Oct 25, 2014

Grammie's Costume Box of Memories

In 1979 I made my little kids Halloween costumes. I was so pleased with the how they turned out. (Please to notice the barn wood shelf, the very stylish macrame owl and plant hanger- accenting, of course, the harvest gold couch)

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Previous years I'd done easy things like a ghost, cowboy, fireman etc but this year I went all out.

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My first thought was that these would become pajamas but I was so happy with them that they became the first residents of the Halloween box.

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(When I ran across this tomato costume last week I'd forgotten that it was this old and I was that young.)

Over the years I've added more costumes: the Fruit of the Loom guys (a bunch of grapes and an apple), the tortoise and the hare, salt and pepper, pirates, hula girl, shepherds, Tinkerbell (a hand-me-down from Sue), an old woman and many more. Each Halloween we'd pull the box out and have a costume parade... and I loved it.

My favorite will always be the years Bek and the boys would come to visit. Stuart would usually have us in tears of laughter. I searched in vain for my blog post about this and I just now remembered- it's not on my blog but tucked safely in one of my many scrapbooks (you remember those days before blogging?)

So I was happy when Camille asked if the kids could come over and *shop* in Grammie's costume box for Halloween. Yes, please!

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But this was our unexpected bonus... we put Fiona in her Auntie Amanda's 35 year old costume. (And see Mama-Camille's cute *costume*?)

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What do you think this little costume would say about this?

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Grammie says it makes her heart very happy!

Oct 21, 2014

Oreos at the Beach

When I first mentioned to Deborah that I was going to be coming to see them she had this wonderful idea! Let's surprise Spencer! I'm always in for a good surprises! (He was very surprised)

Spencer told Deb he wanted to go to the beach on Saturday. (She texts me on the low-down and says Grammie, you up for the beach?) So I packed up the two sand buckets that have been chillin' in my garage since for-E-ver! (But did I remember to pack my *babing-suit*? NO! Not me!! Sheesh! And have you ever tried to buy a bathing suit in September? Yeah, right! Rant over.)

When my little kids were growing up our favorite beach was always Ventura Marina beach. The crowds are usually smaller and they have a wonderful pirate ship complete with zipline! Spencer wanted to go back there this time too. Deb kindly took this pix of us, I *thought* I took a photo of their family too but, apparently, failed!

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It was breezy and cool and I didn't what Baby Belle to get blown on. She eventually went to sleep and took a little nap in her stroller right there on the sand.

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When she woke up she was hungry so what did Grammie do? Well, what any self-respecting Grammie would do... I twisted open an oreo, snarked off the creamy-peanut butter center and gave her the chocolate cookie part. (See how nice Grammie is?)

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This was a taste explosion in her little baby-girl mouth!

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She continued to gnaw on it until she had a respectable oreo-goatee!

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It reminded me of the days when her Daddy was small and his Daddy would come home from work with a permanent ink marker and draw mustaches on him and his sibs!

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All the while Riley was totally enjoying his time in the surf. He and Spencer played there for a very long time.

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It was a lovely day. We ended by having a fish and chips dinner and a quiet ride home. Both Riley and Annabelle knocked out within 5 minutes and slept the whole way home.

And, you know, this blog post wouldn't be complete without at least one random photo from the day before of Baby Belle and her Grammie!

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Roxie's Special Dress

Roxie just turned 8 and, in keeping with tradition, I told her I would make her baptism dress. Part of the fun of this tradition is that said granddaughter and Grammie go shopping together to pick out fabric and a pattern. I showed Roxie my progress and she was still marveling at 3rd Sunday Grammie-dinner how she could choose just what she wanted.

I finished it up today. And it is so Roxie!

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I love how her personality shows through in her choices.

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I truly enjoy sewing something special for my littles. I even got to learn a new technique (thank you Pinterest!)

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I will be back in a couple of weeks with photos of my darling girl in her special dress.

PS... If you'd like to see Ashton's dress go here.

Oct 8, 2014

Yosemite National Park- A Heritage Vacation- Day Three

Thursday we planned for a mule ride! I was very excited about this bit of reenactment! I've ridden a mule once before, at Mammoth Lakes in 1994 but apparently it was an atypical, cooperative mule! I love Grandad's description of mule riding...
"Every day we hiked to points of interest. The falls were nice and full in July and we explored them all as far as we could go. This [the trail to Glacier Point] is the trail over which the guides take their tourists by horse- or mule-back. We kept pace with them almost all the way up the trail; sometimes we would pass them and later they would pass us sitting down to rest. A mule is a very aggravating animal, especially on the trail. The guide would be up in front, mounted on a horse, and occasionally a mule would spy a nice green sprig off to one side of the trail, and the rider couldn’t stop him from getting it—which as very uncomfortable to the rider, who would have a hard time to keep from sliding backward out of the saddle. When this occurred in the middle of the line, it caused quite a jam and the guide would have to come back and get the mule to change his mind again. We saw one old fellow in this kind of a fix and he hollered bloody murder until the guide righted his mule again."
We were set for a 4-hour trail ride that started at 8 am. We needed to arrive early to watch their safety video and get our mandatory riding helmet. There were only 5 riders this day, plus the two guides. They had the mules all lined up on one side of the hitchin'-fence and told us to wait on the other side (the safe side) until we were matches up with our mule. Imagine my surprise and delight when they said, "Joanie, this is your mule, Elsie!" I won't lie... it brought tears to my eyes. What were the chances? Just a coincidence? I THINK NOT!!

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Rebekah got paired with Melvin. We were assured by our guides that none of the mules were suicidal and to trust them. I loved watching Melvin's little mincing steps as he maneuvered his way on the trail, keeping my acrophobic daughter safe... even in the face of sure death!

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But it was a close thing. About three-quarters of the way up the steep mountain trail the mule right in front of me stepped on the side of the trail as it maneuvered one of the many hairpin turns, knocking loose some rocks, which, naturally started a mini rock slide. Welp! Elsie decided to take exception with that! (And if you've ever been horse or mule back riding, you know what I'm talking about!) That 16-hand-tall mule turned on a dime that would make any good cuttin' horse jealous and started tearing off down the trail away from that evil mass of rock wedging her way between Melvin and Rebekah on the inside, uphill side of the trail pushing her puny friend and rider right up to the precipice of death!! Luckily I am an experienced horsewoman (oh, but mules are a different breed!) and was able to stop her in quick time.

Rebekah mentioned that her leg and knee hurt but it wasn't until later that we saw the extent of the damage... and this is before the bruising started to bloom.

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But Bek cowgirled-up and we had a lovely view from the top.

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We wanted our guide to capture our likeness, just like Bill and Elsie 102 years ago, but Elsie-the mule is a big girl...

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and we needed a better vantage point so we could even see Rebekah and Melvin.

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The stables are right at the base of Royal Arch, where Grandad and Grandma camped those many summers ago.
When we checked in at the Ranger’s Station, we were assigned to Camp 8 which is under the Royal Arch, which is within walking distance of Camp Curry, where they had an entertainment each evening, which was climaxed by the fire-fall from Glacier Point each night. Glacier Point is about 3,000 feet above the floor of the valley and each day they make a big pile of wood which is lighted in the evening and when it burns down, the embers are pushed over the precipice—thus the fire falls. Midway down the face of the cliff is a ledge upon which the embers fall and burn themselves out. A person at the top of the cliff cannot throw a stone or stick hard enough to fall on the valley floor, for the draft will suck it in so that it falls on the ledge every time.
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And it is where my mom, Elsie, was conceived.

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No trip to Yosemite would be complete without a photo of El Capitan!

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And Grandma Elsie thought so too.

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We saw several climbers scaling the face. We pulled out my 70-300mm zoom lens and could see them toiling bravely weighed down with way too much stuff! And, what, may I ask does one do when they have to go potty in the middle of a climb? It take two days and they sleep in a hammock set-up over night. Just one more reason I won't be doing any rock climbing!

And that's it... our wonderful heritage vacation. We had a lovely time. It was just the right amount of time.

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And it only took us 2-3 days to get over the soreness of hiking and mule riding!

If you'd like to read more of Grandad's history you can find it here. The story about their Yosemite vacation begins on page 17.

Oct 7, 2014

Yosemite National Park- Mirror Lake- Day Two

After our jaunt up to Glacier Point we wanted something where we could stretch our legs. One of the park employees suggested Mirror Lake and that was just right for us! I could hardly wait to see this beautiful sight 102 years later!

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We should have invested in a Yosemite map but thought we could get by with the map provided for free. Next time! We ended up on a mule trail that was quite rough and littered with evidence of recent mule activity!

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The scenery was wonderfully beautiful hiking along next to these rock-a-dons. I needed to add this photo for perspective!

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When we were almost to Mirror lake we saw these two rock cairns. Another park visitor informed us that there were about an hundred just around the corner.

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But all I could think of was getting to the lake and putting my feet into the nice cool water...

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Erm... do you think the park employee could have mentioned this tiny detail? This is all that is left of Mirror Lake. A sign informed us that there is always a cyclical pattern to Mirror Lake's size but this year it was ALL beach-front property... WITH NO WATER! (So sorry to my achin' little piggies!)

We noticed a middle-aged couple lying on the fine gravel of Mirror Lake's dry bed gazing up at Half Dome. We decided to follow suit and rest my piggies, at least!

John Muir stated that he felt like he was in a huge cathedral when he was in Yosemite. I have to agree with him. I felt such a sense of reverence in this wonderful specimen of God's handiwork.

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Our return trip was much easier as we took the bike trail but completely forgot to go looking for the hundreds of rock cairns! Silly girls.

Sep 27, 2014

Yosemite National Park- Glacier Point- Day Two

Tuesday night we didn't even eat dinner until 9 pm so we had a slower start this day. Our first stop was Glacier Point.

It is at Glacier Point that the is the famous Over hangin' Rock! (BTW the handwriting on these photos is my Grandma Elsie's hand.)

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The more I learn about my Grandad, the more I understand where my impulsive behavior comes from!

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And, you know, this IS a heritage-reenactment vacation...

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But, surprisingly, I've learned to be cautious in my 60s (I want to see my 70s and 80s). So this is my version of Bill Munce on over hangin' rock! (Taken the day before at Olmsted Flats) Also, the rock is fenced off and folks are not allowed to go out there any longer.

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One of Bill and Elsie's first stops was Inspiration Point. Aren't they so darling? Inspiration Point isn't too far from Glacier Point.

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I have to say that my favorite of all the places we visited was Glacier Point! The views from up there are wonderful!!
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Grandad says of their hike to Glacier Point-
Our longest hike was to Glacier Point by the long trail, which skirts Vernal and Nevada Falls. It is 13 miles and that was tough going in some places. But the climb was well worthwhile, for from Glacier Point you can look straight down onto the floor of the valley. The stages looked like toys as they rolled along the road and the people looked as big as dolls. We went into the restaurant up on the Point and had our meal out on the porch, which was glassed in and was nice and warm. From here we could look out all over one side of the valley and it was marvelous. Vernal Falls is only a short distance away, maybe a mile, and it is so clear and bright you almost felt as though you could touch it. Nevada Falls is further back, but it completed a beautiful picture.

We returned to the valley by the short trail, which was 3 miles long and all downhill. This was only a narrow foot trail and animals were not allowed on it. It was unimproved and in a great many places the going was tough, on account of the rocks and deep gullies, and if you think your feet won’t get sore getting jammed into the toes of your shoes every step, just try it. Our feet and ankles were sore for a week.
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Several years ago Rebekah and family took Camille to Yosemite on one of her summer visits. Rebekah, Camille, Tadhg and Caden ended up taking the hike down (and according to Grandad, straight down!) from Glacier Point to the Valley... IN FLIP-FLOPS! Bek says they got a lot of strange looks that day! Curtis and baby-Brock met them at the bottom. We decided we would forgo this reenactment since it cost $25 each for a bus ride to the top. Happy little Elio took us there for only a sip of gasoline!

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I will be back tomorrow, or the next, with more of our Yosemite adventures. I'm having such a good time remembering!

Sep 21, 2014

Yosemite National Park- A Heritage Vacation- Day One

Several months ago I gave a Primary sharing time about family history and shared a trip that my grandparents made to Yosemite in 1912. That started a hankering in my soul that needed to be satisfied. I knew that at 62 I would finally qualify for my Senior America the Beautiful pass. So with those two pieces of information I cooked up a Yosemite trip with Rebekah (who lives an hour away from Yosemite). I just wanted to go back needed to make a heritage vacation with Bill and Elsie in mind.

They traveled by horse and wagon and it took them 4 days to make the trip from Fresno to Yosemite. They camped near where their great-granddaughter would one day live on the second night.

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We traveled from Yosemite Lakes Park, where Bekah lives, in Elio and made the trip in about one hour. But that first glimpse of Yosemite Valley is still just as breathtakingly beautiful.

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Since there isn't an easy way from Bek's house to Utah (every route is 13 hours!) they frequently cut through the Park and then head out across Nevada and Utah on Hwy 6. They are always in a hurry to leave or get home when they pass through Tuolumne Meadows and don't take time to stop. We decided that would be would be our first destination. On our way we stopped at Olmsted Point for our first hike.

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My beautiful Bekah... she kindly hiked at my Grammie pace.

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Our next stop was Tuolumne Meadows. We hiked around the meadows, not across, and back to the Tuolumne River. The river was unusually low due to the severe drought affecting California.

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The temperature was much cooler here, for which we were grateful.

I'll be back in the next few days to post more about our adventures.