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|Posted on November 12, 2014 at 1:12 AM||comments (93)|
This is Agate Beach in Northern California off the Redwood Forest Highway. Incredible! We had to hike down all the way, then hike back up so we couldn't bring too many treasures.
Rebeca and I on the beach.
The agates are in the cliffs and storms and rain bring them down to the beach.
Hiking back up from the beach. Treasures in our hands and pockets. Ferns, moss, beach flowers, tall trees, and amazing rocks. What a pretty place.
Plus, it was 60 degrees here and the rest of the US seemed to be caught in cold.
Beca and Liz at the beginning of the trail. Cool trees.
So much of the coast of northern California was like this...big rocks, wild waves, beautiful forests....really gorgeous.
Tony and Colette were married in Seattle on Saturday. We are driving Colette's car back to Oklahoma...(David, Elizabeth, Rebeca and I) that's why we are here...
The beach (sand) is made of tiny, tiny rocks.
Our treasures of smooth rocks, smooth drift wood, canes of driftwood.
The Redwoods were so amazing! I had to delete most of the pictures we took. They simply did not come out. It is really hard to take pictures of such huge and tall trees.
It would get really shady on the highway when you came to the bigger groves of trees. then the sun would filter down through the trees and it was such a sacred feeling. As if the trees were a cathedral to God.
We drove through this tree. Almost took the mirror off the side of the car. Rebeca's yelling saved me at the last minute.
Now this is a "tree house". Made from a Redwood...
A herd of Elk...just enjoying the soft grass of someone's lawn instead of the dry grass on the side of the mountain. they were in the middle of the road as well and we all had to stop and wait for them.
Can you believe we saw all this in one day? What a beautiful place.
|Posted on October 30, 2014 at 10:13 AM||comments (206)|
Okay everyone. I have blogged about this before, but no one seems to be listening.
I have attended two different conferences recently, one in Oklahoma and the other in Kansas City, Missouri. The conferences were put on by different organizations, however, both required dressing nicely, i.e., professionally.
On my website, I have a link: Dress Professional. If you are not sure what that means go and look. I also have a link for Etiquette.
So why am I telling people to get a mirror? I am absolutely convinced that a large majority of people do not have full length mirrors in their homes. Nor do they understand that you need to face that mirror backwards while using another hand-held mirror to look at your outfit from the rear. (And carry a small mirror to use at the store before you buy that horrid pair of pants that makes you look 12 pounds heavier).
Why am I convinced? Because I know many of these individuals, and they would be appalled to know what they look like. I know they want to look their best and dress attractively.
But at these two conferences I saw women showing panty lines, bulges from camisoles or under garments, seams of their underwear, and so on.
Worse, I saw way too much cellulite and behind dimples.
I saw one woman as she entered the doorway and the sun streamed through, show absolutely everything underneath. The fabric of her dress was very sheer and what was okay in office light suddenly told all in sunlight.
When you buy an outfit, shirt, skirt, etc. Put your hand inside the fabric. Can you see your hand through the fabric? Then we will be able to see your bra, your panties, your cellulite, plus other things we do not want to see unless you wear something under it that is thicker.
Also, popular right now is this thin stretchy material. Be careful ladies, whether it is yoga pants, a skirt, or a dress. If it is too thin (although, not sheer) it is still clingy and we can see your love handles, the bulges of fat on your back, any under garments, and way more then we care to see.
Can you not understand that by wearing structured clothing instead of clingy clothing that you hide all these imperfections? An a-line skirt with seams that is lined and of a thicker fabric will give you a smooth rear with no bulges or moon craters...in other words...you look thinner when you dress modestly...and who doesn't want to look better?
Also, I do not want to know what kind of underwear you have on...guys or gals...bend over before you go out....check and see if you're hanging out...NO. I am not interested in boxers versus briefs, your back hair, your crack, your new thong, your love handles, and so forth.
I am tired of having to divert my eyes or being sickened just because you picked up something.
Any guys? Arm pits are seldom attractive. Wear a shirt. And wear a shirt with sleeves. And no, I do not want to see your chest peeking out any more than I want to see that ladies' breasts bulging out. Please cover yourselves. Button up your shirts.
And speaking of buttons ladies. Use a safety pin to pin openings on button up shirts so we don't see your bra from the side.
Also, if you wear a sheer top or a top with sheer sleeves. Get that mirror and check the back. Many times the front is covered but you are showing us lace, your bra, and bulges in the back or at the top of your sleeves.
A full length mirror will also help you to know if your skirt or dress is long enough. Look at the slit in the back or side of the skirt. Are you showing any under garments? A slip or a girdle?
Just one more pet peeve. If I am more than 20 feet away and I can tell you are wearing foundation; it is on too thick. You are not on stage...do not wear it that thick. Make up is to enhance, not to glob on. Look at the most beautiful women you know with the most beautiful skin. You have to be really close to them before you can tell that they are wearing something.
Subtle is a lost word and a lost art in today's world. People are like bill boards that are loud, raucous, and scream: Here am I, don't you think I'm sexy?
But if you go back to some of the most "sexy" women or men of all time; they were subtle, demure, and amazingly modest. How sexy is Cary Grant in a suit, or even Audrey Hepburn in a suit?
Is it necessary to show everything? Is that really more attractive to let it all hang out? (even in your conversations?)
Just think about it...and please, please buy a mirror.
|Posted on October 25, 2014 at 4:35 PM||comments (249)|
Now, I am getting ready for Tony and Colette's wedding. I am cooking for 200 one night and 50 the next day, but this will be in Washington state far a way from my kitchen...oh dear.
Then about 2:00 AM one night (when I couldn't sleep for thinking of all the things that I have to do) it occurred to me.
I can make the Pupusa Meat, the Taco meat, and the Spanish Turkey here, then put it in big ice cream tubs, freeze it, then ship it with dry ice to Washington. (Feeding a crowd).
That way when I get there the hardest part is already done. We will only have to set out everything for pile-ons and Bolios. And making Pupusas on Saturday will be much easier with the mixture already done and ready for me.
I just need to compile a list for each meal and send it to Colette's mom so she can have everything ready for me when I arrive.
The thing that concerns me the most is I have taught cooking classes before and know how easy it is to think you have everything you need then to get there and realize that you forgot the spatula or that one spice.
Oh well, we will make do and just do our best. I also just sent Colette a bunch of pictures of Tony from his childhood for the reception. Oh my, that brought back so many happy memories. Fito and I sure had a good time with our house full of children.
And now I have cute little grandchildren to bring me happiness, but I don't have to do the majority of all the work. Cool!
And we are so happy for Colette and Tony! Now only 5 more children to get married...
Some of my cute grand babies:
|Posted on October 25, 2014 at 3:25 PM||comments (254)|
After my mom’s death, I was really surprised by how much I missed her. When my father passed away it was such a relief as he had had cancer for a third time, it had gone into his bones and he was in such pain that it was pure relief and happiness when he was gone.
I did not miss him so much but still hear his voice constantly telling me things, guiding me, teaching me.
However, with my mom, I guess because I had cared for her for so long, it was as if we had both been mothers to each other. I would walk by her room and look in to see how she was…and then I would remember, oh, she’s gone.
I still wake up in the middle of the night and think, “I need to go check on mom.” I have even gone halfway to her room and then remembered. At times, I am preparing food, or in the grocery store…and so on and think, “I need to heat some up for her.” And then it hits. But I know with time and understanding the wounds we have all heal or at least fade enough that the hurt is not so deep.
Also, the roller coaster of life takes you down, but it also takes you up. Michael John Sagastizado was born shortly after losing my mom. He and Ashley had a hard time in the beginning. She got a virus or bacteria, most likely in the hospital, and was running a high fever and was very sick. Her labor also stalled as her fever went up and she ended up with a cesarean. She tried so hard, but we are just thankful they are both okay and with us.
Michael was in NICU for a few days as he simply could not keep his blood sugars stable. They think it maybe was due to the infection Ashley contacted. But he pulled through quickly and was out in a few days.
He is so handsome and such a happy baby and good nurser. Ashley is such a good mother. It is such a joy to see my daughter and daughter-in-laws have babies and see what great mothers they are and to see what great fathers my sons and son-in-law are. We have truly been blessed.
Sunday evening, a few days after the birth, I was finally allowed into NICU and to hold Michael. He looked a lot like my Michael who was stillborn 13 years ago. I could feel my Michael’s presence and feel the sweet pure spirit of this Michael who just came to be in our family. It was a very spiritual moment of profound happiness and yet a longing for the child I lost.
Tears were running down my face. Then Elizabeth came in and then Rebeca. Rebeca was too young and wasn’t supposed to be in there, however, the nurse realized that she was mature and would not be disruptive. To see my younger daughters hold my newborn grandson was so gratifying. I use to worry since they were the youngest that they wouldn’t know how to take care of children or know how to handle babies, and so forth.
Now I realize with all of the grandchildren that they will have plenty of opportunities. In fact, maybe just as much as their siblings (although, their older siblings think they are spoiled and do not have to do anything).
Albeit, they have never had to share a Happy Meal like their older siblings did or a myriad of other sacrifices, but they also don’t have a houseful of playmates either…Rebeca’s always looking for someone who will ride a bike with her or go play in the tree house with her. We are all old and boring here. While that would have never happened to her older siblings. There was always someone ready to go outside and explore.
I do have to add that Maria went to be with Ashley while she was in labor and I had her two boys for two days and overnight…and I was worn out! How I raised 9 is beyond me…I definitely had more energy 30 years ago. (But so worth all the work!)
|Posted on October 25, 2014 at 12:44 PM||comments (109)|
Now, when we went to Padre Island, I asked my friend, Kathy, to come stay with my mom. She had been slowly going downhill all year, but when I came back from Padre Island, she seemed especially weak. I thought maybe Kathy had been too soft with her and had not pushed her enough to walk or to do others things. (She, herself, told me that Kathy was much nicer to her and not a big meanie like me…)
However, after having been at home for a while, I realized that she simply did not have the strength anymore to do certain things. I called her doctor and he came to see her. He ordered an EKG which showed her heart was failing and warned me that her body was starting to shut down.
I could see the decline but kept telling myself that I would help her get better and then she would be okay, again. I really thought she would live to be 90 plus. But 83 years were enough for her, I guess. Each day, she was able to do less and I had to do more and more for her. Then she became bedridden and I was exhausted.
It was a Friday night and I was so tired. I decided I would call Hospice on Monday as I knew I could not go on as I had. I would have to turn her on to my father’s bed. Change her bed, then change and clean her, then roll her back. She wouldn’t eat any solids and had problems even keeping down liquids.
When I found her dead Sunday morning, it was truly a bittersweet moment. It was bitter as I had lost my dear sweet mother. I’ve had her my whole life. We have lived next door to her or with her for most of our married life…and yet, it was such a sweet relief and happiness knowing that she was now with her beloved Jerry (my dad) and I could see them in my mind’s eye as two deeply-in-love teenagers stealing kisses and holding hands.
She no longer was bound by her old frail body. What joy! And yet, I was so sad at the same time…a very strange feeling.
I spent the day trying to take care of all the thousand things that you must do when someone dies. Calling family and friends, trying to make decisions, and just trying to cope.
I had spent the night with her and had had music for her to listen to. I had called everyone the day before because I knew death was close. Around 6:00 AM, I went to my room to try to get at least 2-3 hours of sleep as I knew family was coming.
I awoke about 8:30 AM and went to check on her and that is when I found her gone. I knew since she had died at home, I had to notify the authorities as she was not on Hospice. I called the police, but guess the dispatcher didn’t really believe and she sent the ambulance. I told them it was a mistake and they were not needed. Around then the funeral director came and thankfully, the others left.
He was so great and helped take care of everything. What a shame that you cannot even die at home anymore without government meddling in your life.
The next weeks were a whirlwind of decisions, organizing, sorting, cleaning, and trying to take care of everything. She was to be buried in the family plot in Texas, so we had to take her there. Guess what, a coffin fits in a Ford Flex if the seats are all the way forward.
Now, I have to tell you a story about when we took my father’s body to Texas over 10 years ago. We had a van and we had taken the rear seats out to make room for his coffin. We lived in Kansas at the time so it was about 5-6 hours.
We were in a really rural area in the middle of the night when there was a loud knocking inside the van. Talk about frightening! Adrenaline went rushing through both my husband and I. Our hearts were pounding! Then I remembered that my dad was embalmed (I had also seen him dead)…however, that knocking was so freaky. We finally decided that it was something to do with the speakers, but boy were we startled for a minute or two.
I thought everything was taken care of for mom as she had always told me she had a pre-paid funeral plan. She’d say, “I’ve even picked out my coffin…you don’t have to do a thing.”
My advice is to check, check, check. We had to pay more for a different coffin because the one she had chosen would not accommodate her size. Texas now requires for the coffin to be inside a cement box so we had to pay for that. She had bought a stone, but hadn’t paid for the engraving of the stone. I could go on and on.
The day of the funeral, I showed up at the church and one of the sister’s at the church asked me for the sign in book--oops—forgot that…I had stayed up late just trying to get the program done and the eulogy written.
Oh my, there’s so much to do and so much to remember. Thank goodness, my mom had planned for many things. If she had not done that, it would have been so much more difficult.
The funeral was beautiful. There was lots of music which she wanted and her family came to honor her. I think she would have been pleased. She was buried next to her husband, parents, and other family members in Texas.
Fito and I were the first to arrive at the cemetery and the mosquitoes were insane. We had to go back to the car and then spend a few minutes killing the ones that were inside the car. I called my aunt and had her bring repellent. We had to spray everyone from head to toe and they were still pesky.
I guess that’s what makes for stories and sure makes for appreciation of pesticides that kill bugs…ha…please don’t send me to live in a jungle…
Back home to sort, sort, sort. My mom had boxes and boxes of photos, scrap books, history, records, and so on. I have been going through stuff for over a month now and still am not finished. Then decided I, myself, had too much stuff and threw away 5 large trash bags of my own files.
I don’t want my children to have to go through boxes and boxes of stuff wondering what possessed me to keep that. Ha! I’m sure they still will wonder. I have a house full of fascinating stuff (at least to me it is fascinating) oh my…
Here is the eulogy I wrote for her:
What can one say when one’s mother has passed away? The woman who’s soft caress put you to sleep. The woman who’s nectar of life gave you sustenance? The mother who comforted you, taught you, scolded you, worked with you, guided you and most of all, kept on loving you even when you were unlovable.
Edna Mae Sell Norton was such a mother. She was born April 19, 1931 to Dan and Alnora Sell and grew up in a Christian home. She grew up on a farm and she said one of the reasons she married a city boy was that farms were too much hard work and she would be perfectly happy if she never had to milk a cow the rest of her life.
She could remember only two times when her father was angry with her; one was when she neglected to wash the cream separator and the other was when she wrecked his truck while goofing off with some friends. This not only showed what an even tempered man her father was but also shows what an obedient daughter she was.
She got her first pair of glasses when around eight years old. She remembered her whole life, the wonder of finally- and for the first time in her life- of being able to see clearly. To see the sky, the clouds, a blade of grass, and details on flowers, the world she had not been able to see; was so amazing.
She grew up in Booker, TX where she graduated from high school, was married, and will be buried. While we were growing up, many a summer was spent in Booker: riding horses or motorcycles with cousins, playing Pitch, reading comic books during Grandpa’s afternoon nap, playing croquet on the lawn, and so on.
Mom, or Eddie as she was known in Booker, was a smart, fun, and loving classmate. She kept in contact with her classmates her whole life and was always loved and respected. The pastor who married her wrote an article in the paper about her.
He said “In the year that Edna Mae, or Eddie, as she became known, was a junior in high school, or it may have been in the year she was a senior, I saw something in that little home town paper from the school department that has stayed with me. The school editor was describing the members of the class. I was happy to read the account of this girl. One statement in it was all I remember; this is what I read, “Eddie is a very popular girl in school. She makes good grades and gets along with everyone. She goes to church regular, and is not ashamed that she is a Christian, and wants everyone to know that she is a Christian. Everyone here at the school believes that Eddie will go places.”
Edna was a disciple of Christ her whole life. She continued on in a pattern of service, selflessness, and charity all her days. Several years after Jerry and Edna were married they joined the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. They both made many changes in their lives and never looked back.
They had family scripture study, Family Home Evening, took us to church, taught us the doctrines of the church, paid tithing, and did everything the Prophet asked us to do. Mom did each and every calling just as completely and perfectly as she could. If she was librarian; the library was updated, kept in perfect order, and she was there every Sunday to hand out supplies. When she was a teacher; the lesson would be prepared ahead of time, pictures or activities set up in advanced, and missing students called.
When she was Relief Society President, she set a goal to visit every sister in the ward. After about one year she had met this goal and then shortly afterward our Tulsa home sold which had been on the market a long time. She remarked that the house couldn’t sell until she had reached her goal. She also had a sister in this ward that had Bell’s Palsy and mom would visit her almost weekly to care for her needs.
Mom said many times that the reason she married dad was because he was the only man who was smarter than her, and mom was smart. She was a whiz at using a slide rule, and we would always throw a series of big numbers at her and she could always do in her head what we were doing on a calculator. She always received excellent grades and was the first person in her family to graduate from college. She earned a bachelor’s in Chemistry from McMurry College in Abilene, TX.
Right after, she and dad were married they moved to Columbus, Ohio where she was pursuing a Master’s degree in Chemistry. But she abandoned that dream to pursue her life’s one main dream and goal: to be a mother. And a mother she was. In fact, very few women come close to being the type of mother she was; for she truly was a Proverb’s Woman.
She sewed and made us girls matching dresses and Dennis a matching shirt. I remember a Mary Poppin’s dress, a Chitty bang bang Dress, and many more. Getting our hair curled on Saturday night while we watched The Lawrence Welk Show, and of mom at the sewing machine or cooking dinner, when we came home from school.
Family trips, holidays with special treats, and many many decorations. Mom absolutely loved decorating for each and every holiday, birthday, or event. She had three Christmas trees and two Christmas Villages and had seasonal decorations for every occasion.
Coming to her house was always a welcoming experience with candy in a gumball machine, really good popsicles and ice cream bars, yummy treats and plenty of movies to watch.
When mom and dad moved to Caney, KS they bought a home that had a craft store behind the home. Mom was in heaven. She ran the store for years and taught classes. She could do just about any type of craft you can think of: crocheting, wheat weaving, paper curled art, stained glass, tole painting, embroidery of different types, cross stitch, needle point, quilting, applique, rug making, flower arranging, sewing, and so on.
She canned and had her food storage. She baked and ground her wheat. She cooked from scratch and delighted in loving her family through special meals.
She belonged to Tulsa Town Tolers, a decorative painting club, and was so proud of the fact that she had a hand- painted Christmas ornament shown in the Smithsonian. She was always busy and organized and did all she could to teach and pass these skill on to others.
She supported Dad in all of his church callings and in his professional life. I never heard her complain when he was called away to do something for the church.
In later years, she became an avid genealogist and many trips that she and dad took- were to areas of the US where they could get genealogical info. She compiled history books of several family lines, was the secretary for the reunion committee for years, and had many Family History books published. She will be praised by both her ancestors and posterity for the many names found, for all the histories she compiled, and for her journals, and children’s and family scrapbooks she made.
Edna Mae Norton truly was a righteous woman of God. Her first love was God and the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Her second love was Jerry, her beloved. She has missed him so dearly these past 11 years. She would talk to him at night and sing to him. What a joyful reunion Sunday morning must have been; the two holding hands and stealing kisses and catching up on missed events.
Her third love and greatest concern: her children and posterity. She would worry about them, pray for them, ask about their welfare, and hope for their prosperity.
A few weeks ago, family gathered in her room and she bore her testimony of the gospel of Jesus Christ. To all present, a powerful spirit came down and shone on her. Each person in the room knew and felt a powerful and true witness that the gospel of Jesus Christ is on the Earth today. She bore witness to the power the gospel has to change lives and that it was the best decision that she and Jerry ever made in their lives.
We will miss her and she will be in our hearts and watch over us throughout our lives. May we never forget the amazing example she was to us all and the great service she did for us all. May we honor her by living as she did and as true Disciples of Christ is our prayer in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.
|Posted on October 25, 2014 at 11:56 AM||comments (69)|
Oh my goodness. It has been months since I blogged, but my life took me on a roller coaster ride and it hasn’t paused long enough for me to get off and write about anything. We went to Padre Island, Texas for several days in August and had a wonderful time.
When we came back home, school was starting and there were so many things to do to prepare. Also, my mother had been getting weaker and weaker and was requiring more of my time. Then she became bedridden and I thought she had just gotten the flu or something. It then became obvious that she was close to death, but I kept hoping that she would pull through. She died the end of September.
A funeral, family coming, taking her to Texas to bury her, organize and sort her things and so forth.
Then Ashley went into labor and Michael was born. Both Ashley and Michael had difficulties, but are fine now.
Then Tony got back from Afghanistan and announced his engagement and wedding on November 8 in Seattle, Washington. I am doing the cooking for the reception (about 200 people) and a family dinner (about 50 people) after the wedding. I have been busy sending invitations, figuring out all that we need to do, tickets, etc.
And then we are driving back his fiancé’s car from Washington to Oklahoma. So I have been planning that trip. I plan to go south down through California to avoid snow…and to see the Redwoods…then go through Arizona (the Grand Canyon) and we will see what else we end up doing. Fito, David, Elizabeth, Rebeca, and I are flying out, then the 3 children and I will drive back. Poor Fito has to fly back to go to work.
Then of course, by then it will be time for Thanksgiving and Christmas and possibly a reception here in Oklahoma. Whew!! No wonder I’m tired.
Now, I will go back to the beginning and give more details in the next few blogs.
Padre Island is a great vacation spot. The beach and ocean are great. Soft, fine sand and miles of beach. We stayed at a hotel that had access to the beach which was wonderful. We went on a dolphin watch and saw some dolphins, but it was so hot that day and it took quite a while for the ship to find the dolphins…Maria’s boys were getting bored, but then had fun.
I can only go to the beach early in the morning or around sunset or I will burn to a crisp bright red. Then I blister, peel, and am just as white all over again, so there is absolutely no reason to try to tan. It is simply impossible.
One morning, Fito and I arose at 4:00 AM. We went to the beach and were the only ones there. It was perfectly black and no light from the dawn was there. The stars were hanging low in the sky over the ocean. The moon was glowing, Venus was brilliant and barely above the waves and the big dipper looked like it was going to scoop water up out of the ocean.
We saw some falling stars, a soft, salty breeze was blowing gently on us and the sound of the waves was reassuring and constant. It was profoundly spiritual, God affirming, and romantic all at once.
There is always something powerful in the wee morning hours right before dawn. It is as if the whole world has gone to sleep, evil has drifted off, and God lets you know he is still in control. I always feel close to him when I am awake at this time.
The next day, Maria and the girls and cousins went to the beach early. They saw the sunrise and had a blast swimming so early before the crowds come and ruin the beauty.
We then drove back to Houston (not wanting to leave the beach and ocean) but wanting to go to Houston to see our grandbabies; which are beautiful, too.
A great trip and a needed break.