Monday, May 31, 2010

Memorial Day - 2010

I don't know the author of this poem.  If you do, please let me know so the person can receive the proper credit.

It is the Veteran

It is the VETERAN, not the preacher, who has given us freedom of religion.

It is the VETERAN, not the reporter, who has given us the freedom of the press.

It is the VETERAN, not the poet, who has given us freedom of speech.

It is the VETERAN, not the campus organizer, who has given us the freedom to assemble.

It is the VETERAN, not the lawyer, who has given us the right to a fair trial.

It is the VETERAN, not the politician, who has given us the right to vote.

It is the VETERAN who salutes the Flag every time it passes by.

It is the VETERAN who serves under the Flag, even if it means he has to die.

Thank a VETERAN today, and every time you see one.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Celebrities...The Nice Ones

View from atop Shively Road, a local road to an old logging community

Living here in Northern California, (waaaaaaaaaay north, like five hours north of San Francisco and 2 hours south of the Oregon border) I don't run into celebrities too often.  If I travel out of the area, maybe once in a while I might see someone famous from afar.  And if I go to a concert or something, I'm in the nosebleed section because that's all I can afford.  But, I decided the ones I have met face to face and conversed with - even if it was only through Facebook or email - are really nice.  They are real people, just like you and me.  They have to drive their kids to school.  They get the flu and poison oak just like we do.  So, in order to let you know who I'm talking about, here is a brief synopsis of my latest "famous people" encounters.

~Barbara T. Marshall This absolutely gorgeous-inside-and-out lady recently spoke at the North Coast Baptist Association's Women's Conference.  It just happened to be held at the church I attend.  Barbara is the President and Founder of Thriving in Christ Ministries and the author of RANSOMED... Loving yourself from the inside out.  She travels internationally to speak and give seminars. It just so happens that Barbara is married to the brother of a local Baptist Christian woman.   Barbara shared stories about herself that weren't too pretty.  But they were stories that other women can relate to.  After the conference I got a chance to talk to Barbara and discovered that we each have an oldest child that is not in the best relationship and that there are grandchildren involved.  Barbara agreed to lift my daughter up in prayer and I agreed to lift hers up.  She also took the time to talk to one of the youth girls in our church.  She wasn't stand-offish just because she in an international traveler and speaker.  She didn't talk incessantly about her book and how it would change our lives if we bought it.  She is a real sister in Christ.

~Robert Elmer This author of over 50 books recently released the historical novel Wildflowers of TerezinI contacted him and asked if I could interview him about this newest release, thinking I might hear from him in a month or two, if at all.  Imagine my surprise when I sat down to check my email a couple of mornings later and had a reply from him.  An honest to goodness, he-typed-it-himself response.  I sent him some questions and he quickly responded with funny and honest answers.  He's one cool dude.  (If you want to read my interview with him, head over to my post at where I wear the hat of San Francisco Christian Fiction Examiner.)

You know how you can follow just about anybody on Twitter?  Or you can request to be a friend or fan of others on Facebook?  How many of those celebrities that you follow or friend do you think actually post their own stuff?  MUCH LESS, comment to you directly?  I haven't done any in-depth study or anything, but my educated guess is that it's not many.  Well, here are some who do.  All are authors.

I know that is just a tiny little speck of a brush with the "big fish" but I'm having fun anyway.  I'll keep ya posted if I have any of them over for coffee or tea. *wink*

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

My Summer Wish List

Is it too early to start making plans for the summer?  Not necessarily places I want to go or things I want to see, but all the things I want to accomplish this summer.  Well, I decided I needed some accountability, so I'm setting forth a partial list of things I want to accomplish before fall rolls around.  If I get started now, I will have more time for enjoying the sun, some sweet tea, and the company of a good book.  In no particular order, here is the list.

  • Make this Little Black Dress I posted about back in February
  • Make about a dozen Brags and get them out to Hurricane Rojo
  • Clean and organize my craft room once and for all
  • Bust out the serious crafts I want to make and market the rootitoottoot out of 'em
  • Clean all the closets and get rid of all the "stuff" I truly don't need
  • Spend some quality time with my kids this summer doing all the things we used to do
  • Can and bake the way I used to do
  • Finish all the books on my bedside table
  • Go camping
  • Hang at the beach for the day
  • Spend the weekend with BunBun doing nothing but eating ice cream and watching old movies and not letting anyone know we are home
Do you have a wish list?  How many things are on your list?

Monday, May 10, 2010

Are You a Fan of Sarah?

Which Sarah am I talking about?

Sara Bareilles? The musical one from MY COUNTY that wrote and performed Love Song?  Nope...not that one, even though I am a fan.

Sarah Ferguson, Duchess of York and the original Fergie? Nope...I like her and I think she got a raw deal from the Royal Family, but it's not her I am referring to either.

How about Sarah Jessica Parker?  Definitely not...I liked her when she was in Square Pegs, but since then, nope.

Have you figured out which Sarah I'm referring to?  If you haven't guessed Sarah Palin by now, I just don't know what to say.

You say the name "Sarah Palin" and you get some really strong reactions.  Some people think she is a total nut job and they just wish she would go away.  Others adore her and think she is the next best thing since sliced bread.  Me?  I lean towards the next-best-thing thing, but let me explain.

Here are the reasons I like her;
  1. She is a strong Christian woman.
  2. She speaks her mind.
  3. She is intelligent and knows what she is talking about.
  4. She exposed the crooks in both parties.
  5. She put the people of Wasilla (as mayor) and Alaska (as governor) first.
  6. She is not afraid to be honest and mingle with the "common" folk.
  7. She admits that she makes mistakes.
Now, those are some pretty general reasons.  However, I wasn't so sure about her the first time I heard her name.  I was driving home from work and I heard on the radio that John McCain had chosen a woman as his running mate.  The first thought I had was, "He just sealed his fate.  There is no way he can win now."  And I truly believed this.  Even though we have come a long way since Geraldine Ferraro ran as the Vice Presidential candidate with Walter Mondale, I still believe that our country doesn't value the strengths some women have.  But I went home, and began listening to Sarah Palin give speeches.  I was impressed.  I watched the interviews and the way the liberal media bashed her; mostly because she didn't play ball with the good ol' boys and because she was normal.  I mean, seriously, as a middle America, stay-at-home soccer mom, who would you rather have in the White House? Someone like Sarah Palin or a career politician like Joe Biden?

And the more I watched how Sarah Palin handled herself and I read and heard the things she was saying, I began to believe that she was really the person she was portraying.  She wasn't faking to get elected.  She wasn't playing the political game.  I was really disappointed when the election results came in.  I truly supported John McCain and Sarah Palin and I was saddened to see our country elect someone who didn't have as much experience as Sarah Palin (as the V.P. candidate) did as the actual Presidential candidate. 

I just finished Sarah Palin's book Going RogueI don't know if I have ever read another autobiography.  If I have, it must not have left a very big impression on me.  I learned more about the political process.  I learned more about Alaska and the fiercely independent spirit of the people that live there.  I learned that when it comes down to it, Sarah is just a regular mom who is committed to doing her best and raising her children to be good citizens. 

Even if you don't particularly like Sarah Palin or the world of politics bore you, try her book.  You might just be surprised.  Oh...and in case you are wondering; yes, I'm a fan of Sarah.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Betty Crocker/Safeway Winner

To choose the winner I went to  When I got there I followed the directions. (Enter some choices, one per line, in the text area below, and click "Choose" to pick randomly from them.)  Each number corresponds to 1 comment.  If you remember I said I would give you 3 extra entries if you did all three entry methods.  That's why some people are listed 6 times.

1 Vickie B
2 Vickie B
3 Vickie B
4 Vickie B
5 Vickie B
6 Vickie B
7 suburban prep
8 Keri
9 Keri
10 Keri
11 Keri
12 Keri
13 Keri
14 Kim
15 Kim
16 Kim
17 Kim
18 Kim
19 Kim
20 Kim
21 Starla
22 Starla
23 Starla
24 Starla
25 Starla
26 Starla
27 Starla
28 Tabitha
29 Aunty Clara
30 Karin
I got this number.
25 = Starla!

Thanks to everyone who entered...and stay tuned.  There are always more prizes to give away!

I Want Chickens!

Am I the only one to have noticed a resurgence in keeping chickens lately?  Surely not, because when I got my latest issue of Organic Gardening, this was on the cover.

Isn't that one of the most beautiful chickens you have ever seen?  That is none other than Heidi, an Appenzeller Spitzhauben pullet.  I think she has a chance at becoming America's Next Top Chicken Super Model. 

All kidding aside, I love chickens.  Back when my babies were still babies, we lived on an acre and a half.  We had pigs, ducks, a rabbit, cats, a dog, a couple of steers, and chickens.  Oh, I was happy as a hog rolling in mud.  I couldn't have asked for a better start to life for my children.  To see them tossing scratch to the chickens, feeding table scraps to the pigs, and the best, to see their pudgy little hands carefully bringing an egg into the kitchen.  The look on their faces - bliss. 

I mean how can you resist finding eggs like this in the nest?  Knowing that it's fresh, wholesome, and plain old good for ya?  Not me.  When we first started out, I think we got about six chicks.  One ended up being a rooster.  So you know what that means....eventually you get more chickens.  We started selling our eggs.  I can't believe that I was selling my fresh eggs for $1.25 a dozen and making a profit.  Times sure have changed.

As I read the Organic Gardening article, it took me back to the days when I would have Rhode Island Reds following me around the place.  Such a pretty and calm chicken.

These Plymouth Barred Chickens were another of my favorites.  Love their chic black and white markings.

This momma Buff Orpington and her chicks remind me of my favorite hen of all, though.  Matilda was so gentle and almost like a pet.  She would be the first one to greet me at the gate every morning. 

The magazine article reignited my love for chickens.  My desire to hear them clucking first thing in the morning and cooing softly as they settled themselves for the night.  Reaching under a fat hen to get an egg for breakfast or to make a cake from scratch is one of life's simplest pleasures.   Alas, I live in an apartment with no yard.  And when I say no yard, I mean no grass, nothin'!  Oh... I long for the day when I can have a couple hens and even a rooster to call my own.

Maybe when I do get chickens, I'll head over to or EZ Clean Coops  and pick up a top-of-the-line chicken coop.  Or maybe I'll just build me a Red Neck one. 

Which do you like best?

Available from   

Available from EZ Clean Coops

Red Neck Coop

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

What Has Happened to My Life?

When you are a kid, you think summers last all year long.  You think that when they tell you to come in when it gets dark that you have hours and hours before you have to go in.  And you think that when grown-ups tell you that time flies the older they get that they have no idea what they are talking about.


I'm the grown-up and time flies faster and faster every year.  Who am I kidding?  Every day!  I remember when I had first quit my job in December and was trying to make ends meet that i was busy as I crafted, attended shows, and blogged.  Hahahaha....and a great big HA!  WHAT HAS HAPPENED TO MY LIFE?!?

I have less time now than I did when I was working.  I have waaaaay more blogs that I follow and still no time to read them, much less comment.  I have no idea where the time between Christmas and almost summer went, but Whoa!  SLOW DOWN!  I can't see anything as time goes whizzing by me with so many things I am missing. 

I know what my parents were talking about.  My cousin, who I grew up with and played Clue and Monopoly and Life with...just turned 50!  Are you kidding me?  That means I'm getting old!  How did this happen?  What?  My ears are getting bad. 

Did you say "Life is What Happens While You Are Busy Making Plans?"

Yep...that's what I thought you said.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Summer 1984 or How I Met My Husband

I have to start this post by saying that I don't have a scanner and because I don't have a scanner, there is no way I can show you pictures that relate to the story I am about to tell.  Rest assured, someday I will be able to post those necessary pictures.  For the mean time you will have to trust me that I looked totally hot in the 80's (big hair and all) and so did the other person in this story, BunBun.  Also... this is a very long post.

It was nearing the beginning of the summer in 1984.  I would be a senior in the fall and then after to college.  My brother, who is 3 1/2 years younger than me, was ending up his Babe Ruth baseball season.  For some reason, I don't know if it was boredom or what, but I went to one of his games.  (Not something I normally did because I had an afternoon and weekend job at Heidi's Bakery.)  As I watched his game, I noticed a really cute guy on his team.  I must have asked him about this guy.  I soon was going to all of his games, what few there were left to play.  My dad was also an assistant coach and had a list of all the players names and phone numbers.  Between going to the games and flirting with this guy and having his number already....well, I did what my mom said girls shouldn't do; I called him.

Baseball season ended and summer began.  I was busy hanging out with friends and working.  Going camping and planning how cool my senior year in high school would be.  And I was still talking to the this guy on the phone.  Only he was calling me too.  And he kept asking me to be his girlfriend.  And I kept saying no.  I didn't want to say no.  I wanted to say YES!  But I didn't.  I kept saying no because he was only going to be a FRESHMAN and I was going to be a SENIOR.  And my best friend kept telling me how dumb I would be to have a boyfriend who was only a FRESHMAN.  She kept telling me that everyone would tease me and think I was like, totally not cool, ya' know?  So I kept saying no. 

So school started and I saw this guy EVERY DAY at school.  We didn't live in the same town so school was the only place we saw each other.  And we were still talking on the phone every night.  Even though he was going out with the little sister of my best friend.  The friend that said I should NOT go out with him because he was too young.  Then one day they broke up.  And then the next day we were walking towards each other between classes.  And then I was walking up to him and KISSED HIM!  And kept walking to my locker! 

Yeah...we were boyfriend and girlfriend after that.  We fought. We made up.  We fought.  We made up.  He taught me how to ride a dirt bike.  He made me BLTs without the L.  He worked mornings before school milking cows and setting irrigation pipes so he could buy me a ring for Christmas.  He let me wear his favorite flannel shirt and his big brother's old football jersey.  We spent every weekend together either at my house or his house.  We talked on the phone every night.  His dad, Carl, let us sit in the front seat (bucket seat) together, when Carl would drive me home.  We were in love and we planned our future.

But then the end of my senior year came.  Friends told me I should break up with him.  We were fighting more as I talked about going to college and he felt he was getting left behind.  One thing led to another and I broke up with him a week before graduation.  It was the most terrible feeling I had ever experienced.  What should have been a fun-filled week of activities was overshadowed with sadness and stupid high school antics.  On the night of my graduation, he was there with his mom.  After the ceremony he kissed me and begged me to take him back.  I was so dumb as I pushed him away and ran off with my friends.

As summer began again we both did stupid things.  My best friend and his best friend were now a couple and it made life difficult.  I avoided him completely.  When I did have to see him I was mean.  Why?  Because I could be.  Somehow, the friend who had told me to break up with him in the first place convinced me to get back together with him.  So I did.   And it was like we had never been apart.  But things were different.  I was a "grown-up" now.  I had just turned 18 and I was getting ready to move out on my own.  I had just started classes at the community college. And I was working a lot more.  He was a sophomore in high school and he hated being there when I wasn't.  So he cut classes.  He hung out with the wrong crowd.  And he did something else.

I went to meet him for lunch one day at the high school.  While I was waiting for him, this girl (not a nice girl) came up to me and asked me why I was waiting for her boyfriend.  What was she talking about?  He didn't have time to be with this girl and why would he?  She was nasty and everyone knew it.  As he walked out and saw me, he smiled.  Then he saw her.  AWKWARD.  He walked off with me and I began to question him about her.  What was she talking about?  We argued; that's really all I remember.  I know I was living on my own then and he came home with me.  I can't remember what was said, but I know he convinced me that she was lying and I was the only one he loved.

The next night my world fell apart.  I found out that he had been seeing her all summer long.  That he was still seeing her, while HE WAS SEEING ME.  I was crushed.  I repeatedly called his house that night so I could confront him but the line was busy.  I finally got a hold of him after midnight.  I made him tell me the truth and he admitted that he had only gotten back with me so he could hurt me the way I had hurt him a few months ago.  I told him I hated him.  I broke the 45 of Madonna's Crazy For You single ("our" song) on the phone and told him that was the sound of my heart breaking.  Then I hung up the phone.  The next day I mailed the broken pieces to him.

And I didn't talk to him for 20 years.  Even though we lived in the same town.  Even though he worked right next to my husband in the lumber mill.  Even though our children were in grade school together.  Even though my middle daughter and his second son were in the same class at a very small school.  Even though this same daughter and son dated for awhile.  Not once.  Not until that same daughter and son graduated from 8th grade.  And at that 8th grade graduation we talked to each other.  We said, "hi."  That was it.

In that 20 years apart, a lot happened.  Here is the shortest version I know how to provide.

  • Met and married a man that was 9 years older than me and had been married one before.  I turned 20 one month after the wedding.  He also had a 4 year old daughter when I met him.
  • I quit college and went to work full time at the bakery until I got pregnant and ended up having an ectopic pregnancy.
  • Had 3 babies in 3 1/2 years.
  • Was a full-time mom, gardener, chef, nurse, teacher, etc. until the youngest started kindergarten and then I got a part time job.
  • Lost our house, moved back to the company town, and went back to college.
  • Full-time student, full-time mom, full-time everything.
  • Finished school with a BA in Elementary Education.
  • Started seeing my previously-night-shift husband full time and realized...yeah.
  • Said hi to HIM at graduation.
  • Moved out on my own for the first time in 20 years.  Without my kids for the first time in my life. 
  • Made lots of dumb mistakes.
  • Decide to turn over a new leaf on June 1, 2007
  • Quit school and went to work in the woods with his dad.
  • Got the bad girl from a few paragraphs up pregnant when he was 16.
  • Tried to be a dad to his son, but was prevented by the mom.
  • Wrecks cars.
  • Gets married and goes to jail the next day for drunk driving.
  • Has 3 kids and is a great dad.
  • Gets a divorce when the youngest is 1.
  • Sustains a major back injury at the lumber mill that leaves him permanently unable to work.
  • Gets thrown in the slammer a few more times for drunk driving.
  • Says hi to ME at graduation.
  • Gets arrested for drunk driving and sent to San Quentin for 3 months and rehabilitation facility for 9 months.
  • Gets out of rehab on May 23, 2007
The rest of the story next time. And don't forget to enter the giveaway!

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Betty Crocker & Safeway Giveaway

I recently received a Betty Crocker prize pack and Safeway gift card in the amount of $25 from  Included in the prize pack were the following items:

  • VIP coupon for one Betty Crocker Brownie Mix
  • Red Oven Mitt
  • Stainless Steel Mixing Bowl
  • Silicone Baking Pan
  • Betty Crocker Mixing Spoon
  • $25 Safeway Gift Card
What a great parcel to get in the mail!  I quickly used the coupon for the brownie mix and the $25 gift card.  I have stashed away the other items to use as a gift.  What I really liked about the Betty Crocker Brownie Mix was that it was made with Hershey's chocolate; I chose the dark chocolate mix....Yum!

Want to download some great coupons directly to your Safeway Card?  Go to Bake Sweet Memories and get started!  The website also has
  • yummy recipes (Lemonade Party Cake in my fave)
  • great gift ideas (Breakfast in bed is always a winner)
  • sweet and funny e-cards (right now, featuring Mom)

Would you like to receive your own Betty Crocker/Safeway Prize Pack?  You can go directly to to become a member of their program.  It's really easy to sign up.  Or you can enter the giveaway going on right here on my blog for a chance to win a prize pack.  The prize pack DOES NOT include a VIP coupon for a Betty Crocker Brownie Mix.

Here are the rules:
  1. This first entry is mandatory.  Leave a comment telling me your favorite Betty Crocker product.
  2. Become a follower of my blog or let me know you already are a follower.
  3. Subscribe to this blog in the reader of your choice or let me know you already do.
  4. If you do ALL THREE of the above entries, I will automatically double your chances.  In other words, if you do ALL THREE ENTRY METHODS I will put your name into "the hat" 6 times!
  5. Winner will be randomly chosen @ 8 PM (pdt) on Saturday, May 8.  Winner will have 24 hours to confirm with me in a comment on the WINNER POST.  I will then forward your info to My Blog Spark, who is responsible for sending your prize.

Contributions to Society

We are a country made up of many cultures and ethnic groups.  Our country has been referred to as a melting pot - where all peoples come together and and eventually are all the same.  We have been referred to as a stew - where all peoples come together and take on some of the "flavors" of those around them while retaining there own distinct flavor and colors.  And the United States has been referred to as a salad - where all peoples come together and make a delicious meal but each ingredient is unique and retains it's own flavor.  I think all of these have been accurate descriptions of our country throughout history.  As Americans began to call themselves "American" it was the desire of many to have everyone be the same.  It was the desire of some in charge of running the country and it was the desire of some coming to this country.  That would be the "melting pot philosophy."  Then as leaders and the common man began to see the value in other cultures, America took on the "stew philosophy."  We could take on some of the aspects of other cultures while retaining our own cultural traits.  The "salad philosophy" is like we are one country but everyone is distinct.  Each culture is equally valuable and together makes up a great nation.

Not all subscribe to anyone of these philosophies.  I can see positives and negatives in all of them.  Regardless of what your own personal philosophy of the many varied cultures that make up America is, I hope we can all agree on one thing.  That one thing, is that America would not be the prosperous and blessed nation that we are without contributions of people from all walks of life and all ethnic backgrounds.  I could start this series by focusing on the contributions of people from my ethnic background - German and Eastern Europe.  However, since Hispanics are such a major portion of public and political discourse these days, I have decided to start with that ethnic group.

Even before I lost a couple of followers over my last post, I had decided that I wanted to do this, so this post is not for that reason.  It's because I recognize that I wouldn't be where I am today with out contributions by courageous, brave, intelligent men and women from all countries.  Also, my grand-daughter has Hispanic blood running through her veins.  I want her to be proud of every bit of "her" history.  If I am going to help her to learn about her story, I have to be educated myself.

I found this great website called Hispanic Contributions to the United States of America.  Here is just a small amount of the information I learned there.

  • In the Mexican-American War, Captain Juan Seguin and other Hispanic Texans fought at the Alamo against General Santa Anna's soldiers, essentially fighting alongside American heroes Davey Crockett, Jim Bowie, and William Travis.

  • Father Junipero Serra, founder of the California missions, became a pioneer in the fight for human rights for the Native Americans.

  • In medicine, Dr. Walter Reed is generally credited with originating the theory of yellow fever transmissions by mosquitoes. The truth is that he only confirmed this theory. Carlos Juan Finlay, a modest Cuban physician, was the one who actually originated it.

  • In the art world, muralist Diego Rivera became known not only in Mexico but throughout the world.  He painted murals not only in Mexico but also in Detroit, San Francisco, and New York City.  He was married to another famous Mexican artist, Frida Kahlo.

  • Dr. Ellen Ochoa, in 1990, was the first Hispanic woman to become an astronaut.  She served on a nine-day mission aboard the shuttle Discovery in 1993. The astronauts were studying the Earth's ozone layer.

  • Where would migrant farm workers be without Cesar Chavez?  He co-founded the United Farm Workers with another Hispanic, Dolores Huerta.  This organization helped farm laborers get improved working conditions and better wages.  He was also committed to limiting immigration and against the practice of hiring undocumented workers as strike-breakers.

  • And I have to add Selena and the portrayer of her in the movie, Selena, Jennifer Lopez.  (Edward James Olmos was in this movie too.)  Selena was often called the Queen of Tejano music and was just to about to start a cross-over to American radio when she was murdered by the president of her fan club.

I could list hundreds of Hispanics that have made contributions to society and America.  As Americans, we should always remember that North America wasn't discovered by Europeans.  This continent existed for centuries before any white man set foot on the soil.  Once those first Europeans arrived and the nation of the United States was established, this has been a country of various peoples from all ethnic and cultural backgrounds.  We are a better nation for the contributions made by these people.


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