Friday, December 30, 2011


I am still trying to figure out how to do all the editing and graphics I want to do on our new computer.  Since it has taken me 5 hours to do this much, I think this will have to be it. Though a bit skimpy and not nearly as colorful or skillful as I would have liked, the sentiments are sincerely meant.
 In the mean time it's back to the drawing board for me!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

X IS FOR ...


They say that X is for the unknown factor, so I never normally use this term for Christmas.  But I am wimping out over the letter X, but only to a certain degree because X is probably an unknown factor about me that most of you don't know. My birthday is Christmas Day.  I turned 74.  So here is my Christmas/birthday picture to celebrate:

Our beautiful Christmas centerpiece, but surrounded by all my birthday cards!

The first thing I am usually asked is, "Do you get two presents -- one for birthday and one for Christmas?'  My answer is a resounding "Yes!".  As far as I can remember I always have.  In fact I think it was harder on my brother than on me because when he was younger he didn't understand why I always got more presents than him at Christmas time.

We had a wonderful Christmas/ birthday.  I even cooked a turkey dinner -- which I think will be for the last time.  My oldest son and his family came over.  My youngest son called from Boise.  Everything went very smoothly except....
  .... the kitchen sink backed up and the cat threw up.!!!  We had to leave all the dishes and pots and pans until we could call a plumber the next day.  The blessing behind all this is that I had totally finished cooking and was putting everything on the table when the drain gave up.  The cat has now thrown up for three days in a row so we're wondering if he has found some nibbles somewhere.  He doesn't eat people food for exactly that reason.

Just a couple of family photos to finish:

We had roast turkey and gravy, roast potatoes and carrots done around the roast, green bean casserole, sweet potato casserole with marshmallows, my special version of cranberry jelly, salad and bread rolls, and Martinelli's apple cider.  Dessert was my chocolate chip brownies and Harry and David's sweet, sweet, juicy pears.  

Please forgive my bragging, but all year long I tell everyone that I don't cook or bake, which I don't -- unless I have to, but I can if it's for a special occasion.

(I'm sure you all know that the first letter of Christmas is, in the Greek, the letter Chi which looks like an elongated X  so I didn't wimp out on my convictions too much.)


This entry for the letter X is part of ABC Wednesday, Mrs. Nesbitt's highly entertaining and educational project.  Please click on this LINK to see more.

Friday, December 23, 2011



May peace rule in our hearts even as we struggle to bring peace to our
 deeply troubled world.

I thought I would share this beautiful Christmas  centerpiece with you.  It is about 18 inches across and all the flowers are real. Last evening two dear friends of ours brought this  centerpiece to us for Christmas.  What a blessing!


I'm still trying to figure out this new computer and its programs.  I have discovered I don't have the same efficient photo and picture editing program that I had before and it's no longer available :{ .  I don't want to shell out $4-500 for a program that has so much more than I need, so I'm still working on that.  

This flower arrangement came at just the right moment.  I quickly got my camera and my quest for a suitable photo for my Christmas blog was over --  no having to dredge up something I've used before or becoming frustrated trying to edit something with a program that refuses to do what I want it to.

How wonderful it would be if we could set aside all the pressure and stress of the holidays and rest secure in the knowledge that God knows  how to bring about what this world needs even if we don't!  And He will do it! 

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

W IS FOR ...


I went through all my paintings and found only two that I don't think I've posted before and both of these were done in the eighties.  The first one is appropriate for Christmas because I copied it from a Christmas card.  It is one of the earliest I ever did and it hung in the corner of the living room where my mother and father-in-law lived in Llandudno until Dad passed away in 2002.  Like most of my paintings it is not very large -- about the size of a post card.

A Scottish Thistle.

I can't believe it is so long ago since I did these.  I was only just starting out in my painting, with no lessons or tutor.  Back then I spent many long hours painting.  I still like to paint but find it hard on my hands and eyes.  So now I mostly use Prisma Color pencils which can actually produce an almost water color look.

This is the only drawing I did while we were in Kauai, although I took all my painting and drawing kit with me.  

A Dog at the Beach

I have to admit that I did a little color enhancement with  the computer on this.  It really came out from the new scanner looking a little anemic. Got to make some adjustments.

I have done very little painting in the last few months.  Seems like the last few months have been especially busy.  When the opthamologist gives me the OK to have my other cataract taken out maybe I will be more inclined to get back to it.  Certainly I hope to do more in the NEW YEAR.

In the mean time may I wish you, all my blogging friends, a very blessed Christmas or a Happy Hanukkah.


This is my contribution to ABC Wednesday for the letter W.  Please click on this LINK to see more of all the contributions from hard working bloggers who participate in this project.  

Monday, December 19, 2011

BIRDS and TREES and the last of our time in KAUAI

There are so many different kinds of plants, bushes and trees on Kauai, -- that is, quite different from the ones we mostly see on the mainland. 
 Since it is almost Christmas, I had to include this Poinsetta shrub  in full bloom.

You have to look a little more closely at this next photo, as there are two trees here and you have to look hard to separate them.  As beautiful as the palm tree is here I really wanted a photo of the one in the front, with all the bare branches.  Why take a photo of a tree with bare branches you may wonder.  Well because it is actually a plumeria tree -- the one that has the beautifully perfumed flowers which are used in the typical Hawaian leis. If you look closely you can see some blooms still left on the ends of the branches.  This is the time of the year when the plumeria  loses its leaves.  There are not many trees in Kauai that lose their leaves and it seems that sometimes the plumeria blooms outlast the leaves, because we saw quite a few trees that looked like this.

Finding the unusual trees as we drove around was not difficult; finding a place to pull over while I took the photographs was a whole different matter!  Fortunately my husband is very patient when I need photos for my blog. I'm not so sure  the other drivers on the road were so patient.

I thought this tree/shrub was fascinating. Very decorative with all its roots(?) or are they branches? Roots, I think.

These look like giant horse tails, similar to a small plant that grows wild in England. These were up at the river ford on Kauai.  I love all the different textures and shades of the many tropical plants.

This photograph reminds me of an old song that was sung when I was growing up in England.  I'm sure all of you who are in England know what I'm referring to, and I believe it was pretty well known over here too, because Danny Kay made a recording of it.  It was written by Freddie Heatherton: 
"I've got a luverly  bunch of coconuts!
Here they are all standing in a row.
Big ones, small ones, some as big as your 'ead
You give 'em a twist, a flick of yer wrist,
Is what the showman said."
The song, of course, refers to the traditional coconut shy or 'toss' at the English fun fairs.  (Info thanks to Wikipedia).  Throw them if you like, but don't stand under a coconut tree (see the above photo) you can get hurt pretty badly if you do. In fact one of our island friends in Micronesia was hit by one and had many visits to the hospital because of it.

I had to take another shot for a close-up of this.  I have never seen so many coconuts on one tree!

A fairly common bird on Kauai is the  brightly colored red-headed cardinal. We didn't seem to see as many of them this year, so hopefully their numbers are not declining. 

This bird was definitely more abundant than other years.  It is the beautiful Golden Plover.  I had to enhance this photo a little so that you can really see the 'golden' part.  They were everywhere around our condo area. Shy and quick on their feet, (running fast rather than flying) they were not easy to photograph.  In fact, to give credit where credit is due, my husband took this photo -- and the next one too, which I will explain....

...yes, let me explain.  This is NOT a sunset photo but a SUNRISE.  If you know me at all, or read my blog regularly, you will know I do NOT take sunrise photos! I am definitely not a morning person.  Thank goodness I am now retired! And thank goodness my husband is a morning person.

Well that's it for Kauai.  Now just a memory away.  This week is going to be a busy one as I catch up with all my Christmas preparations.  I know, I'm late, but that's how I like it.

See you on ABC Wednesday.

Saturday, December 17, 2011


Finishing up 'V' for ABC Wednesday

To be honest I not only wanted to complete my 'v' entry, but since I plan to make this year's blogs into a book, I really wanted to include photos of my school, VICTORY CHRISTIAN HIGH SCHOOL.  I have had a blog book printed every year for the past four years.  They have become almost like an illustrated journal of my life. So when I realized I had very few references and photographs in my past blogs about the school (which had consumed so much of my life for 22 years), along came 'V' day, the perfect opportunity to make an entry.  But I didn't count on having a new computer to deal with last week and having to learn the idiosyncrasies of a new editing and scanning program and other such "stuff".  So I have decided to make up for what has been missing and to complete my 'V'  entry today.

The down side for you, my blogging friends, is that the photos are mostly of people that you don't know.  So please forgive me if I indulge in posting these photos taken in very recent years.  There are many photos from the early years missing -- they're all in the yearbooks.

So here we go:

The school founded 1972, in its last years before it closed in 2006.

Some of the students in the nineties.

A graduating class in the nineties, with my dearest friend and teacher Mrs Penman (L) and me. What a great bunch of students these were!

A couple of happy moments in the life of the school -- Awards Day and Graduation Day.

JoEllen was such a great support to me, a wonderful teacher and counselor. She died very unexpectedly only two years ago. I still miss her great sense of humor and friendship. 

When I took over as principal it was at a point when the school was about to close.  I asked the board to let me see if I could keep it going.  It was about 1990 and the bad economy and real estate collapse had hit Southern California hard -- much like today.  I retired in 2002 and the school finally closed in 2006. So we kept it going for another 16 years, but on a smaller scale than in the past. I was on the board until that day and I am proud to say that when we finally closed we did not owe a nickel to anyone and what assets we had were divided between other non-profit organizations. 

So that's the end of my V day for ABC Wednesday.  I don't know if I can post twice for the same letter
but I'm going to try.  If you haven't already visited, click on this LINK to see what awaits you there.
Whoops!  Too late, but here's the URL to copy and paste:


Tuesday, December 13, 2011


.....which is what my little laptop is at the moment.  It is a Sony VAIO and was our only connection to the internet while we were away,  Now, although we have a new computer and printer, which incorporates a scanner, it is all I have to use for my contribution to ABC Wednesday. I haven't learned how to use the scanner yet.  So there'll be no photos. Sorry. Hopefully I'll have some next week.

For example, I wanted to post VICTORY CHRISTIAN HIGH SCHOOL for the letter V today, but to my surprise I have no photos of the school on the computer.  This is the place where I spent 22 years of my life! I have all kinds of documents and letters but no photos.  I do have some hard copy photos but can't scan them yet.  Hope to get some instructions tomorrow.  We are still fine tuning all the new stuff on the computer.  

Anyway, I spent 22 years at this school, at first teaching Bible, then English Literature also.  I filled in for a little German and then later art and math. For the last 12 years of my time there (I retired in 2002,) I was the dreaded principal and a board member for many years.  These were some of the most fulfilling years of my life, and probably the most challenging.  Trying VALIANTLY to keep one step ahead of a bunch of teenagers is daunting to say the least.

The real blessings come later when you bump into a former student who is now all grown up. We have nurses, teachers, marines, naval career men, one in intelligence work somewhere, a number who have been in Iraq, Iran and Afghanistan, graphic artists, realtors, and even a professional skate-boarder -- not to mention Moms and Dads.

Last week I missed ABC Wednesday, but to prove to you that I was fully anticipating participation, here is the one photo that I took in preparation for last week's letter U:

Being in Hawaii, Ukelele was a natural. But that was as far as I got.

Do visit ABC WEDNESDAY by clicking on this link as we are coming to the close of our 9th alphabetical round and we still have more than 100 participators.  Plan on joining the fun.

Sunday, December 11, 2011


I can't say that our visit to Kauai is just a memory, but it has been a busy week.  Unfortunately there are only two 'convenient' ways from Kauai to San Diego.  One is to take the 'red eye', or the other to stop overnight at Honolulu and get the early morning flight the next day.  Unfortunately if you choose to do the latter, it means getting up at 4:00 a.m. So I'm not sure which is worse.  We were pretty tired when we finally got home at 6:00 p.m. on Monday.  Then comes the huge pile of mail, the grocery shopping, the phone messages etc.  Then we got our new computer and printer to figure out on Thursday. Not complaining, just explaining why I have not blogged this week.  Even missed ABC Wednesday!

Here's where we hung out:
Mostly on the balcony. (Can you see the chocolate cookie?)

...and at the pool.  Yes that's me trying to keep afloat with my noodle.
I was actually very thankful for that noodle.  Some other guests left it for me.  First of all I can't swim and now I have vertigo, so I thought I would not be able to get in the pool this year, but with the noodle I felt very safe.

Our condo is in full view of the sleeping giant, down by the coconut grove.

Not far away are the Opaeka'a Falls. At the end of this road is the arboretum which is presided over by...
                and his harem. In the background is the ford where the river goes over the road...

The river was not very full on this day, but you never know when there will be a flash flood from the rain back up in the mountains.  If you want to go up to the arboretum you have to cross this and since we're always driving a rental, we have never crossed it.

But it's still really nice over on this side.  We often go up here, park the car and read -- and close the car windows when the showers come.  I love to hear the rain on the car roof.  It doesn't stay long -- just a quick shower most of the time.

One more post after this with the rest of the best in Kauai.

Saturday, December 3, 2011


One more dip in the pool and then to start packing.  It's been a wonderfully restful and relaxing two weeks, but I'm ready to come home.  More especially, ready to see Scruffy again.  We do the return trip in two hops to avoid the red-eye.  So we stop off in Honolulu just overnight.

Sweet memories....

View From the Balcony

GAYLORDS...turkey dinner and gooey chocolate cake.

The Hawaian Monk Seal -- quite endangered, but this one would come up on the beach just  a five minute walk away, to rest on the warm sand.

What mother couldn't resist a face like this!

A lunch time view at the north end of the island where it is typically rainier.

Kilauea Lighthouse, home to numerous sea bird including albatross and boobies.

STAY TUNED...more to come...

Thursday, December 1, 2011


This week we are asked to share how we spent BLACK FRIDAY and then for the next few weeks tell about some family traditions we have at this time of the year.

So first we'll deal with Black Friday.  That's pretty simple.  I don't participate! Several reasons really. First and foremost, I just can't handle the crowds, commercialism and greed.  Now I don't mean that if you participate you are not a nice person.  I just mean that the advertising, allurement and exploitation  seems to me to be designed to get people to spend more than they can afford and buy so much stuff they don't really need.  I'm all for a good sale --  and I clip coupons etc. but aren't the manufacturers and stores just trying to take advantage of people who can't resist a sale, while they make big bucks? Starting sales Thanksgiving evening or in the middle of the night is a bit much.  Now you can tell I'm a Pastor's wife!  I don't want to spoil any body's fun, but I have seen too many of those for whom Christmas means going into huge debt or is a depressing time because they either didn't get what they wanted or couldn't get something for someone else. Some people may think Pastors and their wives are insulated from the seamier side of life, but actually we probably see more of it than others because we are so often trying to help many people deal with the consequences.  It's sad. 
All of which leads nicely into one of our favorite Thanksgiving traditions.  For about the past ten years we have taken our main vacation at Thanksgiving. For one thing it solves the problem of which side of the family  our sons will  celebrate with.  We'll be away.  It also means for me, that it shortens the frantic lead up to Christmas.  Oh, I'm such a Grinch! 

Truly, I do like Christmas, I just think it has gotten out of hand. (To my English friends, forgive the word 'gotten'.  I never thought I would become so Americanized as to use it!)  You know what I really would like is to let everyone have their Christmas and celebrate in their own way, but let we for whom Christmas is a major part of our faith, celebrate it on another day, say, January 6th.

So we spent Black Friday at our favorite  vacation spot on Kauai, in the pool and the jacuzzi -- and if that seems extravagant after my rant above, remember Hawaii is only six hours away from us.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

T IS FOR....

T   is for.....
                    ......TUG BOAT

Isn't she beautiful?  Sturdy, strong, seaworthy, (whoops,  maybe I should have used this for 's' day).  On a previous blog I was asked what I wanted to be when I grew up.  Well I answered  "a pilot" meaning a pilot of an airplane, but I also thought I would like to have been a TUG BOAT skipper.  This photo is actually of a pilot boat, which are sometimes used as a tug boat.  This was taken at one of our stops in Peru last year. Here are a couple of photos of tug boats in action.

I think it is fascinating to watch how these little workhorses maneuver massive ships through narrow passages into harbors and into their docking place. I could watch them at work for hours.  It seems to me that it takes great skill and excellent communication with the big ship to do all this without any calamities. The massive, giant ship is so dependent upon the skill of the little tug boats.  Whoever hears of these heroes of the harbor?

Now for a change of is a different kind of TUG.

T is also for a TUG at the heart strings.
Yesterday we drove up to the north of the island to see the Na Paali coast.  We parked  in front of a wide stretch of grass that bordered a scenic beach.  Of course there were chickens  pecking and scratching away at the grass and also begging food from the tourists parked there. (There are chickens running loose all over Kauai.  The reason why is a story for another day.)  But there in the midst of all these chickens was this:

...another Kauai Cat -- actually not much more than a kitten.  As I watched the chickens and the cat I thought how strange it was to see a cat among the chickens.  In fact the cat seemed to be playing with the chickens , or at least trying to play.  But they mostly ignored her.

She was following them around, batting at their tails and even rolling onto her back, exposing her tummy -- a sure sign of submission.  I called her over to me and she came running across the grass on her short stumpy legs.  She looked like a mixed munchkin breed.  She was meowing all her way over the grass coming to me and of course several chickens also came with her looking for a handout. She meowed and meowed but wouldn't come near enough to let me pet her.  She hung around close to me and the chickens, but I had no food.  Then one of the more persistent hens pecked at her to chase her away.


Then it dawned on me.  All the 'playfulness' between the chicken and the kitten was actually the kitten trying to persuade the chicken to let her have a share of the goodies coming from the tourists.  No wonder she never stopped meowing.  She was hungry -- and I didn't have anything for her!  Her plight tugged at my heart strings all the way home.  Poor little thing.  If I'd been on my own, I would have driven back to a store (about half an hour away) to buy some food and bring it back to her.  Not very practical I know, but that's me when it comes to cats!

For more takes on the letter T, visit ABC WEDNESDAY by clicking on the link to see what everyone else has chosen to highlight.

The letter 'T is brought to you by Mrs. Nesbitt and her TRUSTY TEAM  

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Thought it was Time for a Change

Unfortunately what I wanted to do, Blogger doesn't let me do.  I have to create my header all in one piece   and then post it through the design page.  I don't have a program on this laptop to do this so I shall have to wait until I get home to our desk top computer.  So bear with me, please until I have a chance to fix it how I want it.  Mahalo.

In the mean time here are a few views of our island get away.

I'll be back :)