Thursday, April 26, 2012


They say if it's a rainy day and you walk into class with a stripe up your back are a freshman. They also say if you are stuck in the middle of a roundabout going in are a freshman. "Been there, done that!" 

I had to use this particular picture I found on Yahoo because it is actually of a roundabout at UC Davis...the place where I got stuck in the circle for at least a couple of loops. Riding a bike was the best mode of transportation in college. It was the cheapest, easiest to park, but not always the quickest. I would have to leave plenty early to get to class...and hope that I didn't encounter the roundabout at rush hour!

Here we are MANY years later and those roundabouts are coming back to haunt me. It seems a lot of cities are putting them. I am not a big fan...what about just using the plain old "4-Way" stop. That works for me. Sure the roundabouts look pretty you don't have to stop...but they intimidate me!

Yesterday I went to the "big town". Of course you must remember we come from a town with no stop lights, miles of open road and very few four way stops....there are NO roundabouts! I have a normal path I travel when I go to town. They put a roundabout right in my way. Coming in to town wasn't so was leaving that I hit all of the traffic. It seemed like some people couldn't read the "YIELD" letters painted VERY LARGELY on the road.

I had to just laugh to myself. No, I didn't get caught in the roundabout going in circles. I made it through just fine. It did take me back though, to those days on my Schwinn 10-speed, stuck in a bike roundabout at college.

Then I realized...Just "round about" the time you get things figured out...someone has to go and change them!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

My Playlist

My playlist might sound a little like it belongs on this old Walkman! If you are listening to my music you may not be able to figure out just who it belongs to. It is no longer recorded on cassette tapes or burned onto a CD...the list is in my phone and goes with me anywhere. 

I can plug it into my car, I can plug it into the speakers in the house or I can take it with me. My music is always with me...but what does my playlist tell you about me?

Today, as I was jogging, I listened to AC/DC, Aerosmith, Bad Company, and  Bon Jovi. That might lead one to believe I am a "rocker". Not really. I just really like the rock music from the 80's...that should tell you I graduated high school in the 80's! My playlist also inlcudes Huey Lewis, Night Ranger, Foreigner, Journey, Def Leppard and more of those 80's bands.

My 80's likes don't just include the rock bands...You can also find Simple Minds, Men Without Hats, Tears for Fears and a few of those alternative bands. (Not as many as you would find on my sister's playlist.) That would tell you I graduated early to mid 80's and my sister was more late 80's.

That's not all...After I jogged along to a few 80's rock songs, the beat changed a The Beatles and Johnny Cash. I love the music of the past. There is something about The Beatles and Johnny Cash I love. They are different, yet similar. I think it is the nostalgia part I like most. 

It doesn't stop there. About 5 or 6 songs into the list Brad Paisley and Jason Aldean make an entrance. Country music is my staple. I love country music and it is what I usually listen to. This shows how I can change. Growing up I did not like country music at all. Then once I got into college that changed. Now it is a favorite, old country, new country...all of it! 

To round out my playlist you will find a lot of Third Day, Casting Crowns, Mercy Me and other worship music. I can't live without this music. I even have some old hymns. What does this say about me? It proclaims my faith and shows what is at the center of my life.

What you won't find on my playlist is rap...that I can live without. The rest of it though, rounds out who I am and tells my story along the way.

Monday, April 23, 2012

I Want to Be Her Today!

I'm sorry...another Lilly blog! As I was sitting to write, I couldn't help but notice that Lilly looked like she didn't have a care in the world! Anyone who has read my previous Lilly stories, knows she is quite a cat. She has definitely entered what I would call the "teenager" stage!

I came in from doing yardwork and I was hot, covered it dirt and really tired. Lilly on the other hand looked very comfortable and didn't even flinch when I opened the door or took her picture. She was covering her eyes as if to shade the sun from bothering her. What a life!

She has it pretty tough...she meows to be fed, she meows to be let out, she cruises the ranch and hunts at her leisure. The rest of the time she sleeps! So that is pretty much, meow and sleep. 

At the moment I feel like I could use a nap...I am thinking Lilly is just going to have to take it for me!

So for the fun of it, here's a previous post about Lilly...

 "Welcome to Motherhood!"

Ohhhhh! She is so wound up and I am ready for bed! Why is she not settling down? It is bedtime!” Word of a new mother? Well, kind of…words of my daughter on the first night of her new kitten. All I could do was giggle and say,“Welcome to motherhood!”

It has been many months in our home without a cat. Our family cat of 15 years passed away this year. Figueroa was a great cat. She was independent and self-sufficient. She was a great mouser too, a huge requirement on a ranch.

My daughter wanted a new cat right away. Out of respect for Figueroa (wink, wink) I said we really needed to wait! Daughters, even 17 year old ones, don’t forget when you give them a time frame. So a few weeks ago, a family friend had a kitten that needed a home.

We waited until it was old enough and the kitten, Lilly, came to our family last week. I told my daughter that the kitten would be her responsibility. She went to pick it up and had to go to the store to buy all of the necessities. She arrived home with Lilly and MANY supplies. “How many paychecks did it take you to get aFREE kitten?” I asked. A couple days worth of work she informed me with a sigh. Hmmm…sounds familiar.
She had purchased a pink polka dotted bed, a pink cat carrier, litter box, food bowl, collar, toys, litter and food.

It has been a few days now and Lilly is settling in. My daughter has truly experienced what it is like to be a “parent”, although it is only to a kitten. She likens the cleaning of the litter box to changing diapers. She is already expressing that Lilly is getting spoiled and she should have never given her the expensive canned food because now Lilly is being picky. (That one makes me laugh, my daughter is PICKY!)
She wonders why Lilly wants to sleep all day and not sleep at night…another big déjà vu for me! I have had the honor of babysitting while my daughter is at work. I get to spoil Lilly, then give her back! Boy, this is fun!

Last night, I watched as my daughter tried to discipline the cat with no luck.  "I am getting so frustrated with her!  Why won't she behave?"

Tomorrow is a big day, Lilly is going to a playgroup…she gets to meet the dogs which are not big fans of cats. If dad introduces Lilly, the dogs are likely to accept her. You see, we live on a ranch and a big part of having a cat is so it can go outside to catch mice.

Also, the sooner Lilly gets to go outside, she can “go outside” and my daughter will no longer be required to “change diapers!”

As much as I was not ready for another cat, I am really enjoying watching this process with my daughter…very fun similarities…I will keep you posted!

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Spring Into Action

Earth Day is past...but the celebration will continue in a small rural community. The efforts of a  community member and several local organizations and businesses will culminate the last Saturday of April with the "Spring Into Action" Earth Fair. If you live in the Inter-Mountain Community, be sure to check this out! If you live out of the area....well, maybe it's an idea for your community for next year.

The Fall River Resource Conservation District is planning the first annual Earth Day Celebration at the Inter-Mountain Fairgrounds. The event will be April 28 and will feature many useful tools for the community. The day will wrap up Earth Week and activities are scheduled from 10:00 am to 3:00 pm.

Recycling, fact filled informational mini-sessions, information booths and local vendors will all be providing information and products related to earth conservation.
Coordinator, Kelly Shuler, said, “We live in an area that is dependent on natural resources. We have a vested interest in taking care of our land and resources.” This event will focus on showing the community simple ways to make a difference.
One of the great features of the day will be the short sessions on a variety of topics. Presentations facilitated by UC Cooperative Extension, Shasta County Farm Advisor, Dan Marcum, will include a presentation on a specified topic and allow time for questions and answers. Information sheets and resources will also be available. Topics including Drinking Water Safety, Solar and Alternative Energy, Noxious Weed Control, Extending the Vegetable Growing Season, Irrigation and Dripline Water Conservation, Gardening Tools, Organic Pest Control, Gopher and other Rodent Control and Composting will all be featured.
The American Legion will have an aluminum recyclying drop off point where you can donate your cans. All proceeds will go to the Intermountain Flag Fund.
As a part of the week’s events, the Law Office of Randall Harr and French’s Trucking will be accepting tires for a fee of $2 each. Drop off used tires between April 23 – 28. Additionally, there will be free recycling bins for e-waste, paper, plastic and glass at the fairgrounds on Saturday the 28th.
A yard sale, bake sale, book sale, gardening supplies and crafts will all be available to the public. Trees and shrubs ordered through the Resource Conservation District can be picked up also.
The event has been sponsored by the Fall River RCD, Pit River Tribe, UC Cooperative Extension, Wayside Garden Club, Fall River Valley Chamber of Commerce, Driscoll’s and the Lassen National Forest. For more information or to view the schedule, see the RCD website at

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Two Years and Counting!

This is a partial repost from my one year anniversary from neck surgery. It is such a significant day in my life, I don't forget the date. April 21, 2010 was a big day for me....I had neck surgery.  To say I wasn't nervous would not be the truth.  To say I was ready to eliminate the pain is absolutely the truth.  It was a scary prospect thinking about the neurosurgeon going through the front of my neck to do a disc replacement.  After many years of off and on pain, a few months of unbearable pain and trying every other conventional treatment, surgery was the next option.

It has been two years now, I am so happy to be pain free and and so blessed and thankful that I had a successful surgery and recovery.

The details of the surgery don't really remain...what I do have are great memories of all of the support I received from my amazing, small community. 

I cannot even begin to express the gratitude I have for the MANY people that helped me through my 6 week recovery.  I wasn't allowed to do anything.  Having been in pain for so long, I was committed to following doctor's orders to the tee.  The people of our community are the most giving, caring people.  I have seen it over and over with other people after surgeries, emergencies and other family situations.  It wasn't until I was on the receiving end that I realized just how much caring goes on in this place.

The ladies at church and many of our friends provided meals.  There was a meal schedule and they were delivered on time each day.  We had meals on the table and extras in the freezer.  My family didn't have to cook for at least 4 weeks.  We even got some great recipes out of the experience.  People helped with housework, employees picked up the slack at our business, cards and flowers were sent...but most importantly, the outpouring of genuine love and concern really became evident.

A few things I learned while husband can operate the vacuum cleaner, Food Network is on ALL day and there are a lot of repeats of CSI. Most importantly, I saw how friends and community really cared.

Through this experience, I have been motivated to really be aware of other's situations and try to help them and share my love and care when they are in need...

We can do no great things, only small things with great love.  ~Mother Teresa

Friday, April 20, 2012

Deciding To Care

"It's Impossible", said Pride
"It's Risky", said Experience
"It's Pointless", said Reason
"Give it a Try!" Whispered the Heart

"What did it take to make you turn that corner?" She asked.  "I decided to care again!" This was the response of a lady I know who lost over 100 pounds...and I agree 100%.

For years, I have known I need to get healthy. I knew I was traveling down a road of destruction when it came to my health. Not so much overeating, but wrong choices. I didn't exercise, I always was "TOO BUSY". I knew in my heart that I was becoming overweight and unhealthy.

I had never had any issues with weight until after I had children. I have been on a zillion diets and have yo-yoed up and down. I would say, "I will start Monday" and it would never happen. Putting it off week to week led to month to month and year to year. The result was being heavier and more unhealthy each year. 

Finally, at the beginning of this year, my husband and I both decided it was time for a change. A very drastic change. I decided to care about myself. It's not about a number of the scale or how I look. It is about how I feel and about how my health is. I didn't want to continue to contribute to  the possibly of poor health conditions.

I feel so much better. This time is was all for the right reasons. It is about my well-being. Instead of a quick fix, it is about lifestyle changes. Exercise is a part of my everyday. Food choices are good ones. The things I know that are bad for me...they are not even in the house! I know what it takes and I am committed to do it. I am using common sense.

I took a trip last weekend and cheated a little. My old mentality would have said "You have already cheated today...just go for it the rest of the day." My whole thought process is different. Now if I choose to have a "treat", that is it. I get right back on track. I don't have to completely fall. 

I am about 16 weeks into my journey and have lost 48.6 pounds. My walking partner and I have logged well over 300 miles. We go to exercise class. We support each when we feel week and we hold each other accountable. We encourage and motivate each other and a whole group of friends.

You have to want it for yourself, you have to care....that is what made me decide to change. My journey continues as a lifetime process...

Thursday, April 19, 2012

One Year!

Have you ever had something you want to do and you put it off? You have an idea but it seems to hard? Do other things come ahead of something you truly have a heart for?

That was me. I had always wanted to write a blog. I'm not sure why, other than I enjoy writing and it is a relaxing thing for me to do. I thought about it a lot. One day I was reading a blog that a friend wrote, it was more of a personal journal. That's when I thought, why not? I asked her what site she used and got some great input.

I started playing around with designs and ideas and just went for it. I wrote my first Blue Skies blog on April 16, 2011. I missed my own "Blog Anniversary" because I was traveling. I have missed a few days from trying to catch up at home. When I sat down to write today (this wasn't what my blog was going to be today) I realized I have been steadily doing this for a full year! I have written 311 posts on this site and another 87 on Good Blogs. (Take a peek at those if you have time.) That's 398 posts in a year!

I told myself when I started I wanted to be consistent. I have missed a few days here and there for various reasons...writer's block, being away from home, other priorities, etc.  For the most part though, I have written almost everyday! I have made it a part of my routine and I love it!

So, if you have something you have always wanted to do...what is stopping you? Go for it! You will be amazed how much it will do for you and the other parts of your life! 

Here's to another year of Blue Skies!  Thank you for reading!

Monday, April 16, 2012

The Good Life

"The Good Life", That's the slogan on the Welcome to Nebraska sign. It is very accurate. It is a good life out here...every time I come out here that is reinforced.

Good people, good times, and good memories. It is always hard for me to leave.

This trip didn't disappoint...I met new people, spent time with a good friend, experienced tornado warnings and a big storm, watched spring football, took my son grocery and birthday shopping, and most importantly got to spend time with with my 21 year old son!

I always feel so lucky to get to come out here.

As I venture home, it is clear people have a different perception of what the "good life" is. Once again I am in the Las Vegas airport where many think they are living the good life! I hope not to offend anyone when I say I don't really care for this place. The people are all in a big hurry, not nearly as many friendly faces and the airport just feels empty...even though it is very full.

I guess this is a good way to look at how one's idea of what is good in life can vary.

I, for one, appreciate simplicity, genuine people, a friendly smile and an appreciation for the many blessings presented each day.

Whatever your "good life" many be, I wish you many blessings, much happiness and a chance to live, love and laugh in each day!

Friday, April 13, 2012

In the Air

My routine is down pat for flying. I have learned all of the tricks and flying is an easy process.

At this moment I am sitting by the window of a Southwest jet in the first flight on my trip. We will land in Las Vegas in about and hour, then it is on to Omaha.

My favorite part of flying now is people watching. There is one of every type. Behind me sits a grandma with her two small grandchildren. I don't think the kids have ever flown before. They are pretty excited and pretty noisy. They want to use the restroom...just because. They want to turn on the lights and air... Just because.

In front of me the young guy with HUGE headphones playing on his phone.

Next to me the lady who hasn't said a word since I said Good Morning.

In the airport was an entire medical staff...a male doctor and all of his female staff on their way "somewhere"...sounded like a convention of some sort.

There was the dad with two teenage daughters, the two ladies in business suits and the two Army men.

Then there was the guy that stood in line to board about 30 minutes before boarding was called. He was the first on the plane.

I always wonder where everyone is going. I would tell them all my story...if they would listen! It just seems it is hard to find people who want to visit anymore.

As it turned out, I struck up a conversation with the lady next to me and we had so much in common. We talked the rest of the flight!

After changing planes in Vegas...a crazy, busy airport...I boarded a full plane. I was planning on napping, but ended up sitting next to two individuals that liked talking about their kids as much as I do!

The flights were good, all except for a
Very rough landing in Omaha. I am here, safe and sound. I am one lucky to leave home and 4 hours later be in Nebraska to visit my son!

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Nebraska Bound!

I can't promise the regularity of my blogs over the next few days...I am Nebraska bound! I have felt like a little kid over the last few months. I booked my ticket months ago and have literally been counting the days until my trip!

I LOVE going to Nebraska. This will be my first time there in the spring. We have experienced the winters...the fall for football and the summers. The summers are not like anything I have ever experienced....a new definition for humidity.

Not only do I get to visit my son, I get to see a good friend. Nebraska really fits the definition of a Midwestern state. The people are so is truly the heart of America.

So, my mind is not really on is on packing and getting to Fremont, Nebraska to see my son. I am excited and blessed to have this opportunity! 

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Happy Birthday Nick!

It's hard to believe that 21 years have gone by. I remember so clearly the day we found out we were going to have our first child. The day he was born is as clear now as yesterday is...but that was 21 years ago...

We didn't know we were having a boy, that was a surprise. We were really convinced we were having a girl. He was a BIG baby boy that the nurse thought we should name "Bubba". 

He was a lively baby and and even busier toddler. As a young boy he kept us on our toes and liked to be involved in everything he could. 

In high school, we loved to watch him play sports. He loved to hunt and fish and he was always so much help on the ranch.

The day he left for college was hard on this mom. We dropped him off in Nebraska and I think I cried all the way across the states of Nebraska, Wyoming and Utah! It was hard to let him go...but he was ready.

He is a grown up man, but he is still my baby and always will be. As a mom, I am very proud of the man that he has become. 

I think I am getting the best present of his birthday...I get to go see him! So I am Nebraska bound to see my son...Happy Birthday Nick! You are a true gift to me!

Saturday, April 7, 2012

The Second Day

I posted this blog last year....and I think it is once again appropriate. May God Bless you all this Easter holiday.

Yesterday was Good Friday, tomorrow is is the "Second Day".  I have been doing a lot of thinking about this particular day....

The "Second Day" I have been thinking about is such an important day for me.  I can't image how the people of Jesus' day felt on that second day after the crucification.  Feelings of no hope, sadness and loss and confusion about where to put their faith.  Resurrection day cleared that all up for them.  Today, on this second day, we have the blessing of knowing that we have hope, we have salvation and we know where to put our faith.  We have something HUGE to look forward to. 

In a society where we tend to put a lot more focus on the commercialism of holidays, it is important to remember what we are really celebrating. Three days in history, that changed history.  My faith is strengthened by the promises I have because of these days.  This "Second Day" is exciting to me and more than just another day, because I know what the third day brought to mankind. 

"For God so loved the world that He gave His only son...."

Thursday, April 5, 2012

I Think I Broke My Arm

The phone rang and it was the parent of the child who was having the birthday party. He had just called a few minutes before to schedule pick-up time for the kids. He must have forgotten to tell me something....

"We have a little problem, I am taking Nick to the hospital...." Oh No, what could have happened now. It was a birthday party with a lot of 10 and 11 year old imagination was going wild. 

We drove to the hospital and went into the Emergency Room. Lucky for us, the birthday boy's dad was the anesthesiologist at the hospital. Laying there in the ER bed was our son with both arms propped up. I couldn't help but over-reacting a little when I saw one of his arms on the was in the shape of an "S". Yep, it was broken.

Nick told us as he was being wheeled into x-ray, "I think my arm is broken." All we could respond with was "YES...I think it is." He countered back and said, "Not this one, the other one." He was referring to the arm that didn't look like a letter from the alphabet.

Turns out he was right. He had TWO broken arms! 

How did it happen? Well, first lesson as a 10 year old boy...Don't eat greasy food for lunch and then proceed to swing on a plastic handled rope swing. Your hands WILL slip. Second lesson...don't let your buddies use the other rope to pull you even HIGHER! Third probably was a good idea to brace your fall with your arms so you wouldn't land on your head!

This was many years ago when our son was in 5th grade. It was quite an experience not being able to use both arms for a while. The first week, they were so swollen, his orders were to keep them iced and elevated.

I stumbled upon this picture the other of many experiences raising a boy in the country! Fortunately, everything healed up great....I don't think he ever was a fan of rope swings after that though!

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

I Really Like Those Chickens

They got back in the pickup and he looked at her cute little face. He knew she wanted something, he could tell by the look in her big brown eyes. "Daddy, I really liked those chickens." He should have guessed. While he was in the farm supply store, she kept going back to look at the trough full of baby chicks. 

"You like them, huh?" He said. "Yes, daddy, I REALLY like them. I would really like to have some chickens." That is all it took. They went back in the store and came out with a crate full of baby chicks. That was one happy little girl on the way home.

They arrived home and mom had no idea they would be bringing chickens home. "What are we going to do with chickens?" 

The chicken project was tackled head on by the brown-eyed little girl. She raised them, helped clean the old chicken coop and even enrolled in the Poultry project in 4-H. She had them all named, even one named Milly, after grandma. The others all rhymed...Penny, Henny....and so on.

Collecting eggs, feeding and cuddling her chickens...even when the cute little chicks grew into full size chickens she didn't love them any less. 

She loved her chickens and her daddy for letting her have them!

Monday, April 2, 2012

Honey & Peanut

This wasn't my planned blog today, but as I was importing old pictures, I ran across these two. It took me way back to when my "Honey" and "Peanut" were young! They are teenagers now...and great kids...but I miss those days!

Meet Seth - Honey and Hayley - Peanut, my nephew and niece. I can't even count the number of times they have come to visit and the adventures that came along with it. My sister and her family moved from our town when Seth was small. Honey and Peanut have an older brother, Alex. ( I will save his story for another time!) 

They were given their nicknames as toddlers. I still sometimes call them by those affectionate names...although I am not sure if they appreciate it! Seth was just such a "Honey", the sweetest boy ever. So we starting calling each other "Honey". Hayley was a tiny little thing, so she earned the name "Peanut". We would always sing the "Found a Peanut" song to her. She especially liked the "it was rotten" part. 

We always can count on the family coming and helping on branding days and everyone has a job.   Seth really likes anything to do with the ranch and animals. Hayley would do anything if I told her there would be candy afterwards.  The memories we have made over the years have been great!

It is hard to believe they are all grown up. Looking at these pictures reminded me of how amazing it has been to share so many family times. Branding time is coming soon and it is good to know we have a few more years with Honey and Peanut to help!

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