Thursday, July 31, 2014


In years past a shopping trip to Nordstrom meant a stop at their cafe for a pomegranate lemonade. I was completely hooked on these and not until our Nordstrom closed did I go "cold turkey"  

Imagine my delight when I discovered POM. It is 100% pomegranate juice, full of powerful antioxidants and has no added sugar. I simply filled my glass and squeezed half a lemon into it. YUM! I don't even miss the high sugar content of the Nordstrom version.

Then one day I noticed three other varieties on the grocery shelf... Hula (pineapple) Mango and Coconut. A nice change from a "green smoothie"  I tossed a medley of bananas, pineapple and peaches into my Blend-Tec and added a small container of one of these. So refreshing and the entire blend is under 300 calories (It makes enough for two people) 

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

you can find out in the pumpkin patch!

I discovered gardening years ago, its satisfying and in many ways therapeutic and if you ever need a little solitude all you have to do is announce you're going out to weed the garden ... no one bothers you.

I planted tomatoes, broccoli, carrots, even corn but as much as I love all things fall, I had never grown pumpkins until about 20 years ago. You have to have the seeds in the ground by the first of June but I one-upped mother nature by planting a "seedling" 

Every morning I headed to the pumpkin patch having no idea what to expect. What I got was a lot of beautiful green leaves... but where were the pumpkins?  Then there was the most beautiful blossom, the color was intoxicating... but where were the pumpkins?

As time passed more blossoms on long slender stems appeared. What I didn't realize at first was that all of these flowers were male. Then one day a single female flower bloomed and gave birth to a tiny pumpkin. I was ecstatic.

I was seeing a little "birds and bees" lesson in all of this and I begged my four teenagers to join me in the pumpkin patch. They just rolled their eyes.

Things got more interesting when two conjoined pumpkins arrived. What a fun jack-o-lantern that was going to make. But to my great disappointment the little "twins" shriveled and alas it was aborted.  

As fall approached the pumpkins, now huge, began to ripen. I noticed at this point that the once large and beautiful foliage was spent and haggard. It had given its all to produce the fruit. I winced as I recognized that, even at 45, I was heading in that direction.

I was seeing the "great cycle of life"  sex, birth, death, miscarriage, disappointments and old age, it was nature in its purest form. I was mesmerized by the entire process. One night at the dinner table I was trying to get those teenagers to come and see and I said... "You know everything you ever wanted to know about sex you can find out in the pumpkin patch" 

That's all it took... the kitchen was cleared as my teenagers went fleeing to their rooms leaving their 6 year old brother the only one willing to participate.  I heard someone mumble on their way up the stairs... "Mom's talking about sex and pumpkins again."  

To this day they tease me about it but to this day I still marvel at the miracle of life... even in the pumpkin patch. 

Tuesday, July 29, 2014


I have to admit that I'm closer to the "end" than I am to the beginning and although I hope to have many more years there is a sense that I should make everyday count. Far from perfect, I am nevertheless grateful that time has brought me to a place where I am less angry, more forgiving and a little wiser about what's really important.

One of my darling granddaughters said to me a while back... "Grandma, how old will you be when you die?"  I laughed and said... 88  Eight has always been my lucky number so I figured double eight was even better. She seemed satisfied and trotted off to play.

Here's to another 23 years of enjoying this beautiful world! 

Monday, July 28, 2014


Thirty-three years ago today my miracle baby was born. After suffering the loss of a son, the yearning to be a mother again was so strong that I wanted a baby more than I wanted air.

The heavens opened and I was finally getting my wish. It had been a long hard road to this point and I knew there was a chance I might never do this again. I held on to every moment, even when the air conditioning went out and I sat with my feet in a bucket of ice water.

There was a popular John Denver song that tugged at me. I remember piecing a baby quilt, sewing tiny little squares together and singing along with the radio...

 "Annie's Song"

You fill up my senses like a night in the forest,

Like the mountains in springtime, like a walk in the rain,

Like a storm in the desert, like a sleepy blue ocean.

You fill up my senses, come fill me again.

I felt so connected to that tiny unborn spirit... I must have sung that song a hundred times waiting for her birth.

On July 29, 1981 I set my alarm for 3:00 am intent on watching Lady Diana marry Prince Charles.  I lay propped up on my pillows when suddenly she stretched and my water broke. Now the cheering from the crowds on the TV seemed to be for me... today we are having a baby.

Everything went like clockwork. With an epidural and a short three and a half hour labor my sweet baby girl was born. We named her... Annie

She was whisked off to the nursery and I was wheeled to my room. Before long, a nurse with a very puzzled look on her face, brought her to me and said ... "Your baby is singing" Indeed, I had heard her all the way down the hall. I held her close, her melody was ethereal and I already knew the lyrics.


Before my children were born I couldn't imagine who was coming... after, I couldn't imagine life without them.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

surviving the unthinkable

Its been two and a half years since Madonna Badger's life was forever altered by the unthinkable loss of her entire family. Now it seems she has found a little joy. Married last Tuesday, in her own words she declares... 

“We did it! Bill and I eloped today!” 

In the early morning hours of December 25, 2011 Madonna's house caught on fire and her three daughters Lilly (9) and twins, Sara and Grace (7) died. Both her parents perished in that same fire.

Engulfed by unbearable grief and labeled "crazy" by most of her mental health care workers, Madonna has not only managed to survive, but has now shared her story of love and loss, grief and resilience and her ultimate decision to keep living.

Without family, her friends rallied both physically and emotionally. As she slowly inched her way back to sanity there were moments that yielded profound insights. Here are a few points that she touches on...

Finding humor

Work gives purpose

 "She is still their mother, she is still their daughter"

A lot of hard work!

Filling your heart with love not bitterness

The tsunami cry

A spiritual connection

When darkness comes.

Not crazy... just sad

Allow healing 

Filling the hole inside 

 Even though we all have different experiences the journey toward healing is often parallel. Listen as Madonna explains how she ultimately filled the hole inside of her and reclaimed the "pieces" from her shattered life.

Madonna Badger... a remarkable woman of a certain age

Here is her story on TED TALKS.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

The Bells on Temple Square

"The Flight of the Bumblebee" was composed by Rimsky Korsakov in 1899 for a Russian Opera. With its fast pace and quick tempo it usually takes about two minutes to complete. There are, however, violinist that have played it in less than a minute. Listen while the Bells on Temple Square perform this delightful piece.


Friday, July 25, 2014


This would make a great outdoor meditation retreat!

This morning I listened to an amazing women speak about recovering from a  profound loss. (I will save the details for another post.) Although I have not had the same experience that she had, many things struck a chord with me. One in particular was a question that she has been asked over and over... 

"What do you do on the bad days?"

As I have recovered from my shattered life (its been seven years now) I've noticed that although my highs and lows are not so dramatic, there are still times when out of no-where, anger, hurt, self-pity and despair return and I am left both surprised and clueless...

"I thought I was over this!"

I have found three things that help me on "bad days"  They might surprise you, you might even discount them, but for me they work.  Here's my backup plan.

I CLEAN - I know, that sounds strange, but I have learned over the years that if I clean something I miraculously feel better. On one "blue" day I tore the linen closet apart, scrubbed the surfaces, folded all the towels and linens and color co-ordinated them. After the closet began to look like it might be worthy of "pinterest" I added a scented candle and took a deep breath. A real sense of euphoria washed over me.  Why? I finally figured out that when I can't make order out of my emotional life, I make order out of my physical surroundings and it gives me a sense of control. Go figure ... it works for me.

I LEARN SOMETHING - When I am feeling blue I start reading, usually on the internet, searching for something I know nothing about. Its like a little game. The other day I was complaining about the late night music coming from the "dance" at the tennis courts in our city park. Ours is a small town geographically and the boom, boom of the bass went on until midnight.  My son turned to me and said... "Here's a physics lesson mom..."  Then he began to explain to me why I can hear the low sounds but not the high. It has to do with wave lengths, something I've never understood. Usually I just roll my eyes but this time I listened and to my surprise I understood what he was talking about.  Learning something "new" makes me feel YOUNG and always lifts my mood. 

I LISTEN TO TRUE STORIES -  When I listen to other peoples struggles I don't have to think about mine.  I just let myself get lost in the story and my problems seem to dissipate. Almost always I glean little "life lessons" takeaways that I can use on myself.

I bought the audio version of the book UNBROKEN  All 500 pages are recorded on 12 discs, so I have a lot of listening to do. Disc one drew me right in. Louis Zamperini's early childhood mirrored my fathers in so many ways. His struggles captivated me and I rode the wave as he went from an "untamed" beginning to a life with real focus. He had hope and that reminded me that there is hope for everyone... even me.

Am I crazy? Probably! But that's not the point. We all have struggles and we all have bad days.  The trick is to get ourselves up and over. Ask yourself the question... "What do you do when you are having a really bad day?"  Your answers might surprise you!

I was listening to Talk Radio the other day and someone asked... "Do you see the glass half empty or half full?"  The guest answered... "What does it matter? I have a pitcher full of water right here."

Thursday, July 24, 2014

"Fleurs de Provence"

I've been remodeling my house for a long time. The main floor is in pretty good shape now, but the upstairs... not so much. I'm working on it. It takes time and tons of money... so its a rather slow process! Here's a peek at my first completed bedroom...

I bought this print on All It cost three times as much to frame it as it did to buy it... LOL  I like the "pop" of color

   This is a small bedroom but I managed this little settee in the corner.
Variegated throw - T J Maxx

Found a "killer" deal at Pottery Barn Kids on this grey desk and perused through 
TJ Maxx for accessories

The antique iron bed I have had for years.

Actually the floor length mirror and the two hydrangea wreaths came first. It was so different than anything I had and I was excited to break out of my rut! Before I even realized it I was in full blown lavender mode... not a color I ever thought I would use. Still, I'm pleased!

The BED... can you have too many pillow?  

Mirror - Pottery Barn
Dishes - Martha Stewart  

 Sheets - Pottery Barn Kids
Down Lavender pillows - TJ Maxx
Quilt - Target's "Shabby Chic" collection

Just three more bedroom, three baths and a family room to go.  All it takes is time and $$$

Sunday, July 20, 2014


The Mormon Tabernacle Choir and 

The video actually starts at 1 min 48 seconds... not sure why :)

The Mormon Tabernacle Choir located in Salt Lake City performs locally once a week, tours national and international every couple of years and puts on special holiday concerts. 

In Utah, the 24th of July is also known and "Pioneer Day"  the day we celebrate the pioneers arriving in our valley. 

This concert was performed in conjunction with that celebration and includes the guest artist  SANTINO FONTANA. His amazing voice is a well known from the Broadway production of Cinderella and recently it has been celebrated as the voice of Prince Hans in the movie FROZEN. 

The concert, just over an hour, begins with a couple of pioneer songs and then explodes into a medley of Broadway and Disney favorites. The finale will blow you out of the water!


Just one more little song... I'm in love with his voice!

Thursday, July 17, 2014


Tending grandkids this week... its wonderful and exhausting. I took six of them to the swimming pool yesterday. I must have counted noses a million times. 

They had fun and I'm hanging in there but I don't know if I have the energy to post for a couple of days.  See you when I surface :)

I'm lucky to be a grandma!

Hold that pose please!

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

I think I love handbags more than I love shoes!

Michael Kors leather and calf-hair handbag

I don't have "buyers remorse" but I do have a twinge of guilt. Still I have wanted and waited and perused the market for a long time, looking for just the right animal print. When I found this.... SNAP! I purchased it online so I haven't held it in my hands yet but I am hopeful it will be love at first sight.

The description said "Cheetah" but it looks more like "Leopard" to me.  Either way I'm jumping up and down excited for it to arrive.

Can you name your cats?

Help me out... I can only name ten. From top to bottom... snow leopard, panther, leopard, cheetah, lion, jaguar, tiger, clouded leopard, lynx and ocelot. If you can fill in the rest I'd love to hear it.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

"The fire that changed America"

In the early 1900s New York City was burgeoning with immigrants who were eager to start a new life and desperate to find work. The Triangle Shirtwaist Factory was located on the top three floors of the Asch building in Manhattan and employed over 600 workers, most were young Jewish and Italian immigrant girls who did not speak English.

The Shirtwaist Factory was a true "sweatshop" where the girls worked at sewing machines that were cramped into long rows and were paid by the piece for their work. 

The owners of this factory, Max Blanck and Isaac Harris were notorious for their anti-worker policies. These young girls earned between $7.00 to $14.00 for a seven day work week that included 14 hour days. A sign over the elevator read ... 

"If you don't come in on Sunday, don't come in on Monday"

Blanck and Harris

Between 1902 and 1910 Harris and Blanck "torched" their business twice and collected the fire insurance money. All who worked there were well aware of the danger of fire but because of corruption in the garment industry little or no precautions were taken. 

The two owners refused to put in any kind of sprinkling system and although there were four elevator in the building only one was operational. In an attempt to curb any theft by the workers the owners insisted that the outside doors of the building were locked at the beginning of the workday. There was a fire escape but it was very narrow and would prove to be useless.

All of this set the stage for the horrific tragedy that happened on March 25, 1911

A fire started in one of the rag bins and attempts to extinguish it failed because of a rotted rusted hose. 

Girls fled to the stairways only to find themselves trapped behind the locked doors. The fire ladders only reached the 7th floor and the fire began on the 8th. Overcome by their plight, many workers jumped to their deaths. Those who did escape went up to the roof and crawled onto another building. 

The city watched in horror as 146 people lost their lives, 123 of them were young women, most of those teenagers. Both Harris and Blanck survived.

The owners escaped prosecution but the awful massacre propelled city leaders to legislate reforms.

Within two years thirty new laws were enacted that addressed child labor, workplace conditions and minimum wages. The Shirtwaist fire is remembered as the most infamous incident in American Industrial history.

Women would play an important part in the formation of labor unions and reforming work conditions. "We've come a long way baby"


by Margaret Peterson Haddix tells the story of three young immigrant girls caught in the fire that changed America. It is a must read!


The popular shirtwaist was a blouse modeled after a menswear shirt. It was touted as the attire for the independent working woman. 

It was offered in an array of colors and by the beginning of the 20th century designers had embellished it with lace and frills. A fashionable woman would have many shirtwaists and no two were ever the same.

Monday, July 14, 2014


I will admit that I am vain. I always have been. I don't leave the house without my hair and make-up done and clothes that match.  Imagine my shock when I arrived on my camping trip and discovered that my make-up bag never made it to my suit case. So much for "glamping" There was... a moment of panic. 

I knew the hair situation was not going to be good but I was counting on a little cream concealer and a touch of mascara.  NOT!

Thank goodness I brought my big hat with an immense orange flower on it. Everywhere I went people commented about the flower and that gave me a sense of anonymity... they were looking at the flower not me. 

Surprisingly after a few days I forgot myself and realized nobody cared what I looked like. What a freeing thought. Not only did I have the time of my life but on future camping trips.... I won't even pack my make-up bag.  I think the phrase is "au naturel"

Watch these brave girls get natural!

Sunday, July 13, 2014


"Forgiveness is unlocking the door to set someone free, and realizing you were the prisoner."  Max Lucado

Forgiveness seems to be something that is universally difficult for all of us. Here are two stories where the act of forgiving healed not just the receiver but the giver.

After World War II it was not surprising that there was bitterness between the people of the Netherlands and the people of Germany. It had even effected the close knit Mormon members in both countries.

Then something miraculous happened that touched the hearts and lives of everyone.  Listen to this true account.

passed away July 2, 2014

The world lost a true hero last week with the passing of Louis Zamperini, Olympic athlete, bomber pilot and survivor. His story is told in the book UNBROKEN and a soon to be released major motion picture. 

Zamperini is remarkable for many reasons, one of the greatest being his ability to forgive those who were so cruel to him. Listen as he tells how  "forgiveness" saved his life.