Thursday, December 13, 2012

Baking Up a Storm

Right after I finished the last blog we went shopping for some more inside decorations for Christmas, and most especially for New Years Eve.  Every year we have 24 people coming for what we call our New York New Years Eve party.  Our house will only hold 24 people.  It is pretty fun, actually,  and all the same people come each year.  The only way we can invite anyone new is for someone to either move away or die, as everyone is invited for each New Years until either Dick or I die.  One of our friends lost his wife  last year and another one lost her husband, so that left two that we could invite, so we invited Jim and Sue Pike.

 So far everyone is coming.  It is pot luck and every year everyone brings the same thing, so our menu never really changes.  Everyone really looks forward to this party each year, so nothing ever changes with everyone coming unless they get sick. 

We eat at exactly 6:00 p.m. and after we are through eating, everyone helps with moving all the tables away and then we have circle time, which we borrowed from Sue.  We ask everyone a fun question and after Dick and I have had our turn, everyone all around the circle answers the question. This year we are going to ask a question that will have all of us laughing, which should be fun.  It also gives us a chance to know something about everyone that we have never heard before.  I hope it will be a success and you will  know all about it in my first post after the New Year.


This is the main table which seats only eight.  This photo was taken in 2010


 
Looking across the main table to two of the four card tables we set up



This is the main table that we had last year 2011



Setting up for circle time



A shot of our decorated coffee table from last year

I have actually been very busy this month, which is why I haven't posted before.  I was quite amazed when I found out that I hadn't posted at all this month.


The first week in December was a very busy one.  Monday night was a High Priest party at the Pikes.  Tuesday was a birthday luncheon at the church for all the birthdays in December.  I was going to be smart and bake something on Monday for both parties, so I baked a choco brownie cake for the evening party and a cheese cake for the Tuesday luncheon at 12:00 noon.  I don't know where my brain was but I forgot to put the timer on for the cheese cake and promptly forgot about it.  When I suddenly remembered that it seemed like a long time, I went to the kitchen, looked at the cheesecake and it was way over baked!  I was so mad because I didn't really have time to bake anything else, so knew I was going to have to do it Tuesday morning.  The choco brownie cake turned out beautifully, as it always has.  I am going to bake one tomorrow morning and divide it into two 9" cake pans.  I think I will give you the recipe as it really is a wonderful chocolate cake:

Choco Brownie Cake:

1 cube butter at room temperature
1/2 cup shortening
3 1/2 Tablesoons cocoa
l cup water
Cook the above ingredients in saucepan on medium just until it comes to a boil.
Then pour over 2 cups flour and 2 cups of sugar which has been sifted together and placed in large bowl of mixer.

Mix well and then add in order given:
2 eggs
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon soda just sprinkled into other ingredients
1 teaspoon vanilla
Pour into either a greased and lightly floured 9x 13 pan or two 9" round cake pans, that have been greased and lightly floured
Bake for 25 minutes @ 400 degrees.

Icing for above:
1 1/4 cubes butter
1/4 cup cocoa
1/3 cup milk
Cook in the same pan as you boiled in above.  When it comes to a boil, pour into large pan that you have put 1 lb pkg powdered sugar.  Mix thoroughly with mixer and add 1 teaspoon vanilla and 1 cup chopped walnuts.  You should ice cake while it is still warm.  I usually take it out of the oven and put it one rack if I am baking it in the one large pan, or on two racks it I am doing it in the round cake pans.  Then I ice the one large cake with all of the icing, or if doing two small cakes, I divide the icing in two parts.  If I am doing two small cakes, I put them on large dinner size paper plates or if I do the big one, I just ice it right in the pan.  Of course if you want to do a big round cake you ice the whole thing in the regular way.  I always use the same mixer for both the cake and the icing, so of course I have to wash both the mixer and the pan before I make the icing.

On Tuesday I just made my brownie recipe (from scratch, of course) and iced it with the above icing.  Both affairs were really nice, but I was almost too tired to really enjoy them.

I had really decided to rest all of Wednesday and I completely forgot that we had promised a couple of friends of ours who had asked us if we could take them over to Palm Springs to see the Festival of Lights.  This couple has lots of problems.  He has fallen lots and the last time he fell he broke his pelvis, so it has been a slow recovery.  He is almost 91, and she is quite blind.  The doctor has told him that he cannot drive anymore.  I felt so bad when she called us to see what time we were going to pick them up.  I was really too tired still, so we pomised them we would have them over for dinner on Monday and then we would drive them over to see the lights.  This guy that has these lights every year but he has a big huge gate around his whole place and the things to see are really   inside.  He has 4 acres and he had a lot of Santas and robots plus other types of decorations.  Do you know that just about 5:00 when they were supposed to have come for dinner, she called and said she wouldn't be home until around 8:00.  She had gone to Loma Linda for her husband's medicine and she had asked her next door neighbor if she would drive her.  Her neighbor had a lot of other towns that she had to go to and Rosemary just had to go along.  So we tried to got Don to come over for dinner anyway.  We had the table all set for them, but he decided to wait for Rosemary, so they came the second night and had lefovers with us.  Our left overs were pretty good though.  We had left over roast beef, mashed potatoes, gravy, veggies, and choco brownie cake for dessert.  Then we went to Palm Springs.  The gates were all lighted all around the property and we could see the tall Santa and a huge lighted pole from the front gate, which was also beuatifully decorated.  I don't quite think it was worth the drive, but we did stop on our way over in Cathedral City where one street is always decorated each year.  They call it candy cane lane and of course even the streets are decorated with the candy canes all lighted up.  They are the size of the street lamps.  It really is worth the trip over and we always go there each year.

Wednesday we went visiting teaching and I had to make two carrot pineapple cakes to take with us.  Then this morning I had to make two more carrot cakes to give one to another lady we visit and home teach and then the other one went to some friends of ours who had previously brought us some cinnamon rolls.  We stopped there and had a piece of cake with them and then went shopping.  We did manage to find a beautiful wreath for our front door that we will try to put up tomorrow.  We came home and I made another oatmeal thing with some left over pumpkin which I think Dick was cutting to flash freeze when I made him come and post the pictures we took last year of our New Years Eve party.  That pretty much brings us up to date.  You can see why I am tired and tomorrow we are baking 12 Danish Pastry tea rings which take almost all day.  I am also baking another choco brownie cake.  All this stuff is for our family.  Saturday we will be delivering a big box to our oldest daughter, Nancy.  She also works a good half day and we will be taking it early Saturday morning to her office in Anaheim.  At least we won't have to take it to her home which is in Huntington Beach.  We will stop at one of our favorite resturaunts in Riverside on the way home.  Sunday Dick will be at the church all day long doing some last minute tithing settlements and Monday morning about 5:00 a.m. we will be leaving for Sue's in Saratoga for Christmas.  After a couple of days in Saratoga we will go to our third daughter, Nikki's in Oak Park, which is near Agoura Hills.  We will barely get home sometime Saturday, to set up for our New York New Years Eve.  It makes me tired just reading this.  I'm finall finished, yes I am...........with love to all, ..........................Darlene




















Tuesday, November 27, 2012

It's Been a Long Time

Yes, it has been twelve days since I last posted!  I just didn't have anything very interesting to post......still don't, really.  It's no fun to post about negative things, which I seem to be doing more and more lately, but darn it, bad things just keep happening to me. 

We did go to Nancy's in Huntington Beach for Thanksgiving and there begins the sad tale.  We always park in the alley behind their house, because they are only three blocks from the ocean and from downtown Huntington Beach, so street parking is NEVER available unless you get there very early or very late in the day.  They always save a place for us back there so of course that's where we parked.  We had two huge pumpkin pies and a big cassarole of candied yams to bring in, so Dick asked me if I would be okay on my own so that he could bring some of it in.  I, of course, said sure, I can make it on my own.  After he let me in the back gate, I was greeted by Jazzy (short for Jasmine), their beautiful golden retriever, whom I just love.  Jazz has been recovering from a very serious operation on one of her back legs.  I can never remember what it was she tore.  I think it's the ACL. Anyway, she  hasn't been able to get any exercise so was really fat since the last time I had seen her.  On the way up to the stairs that go into their back door I was scolding her for being so fat, "You are going to have to go on a diet" I kept telling her.  When we got to the stairs, she went ahead of me and climbed up on a very narrow ledge of bricks on the side of their house so that I could give her a big hug, which I have always done.  It's her special way of greeting me.  After I gave her a hug, she jumped down and went into me and knocked me down the stairs..........Yes, I landed, half of me on the bottom step and the other half on the cement walk.  As I was going down, onto my left side, I thought to myelf "this is the way I'm going to die".  I honestly thought I would land on my hip and break it.  I have never known anyone my age who has broken a hip to really recover.  It is a slow painful death.  I actually landed mostly on my left thigh and had a huge hematoma a bit bigger than the flat of my hand.  It is still very swollen and black and blue as many other parts of my body are.  I fell with my right arm and shoulder into the dog house, which Jazz never uses as she is an indoor dog.  Oh well, all I can say is that I am ever so grateful  that I didn't break anything.  I do have prettty strong bones, thank heaven. 

Needless to say, I haven't done anything or gone anywhere since it happened.  I do try to walk around the house as much as I can.  At least my legs work.  Both of my hands are in bad shape which makes it hard to type as a couple of days before Thanksgiving I smashed the top of my right hand between my first and second knucle on the top.  I also hurt my left hand when I fell, so for a few days, I could hardly use either hand.  I do feel that I am improving a bit every day though.  It could have been SO MUCH worse.  But enough about all of that.

I do hope that all of you who do celebrate Thanksgiving had a wonderful day.  I qualified that  because I have four blogging friends, out of my even dozen bloggers, who live in different countries, Linda in Scotland, Pam in Australia, Tima, who formerly lived in Canada, but is now living in Lusaka, somewhere in Southern Africa, and my photographer friend, Rune, who lives in Norway.  They have reminded me that they don't really celebrate our holiday.

  We certainly did have a big feast and it was truly enjoyable.  We had planned to stay all night, but  we went home at 7:00 because all I could think of was getting home and being able to sleep in my own bed.  We meant to take a little bit of turkey home with us so that we could have a big turkey sandwich the next day.  I actually eat only a couple of bites of turkey on Thanksgiving Day, but I do love my turkey sandwich on my homemade oatmeal bread the next day.  When I called my friend, Verna, to tell her that she needn't pick me up to go to church Sunday, I mentioned  that I had forgotten  to bring some turkey home with us.  She came by anyway with a nice big plate of turkey!!  So we did get to have our wonderful sandwiches for two days, and how we did enjoy them!!  I am so thankful for wonderful friends.  We do have so many of them. 

Speaking of wonderful friends, Sue and Jim Pike gave us a couple of really neat CD's today.  Dick went over there to pick up the latest CD of the Reunion, "It  Must Be Love", that we had ordered.  They also gave us a CD  of the oiginal Lettermen's Christmas album that they recorded for Capitol Records.  Then I'll be darned if they didn't give us a DVD of the Reunion that they often show before a concert, to acquaint the audience with the three members of the reunion, Jim Pike, Gary Pike and Ric deAzavido.  It gives a nice sketch of the history with clips from various shows that the Lettermen did in their hay days.  They were on so many different T.V. shows etc.  It is VERY interesting.  So now, of course, we are not only avid fans of The Four Freshmen, but also the original Lettermen, And the REUNION! !

I think I've run my limit, so will sign off...........maybe, just maybe I will post earlier next time......................my love to all,.......................Darlene

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Nothing Happening Here

I have to tell you, this has been the laziest week I've spent in a long time.  Honestly, I haven't done much.  I'm trying to get to the bottom of a stack of magazines, catalogues, papers and just plain stuff that has been lying by the side of my chair on the floor.  It piles up because I much prefer to read my kindle, so have spent a lot of time reading it this past week.  I really need to get busy reading this stuff, or just throw some of it away.   It has been quite a few days since I last posted, so I figured I'd better write something so I can get some news back about what some of you have been up to the last little while.

I did go to my hemotologist this morning and was quite surprised by the results of my test.   When I last went, two weeks ago, my hemoglobin was 10.8 and today it was 12.6!!  I can't even remember when it was that high.  My doctor was quite amazed too and checked to see if the lab had made a mistake, but no, that was correct!  Those last two iron infusions really worked!  I do feel better.  If it weren't for the constant pain I feel in my joints and muscles, I would feel downright wonderful.  I'm not going to complain though.  In fact, each day I wake up, I thank my Heavenly Father for another day. 

Winter has really decided to pay us a long visit.  Today we haven't even seen the sun, which is really unusual for the desert.  From now on, our temperatures will be in the 70's and that is okay.  I do wish the sun would come out though.  I hate these gloomy days. 

Tomorrow we are having a Ward Party and I have to make a dessert.  I am trying to decide which one to make.  I have so many yummy cake recipes, but I think it will either be my carrot pineapple cake or my oatmeal one.  The menu will be baked ham with lots of those "funeral potatoes", salads and side dishes of various vegetables.  I just know that I am going to break my diet on this one.  Buffets are really hard for me.  I love to taste a little of everything!  I have done very well too, having lost 5 pounds in the last two weeks.  I am now just verging on getting into the 150's which I haven't weighed in many many years.  I am really determined to do it this time.  But darn it, I just know that with our dinner tomorrow plus Thanksgiving Day, it is going to be tough going.  I don't want to deprive myself, but I am going to try to practice restraint.  Wish me well. 

I do hope that all of you will have a great Thanksgiving Day.  I just realized that it is a week from today! We are going to Huntington Park to have dinner with my oldest daughter, Nancy and some of her family that I haven't seen for some time.  It will really be nice to see everyone and we are going to stay overnight, so we won't have to drive home in the dark.  I REALLY hate to drive, or even ride in a car after dark. 

Forgive this short, rather uninteresting report, but at least you will know that I'm still here and doing okay.   Love to all..................

Monday, November 5, 2012

Another Busy Week

It's hard to believe that ten days have gone by since my last post.  I really didn't plan for such a long time between posts, but I have been very busy this past week.  Let's see, On the 27th we went to the funeral of a good friend that I used to be very close with when I lived in Northridge with my first husband.  That was some forty plus years ago.  We were both in Chatsworth Ward. (For those of you who are not LDS, a Ward is a congregation of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, more familiarly known as the Mormon Church.)  Marilyn was also a musician.  In fact she used to accompany me when I played in various places throughout Southern California.  She was a very accomplished pianist.  It was suprising then, when one day a few years ago they moved to Indian Wells, which is the town just across the street from us.  Of course we were happy to be in the same ward again.  Both of us had pretty much retired from our music by then.  A few years ago Marilyn's brain started to deteriorate and to make a long story short, she ended up not even knowing her own family.  Her husband, Jack, (who used to be our dentist) took care of her for years until he finally had to put her into a small private care facility where she was for a little over a year before she died.  It was really sad because she used to be so active always. 

Then on Halloween we made chili verde and took it over to another friends house, so that we wouldn't be home when a zillion kids came by for "trick or treat".  We don't even have any kids in our neighborhood.   It's interesting to note that when we got home we found all the lights were on..........dumb, huh.  No damage anywhere though, so the kids didn't take their revenge for our not answering the door.  I swear that I think they must bus all those kids in from somewhere else.  These guys, Jim and Verna live in a gated retirement  community and  no children are there.  Her husband was in a rehab center at the time, being cared for, after his hip was replaced when he fell.  He is now home, thank heavens and seems to be doing well so far.

Friday I had to go to the infusion center to be infused with my second injection of iron.  That took about an hour and a half,  so it was pretty late when I got home as I didn't go until 3:00 in the afternoon.  It really did help though as I have felt quite a boost of energy since then and I just hope it lasts for a long time.

Saturday night we had the Pike's over for dinner and had such a great time with them, getting to know them better and  talking a mile a minute.  Of course we learned a lot more about his experiences with  The Lettermen, as well as a lot of other groups he sang in.  His new book has just come out, along with his new album.  I will have to tell you where you can go to get copies of both, because if you buy them both, you get a break in cost.  I have forgotten the address though.  You can probably find it by just typing in "Reunion", which is what his new group is called. The book is SO interesting.  It is titled "My Lettermen Years, The Journey To Hell  and Back".  He was in the group for about twelve years and then he lost his voice.  About ten years later, it came back.  He really did go through hell during that time.  I won't go into more, but you would really enjoy the book, I know.  When he was pretty much recovered, (he still has problems with his speaking voice but at least his ability to sing came back), he started the "Reunion."...........A couple of hours ago, Sue called and wanted the recipe for my wonderful baked chicken that I got from my daughter Sue.  Jim's wife's name is also Sue, hence the reference to "my daughter" whom most of you know.  She said that Jim has not stopped raving about how tender and juicy the chicken is and how he loved the sauce.   I guess I will have to give you all the recipe.  I have to tell you that it is one of my prized possessions and I always make it whenever I invite anyone to dinner for the first time.  I have surely given out this recipe to all of my friends and they make it often.

Sue's Baked Chicken:

6 boneless and skinless chicken breasts
swiss cheese, several slices
2 cans cream of celery soup
1 cup sour cream
2 Tablespoos sherry (I just use regular sherry, not the cooking kind)
French-fried onions
3 Talblespoons melted butter

Put celery soup, sour cream and sherry  in a bowl, stir and set aside  Place chicken breasts in a lightly greased 9x12 pan or pyresx dish.  Cut slices of swiss cheese and put on top of chicken breasts, completely covering.  Pour the soup mixture over the chicken, being sure every part of the chicken is covered.  Slightly mash French-fried onions with your hand as you sprinke them liberally over the top.  Add the melted butter by dribbling it across the top.  Put in preheated oven at 350 degrees for an hour.  Enjoy!!  I usually serve this with either white or brown rice, but you could use any kind of pasta too.

Sorry, no pictures (as usual)

Love to all,
Darlene

Thursday, October 25, 2012

I'm Late This Week

I said I was going to post every Wednesday, but the day AND the evening got away from me.  Yesterday I just couldn't seem to move a muscle of this old body, so I just relaxed and let everything go.  I am doing a little better tonight, so have no good reason to procrastinate longer.  Besides, I am eager to hear from everyone again.  It's still hard for me to believe that it is Thursday though. 

I just have to say, before I forget, that my new glasses are working great!!  It's about time.  It is so much better to have my prescription glasses work, instead of having to use the kind you buy at the drugstore.  My eyes don't get quite so tired now when I do all my puzzles each morning.  I'm definitely having some problem with allergy in my eyes though, due to all the junk that is floating through the air.  They are scalping all the grass and planting rye for the winter here in our beautiful Palm Desert.   A lot of it has beeen going on the last week or so in our neighborhood, so of course each fall I have a bit of a problem, not as much as I did before I started to take a nasal inhalation of a spray with cortisone in it.  It is called fluticasone.  It has helped a lot.  I take it in the spring too for my hair fever, or I would really be miserable.  Darn these allergies of mine!

Our party last Saturday at Pikes was a great success!!!  It was for the husbands of the High Priests and their wives.  We had almost forty people there and the food was absolutely terrific!  Everyone brought either an appetizer or a dessert.  It was from 4:00 to 6:00 in the afternoon, but I think everyone ate so much that it was likely  no one went home and had dinner.  So many of the appetizers were hot and yummy.  I took one of my all time favorite and EASY desserts called Butter Pecan Squares.  It is the easiest dessert ever and I needed something easy.  I decided to post the recipe right now.  Try it...........I can gaurantee it will be a hit with you too.

Butter Pecan Squares:

1/2 cup butter, softened                            1egg
1/2 cup brown sugar                                 1 teaspoon vanilla                 
3/4 cup flour                                              2 cups milk chocolate chips
3/4 cup chopped pecans

In large mixer bowl cream butter, sugar, egg, and vanilla until light and fluffy.  Blend in flour. Stir in 1 cup chocolate chips and 1/2 cup pecans.  Pour into greased 8 inch square baking dish.  Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes.  Remove from oven and immediately sprinkle with remaining  1 cup of chocolate chips.  When chips melt, spread evenly over top with knife.  Sprinkle with 1/4 cup chopped pecans.  Cool, then cut into squares.  Makes 16.

Try it:  I know you will love it!!  I sometimes use regular chocolate chips for the dough, but always try to use milk chocolate one on the top.

Yesterday we visited an older lady from our Ward who lives in a beautiful assisted living facility.  We took a whole recipe to her so she could share it with the other four ladies who live there.  I am sure they will love it.  I meant to call her today to see how they liked it, but have had such a busy day that I forgot.  This morning I went to my hemotologist to get my hemoglobin tested and to see the doctor.  My hemolglobin was way way down, so they kept me there for the rest of the morning to have an iron infusion.  I have to go back in a week and have another one.  It's no wonder I could hardly drag myself around.  I know I will feel much better after getting my iron next week.  It seems like I do have to have these infusions fairly often and I hadn't had one since May.  They never have been able to find out why I am losing blood.  They did an endoscopy and a colonoscopy but couldn't find anything amiss in either my stomach or my intestines.  So I guess I'll just have to keep on with the iron, or even have another blood transfusion one of these times. 

Sorry I'm late, who knows, I may take Sue's advice and just post when I feel like it, but after all twelve of you post I know that if I want to hear from you again, I will need to post.  Also, I do like to keep track this way of what I do each week.  It is like keeping a journal for me.  I can't imagine that any of you can truly be interested in that, but I am glad you are.  I LOVE HEARING FROM YOU GUYS ANY TIME, and that's the truth.  I love you all.................

Dar

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Fun Filled Week


First of all, I must tell you that I have lost the six pounds that I gained on our trip!!  Yep, today when I got on the scales I was 170, which was where I was when we left.  I was so happy that it came off relatively fast.  I am now poised to go into the 160's.  I only have to lose the 10 pounds I gained over the year end holidays last year that I was never able to lose thus far this year.  I really need to get back there so I will be poised to get into the 150's.  I am sure I will feel much better when I do.  It has been quite a few years since I was 150. 

What a busy week this far!!  I hardly had a good rest before I had to start my rounds of doctors.  I had to go to my retina specialist Monday morning.  My eyes have been hurting me plus I think my vision is getting worse too, so she did the  heavy duty pictures  and that is not much fun, let me tell you.  She had to inject me with something intravenously and then take the pictures behind my retinas.  It really hurts to look into those bright lights and then afterwards I can't see normally for hours.  Everything is pink and green, other colors too.  She called my optometrist, who is a very close friend of ours, to make an appointment for the next morning to get my eyes tested again.  Instead of asking me the questions, "which is better, this or this," which always confuses me, he had me put my newspaper in front of me to where I do my puzzles each morning.  I do two crosswords, one cryptocrip and one sudoko.  Then he just kept changing the lens until I could read everything clearly.  I really think this time it will work!  My distance glasses were fine and he didn't think I should have to wear glasses all day.  I would hate that as I have never had to do that.   I will see soon, maybe even Monday I'll get my new glasses.

Then Tuesday afternoon I had to get a mammogram, which is always unpleasant.  She did a very comprehensive exam this time and took a bunch of pictures and told me I would have to come back in a few days to have some more pictures taken and possibly have another kind of test, all because I told her my left breast was extra tender and hurt sometimes.  She told me something I found quite interesting.  She said that almost always when one experienced cancer in a breast that it was the left one.  Isn't that something? 

I told Dick that today I didn't want to do anything at all today!  I have to say that I haven't done a darned thing either.  I've just rested the whole day and Dick has waited on me hand and foot.  He's fixed all my meals, brought me whatever I needed and just totally let me rest.  I have napped a lot too, so I must have been more worn out than I thought, because I never sleep during the day.  I decided though that I'd better write something on my blog as I did say I was going to do it every Wednesday.  Sue tells me that I should blog only when I feel like it.  I'm afraid that I wouldn't do it at all any more, but I would hate not hearing from some of my favorite people.  I really do feel like I have gotten to know the few people that comment on my blogs.  I have never really wanted more.  I just love the ten or twelve that I do have. 

Dick had to go to church to do some kind of report for the stake, so it is very quiet right now.  I guess I won't be posting any pictures, but I don't know what the heck I would post that would be relavent to what I've done this week, so it is probably just as well. 

I just want you all to know that I am really doing pretty well and I'm looking forward to another good week.  We are having a church get together at the Pike's this Saturday afternoon.  I have to make a dessert.  I am so glad as we haven't had a church party for so long.  We have a new Bishop and I think we will be having more parties.  I think it is important for people to socialize more.  It's hard to visit with very may people on Sunday's. 

Take care, everyone, I hope I will have more to report next week.  Love to all...........

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Final Week of Trip

Yes, we are finally home again.  We actually got home Monday evening after driving straight through from Lake Tahoe.  We made it in 9 1/2 hours, the last three hours being absolutely horrible travelling on a two-lane highway with so much slow traffic that we had no way of going much over 50 mph in a 65 mile speed limit.  I was beginning to wonder if we would ever get to a decent freeway, which we had about the last 1 1/2 hours.  Needless to say, it was great to be able to sleep in our comfortable beds once again.  I do have to say though that the beds we did sleep in at Rich's and in Reno were very good beds, so it could have been a lot worse.  The biggest problem in Tahoe, of course, was the altitude, about 6500.  Dick and I both had trouble breathing, especially Dick.  We couldn't move around too quickly or we would get out of breath, so we had to move in slow motion.  At least we didn't have to get oxygen though!

We met our niece, Nancy Lee, in Tahoe where we spent her birthday.  Unfortunately, we didn't get many pictures at all and the ones we did get weren't very good but will at least post what we have:

 
This table is very long. Stacy's three darling children (my new grandchildren) are pictured 
with Nancy Lee, Dick and me. Trent is on Nancy's right, Troy and Lilly are to my right.

 
I'm not quite sure that I am the only one that had their picture taken with Nancy's birthday cake. It was truly delicious and we ate the whole thing, except for two pieces between the ten of us. I think we all had at least two pieces.

Stacy and Rich behind their super wide bar preparing salad.

 
Rich's boys, Sean on left and Blaine. They are such great kids and are so good with Stacy's three.  These two families have blended perfectly.

Trent, Lilly and Troy with Winnie in the foreground

Rich has a huge backyard with many many trees. There were a lot to begin with and Rich bought 40 more. I wish I had a picture that showed the whole yard, along with a terrific deck where I love to sit in the sun.

View of another corner of the yard

The next three days we spent in Reno where we attended the Four Freshmen Convention.  It was truly a great success and everyone that attended were so glad they did.  We plan to go to next year's convention which will be held in Fort Wayne, Indiana.  Each day was pretty well packed with different events, which we attended.  We had two different sesssions that were called "The Wannabe's" where we sang Four Freshmen songs from musical scores that had all four parts.  At times we sounded pretty darned good, but the idea was just to have fun, which we all did.  We also had a session where people related stories about interesting things that happened to them when they were with any of the many groups that toured over the years.  It was really fun to hear about those experiences.  We had a fairly interesting experience with the current group when we ran into them at the elevator.  We had quite a nice talk with the four of them and Nancy particularly enjoyed talking with Vincent (the bass player) about the years she spent when she worked at Capitol Records in Hollywood when the original group was recording there.  Vincent was really interested in hearing about that time.  I got into a pretty interesting conversation myself with Brian (the lead singer) about Jim Pike who lives in our ward and who we have become pretty close friends with.  Jim was the one who started the Lettermen.  He happened to be at a Freshmen concert and he went up to Brian  afterward and started to introduce himself to Brian and Brian must have had a lot on his mind, because he pretty much ignored Jim.  When I told him about this, he could hardly believe it and he was really sorry that happened. 

I just have to mention how wonderful the hotel was.  The whole affair  was at Harrah's in Reno and they were all so helpful and happy to have us there.  The two dinners they served to us on Friday and Saturday nights were absolutely incredible.  They did such a wonderful job and the food was presented in such an appealing way each night.  We had chicken the first night and it had the most delicious sauce on it.  We had key lime pie for dessert, which is one of my favorites.  Saturday night they served prime rib and it was all beautiful too.  I have a picture of the dessert they served.  It was really terrific, but I can't remember what they called it.  

The Freshmen were amazing both nights and they sang so many neat songs.  The second night was devoted to performing a lot of the love songs from their new album.  We enjoyed it all so much that we were hating the fact that it was over.  But all good things must end and the next morning we were off to Rich's again.  Nancy came back with us as she wanted to spend a little more time with the family, even though she had to get up pretty early to go back to Reno to catch her flight home.  The shuttle didn't work with her schedule so Stacy arranged for her to have a driver who drove her to the airport in Reno.  It is about an hour and twenty minutes from Tahoe.  Everything went smoothly for her and she was quite excited when her seat mates turned out to be a couple of board members whom she had been talking with.  They had to change planes in Dallas to go back to their home in Fort Wayne where the convention will be held next year.  In fact they are in charge of it, so Nancy really did get the inside scoop on what woud be going on there. 

We had an enjoyable day with the family on Sunday as Rich and Stacy were both home so we spent a very relaxing day with them before we both had to leave Monday morning.  Here are a few pictures we got at the concert Saturday night.

 Here they are, "The Four Freshmen."

Here we are with our name tags.
  
These are four lovely Filipino women who were at our table. We all got along so well together and Dick was the only man so of course we called ourselves his "Harem." We had the same table and seats both nights, so we really did get to know these four.

This is the lovely dessert I mentioned. The "25 years" was written in chocolate on our plates. It was actually the 25th anniversary of the Freshmen Society, which is their amazing fan club. We have only been members for four or five years. The membership is between 2500 and 3000, so it is quite a large Society.

Our last day in Tahoe was a very relaxing one and Stacy and Rich fixed an amazing dinner  for us.  Rich did cornish game hens on the barbecue.  He cooks them really slow for for almost two hours.  He also did snap peas and fresh mushrooms wrapped in foil on the barbecue.  It was so delicious.  The hens were so tender and juicy.  The veggies were outstanding.  I don't know what seasoning he put on them but it was perfect!!  Stacy made a huge ceasar salad and we had three desserts!!!  Everyone had to have a taste of all three, chocolate pie, lemon pie and strawberries with lots and lots of really thick whipped cream.  We were all so full we could hardly move.  We took enough of everything home in our freezer so that when we got home we had another great meal and all we had to do was warm it up.  Unfortunately Dick gained six pounds during that week and I gained six and a half!!!  Darn............at this rate, our doctor is going to win the bet, but we are right back on it so hopefully we will lose it quickly plus lots more.  We'll see.

Here are a couple more pictures we got of the kids in their Halloween costumes.  They were happy to model them for us.

 Trent and Troy

Lilly and Winnie. We didn't get Winnie in her costume, but she did have one which she modeled for us later but unfortunately we didn't get a picture of her. She had a rufferie uniform. I was told because she was a dog it was a rufferie uniform instead of a referee one.
 
Oh, by the way, I am now going to do my blog on Wednesdays instead of Tuesdays.  I still have to get Dick's help and he is too busy to help me on Tuesdays.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

A Great New Recipe



      I've told you before what a great cook Dick is.  I am very fortunate in that respect.  Usually the meals he cooks are very simple but flavorful.  He NEVER uses a recipe.  He just starts throwing things together and they always seem to turn out very tasty.

      Well, this last week he really pulled a surprise on me.  He decided he was going to make Chili Verde.  It is one of my favorite meals, and one of my specialties.  I love making it and usually make a huge batch.  I use about five pounds of pork, cut it up in small bite size pieces, brown it and put all the rest of the ingredients into a very large pan and finish cooking it on the top of the stove.  He decided he wanted to make it easier and had a package of pork chops that he decided to use, instead of the shoulder I usually use.  The pork chops he used were shoulder chops though, so there wasn't much difference there.  He threw all those cut up pork chops in the crock pot, added all the rest of the ingredients and put it on to cook.  He actually used my recipe, but he cut it in half as he only had about 2 1/2 pounds by the time he got it all cut up and off the bones.  It sure didn't take him very long.  He cooked it all about 6 hours on high.  It turned out to be delicious.  In fact, I thought it was every bit as good as mine, and mine took a lot more work.  So now, I have a new way to cook Chili Verde.  He actually made it twice this week.  We had a couple of our friends over last night, and we enjoyed it and the company so much that we decided to do it again tonight, only we had a different couple of friends over.  I have decided to share HIS recipe with you tonight.  Yes, he went to the church tonight so I will have to wait until he comes back to post the picture he took of it last night.  I might have tried again, but it is still on his i-phone so will have to wait until he gets home so that he can first put it on the computer before he can transfer it.  I hope it all works out. 
 

      Here it is and I truly hope that you will give it a try.  I'll give you the 2 1/2 pound recipe and you can double it if you like. 

      Chili Verde:

2 1/2 pounds pork, cut up
1 can stewed tomatoes ( 14 1/2 oz)
1 can diced tomatoes (14 1/2 oz)
7 green chilis (canned)
3 stalks celery, diced fine
4 cloves garlic finely chopped
1/2 can water (use tomato can in measuring
1/2 t. salt
1/4 t. pepper
3/4 t. cumin

Put pork pieces in bottom of crock pot and add the rest of the ingredients.  Turn to high and cook for 6 hours.   Enjoy! 

Or, if you want to cook it on top of the stove, brown the meat before, I use a 12 inch frying pan with lid, and after pork is browned, put in the rest of the ingredients, cover and cook on top of stove on medium for 2 1/2 to 3 hours or until pork is very tender.

By the way.............I will be posting on Wednesdays instead of Tuesdays from now on.  Dick prefers not having to do this after he gets home from church and I don't think I will get quite as stressed as I do on Wednesdays.  I don't think I will be able to post at all next week though because we will be VERY busy on this 7 or 8 day trip.  I'll try though.

     

     



     

    

    

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Trip Highlights

On my way to find a place for me to sit down. I'll admit, I'm in a bit of a hurry.
At last! I'm pretty sure mom won't mind.
Kristin, Andelin and Sullivan, not long after Andelin was born.
It may be that her hair is a bit red
Proud Great Granadma with Andelin
Kristin and Craig
A better picture of Kristin and Craig
As usual, I have spent the last hour or so trying to download some pictures so that this post will be a bit more interesting. I guess I will have to just do the written part and hope that Dick won't be too late getting home from his meeting with the Bishopric tonight. I really would love to be able to show you some pictures of my newest great granddaughter, Andelin Grace Mills. A few of you have expressed interest in knowing how the induced birth of her mom, my adorable granddaughter, Kristin, went. Actually she did give birth that very night and the baby was totally perfect. She had a lot of black hair, but the latest picture of her shows that her hair is turning a bit auburn. It looks to have quite a bit of red in it. That wouldn't be too surprising because her grandfather, Perry, has red hair. I guess time will tell.
Kristin herself has had a rough time since. She lost so much blood that she came within a hair of having to have blood transfusions, but managed to avoid that. Her sisters-in-law have provided so much support though. One of them took Sullivan (her two and half year old, enough said ) on Wednesdays and Thursdays and the other one took him on Fridays. That was disappointing to me, because I didn't get to see nearly enough of him to suit me. I think you will all remember how besotted I have been with him since he was born. She had a Nanny who came in to help on Mondays and Tuesdays. That pretty much took up the week. Craig was there to help on weekends. I am pretty sure she is doing much better by now. I need to call her myself to see if I am correct in my assumption. I don't think I've mentioned before that my first name is Grace. They named the baby Andelin (a family name on Perry's side of the family and Grace, after me, as her middle name. Pretty cool, huh?
I seem to have been pretty busy myself this past week:
I knew I needed to see my doctor, so made an appointment for a complete physical for Thursday. Before that, I pretty much didn't do a thing but rest and sleep. We were in the doctor's office for an hour and ten minutes!! He never rushes me whenever I go. He had some great suggestions and I am trying very hard to do what he said. It is really quite funny what happened. He told me that my legs would feel much better if I could lose some weight. Whenever he mentions that (which I know that of course it would help me) I remind him that he could also lose a few pounds and that invariably leads to my asking him if he remembers a bet we had some years ago to see which of us could lose ten pounds the quickest. (I don't remember who won, but the jist of the conversation is that we finally ended up having a three way bet, $1.00 each, to see who could lose 40 pounds by January 13. We each had to put up the money, and he put it in my folder. At the end, the one who has lost the most, wins the whole pot! Dick has by far the most to lose, so he probably will win.
So far, both of us have done very very well. Dick has lost 7 1/2 pounds in five days. I have lost 3 l/2 pounds. We write every single thing we eat for the whole three meals (nothing in between) and total up the calories for the day. Dick can't go over 1200 and I can't go over 800. Well see how it goes. I am feeling much better doing that plus exercising. He is really stressing that! I have to walk on the treadmill for five minutes every morning and on the stationary bike for another five minutes. I am supposed to increase that by 10% every week. Plus we do our 40 minute pool exercises that are supposed to exercise every muscle in our bodies. So far we have done it and between doing those two things, I really have improved. I seem to feel a little bit stronger every day. On Jan. 13 I will post before and after pictures. Hopefully I will have learned to transfer pictures to by blog on my own by then. (Don't count on it though).
I didn't post ALL the highlights of our 10 day Salt Lake trip. We did do more than just enjoy our three day family reunion. I didn't tell about our trip to the cemetary at the end of our reunion. My mom and dad and others in our family were buried in Lund, Idaho, which is a little farming community on the other side of the divide from Lava Hot Springs. We did enjoy the peaceful feeling we all had there. It was so beautiful. The caretaker does such a wonderful job of keeping it up. I may post a picture of me and my grand niece, Beth-Anee. I was pretty worn out just walking to the gravesites and the guy who was supposed to have brought a chair for me to sit on forgot to load it in the car. I had to sit, so had to make do by sitting on Mom's gravestone!! Beth-Anee is standing behind me. She lives in South Carolina and I was so glad that she could be there to represent her family. After we had been there for awhile, just visiting and taking pictures, we left to go back over the mountain where we all had lunch and then disbursed as the reunion was declared to be over. We are going to meet again in two years instead of the usual three because everyone who went enjoyed it so much, even my daughter, Jayne, who insisted on driving her own car there because she expected to be bored, but she had so much fun that we were about the last ones to leave. I am the youngest in my family by far, so all of her first cousins were way older than she and actually she hadn't met a lot of the older ones. She knew the three youngest as they spent most of a lot of their summers staying with us as they were growing up.
This post is a bit jumbled up, but at least I was able to write one. When I started, I can tell you that I sure wasn't in the mood. Thank heaven, Dick came home early tonight. Sometimes he doesn't get home until after 10.00p.m. I am going to turn this over to him and see if he can find a few pictures to post for me. Love to you all.....................
I'm going to post now, so if you find all of the paragraphs and the spacing messed up, I can tell you it was fine at this point and I AM NOT going to call Sue to have her fix it for me.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Home Again

Dick, Jayne, and me at the reunion.


Our six weeks trip didn't last very long, I'm afraid. We were in Salt Lake for ten days and attended my family reunion. I am so glad we were able to be there for that, because it wasn't long after that Dick and I realized that I would not be able to do the whole trip. I am just not strong enough for a road trip lasting that long. Hopefully next year we can do the middle part by flying instead of trying to drive. I could hardly wait to get back to my chair. I couldn't find a comfortable place to sit at Jayne's. I had a wonderful chair there, but her daughter, our 21-year-old autistic granddaughter, Kirsten, broke it. Bless her heart, Jayne did try very hard to find something that would do, by bringing up a chaise and another chair from the basement, where she spends most of her time. She has a large living area down there, incuding living room, bedroom, bath and office. I don't blame her for living down there as it is much cooler and far more spacious than upstairs where the bedrooms are small, along with the bathroom. I really couldn't spend much time down there because of having to go up and down stairs. Dick was up and down quite a lot because before we left his legs were aching pretty badly.

I am so sorry that Dick didn't get to attend his high school reunion because so many of the things were prepaid and not refundable, hotels, meals etc. I wanted him to fly back and attend anyway, but after figuring it out, he decided not to go, because the people he really wanted to see were not going to be attending or had died. I hope he won't be sorry in the future.

We got home Friday night (drove straight through). I haven't done very much since then and am hopeful that I will start to feel better soon. I have made an appointment to see the doctor Thursday. I don't expect he can do anything for me as my biggest problem is pain, hot pain in the back of my calves in both legs, and hot pain in my shoulders and upper arms. I can't imagine why it is so bad. Of course I can't take pain pills so I don't know what the heck he can do. I have had so many cortisone shots that I don't suppose that would help either. I actually think that I will just have to rest a lot for quite a period. I hope it feels better in three weeks though, because we still want to try to make the end of our trip as we are scheduled to attend the Four Freshmen convention in Reno in October, and I surely do not want to miss that! Also, our son lives in Lake Tahoe, so we were planning to stay three or four days with him. I am going to think positive thoughts. My niece Nancy, from Dallas, is meeting us there and she says if we don't go, she won't either! Another good reason to go! I didn't get to see enough of her at the reunion, so wish me well, everyone, because both Dick and I really want to go. We do love the Four Freshmen!!

I am so darned disappointed that we didn't get to do the middle of our trip as I truly wanted to see our friends in Canada, to say nothing about longing to be with Kathy (Yaya) and Donna, my wonderful blogging friends. We had planned to stay with Kathy for three days!! Some of you are blogging friends to them too, so you know that Donna is finished with her chemo and is now taking daily radiation treatments. That gal has been through a lot, and she has even managed to work part of the time throughout all of this. I just hope we can make that trip one day and if we do, you can be sure we will fly.

Well, my dear friends, I am about finished, I think..........'til next Tuesday then...........................
Darlene

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Trip Notes and Brownies

We seem to be very busy trying to get ready to leave on our trip a week from today. I am wanting to be completely ready to go two days before the day we leave. Today I am trying to get my clothes ready. We both want to travel with just enough to get by. We will have to do laundry about once a week while we are gone, but I'm sure we can do that wherever we are. There are so many things to do at the last minute. We are very fortunate that our neighbor across the street is going to take care of our house while we are gone. She does this for a living, so she will be very careful and caring. We will have her take in our mail, check everything in the house and outside. We are going to pay her for her services, even though she would have done it for free. It will be nice not to worry about the house while we are gone. Six weeks is a long time!!

Our weekend was pretty busy. I made brownies to take to one of our friends that we visit each month (visiting teaching). I love to bake, but am getting so slow at it because I have to sit down so often. My time standing keeps getting less and less, and now it is about five minutes. I can walk a bit longer than that because it is much easier for me to walk than to stand. My brownies are pretty darned good if I do say so myself, and I will post the recipe at the end of this blog, if I remember. They are easy but delicious. By the way, I NEVER use mixes but I do like to bake things that are easy to put together.

After our V.T. I got my hair cut again. It grows so slowly, and I guess I am fortunate for that, but the last time I got it cut, my regular gal was on vacation, so had to use another one and unfortunately, she cut it so short and it was all choppy. It looked awful because it stuck out in many places. Honestly, I thought it would never grow out long enough to cut it right before we were to leave. As it was, it was almost 12 weeks, and it was still pretty short. Alma, my regular girl, mostly trimmed it and tried to correct it, but now it looks pretty normal again, thank heavens.

Sunday we didn't do anything but go to church, come home and rest. Our new schedule starts in September (our Stake President's idea, since he thinks we ought to make the change when school starts, instead of at the beginning of the year) and we will be going to church from 1:00 in the afternoon until 4:00! I really hate this schedule, but we have three wards meeeting in our chapel, so have to take our turn.

Yesterday was a pretty crazy day! We went shopping in the morning because we needed to get Dick some new clothes for going to church. His are all so tight because neither of us has been able to lose the weight we gained over the holidays. Goodness knows we have tried and we will lose a few, but then something happens to get us off track........celebration dinners out, having company, dinner invitations, or just too much candy on "chocolate Sundays". At any rate, we bought him a new suit and also a sport jacket, so at least he will look decent. I also bought two pairs of sandals. I can't wear a closed toe because my right big toe hurts when I try. I lost the nail a few weeks ago, and it takes about a year for the nail to grow back. It is okay in the summer, but I am not sure how I will make out when the weather gets cold on our trip. I'll just have to freeze, I guess. About two o'clock in the afternoon I got a call from my daughter, Nikki, telling me that Kristin (my darling little Sullivan's mom) had preeclampsia and the doctor's were going to induce her, a little over three weeks early. She had terrible stomach cramps and was throwing up way too much. We were both upset, but I was about to go crazy with worry. We had company coming for dinner that night, and I was so grateful our friends, Jim and Verna were coming because it helped so much to keep my brain occupied. They had missed the celebration of President Monson's birthday concert on BYU TV and we had taped it, so we watched it again and that helped too as we did enjoy it the second time. It was such an excellent concert. Later that night, Nikki called to say they had decided to wait and see how Kristin was today. Nikki had already made plans to catch the earliest flight out, plus she is a school teacher and I suppose they had a substitute in place, but I suppose she managed to undo all that as she didn't want to leave until they actually did induce her. She called me just a little while ago from her school and told me they were going to induce her within the hour so I guess she is in labor right now. I do feel so sorry for her as she doesn't handle pain too well, and had to have an epidural for Sullivan. I had to be induced when I had my first with Sue. I had all my babies naturally because I CAN stand a lot of pain, but I will have to say, that birth with Sue was so super painful. I thought it would last forever. The last three were a piece of cake in comparison. We are both praying mightily that all will go well for her and the baby.

I think I am about to the end, and guess what? I remembered to post the recipe so here it is:

Grandma Robbins' Chocolate Brownies: (This can easily be mixed by hand)

1 cup sugar
3 tablespoons cocoa
2 eggs, slightly beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla
3/4 cups flour
6 tablespoons margarine or butter (1 cube +2 tablespoons)
1/2 teaspoon baking powder

Mix sugar and cocoa in small bowl. Add eggs and vanilla. Beat until smooth. Stir in flour. Add margarine or butter and mix well. turn into buttered 8X8 pan and bake @ 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes (check with toothpick)
You can sprinkle with powdered sugar but I prefer to ice it with the following:

Great chocolate icing:

1/2 cube plus 1 tablespoon butter
2 tablespoons cocoa
1/4 cup milk
Cook these three ingredients over low heat until it comes to a boil, stirring so that it doesn't stick. Pour this mixture over 2 cups powdered sugar that has been sifted into a bowl. Add 1/2 teaspoon vanilla and 1/2 chopped walnuts. If too thick, thin with milk or hot water, just a teaspoon at a time until right consistancy for spreading. If too thin, add a spoonful of powdered sugar until perfect for spreading. Pour over cake and spread evenly. Yum!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Celebrations

Here we are at the beautiful shower for us hosted by our Stake Patriarch in Chatsworth, CA.

And here we are in the Relief Society Room right after we were married by my Bishop.

Where did I get all that hair? It looks so dark too; I never had dark hair. My daughter Nancy and her husband Charles were to give us wedding pictures for our present. Charles owns expensive cameras and was going to really make a lot of pics for us. When he went to develop them, he found they were all ruined. Light somehow got into the camera and none of them were any good. I was absolutely sick because we had wanted to hire a professional photographer, but he talked us into letting him do it. It was a very small wedding, only family and a few good friends. I had to ask those that were there for copies of any snapshots they had taken, and I did receive a few, but none of them were very good, I'm sad to say. No formal shots at all. I cried a few bitter tears over the situation, but have tried to get over it. I wonder if I ever will.

It seems like our weekends are full with interesting events lately. This last weekend was no exception. Last Saturday we celebrated our 40th anniversary by going out to dinner with our long time friends, Dick and Lee Child. Dick Child was our Bishop when Dick finally decided to join our church and the two of them were our close friends even before Dick joined the church. We went to the Red Lobster. Our whole town has been waiting for quite a few weeks for the franchise to come to Palm Desert, and finally it opened a few weeks ago. For a long time there were lines outside waiting to get in. We still had to wait quite a while even now, though we went early. We had a very nice dinner, and it was a four-course meal which included dessert. We all ordered key lime pie, except for Dick C. All he ever wants for dessert is something chocolate, so he ordered a brownie with ice cream. I had baked a cake earlier that day so that we could stop at home and have dessert after dinner. We usually do that when we go out. I love to bake so it usually worked out that way. We did have a whole cake left over, but I had plans for it.

The next day was our anniversary, August 12. Dick did his usual church thing, leaving the house at 8:00 a.m. It was my Sunday to go to R.S. as I like to go at least once a month. I just can't sit through the whole three hours. Dick came home after Sacrament meeting and picked me up for R. S., and after that was over I had an appointment with the Bishop to get my Temple Recommend renewed. After that we came home, cut the cake in half, and took it with us to visit Irene in her assisted living place. Irene Stewart is a lovely woman who played the organ in church for us for many years. She is also one of the people Dick and I visit and home teach each month. She has been quite ill and had to stop living in her home as her daughter, who lived with her, got married and she couldn't live alone. She has had a heck of a time going to the hospital for a couple of lengthy stays and also a couple of rehab places before finally getting released to live in this lovely home with four other ladies and three very lovely caretakers. She really loves it there. It will be her 88th birthday on Thursday, so we took the cake so that everyone there could have it for dinner and an early birthday celebration. We didn't stay too long, but went home to call all of our children and most of our grandchildren to thank them for a wonderful video they had made for us for our anniversary. They all made special videos, some of them sang songs, one wrote us a lovely poem which she recited, and many just expressed their love for us in touching ways. I must admit that I cried through the whole thing, but I did have a couple of laughs too. All in all, it was just a wonderful tribute. They had all sent their videos to our grandson, Jordan, who just graduated this year from NYU and who still lives in New York. He majored in film and I must say, he did a great job putting all the little videos into one large one. What a great time we had watching and listening to that precious video. Even the great grandchildren were a part of it.

Yesterday we went shopping. There were a few things I wanted to get at Walmart and poor Dick had to walk, while I got to ride in one of their electric carts. I felt so sorry for him because we had a heck of a time trying to find practically everything we finally did buy. He never did find the right size battery for our flashlight. It is one of those really big ones, and I thought Walmart had just about anything a person would want. He walked all over that huge store. We were there for two hours and only bought about five things. He was one tired guy, and we still had one stop to make at Costco. I wanted to get a couple of their big Danish pastries. They are almost as good as Dick's, and I love to have a half one for breakfast every day, (one of my bad habits). It seemed so strange to just buy that one thing because practically every time we go shopping there, we come home with a huge cart full of stuff. We are trying not to buy anthing we can't actually eat before we leave. Can you imagine? We are leaving on our six weeks trip in just two weeks from today. We will be leaving early Tuesday morning and I doubt that you will see a post from me that night. I'm sure we will be pretty tired as we are driving straight through to Salt Lake, although we will stop in Saratoga Springs to stay with our 98 year old friend, Connie Server, for a couple of nights. That is just about an hour on this side of Salt Lake, but we have so many friends that live in that area that we want to see. I am going to have to make a list of everyone we want to see in the Salt Lake area or I'm afraid I will forget someone. My memory is getting worse every day, I'm afraid.

It's not quite 9:30 p.m., and I am getting sleepy. I never go to bed before midnight but for some reason I am really tired tonight. I certainly haven't done much today. It was truly a rest day for me but Dick did laundry all morning it seems. I am so fortunate that he does that for me. He has done it for years, even when I was feeling fit as a fiddle!! I can't even remember when he took over that job but all I can say is that I am really grateful as I hate it!

So, I'm off to my chair for a little bit of R&R. Dick is home watching television. How fun for me!
'Til next time.....................love to all.....................

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

A Great Weekend

Last week was an enjoyable one, I must say. The beginning started out slowly, but the weekend was VERY busy. On Friday, our friends, Bonnie Nelson and Rosemary Oblock brought lunch over and stayed to eat it with us. Was it ever good! They brought four HUGE salads from Costco and Bonnie made a wonderful lemon pie. It was all soooo good but of course I ate too much. Believe it or not, we ate the last of the salad tonight! I can tell you that we didn't eat much dinner Friday night.

Saturday night we went to Tony Roma's with our friends, Dick and Lee Child to celebrate my Dick's birthday. Actually, Dick's birthday in July 29, but Saturday night was the first time we could get together. It is a tradition from way back to celebrate the guys' birthdays together. We always go to Tony Roma's for baby back ribs. They are just so good. They stopped at our house after for dessert and we finished off the last of the lemon pie.

Sunday was a very special day too. We spent the afternoon at the Pikes house with Jim and Sue. I mentioned sometime ago that we had a celebrity that moved into our ward. His name is Jim Pike and he was the guy that started the well known singing group "The Lettermen" way back when.
I always loved the Lettermen. I actually loved the fifties when so many men's groups became popular. I had personal experience with the Four Preps as the baritone in that group, Glen Larson was in our ward when my first husband and I lived in Westwood Ward. He and Bruce Belland, another of the Preps used to come over to our house when we lived on LaCienega Blvd to play badminton in our back yard badminton court.

I didn't know until Sunday that Jim once sang and performed with the Four Preps too. When Jim's voice went away after singing with the Lettermen for so long during their really successful years, he had to quit singing for ten years. It then returned and he spent a few years with the Four Preps. This was after Glen had left the group.

It's amazing how many people we both know. He moved into Wilshire Ward a few years after we left and knew so many of the same people there. One of the ones we both knew was Janie Tompson, who wrote and directed many musicals that were presented in Wilshire Ward. This was before she joined the faculty at Brigham Young University. I was in some of those musicals, and so was Jim.

It was such fun to reminisce about those great old days. Jim is now very active in a new group he formed. They call it "Reunion". The other guys in the group are his brother, Gary Pike and Ric de Azevido. They are really good too!! I have three of their cds. They gave me another one with just Jim doing solos that he did when he was with The Lettermen. Boy, is it ever good!! He sounds a lot like Sinatra, and his sweet wife Sue kids him about that.

I really like Sue too. She is a counselor in our Relief Society. She used to be a R,S.teacher and she was a great teacher too!! Altogether, they are a wonderful addition to our ward. Jim used to be a counselor in our High Priest Group but they just recently reorganized it as our former Leader moved away. We still don't have a replacement as the man they called to that position bought a house in another ward. I swear our ward is getting smaller and smaller.

We didn't even get home until after 5:00. Time really goes by fast when you are having fun. They left the next morning for Big Bear and won't be back for a couple of weeks, and then we will be on our way, so we won't see them until we get back, which will be in October, but as soon as we do, we are going to get together with them again. We have so much in common that I think we will become good social friends. Dick and Jim are the same age and I am nine years older than Dick and Sue is nine years younger than Jim.

Dick is at his bishopric meeting at the church and I would really like to post a few pictures of Jim with his groups but of course, I probably will get it all messed up. I'm just hoping I can get them onto this blog at all. We'll see.


An album The Lettermen made after they had been around for a little while.



This is one The Lettermen made when they were still a pretty new group




This is a picture I had Dick take off the very first album The Lettermen made with Capitol Records. Jim is the handsome one on the left.



This is a picture of the three of them, Jim, Gary and Ric on their Reunion CD. Jim is the one with the white hair.....he looks like this now.





Tuesday, July 31, 2012

A Lot About Nothing

This has been a pretty strange week, I must say. Since Dick and I came home early from Newport Beach, we have done absolutely nothing. I take that back, as far as Dick is concerned. He has been at the church for various meetings etc. but I have truly done nothing but laze in my chair.

I did manage to stir my stumps enough to get to Sacrament Meeting on Sunday, but had to come straight home as I was dizzy as a loon all through it and could barely make it out to the car. It was a good thing Dick had parked in the pole position for the handicapped. He has to go about 2 1/2 hours early in order to attend the bishopric meetings before church starts, so I always catch a ride with one of my super good friends. It must have rubbed off on them though because Jim had to take Verna home right after Sacrament too. I would have gone with them but Dick wanted to take me home so he could pick up some materials regarding our circle times that Sue instigated with our family when we all get together. He was telling Bishop Benson about our circle times and he was so impressed that he wanted Dick to tell about them to our joint Relief Society/Priesthood session. I wish I could have been there to hear it as I heard it went over very well.

Yes, I have really rested this week. I think it is the absolute first time that I have ever done that. I usually have to go to a doctor or to a lab or something!
I really should have just waited until next Tuesday to post. Maybe something exciting will happen this week. I really don't have anything planned though, so who knows, it may be just like last week. I have been getting in some good reading though, and goodness knows, I love to do that.

We have watched a few of the Olympic events. We used to be such enthusiasts of them, but the past couple I just haven't been able to get excited about them. Maybe it's because we used to know the names of all the U.S. Olympians. It does make a difference I think.

Okay, that's it folks............You don't even have to comment since there is nothing to comment about. I won't even promise to do better next week. I think I am getting blogged out, but I still enjoy reading all of yours.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Celebration

Well, here I am home again after spending only two days with the family at Sue's beach house! I had planned to stay two more days but I got a bladder infection in the middle of the very first night we were there. Fortunately, I had some cypro with me for emergency and took it right away, but even though the initial pain is pretty much gone, I just felt too miserable so we decided we were much better off at home. Plus, I was so darned cold. The sun didn't burn off the clouds until almost mid afternoon and by that time I was so cold that I just couldn't get warm so spent all my time in a chair that we brought from home with blankets all over me. It's really not much fun to spend many days like that. The closer we got to home, the better I felt, so it was a good thing we came home.

I did enjoy seeing ALL of Sue's family in one place again, and also Jayne, who came for a week from Salt Lake. At least we got to see them all for two whole days.

I think I have told you about our tradition whenever we are with Sue's family. We have what Sue named "circle time". Sue writes a story and
then poses a question that we all have to answer one at a time as we go around our rather large circle. It is always wonderful because we get a chance to feel so close to family members as they sometimes relate personal stories, or try to express personal feelings regarding the subject of the question. Lots of times tears are shed, but they are good tears indeed. Last night instead of the story and question, the circle time was all about our 4oth wedding anniversary which is coming up August 12. Sue had everyone in the circle describe how Dick and I affected their lives for good and let me tell you, I was pretty much in tears the whole time. Even Dick teared up a bit. It was so touching. To tell the truth, I had been so depressed that we would very likely be spending our anniversary alone, instead of having the wonderful celebration I had envisioned of being surrounded by all of our children to help us celebrate this very special time in our lives. We will probably not be spending another significant anniversary as I'm not at all sure I will make it to our 45th one, and if I do, I could very well be senile! I knew none of my family would be able to come. Sue must have picked up on those vibes because she orchestrated the whole evening and Heather, our pro photographer, contacted all the family on the sly and got pictures of the two of us from way back when, a lot of which neither of us had ever seen. She made a wonderful slide show depicting a collage of pictures featuring the two of us. Some of them had other family members with us. This was all set to music, and I am thrilled that she is going to send us a copy of our own! All in all, it was a sweet night indeed and one neither of us will EVER FORGET!!! Can you think of a better way to have an anniversary celebrated? The only thing that would have made it better would have been for all the rest of my family to have been present, but two of my kids and their families just couldn't make it.

Right now, I am pretty tired, but wanted to get this posted while it was all so fresh on my mind. It's hard to believe that a whole week has gone by. Time just flies for me these days. 'Til next Tuesday then................

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

I'm Fine

I’m Fine

There’s nothing whatever the matter with me.
I’m just as healthy as I can be.
I have arthritis in both my knees,
and when I talk, I talk with a wheeze.

My pulse is weak and my blood is thin,
but I’m awfully well for the shape I’m in.
I think my liver is out of whack,
and a terrible pain is in my back.

My hearing is poor, my sight is dim.
Most everything seems to be out of trim,
but I’m awfully well for the shape I’m in.

I have arch supports for both my feet
or I wouldn’t be able to go on the street.
Sleeplessness I have night after night,
and in the morning I’m just a sight.

My memory is failing, my head’s in a spin.
I’m peacefully living on aspirin,
but I’m awfully well for the shape I’m in
.
The moral is, as this tale we unfold,
that for you and me who are growing old,
it’s better to say "I’m fine" with a grin
than to let them know the shape we’re in.

— Cardinal Cushing



This is a poem sent to me by a very good friend when I was really feeling down. It did pep me up and made me laugh. When you can laugh, you experience good things and lessening of pain is one of them. I have another good poem I'll publish next week, but I'm soliciting more. If any of you have funny things in regard to pain or growing old or so on, I would love for you to send it to me. It really helps me when I am not doing as well as I would like to be doing.

Having said that, I am doing much better today after having a rotten weekend. Maybe it's because we don't do our pool exercises on Saturday and Sunday. It seems that five days a week is enough though.

Take care, dear friends and have a great week.

Darlene

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

The Coachella Valley

The high mountains are covered with snow with the palm trees in foreground.

One of our absolutely gorgeous sunsets taken in front of our house.

Taken in the street in front of our house. Those mountains are really covered
with snow.........more palm trees and of course our neighbors' garbage cans.
Aren't they lovely?

Another beautiful sunset taken from our front yard.

Today our temperature got to 116 degrees! Would any of you like to come for a visit? I have to say though that even in the heat, we did enjoy doing our exercises in the pool. At least the water was a bit cooler. It was only 90 degrees! It actually felt lots cooler than that because of the air temp being so warm.

I am really surprised how many of our desert visitors are still here. You would think in this weather that they would clear out fast. They seem to stay longer each year. There must be a few of them that enjoy our summer heat??? When I used to live in the desert fifty years ago, you could have shot a cannon down Palm Canyon Blvd. in Palm Springs. Of course it was just a nice little village then where lots of movie stars came to partake of our wonderful warm winter weather. So many of them had homes here. Some of the old timers still do and even a few new timers.

Of course this desert has a big draw in the winter. We have so many people come for the "season" from Canada and other cold places throughout the country. A lot goes on to bring folks here for special occasions too. There are two huge music festivals held each year at the polo grounds. One is Rock and the other is Country. They are held on consecutive weekends. So many big names perform in these concerts. Actually the Coachella Valley Music Festivals are the biggest in the country. It's amazing how the young people, particularly, flood this valley, and each year, these concerts just keep getting bigger and bigger. You can imagine how it helps our economy.

Indian Wells hosts one of the World Class Tennis Tournaments each year in their Tennis Gardens. I think the name of it is Paribus. We were fortunate to have friends that live in Indian Wells get us tickets, so we were able to experience that event, and I must say it was amazing. Unfortunately we didn't take any pictures. Crazy, huh?

Another popular thing here is the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway. Everyone has to try it at least once. It goes from the valley floor up to the high mountains. I went when I lived here many years ago and was one of the very early ones to go up to the top of those mountains. I have a terrible fear of heights and eveyone was kidding me and trying to rock the tram, successfully, I might add, and I was half way crazy before we got to the top. Of course there is only a return trip down, unless you are a very good hiker, so I knew I had to get on that thing again, and believe me, I sucked it up, because I didn't want anyone rocking that thing again. I was so grateful when we finally got down. I can tell you. I would NEVER do that again, but many people love it. In the winter time, you can be in the deep snow at the top and in the summer, you can hike some of the trails or have a lovely dinner there. The view is quite spectacular from the top.

We also have many museums, huge destination hotels, more golf courses than you can count and along with that are many golf tournaments including the Bob Hope Classic, PGA and Dinah Shore, and I know there are probably more that I am forgetting. Needless to say, it is really a lovely place to spend winters. So many people have second homes here and there are so many beautiful country clubs with their own private golf courses. Oh, I almost forgot, the Living Desert, where there are many different animals too, almost a small zoo. Needless to say, one could be busy every day, truly, going from one fascinating place to another.

The shopping here is memorable too. We have our own version of Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills. It is El Paseo drive, which has all the fancy stores, many art galleries, exclusive boutiques and so many great places to eat, lots of them right out on the sidewalk.

So yes, the desert does have it's charm. If any of you would like to visit, we do have a couple of guest rooms with really good beds. I think I've told you before how much we love company, and we hardly ever get any. So feel free everyone, just let us know and we will hang out the welcome sign.

Love you all, my great blogging friends..................
Darlene