Nov 19, 2014

Nature is Back in Balance!

I posted a pix to Instagram and Facebook last week when my bed went flat... the responses were quite amusing! So maybe I need to start by way of explanation-

'NATURE IS INDEED OUT OF BALANCE"
 photo 19-outofbalance_zps7e186fbb.jpg

It all started in 1974 when I hurt my back loading firewood... wait... maybe that is too far back for this post, but a necessary fact nonetheless!

From there I will fast-forward to 10 years ago (Is that any better? My brother-in-law teases me that when I tell a story I go WAY back!) We'd recently moved to Utah and I was called as the Girls Camp director for our ward. I took my blow-up mattress with me, no sleeping on hard surfaces for this Grammie. Shortly thereafter I ran away back to CA because I missed it so badly! And I slept on my air mattress again for the 3 weeks I was gone.

When I got home I realized that my back didn't hurt as much (see I told you this would be important) so I decided to make myself a poor-man's-sleep-by-number-bed. Gordon and I had been sleeping on two twin bed mattresses pushed together to make a king-sized bed anyway, so it didn't impact his bed.

That first mattress lasted for a bunch of years before I had to replace it. The later models just didn't seem to have the lasting power.

Last fall I had a soap-bubble party out on the back deck locating all of the pin-hole leaks in various mattresses of different sizes and patching them. (Whew... this is getting long!)

ANY-way, about a week ago my air mattress, which had been patched, started leaking again. And since my back has been worse lately (lo, these 40 year later!) I decided it was time to get a REAL mattress!

I decided on a Novaform foam mattress that is similar to the Tempura-pedic sold by Costco. They didn't have any in the local warehouse so I ordered it at Costco.com and waited patiently on a Rube Goldberg make-it-do situation of leftover foam pieces, two pillow and a foam topper that used to be on the air mattress. I felt like I was sleeping on a trundle bed!

But Monday finally arrived with the UPS dude delivering a HUGE 72-pound box that contained my shrink-wrapped mattress. It took a few hours to for it to "recover" (Sleep Innovations term for getting un-shrink-wrapped) but...

BEHOLD THE BED! NATURE IS BACK IN BALANCE
 photo 19-grammiesbed_zpsec5dba18.jpg

And I'm not the only one who is pleased about that fact!

But here is the last bit of fun that came with my new mattress... the gi-norm-ee-ous box transformed by the Grammie-faerie into a Fiona play house!

 photo 19-fionashouse_zpsdd4795b1.jpg

She was a little unsure whether she wanted to go inside to get her new pony but Camille sent me a couple of photos last night of her thoroughly enjoying her new digs.

Nov 8, 2014

Mountain-Goat Grammie

Earlier this week a friend posted a photo of her and her walking buddy, Cooper, on the trail that runs above our houses- the Bonneville Shoreline trail. It looked so glorious that it tempted me right out of the house and up onto the mountain.

I grew up right at the base of the mountains in our little town in the Indian Valley, California. I used to take off and explore all over the mountains. It always refreshes and rejuvenates me to take a hike (which is different than a walk!)

 photo 8-Harley_zps330472e9.jpg

Harley could hardly believe his good luck! I never let him off the leash when we go on walks. But since this was a hike and we were up the mountain I told him he needed to stay where I could see him or he'd have to go back on the leash. (Yes, I talk to him like he's a person... a little person in a hairy-suit!) He understood and was quite obedient to my conditions; well, most of the time.

We hadn't gone far when the view opened up across the valley to Utah Lake with the cerulean sky overhead.

 photo 8-utahlake_zps15b18205.jpg

At this point I couldn't tell where the trail went next... silly me, I should have just looked on Google Maps on my iPhone which clearly shows the trail. So I doubled back and headed up the side of the mountain on a mountain goat deer trail.

I wanted to get up to the power lines and survey the fire damage (which is almost imperceptible after the wet September we had). I quickly realized that this mountain goat trail went up and down each of the gullies that one almost doesn't perceive when looking up on the mountain. After one such gully I was seriously doubting the wisdom of where I was (what if I tumbled down the mountain and had to call for a rescue? Now that would be embarrassing!) and decided that I needed to just start down hill until I hit the real trail again.

There is a lovely rock that was just right for resting on. I spied out my house. It was easy since my other neighbor has a wonderful bright red tree in her yard.

 photo 8-viewuptop_zps673cdd35.jpg

I'm always surprised at how a camera diminishes distance. This photo doesn't reflect how far this Grammie had hiked!

 photo 8-selfie_zpsb502a5db.jpg

I've often thought I'd like to hike to the top of this mountain... but not this day!

 photo 8-thetop_zpse1e3e58a.jpg

We got back home just as the light was turning all golden and lovely.  We'd had a happy outing on this golden, stolen November day!

 photo 8-downhere_zps76b1840b.jpg
MY SITTING ROCK.
 
I know that all too soon we will have snow and it will be months before this kind of hike will be possible.

Oct 31, 2014

My DeLoris

IN MEMORIAM
DeLoris Percy
July 21, 1921 - October 30, 2014

 photo 30-deloris_zpsb0adbcfd.jpg
THIS PHOTO TAKEN AUGUST 8, 2014

I knew this day would come... it does for all of us. Yesterday my ga-LOR-ee-ous De-LOR-ee-ous was released from this frail existence to go home to home to her loving Heavenly Father.

DeLoris has been my dear friend nearly from the day I moved to Utah. I was blessed with being called to be her visiting teacher. The Lord knew exactly what I needed when I moved here. I was just 52 and I was assigned with a bunch of octogenarians! It didn't take long for DeLoris and I to become fast friends.

DeLoris couldn't drive because of her pain patch so I frequently became her chauffeur. She introduced me to many of the local delights (other than WalMart!). In the fall of 2005 we began our yearly tradition of driving the Alpine Loop.

In fact, we just made our last annual drive 2 weeks ago.

 photo 11-bye-byedeloris_zpsac7333e0.jpg

I went to visit with DeLoris and asked if she would be up to a drive to which she replied, "Let's go!" With her uncertain health (we had a scare before her birthday) I knew that we had to seize the opportunity IMMEDIATELY!

I also knew, from past experience, that she was no longer tall enough to see out the window without some help. We joked on our last trip that she needed a booster seat! So I yoinked a couple of pillows off her bed and away we went.

 photo 11-delorispillows_zps1f388964.jpg

This dear sweet friend, my DeLoris, is such a marvelous example of uncomplaining patience through trials. Oh, how I will miss her!

 photo 11-joanieanddeloris_zps1917a141.jpg

God be with you till we meet again...

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)

AMANDA, TONY AND REBEKAH HALLOWEEN 1979
 photo 23-tonybekahamandahalloween1979_zps322f7218.jpg

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

TONY, 7- THE PUPPY, COMPLETE WITH EYE-SPOT AND LEASH.
 photo 23-tonypup_zpsd46bb58d.jpg

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.

REBEKAH, 6- THE SWEET KITTY
 photo 23-bekahkitty_zps695d9aa6.jpg

AND AMANDA, 3- AS A LEOPARD
 photo 23-amandacloseup_zpsa87f99a2.jpg

THIS IS A VERY TIRED LEOPARD AFTER A TIRING NIGHT OF MARAUDING THE NEIGHBORHOOD!
 photo 23-amandaleopard_zps3bd8e2c9.jpg

AND YOURS TRULY IN MY 27-YEAR-OLD TOMATO-Y GLORY!
 photo 23-joanietomato_zps4b78fa0f.jpg

(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!

 photo IMG_2097_zps4cda2a56.jpg

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*?)

 photo 23-fionaleopard_zps6b6e9831.jpg

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

 photo 23-amandaandfiona_zps351e10c3.jpg


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!

 photo 13-venturamarinabeach_zps4a8158fa.jpg

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.

 photo 13-babybelleandgrammie_zps113e87de.jpg

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?)

 photo 13-annabelleworeo1_zpse3f04756.jpg
(AND DO YOU SEE THESE LEVI BLUE EYES? THEY ARE JUST LIKE HER DADDY'S.)
 
This was a taste explosion in her little baby-girl mouth!

 photo 13-annabelleworeo1b_zps2870f21d.jpg

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

 photo 13-annabelleworeo2_zps2a91c412.jpg

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!

 photo 13-annabelleworeo3_zpsc7b4a566.jpg

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

 photo 13-rileyinsurf_zps3d7eafd3.jpg

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!

 photo 12-grammieandannabelle_zpsf84efc4f.jpg

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!

 photo 21-roxiebaptismdressfront_zpsed890a5b.jpg


I love how her personality shows through in her choices.

 photo 21-roxiebaptismdressback_zpsc4be9acf.jpg


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

 photo 21-fabricflowers_zpsc249df97.jpg


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!!

 photo 18-elsiethemule_zps7c07962d.jpg

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!

 photo 18-bekandmelvin_zpsd1d5ac4d.jpg

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.

 photo 18-bekahsbruisedleg_zpsea74d527.jpg


 photo 18-joanieandbekahupontop_zps0af584b7.jpg

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

 photo IMG_1235_zpsa751f77d.jpg

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

 photo 18-bekahampmelvinjoanieampelsie_zps578b50b6.jpg

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

 photo 18-b-m-j-e_zpsa30a3ba2.jpg

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.
ROYAL ARCH AS SEEN FROM GLACIER POINT
royal arch photo 17-royalarch_zpsc1ac0def.jpg

And it is where my mom, Elsie, was conceived.

ROYAL ARCH AS SEEN FROM VALLEY FLOOR
royal arch photo 18-royalarch_zps5cc7231b.jpg


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

el capitan photo 18-elcapitan_zps1a742180.jpg

And Grandma Elsie thought so too.

El Capitan 1912 photo 0046ElCapitanYosemite1912_zpse78525f4.jpg

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.

all done photo 18-bektimetogohome_zps5a3efc0b.jpg

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!

Mirror Lake 1912 photo 0048MirrorLakeYosemite1912_zps58fe4e08.jpg

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!

bekah on trail photo 17-bekontrail_zps2f1914e6.jpg

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

perspective photo 17-trialtomirrorlake_zpsc298cc70.jpg

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.

 photo 17-cairnsatmirrorlake_zps9e604e65.jpg

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

mirror lake photo 17-mirrorlake2014_zps725640f0.jpg

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.

half dome from mirror lake photo 17-halfdomefrommirrorlake_zpsaa1c38b2.jpg

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.