Monday, April 28, 2014


This spring is mirroring my emotions.

Everything from sunny blue skies with puffy little clouds to dark overcast stormy.  Sometimes clear, sometimes sprinkles, sometimes downpours and sometimes even hail or snow.  But sometimes sunny.

Jr likes to tell people that emotions suck.  Or something like that.  Maybe who needs emotions.  Or maybe that isn't it either, but you get my drift.  The emotions, they are wearing me out.

15 things I have been feeling/thinking lately:

1.  I miss my friends.  Period.
2.  Why didn't I get a sister and why didn't my mom get a sister and why didn't Jessie get a sister?  This makes me sad.  Blue--deep, dark blue.
3.  These grandkids are adorable lifesavers.
4.  My oh my but the gardens this year are overwhelmingly, over and over, joyful.
5.  I am so tired of my job.
6.  I am so proud of my work.
7.  Can we just have peanut butter sandwiches for dinner?  Again?
8.  That lilac out back is glorious and its scent is heavenly.
9.  I'm so grateful I'm not allergic to lilacs.  Or anything.
10. I can't hardly wait to read the books I ordered online last weekend (HUGE thanks to Lisa for writing and dedicating one of her poems to Gabriel Garcia Marquez).
11. How did I get to this point in life without knowing about him?
12. How are there so many things I know nothing about, like, for example, electricity?  What is it?
13. Zumba forces--forces!--me to feel more upbeat, in my head and my body.
14. Isn't it time to go see the Californians?
15. Does that make me greedy?  Spoiled? 
16. How lucky am I to be able to go so often?  (Way lucky but see #5 above, since this constant need to see my girl and her family keeps me getting up and going to work so I can afford to go see them as often as possible--so sheesh quit whining you big baby for everyone's sake.)

Writing lists really clears my head when I have all of these feelings and thoughts and don't know what to do with them all.  It is good to remind myself that spring weather will settle into summer heat, the leaves and blossoms will arrive, and my boisterous feelings will calm soon. 

It's what happens.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

more spring


yet so much more to come.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

learning new moves

About a month ago, my favorite zumba teacher, Vanessa, offered to stay after class to help students learn dance steps.  It's taken me this long to finally ask for her help.

Part of the delay was caused by trying to decide which move to begin with.  So many things I don't know how to do.  I've thought about it all month, and finally decided to ask her how she does that thing where you start with your head and then gradually move every part of your body forward and then back.  Like a snake or a mermaid.  Or maybe a dolphin, but definitely not a whale.

Amazingly, she knew what I was talking about.  A body roll.

There was some discussion about whether I should start by learning a side roll or a front roll, so we tried doing both and eventually settled on the front roll, in slow-slow-slow motion.

Btw, it ends with a butt pop.  (Or that's what I'm calling it and I'm going to need to spend a bit of time on just that particular part before I'm doing it in class.)

After a couple of tries, she said she thought it would be good to record a couple of different common steps and post them on the internet so I (and others) could practice at home.

Hm.  This is starting to sound like I'm very bad at this zumba thing and she was feeling sorry for me...but well, it didn't feel like that when it was going on, so I'm cutting myself some slack and am going to just go with the thought that there are lots of us who need a bit of help.

Or at least, I was going with that until I came home and tried to show Jr how that body roll thing works and when I got to my ankles, just before the butt pop part, there was this outrageous popping-cracking sound coming from my ankles and Jr just couldn't stop laughing.


Monday, April 14, 2014

a bit of an update

You know, it's mostly spring around here now.  Well, it's exactly spring.  Balmy warm, slight breeze, and then sleet, hail, and big winds.  Definitely spring.

On Saturday, Jr and I decided to dig out the Russian sage and shasta daisies that take over the courtyard beds midsummer every year.  This was likely a bigger project than Jr anticipated, but he's a good sport and a hard worker, so we started with this, which was lots of sage and daisies with lots of roots, many healthy root systems:

We went to the nursery and bought these:

And then we dug and dug and five hours later, we had this:

 We went from disorder and chaos in purples, yellows, blues, oranges, and white, to tidied, ordered pinks, reds, purples, and white.  Soon we will repair the drip irrigation and cover the soil with mulch and in just a bit longer, as some of these die back, we'll head back to the nursery and find later-in-the-year bloomers and add them to these beds. 


 In other beds out front, these lovelies (whose name I cannot remember) are again brightening up a space under the pine tree.  Every spring, I think they are daffodils, and when I go to examine them, remember they are not a bulb, but a different spring delight.

Not far from the yellows, in the same bed, the ferns are unrolling.

So much going on out there during this season.  It all gives me so much joy.

And in other news, in addition to the garden activities, I'm still going to zumba, but now I'm wearing these new shoes from the New Balance store--cost just $20, regularly $80.  What a steal.

Oh and I almost forgot.  My jeans have been getting looser, thanks to the zumba and weight watchers, but  I really don't like shopping for jeans.  It's all too complicated--what leg style, how should the pockets look, do these make my butt look big? and on and on.  So you can imagine my delight this weekend when I discovered a pair of Ann Taylor jeans that sadly I'd grown out of a few years ago and stashed in a drawer and forgotten that are two sizes smaller than the ones I've been wearing--but they fit now. 

Seriously, I love zumba.

Friday, April 11, 2014

so lucky

I have an app on my computer at work, a screensaver that shows photos I've taken over the years.  There are a lot of pictures of my kids and grandkids and pets, and I'm always adding new pics.  It's a nice way to see reminders of fun times we've had and good memories we've made.

Quite often, people who come in my office comment on the pictures.  Adorable grandkids, cute dogs, and regularly someone notices that I'm a Dale Earnhardt fan.

But the most frequent comment I hear relates to my daughter.  People tell me all of the time how much we look alike.  And I'm always surprised by that.  I suppose there must be a resemblance, but I've always thought that she is quite simply adorable and haven't really ever put myself in that category.

All I can ever say to that comment is I must be very lucky if I look like her.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

that one time i got all mathy

Remember sitting in algebra class, wondering what the heck was Mr. Jensen talking about and thinking how you were never ever going to use this stuff in real life?

Well guess who used algebra?  Me.  Yep.  Me.  IN MY HEAD even, not on paper.


On Breanne's birthday last week, we had cake.  And maybe I haven't mentioned it, but when I joined the gym and started going to zumba a few months ago, I also joined weight watchers.  Wanted to hit the health and fitness thing hard--boom! and double boom!

Weight watchers lets you eat whatever you want to eat, but you have to keep a record of everything you eat.  And that means figuring out the points that are determined by the fat, protein, carbs, and fiber.  It sounds really complicated but with an iPhone and the weight watchers app, it's pretty easy. 

Although you do have to figure out portion sizes.  And that's where the algebra came in.

Jessie made a double layer yellow cake with yellow frosting.  Cory served it.  And in my head, I figured out that we'd eaten 12 pieces, which was three-fourths of the cake.  And then I did some math (3/4x = 12, which simplified down to x = 12 divided by 3/4, and then x = 12*4/3, and then x = 48/3, and finally x = 16), which means there were 16 pieces of cake so I ate 1/16 of a cake. 

The part that surprised me was that before I did that algebra in my head, I got a quick impression that since we ate 3/4 of the cake and that was 12 pieces, there must have been 16 pieces of cake total.  And then, the second big surprise was when I figured it out using algebra and--I GOT THE SAME ANSWER BOTH TIMES!!!

I was so impressed that I got all mathy like that.  Mr. Jensen would have been so amazed and proud of me.

And, in case you're wondering, I've lost 20 pounds since the first of November when I started weight watchers and zumba.  About a pound a week.  Not too bad, right, and math too.  Whoa.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

cali debrief

Another visit to California complete.  Over too soon, but lots of good new memories.

For example--seeing my oldest boy feeding his girls and hanging out with his little brother.

And seeing the youngest boy playing with his sister's kids.

Of course there was lots of time at the beach, even though it was breezy and even a bit rainy.

These three could not stay away from the waves.


And this one changed from timid around the ocean during the last visit to loves the ocean this time.


She likes the ocean.

And will pose a little if you give her the chance.

 Obviously, Jr still loves the beach.  And can build a mean monster sand castle with moat.

If you look closely you can see the ditch I dug to the ocean that may have eventually filled the moat.  
And there were so many birds.  And little tiny crabs in the sand.  But no pictures of the crabs.

These were everywhere.  Little single clumps and whole hillsides covered.

She did not sleep in the truck on the way home from the beach.  Not at all.  After she woke up.

We saw the San Francisco bay from a boat ride under the Golden Gate bridge, got a little creeped out by the animals living in the aquarium, and ate a delicious crab/salmon/fish & chips lunch.

Everyone seemed to enjoy the birthday celebration for the now eight-year-old in pink.

And then the drive home.  Yep, snow in the Sierra Nevadas in April.

This one really missed us.  Or me.  Can't stay off my lap now that we're home.