Bi-Rite) for salted carmel cones.

The Ferry Building at Night

The girls had more time than Chris and that was really special.  Laura was here 9 days and Jen 5 and then I went back to Utah with her for 8 days.   We seemed to live in the James M. tradition and ran all over the place.  Why do we do that when we just want to relax and hang out?  Their Dad has gotten under our skin apparently!  But we did some of that just hanging out too.

 Jim left on Tuesday and Laura went with me to the Library for several hours while I worked.  The next day Jen arrived and we got together with the girls' Aunt Gail and we all had lunch at Uncle Yu's in Lafayette and then on to Berkeley.  One of my favorite things we did was go to a funky old theater in Berkeley and see The Book Thief.  I absolutely loved that movie.  Definitely in my top all time 20 favorites.

The Elmwood

We also went to some of our favorite restaurants and shopped around some.  We did a day trip to San Francisco and then also one to Napa just like last year.  We went to the De Young and saw the Bulgari Exhibit featuring lots of precious jewels worn by Elizabeth Taylor in her life time.  The lovely thing about having an annual pass to the museums is you can just pop in and see one exhibit and not feel like you have to stay for hours.  We go back often.  Georgia O'Keefe awaits us on our next return.

We also went to the Ferry Building a real favorite 
for both the girls and me too.  
It is the quintessential San Francisco experience~so fun.  
The weather was spectacular, clear and cool.

The Delights of the Ferry Building!
We love to go early when it is not crowded.
That is the secret to no lines and no 
crowds no matter where you are.

Love this sign for some unknown reason!

So many Valentine selections everywhere!

The Best of The Best!

Mushrooms of every variety to
 please the palate and the eye!

We saw this copper bowl and I really love copper.
I picked it up and turned it over...
a mere $450.00.  Umm, no, just plain no!
It was so heavy.

After that we drove north to Pt Reyes Station.  It is a fun little town up on the coast.  This area of CA is known for its cheese makers and The Cowgirl Cheese Factory and Creamery is there.  It is so great to watch them make the cheese and then taste it and bring some home.

The Gourmet Cheese Shop

You can watch through the window 
as they make the cheese.

The offerings!

 And they have a "to die for" ladies accessories shop there that we love.  And we found a cool thrift shop in town as well.  I found this item I had been looking at for $60.00 and passed by in a fancy shop and found it there for $4.50.  Cha-ching!  Sold to the only bidder.  :-)

 It was actually Laura's birthday that day so we had some fun doing things that she chose.  One of them was to return to a restaurant, The Salt Water, that we had gone to the last year but it was closed during the week.  So we found another place in Inverness, had a nice dinner and then headed home.

Happy Birthday, Lou Lou!  36!!
This time Mom got the presents!

Dessert~we shared it!

The next day we went to Napa~an Epicurean Mecca. We took Jim's mom with us for some granddaughter time.  We had to be home by 4:00 so we went fairly early and did some galavanting around an old brick warehouse turned shopping plaza called 1870 in Yountville.  We always like to go there when we are in the area.  This time did not disappoint.  Lots of fun things to see and do.

We planned a lunch at Mustard's which we normally love, but that day was Chinese New Year and it was packed and noisy.  Not good for either of the Grandmothers when it came to hearing the conversation. But Grandma was gracious and made the best of it.

Both of our girls are excellent cooks and excited about all of that.  I catch the fever when I am with them but as soon as they disappear the kitchen magic fairy dust goes with them.  But it is fun to watch them get excited over some truffle salt or crystalized sugar in all the colors of the rainbow for their fancy cupcakes.

Dean and Deluca's in Napa is the Gourmet's haven and delight.  Here are some of the photos I took while they shopped around and a couple from Mustard's Bar and Grill as well.

Poppies outside Mustard's in January.

Looking out from Mustard's. 
 Check out how dry the hills look.
This is how it is in the summer!

Sumptuous Black Berries

Colorful lemons and limes.

I love these bottles for olive oil.

These dishes are very pricey.  
Love to look at them but 
they will not be coming home
anytime soon!


Gourmet Designer Cakes!

Freshly Baked Breads

The Macaroons~all flavors!

Well, we had lots of fun adventures through out their time here.  One thing I wanted to do was get some professional photos done of us because none of us really like getting our pictures taken so we avoid it.  But I feel it's necessary for us to get some pictures of ourselves at least once a decade together, so I asked one of our ward members that does professional work to come over and take some for us.  I know the girls were just humoring me and probably hating every minute of it.  But it was fun and funny and goofy and I think some of them turned out pretty well.  Liz Hopkins is amazing and talented!  So here are a few I liked.

Just us!

A little hug for our girls!

As much as they protest...
They appear to be enjoying the experience.
Love these girls for putting up with me!
And just plain making me happy to be their mother.

This whole time was not just about food...
but it kinda seems like it doesn't it?

Sunday, February 16, 2014

A Simple Woman's Daybook~February 15, 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~Saturday, February 15, 
Outside my is pitch dark and getting chilly.  We are having a special Valentine's Day dinner tonight.  I have my part all done now Jim is starting up the barbie.  Hard to imagine it is our 49th Valentine's Day together.  Last night we did our normal Friday night and popcorn.  We got all caught up on Downton Abbey, thanks to Laura and Robert giving us season 4 for Christmas.  

I am thankful for....the serendipity experiences of 2014 so far.  At Christmas I had no idea that we would be able to spend a little time with each of our kids right here in our home and that both Jim and I would travel to Utah separately in Jan for him and February for me.

From the learning brain is on overload after attending the all time biggest and most fascinating genealogy conference for three days while in SLC.  Rootstech was so wonderful.  I need two weeks to go over all my notes and the syllabus information for each class, and to check all the links and great tips on several new things.

I am reading...The Book Thief and How to Be An iPad Power User for Genealogy.  Also today I have been reading my aunt's autobiography.  Amazing stuff.

From the kitchen...Steak, Baked Potato, Banana Squash, Asparagus, green salad and chocolate cake. 

Some spiritual thoughts I have been having...Decisions Determine Destiny.  Our gift to choose for ourselves is key.

I am hearing...Rod Stewart, "They Can't Take That Away From Me"

One of my guilty pleasures...Hibernating at home.  I love being at home.  

Pet Peeves...Tax season rolling around so fast every year more complicated than usual this year with the sale of the condo.  

I am quoting...Pinterest

I love mornings when everything
 is fresh and new and a do-over.

If I could change one thing it would be...that everyone we love lived closer.  It gets tiresome always missing someone!

An enjoyable movie/ TV show we have watched lately...The Book Thief.  The best movie I have seen since Les Miserables with Hugh Jackman.  Surprisingly we thought Downton Abbey season 4 was very dark at first, but it is regaining our favor as it loses some of the soap opera aspects we didn't like in the beginning.

I am curious Jim was able to finish the roof on the shop completely with Dave while I was gone and then to rebuild a portion of our walk in closet right behind my office area so I could have more storage space for my family records.  Two new file cabinets with very generous space, cubby holes and drawers and shelves for me to store everything that has been neatly stored in boxes under my desk for three years.  Love that guy!

Plans for the rest of the week...Monday meeting with friends and writing and organizing and preparing for work on Tuesday.  Tuesday wrapped up in work all day.  Wednesday working on taxes. ugh!  Thursday...haven't planned it yet. Friday going to the orthopedic surgeon for more info on Jim's upcoming hip replacement. Friday is also Room with A Past Nothing going on just yet on the weekend.

One of my favorite things...One on one time with the grandkids.
One thing that made me so happy this past week...being in Salt Lake and helping with the new house.  Seeing where they are and how much happier they seem already. No big snow storms, the spirit at Rootstech and making my first video on preserving family history and story telling via video recordings. 

The most surprising thing this past week...the closet revamp which was a total surprise.  Happy Valentine's Day to me!

A photo I am sharing this week...

We need some rain pretty badly here in CA.  
Won't you pray for us to have some?
Thank you!


 Be Happy, Keep Your Balance and Enjoy Your Life!
Only One Rather Short One Per Person Allowed.

❤♡♥♡❤♡♥♡❤♡♥s, Bon

Saturday, February 15, 2014

A Valentine Thought

A Valentine Thought~The Plural of I

Some time ago Jim and were discussing our 40 plus years of marriage and thought about something that has given us a huge sense of unity. We often hear married couples talking about my son, my daughter, my house, my car, etc. I did this, I have that, etc.

We have tried to always say we, our and us and it makes a big difference about how we feel about each other, our marriage, our lives and our unity. Speaking singularly is divisive when you think about it. It is small thing that makes a big difference over time.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Happy Valentine's Day

I hope you are having a lovely Valentine's Day and feeling a great deal of love in your heart for your family and friends.  I know I sure am.  I have read several things this month about the sadness this day can bring to some people that do not have a Valentine in the their life.  I get that, and I truly value my sweetheart and am grateful for him.  But love is broader than that.  Love is what you give.  It is what you give to your family and friends.  It is your gratitude for what they give to you and how their influence transforms your life and makes it more special and complete.  It is their essence that you inhale every time you give them a hug that brings you such happiness and goodness and joy.  It is for every given day.  Not just Valentine's Day.  Here is a poem I wrote for all of my sweetest family members and friends.  Something in each of you that I deeply love has inspired a part of it.

Do you see them?

Any Given Day

I love the way the light of day
Passes over the house 
on any given day 
Especially in winter...

Bringing bits of illumination
And light and sparkle to the windows
The walls and floor and even me.
It is spectacular to behold.  

There is a cut glass bowl through
Which it passes like a prism
Casting diamonds of light 
That shimmer over everything. 

That part of day~short and sweet
Lifts me up and cheers me...
Like news from you, your words
Your humor, your help, your hello. 

Like little rays of pure light...
That glow with brilliance
Bedazzling an ordinary day.  
And bringing me understanding. 

Feeling the sweetness of friendship is
Like a cloak of trust to wrap around you.
It is warm, sweet and soothing...
It is refreshing and lined with comfort.  

Little bits of joy bathe my soul
On any given day in winter...
Special moments of pure goodness
That make me smile and remember. 

But not just in winter really,
The light of true friendship is ...
Always in season, always awaited 
Like the sunrise on any given day. 

It brings with it a lovely light
That washes over my heart with sheer delight...
Always accompanied by being grateful
For not being completely alone...
Not even in my solitude.

Like the cut glass bowl on the table 
The illumination of friendship
Passes through me like a prism 
It fills everything with light in my life...

Friends with their own unique Cut,
Color and Clarity like a diamond...
Brighten my spirit and add a little 
"Fanciness" to any given day.

I choose them with infinite care
Like precious diamonds .....
And care for them infinitely. 
Hoping I can lift them too. 

They are more precious than any diamond surely
And more beautifully given and received...
A friend is a hidden treasure chest of gold
With gems more brilliant than the sun. 

Like a lamplighter of days gone by
My path is lit to find my way.
And because of you-I'm a better me.
It's the light in you that helps me see!

And I love that so much...on every given day
. bjm