My life is a journey...I never know who or what I will meet just around the next bend that will give my life experience!

Friday, June 1, 2018

Who Would Have Thought?

January, 2018 

I woke up this morning, and I thought, 'Wow!  I have nothing to write today.  I finished the manuscript for the cookbook and history of Pickle Bill's, and it is in the hands of a Printer.  Now what?'

It is always a sort-of let down, bitter-sweet feeling when you finish a project.  This particular one has taken me 3 plus years to complete.  It was a labor of love.  The desire to finish it was sparked recently by my sister's idea to make Pickle Bill's T-Shirts to sell to the family.  I thought, 'Why not get the book finished and they can go hand-in-hand?'

Sometime today or early next week, I should have the "prototype" printing of the book/cookbook and will go from there.  Stay tuned.

February through May, 2018

In the end, I had 100 plus copies of my little book published and sold or gave to family members over 89 of them!  I never dreamed that I would have such success with this little offering of a little bit of History.

The comments that have come back are all very kind and I am so grateful that it was so well received.  I will share a few of them here.

      From a good friend from Samohi, who lives in Tennessee now...she writes: "...(Pickle Bill's) was our family's favorite when we went out to eat.  My brother always had a chili size.  He didn't know he could ask for a slice of cheese, so he always brought a slice of cheese in his pocket to put on top.  My favorite was the french dip....My parents...found your parent's (restaurant on St. George Blvd.) in St. George, Utah once while traveling.  They ordered a dozen french dip sandwiches to go, wrapped them and put them in ther freezer in the RV."

     From another friend since Girl Scouts: "My eyes lit up when I saw the picture of Pickle Bill's!  It was my favorite place to eat!  Such happy memories...."  "The Pickle Bill book came today!  And I'm getting a kick out of it!  Very fun!  I remember my folks saying that during WWII, during a blackout, the light on the pickle was left on once!  Maybe that was an urban legend....I'm so glad you put all those happy memories in a book!  Those were good times!  I enjoyed your style of writing and the pride you have in your family."

     Another High School acquaintance, who works on the Samohi Alumni Association Newsletter, asked for pictures and an update.  So I sent her some pictures and a story update to publish in the upcoming issue of the Alumni News.  I read the proof copy and it was quite a complementary story.  Thank you, Carol.

     There was also some interest in placing a copy in the Santa Monica History Museum. 
So, to my delight, I sent them a couple of copies.  I was really lifted up by that gesture.

     A very dear friend of mine from "the good old days," (she now lives in Florida), had many kind words to say.  I appreciate her confidence in me as a writer, since she is a many times over published artist and writer herself.  Her words were very generous.

     A new friend, a young man who moved to Santa Monica Monica in the 70's (long after I was gone) had good memories of Pickle Bill's, even though it was for a short time.  He was happy with the book and said he remembered my family, especially my youngest sister.  He said: "It was a sad day when they closed.  It then became Sweeney Todd's Pub.  It's now an office building for Santa Monica College."  He said he is looking forward to trying the recipes for an upcoming reunion picnic in August.

What a joy it has been to (1) walk down memory lane putting together all of these memories for the book, and (2) hearing from so many people that wanted and enjoyed the book.  There were old friends I hadn't heard from in years, new friends that I didn't even know, and family members all across the western half of the United States.  They all have their copy and I hope they are enjoying it as much as I enjoyed bringing it to life.  God bless you all!

Thursday, May 24, 2018

Treading Water

I had a dream last night about myself and some other friends (or family members) and Heather (who was only 8 or 9 years old) swimming in a pool of water in a large cavern.  We had jumped in, with no thought of how we were going to get out.  And so, we either clung on to the very steep cliff wall or spent a very long time treading water. We had no life jackets, so we were there on our own energy.  Heather was the first to break away from the wall and went "upstream" and found she could touch the bottom.  I followed her, but the others stayed behind. 

A little further up, there was a deep crevice and Heather fell into it.  I was afraid she was going to drown, but she swam to the side where it was shallow...and then I woke up!

I have contemplated all day about the meaning of this dream.  And I started piecing it together with some of our recent experiences--financial, spiritual, and physical. We have recently experienced some severe setback with our financial future.  Dean lost his job and we were found ourselves learning how to live on two Social Security checks.  He did manage to acquire a part-time job with a local Independent Pharmacist, which helped to bring in a bit more each month.  All in all, we have been "treading water."  We didn't jump into this situation.  We were more or less pushed into it.

Through these experiences and the fact that our son has struggled through some trials of is own, our spiritual strength is waning.  Yes, we are "treading water" here, too.

When you have these kinds of stresses in your life, they play havoc on your physical health.  I battle depression, while Dean battles skin outbreaks and sciatic pain.  These are not the kinds of things that help us to battle the outcome of this situation.  It is a vicious circle and we tire while "treading water" 

Prayer and Faith are our "life jackets!"  The only recourse we have to avoid drowning in a pool of financial setbacks, low spiritual esteem, and physical ailments, is prayer.  Prayer is the key!  In my dream, my waking up was my salvation.  In our lives, waking up to what we need to do to fix our situation and move on to new experiences will be our salvation.

You may find yourselves in similar circumstances, though your experiences will be different.  I pray  your wake up signs will be forthcoming soon.  Don't just sit there and "tread water,"  Get busy and do something!  Pray and then Act.

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Our Ever Changing Seashore...

 Dean and I have lived on the Oregon Coast for the past thirteen years.  Though we have not lived in the same city or the same house for that long, it has been a beautiful journey for us.  I grew up in Santa Monica, California...only a mile from the beach...and my love for the sand and the seashore live in my very soul.  Dean, on the other hand, grew up in the desert of New Mexico, then lived in the mountains of Taos and his soul is filled with the mountains.   Over these thirteen years, Dean has allowed the beauty here to soak into his soul and he, too has a great love for it.

When the weather permits, we like to take long, leisurely walks along the beach.  We don't always choose the same strip, but just let our "whims" take us wherever we want to go.  Three of our favorite strips in Newport are Beverly Beach, to the north; Agate Beach, about a mile and a half north; and Nye Beach, approximately a mile to the south.

Most of the time our walks are just on wet sand when the tide is out and we can walk for a mile and a half and see very few people.  But, for some reason, this year we have found some treasures in the layout of the beach and sand that Mother Nature has stirred up with sand, wind and crashing waves.    No two days are the same.

A couple of months ago, we were walking along the back side of Beverly Beach, close to the cliffs and found some interesting "carvings" in the cliff and in the sand.  It looked as though someone eons ago had "built some great wall" and then abandoned it.  There were also some perfectly round holes in the cliff face, approximately a foot plus in diameter.  What on earth carved these holes?

At the beginning of last fall, we went to walk on Agate Beach and found great mounds and "canyons" carved in the sand.  I swear, I felt like we were walking in the great Arabian Deserts I read about as a child in Arabian Nights!  It was spooky at times.  There were little mounds of sand, created by the waves that looked like the hardened sandstone I have seen in Zion National Park, carved there over the centuries by water!

A second visit, a few weeks later with JerriAnne and her friend Jossie, we visited Agate Beach again and it was nearly flat again.  There were a few mounds and left-over sand jetty's, but it was eerily different.  We had a lovely day walking and exploring.

Yesterday, Dean and I walked Nye Beach and found huge "rock" formations that we had not noticed before!  A visitor on top of one of the rocks said that "17 years ago he proposed to her on this rock and at that time there was an arch that connected it to the cliff to the east."  The arch is no loger there!

As I contemplate this collection of changes made by the mighty sea, I am in awe of its power.  A churning, ever moving wave crashing against the sand of the seashore does these crazy things and we are the ones who are privileged to view the beauty of Mother Nature.  And I ponder...if the great ocean is poweeful enough to create such beauty and change each and every day, think of the power of God as he shapes our very souls with crashing waves of adversity, the winds of change, the sunshine of His love.

Learning to appreciate all of these things, I am in awe and feel such a growing love and confidence in the love of my Heavenly Father.  He gave us these things to teach us about His love for us; to teach us about His power and Glory.

Today, I have even a greater connection to the seashore.  It has been my greatest joy to live here!

Sunday, January 28, 2018

Swan Song...

I think I might have sung my last solo, duet, chorus participation, or any other performances.  Last Sunday, January 21, 2018, Dean and I sang a duet at church entitled "Come Unto Christ," accompanied by Laura Buckmaster.  It is such a beautiful song with words that are meaningful. 

I agonized over the melody at first, because I just couldn't get it into my head.  You see, I have to pretty much memorize everything I sing these days due to my poor vision. Once I got the melody into my head, I could pick it out on he piano.  I played it over and over again.

And then there are the words.  I had to blow the music up 115% and type the words in a huge, bold font so I could see hem in case I lost my place.  Next, I started memorizing the words and putting them to the melody.  Agonizing!

In the end, with a couple of rehearsals with the pianist, we were ready for our contribution to Sacrament meeting.  I don't think I have been this nervous since high school and all the performances I had to do then.  I missed a few words and phrases, but managed to "patch things up" and keep going.  Dean did a stellar job and I thank him for his wonderful talent.  I came away feeling defeated.  "I just can't do this anymore!"

I remember when singing was such a wonderful, fun experience for me!  From the sixth grade, when I tried out for the Christmas Program (yes, they had them back then!) and was told I had an "angel's voice" with a 2+ Octave range, to my first singing lead in "The King of Rio Rico" in the ninth grade, to the alternate lead in "The Mikado" in high school, to the lead in "Promised Valley" when I was a young mother in the Stockton, CA Stake.  Singing has forever been a part of my life.

I have sung in numerous choirs, choruses, trios, and quartets.  I have sung solos in church, on the stage, and in my heart!  I have sung with my mother, my sister, and friends.  I love those memories.

Last Sunday, I sang with Dean in church.  I believe I am getting too old to go through all of that learning and memorizing to do this any more.  And so, I believe that Sunday was my Swan Song, so to last public singing.  I will continue to sing to the Lord in my heart and let Him know how grateful I am for the gift he has given me.  It grieves me that I can no longer see the music to play the piano or read a new song, but I cannot stop the aging process, just "swim" with it.

My Cup Runneth Over...Section Two...

One of the primary reasons I visited the Provo/Orem area of Utah was to go to A Santa Monica Ward Reunion in Springville.  Oh, my, that was an awesome event.  Some of these folks I had not seen in over 50 or 60 years.  My how they have changed!  

I brought my daughter, JerriAnne and we met my brother, Darell and his wife, Joan and his daughter, Michele there.  We had a wonderful meal and reunion, although it has only been a couple of years since I saw them!  My "little brother," Burdell Moody-Jarvis also came to visit the reunion all the way from Gold Canyon, AZ.  How wonderful to see him again.  He is a part of my family and I do so enjoy visiting with him.

Here are some of thr people I did remember:  (although some of their names have escaped my aging memory!)

                                                       Duane Nichols and Marjorie

There was Nancy Mills (LeSuer) Richard Jex, Doug Chester, Alice Cole, and Duane (Gary) Nichols.  How wonderful to connect again after so many years!  A sad note:  Some weeks after the reunion, Duane Nichols passed away from a bad heart.  I was saddened by that news.

Visiting with the Grandchildren and Great-Grandchildren is always a joy!  Debi's little one's come to visit often and so we played in the back yard.  I love those little squeekers!

In this section, I will  also recall my trip from Debi's house in Orem, Utah to Heather's house in Las Vegas, Nevada.  I was going to rent a car for the trip, but Debi insisted that I fly...she didn't want me to get in an accident, I guess.  I will admit that my driving is kinda scary these days!

So, I boarded a plane in Salt Lake City and flew to Las Vegas, where Heather picked me up.  I had a wonderful stay with Heather and family.  I am ashamed that I didn't take very many pictures while I was there, but the ones I did are choice.

We did a lot of running around with and for the kids. It is always wonderful to be able to see what the kids, Parker and Hailey, are up to.  Parker is running Cross Country this year and has so much enthusiasm for the sport.  He is also an A-Number One Baseball player!  Hailey has tried out for the Volleyball team and she has a gift for the sport.  She made the team!

While I visited, Mark and his two children came to see us.  We did get a lot of photos of that visit.  Heather and Rich's new Puppy did some photo bombing!  (But I can't seem to find those photos

Another visitor came to see us while I was there!  It was my Granddaughter, Elissa!  She is such a sweet addition to this family!  We had a wonderful visit while we were all there together.  She had to share with me all of her plans for her upcoming wedding next August (2018).  I am so excited for her.

The major event that happened while I was at Heather's, was the Total Solar Eclipse on August 21st.  Unfortunately for me, it was pouring rain in Las Vegas, and no eclipse of any kind was visible!  I did get to get some good pictures from my husband's camera.  He was situated in Newport, Oregon and it passed right over him!

That event was pretty much the end of my trip to Utah and Nevada.  What an ending, eh?  I flew back to SLC and in a couple of days, boarded a plane home,  This trip was a memory that will last a long time.  It may be my last solo trip, as my traveling legs just aren't what they used to be.  Although, Dean and I still have some trips planned that I hope I can get up the strength for!

Until next time, bye-bye from a rambling traveler!  

Beauty And The Beast...

Newport, OR has some of the most amazing talents.  Friday night (a week ago) Dean and I attended a local production of "Beauty And The Beast."  Twenty of the cast members were from our Newport Ward and the Director, Jodi Hannah, goes to my Church.  Her husband, Brian, was the man responsible for the set design and building.  He is amazing.  He also played "Lumier!"  (Hr was so funny!)

The costumes were superb, the set design was outstanding, and the acting and singing were something akin to a Broadway Show.  I loved Mrs. Potts and her little teacup, "Chip!"  And Belle's father stole the show with some of his humorous antics.  He is a good friend of ours, and we always see his personality light up the stage.

In my mind, this performance should have won an "EMMY!"

How are we so fortunate to have such talent in one small area of the world.  It takes me back to my High School days, when we were blessed to have Don Bluth (Creator of "Feivel", the little mouse that comes to America; and "Land Before Time"; and "The Secret of NIMH" and more!).  He directed such plays as "The King of Rio Ricos," "The Mikado," and others.  He also directed and wrote all of our Road Shows.  I was privileged to star in a few of his productions and, as a Ward, we had the time of our lives.  He later took his talents into the community and opened a small community theater in Santa Monica, CA and my sister, Christine, starred in some of his plays.

These are the experiences that the youth, adults and families of the Church will hold dear in their memories for their whole lifetimes.  I know I have.

Saturday, December 30, 2017

Sunset of My Life...

Consider the beauty of a sunset...
The whole sky changes colors from blue and white to grey to pink to salmon to red.  The eye beholds its magnificence!  There is no sound, so there is nothing to hear except the beating of your heart and the singing of the birds; you cannot touch it so there is nothing to feel  except joy; and you cannot smell it.  But your heart delights in its beauty and you snap a photo in your mind (or physically) for your memory.

Those who stay long enough will experience that last sliver of light as the sun slips beyond the horizon and out of sight.  And with its passing, it leaves a promise that it will return one day.  It says to us, "I will return on the morrow."

The year 2017 is coming to a close, and like the sunsets I have viewed, I pause and consider the beauty of the past year.  I have experienced pain and sorrow; I have experienced family delights; I have given up a portion of my independence; and I have grown a little older.

I have grown, I have fallen (literally), and I have mellowed with the experiences of this past year.  God gives us experience for just these purposes.  And he tests us and tries us to make sure we are ready for better things to come.  Like the iron ore that is put into the fire, shaped and bent and hardened, our lives are shaped and bent and strengthened.  God works His wonders through our lives.  We cannot see what He sees, and sometimes it is so very hard to realize that "this is for your own good!"  Only He knows the outcome.

I am experiencing the sunset of my life.  I'm sure there must be some beauty there, but some days it is hard just to get out of bed and get moving.  My hair has turned nearly white; my eyes are dim; my ears don't hear as sharply as they used to; and my bones and joints have an ache to them that sometimes slows me down.  Simple tasks, like getting in and out of a car, find me moving with such deliberation that patience must prevail.

One day, like the sunset and like another year's end, I will be facing the promise of tomorrow, but not yet.  The sun will return; a New Year will arise; and I shall return again with that same promise that "I will return on the morrow.

I'm sure I will see quite a few more sunsets in my life and I will see a number of years begin and end before I face that last sliver of light fade from my life.  And so, for now, I will enjoy the many sunsets to come...whether or not they are on the ocean or the desert or the mountains...they are all so beautiful.

Forgive my rambling.  Just an old woman alone with her thoughts as 2017 comes to an end and I am wondering what 2018 will bring.

                                             HAPPY NEW YEAR TO ONE AND ALL!