Sunday, May 31, 2015

Elder Perry's final words to us...

When Dennis heard yesterday that this great man passed away, 
he said it felt like a family member had died.
I remember when he spoke these words towards the end of his talk last month at General Conference:

"...Let me close by bearing witness (and my nine decades on this earth fully qualify me to say this) that the older I get, the more I realize that family is the center of life and is the key to eternal happiness..."

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

What one atheist thinks towards the end of his life.

Going over Family History last night with my sister Heidi, we started talking about our maternal
Grandma. She was an atheist. She told me this back in the summer of 1983, months before she died.

Grandma was a very good soul. She felt it her responsibility to care for and uplift others….especially
the sad and lonely and needy. She sought them out. She lived a very Christ like life even though she
didn't know it as such.

Still, there was this unspoken sadness about her. Like a layer of suppressed anger. I attributed much of
that to her hard life…..raising her children during the depression, her husband out of work due to
disabilities, losing their first born at 9 months of age due to a weekend virus….and many more
challenges I won't go into here.

But looking back, what would life mean if we believed we would lose it all, including all the people we
love, at the end of it? That it would all be over. Gone and done with.

I heard this short interview with famous children's author Maurice Sendak recently, and it reminded
me of Grandma. He has since passed away, but he had this to say near the end of his life.

He didn't believe in God either, but it's obvious he envies those who do. I found it telling the way
he said, "I don't believe in an afterlife but I still expect fully to see my brother again." Perhaps
somewhere deep in his soul, he knew.

It's just a 5 minute clip, and he did very much appreciate and love life.
Just so sad he thought it would be forever over soon.

Saturday, May 23, 2015

What we ate on our trip

Karen and McKenna fed us well while we were in Washington…..

Here is what we had for dinner each night we were there…

The first night Karen made us a great taco bar. I wish I had pictures of it but we were a bit late
arriving, so we just all ate as soon as we got there. In addition to the meat, cheese, onions, beans and
other toppings, she also had yellow and orange peppers cut up….I want to remember that since they
taste SO good on tacos.

And McKenna brought green rice that had lots of spinach in it.
Everyone loves it, even the little ones, I think.

This meal tasted SO good. We were SO grateful to have it after eating on the road for 2 days.

And she had my favorite sauce from Trader Joes to go on top… this stuff:

Second night:  McKenna made Pioneer Woman's "Sunday Stew."
We didn't care it was Friday.

For the stew recipe GO HERE. It was beyond wonderful.
 So was the salad. We kept eating more and more of it.
Salad: Costco’s spring mix and romaine lettuce for the greens with sliced green onions, celery, 
sliced grapes and toasted almonds. 

(For toasted almonds: Mix 1/2 cup of sliced almonds and 6T sugar. 
Stir constantly until it melts and coats almonds. 
Pour over greased wax paper. Let cool 1 hour.)
Poppy Seed Dressing

¾ cup white vinegar
1 ½ cup canola oil
½ cup sugar
1 ½ teaspoon poppy seeds
1 ½ teaspoon salt
¾ teaspoon dried mustard
3 teaspoon purple onion

Mix all ingredients in blender; pour over salad. 

3rd Night:
We all went to Outback Steak house.
Don't really know what everyone had, but who cares. 
It could not begin to compare with the delish home cooking we had the 2 previous nights.

Not sure why I didn't get Tyler in this picture. His elbow proves he was there. 
Richie is below with Grant.

So I'll stop right here and continue with part 2 of our eating adventures, soon.
We really don't expect our girls to cook for us, but they always do. 

Maybe no one cares what we ate but us, however... 
I want to have record of it all so I can go back and make these meals. 

Thursday, May 21, 2015

On our way home...

On our way home…. from Jill Shelley on Vimeo.

I will be back to show what great meals Karen and McKenna made for us!
I'm also working on a video of our trip….

Monday, May 18, 2015

Sunday in Vancouver

So we got a text from McKay early Sunday morning saying Scarlett had been sick all through the night.

Poor baby. So we didn't get to see them yesterday, 
so instead spent the whole church block at Karen and Tyler's ward.

I know what's going on in that church building before I even walk inside. It's home to me, in a sweet
happy way I can't explain. I just know that I love it there. 

Karen was off to teach the young women.

I went to Primary with Richie and his class. 
One little look at him and his endearing tie, and I just had to stay. 

 Richie is by far the tallest Sunbeam in his class.
The lesson was on being thankful for our hands. The children got to reach inside sacks of different
items and tried to describe them. 

Then they were given little gold fish crackers and asked to describe how the crackers felt against their
hands. Each child was given a turn to come up with a descriptive word, but Richie, I must say, was the
only one who had an answer. He said, "They feel like sand." I nearly stood up and clapped.  

And yes, the day was as gorgeous as it looked!
So were the grandchildren and their parents.
Spoken like a Grandma.

Saturday, May 16, 2015

I talked him into it.

Dennis has this thing about his hat. 
He thinks he needs to protect his head from getting burned outside.

So we were suppose to meet the kids at Vancouver's Farmer's 
Market but Den could not find his hat anywhere. 
He was not in a good mood. 

We looked all through the hotel room, in the car, and then decided 
we better get on the road. Turns out we arrived first so we sat in 
the car waiting, and he was very quiet. That's how I can tell he is 
not happy…he just gets very quiet.

So finally I said, "Well you know, I do have my hat I keep in the 
trunk. Do you want to wear it?"

I thought that would be an immediate NO, but he instead said, 
"Well does it look like a woman's hat?"

"Uh, well sort of. But you will never see these people again, 
so what difference does it make?"

So surprising to me, he gets it out of the trunk and puts it on. 
I told him not to even mention to our kids…
"they probably will not even notice."

So we first meet up with McKay and McKenna…

I think they were trying not to look at him at first.

Then I sensed McKenna was trying not to laugh.

Scarlett was not too sure about it either.
 Then finally McKenna took me aside and asked:

"Are you familiar with the Berenstain Bears?"

"Uh yes I am"

"Are you familiar with the father bear in the story?"

I had to think, "Yes, I am."

"Are you familiar with the hat the father bear wears?"

I had to think again…."Oh, uh….YES, I am."

"Well Dennis looks just like him." 

I think she nailed it.

By the time Karen and Tyler arrived, the hat was old news, 
plus they had other things going on.

Friday, May 15, 2015

Seeing our Washington grand babies!

I was awake….just didn't look like it.

Leo, Rich, Grant, Scarlett

Richie took this one…
interesting seeing life from his lower level. I would have been 
afraid of me. Tone it down, Grandma.

But nevertheless, Richie said at least 4 times to me last night, 
"I love you so much Grandma Honey."

Gorgeous backyard at Karen and Tyler's…..a child's dream.

Grant is fearless like his Dad.

Leo loves to climb up but then needs help getting down.

Sometimes a girl just needs to get away from the guys.

These boys have both filled out so much in the past 9 months. 
I can see tiny men emerging even at age 3 1/2.
Grant and Rich

Good thing Uncle McKay's always been tough.

Look what our sweet girls, Karen and McKenna gave to us 
to bring back to the hotel. Is this thoughtful or what!

No more time to blog today…we are off to explore Vancouver.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Our drive to Medford

 I don't mean to put down my home state of California, 
but it's getting ugly here.

We drove mile after mile looking at brown and dead weeds.

 The change as we got close to Oregon was dramatic.
I don't usually take scenery pictures, 
but I could not resist this time.

But that's not the only difference.
Does something look different about this table 
when we stopped for dinner in Medford?
You guessed it, no water. Not unless you ask for it. There is no 
drought in Oregon. It falls from the sky more often than not.
Where we come from, restaurants bring water to you as soon as you sit down. It's automatic. 

And this. How I love this. It's hard finding just a garbage can in 
Oregon. But they do often have places for paper, cans...and look 
how small the waste compartment is. I think this would be a great 
way for kids to grow up. 

And for our final treat for tonight….
We get to open our windows here in Medford, Oregon. Fresh air! 
Seriously fresh, and it smells so wonderful 
I can not even describe it. 

We cannot do this at home.Tyler recently told me 
we made 1st place in worst air in the country.
Sorry, don't mean to sound like a trader. 
California has it's virtues too….most of my family lives there. 

Hey, and on our drive here we got to listen to this about my niece, 
Whitney. She got selected by The Longest Shortest 
Time….podcasts all about unique parenting. If you don't have the 
20 minutes to listen to it now, at least check out the pictures. It's 
called 65 women and a baby. It made me cry.
(Whitney is the youngest daughter of my brother Richard and Wendy (aka Chickee) 

Excuse me, but just ignore the rest of this post. It's just info of our trip I want to remember.
It would be too boring for anyone else.

7:30 We woke up, ate, packed, and made lunch until we left at 9:23am
10:39 Livingston, Ca for gas and power walk, left 10:57
12:41 Woodland, Ca (just north of Sacramento) gas and power walk, left at 12:58
lady clerk was really nice and gave us a free garbage bag (I forgot to pack ours)
milage: 198.5
3:00 Redding, Ca gas and power walk left at 3:18
Made quick bathroom stop at McDonalds about 10 min from Ashland, Oregon
milage: 343
5:45 arrived at Hampton Inn in Medford, Oregon
(next time call the hotel the day before and ask them NOT to spray any room freshener. Apparently calling them the  
morning of was not soon enough. This place reeks even with the window open and the fan going. 
But the air outside is heavenly.) 
Also, next time put some large ziploc bags in the glove compartment for garbage. 
Lunch: egg sandwiches and apples
Dinner: Elmers. I had cod, baked potatoes and vegetables. Dennis had a strawberry, apple, chicken salad.
The service was incredibly slow, and not that good, due to a soft ball convention in town.
The car seat warmers plus Curcumin really helped Den's sciatic pain.
Hampton Inn beat out both Springhill Suites and Holiday Inn Express we stayed in last few times here.
Beds firm but okay. We used my 2 camera battery rechargers so light up the bathroom a little.
A few other things we liked about his hotel:

The hardboiled eggs to eat on the run.
 Den said the food below was not too good.
But he loved the pillows they have all lined up for everyone's back. 
It's all about the little things.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

One of our steps to get ready!

A good friend recently suggested I get some books on CDs for our long drive to Vancouver. 
She said it would make the drive go by quicker. 

Another friend suggested I look for these talking books at the library. But when I presented 
my card, they said it was no longer good. I told them that's what they said last time too!
I guess I go once every 10 years or so. 

Or maybe it's been longer….
since I've been Mrs. Shelley for over 15 years now.
(I secretly like when someone accidentally calls me Jill Heasley.
I like that they remembered me then, when I had the same name as my sons.)

So I had to fill out all the new info for my new library card with a pencil they gave me. 
A pencil!  Signed my name that someone can erase. 
Libraries need to get with the times. 

Or maybe I need to, because I asked where their card files were and they pointed me to a 
computer. However, the place still looks and smells exactly the same. 
I love that library smell. I smell my childhood.

And also, when did they quit whispering in libraries? 

I warned Den before we walked in that we needed to be quiet or we'd get in trouble. I 
remember how controlling librarians can be. Sort of like Violet here.

Turns out those librarians were talking in every day voices. Who knew. 

And turns out we came home with 6 books to listen to.
None of these jump out at me, mostly because I've read 3 of them already…
but they're a start. I was hoping for a gripping novel but I don't know how to choose those.

I'm hoping Dennis will like them, being he's the driver and all.
We'll see. 

WIsh us luck. Traveling and I don't do so well.
But it will be worth it all to see our Vancouver grand babies. 

Sunday, May 10, 2015

message from my Mom

From my Mom's journal entry dated September 12, 1979:

"When I was little I always felt sorry for anyone older than I 
because they probably didn't have as long to live. Lately I think of 
heaven and long for the time we can all be there together." 

Even though my Mom was not a fan of Mother's Day (not sure why), I'm certain she is a fan of heaven.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Strange I would find this today

Very early this morning as I was looking for some lost papers I needed,
I came across this newspaper article from 23 years ago.
I had not seen it for years, maybe even 2 decades.

It's my niece Robin, with her Mom Wendy AKA known as Chickee. Robin is Hailey's mom.

Here's the text easier to read...
But it ends there, because apparently I just saved the front page. 
So now I'll never know what Robin spent her prize money on. 

 Those were busy days back in 1992….my sons were 6, 8, 13, and 15.
 I probably just threw it in a box in the closet.

So after reading it this morning I looked to the top of the page to the date...

It's sort of bizarre to me that it was exactly 23 years ago today! 
And it was even a Thursday! Of all the days for me to find it….

I guess these were the other finalists….
The middle one I can't even tell who's the Mom and who's the daughter.

We all sure miss Robin.