She has her own special laptop machine. It's programed to sound like her voice. We can start
communicating back and forth with her! I can't even tell you what this does to me hearing her
And she is so proud!
Tuesday, February 21, 2017
Saturday, February 18, 2017
moment. Last Christmas, which was only a few weeks ago right?
Somehow, even though I obviously opened this gift,
I found these and got so excited!!
refrigerator magnets don't work well in the scanner.
McKenna is still gorgeous, even with a high forehead.
Carolina. So earlier this week while I was looking for some info I
opened one of my Mom's old binders up,
couple days ago. He knows how interested Den is in his life and
even in his daily schedule so he made him a chart.
I deleted some of the times, respectful of their privacy.
This makes both of us very happy. Can't explain it, but it does.
so we opted not to go visit them this week.
too. I must have picked it up over the phone lines. Who knew.
like me and add 3-4 frozen chicken thighs instead.
to get our Vitamin D levels up.
Thursday, February 16, 2017
I'm pretty sure I'm the only one still alive who knows this story. So for that reason I feel compelled to
share it here so my sons and their families will have it should they need it in the future.
Everyone who is Mormon, has their own conversion story.
My parents had theirs, which I posted HERE.
So this is how my first husband, Bill, found the church. There's lots of sadness in this story so I don't
mean to imply these horrible things happened so he would find the church. It's just the truth of how
this story unfolds.
If this can be considered a conversion story, it is the most unusual one I've ever heard.
It began to me as a family mystery. Back in the mid 1970s my first husband, Bill, and I were
attempting to do his family history work. When we'd go through the Heasley line we were able to find
information. But whenever we would attempt to investigate his mother's line, we would get stopped
by his maternal Grandma, Alice. Her maiden name was Altop, but she would say to us, "Don't do
the Altop line because that is NOT my family." Then she would go on to say, "I was adopted, so
go through the Massa line, NOT the Altop. I'm a Massa!"
She obviously had issues with being adopted, or so we thought. Made no sense because we
discovered she was only about a year old when she was placed into the Altop family...so she couldn't
have had memory of her bio mom, Dominica Massa.
So Bill and I would discuss that the Altops must not have been good parents to her, maybe even
abusive? She was probably not wanting to claim them because of that? We could only guess.
So a few times while we were talking to Grandma Alice about her family, I gently and carefully
asked her something like, "Were the Altops good people?" and her response was alway this: "They
were decent people." Nothing more.
So then why did she not claim them as her family?
Didn't make sense to either one of us, but out of respect to her we just ignored the Altop line and or
any line connecting Alice to family.
It all just stopped right there and remained one big mystery.
Until one afternoon we were visiting Grandma Alice at her home in Coalinga. Her birth sisters, Lee
and Thelma were also visiting that day. (Yes, Alice had 2 older birth sisters. When Lee, the older of
the 3 sisters, became an adult, she went looking for her 2 younger birth sisters, Thelma and Alice. So
somewhere back in the day the sisters reunited and stayed close.)
In the past when I would ask Grandma Alice about the reuniting of her birth sisters, she was vague,
not really answering any questions, and just changing the subject.
But that afternoon Grandma Alice went somewhere....so did Bill, his parents, and 2 of our sons. I
think they went together to get ice cream at Thriftys as they often did, I can't remember, but I found
myself sitting around the kitchen table with Grandma's birth sisters, Lee and Thelma. With my baby
McKay on my lap. This was 1984
I don't know how the subject came up that day, but Lee and Thelma started talking about their birth
mom and how lucky they were to have found their birth sisters all these years later. They never told
me how that came to be, but they did talk about their birth mom and why the 3 sisters grew up in 3
As they explained to me that day, their mom, Dominica Massa had just given birth to her 3rd
daughter (Grandma Alice) when her husband suddenly left her. He took off, and was gone. Thelma
did most of the talking, "Back in those days a woman could not survive without a man to support
her. So Mom married the first guy who came along. Problem is he didn't like children."
She went on to explain that after they were married he insisted she give the daughters up. Thelma
very matter of fact explained, "So mom put us in an orphanage. She was so upset about losing us,
that she got a job in that orphanage so she could be with us each day."
Soon their mom became pregnant. She was fearful of telling her husband this so she attempted to
give herself an abortion. She died in that attempt. So all 3 girls (about 1, 3, and 5 or 6) were
relinquished for adoption and put into three different homes. Lee was the older sister so she
remembered her mom and she remembered being taken from her sisters.
This is when 1 year old Alice was adopted by the Altops. It just so happened they were Mormon, so
Alice grew up active in the church, but for whatever reason she did not remain so for at least the first
two decades of her adult life. Alice married young and had her first and only child, Niada (my sons'
Grandma), when she was 18.
Alice eventually came back into the Mormon church. By now her daughter Niada was married and
they had 2 young sons. Alice wanted her daughter and her family to also have the church in their life
so with their permission she arranged to have the missionaries teach them. Soon Niada, her husband
Bill and their 2 sons Jim and Bill were baptized. But since it was a long drive to church they soon
quit going and that was that.
When Bill joined the Army at age 18, the form asked what religion he was. He barely remembered
being baptized, but he did remember he was Mormon, so he wrote that down.
Several years later, after he completed his Army duty, he thought about the religion he listed on those
Army forms and wondered about the Mormon church. So while attending college in Visalia, one
Sunday he stopped in to one of the Mormon churches, walked up to the bishop and basically said,
"All I know is that I'm a baptized Mormon. But I don't know anything about it." This kind
bishop brought him into his office where they talked for a few hours. From that day forward he
started attending church and the Young Single Adult activities. Four months later he moved to
Fresno, and that's when I met him. We married 19 months later.
But I noticed it was signed in 1977. I'm assuming this must be when the sisters reunited....and
somehow they were able to track down this event, find this Catholic church, and ask for a certificate.
Tuesday, February 14, 2017
When Dennis saw this video tonight, he had doubts about it being
real. But I corrected him, and said pregnant women can really be
THIS passionate about their food.
Sunday, February 12, 2017
...as in, we might not have existed.
Last month I started the 52 Stories challenge of answering one prompt each week about my life.
By the end of the year, my 52 stories should pretty much sum up my life story.
So week 6 the question was:
"Do you know the story of how your grandparents
met and fell in love?"
I know nothing about how Romeo and Leonie met, my Dad's parents.
But I did find out how Earl and Lella met....
my Mom's parents via information that was written by my mom in 1962 and 1982.
So here's how her parents met. Not so remarkable until you know the back story which I will explain.
In the Fall of 1917 when my Grandpa Earl Slinkard was 26, single and still not having met my
Grandma, he joined the Army, the 20th Engineers. This outfit was made up of 20,000 men, all with
mountain and forest service.
He was first sent to Angel Island in San Francisco where he waited a entire month for enough men to
collect before being sent to the American University in Washington, DC.
Finally on the way back to DC, he and the men he was traveling with were snowbound in Slater,
Missouri, and delayed for three days. Because of this delay, they missed the ship they were
scheduled to be on. They were to learn later that ship was bombed.
After arriving in DC, he and his men ended up sailing the Pasteries, which was part of a large convoy
to France. During this long trip Grandpa was stricken with spinal meningitis and was unconscious
for most of the 30 days in route.
Now I would think having spinal meningitis would be beyond horrible even in a nice hospital with
medical people hovering around. But being that sick on a ship in the middle of the sea!??
When Grandpa came to, he was at Base Hospital 101 in St Nazarie, France.
He was so sick the doctors gave up hope for him....all but one intern and a nurse. He craved liquor
and the nurse said if he were going to die then he was going to die happy. So she fixed him a very
strong "eggnog." After that his condition improved and he continued to have his "eggnog" each day.
He stayed in this hospital for five months, from Feb-July.
He was then transferred to a convalescent center in central France. Still not able to do any work, he
was finally sent homeward bound on Sept 13, 1918 on an auxiliary cruiser, the Harrisburg. He arrived
at Staton Island about Oct 1st. He stayed 2 weeks, then he headed for Fort Des Moines, Iowa on a
hospital train where he stayed until December.
He than came to San Diego, Ca where he was discharged the day before Christmas, 1918.
Okay, so here's where my Grandma comes in. On his way from San Diego he stopped in Bakersfield
to see his sister Ida. There he met his future wife Lella, who was Ida's roommate!
I see the hand of the Lord in my Grandpa's life, and because of that, the hand in my life and all of my
family who came from the marriage of my grandparents. If he hadn't been snowed in those 3 days in
Missouri he would have been bombed in that previously scheduled ship. And really, who lays
unconscious with spinal meningitis for 30 days at sea and lives to tell about it. And such struggles
while in the Army. He was in some sort of hospital for over a year.
What suffering my Grandpa went through. Reading through the rest of his life story, it did NOT get
much easier. I owe much to this man and to my Grandma, for giving me my angel Mom.
I don't believe we are just randomly here on earth. If that were the case we would all be here or not be
here, due to good luck or bad luck. So if one young person gets wiped off the earth there goes his or
her entire posterity yet to be born. I know it doesn't work that way. We are all God's children and He
has a unique plan for each of us. I think about this a lot. It makes sense no any other way.
Friday, February 10, 2017
Wednesday, February 8, 2017
Normally I'm not a fan of gel pens but these dry quickly.
moved in. I finally found a good solution! Bissell Power Fresh
Steam Mop. It uses only water, so NO chemicals involved, and it
heats up hot and kills 99.9 percent of germs and bacteria.
than a mile from our house. We're always left wondering...
Just so odd.
6. I have some advice for you.
Don't lean your back against your fridge while standing in the
kitchen talking to your husband.....because even if you hear the
water running behind you, you'll think it's just the ice maker
filling up...so you won't move while the pocket of your sweater, and
your shoes fill up with water. Just saying.
Monday, February 6, 2017
Please don't give up on me.
I will be back in a few days. My laptop had been acting mildly ill for several weeks. And then about a
week ago it became pretty much non functional. We finally took it into the Apple hospital today
where it was diagnosed with a defective touch pad.
Den and I both felt kind of bad leaving it there. The tech told us it would be ready in 3-5 days. Maybe
he felt sorry for us, I don't know, because then he quickly added, "I'm sure it won't take that long."
Amazing the things we think we can't live without now...
I think it was 20 years ago this month that I learned to use a computer. Bill had set up an AOL
account for us that I knew nothing about until weeks after he died when I discovered paper work in
his desk drawer.
When my good friend Wendy Karsavar learned about this, she insisted on teaching me to use a
computer. She sat right next to me one evening at our large desk top computer, telling me which
button to push and exactly what to do, while I continued to say, "No, I don't want to do this.
This is so boring. There's no point in it!"
"Now just settle down, Jilly-Jill. You need to learn to email. You're going to love this."
"I would never want to write letters on a computer."
Let's just say I was wrong, and leave it at that.
Saturday, January 28, 2017
A few days ago I was making breakfast when Den came in and told
me our granddaughter Emily (in Utah) had been in an accident.
have gone completely into the canal had she not run into a car
first....which slowed her impact just enough.
special for safe keeping.....so she will always remember her
icy Utah roads. He came upon an intersection but because of the icy
road he couldn't stop just as a bus was passing through.
was THAT close. We are talking, what? 1/2 inch difference and that
bus would have got him.
we have to look for them.
Thursday, January 19, 2017
When McKay was barely walking I noticed he had great rhythm
when music would come on. I made a mental note back then to get
him into music lessons when he was a little older.
I never did, and I've always regretted it.
Fast forward to this husband and father of 3, McKay wanted to play the ukulele....so he just got on Youtube and taught himself.
I so loved the music he brought into our home
while he was here last month.
Be sure and see Scarlett at the very end.
Love the Boston accent she already has, and she's only 3.