Thursday, November 22, 2018

Gratitude on Thanksgiving Day

( This week, I found a half written document on my computer from over a year ago. Apparently I was on the beach in Mexico and the time... but I wanted to finish and post this as I am truly grateful for many many things and people today)

I love social media. I am in another country today and still talking to my kids easily and getting/receiving photos and comments all day long.

I am grateful for beaches. They are beautiful and fascinating and calming and fun and relaxing. 

I am grateful for all of God’s creations to enjoy.

I am grateful for friends new and old. I was on a road trip with a friend of 30 years and a new friend. We got along famously and enjoyed the company of a girl’s road trip.

I am grateful for my husband. We enjoy times together and enjoy independent activities too and enjoy sharing those activities when we get back together.

I am grateful for Google Translate. International travel is survivable when I can read signs through a simple translation app.

I am grateful for hot water. I take it for granted, then whine when I don’t have it.

I am grateful for parents who taught me so many things through word, and through example. I had the wonderful opportunity to have several parents and I love them all dearly.

I am grateful that when I plug a cord into an electrical receptacle, electricity automatically (and because I don’t understand it, I will also say “magically”) courses through the cord and makes my clock/vacuum/tv/charger/lamp/fan/computer/washer/dryer/shredder/mixer/breadmaker/sewing
machine/ etc etc work.

I am grateful for good comfortable shoes to walk and walk and walk in. I can hike all over the hills and my feet stay protected and comfortable.

I am grateful for ice. (my friends and family know how much I want/need ice)

I am grateful for a printer and ink.

I am grateful for good memories. (our dogs, the kid's trampoline, my red cars, our first apartment)

I am grateful for kind people in my life.

I am grateful for a well stocked toolbox.

I am grateful for my camera. I love the collections of memories my photos provide over the years.

I am grateful for my bookclub, Books yes, but mostly for my friends in bookclub.

I am grateful for my children. It is harder and harder to get them all together in one place at one time. All I want is a family photo, with all 11 of us in the frame, but I know they are all busy getting smart, and doing good in the world. 

I am grateful for good company sitting around a Sunday evening meal.

I am grateful for sisters in such a quantity of ways that I can’t even list.

I am grateful for grandbabies that warm my heart every single day. (family texts, pictures).

I am grateful for the FedEx delivery man who drops cases of products to my doorstep. Even though I know I recently ordered  a case of toilet paper and paper towels, it’s still fun to get a delivery.

I am grateful for a good pedicure.

I am grateful for insurance, peace of mind knowing we are generally financially protected from disasters.

I am grateful for a winter lawn in Arizona. There is nothing prettier than that beautiful lush green in our backyard through the winter.

I am grateful for our dishwasher. Although I have a love/hate relationship with it as I fill and empty it, I find I enjoy the fact that it is washing my dishes at this very moment, and I’m not in the kitchen to do it myself.

I am grateful for our piano, which is old, gets horribly out of tune, is nearly impossible to maintain the integrity of pure musical notes, but is a wonderful connection to my mother who played it 50 years ago.

I am grateful for my dining room table as it brings back memories of our family of 11 sitting around it during my youth and the meals, the  homework, the FHE lessons, all the activities that happened around that table.. I am so grateful my parents passed it on to me.

I am grateful for my son-in-laws who are good and kind men. 

I am grateful for girlfriends in my life who always bring balance and wisdom to my sometimes crazy life. 


Thursday, April 20, 2017


I've been loving our Easter get togethers these past few years. This year, it was a SUPER busy week and month, but in the end, food was made, table was set, Easter eggs hidden, baskets were prepared so all was well.

Rachel, Kyle, Roxanne, Jonny, Curtis, Laura, Dave and I were all here. (Jonny reminded me there were actually 10 here with the 2 little bambinos). It was good, we had enough food that EVERYONE could have eaten for two!

We ate at about 5:00 and had a wonderful meal of Ham baked in chopped apples and raisins, potatoes (made by Curtis) with carrots and onions and I'm not sure what else, but I need to get the recipe , an asparagus tomato parmesan dish, rolls, deviled eggs, green salad with candied nuts and strawberries and poppyseed dressing, Basically a typical Easter meal, but oh so beautiful and oh so delicious. For dessert, Kyle and Rachel made popcicles -- fresh raspberries and guava? One with a citrus juice and cilantro. I'm not sure I remember the combinations, but again... oh so good!

After dinner, we did some arts and crafts while Dave went out in the backyard to hide the easter eggs. We had way too many eggs and not enough hiding places. So there were handfuls of eggs around in the hiding spots. Four of the eighty or so eggs had prizes. Curtis is on a roll for winning the easter prizes and once again was a winner. I hope it keeps him coming in future years!

We chose to all bring an Easter Basket and have an exchange. Each person drew a name and that is who received your basket.

In other family news, Roxanne and Jonny just came home from their anniversary camping trip to Sedona. They have been married 4 years this month. Roxanne has passed her halfway mark in her pregnancy. They are having a girl!

Kyle announced that he accepted a new job offer in Utah and is leaving next month. Rachel will stay here an extra 3 weeks or so to finish up the school year. Rachel is nearly halfway through her pregnancy too. I can hardly stand the fact that this baby boy will be so far away. But I am happy that their plans are going forward successfully. They have talked about Utah for some time now.

Melanie is in Utah, enjoying school and everything social. She came home for spring break and Easter weekend is too short to make it home. She finishes up her semester in a couple weeks and life will be more relaxed for her for the summer.

I forgot to take a group photo, but here's a super cute picture of Dave. Happy Easter!

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

We love you Lexi

It's a sad day at the Hale's house. Our little Lexi passed a couple days ago. It was somewhat unexpected and I am clearly not ready to have such a quiet house.

Lexi had some medical issues. We visited the Vet just last Monday. The prognosis was not good, but I thought we were looking at our last year with Lexi, not our last week. Her health took a downturn very quickly last weekend, and she ended up having hard afternoon and passed away in my arms at midnight.

She was breathing noisily late in the evening, but still wanted to go upstairs to her bed. I sat beside her bed for a while to make sure she was settling into some restful sleep, then I went downstairs. An hour or so later, she stumbled down the stairs obviously in distress. I scooped her up in my arms and she passed away about 10 minutes later. I woke Dave up and we rocked her and had some tears together. It's a heart breaking thing to experience the end of life.  I went to get a blanket to wrap her up in, and my sweet husband went outside in the middle of the night and built a little wooden box to rest Lexi in.

Our wonderful dog Lexi has been with us for 9 years. She absolutely loved our kids.
Weirdly, she was kind of a man-hater. She came to us like that as a teeny tiny puppy. There doesn't seem to be a reason for it, but she doesn't care for Dave, nor any male that comes to our door, in our house, house guests etc ... it doesn't matter, just doesn't like men. So we got her as a puppy while Brady was living in Flagstaff. We already established that she doesn't like men. So a few weeks after we got her, we were out of the house for the evening, and came home to a surprise visit from Brady. And who was curled up on Brady's chest? snuggling into his neck? our man-hater puppy! Go figure. She loved and adored Brady, only him and no other man .

Lexi also waited 2 years for Brady's return from his mission, and a year and a half for Melanie's return from her mission. She was super excited for both of them to walk in the door after such a long absence. She loved Sunday nights when all the kids would come for Sunday dinners. When the house was empty, when I was home alone working at my desk, she would often spend a lot of time upstairs by herself, or in the backyard. But the minute the kids came in the door, she was all over them.

We will miss you, little Lexi. you'e been a sweet part of our family.

(this is our last photo of Lexi)

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Amazing Middle Child

I promised myself I would write in this forgotten blog more this year. As it ends up,  really don't have much time to be writing and journaling, so I am just going back to see what unfinished drafts I have in the archives. Here is one from years ago that I wrote. These few lines are the entirety of the post.

Roxanne - masters degree age 23! even took one semester off after bachelors.
Bachelor's degree 3 1/2 years.
Been in school steady and strong 1997 - 2015

I'm not sure why I didn't hit the 'publish' button. Those facts sum up a great accomplishment. This amazing girl not only whizzed through her education, but she is now married, has a wonderful husband, has a solid career, is a homeowner, and is now carrying a teensy tiny baby inside her!

So since there is not much else to say, I'm just going to throw a few of my favorite pictures of her over the years. . . . in no particular order.



Sunday, March 5, 2017

Back in time with Delos

I recently ran across this unfinished draft. I think I had jotted down a few notes when Delos stayed with us the last time 2 or 3 years ago, he was in his early 90s at the time. He was born in 1922, so his reminiscing is from the depression era up until and through WWII in 1945. We were talking about how different life was when he was young and when he remembered things changing over the years. Some things check out, others might seem like the times are off, but probably because he was living in small town Idaho where some modern conveniences were slower to enter the scene perhaps.
Here is a list of some of the things he told me, as well as some added notes.

There were no bathrooms in the house.
Shredded wheat was basically the only commercial cereal available, followed later by Wheaties.
Milk was delivered to your door, there was no milk sold in stores.

Indoor plumbing introduced in 1940. (in their house in Idaho)
Car tires needed to be replaced after 5000 miles.
Soles wore out easily and often on shoes.
There were no electric shavers or electric clippers.
Four LDS temples in the world.
There were actually 5 operating temples the year Delos was born, 7 temples by the time he was age five and through his youth when he would have been learning about temples. The 8th temple was dedicated just months prior to Delos and Betty being married, They were sealed in the Idaho Falls Temple during its first operating year. 
Common mode of long distance travel was trains.

No passenger planes until WWII.
No TV.
Slower paced life.
Catalog shopping - Sears Roebuck

No toilet paper.
Bottle of ink, dip in pen.
Pocket pens, age 9 or 10 (leaked in your pocket)
Ball point pens sold during WWII time.
Farm boys deferred from the war at first.
Young age for marriage was common.
Canning your own food from the garden was common and expected.

Times definitely have changed. Although there clearly are changes in my lifetime, I don't think there has ever been a time of more change than the 1900s, from horseback to space travel in one lifetime.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

National Geographic's Top 10 list

As we prepared for our trip, here was another site we studied. We covered 6 out of 10 items on National Geographic's list.

1.  Visit Kyoto’s Ancient Sites  The most iconic remnant of the city’s imperial past is the outrageously gilded Kinkakuji.

Yes, we went to Kyoto and found this temple and stood and took pictures of it for an hour. It was beautiful! And yes, this is our actual photo, not the website photo. We couldn't have taken a bad picture if we tried. The temple and the grounds and the water were stunning. 

2.  Overnight in a Temple  Nope, not on our to-to list. 

3.  Gallery Hop on "Art Island"
Picturesque Naoshima in the Seto Inland Sea is a standout on Japan’s contemporary art scene.

Yes, we did this! The 3 pictures above piqued our interest on the website and were inspiring enough to get us to this island. It was (sort of) on our way to Hiroshima. Not really on our way, but in the same general geographical area of Japan. We took a bullet train, a regular train, a ferry, a city bus and a hike. Worth it! Here our own pictures to prove that we were there. And these art installations were so random that it was fascinating. This gourd is huge and it just sits out on a random pier. 

4. Ski Niseko
This small ski resort town in Hokkaido boasts the finest powder in the country.
Well, we didn't go skiing. It wasn't on our travel agenda. But we were in the area, and we did see a LOT of snow on the Island of Hokkaido and we watched some skiing demonstrations.  Close enough?

5. Experience Traditional Accommodation
The gentle scent of tatami, the understated elegance of the interiors, the meticulous service, the outdoor hot spring baths, the multi-course meal of local seasonal produce, the calming silence—all combine to make a night at a traditional Japanese inn, or ryokan, an unforgettable experience.
Yes, we stayed in a traditional Resort. Except for sleeping on the floor, it was amazing! Every detail was beautiful and the dining hall experience was unforgettable. We were even given traditional Japanese footwear to wear when we were out and about in the resort, as our outdoor shoes were unacceptable once we entered the hotel room. The food was definitely traditional. I wish I had taken pictures of the beauty of the dining options overall, but instead I found myself taking pictures of the quite different than American food options. Different, but delicious. 

6. Soak in a Natural Hot Spring
There is something quintessentially Japanese about getting naked for a soak with strangers. In fact, the Japanese have been using communal onsen, or natural hot spring waters, to relax and heal for centuries. 

There was a communal hot springs bath in the resort we stayed in. They are definitely beautiful but we opted out. While planning this trip, we read the word 'Onsen' quite often regarding the hotels. We thought it meant resort. The word is often associated with an Inn or Resort near a hot springs, so we kept using the word, thinking we were talking about our hotel. We were actually talking about the communal bathing option AT the resort. So, . . . . no. No thanks. As we walked by the entrance (segregated areas) we did realize they were used by many people and all ages, though they were all seemingly Japanese. The experience didn't seem to freak anyone else out except us (the Americans). 

7. Explore Tokyo’s Old East Side
Sensoji, a Buddhist temple in Asakusa, is about as touristy as it gets in Tokyo.
Yes, we visited. Asakusa. And yes, it was about as touristy as it gets. 

8. Hike the Northern Alps
No. Would have been cool to do, but we were traveling during the winter. 

9. Tour Hiroshima’s Peace Memorial Park and Museum
Dedicated to victims of the atomic bombing of August 6, 1945, the Peace Memorial Park and Museum are poignant and moving monuments to the horrors of nuclear weapons.
Hiroshima was much too far for us to travel on our schedule, but thanks to the bullet train that zipped us across the country so fast, we were able to pull it off. I'm so glad we did. 

10. Sample the "B-Grade Gourmet
Japan is known for fine cuisine like sushi, tempura, and kaiseki, but its low-cost culinary underbelly (“B-grade gourmet,” as the Japanese call it) is just as mouth watering. The king of the B, ramen noodles, are ubiquitous, filling, and something of a national obsession
YES!! Our favorite bowl of ramen noodles was at a non-descript cafe on a cold night, right outside the train station in Muroran. Probably our favorite meal our whole trip!! I wish I would have taken a picture. It would still make out mouths water. Obviously it is nothing like American Ramen noodles.