Monday, February 28, 2011

Another setback...

Well, I got my THIRD rejection letter for my completed manuscript "Family Home Evenings for Empty Nesters and Singles." I wrote it last October and have been waiting around to see if any local LDS publishers would pick it up and they declined politely. So now I guess I'll self publish and try to MARKET it myself...not an easy task, but sometimes necessary. When you go to bookstores notice all the books that are for sale: both fiction and non-fiction. I have now tried to market THREE books: "Looking Back...At the Good Old Days"-a collection of my weekly columns, "Nature Notes for Kids"-a collection of original poetry and now this new book. I've learned a lot writing them but it would be nice to write something that was successful.

I have another idea rolling around in my mind for a new book about finding your voice through writing your life history or some title like that from my continuing columns. Seems I'm always writing something though lately it's been mostly poetry. There are always more books waiting to be written. The big push nowadays is e-books and trying to sell online which I've tried with little success. But I will try, try again...

I was just thinking how funny it is that there is very seldom a personal letter in my mailbox written by an actual person. Most of my mail these days is e-mails of which I get many on my computer each day and hundreds during the course of a month. Especially with FACEBOOK as I'm notified whenever anyone else comments on one of my friend's posts. I think I now have over 600 e-mails in my IN box. It's a constant battle to keep them read, answered or deleted.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Learning to Speak Out

I just taught a class at the FH Expo this past weekend to genealogists about LEARNING TO SPEAK OUT when instructing a FAMILY HISTORY class or interacting one on one sharing your heritage. It's something we all need to do. We discussed body language, communications skills and being organized with your teaching materials. I only had 17 students all adults so it was fun to get a lively conversation going on the topic. I broke them into small groups to discuss how they were going to improve their teaching then they shared with the whole group their ideas. It turned out really well, and was fun to teach and interact with interested enthusiastic students. I went to lots of interesting classes also-that was my pay for teaching, a free ticket worth $65 to the two day conference.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Landscape Report

Well the dry creek bed took two days to be finished. After the first day I was near tears as it looked terrible, but that's before the dirt came to build up the contours of the dry creek bed-what a difference that made. Then the rocks were so ugly until the landscaper came and washed them off. They were dirty and certainly looked better once they had had their bath. Then a spraying of clear shellac brought out hidden colors. Here's some photos below of the finished project and the before photo-click here. Now for a little warm weather so the plants can start to grow and it will be gorgeous then there's the other side of the yard. Oops-just found out our memosa tree has bores and will have to be replaced. It's the skinny tree below. Oh no!

Just starting the work of making a dry creek bed.

The finished project is here with new plants and lots of bigger rocks.

It will looks so cool when the plants come to life and there are leaves on trees.

Ta dah!

Friday, February 25, 2011

Article #139 Biggest Challenges

Take a moment to list some situations that you feel were the most challenging in your lifetime. As I look back I think the death of my dad when I was five certainly changed the rest of my life, our move to California when I was ten, and my decision to go to college after high school. All were turning points in my life. Changing my major from engineering to dance opened up new career possibilities, and my choice of a marriage partner definitely changed my entire future. Probably the biggest challenge in my adult life was the decision to divorce my husband and start over again alone as a single parent. (Photo on the left, me with my sons in No. California at the beach on vacation.)

Each person has different items or situations that they’ve had to deal with. Some individuals were born with physical handicaps or difficult family situations. As a youth you always seem to be comparing yourself with others, especially friends who have something that you don’t. Comparisons about life’s unfairness can be a dead end for many and sometimes leads to depression or suicides in families. Once you realize life is unfair and all your expectations, dreams and goals will not be achieved, it makes it easier to go forward. (Below is a photo of my first three sons with their dad.)

Older family members can provide insights and wisdom, having already passed this way before, but do we listen to them? And if you are one of those seasoned adults, do you take time to share what you’ve learned along the way with your loved ones? It’s time now to take time to record your life’s experiences.

In high school, my English teacher had my class write an essay on “All roads are not freeways.” At the time freeways were a new development in our society and greatly facilitated faster travel, especially in California, making travel much speedier. But were there are times in your life when you took a short cut, or side trip that enriched your life greatly. Did anything like that happen to you? Are there still some adventures you’d like to have? Are there some items on your bucket list that haven’t been crossed off?

Hopefully high on your to do list is leaving a record of your legacy for your family. What you learned along the way or traps to avoid at all costs you’d like to share. Just giving your posterity an assurance that if they slow down they’ll still get there okay is important.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Another play day...

Retirement is a well kept secret that always seems to be far ahead in the future, but it eventually comes. A time when you are no longer needed as a parent to care for your dependent children 24/7 or work at an occupation. A time to pursue hobbies and new interests, if your health allows.
We started out our day together with a discussion of "Abundance"-a chapter in Julia Cameron's book Artist's Way-which is a class we are both taking for the second time around. How fun to talk for two hours about life and its blessings as well as its challenges. Notice the lovely roses Caryn's husband Wayne gave her for Valentine's day.

Shopping at Dirt Cheap for some metal flower sculptures that won't die in the heat. We also shopped at our favorite haunt the Outlets Mall for jewelry and scarves.

Then it was time for lunch at Red Lobster-I had seafood stuffed flounder, rice and a salad plus their great cheese biscuits. Caryn had coconut shrimp.

We live in the Mohave Desert and it's so warm here in the winter.
The weather was sunny and bright with temps in the mid 50s.

We finished the day off at Munechies with yogurt and fruit.
Another fun day building memories and having fun.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Nothing planned today

for my blog-that is...but I shall be going on another Artist's Date with my friend Caryn-photos coming tomorrow. She's reminding me that she and her husband Wayne are half way through their winter stay in town as they plan to return to their home in Fairview at the end of April. So it's time to play more, shop more, talk more and just generally enjoy our time together. So much nicer than trying to communicate through emails, calls or letters. We all need a FRIEND.


How fun to have a BUDDY around to enjoy.
Thanks for being there to listen and to CARE,
to make the time pass faster as we EXPLORE,
to take an interest in anything I want to SHARE.

I remember my teen years when I'd talk for hours
with a dear friend daily. We never ran out of things
to say, so it is with you my FRIEND each time
we meet we could talk FOREVER and never stop ever.

How safe and secure to TRUST someone so much,
to know they believe in your goodness and ignore
your faults. A CHEERLEADER for all times and places.
As we are together, may we always cherish these days.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Sharing Smiles

We were watching a TV movie the other night "I am David" about a Bulgarian boy whose family were imprisoned in a communist work camp during the 1950s. Somehow David got separated from his parents, then is allowed to escape and told to head north to Denmark to safety. This is during the Berlin wall and the iron curtain-the years of the cold war. During his adventures and travels, David comes to realize he has doesn't know how to smile. An excellent family movie, try to see it-if you haven't. Made in 2004, it is touching and has a wonderful message.

I think many of us forget to SMILE and show appreciation daily for the blessings of just being alive. I know smiling at someone can certainly brighten their day or to having someone smile at you warms your heart. We have opportunities to communicate daily without words to all we come in contact with. Try smiling MORE.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Macro Moments

I belong to a local camera club and we are learning about macro photos; and I'm not talking of mac and cheese. lol! But up close and personal photos...looking closer at the beauty in our universe. Things that we miss because of our hurry-ness or busy-ness. The petals in my Valentine flower from my sweetie-above, and shapes of leaves-below, etc. taken last Nov. There is much to see if we will but SLOW DOWN and LOOK.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Being an Influence

Sometimes you don't get full credit for your ideas or endeavors but just have to be content to be an influence on others. For several years (since 2004), I've been trying to get an article published I wrote after meeting and interviewing a modern dance pioneer and teacher from BYU who taught in 1929-1937. Aline Coleman will be 100 years old this coming July, she is a distinguished alumni who I feel needs to be recognized. Now residing in an assisted care center in Salt Lake City, I've interviewed her several times and submitted an article on her to local newspapers and to the BYU's alumni magazine. Surely BYU would be interested, but they weren't.

Now through some intervention with a retiring dance faculty member at BYU who is writing a history of dance at the college, the magazine is assigning ONE OF THEIR WRITERS to interview Aline and they will publish an article on her next July. FINALLY. I'm happy but DISAPPOINTED they didn't want MY article. But MY time with Aline was not wasted, she is a sweet person who is now like FAMILY almost. I have had several fun visits at her apt in SLC. I'm thrilled that her life and contributions to BYU will be recognized during her lifetime. (Photo of Aline and me above.)

The other situation involves my plans for starting a YOUTH POETRY CELEBRATION and CONTEST. I got the bright idea to do it for NATIONAL POETRY MONTH in April but didn't realize I would need the approval of the Washington County School District's superintendent before sending out any notices to local students. Well it's taken me two full weeks of constant efforts-calls, emails and nagging to get their attention. I was just about to give up, when I got a call last Friday saying it was approved by the supt. and would be coordinated by their Gifted and Talented program coordinator plus all their students will be allowed to participate. So this should be interesting and a new project for me in terms of scope and possible effect on my community. Wish me luck! Here's a poster I designed to publicize our efforts.

I also suggested a name for a new poetry magazine "Utah Voices" and it was accepted. Cool, huh?

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Landscaping Time

Our front yard needs some help, and we finally decided to invest some money in updating our landscaping. With the extreme heat here in the summer, many plants die despite the drip irrigation system, so they need to be replaced. We are going to have a meandering dry riverbed added to our side yard where there are many empty spaces. I will update the progress of this major change as it happens. First we had to measure and design what we wanted, then hire a landscape guy to make it happen by bringing in tons of rocks-some big boulders and colorful river rocks. He will add some plants here and there to make it look! Here's what it looks like now. Then we have to get approval from the HOA before we can proceed.

The landscaper will do some contouring by digging down and building up the sides of the riverbed to make it look natural. It will meander and have rounded river rocks in the bottom with a few large boulders accented with desert plants. Can't wait to get it started-just in time for spring here which comes early. The river bed will start in the middle upper part of the plan below and continues down going slightly to the left. Click to make images larger. We will add about 10 desert plants.

We got approval so the project will start next Tuesday. Stay tuned.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Article #138 Embarrassing Moments

Time certainly heals most hurts. One day you will look back at your painful or embarrassing moments with laughter and understand the important lessons it taught you. Probably my all time funniest experience, as I recall it now, was the performance where I lost my skirt on stage. I was dancing as a teenager with an inexperienced partner in the “Wizard of Oz.” In one part of the routine, I was sitting on the floor waiting for my partner to pull me up between his spread legs to a standing position. The only problem was he accidentally stood on my skirt when he took my hands to pull me up from the floor.

As I came up, my skirt unhooked and came off. I found myself standing beside my partner displaying my black tights and starched crinole petticoat. Of course, the orchestra saw what happened and stopped playing to laugh, as did the audience, and then the other dancers. What did I do? Picked up my skirt and ran off stage as quickly as I could thoroughly embarrassed. But the show had to go on and luckily this event was in the finale moments of our number. I recovered off stage and put myself back together to continue dancing, because the show must go on. That relates to life also.

I believe you can recall some moment in your life that didn’t turn out as expected, perhaps your first kiss or a blind date or giving a presentation in school or at work. Life is full of little mistakes or events that makes the journey interesting, times when your great expectations aren’t met. With maturity, you can laugh at those experiences, while at the time you felt you’d die of embarrassment. In the dictionary embarrassment is defined as a feeling of painful self-consciousness, un-comfortableness, shame or humiliation. Isn’t that a good definition of most of your teenage years? (Photo above of my first husband and me folk dancing at BYU.)

The teens in your family need to hear your stories either vocally or in a written form so they understand that everyone has challenging times in life. There are entirely too many youth suicides in our society that could be prevented if we as grandparents and mature family members took time to listen to the concerns of family members and reassure them. Isn’t that why we are here on earth, to learn and progress and help our family members also?

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Things I love

My blogging friend Kay asked us to list THINGS we love. Here's my list:

1. Computers and BLOGGING
2. Taking photos with my digital CAMERA
3. Writing of any kind but especially POETRY
4. FAMILY HISTORY compiling and temple work
5. READING self improvement books
6. ROMANTIC comedies on tv or dvd
7. Listening to MUSIC-New Age mostly
8. Attending CHURCH and scripture study daily
9. DINING OUT with hubby or friends
10. TEACHING any subject that interests me

That was pretty easy to do. Now it would be interesting to see which of those activites I do daily. Most of them. I can think of more things I love: TRAVELING for one. How about you?

Wednesday, February 16, 2011


Our writer's group had a fun Valentine's Tea Party for our members and guests-I invited my friend Caryn. We meet at a new shop in town Dove Tea Shop and had crossant chicken salad sandwiches, fancy cup cakes, fruit and of course tea. I had a non caffeine tea called Lemon Frappe. Then we read poems about famous couples in history. The decor for the shop was tea cups and tea pots. What a surprise and an endless variety of cups and saucers from all over the world. How fun!

Caryn and I dresssed up for the occasion. She gave me a loving tribute to our friendship. She's like a sister to me...though much shorter. Lol!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Celebrating our Love

What a great valentine's day, my hubby surprised me with this gorgeous pot of lilies just starting to bloom. Then my neighbor asked if we could use her dinner-dance tickets since she and her husband had to go out of town. So we were able to enjoy a fun Valentine's fancy dinner dance complete with decorations. The only problem is my partner even after 18 years of marriage doesn't know how to dance, but we make good listeners of dance music and enjoyed socializing with other couples.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Happy Valentine's Day

I've been having fun making valentine stuff for my grandkids but forgot to take a photo of the completed projects and mailed them off. But that's okay, I found this old valentine that I had given my mother sometime in the late 1940s. It brought back memories of when I called "Linda Lee" and gave cards to my mom on special occasions.

Click to enlarge and read the sweet message.
Below are some valentine frog decorations I bought.

This frog made in China has an lcd light inside that changes colors.

This green guy is for my hubby's desk and has some sweets for him to enjoy.
My sweetheart thinks he's a frog, but he's really a prince!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

More shopping

I enjoy window shopping at my favorite Mormon store Deseret Book. They have lots of different crafty things besides books as well as lovely paintings to select from.

Family and friends-a central theme in many nicknacks.

Click to enlarge photos to see more details.
There are also many paintings of the Savior by different artists.

Jesus walking with His disciples.

Close up of the Savior

Impressionistic version

The Good Shepherd

Watching over and protecting his flock

Peaceful and serene

Joseph Smith's first vision