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Saturday, April 6, 2019

March began with a wedding of my friend Rosibel.  I met her years ago when she was here as a CASS student.  We have kept in touch through the years and it was so nice to see her marry Jimmy.
Jessi and her family were off to Disneyland.  She text us so many sweet photos while on their trip, that I would love to post here, but I have decided to resist since it wasn't my trip to post about.  But I did take this shot of them when I dropped them off at the airport. 
Hope has been renewed that there is still a chance that YeWon will someday actually join Dennis and Abby's family here in the states.  Prayers continue. Obviously I didn't take this shot.
Spring was slow in arriving, but we finally had some spring blooms in the yard!
The skies cleared eventually and we had a few nice views of the mountain.
Josh and Alexis drove up from Salem for a visit.  It is pretty awesome to have them want to spend time with you as they become adults. 
We had a sleepover with Josiah, Arianna and Lina.  Good times as always, except for the homework.  As it turns out...Grandma really goofed.  Arianna seemed to really be struggling with her packet.  As it turns out...I had her do Josiah's packet!  No wonder she had no idea how to do those  math problems.
Since it was St. Patrick's Eve, we HAD to have green pancakes and green scrambled eggs, right?
It has been way too long since Arianna sewed with me. We made a little dress for Lina. I am still so impressed by Arianna's sewing skills.
Bazzel enjoyed the last of the winter fires.
And then it was time to head back to Dennis' place for Daniel's birthday.
There was still a little snow on the ground as we went through Warm Springs.
We had free nights at the Peppermill in Reno, so we stopped on the way for a couple of days.  While there we enjoyed a massage in the newly renovated Spa.  Then Cyndi and Dan were grounded on their way flying their plane to Las Vegas, so they surprised us when they stopped in to stay the night.
We took Hwy 395 past Mono Lake on down to LA.  I always enjoy that drive.  So much change of scenery.
The hills were full of color from all the spring blooms due to the extra rain they have received this year.
We arrived to Dennis' place just in time to meet up with my parents and all of us went to PF Changs as Daniel's choice for his birthday dinner.
The next day, his friends from school came to help him celebrate his 7th birthday.
We had a fun week playing with the boys, going out to dinner, visiting Jimmy and doing a little yard work.  There is a really nice little place just a mile's walk from their home.  Abby and Gabe were at his choir practice, so the four of us walked to dinner.
 Off to bed.
I don't remember exactly when we started it, but a few years ago, when it came time to tuck the boys into bed, instead of reading them a story, I started what we call "The Never Ending Story".  I start out with the storyline and then pass on to one of the boys and they pass on to the other and we go around in a circle, each adding his (or her) own twist to the story.  We continue it each night when I am there and it ends on my last night.  (Which Daniel informed me this trip down that since it actually does end at the end of my visit, it really isn't a 'never ending' story after all.)  But even though it does end, it is as much fun for me as I believe it is for them.  I get to hear each of the boys little personalities come through as they weave their way trying to make it more interesting for each of us as it goes along.  I have learned all about portals and wizardry and crystals and magic and dinosaurs and volcanos and stars and rocket ships, some unpleasant body functions and whatever else is on their minds.  I love it when I am speaking and they are so into listening that they actually have passed on their turns to make sure I continue a little longer with where the story is going.  I hope that we get to go on many more years before "The Never Ending Story" actually ends forever.


Here are some before and afters of a couple of the flower beds we worked in.
It was fun planting a flowerbed with plants that I don't normally get to plant up here.
Another thing we don't have here...snails.  At first they are kinda cute, until you realize that they are really just a slug with a shell.  All of these guys were busy munching on my newly planted succulents the first morning after!
While we were there, we decided to hop over to Lake Havasu to visit Carly, Bobby's wife.  It was so good to see her and know that she is doing her best to carry on with life since he passed.  She showed off her vest from work with all the pins she has earned.
We all went to dinner and spent the time catching up. We were treated to a beautiful sunset while we ate dinner on the patio.
The desert there was in full bloom!  Such gorgeous colors!  Last time we were there it was sweltering hot and dry with barley a bloom out there.  The ground was literally crawling with caterpillars!  I found out on Google that they were going to turn into White Spinx Moths. The moth photo is from Google.
When we arrived, sitting in his chair was a box.  It was Bobby's ashes.  Carly brought them home and has left them in his chair from then on.  See the little sticker?  She told us that he used to take the labels off his fruit and stick them somewhere in plain sight.  If she found one, she got a kiss.  Well, just before he got sick and left for the hospital, he had stuck one somewhere and she had not been able to find it.  And then the same day that she brought his ashes home, she found it!  So she stuck it on the box. Such a sweet, touching memory of him. It really got me!  She asked us to take some his ashes home to Oregon and hopes that they will be placed with his Mother or Brother JD.
A few more of the hills and flowers around Thousand Oaks.
April 1 is Jimmy's birthday.  He turned 88.  Since we were there, we made sure to stay around long enough to celebrate his day with him.  His sweet lady friends, Madeline, Fran and Mary had a dinner party for him at Mary's house.
Remember last month I showed the blank canvas all set up for him to begin painting?  Well, here is his work.  He isn't finished yet, but it is looking pretty good!!  He is still not happy about having to move, but he has accepted it and seems to be adjusting.  This trip down, we got a little mini fridge for his room so that he can have his diet soda whenever he wants it.
And then we began the drive home...I saw an 'elephant' in the bathroom at lunch. We went through an area full of butterflies...for miles and miles there were swarms of them trying to cross the road...sadly many of them didn't make it.
And the clouds gave me a little smile.  Do you see it?
A special treat for me was to spot some Sandhill Cranes alongside the road!!!
I loved the contrast of the new leaves on the trees, the brown hill and what is left of winter in the mountains.
We arrived home to a yard full of spring flowers!!!
Happy April!!!

Wednesday, February 27, 2019

The passing of a Mother.  
John's Mother.
Cleo June Dixon
Married for 72 years.
She was a Mother to 8 kids, 4 girls, 4 boys.
They raised their kids in California, moved with work to Alaska, then back down to Boring, Oregon.
Once they retired, they took off in their airstream to see the country, staying mostly in warm places and really was fond of Tucson where they stayed for the longest period of time.   
Finally they gave up the travels and settled back in Portland.
She was a nurse.  She was a fantastic cook and was famous with her kids for her pies and cinnamon rolls.  She loved eating out and was a wine connoisseur.  She loved pink...flowers, clothes, dishes and blankets.  Sunshine and warmth were top on her list.  She loved her church and going regularly to mass made her happy.  She loved horses, dogs and cats.  She taught me the secrets to getting stains out of my laundry...from grass to wine to dirt, you name it, she could get it out.  8 kids and being a perfectionist will do that to you.
She will be missed.    

February started out with a belated birthday trip to Ruby's Spa for John's birthday.  It was the first snowfall for us so was pretty awesome sitting outside in the saltwater pool with steam rising and snow falling.
We had some pretty views of all the snow for a few days.
The robins, thrushes and hummingbirds were all crowded around here in search of food.  More robins and thrushes than ever are enjoying the red berries off the hedge.










The kids came over for a snow day at our place.  You can only keep the snow in pristine condition for so long when the kids are here.
Then back to California we went for Gabe's birthday.  9 years old!!!
Jimmy used to paint.  He painted all kinds of things, scenery, modern art, faces.  But for some reason, he stopped painting.  Once he moved into his new home, I noticed they have art classes for the residents.  I told him there was a painting class, he seemed excited to go, but when it was over, he was really disappointed because it was so basic.  I suggested that he get back into painting the way he used to do it.  I sent off to Amazon to have an easel delivered.  Then we went out and bought some paints and brushes and canvas.  I expected a small one, maybe 8X10, but he surprised me by wanting a huge one...20X36!  I can't wait to get back there and see what he is painting.
While we were there, we received a call that John's Mother, Cleo had passed away.  We headed for home to be with the family, especially his father.  We heard the roads were closed about 2 hours from the closing, John had me call ahead and get us a hotel.  I was so glad we did, because when we checked in, there were people being turned away.  The manager said that the power had been out all night and day and just now come back on, so our room would not be ready for about an hour.  Not a problem, we figured, we would just go get some dinner.  Well, that was not as easy as it sounded.  The roads were high with snow and we discovered that the whole town was closed from the power outage.  The first place we saw was right next to our hotel, a Jack In The Box.  We could see people going up to the door and discovering they were locked.  But the lights were on and there was a line at the drive through.  So we worked our way into the line...and waited...and waited.  Finally the lead truck moved on through.  The next car pulled up, we waited.  While we were waiting, we joked that they were probably closed.  Well, it came our turn...and they were closed!  But the line of cars behind us was growing.  We drove around and finally found a gas station open, we went in hoping to find something...along with everyone else.  The place was packed and we all were snapping up whatever we could find.  We ended up with way more food than we could even eat.  I bought things to eat the next day in case we got stuck alongside the road.  We drove back to the hotel and ate our cold dinner in the truck while we waited for our room.  Once we were in our room, we sat and watched the cars that were still lining up and waiting their turn to discover the drive thru at Jack In the Box wasn't open.  It made us laugh, mostly because we had fallen for it too.
The drive the next morning was not bad at all.  The roads were clear, with a little snow alongside.  But you could see vehicles that had slid off the road and some that had rolled the night before.  Sure glad we had stopped for the night.  And we didn't even eat the food I had stockpiled for the drive home. A Valentine's Day to remember.
I arrived home to these pretty Valentine flowers from Jessi and the kids.


Dennis and Abby are in Korea visiting this little girl for her 7th birthday.  There is still hope that she will someday join them in California.  Happy Birthday, Ye Won!!
And last but not least, Happy Birthday to Jessi! I know, if I had picked the 29th that leap year, you would only be 9 ¾ years old!  Sorry, my mistake!!!