I went to Trader Joe’s yesterday and there they were, peonies galore.

I moved my bread dough bowl to my kitchen table. I like the lighter brown against my dark table. I couldn’t pass up these beautiful buds. Lets see how long it takes for the tight ones to open up.

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I learned a couple things about peonies. They are the traditional flower for a 12th wedding anniversary and the plants can live to be 100 years old. They aren’t as delicate as they look. They should be included in wedding bouquets since they are regarded as a symbol of good fortune and a happy marriage.

My mom is currently growing a beautiful peony in Modesto, in her backyard and she doesn’t have great soil back there so I may have to try to grow one here in Vegas. I love a good gardening challenge.

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a great experience

a great experience

A few weeks ago I was asked to come and speak for an assembly at a private Academy in town. The assembly is done each year for the 1000 students enrolled, to prepare them for Memorial Day and to learn what Memorial Day means.

The school is ultra patriotic which comes through brilliantly when you hear 1000 children from kindergarten through twelfth grade sing joyfully and loudly, both verses of the National Anthem, an everyday occurrence at this school. I could not find one student who was not singing.

I was told I would be last to speak at the program and following my 4 minute scenario of Daniel’s life and death, there would be a flag folded and handed to me. To exit the building many of the 1000 students filed by me to acknowledge my/ our sacrifice.

It was a solemn hour filled with history, poems, songs and education about what Memorial Day represents. I was quite taken by the amount of work that went in to planning and holding this assembly.

The schools emphasis is to teach the children that Memorial Day and Veterans Day are two very different holidays and the confusion that still exists (even for many adults) who are still wishing people a “happy” Memorial Day. I just wrote an email this morning about someone who I would have thought knew better, using that exact term last Saturday. Admittedly, I too may have wished others a Happy Memorial Day before Daniel died, but now, naturally that phrase doesn’t sit very well with me. If people would think about it they would realize what an oxymoron it is to say…

happy MEMORIAL Day.

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touchy subjects

Last night I went to church and met a woman who lost her 15 year old son in a fluke accident 4 weeks ago. He was in the car with his 24 year old cousin. They were both incredible kids. The 24 year old female was transporting her cousin back from an event they attended together. They were both only children.

When I got home I got a phone call from someone struggling because he just heard about a 9 year old boy (on a baseball team his son played against) who was killed yesterday in a fluke accident in the school cafeteria. He was also an only child. NINE!

Both fluke accidents were random as heck and may never occur again. The point is 3 only children from 3 different families are gone, and three sets of parents are now trying to figure out how to navigate life, without them. I know the journey and I don’t envy any of them. And NONE of them have another child (like me) to help ease the pain.

The “touchy” subject that I want to address is that no one is safe from death. Not a 9 year old, a 15 year old or a 24 year old. Not any of the kids killed in school shootings. Not any of the people killed in Las Vegas while trying to enjoy an out door concert that turned into a violent massacre instantly. NO ONE IS SAFE.

There is great debate about how to resolve the shootings. However we continue to debate the subject blaming guns and saying it’s not guns and while we fight over it, kids continue to die.

I am positive that if I had school age children I would begin talking to them about self-defense, not just at school but all of the time. Any time they enter a building, restaurant, school, any new environment to look around. Find the exits. Come up with a plan. Stay alert. We teach defensive driving to young people and unfortunately we live in a society where we now need to teach defensive tactics for all other situations. This is true for adults as well as children. We all get relaxed and comfortable until something awful happens and then we begin to think of ways that might have been avoided. We need to think first and have some plans.

One morning I walked into the gym and my husband was on an elliptical machine with headphones on and his eyes closed. I suggested his eyes should be open all the time and he should be observant of his surroundings just on the outside chance that something might happen that seemed weird or different.

I think this holds true for females out drinking and getting so smashed that they no longer can take care of themselves. That puts us in a compromising situation that we shouldn’t have to be extra alert about, but we do.

Unfortunately in every situation anymore, public transportation, an elevator, a hotel, a building you are not familiar with, a party, not to mention the many places your children are going without you…in a world where kids and MANY adults live engulfed in their cell phone, we have to teach, learn and practice defensive options constantly.

Kids are subject to danger from strangers and an even bigger issue (which I learned recently from a retired police chief) kids are being molested and raped by family members in environments where they should be safe, but they are NOT.

Kids are not safe, adults are not safe and the unfortunate thing is you can do EVERYTHING RIGHT and still have a horrible accident that no one could have possibly for-seen or predicted.

My point is, be vigilant for SAFETY, 24/7, 365. Don’t relax too much especially when it comes to your kids and their wellbeing. You may have to say no, or insist on things that you think may protect kids or keep them safer. You may have to talk about things you wish you didn’t (at young ages) to help them learn to help themselves.

I want to live in a world where everyone is safe and nothing ugly ever happens. However that isn’t reality and it isn’t the world we live in today.

I hope reading this has given you some things to think about.

Love to all, have a happy and safe week.



spring garden

spring garden

Nothing says spring like flowers. Since we have a full month of spring left I wanted to share some of my pretty blooms.


I have a lot of succulents and so many of them bloom in the spring. I am learning to love succulents!

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This tree is a desert willow. It waits until early May to bloom. It is messy but I have decided most plants that are beautiful, are also messy. I will sweep up flowers to be able to look at this beauty every day from May to late summer.



Tulips scream spring. I’ve never tried to grow tulips at home but my sweet little boys up the street brought me this beauty from Trader Joe’s. It’s a double bloom tulip. Twice the pedal power!


I’m guessing for Tyler’s pre-school picture someone asked him to say…CHEESE, and he responded enthusiastically!


talk in laymen’s terms

talk in laymen’s terms

We need to remember to talk in laymen’s terms when we are explaining something that we are an expert in but the person we are talking to may not be.

I remember hearing this a lot when I worked at AAA Insurance as a claims adjustor. We would be reminded not to use words or terms like bodily injury liability, subrogation, comprehensive, salvage, uninsured motorist. The terms we used daily and understood were not normal language for the people who came in to settle their own car claims, or settle against the people we insured. We were told to explain as if the person we were speaking to knows nothing. It was good advise and it helped me realize the “other persons” perspective.

I have been trying to get some lab work, tests, various things done with Doctors and Insurance people that think I know their language…I DO NOT.

Break it down people, break it down!

Much love on a Tuesday in May.



I like the challenge

I like the challenge

As promised I have pictures of my loft/ office/ TV room. This room sits at the top of the stairs so the bold color will be a great change from the soft beautiful gray that covers the downstairs area. I will keep this color for a WHILE because the trim and small areas (you can’t get to with a roller) are a serious pain, with a dark color.

I had a red kitchen in Modesto for years and loved it. I think I can live with a teal green loft for a long time. Here is the before…

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And the NOW- WOW!


I loved the color instantly, which is always a good thing. It was fun painting and I must be getting in “painter shape” because I was less sore and recovered faster than usual. I realized while painting on Friday and Saturday that I like the challenge. I do all the cutting in by hand without any taping or marking or anything, I just take my time. I even have to use my left hand sometimes because of the angle of the brush and the area. Trying to get the line perfect between the teal and gray is impossible, so I settle for pretty good.


I’m loving how the cherry wood looks against the teal. That was my grandmothers dresser! That sucker is heavy!

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Buy good brushes, clean them well, have your rag handy (for mistakes) and paint! It’s a pretty cheap way to put a new face on a tired area.



When I think about all that could have gone wrong, and some that has…

I still profess my greatest gift has been to be a Mother. It’s not for everyone. Some are not given the opportunity even though they want it. Others get the opportunity and should never have had it.

I hear Mothers say, I wish they wouldn’t grow up so fast. My youngest is 31. That is hard to believe. The years go by quickly, the stages are all wonderful. We think we don’t want them to get any bigger, then they do and that is the BEST age. Well truth be told, it’s all good and it all goes by too quickly.

If you are a Mother you understand the unconditional love and sacrifice. You’ve panicked when they are ill, celebrated every victory and you know that child / children better than anyone else.

What a privilege to raise a child and then sit back and watch their story unfold. Holding that tiny baby for the first time, having no clue what he or she will become, or that is was possible to love anything that much, until you do.

Happy Mother’s Day to all who Mother. I join the world in celebrating you!