Monday, June 29, 2009

i used to bleed blue

I'm sitting here watching the Colorado Rockies play the Los Angeles Dodgers. I know most people don't enjoy watching baseball, but I do. I've been a baseball fan as long as I can remember, and since I used to live in southern California, I was a big time Dodger fan. I will probably always have a fondness for them even though I've been a Rockies fan since the team was started here in Colorado in 1993.

As I watch the game tonight, I can't stop the flood of memories of time spent at Dodger stadium. Here are a few I thought I should record for purely personal reasons.

=> Garvey, Lopes, Russel & Cey. Those were the golden years.
=> Dodger Dogs. Couldn't leave the stadium without having one.
=> Attending so many games with our two best friends, Don and Craig.
=> We usually sat in the cheaper seats - all the way down at the end of either the first or third base line. But I don't think I ever sat in the outfield.
=> One time we were given seats directly behind home plate in the section that was like a dugout (the stadium is different now). They weren't good seats to watch the game but this area was reserved for VIPs and we felt pretty special sitting down there. You could hear everything said from that area of the field.
=> At one game, we were sitting down the third base line in home run territory. A winning home run was hit a row or two in front of us and a picture in the following day's edition of the local paper showed the section where the ball was hit - and there we are, standing and cheering.
=> There are certain plays and players I can still remember. Fernando Valenzuela, Steve Sax, Tom Niedenfuer, Orel Hershiser, Kirk Gibson, to name just a few.

I love the atmosphere at a ball game. I have this silly dream of some day working at the Rockies' stadium as an usher. You know, one of those people who just stand at the top of an aisle and direct people to their seat. If I had that job, I would be in a place I love and get to watch all the games. The only drawback is that the games are during the summer and it would tie me down and keep me from traveling during the summer. But who knows, maybe some day.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

corny but true

"There's an element of truth in every idea that lasts long enough to be called corny." ~Irving Berlin

The younger we are, the more likely we are to dismiss the past as being old-fashioned and irrelevant. The older we are, the more likely we are to see wisdom and virtue in "the good old days."

We can't always predict, in our youth, which ideas will prove to have the most-lasting merit. On the other hnd, as the years pass, we may begin to overvalue some ideas simply because they remind us of when we are younger. The challenge is not reject ideas simply because they seem corny or to embrace ideas simply because they are nostalgic.

Which ideas from my youth are still good today? And which should I let go of?

taken from The Daily Book of Positive Quotations by Linda Picone

Thursday, June 25, 2009

what a day!

June 25, 2009
a day of joy, and sorrow.

We celebrated Jake's 19th birthday today. Wow! It's hard to believe that my baby boy is 19 years old. Wasn't it just yesterday that I was holding his hand as we crossed the street? I guess not. It just seems like it. It's been nineteen years of amazing memories and watching him grow up to be the wonderful young man he is. Happy Birthday Jake.

But, in the future, when I think of this date, it probably won't be Jake's 19th birthday that I think about. It will be the two celebrities that passed away today. Farrah Faucet and Michael Jackson.

Many are mourning the death of these two iconic figures, but many others could care less. I understand this. This group would include those who don't follow the lives of celebrities, or are not interested in the music industry, or are just too young to appreciate who these two people were and what they contributed to their respective industries.

It's not that I'm some big follower of celebrities or a personal fan of either one that has me mourning each death. It's the fact that each one was a part of my early years, and because of that, they have impacted my life.

Farrah Faucet became part of my world when she played one of Charlie's Angels on the popular TV show in 1976. I was a teenager and watched the show religiously. It was a time when women's roles on TV were changing from the Harriet Nelson and Carol Brady types to more of the young, modern characters; roles I could relate to. Farrah Faucet was young, beautiful, brave and funny. Young (and old) men weren't the only ones that admired her. Young women just had a different reason to.

I remember seeing Michael Jackson performing with his older brothers, as the group The Jackson 5, when I was quite young. He was just a boy, a boy the same age as I was since he was only a year older than me. They would occasionally perform on the Andy Williams show, or some other variety show that my parents used to watch. I watched him grow up and become an amazing musician and entertainer. I had some of his music and played it and danced to it at parties and get-togethers. Yes, his life was marred by controversy, but no one can deny the talent he had and how much he contributed to popular music. He was, and will always be, the king of pop(ular).

Both Farrah and Michael were rare individuals, bigger than life, who changed their world and the world around them. I join thousands of other mourners because that world included me.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

a story in picture form

I love looking at photographs. I look at them with a critical photographer's eye, thinking what I would have done to make them a better or more interesting picture. I look at them in awe, as I'm only an amateur photographer. I look at them as motivation to go out and take better pictures. They make me want to be a better photographer.

Many photos are simply a tribute to nature or the photographer (or both). I love pictures of nature and wildlife.

Many photos record life, which then becomes history. Whether it's family history or history on a larger scale, pictures save, for us, that moment in time that we simply want to remember or preserve for future generations.

In this day in age, many photos have been digitally enhanced or manipulated. Even though these don't represent pure photography (in my book), they can still be enjoyable to view. The creativity and skill are worth admiring.

But for me, there's more to most photographs. I love looking at photographs because of the story that is represented. There's something to the sayings, "every picture tells a story" or "a picture is worth a thousand words." And as I gaze at a photograph - any photo - I can't help but wonder what the story is.

I peruse a few different photo sites each day, just to look at the pictures. There are some amazing photos out there. I think it feeds my soul to sit and gaze upon nature, upon true art, upon the many places in this world and the differences between them and my world, but most of all... to be shown a story.

My two favorite photo sites (at the moment) are: Flickr and Pixdaus.

Monday, June 22, 2009

monday, monday

For Today...

Outside my window... green. everywhere. That's what happens when you get a good amount of rain over the past month. Now that I'm looking outside, I notice Jake needs to mow the lawn... again.

I am thinking... about Danielle. Last night was her first night house sitting. I'm wondering how it went for her.

I am thankful for... the fact that Don passed a kidney stone yesterday morning. It was a painful night but it's passed and it won't cause him any more pain or trouble this week.

From the kitchen... nothing. Absolutely nothing. Nothing was cooked yesterday nor will there be anything today. Is that sad? But due to that fact, it's clean.

I am wearing... plaid shorts and brown t-shirt.

I am reading... The Hour I First Believed by Wally Lamb. It's one of those books where the characters now feel like family and I don't want the book to end.

I am hearing... The birds chirp, and the trash truck coming up the street.

I am hoping... Don has a wonderful time in California this weekend. The combination of the beach, family, and time away from work should mean a great time for him.

I am creating... a website to celebrate my grandmother's 90 years of life. We'll be celebrating her birthday in November.

I am going... to have to figure out what to get Jake for his birthday, and help Don figure out what to get for his mom for her birthday.

I am praying... for Danielle, her team, and her upcoming trip to Nepal.

Around the house... the garage has been picked up and cleaned out. The kids and I tackled the job last Friday as one of Don's Father's Day presents. He said it was the best gift we could give him.

One of my favorite things... sitting outside, under the gazebo, reading a book, while storm clouds roll over head. The light rain was an added bonus.

A few plans for the rest of the week... getting together with friends... for lunch, at the pool, and over coffee. We're hoping to buy a pop-up camper. Oh, and it's Jake's 19th birthday.

Here is a picture thought I am sharing with you...

As I was walking through a parking lot the other day, this caught my eye... in the passenger seat with a seat belt around him or her. It's times like this that I'm glad I keep a camera in my purse.

Thank you to Peggy of The Simple Woman for this wonderful format for sharing part of our lives.

Friday, June 19, 2009

give yourself a gift


Two weeks ago I posted an Aloha Friday question about getting pedicures. I wrote about how I felt pedicures were a way I nurtured myself, and I got a lot of comments that confirmed that many give themselves this small gift on a regular basis.

My Aloha Friday question today is:

How do you nurture yourself?

I hope women realize how important it is to nurture themselves in some way. It doesn't have to be anything big or expensive, but taking the time to do something that feeds your soul and tells you that you are important.

I especially think this is critical while we're mothers of young children. Don't get me wrong; being a mother is the most important thing we can do. But we need to take breaks away from our children to recharge our batteries and give us a better perspective on what we're doing. Nurturing ourselves reminds us that we are more than just a mother. We are individuals, we are wives, we are sisters, we are friends.

If you don't take time for yourself, I encourage you to do so. Take a walk, read a book, put headphones on and listen to a few songs without being interrupted, join a Bunko group. There are endless ways to step out of your normal, daily routine and do something that says, "I matter!"

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

puzzles, tags, and a movie


Danielle, Jake and I are officially addicted. It's called Yubotu. I was given a book of puzzles in which you use your strategy skills to figure out where the hidden sea vessels are hiding on the grid. It's a little like the classic game of battleship. Once the kids saw what the puzzles were like, they wanted to solve them so I was copying them from the book onto grid paper. I couldn't keep up with the demand. Fortunately, Jake googled the name Yubotu and found that there are web sites that provide the puzzles and ability to solve them online - which is a lot more fun. No less addictive, but easier than using paper and pencil. If you would like to try your hand at these fun puzzles, check out YubotuOnline. The good thing about this site is they only give you nine puzzles a day, in varying degrees of difficulty. I now do my nine a day and call it good. My addiction is under control.

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A week ago, I posted six unimportant things that make me happy from a tag I received. I then went on to tag six people. The process of defining what's unimportant and then coming up with six things was interesting for me and I have enjoyed reading other people's list. I encourage anyone who might be reading this who wasn't tagged to try this exercise. I think it has great value for all of us. I also want to extend the tag to one more person; my daughter, Danielle. She has a blog but claimed she can't write a post on this subject because she wasn't tagged. Okay, Danielle... consider yourself tagged.

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Danielle and I saw the movie Up a couple of days ago and loved it. This is a Disney Pixar animated story of a old man and a young boy who go on the adventure of a lifetime. It's funny, it's sad, it's touching, and it's meaningful. Both kids and adults alike will enjoy this film. It's being presented in two formats, one being 3D. We saw it in 3D and thought it was great (boy, has 3D come a long way from earlier days). In fact, I don't know why anyone wouldn't see it in 3D. If you haven't already seen it, try to find a couple of free hours and make your way down to your local theater.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

where does hate come from?

Why is there so much hate in the world?

This is what's been rattling around in my brain lately, ever since a white supremacist entered the Holocaust museum and opened fire, killing a security guard. He didn't just hate Jews, but his hate was so passionate that it drove him to want to kill those he hated. And a week before, a fanatic went into a church and shoots down an abortion doctor all in the name of pro-life. How can someone who proclaims to be pro-life snuff out a life? I don't understand hate and I definitely don't understand murder. How does someone have that much hate in them?

I googled "where does hate come from" and found a few interesting sites and tidbits of information. One shared theory is that all hatred arises from a story; there can be no hatred without a tale of woe to tell about how the hater has been wronged in some way. Others (professionals and otherwise) have stated that it comes from fear, ignorance, arrogance, a sense of superiority, upbringing, and/or insecurities.

I say it's a combination of at least some of these, if not all of them. In some ways, they're all intertwined with each other. That's why I wrote what I did in yesterday's post. I think ignorance is common. Judgement comes from ignorance. In fact, we can all look at that list and find one or more areas where we may personally struggle with. But I think it's safe to say that we don't allow it to become hate. Or maybe it does, to some degree. Maybe there's more hate in us common folk than we know or are willing to admit to. I don't know. Does anyone know?

I realize I'm asking questions that I'll never get clear answers to. I simply don't think there are any answers to the age old question of; Why does the seed of hate bloom in some but not others? It's just one of those sad facts of life. And it makes me feel sad for those who let hatred rule and ruin their lives.

God wants us to live a life of joy. There can be no true joy when hatred is present. In my humble opinion, true joy comes from love - loving and being loved. Imagine what this world would be like if we all practiced love more. Who knows how many lives might be changed? Who knows how much hate might be driven away?

Hate is easy.
Love takes courage.

Monday, June 15, 2009

judge not

It happened when I was quite young.

The viewing pleasure of my favorite TV show, The Brady Bunch, was nearly cut off when my grandparents told my parents that they didn't think my siblings and I should be watching such a show. "What!?" was my immediate response. "How can such a G-rated show be such a problem?"

What had happened was my grandparents judged the weekly must see by it's name, and nothing else. They had not actually seen the show and thought it was about some outlaw cowboy gang. [You have to remember that this was back in the '60s] All we had to do was have them sit down and watch it to have them realize that they grossly misjudged it. It was something we could then chuckle about, and still do to this day.

But for me, there was a lesson in the whole episode. 'You can't judge a book by it's cover' became real to me in a new way and I think it has stuck with me ever since.

In Middle School and High School, I had a couple of friends that made a lasting impression on me. One was a spunky red head who wore extra thick glasses due to near blindness. She was constantly ridiculed because of her looks. I spent a lot of time with her and at her house. I saw first hand not only what a normal fun-loving girl she was but the effects of the ridicule had on her.

The other friend was flawless in her looks so, therefore, she was well liked and popular. Here, again, I spent a lot of time with her but not so much in her home. That was because she had a very dysfunctional family. I was never told anything, but looking back at it now, I would guess that there were a couple forms of abuse taking place. This friend once said to me, "I'm not the person everyone thinks I am."

My point is that it is so common for us (me included) to take the easy way out and judge someone or something by what little information we have. It takes more work to go the extra distance to find out what a person is really like or what the true situation may be.

I believe God doesn't want us to judge at all - that's His job. I have to remember that it's not my place to make judgment calls and that I really can't judge anyone unless I've walked in their shoes. Which, of course, I haven't. I also don't want to be judged (Matthew 7:1). This is where one of my favorite verses comes into play.

"Do to others as you would have them do to you." Luke 6:31

Words I try to live by and have tried to teach to my children and students in youth ministry. I write this all as a precursor to what's really been on my mind lately, which I will write about in my next post.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

it doesn't take much to make me happy

I've been tagged by Karen, of Some Days Are Diamonds. The tag is to list 6 UNimportant things that make me happy.

This was harder than I thought it would be. First off, I consider myself a happy person in general. It might have been easier to come up with what makes me unhappy. I could come with all kinds of things that I love, but that's not the wording of the tag. And then there's the description of unimportant. Well, I can come up with all kinds of answers that seem to fall more into the important category. Here's what I came up with...

} Driving west - which is done nearly on a daily basis - and seeing the mountains. It never gets old. They are so beautiful and majestic. Looking west, I can also look towards the north and the south and see the mountain range. I feel so blessed to live where I do.

} Going out on my deck really late at night. It's dark and it's quiet. I sniff deeply through my nose and enjoy the smells. It's hard to explain, but it's intoxicating. It's a peacefulness that seeps into my bones.

} Just being outside makes me happy. If it's sunny, then it's the sun that warms my skin. It's the fresh air. It's the smells. It's the beauty that surrounds me. Included in this (I thought of making it a separate item) is eating outside which is one of my favorite summertime activities.

} Photographic opportunities. Yep, give me a good photo op and I'm a happy camper. Of course, I'm even happier if I get really good photos.

} Reading a good book. I enjoy reading but I'm really happy when I find and am reading that really good page turner.

} Watching fireworks. If I'm watching a firework display, I have a smile on my face.

I'm tagging... Christine (Chris's Coop), Karen (Over the Backyard Fence), Jamey (Three Little Tigers), Just Mom (Just Mom's Musings), Leigh Ann (Living to Learn & Learning to Live), and Sarah (Short Stop).... and anyone else who would like to play along.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

blogging = friends

I'm not very good at keeping up with awards and tags.

The thing with awards is that, although I am honored that someone thinks enough of me to pass on an award to me, I always feel a little funny about it. I think just about every blogger out there deserves one or more of the many awards that get passed around, so I don't feel like I should be on anyone's short list and I hate making that short list myself.

With that said, I want to let my blogging friend Christine, of Chris's Coop, know how much I appreciate her passing on this award to me, and to say I truly am honored. Here's the award and write up about it.

These blogs are exceedingly charming. These kind of bloggers aim to find and be friends. They are not interested in self aggrandizement. Our hope is that when the ribbons of these prizes are cut, even more friendships are propagated. Please give attention to these writers. Choose eight more and include this cleverly written text into the body of the award.

Even though it says to pass it on to eight people, Christine only passed it on to me and I'm only going to pass it on to one blogger... Sarah, also know as Might Mom, of My Wonderful Life. Mighty Mom (and she is a mighty mom!) recently wrote this in one of her posts. I echo her sentiments and think this award fits her perfectly.

"Diana, you mentioned that I always answer questions here and how it seems like we get to know each other better with this give and take. This is what I blog for. It is a sense of community that is important to me. Not number of hits a day or comments per post....but rather the relationships that have been formed. I share my life with you, you share yours with me. And I love this little group of bloggers that come by regularly. I'm always happy to make new friends."

Tomorrow I'll catch up even more with answers to a tag I received. Beware... I might be tagging you!

Sunday, June 7, 2009

quite an exciting afternoon

'What a beautiful day,' Don and I commented to each other as we left church today. I decided it would be a perfect day to eat outside at my favorite restaurant over at Southlands. My favorite eatery in this outdoor mall, located about 3 miles from our home, is Paradise Bakery. We picked Danielle up from home and headed on over to the popular area. We ate a yummy lunch while sitting in the sun, listening to the music coming out of the sidewalk speakers and watching the kids play in the nearby fountain playground. It was obvious that we weren't the only ones that thought it was a perfect day to be out and about.

That was around 12:30. But by 1:45 things had changed drastically. Where an hour before there were care-free shoppers strolling down Main Street, there was now a tornado ripping it's way down the same thoroughfare. Yep... a tornado.

The EF1 or EF2 (it hasn't been categorized yet) tornado was on the ground for 30 minutes and traveled a path of 8-10 miles. As you can imagine, there was quite a bit of damage and a lot of scared people. Shoppers and movie goers were ushered into the safest parts of the buildings they were in as they heard the commotion going on outside. But they didn't stay in too long because then there were reports of gas leaks. Everyone was quickly evacuated from the mall area.

There were uprooted trees, twisted metal wrapped around poles, blown out windows, relocated benches and cars, and even a car turned upside down. Across the street there is a Lowe's. The tornado picked up model sheds and swingsets and carried them across the street. Large heating and air conditioning units on the roof were ripped off and rain poured into the store.

Not only did it rain hard, but it hailed hard. In the immediate area of the tornado, the hail was baseball size. Here at my house, the ice balls were slightly smaller - golf ball size. I have never seen hail that large, nor heard the sound of it hitting a car - it's loud. I'm so glad that both my car and I were protected from the pummeling. Needless to say, we have a lot of shredded trees around here.

Where was I during the tornado? Standing in the doorway of my garage in awe and snapping a couple of pictures. Some of you may think I was being stupid by not taking refuge in my basement, but we felt safe as we were pretty sure the tornado was moving away from us. We caught the tail end of the show because we watched it go back up into the clouds. One minute it was there, the next it was completely gone.

I sent in a couple of my pictures to the local news stations, along with many other amateur photographers. There were some amazing photos of the tornado. It makes me wish I would have taken my camera, jumped in my car and chased it. I would have loved to have seen what kind of photos I could have got. Oh well... another day... hopefully.

Here are the shots I did get:

Friday, June 5, 2009

painted piggies

Yesterday I went and had a pedicure. I love pedicures. They are just one of the ways I nurture myself - which I firmly believe we all should do. It's a gift I give myself.

I didn't always get pedicures. In fact, up until about 10 years ago, I never even wore color on my toenails. I don't think I ever had color on them, not even as a kid. I remember the first time I had my toenails painted. It was at a women's retreat and we stayed up into the wee hours talking, laughing, and painting each other's nails. At first, I said 'no, I don't want color on them,' but then gave in and ended up liking the way they looked.

That was the start. At first, I would paint them myself every once in a while. Then I went to a nail salon and had a professional pedicure and I've never gone back to doing them myself. Of course, they can apply the color better than I can but that's not why I continue to go. It's the leg, ankle, and foot massage that I find heavenly. I love how smooth my heels end up being. And on top of it all, I find it to be a great stress reliever.

If you've never had a professional pedicure, I encourage you to give it a try.

So, my Aloha Friday question is:

Do you get regular pedicures? Do you love them as much as I do?

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Monday, June 1, 2009

i could hardly believe my eyes

I stood there in disbelief. I just couldn't wrap my mind around what I was seeing. Here's what caught my eye as I walked down the aisle in my neighborhood T*rget.

What's the big deal you may ask? They're just bras. And now you're wondering why I'm posting pictures of bras on my family friendly blog. Well, these aren't ordinary bras, and that is the only reason why I'm posting pictures.

You see, even though these bras look like something you or I (maybe not) or our teenage daughters might wear, they are for a different age group. And that's what gave me pause. They were in the young girls section. These bright, colorful, padded bras that look like they should be worn by a teenager or young adult, are being sold to 5-12 year olds.

I don't know, maybe it's been too long since my daughter was this age. Maybe this is what all the 6 year olds are wearing nowadays. I just have a concern about growing up our young girls too fast and this seems like it would only add to this problem. It's not as big of a deal for a 12 year old, but 5 or 6? Or even 7 or 8? C'mon, really?

If I was a young girl and I saw these eye appealing apparel in my section of the store, I'm sure I would be begging my mom for one - even if I were too young to be wearing one. I'm sure I'd have a friend or two who were wearing one which makes it even more appealing.

So what do you think? Are our young girls too young to be wearing these bras?