09 10

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Top Ten Joys This Week - Yosemite

DZ and I took a trip to Yosemite .....
Olmsted Point on the way to Tuoloumne Meadows. You can see the back/side of Half Dome to the right of the tree sticking straight up from my head.

We spent a day in the valley where we met up with some of DZ's friends from high school....

....and then headed up to Tuolumne Meadows to hike a six mile section along the John Muir trail through Lyle canyon.

Six miles IN and six miles OUT...12 plus miles traveled (including a couple of wrong turns) at 9,000 feet above sea level.

Here are 10 of my most favorite joys from these past days:
(remember, they are not in any particular order....since I do not discriminate with my joys)

1. floating down the Merced River on an inflatable raft..surrounded by amazing granite walls...there are many wonderful views of Yosemite falls and Half Dome, but the view from the river is most spectacular because you can see both the dome and the falls at the same time. I loved feeling the cool, clear water , the serenity (yes, it was serene in spite of the zillion people around), the sun (I did lather on the sunscreen)...and lastly letting the bright blue dragonfly hitch a ride on my shirt.

2. drinking the ice cold water straight from the river (after "cleaning/zapping").
This water is some of the best water on earth. I kid you not!

3. dipping my tired feet in the fresh, pure, very cold water as it flowed over very large slabs of granite. I am so very grateful for my ability and strength to walk with a pack on my back at 9,000 ft. elevation (pardon me for the redundancy...but I don't want you to forget how high we were).

Some of us dipped more than our tired feet...remember, the water was
Oh yes, I already told you.

4. removing my pack once we reached our destination...nothing like shedding 25 pounds in an instant! Now wouldn't that be something if I could shed another 25 pounds that easy and permanently.

5. feeling the gigantic drops of rain, listening to the cracks of thunder and me running (with my pack on my back, mind you) toward the nearest pine tree, thus avoiding becoming a victim of a lightening strike.

6. viewing wildflowers everywhere! After breakfast, on our way to the river, I noticed dew clinging to the grasses ....it glistened in the sun.

The little dots at the end of the grass blades are actually dew drops.

7. once darkness set in (probably around 9:00), we brushed our teeth and lay our weary heads down to go to sleep. One of the many times I awoke during the night, I zipped open the tent and was greeted to a bright beaming headlight in the sky (aka the moon)....I was in complete awe and gasped..it was S.P.E.C.T.A.C.U.L.A.R.

8. listening to the breezes flow through the trees...smelling pine in the air...

hearing the gushing water rush over the rocks.... coming upon wildlife (marmots, many squirrels, birds, deer but no bears)....

walking through meadows of gorgeous wildflowers....

I love my boots.

and feeling the comfort of enveloping, granite mountains.

8. working together with DZ to set up our tent (virgin voyage)....

cook our food (best camp stove is Pocketrocket....easy to use, compact and light),

and sterilize our water (with a Steripen).

9. passing by and talking to the many friendly people along the trail. EVERYONE was so nice. There were parents with their teenage kids..many fathers with their sons, young adults hiking alone or in small groups (mostly male), and many foreigners.

10. coming home and taking a long hot shower.

I absolutely love the mountains..especially the Sierra Nevada range.

So glad I live so close to such beauty and can't wait t
o plan my next trip.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Shelves for the Sewing Room

Check out the new shelves in my sewing room.

I now have extra storage space for:

projects in the que, patterns, thread, books, fabric,

and a tv (which will be placed underneath the shelves).

Next is the installation a bulletin board...

I love my handy man especially when he has
a drill in his hand.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

A Peek Out My Kitchen Window

One of my morning rituals is to get a scoop of bird seed

and fill the bird feeders throughout my yard...

including this one:

And then I patiently wait for the little birds to come.

And believe me they come.

One at a time, they take their turns to feast upon the seeds.

What a treat it is to look out my kitchen bay window, and see this:

Look closely, there really is a bird perched on the edge of the bird feeder dish..

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Top Ten Joys This Week

The top ten joys of my week (and not in any particular order):

1. Having Sunday dinner outside, after it has cooled down, with my family gathered around.

2. Getting to talk to my aunt on her birthday which is the same day as my birthday (Bastille Day).

3. Waking up early (6 am) with the sun before anyone else is up and going into my garden (with a cup of hot cocoa) to weed, read, or feed (eat).

4. Seeing "the cat" waiting for me in the driveway as I come home. His meow is music to my ears as he rubs along my legs, waiting with anticipation of receiving a nice scratch along his back.

5. Sitting with the aforementioned cat purring in my lap...so very calming.

6. Waking up to a clean kitchen..and an empty dishwasher.

7. Spending the afternoon with my sisters in the city and going to the Impressionist exhibit at the DeYoung. The guard let us in sans tickets...and since it was at the end of the day, we were able to view the art without the crowds! I.N.C.R.E.D.I.B.L.E.

8. Being reaquainted with my kitchen table (by removing "the stuff")and dressing it with a new polka dot cloth.

9. Finding wonderful treasures at two estate sales.

10. Receiving pure white lilies on my birthday from my main squeeze.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Motion is Lotion

We've got to keep our bods moving..

And if you think you are too old to exercise...think again.

On Friday, after swimming my laps I started a conversation with a woman who was preparing to get in the pool for an aerobics class. She told me there were two people in the class who were 90 years old, one of which walks to the Y from her home near the high school a half a mile away (she can no longer drive because of her poor eyesight). She told me the instructor's motto is:


Don't you just love that? We've just got to keep the ol' bod moving to keep those joints, muscles, and bones...oiled.

On our Saturday morning hike, my sister and I passed by a man wearing a vest that had "Volunteer Park Patrol" written on the back, donning rubber gloves, and carrying a plastic sack filled with garbage that he had picked up along the trail. I don't know how old he was...he looked close to 80 years. He said he walks the Rancho San Antonio trails every day (he lives nearby). Occasionally he hikes up to Windy Hill...which is quite a hike (my sister never go that far!).

So if they can keeping their bods moving, there is no reason the rest of us can't do the same
They don't know it, but these two people are my heroes.

I want to be swimming and hiking them when I am 90 years old.


Saturday, July 10, 2010

Parents With Little Children

Dear Parents with young children,

While working in my backyard, I love listening to the squeals of delight from the little girl who lives next door to my neighbor who lives behind me.

I have never met this little girl. I can tell she is a she just from her voice. I don't know what she looks like or how old she is. All I know, is I love hearing her voice, her laughter, and even when she cries. I also love hearing all the children at play in the neighborhood. It always puts a smile on my face.

Children are the pulse of a neighborhood.

When my kids were young I used to worry that they were too loud. Occasionally I would mention it to the elderly lady who lived on one side (secretly hoping she was a bit of hard of hearing) and to the family with one older son on the other side. I remember feeling a bit relieved when both of them responded with, "We love listening to the sound of your children!" I always wondered if they were saying that to be kind....now I know they really meant it!

There were very few children in our neighborhood when we moved here 24 years ago. As people died or moved, families with children moved in. Our neighborhood is now filled with a gazillion kids...many moved in as babies and are now in high school, indeed, my girls used to babysit some of them. It has been so fun to watch them grow up and to listen to their voices change.

So if you ever worry if your children are making too much noise,
let your children out, let them play, let them shriek with joy and laughter, or cry, or whatever... for children are the heartbeat of a neighborhood. We older neighbors love listening.


A Parent Whose Children Have Grown
(but will soon love being a grandma!)

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Little Red Wagon

Aren't little red Radio Flyer wagons wonderful?

When I was a young girl,

we would use our wagon for many things....

like wash our dolls and their clothes.

pose in front of it with our dolls and spiffy red shoes...

and use it as an easel.

Since I think every family should have a Radio Flyer,

we got one for our kids.

My kids would use the little red wagon to...

give each other rides...

carry our "rabbit" in the annual pet parade...

and carry a gargantuan stuffed bear at Tiny Tots.

Today, the little red wagon is somewhat rusty and worn...

in spite of that, it is the perfect receptacle to....
carry my newly purchased plants.

Let's give a high five for little red wagons!

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Happy Fourth

Hope yours was filled with much relaxation,
and visits with the fam.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Pot of Choc

I had the most scrumptious "cup" (really a bowl) of hot chocolate this morning.
Could it have something to do with this fabulous "cup" my sister gave me?
I think the "chocolate" writing is cool.
But I don't think it was just the "cup" though.

So, why was this "cup" so good?
I used the same Guittard cocoa powder.
I used the same Toriani syrup.
I whirled it in my Bialetti, which produces great froth.
So what was different?
Could it be that my son purchased whole milk...
not just regular whole milk... but organic whole milk.
That was the only difference.
And what a decadent difference it made!
It tasted like I was drinking a gourmet chocolate candy bar.
And I wonder why I can't lose any weight?

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Lady Sleeping On The Bus Stop Bench

Dear Lady Sleeping on the Bus Stop Bench:

I drive past you on my way to and from the gym each morning.

A shopping cart filled with what looks like your life's possessions is placed on the sidewalk between you (as you sleep on the bus stop bench) and the street. Most times I don't see you because you are hidden by piles of blankets. I know you are there for I saw you right when you got up one morning. There you were, folding your blankets and stacking them into your cart.

I wonder what your life was like as a infant and young child. You must have had a family. Someone must have cared for you. Where is your family now? What happened in your life that caused you to be where you are now.....each night...using the bus stop bench for a bed, which is next door to the fire station, across the street from a couple of churches, around the corner from the hospital and down the block from a city park?

Why do you choose this particular bench? Do you feel safer sleeping near the fire station fifty feet away? Surely those cute firemen with mustaches must know you. And where do you go during the day when you give up the bus stop bench?

I want to help. But I don't.

How does this happen in our blessed country of opportunity? The houses right behind you sell for at least 900K. We have large grocery stores filled to the brim with food (in fact there is a Safeway down the street from you). We have a choice of gas stations to fill up our fancy cars (some of us don't have fancy cars, but we do have a car), so we can drive to those grocery stores, or those clothing stores, or those furniture stores, or those hardware stores. All filled with lots of choices of goods to purchase.

Yet there you are each night, sleeping on a bus stop bench right next to a busy intersection. We pretend you are not there and motor on by.

Aren't there services available through the state? Or is our state in such bad financial shape...there is no help to be had? Some people say, "You did it to yourself. Go find a job. You are a lazy bum. I pay too many taxes. You don't. I don't want my taxes to be wasted on people like you. All you want is a hand out. Pick yourself up." I am sorry some people feel that way.
Haven't we been taught to be "good Samaritans" and aren't we suppose to help our neighbor? And not just the neighbors that look like us either.

I want to extend my hand to you ....but I don't...I just drive on by.


Shame. On. Me.