Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Awesome Information at "We Prepare"

We Prepare. Here in California we are aware of the different natural disasters that can happen just within the state! California's First Lady, Maria Shriver, has worked with others in designing a great web page to help guide you to lists, self evaluations, special needs links, guides, government agencies, and other preparedness sites!

This web site was designed for California, but it is useful to anyone, anywhere!

I'm going to walk through a couple of these with you. The first page is a ten point questionnaire (a great way to get you thinking), followed by a fact sheet about the site volunteers, and at the bottom of the page is one more link to a PDF emergency checklist (which is really cool also, but later...later!).

One of the first links takes you to California Volunteers (I love this page! Sooo many goodies!) After the click, open the page that says Get Ready! Holy Cow! That page will open up to even more pages!

Two of my favourite things on that page is the Determine Your Family's Risk and Customize Your Family Plan and Children's Book.

It would be a great idea for mom and dad to go to both of these pages, take the assessment, and then make a customized plan and download and print a personalized book for your children (for FREE!). Seriously, this is a great idea! They have a basic outline for the book with blank spaces for you to add your own information and names. Wouldn't this be a fun FHE?

Mom and dad could design a lesson activity to go over the assessment with the kids and then afterwards reinforce the new plan by reading a book with all the kids' names and important info! I love this idea.

I will explore some more pages next week and we'll continue to tackle that Elephant!

In the meantime, I was directed to this site and invited to review it. The folks back at headquarters are going to be peeking in on the blog and checking the comments, so comment away. There are only 50 blogs that are being selected to do this -so lucky us! Let them -and us- know what is effective, what could be improved, and if they have left anything pertinent out.

add to sk*rt

Monday, April 28, 2008

Do one thing.

Hitting close to home, or disasters that occur miles away- they can and will make our own lives and comforts displaced. In order for our family to feel secure, safe, and self reliant we need to become prepared.

We began a 12 week program that can helped us begin to store and build a 72 hour emergency kit for each member of our family. Thor and I were able to gather all these supplies (and even more!) with little or no money, just squirreling away items we were able to find in the house already and setting them aside.

Twelve weeks to a full kit:

Week 1: BACKPACK - a duffel bag, rolling suitcase, bucket, whatever! Some form of storage for each member of the family. (It doesn't need to be new, just sturdy)

That's it! That's your assignment this week. I'll be back next week with another item to put in your kit.

Tomorrow, a great web site to explore!

add to sk*rt

from last Friday:

I have nothing to say about this except that this was a National Network News Station, and we were well into the coverage...

(click on the link for part of that story)

add to sk*rt

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Thursday, April 24, 2008

BASIC Survival, 72 hr. kit in a can!

This is a repeat post from Oct. 23, 2007.:

Prepared items that can be stored in a #10 aluminum can, sealed, and set aside in a car or office, etc.. The items would provide sufficient nutrients and calories to sustain life over a three day period, minus fresh water. Sorry, couldn't find a way to get enough water in that can. All in all the items were gathered, and for $8.00, one could have a minimal survival kit of food. We're not talking luxury dining, but the very basic necessary for survival.

You can use a large coffee can, or any #10 can with a rubber or plastic lid. You can use packing tape to seal the seam and it should be "safe", if not the most fresh without a professional form of sealing. (I assume that if you don't have access to a #10 can, you could double bag this in a ziploc.)

Here's a list of what went inside:

Day one:
Morning: 1 hot cocoa, 1 bag of trail mix
Noon: 1 small can of tuna, 1 apple sauce
Evening: 1 granola bar, 1 cracker snack pack
Snack as needed: 3-5 pieces of hard candy

Day two:
Morning: 1 instant oatmeal, 1 apple cider drink
Noon: 1 dry fruit roll, 1 can Vienna sausages, 1 lemonade drink
Night: 1 granola bar, 1 beef jerky log
Snack as needed: 3-5 pieces of hard candy

Day three:
Morning: 1 bag of trail mix, 1 hot cocoa
Noon: 1 cracker snack pack, 1 nut mix pack, 1 beef jerky roll
Evening: 1 granola bar, 1 apple sauce
Snack as needed: 3-5 pieces of hard candy.

This menu requires four cups of water, and provides vitamin C, fiber, carbs, fats, and sugars. We also strongly urged the families to have water stored, enough for each family member's daily requirements. (Usually one gallon per person, per day, for hydration and sanitation.)

We also suggested adding a pack of chewing gum to the outside of the can for tiding hunger pangs. We secured a small can opener to the top of the can, and added the menu and expiration dates of food items on the side of the can.

add to sk*rt

Monday, April 21, 2008

72 hour kit

When preparing for a possible emergency situation, it's best to think first about the basics of survival: fresh water, food, clean air and warmth; not a weekend at the Four Seasons.

You can't eat that Disaster Elephant whole, so take a basic simple tiny manageable bite. One bite, then another, then another.

Thor and I have our kits stored in five gallon buckets with snap tight lids, we had to be creative, but it fit. Back in the day when we had all five kids at home we stored our kit in a 33 gallon lawn/garbage can with wheels, turned the lid upside down and set a small round table top on it. We put a long tablecloth over that and set it near the front door as a side table. In an emergency we could just toss the table top and cloth, turn the lid right and snap it shut, and roll it wherever we needed it to go. Tacky? Perhaps, but it worked.

Currently our buckets (yes we have more than one because I want to not just survive, I want my chocolate and some amenities during those three LONG days without indoor plumbing! No one says you can't have additional supplies!) -they are stored in a small space near the garage door just inside the garage. We have backpacks filled with smaller, less cozy 72 hour kits in our cars.

Whatever you choose to use make sure it is easily available and near an exit; light weight enough to be carried, or on rollers to be pulled/pushed. Use items that can withstand elements/temperature change if you are storing outside or in your car. Label everything with expiration dates! Check your supplies once a year. Rotate dated items according to dates recommended. I list all items on both the lid and the outside of our buckets. For backpacks I write in permanent ink right on the back. I use block lettering so anyone can identify what is inside without having to unpack the whole shebang.

We always pack a set of sweats for layering, socks, and a pair of shoes we have broken in and know are comfy for walking. Kids clothing can be a year ahead in sizing, better too big than too small. Change out yearly along with other dated items.

Recommended Items to Include in a Basic Emergency Supply Kit (from ReadyAmerica):
  • Water, one gallon of water per person per day for at least three days, for drinking and sanitation
  • Food, at least a three-day supply of non-perishable food
  • Battery-powered or hand crank radio and a NOAA Weather Radio with tone alert and extra batteries for both
  • Flashlight and extra batteries
  • First aid kit
  • Whistle to signal for help
  • Dust mask, to help filter contaminated air and plastic sheeting and duct tape to shelter-in-place (during our fires they instructed us that 'regular dust masks' won't do much good in a serious situation, better to purchase a 'particulate matter' mask. We found ours at the local paint store.)
  • Moist towelettes, garbage bags and plastic ties for personal sanitation (garbage bags are also good for insulation, as a poncho, and I even cooked a chicken in one!)
  • Wrench or pliers to turn off utilities (you may also want to add the info/instruction on how to turn off utilities.)
  • Can opener for food (if kit contains canned food) (Thor and I try to store pop top cans whenever we can.)
  • Local maps

Additional Items to Consider Adding to an Emergency Supply Kit:

  • Prescription medications and glasses (I just save the previous years glasses and switch them out as I get new ones.)
  • Infant formula and diapers
  • Pet food and extra water for your pet
  • Important family documents such as copies of insurance policies, identification and bank account records in a waterproof, portable container (You can pack zip drives or dvd with your info as a back up.)
  • Cash or traveler's checks and change (chances are banks will be closed)
  • Emergency reference material such as a first aid book or information from (Or grab a Scout Handbook or Young Women's Camp Manual.)
  • Sleeping bag or warm blanket for each person. Consider additional bedding if you live in a cold-weather climate.
  • Complete change of clothing including a long sleeved shirt, long pants and sturdy shoes. Consider additional clothing if you live in a cold-weather climate. (Be mindful that you never know what time of year you'll need this stuff!)
  • Household chlorine bleach and medicine dropper – When diluted nine parts water to one part bleach, bleach can be used as a disinfectant. Or in an emergency, you can use it to treat water by using 16 drops of regular household liquid bleach per gallon of water. Do not use scented, color safe or bleaches with added cleaners.
  • Fire Extinguisher
  • Matches in a waterproof container (You can make your own by dipping regular wood matches in paraffin wax. When you scrape the waxed tip over a rough stone or brick the wax peels off, the match ignites, and any remaining wax acts as a fire propellant.)
  • Feminine supplies and personal hygiene items (Can you imagine being without them?)
  • Mess kits, paper cups, plates and plastic utensils, paper towels
  • Paper and pencil (We also added a permanent marker. I.D. infants and children with names and pertinent information between their shoulder blades on their back. Adults can be I.D. as well with SSI# etc. on ribcage or abdomen. =lesson learned from Katrina Victims)
  • Books, games, puzzles or other activities for children (lots of batteries for hand held video games?)
After Katrina I saw a lot of good ideas. One was to add a fresh/new permanent black marker to your kit (see above). When disaster happens make sure to write children's names on their back in between shoulder blades and other pertinent information...just in case. Adults can also i.d. themselves in a discrete body location. Write full name, SSI#, and other I.D. info, again, just in case. Icky to think about, but better to know who I am than to become a "Jane Doe".

Adding extra thick plastic trash bags and having those five gallon buckets can be put together and used as an impromptu potty. Add some t.p. if you want to go the "extra mile"!

If you are unsure of camp cooking or skills, and first aide has been a thing of your youth, invest in a Scout Handbook or Young Women's Camp Manual -they have all the info you need in a concise and easily read format.

Keep your vehicles up to date on fluids and fuel. When electricity goes out so do the gas pumps. (Lessons learned from those stuck on the Bay Bridge during the last big San Francisco quake.)

Chocolate never hurt anyone. Toss a bag of M&Ms in there for mom, Tootsie Pops for the kids. Also, remember those Jiffy Pop popcorn pans? Um, yeah, that would be a great idea too!

So the above is the basics PLUS! Get the BASICS first, then add those things that will bring you comfort.


Not to worry! Tomorrow I will have an even more basic 72 hour kit. One that, seriously, will sustain life for three days, yet be small enough to pack in a # 10 can!

add to sk*rt

Disaster Elephant...Yum! Gimme a Bite!

These folks are gearing up for the Great California Shake Out! (in October). Our Stake is also encouraging everyone in our area to get prepared and self reliant. Our regional leader has set the pattern for us and given us the goal: Lead By Example!

With that in mind we are all supposed to have our own family 72 hour kit made and ready to go. We're supposed to Make a Plan then Test Our Preparedness and use as many Tips and Resources we can find to secure our own self reliance.

So I am once again taking inventory. What you see in the photo is just part of what we have done to prepare for a natural (or otherwise) disaster. Each of our vehicles have a 72 hour kit for two persons, along with a 72 hour kit for the house.

We also have an extensive first aide kit, meaning it could do a bit more than "first" aide.

We have been advised to be prepared for 72 hours, food, water, fuel, clothing, whatever! Whatever we would use in three days time we need to have in reserve, ready to go at a moments notice. Last year our area suffered pretty harshly with fires, some neighborhoods were given literally 5 minutes time to grab what they could and leave.

Do we know where all our important documents (all insurances, deeds, tax files, photos, etc) are? Could we grab them all if we needed to? How about our medications, pet supplies, or special needs? All in five minutes? What if we were not home when the evacuation took place? What could we do to recover all those items that may be lost forever? Are they copied and stored in another secure location? Do we have an out of state contact to call and a plan in place to contact family members if local phone lines go down? Are we aware that if we don't contact FEMA at the time of your disaster, that we miss out on any and all future help?

Whew! There is SO much to do! That's why we are encouraged to take the first few bites from the Disaster Elephant now! Click on those links and pick something, one project, to start on. Get started on that 72 hour kit. When we have that accomplished, go for the First Aide Kit. Store our documents in a secure way that is easily collected later on; make a copy to store off the premises. Make a contact list and a family plan. After we get those things accomplished, begin to store for a more prolonged disaster.

The families in the fires of SoCAL are still reeling and trying to cope. The families from the Katrina Storm are still trying to recover. It has been years! Time to prepare now!

I have gone through my storage and I have found that I have more than I thought (but enough for long term?), but could use more variety and a better system for rotation of goods so that I am constantly utilizing my stored items effectively. I want to extend my resources. With the economy what it is, why not prepare for a little relief if I need it in a few months?

In the next few weeks I will share with you what I am doing, and hopefully, together we can better prepare ourselves for total self reliance during an emergency.

add to sk*rt

Sunday, April 20, 2008

12 Apostles Song

This would be perfect Primary or Seminary or for people like me, who like to sing as they memorize!

add to sk*rt

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Intelligent Design vs. Science on the big screen

Cruisin' the net today and came across something interesting:


Please click on the link above. It will take you to a website by Ben Stine (Bueler...Bueler...). He's known as somewhat of an intellectual and well, seems he's been asking questions. Can God and science coexist? Can Intelligent Design be taught in United States schools or are we only allowed to teach theories of a scientific nature?

His documentary is coming to a theater near you. Click on the link. Click on links within the site to see if you might want to check out his movie. Ask if your school is teaching all it can or limiting questions as well as answers and theories. I haven't seen the movie, but I plan to.

Here's betting on Ben Stine's money.

add to sk*rt

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

cell phone

Text I have received this week:

"I love you."

"Have gd trp! kiss baby 4 me. tell kids hi"

"ASAP! what wz the code 4 the house?"

"miss you"

"hope ur hving gd day. just listnd 2 barack obama"

"did u get the RS agenda?"

"do u hav S&Ks #?"

"No. I'll take care of it. Thanks."

"barb boxer @ lunch mting"

"mting hillary c tomorrow"

"call k give info pls"

I don't know about you, but some of those I don't get every day!

add to sk*rt

Can I buy a vowel?

I have been busy lately. But I took some time to make something for a new baby girl. The letters in the photo will help to spell out the new little girl's name in coordinating colours and patterns used in the crib bedding.

I purchased the letters in raw wood form, spray painted an acrylic base and then used acrylic paints to make the small designs.

White, beige, tan, pink, and a very light celery green painted with florets and "lace" with textured details and a bit of glitter. Eventually they will hang from pink satin ribbons and compliment the French Country look of her nursery.

add to sk*rt

Monday, April 14, 2008

Apostasy Comes Stealthily

I remember when I was young our mother taught us many useful things. One particular lesson was to "Bloom where you were planted". Something s in our life will never be in our control, so we need to control our reactions to those unsettling events and make the best of them. After all, we never know how life will turn out until the end.

I took it to heart, as did my siblings. Sure, we get bummed when we have things planned out and then life throws you a curve, but for the most part we have tried to live by those lessons learned long ago.

I recently met with an older couple for an afternoon and during the visit listened as the wife rehearsed her dissatisfaction at being "displaced" from one house of worship to another. The religion hasn't changed. Her location has; and it is actually more convenient for them. This is something that she should have understood would happen(being a member for over fourty years), this is the way of things in the church. Growth causes change and change is always growth.

Back in the day I was always taught that God places you in certain paths until you no longer are needed there, or until you have learned what you can from the experience. "Bad" things, tests, trials and the like are not negative in reality, but opportunities for growth and development.

This woman earned a great reputation as a teacher. She could pick up a manual or topic assignment and then give a great application to her students. She found creative ways to motivate and enrich. Then one day she was released from her duty.

Instead of thinking of it as a great opportunity -as she had taught us to- she became embittered towards her leadership and towards the poor innocent person who was chosen to take her position. She looked at it as a "replacement" as a "undeserved demotion" as and adversary who had come"unworthily and unqualified" to "ruin" the position and all who would be involved. Her reaction to this change was to run away. She convinced herself and her husband that she was "sick" and stayed home that first week. That first week led to a second and then a third and she has been "sick" every weekend for almost two years. Now that she has discovered that their boundaries will place them in a new building, she is outraged. Now, instead of feigning illness on the week end, she is "protesting" and refuses to attend.

My question to her was "Will your lack of attendance change the situation?" She didn't answer with words but with a face of indignation; she knew the she had no power to change the situation, but still she is bucking the system.

Instead of accepting that she had served well, and that a younger, non experienced teacher was now learning to become a gifted teacher, she quit the team, she took her toys and went home. This woman, who could have been a great mentor to the new teacher, instead became selfish. Did it change the situation? No. It just took her down the road to apostasy as subtly as that alligator in the swamp waiting for the perfect moment to snap down an antelope at the water's edge.

If you asked she or her husband if she were inactive she would reply "No, I am just sick on the weekend." If you proposed the idea that she were apostate, she would be shocked to be classified as such. But in reality, she doesn't accept the authority that has changed the situations in her life, she feels she knows more than those who have been called to represent God, and feels she knows better than God and His will for her. She is defiant and when asked about whether these in authority are called of God, she mocks them and breaks sacred covenants in the process. It's sad.

I try to have some introspection within my own life to see the areas that I choose to put on that road to apostasy. Where do I dig in? Who do I mock? Who do I see as unfit for the Kingdom? Do I pick and choose whom has authority and who does not according to my preferences? Do I feign illness or create situations that cause me to withdraw myself from certain activities that I don't care for? Do I become hurt or offended because I have been released or called to a position I don't really want?

I am struggling with these issues. Wanting to help the woman I write about, yet turning to the mirror and hoping I can more effectively change that woman. I pray I can have influence on both.

add to sk*rt

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Doesn't this look loverly?

All I want is a beach somewhere,
far away from the springtime air...
With an 80s temp-a-chair

Oh wouldn't it be loverly?

Walk on a pier and not on a street,
lot's of fresh halibut for me to eat,
warm face, warm hands, warm feet

Oh wouldn't it be loverly?

Thor's sandy head resten' on my knee,
'just come in from swimmin' in the sea,
basking in the sun so free,

Oh wouldn't it be loverly?

*evidently I favour landmarks on the right, oceans on the left.

add to sk*rt

Friday, April 11, 2008

View from the driver's seat.

Sitting in traffic. Skies are blue, but temperatures, contrary to popular opinion, are still too cool for S'mee.

(not everyone keeps their camera with them, but hey, what else is there to do at a traffic stop?)

add to sk*rt

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Mid Spring Table

If you know me, you know I love change. Every chance I get- I change the look of the table.

I (try to) keep the table dressed all day long and ready for meals. Some times it works, others, not so much. In reality, it's so much easier to just reset the table when I remove the dishes from the machine instead of having to put them in the cupboard. I'm lazy, but this time it pays off. It comes in waves. Lately, since about Christmas, I have been able to keep it up. There have been times in the past where it just sits, empty, or is stacked with all kinds of projects...that drives me nuts. So I try.

We have a fabric store in town that sells either over stocked or discontinued fabrics used strictly for home fashions, so I head there first. The first place I look is in their close out section where you can pick up a gorgeous fabric for as little as $2.00 per yard! We're talking fabric on rolls, at least 60 inches, most times wider. I made the table protector out of professional grade quilted fabric for $6.00, and I love it. My table is 3x5, so -usually- I only need 2 yards of fabric to make a generous cloth. I try to pick patterns that will compliment the house, but also bend to several different themes or dish sets. I think ahead and choose fabrics that can work for at least two seasons or events, most of the time they work several different ways. I like patterns* and geometrics*, and lately I have been in to textured fabrics. I also prefer cloth that doesn't say "Hi! I'm a table cloth!" I have cloth that has been used for drapes, sofas, outdoor furniture and who knows what! I but a test sample, write down the measurements to calculate shrinkage, wash it in HOT water with the same detergents I would use if someone spilled and if it comes out well, I go back and purchase it. Table clothes are easy, just measure, cut, hem- and you're done.

Now, although I have several choices when it comes to dish sets, if you have a set of plain white, or black (or any solid set) you can mix it up pretty easily. I collected dishes over the years, but my favourites always come back to the plain basics because they can morph into dozens of themes. Plus, a plain plate will show off the food better than darling flowers competing with the mashed potatoes. I let the table clothes and plate settings set the mood and the food be the star.

These photos are pretty lousy, but I have had these shell pepper and salt shakers for a couple of years so I thought I would build on them. I put a bunch of shells in a flower bowl, and added the deep blue glass over the white larger plates, using them as chargers. The cloth is chocolate with three shades of blue in small raised square dots. Tiny white shell rings for napkins and a (much too tall) tropical plant finish it.

*scroll to view table example.

add to sk*rt

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Gramma Camp

Day One:
We went straight to the park and played a "round" of golf, (with rules adjusted slightly), raced so many races Mogli decided he was "done with races gramma!", scaled all kinds of play ground equipment, and went home so Rafiki could take a nap.

While Rafiki napped, Mogli and I made all kinds of noodle necklaces, played a few games, and watched Stuart Little. Rafiki woke up and Mogli fell directly to sleep!

When everyone woke up we went in search of hot dog buns and bird seed. After baths and family prayer Rafiki went to bed and Mogli and gramma made wild bird feeders.

Today (day two) we got up (6:30!), ate Mickey Mouse pancakes with "French Toast stuff (confectioner's sugar) instead of syrup please", dressed, and made a trip to the car wash, which was closed, grrrr. So off to the fish hatchery! Neither had been there before and let me tell you- they were amazed! We strolled up and down each isle and saw how they grew from tiny baby fish into big grampa fish! Lucky us, we also got to meet the workers as they were in the process of cleaning the "tanks". Interesting at any age; the only problem being that once the machinery had dredged through a "tank" it was very murky and difficult to see the individual fish. Luckily we had seen most of the fish before it got to that stage.

Back home for Rafiki's nap and then back to the park in the afternoon. We hung our bird feeders in the lowest branch we could find (gramma is practically a dwarf, small limbs make it difficult to reach the taller branches). Then we filled a jug with water and set out to make a sand castle! The wind was particularly strong this afternoon, so we plan to try again tomorrow morning. Instead we worked through the equipment again and met some other children who were waiting for a bus transfer. They kids had a blast and ran poor gramma to near extinction!

We coloured pages and pages, made a few other things, and had "yo-grit" at snack time. Read a couple (dozen) books, sang songs and did a bit of dancing. Bath time, phone calls to mommy and daddy, and tomorrow we start it all again.

We've done three loads of laundry in two days and finished off the oatmeals cookies and a fair share of strawberry milk straws. The best thing of the day today? When Mogli sneaked off down the hall to look at the family hand prints. Measuring each one he found a perfect match...his own daddy's! He was so excited they fit and he insisted on a photo moment, which of course we did. So cool.

Bird-feeder Update: We went back to the (freezing) park this morning and the bird feeders resembled a Denny's in Sun City on a Saturday morning! There was actually a small line of birds hanging out at the Giant Claw machine, just waiting for their table to open up. As we left I think I heard a pigeon shout: "Quail, party of three, Quail, party of three..."

add to sk*rt

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Dying Dry Pasta for Crafts

This is another terrific idea that is cheap, easy, and loads of fun. All the items are found in your pantry or cupboard, and it can be done in a matter of minutes.

Dry pasta, dyed to beautiful vibrant colours to be used in crafts or strung as beads. Not only will you catch on to this quickly, you'll wonder why you didn't know about it sooner! Included in the video also is a great SAFE toddler "needle" that you can make.

We will be employing the newly dyed "beads" during Gramma Camp* to make all kinds of fun projects. Take a look! Spark an idea for that toddler party, children's art project, lesson craft, or school assignment!

*We did this craft this afternoon and we had FUN! Mogli made one for each of his girl cousin's and one for his Aunt! He kept saying, "This is fun gramma!" and we will probably be making some more tomorrow!

add to sk*rt

Monday, April 07, 2008

More Cactus

Can you blame me? These cacti are seriously cool!

Well, that first one is a flowering agave. That blooming stem went up about two stories high!

The second scene is in Joshua Tree, just a view of the meadows filled with flowers and the mountains tops that look like hills from this side.

The ocotillo was beginning to bloom. We read that it blooms not according to season, but depending on rainfall.

Although that last one resembles a yucca in bloom it is, in reality, a Joshua Tree limb. I love the thick waxy petals! They looked like little porcelain cups.

As always, click on the photos for a great, larger view!

add to sk*rt

Saturday, April 05, 2008

Are you sick of flowers yet?

Wild Flowers in Cathedral City

When I was a child we lived closed to a beach where the flowers grew quite easily. In one particular house we have a huge (at least to a four year old girl) bush of what we deemed "Barbie Doll Bouquets", because they were a bundle of minuscule florets fire-cracking from a single stem head. All we had to do was pick one tiny stem and it was the perfect nosegay or bridal bouquet for Barbie or Midge to hold as they hopped their way across our play yard.

As I went in search of wild flowers I came across the wild cousins to those flowers of my childhood. The prettiest of purple and a gorgeous yellow. The only thing different was the bush and the greens. In my childhood the bushes were full, lush, and about three or four feet tall, thick broad leaves, hearty wood trucks and deep green stems. The wild versions were very low to the ground only growing about a foot tall, no woody base, fragile rather, and trailing rather than bushy. The florets, however, were the same!
It brought back a flood of memories just looking at them! (how come if there is a Barbie, a Midge, and a Ken ...I always end up as Ken? That's what you get when you're the baby of the Three Hip Sisters!)

Then there are the tiny pink buds that wake up and unfold into the palest of pink flowers, so small, the size of thumbnail. They have little yellow balls that announce to any near by bees: "Hey! Here we are! Aren't we adorable?"

Lady bugs are so enthralled they don't bother with snacking, they just hang out and smell the perfume while working on their tan.

add to sk*rt

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Momma's every where!

While driving through Joshua Tree National Park I saw a bright pink blossom off the road and in about 50 feet.

Thor pulled over, I popped out of the car and went in search of the elusive bloom.

As I walked I heard the excited call from another photographer. "Hey! Hey! I got a Lizard! And he's posing for me!" I walked towards the voice and saw a man with a huge camera lens balanced precariously on a tripod, nose to the lens, snapping away.

Not knowing who he was shouting to, I quietly approached him, announced myself and asked if I might snap some photos as well. "Sure! He's just standing there. He loves the camera!"

So I took a position and began to shoot. In my opinion, this is a mommy guarding her nest. Another photographer came to shoot and the lizard just scurried about five feet and then circled back. She dug in occasionally and then would pop her head up to see if we were still fascinated.

Just look at that belly. Have you ever seen such a "full" tummy on a guy lizard? I think I can even see the egg shapes in her belly. Look closely at the photo far right in the first two rows and center on the bottom. Can you see the "baby bump" too?

To see these (or any of my photos) in a much larger size, just click on them.

add to sk*rt

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Pink is the new Blue

"Our birth is but a sleep and a forgetting: The Soul that rises with us, our life's Star, Hath had elsewhere its setting, And cometh from afar: Not in entire forgetfulness, And not in utter nakedness, But trailing clouds of glory do we come From God, who is our home: Heaven lies about us in our infancy!"*

Our new little sweetie, the pink version 2008, singing as she enters the world, just one minute from God.

William Wordsworth

add to sk*rt

Joshua Tree Mosaic

Taken on a ride through Joshua Tree National Park last Saturday. Incredible. I suggest it to anyone who can get there within the next week or two. This is a feast for your eyes, a miracle of sorts, and a testament to the Creator. Truly amazing.

Please! Do your self a favour and click on the mosaic to see these gorgeous flowers a little bit larger.

add to sk*rt

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Fool Proof Photo Wall Arrangement

Have you ever gone to hang a picture--- measured it, marked it and then, when it's finally on the wall, you stand back to admire your handy work only to be disappointed that it's just a few inches off? Grrrr! Me too!

A few years working in Model Homes I picked up some trade secrets. Let me show you how we did it perfectly every time! It's easy. It's fast. And most importantly -it works!

add to sk*rt