We saw a meteor that sounds very similar to this one in Ahwahnee, CA last night. It was baby blue in color and it streaked across the sky northbound. It was unlike and "shooting star" we have ever seen. It was close to midnight, that I cannot be sure of the time.
I love Treasures!
My idea of a treasure is unconventional...a friendly gesture, a captured moment, beauty just lurking. These things, I pause to appreciate and feel enriched by every day. This blog will be a trove of treasures we choose to share with each other!Please join me in the pursuit of everyday treasure!
Thursday, November 24, 2011
Friday, August 12, 2011
As we do every summer, my family embarked on a super family adventure that lasted 3 weeks. To mix things up a bit, my husband and I joined a few couples to explore Utah's Zion National Park. (Without the kids!!!) We pushed ourselves harder than anticipated in order to experience the park's grandeur in 3 full days. The "easy" hikes certainly left more to desire. The individuals who didn't respect the boundaries set by Park Rangers, noise, litter and graffiti were disappointing and distracting. The thrill came from the strenuous hikes. We managed to land ourselves at the tippy top of Angel's Landing and also tackled the entire Narrows hike on two separate days.
The parts I will return to are those where few others dared to go. The beauty was not only enjoyed visually, but physically as well. The quiet, outer limits were dramatic yet peaceful. After climbing 1,035 feet to Angel's Landing, named by the Mormons who believed that only an Angel would be able to land on it, we noticed that even the squirrels and chipmunks traveled carefully and closely to the ground. We stood at the top with wind blowing at our bodies as if we were foreign objects on the land but we heard falcons playing in the updrafts without even noticing our presence. The adventurists who travelled there as early as we did, stared in awe, and spoke in whispers. The 360 degree view was a lot to take in. I leaned into the nearest tree to keep my knees from buckling when I looked back at the 8 foot wide natural bridge that I hiked across to reach the landing itself. The hike down was almost scarier as we had to navigate around latecomers and our bodies were already in a downward movement. I imagined myself rolling down with the tiny rocks that fell with each of my steps like a cartoon snowball. It turns out that some poor hiker fell off of that same path the following day!
In the Narrows, we were alone except for a darling group of boy scouts who we saw only about 5 times. Butterflies would land on our clothing making me feel noticed and welcomed, frogs looked like granite carvings found in floral shops and the sound of rocks rolling under water could be heard through the bottoms of our feet. Wading through the virgin river, we were insignificant compared to the 3,000 foot sheer walls of sedimentary rock that surrounded us and the thousands of gallons of water rushing down to Lake Mead. We felt compelled to explore this temple-like treasure, not affecting it by our visit. We walked carefully though our heads were on a constant swivel, and our eyes were taking everything in. Each step was different. I stopped a number of times just to place my hand on these massive rocks. I heard the moans and sighs that the Indians spoke of as the wind swept through the caves and crevasses. Sadly, none of our photos do the place any justice. I will take my boys there someday. We'll arrange to camp inside overnight so that we can enjoy the hike without worrying about catching the last shuttle out of the park! (& so that I can listen to the sound of it all a bit longer.)
Our vacation led us back through Las Vegas, where we would board our plane to go back to California. We decided to go down the strip and were dumbfounded by the fake-ness of it all. The lights, smells, sounds and filth were agitating and annoying in contrast to our trip to Zion. We decided to turn in our rental car early and went to the airport 4 hours ahead of schedule, to wait for our plane in silence.
Two days later, we landed with our children in Honolulu. (home for me) The warm, soft air and my dad welcomed us with their embraces. The fragrant flower leis around our necks brought memories of weddings, birthdays, funerals, graduations and luaus right back to me. I am always comforted by the drive to my childhood home, through the Pali. I love to put my hand out the window to feel the soft rain and cloudy air that hangs low in Nuuanu. Like Jurassic park, my boys search for dinosaurs or gorillas in the jungle, outside their windows. If a beast were living in Hawaii, it surely would be there!!! We made it down to Lanikai beach by 2:00, and the water calmed us in an exhilarating way, though I was saddened by the number of people and plastic bits on the pure, white sandy beach. The smell of cigarette smoke and lack of privacy on what used to be a secluded beach, made my brow furrow. I relaxed and smiled as I watched a crab run out of its hole to grab a man-o-war that my son had placed there for him to eat. (At least my kids get it!) My boys are well adapted to the island life. In no time, they were running a successful lemonade stand and hanging out with neighbors on their lanai, talking story. They started calling each other "Brah" and went barefoot everywhere. They have the right responses ingrained & this makes me feel successful as a mom. If I tell them that we're going to swim (a half mile) to a big rock in the ocean that we can explore, they grab their fins and go. If I tell them we're going to see Aunty Phyllis in Nuuanu, they ask what kind of animals she has there this time. The truth is, no one knows until you get there. Once, my mom walked through the gate and a monkey jumped on her head and grabbed her pigtails with its hands!!! You can always count on some chickens, dogs and cats, but she rescues pigs, goats, monkeys etc., so one never knows. This land that she lives on is sacred to the Hawaiians...and it's there that I feel hope for life and balance.
As I begrudgingly packed my bags to come back to California, I felt sad to leave Hawaii...but I started thinking about my dog, garden and my friends in Pleasant Hill...and I accept the fact that I have a very good life indeed!
Sunday, June 26, 2011
Miglet's made my day! I am an avid baker. I take pride in making cakes, cupcakes, cookies, brownies, and breads from scratch. Even more, I LOVE eating them with friends and family!! I recently discovered that when I eat something with wheat in it, I get a painful rash on my face. Even a single french fry from a restaurant that buys them frozen, will cause painful blisters. (They are tossed in a starchy flour to keep them from sticking to each other.) When I was asked to make cupcakes to take to a family gathering yesterday, I asked my husband to stop by Miglet's to buy me a single cupcake. He chose the chocolate raspberry cupcake. It was absolutely delicious! The smooth, chocolate cake was very chocolaty. It had a bit of raspberry jam in the middle. This tasty gem was topped with lovely buttercream and a fresh raspberry. Yum, yum, yum!!! Let's face it, baking with different types of flours creates varied texture and flavor results. This cupcake wasn't exactly like mine. I am confident though that my gluten eating family members would be delighted to feast on these cupcakes too. My gluten free cupcake didn't seem like an artificial substitute for a normal cupcake the way a diet soda substitutes a normal soda. It was simply a very good cupcake! Thank you Miglet's! I'll be back!!!
Friday, April 8, 2011
I enjoyed gardening with my family these past two days! The weather was perfect. Nice and sunny, but cool enough not to burn seedlings. We weren't alone!! It was a regular garden party! Our dog sat in the shade with a smile on his face. Birds darted in and out. A squirrel sat on the fence wondering what would happen to his buried treasures as we dug them up. There was a giant dragonfly watching from the wall, Ladybugs munching on aphids, tons of earthworms worked to make my soil healthy, bees were buzzy and we even found some caterpillars!
We planted Zucchini, heirloom tomatoes, pink beets, rainbow chard, kale, lettuce, leeks, blueberries and cilantro. We transplanted lambs ears, basil, spinach, mesculin lettuce, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower and flat leaf parsley.
I can't wait to harvest!
My hands are a mess, but I wouldn't trade that feeling of earth between my fingers for a pair of gloves.
Monday, March 14, 2011
One thing I take absolute pride in is throwing a party! My son's 7th birthday party wish was to have a Mario Bros. themed party.
This is what I did to create an awesome party for about $120:
- I took Mario clip art from the net and printed an invitation on a blank card purchased from a stationary store. I glued a gold coin onto each one.
- We ordered balloons online. Blue latex balloons with clouds on them and mylar Mario/Luigi balloons.
- I bought plain white gift bags and glued yellow question marks on them. I wrote names on them as guests RSVP'd to use as goodie bags.
- I bought chocolate gold coins to use as rewards for good party behavior and game winners.
- I found rock candy lollipops to reward teams with "fire" & "ice" powers at Tuesday Morning. (Warm colors =fire, cool colors=ice)
- I printed Mario and Luigi's faces from the internet, taped the page to cardboard, covered it with wax paper, made buttercream icing, dyed it in batches and piped the design onto the faces as if I were coloring them with paint. I froze these in advance and inverted them onto a plain Baskin Robbins cake that I ordered.
- I bought gum balls and gummy peaches from TJ MAXX and put them in jars for prizes.
- I found Mario gummy snacks to add to the goodie bag.
- I served water in re-usable cups and pretzels to snack on. (we served cake & ice cream too)
- I found red paper polka dot napkins and square blue paper plates to use. We used re-usable forks.
- We blew up latex balloons in bright colors and put gold chocolate coins in them. We made 2 teams. Gave each team a bag full of balloons. The children did a relay where they were to pop the balloons with their bottoms as fast as they could. They collected the coins and shared them. The winning team received the fire power lollipops and the other team got ice power. (essentially, everyone won)
- Each child was given a character name that I wrote on a sticky label and put on their forehead. We played the guessing game where you ask yes/no questions about which character you are. Once the children knew their character, we played the next game.
- We borrowed a spin wheel and pasted characters' photos on it for this game. Each time we spun the wheel and it landed on a particular character, the child who matched that had that character would take one step closer to the finish line.
- I painted character mustaches and daisies on the children's faces.
- I drew Mario, free-hand onto a paster board and then cut out some felt mustaches. We played pin the mustache on Mario!
- We had plastic gold coins from previous parties, so I cut fishing line and taped the coins to the line and hung them from different heights from the ceiling.
- I always hang streamers in an X design from the corners of the room.
- One friend of mine stayed and took photos for us.
Every child left with a bag full of chocolate coins, a lollipop & Mario Gummies, facepaint and a smile! The best part was that my husband and I played with the children for 2 hours straight. Everyone raved about the party saying it was the best they'd ever been to. My son was delighted. Happy Super Mario Birthday!
Thursday, February 24, 2011
I recently drove to Oakland to feast on Fenton's ice cream with my dad. We drove past Blick's Art Supply on the way, and decided to stop in. Paint in general makes me salivate, but the new treasure I honed in on was a product called "Rub N Buff." I chose the antique gold tube for $3.50. We brought it home and applied it to my tri-fold mirror whose frame had tarnished...AAAAAAAhhhhh....Tarnish no more!!! This stuff goes on like a wax, so it blends in like magic and looks as if it was there all along! Before I knew it, I was on the prowl for more items around the house that needed gold! Dull things, beware!!
Thursday, January 27, 2011
I hit the Grocery Outlet store in Concord today, and boy did I score! Judging by the contents of my re-usable bags, you'd think I went to whole foods! Looking at my purchase, I spent $53 and saved $59! Gotta love the high quality, whole food at half the price!
Here's what I got!
Back to Nature Trail mixes, Organic Greek Raspberry Frozen Yogurt, Ben & Jerry's vanilla ice cream, Organic eggs, Organic Acai berry puree pouches, Kiss My Face shaving cream (for Jerry), Whole foods hand soap, Egyptian Mint Zhena gypsy tea, Nature's Path organic Granola bars, 2 potted certified organic herbs (flat leaf parsley & sage), Kettle brand organic corn chips, Naked Mighty Mango Smoothie, Cabot butter, and some homeopathic stuffy nose relief capsule thing.
I have made this store my first stop...every week, and I am positive that I am becoming a pro, grocery pirate!