Writing My Life

Now and Then


… March, Utah’s rather homely month …

In Georgia, March is the month of blooming dogwoods and azaleas, but here in Utah and other not-s0-warm states, it is the month of brown and gray. Brown lawns, hills, mountains, dirt. Gray clouds, skies, and moods.

March Dreariness

Gone is the white snow that creates a pristine landscape – except for those days where Old Man Winter blows in for a minute to remind us that spring’s arrival is delayed again. A few hearty crocus and daffodils dare show their colors to challenge snow-mixed-with-rain and bipolar temperatures, but most tulips are just sticking out their toes before taking the leap.

And then there are the pansies – those darlings that shiver and shake through November, December, January, and February to show the world that winter can be survived and spring will come again.

While I planted 90 tulip bulbs last fall, I didn’t put any pansies into the ground, and I missed their little promising faces peeking up through snow and dirt throughout those winter months.

Tulips - wherefore art thou?

Tulips are great and all, but their dormancy tests a gardener’s faith – will they truly show up, and how many will decide to keep sleeping? (Right now 62 of the 90 have broken through. What happened to the other 38??? Did I plant them too deep? Did I plant them upside-down? Is that possible?)

Today, G.E. brought me flowers for anniversary number 42!!! But he also bought AND planted pansies to fill up that vacant spot of garden dreariness. Which brings me to the brightest spot in March – the day I married the man I love!

G.E. cuddling with one of our 10 grandchildren!



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random pix pick-me-up

Okay – some days just don’t look good from the minute “classic country’s” twang jars me awake. (This is G.E.’s newest attempt to force us out from under the covers! It’s a miserable experience on so many levels!)          

When the Monday blahs stare me in the face, I search for reasons to smile, and I usually don’t have to go far. Browsing through photos saved in a file or posted on Face Book by family members can “chuckle” me up. So here are some that helped me find my grin!          

(I know I’m NOT a good photographer and sometimes the batteries in my cute red CoolPix are out of juice, and so I resort to using my G1 phone camera that doesN’T zoom, BUT I must remind you that the AMAZING banner that heads this blog is a RenaeMonet created from a PhonePhoto with a little help from PhotoShop. Sorry, but it had to be said! Again.)         

This is TRULY a candid photo I didn't even know I snapped! Taken from my phone camera of Cutie Carter on his 2nd birthday as I slipped my G1 into my pocket, it's better than ones I purposely clicked!


Another blurred phone-photo, here's BIG BRO CONNOR and his Little Great-Gramma sorta singing the birthday song!


Taylor is ALWAYS the smilin' girl!


This Pixie's pic was taken a few months ago. Now she has a hair more hair!


How much is that Mia in the window? The one with the funniest face?


Sister to Sister!


Tim's version of me - I asked him to slim down some of the rolls, and he obliged. Wish it was truly that easy!


Goggle Guy is sh-sh-shivering!!!


"You keep doin' that and your eyeballs will STICK!"


 (I copied and pasted these pix from Andy’s Face Book pate page. (That typo was too funny to delete! To remove any doubt, my son is NOT wearing a pate on his FB page!) Wish I could enlarge the Maegan pix. Under her crossed eyes picture, Andy quotes Cousin Eddie from Christmas Vacation (I think) – something about falling down wells and then getting kicked by a mule. 80’s kids can relate, I suppose!)    

NO they won't!!!


Hope you enjoyed these fun fotos. Don’t think I forgot Brayden, Spencer, and Abby! These are random – remember? (Sometimes I have to send out a search party to find Spencer Buddy, but I’ll devote a post to you guys and little gal soon!) Thanks to all subjects for their cheering influence. I loves you all!

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… SanJoseSpringFling ~ the 3rd day …

The Famous Cannery Row! And Lisa's curly hair.

Saturday, April 17th was the day Brayden, Drew, and Abby had been waiting for. Of all the fun activities we experienced during my visit, this trip to the aquarium in Monterey topped their list of adventures. (Maegan is good for ANY exploit!) The kids didn’t even mind waiting until Saturday because that meant their daddy could come along.

The Monterey Bay Aquarium is 25 years old, and is a great place to visit. If you can’t go there this minute, visitors to the aquarium’s website can sneak a preview through the webcams OR look through these FUN film clips!

WARNING:  This is the very first time I’ve video-taped with my camera so these aren’t all that great, but they are still fun! OH, OH! I CAN’T upload my video! DARN! DARN! DOUBLE DARN! I will have to upgrade my WP account ($59) if I want to do that. If I hadn’t LOST my super-cool, but NOT as cool as I Phone while in Monterey, I could have afforded to upgrade. (I have a strong theory as to how I lost the phone, but do not feel like I can share that hypothesis at this time.) For right now, you’ll just have to be satisfied with a few photos. Sorry.

"Mine! MINE! Mine!"

LtoR: Abby's little head, some chunky lady, John Steinbeck, Brayden, & Drew

By the Bay - the Beautiful Bay!

"Where are the seals?"

This would be a nice place to insert a video of jelly fish or sea horses, but no, it’s not gonna happen unless I fork over $59. to WordPress. Instead Maegan will say “bye bye!”

She is SO done! We all were! But it was FUN!!!

P.S. If you’re wondering what happened to the food update, I enjoyed left-over baked oatmeal for breakfast (just as yummy as the first day), terrific ham & cheese on homemade bread along with sweet grapes from who-knows-where for lunch (delicious even when eaten in a parking garage), AND Johnny Rockets’ for dinner where I slurped down the best chocolate malted since 1959!


… SanJoseSalisbury’s SpringFling …

THE ARRIVAL ~ Is there anything more warming that hearing “GRAMMANAE! GRAMMANAE!”? Is there anything more cuddly than BIG hugs from little arms? Is there anything more touching than “SIT BY ME, GRAMMA! SIT BY ME!!!”? Is there anything more welcoming than grandchildren meeting you at the airport? What a way to start a visit!!! 

DAY 1 ~ Thursday, April 15th

Breakfast::  Mixed fruit parfaits with home-created YOGURT and homemade granola (Eating great food is a big part of the SanJoseSalisbury experience!)

Trip to the Children’s Discovery Museum: Abby and Maegan LOVE this place; Brayden and Drew – not so much. Here are pictures of B and D TRYING to be BORED; Abby and Maegan being girly GIRLS!

“1 – 2 cha cha cha!”

"I'm forever making bubbles!"

Are we bored yet?

"Tiny Bubbles in the S-I-I-N-K!"

"Whoo ... whooo ... whooooo."

"Stay right there, Brayden! Ready! Aim! SQUIRT!"


"Your order will be ready in a minute, Gramma!"

"So we serve plastic food, Gramma! It's has NO CALORIES whatsoever!

All right, already. Let's go. Take a bow, Drew!

It's okay, Maegan. We won't forget you!

After such a BORING morning, we enjoyed a GREAT lunch back at the ranch (ham and cheese on DELICIOUS homemade whole wheat bread) and a L-O-N-G bike ride to the park. Well, the kids biked and GrammaNae walked and walked and walked. Maegan slept – LUCKY!

Dinner ~ marinated flank steak and HOME FRIES! YUM!

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… hunters and gathers, springfest, part 2 …

Yesterday I wrote about the Easter egg and welfare bunnie party I held for my local grandchildren, and this morning I realized I didn’t include the culminating activity, the raison d’etre – THE EASTER EGG HUNT! Unfortunately, I don’t have pictures of this event – although I tried. My little point and shoot CoolPix Nikon couldn’t point or shoot fast enough to keep up with the mayhem. So here is a recap and 3 pictures that I cut, pasted, or cropped from the first post. 

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ 


After transforming store-bought eggs into works of art and paper sacks into interesting BunnieBags, the BIG cousins – Taylor and Spencer – hid candy-filled plastic eggs and dollar-store toys throughout the basement family room. I helped the LITTLE cousins – Connor and Mia – hide similar items around the upstairs rooms while TINY cousin Evie oversaw the entire operation. (Utah’s typical stormy spring weather forced the hunt inside.) 

When all was well-hidden, cousins switched floors and the HUNT WAS ON! Big and little ones excitedly searched for and swapped the treasures. (Spencer to Taylor – “This princess egg HAS to be yours! I’ll keep this SpongeBob egg.”) And they willingly shared their bounty with those who didn’t find as many goodies – without being asked! They made sure tiny cousins, the sleeping Carter and the hovering Evie, got their share as well. SO CUTE! 

When all was safely gathered in, the hunter/gatherers sampled their finds; disemboweled eggs and candy wrappers littered the everywheres! The dollar toys hung together, but little ones lost the little white balls that came with the cone-shaped ejectors (not sure of the technical name.) CHAOS REIGNED. Eventually, the action waned, and so this tuckered gramma and my helpful daughter-in-law Kara started cleaning up, but grandchildren can always find a way to keep a party going. While dividing up the beautiful boiled eggs, they decided they wanted to eat some!

 I love deviled eggs, but I’m not a great fan of fresh-from-the-shell, boiled eggs. I was sure the kidlets would take a bite or two and then dump the rest in the trash. NOT SO! After cracking, peeling, and scattering eggshells throughout the landscape like so many flakes of dandruff, they gobbled up those blah eggs! EXCEPT for Connor Bear. He really got into the peeling part until he realized there was just white, kinda slimy stuff inside – WHAT? NO CHOCOLATE!!! With a disgusted and disappointed look on his face, he handed over the offending food. Yechhhhhh!

I have to add here that Connor and Mia were not happy with just DYING their eggs. Those two miniature Picassos meticulously PAINTED theirs.

Mia's EGG.stravagant Egg!

Connor's EGG.citing Creation

Mia chose to add a layer of teal paint over her blue-dyed egg. Connor wanted a white canvas on which to create a swirling purple design.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

The SpringFling was a BLAST!!! and lucky GrammaNae gets to head WEST in a couple of weeks to enjoy FUN and GAMES with the SanJoseSalisburys!!!!


… Easter eggs and welfare bunnies …

Today I introduced several of my grandchildren to WELFARE BUNNIES. Back in the day when their daddies were younger and lived under my roof, I started a mini-tradition that still shows up on occasion.  

(I suggest you double-click on the above photo to capture an “up-close and personal” peek at these critters!)

Because my 4 sons were outgrowing Easter baskets, the BUNNY brought them either clothes or games or movies, all arranged neatly throughout the livingroom. Those items cost a bit more than chocolate rabbits, Peeps, and Buns, so I put Easter Bunny (E.B.) on notice: “Do NOT bring lots ‘o chocolate and charge it to my credit card!”  

To ensure that Mr. LongEars stayed under budget, I created little bunny bags made out of paper sacks, thus limiting the amount of malted eggs, jelly beans, and those Peeps and Buns.  

As years passed by, non-edible gifts were often eliminated because of the high cost of high school or little league baseball, college tuition, missions, etc. Nevertheless, the bag bunnies still showed up on Easter morning.  

Somewhere along the bunny trail, our third son Joe referred to the paper-sack creations as “welfare bunnies” because their appearance coincided with tough economic times for our family. I cracked up because that was NOT the reason for their creation. I just thought the boys were too old for those green, blue, and yellow woven Easter baskets.  

Through the years, I continued to make paper-sack bunnies for my sons – even sent them to the mission field, designed with Mormon missionary nametags – and my daughters-in-law received one or two as well. A few times, I designed some for the grandchildren, but TODAY I decided to teach Taylor, Spencer, Mia, and Connor how to MAKE the infamous WelFareBunnies.  

But first we had to DYE the EGGs!  






Four – or was it 5? – CRRRacked eggs later ~ The FINISHED products!  

Another fine photo by Miss Taylor!

  The WelFareBunnies AND their Creators!!!  

Evie, Spencer, Mia, Connor, & Taylor

Wondering why there are 6 bunnies and 5 kidlets? Carter was counting sheep while his brothers, sister, and cousins partied! Thanks, Spencer for making a bunny for him; and thank you, Taylor for creating one for Evie! We missed you, little man!


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… sunshine in my soul …

March is a rather dreary month. The snow that hasn’t melted is petrified and soiled. Desperate as we are to see signs of spring, budding trees or plants have not peeked out enough to be seen by the naked eye. Winter storms, like relatives who have stayed WAY too long, keep returning just when we think they’ve finally exited. While St. Patrick’s Day with its springy green shamrock logo is a nice holiday, it reminds us  that we’re still stuck in the middle of March.

I decided I needed a little sunshine in my soul to brighten up the overcast mood that is trying to dampen my spirits. So, I looked through pictures I haven’t posted to find cheerful, happy, funny, silly, crazy photos in the hopes that a laugh here and a chuckle there will chase away the grumps, scowls, blues, or glums.  But all I could find were these sweet, adorable, precious, cute, darling pictures of my grandchildren. What did you expect?

Look at that cute smile! I hardly EVER see this cute face without it!

Enjoying an INDOOR Ferris Wheel!

She has the most kissable cheeks!!!

Snowy weather doesn't get these 2 down!

Rub a dub dub, 2 Squirts in a tub!

At history camp last summer - Don't tell Spencer the Rebs lost the war!

Waiting for GrammaNae!

Takes concentration to eat unconsentrated oranges - or are these tangerines?

Now, anytime I feel the blahs comin’ on, I’ll pull up this post and let the sunshine in. It just makes me so darn happy to look at these sweeties! I’ve pulled up this entry at least a dozen times since I posted it! 😀

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… a time for wishes and dreams … another storytale …

Once upon a time, a grandma who liked to read and tell stories found that snapshots of her grandchildren contained wonderful tales needing to be told. And so the grandma decided to create “story-tales,” based upon the GranDarlings in the photos, some fictional details, and a few facts. Here is the second one!

“She’ll grow out of it,” her parents assured one another after tucking their oldest daughter into bed. They could hardly find her amidst the scores of stuffed horses, unicorns, and ponies. A quick glance around her room didn’t build their hopes as they gazed at posters, paintings, and drawings of Appaloosas, Palominos, Mustangs, and quarter horses. Then Dad nearly cursed when his bare foot landed on the hard bodies of plastic Pintos and Arabians scattered across the floor.  My Little PonyBefore her father shut the door, a colossal collection of “My Little Ponies” grinned at the parting parents thus adding to his aggravation.

Certain that Mom and Dad were downstairs in their own room, the daughter awakened from her pretended sleep and stared up at the skylight just above her bed. Momentarily, the clouds masked the stars until one twinkling light pushed its way from the mass of particles. Its gleam triggered an instantaneous response from the dreamy child.

“First star I see tonight,

I wish I may, I wish I might

Have the wish, I wish tonight.

I wish for a pony.”

No sooner had the words whisked from her lips, when the glittering star sank back into cloud’s cover. The girl smiled, rolled over, and pulled the quilt snuggly over her shoulders.

A few years passed, and the parents’ prediction came through. Their daughter’s bedroom now housed posters of Hannah Montana, Taylor Swift, and the Jonas Brothers. The stuffed unicorn was the only equine reminder of her youthful obsession, plus she finally stopped asking or wishing for ponies. While she no longer talked of horses, she did think about them, and sometimes wondered what happened to that middle-of-the-night wish on the lone star that showed up in the center of her skylight.

Until one summer day, the girl dismissed this curiosity as something from her “childhood.” She knew she was growing up, and so she had less time for wishes and dreams. But that particular day, she was watching her little cousin who was just about the same age she had been when she became fascinated with ponies.

After twirling through “Ring-around-the-rosies” at least a dozen times, the two cousins collapsed onto the grass, dizzy with exhaustion.

“Now what can we play?” the three-year-old asked.

“I dunno. What do you want to play?” her older cousin replied, pulling her pink hat over her eyes to block the sun.

“I wish we had a pony, don’t you?”

Taylor and MiaSuddenly, the sky clouded over, and a wind swept down from the graying, swirling mist. The little one squealed first in fright and then in delight, as she looked up into the green eyes of a beautiful pony wearing her cousin’s pink hat! Without hesitation, she climbed onto the pony’s back and hugged it tightly. Off the two went amid joyful shrieks and whinnies.

With the setting of the sun, the two playmates again found themselves lying on the cool grass wondering how, when, and why wishes come true, as they often do.

Note: Nothing is more delightful than watching grandchildren frolic in the backyard on a warm summer evening.