Writing My Life

Now and Then


… SO thankful for my less-than-perfect hubby …

The love of my life for more than 42 YEARS!

Today is Father’s Day, and besides being grateful for a most wonderful daddy – whom I miss SO VERY MUCH – I am more than appreciative for G.E. – the IMperfect husband. Why? Because it would be difficult for IMPERFECT me to live with the epitome of perfection. Besides, it would NOT be nearly as fun.

Of course, it wasn’t and isn’t always fun, but what irritated me as a young wife, I’ve learned to pretty much ignore. Yes, he is a type A, right-brained, A.R. personality – almost obsessive compulsive at times. (I mean how many men do you know who not only REPLACE the toilet paper but who also have the back-up sitting near by when squares on the roll are down to 50?!?!?!?)

But he has SO many redeeming qualities that I cannot fault him for his Felix (as in The Odd Couple) tendencies when I am his Oscar (not as in “the Grouch.”) G.E. can be a grumpy husband and a GRUMPa, but beneath his sometimes prickly exterior is a tender heart that would do “almost” ANYTHING and EVERYTHING for me and for our children – I mean the man does have his limits.

Our boys know that they can turn to their dad in an emergency or what they think is an emergency, and he is ALWAYS there. Oft times they don’t have to approach him because he sees the need and extends the help without being prompted by them or me. In fact, MissOblivious here occasionally fails to see their problems, but their “hawk-eye” father can spot them from miles away.

In addition to some of his quirks, I learned early on in our whirlwind courtship that G.E. is a MAJOR tease. This characteristic might be intolerable for many women, but not for me. Of course, it wears thin at times, but on the whole, it endears him to me. Omigosh, the man can make me laugh and visa versa. I love that I make him laugh WITH and AT me. I mean, I am infamous for inadvertent craziness that cracks up family AND friends.

Naturally, these incidents of insanity did NOT always amuse him, but just as I’ve learned to work with his issues, he has learned to accept mine. We’ve stopped trying to change each other. And in the course of that acceptance of one another, our love and appreciation grows.

I’ve also learned to return his grumpy remarks with kind answers – most of the time – and he has learned to shake his head, roll his eyes, and laugh out loud at my MANY mishaps, mistakes, misplacements, etc. And in evening of our on-earth togetherness, we find joy in the morning, the noon, and the night.

I love you, my darling.

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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.

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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!



… a time to “tributize” the grandpa, too …

There are times I refer to Gar as “GrumPa” – usually when he assumes his Felix Unger identity, and the little ones combine to play his rascally counterpart, Oscar (as in The Odd Couple’s Oscar Madison, NOT Sesame Street’s Oscar the Grouch.)

Walter Mattau and Jack Lemon - the original Oscar and Felix

Oscar Madison, slob; Felix Unger, neat-freak

Both a slob AND a grouch!

He may not LOVE their MESSES, but he’s working on that patience thing because he absolutely adores his grandkidlets. Gar loved his Father’s Day with his little ones, and here’s proof!

Can you get it, GramPa?

Can you get it, GramPa?

We made it, Buddy!

We made it, Buddy!

Learnin' to walk with GramPa!

Learnin' to walk with GramPa!

Congratulatory Kisses!
Congratulatory Kisses!

Thanks to Unca Tim for these great pictures, and more will be on their way! We can’t pass up Kodak moments like these, now can we? (Especially when GramPa is wearing the preppy plaid Burmudas Gramma gave him for Father’s Day – the pale, white legs came free with the shorts! : ) )

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… a time to “tributize” hubby …

One night this past week, Hubby and I couldn’t stop laughing. The chuckles and giggles erupted over something ridiculous, the details of which I cannot begin to remember. But that’s not important! Gar’s goodnight comment, still laced with laughter, is what I’ll never forget. He rhetorically asked, “Who would ever know that living with someone could be so much fun?”

Now this observation delighted me because he said it after 40 years of marriage to ME. You see, I am NOT the easiest person to spend a lifetime with, let alone all eternity. I’m not saying he’s the easiest man to live with either, but there is NO ONE I’d rather laugh, cry, or argue disagree with. The miracle of our marriage is that we have grown to love each other for the people we really are – not the IMAGE of our dream mate or the spouse we THOUGHT married.

I adore Gary – my nit-picky, occasionally grumpy, chronic teaser of a husband! Over four decades I’ve learned to appreciate his many, many strengths and to either ignore his idiosyncrasies or snicker at them. I’m not going to dwell on his oddities, but I have to share a couple of them.

Unlike many males, Gar picks up after himself and anybody else who happens to live under our roof. I’m not saying he tidies up after us with a smile on his face and a song in his heart, but these days he tries not to growl too loudly. He’s also a great multi-tasker. If he comes home early, for instance, he’ll have the wash nearly finished, the lawn mowed, and dinner started before I arrive home. If I get home early, I’ll get my clothes changed before he shows up. Hmmmm.

I know many wives reading this post are thinking, “That’s NO oddity; that is SAINTLY.” But it can be annoying. Sometimes Many times, I drag home, ready to prop up my feet and just veg, but NOT Gar. He’s busy picking up or working in the yard, and so I can’t stretch out on the couch while he vacuums around me or lounge on the deck while watching him weed or plant yet another daylilly. So I sigh and pick up a dust cloth or a garden spade and drag my weary self through the motions of helping out.

There’s a particular cleaning situation, however, that I steer clear of. If the University of Utah and BYU are playing football against each other, and the Utes are playing poorly, Gar can’t suffer through intercepted passes or fumbled hand-offs. Because he is not able or allowed to run onto the field and ignite the offense or tighten up the defense, he grabs the vacuum and tears up and down the family room carpet. If the game doesn’t improve, the kitchen gets scoured, the floors scrubbed, and the garage organized. It’s quite amazing. Unfortunately, the red team didn’t  throw many interceptions or fumble many handoffs last season,  so the pre-holiday cleaning frenzy wasn’t what it used to be. (Go Cougs!)

Although my Gar is 60-something, I think he’s still afraid of the dark. He denies it, of course. But if you’ve ever visited our home in the evening, you may notice that little lights start twinkling from one end of the house to the other as darkness sets in. Nightlights line the hallway and the perimeters of every room. Of course our grown kids noticed the indoor landing lights and expressed curiosity about the type of aircraft expected to glide down our hallway.

Just in case the nightlights fail

Just in case the nightlights fail

A couple of Christmases ago, one of our daughters-in-law found the perfect gift for Gar – slippers with “toe-lights!” Seriously. But our son pooh-poohed the idea because he thought $39.95 was a little too much to pay for a gag-gift. I wish they had gone through with the purchase because I’m pretty sure his dad would have been thrilled. He LOVES slippers as well as lighted pathways.

Our grandchildren have also noticed that their grandpa is unique, if their titles for him are any indication of their observations. For example, my oldest son’s oldest daughter dubbed Gary BawCaw/Baca (not sure of the spelling). Upon hearing her refer to Grandpa by that dubious name, a nearby stranger commented upon the term by informing us that it means “crazy” in Japanese. A little further research indicates that Baca also means cowherd, mulberry tree, and misery. (By the way, it’s not listed among the 1000 most popular names between 1990 and 2003. Surprise.)

Our second son and his wife taught their children to call their grandpas by Papa, as in Papa Gary. I think that sounds quite cute. And while our third son and his wife encouraged their daughter to use “Grandpa Gary,” she came up with her own term of endearment: Cra-pa. (Say it fast for the total effect.) I thought it was pretty funny until yesterday when she called me Cra-ma.

So far this entry doesn’t sound much like a tribute, does it? Maybe a bit of a “roast?” (Thank heavens, Gary has a GREAT sense of humor!) Unfortunately, the post is growing in length, so I am going to “bullet” SOME of his MANY attributes, and later I’ll post pictures that share the rest of the story. First, the itemized list:

  • He quietly worries about all his children and grandchildren; I don’t think they realize how much.
  • He’s the first to ask, “Do you think we should send/give the kids a little something to help them through this tough time/to pay for their gas expenses/to celebrate their anniversary?
  • Out of the blue, he’ll send Halloween cards to our faraway grandchildren because he misses them.
  • Without an invitation or request, he’ll jump on a flight to a faraway state so he can help drive the moving truck to the next residence in another faraway state.
  • He’ll load and unload moving trucks for any son if at all possible.
  • He’ll paint walls, help build patio covers or fences, and plant a gazillion bushes, trees, and perenniels to make his wife or his sons’ wives a little happier.
  • He’ll play lion or monster, tickle bug, or sports fan to satisfy the needs of a grandchild.
  • He spends countless hours serving the Lord and NEVER complains about the time and energy it takes.
  • His only hobbies are and have always been his family. His “boys’ night outs” were spent as Scoutmaster with his sons on campouts or coaching or watching their baseball/basketball games.
  • He adores his mother-in-law and shows it.
  • He is always trying to be a better husband, father, grandfather, church member, neighbor, and person.

Gary isn’t the “Ward Cleaver” of Leave It to Beaver

Mr. Perfect Husband and Father

Mr. Perfect Husband and Father

nor the Archie Bunker of All in the Family …

The original GRUMPA!
The original GRUMPA!

Which all adds up to someone who isMY Gar