Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Making Peace...

...and closure

There really is no place like home and after a dozen or so gut wrenching trips to Florida over the past two years, this latest trip wasn't horrible & in fact, I was able to squeeze in some fun.
 With only 5 days, I took an all-nigher and hit the ground running with my sister-in-law to tackle a list of things that needed to get done. My parent's home now belongs to my brother and I and we are getting it ready to put on the market. One of the items on that to-do list was going through some of mom and dad's belongings that had been put aside. It was a really neat walk down memory lane and
I brought home some real treasures, some I knew about and some I didn't.

My dad loved being in the Navy and was proud to serve his 20 years. I was always proud of him and loved seeing him in his uniform, so when I found his hat...well, lets just say a flood of emotion came over me. 

My dad started playing the piano when he was 5 and was really good and tickling the ivories. I was always transported to another time when he sat down to play. 
I brought home his piano music-

My mom left a ziplock bag with my name on it and among the treasures she picked out for me to have was this sweet little strand of pearls. I don't remember her ever wearing them and I don't know anything about them but I adore them. I personally love pearls so they will worn often and with love.

One of them liked to collect stamps-a complete surprise. They came home with me too.

My parents certainly left this world with more questions than I have answers for-but I've come to terms with that because I was finally able to sit with them graveside and say my good byes. Talking to them was quite cleansing and as I walked away my heart didn't feel heavy anymore. 
Sadness seemed to be lifted. 
It was the closure I needed.

Happy (memory making) snapping

Monday, June 20, 2016

Good, Random...


Happy first day of summer. Our seasons don't quietly tip toe in. Nope. We went from beautiful June gloom to triple digits-literally over night. Today? It's the shade. So I got all my laundry and vacumming done before 10 a.m. I should be packing for my trip to Fla. but because this trip comes with mixed emotions, I'm putting it off. 
Everyday seems like Saturday when I'm on summer vacation and then I realized it's Monday and time 
to link up with Tamar.

The Good...
This is Nanuk an Arctic Fox that was rescued from a fur farm. Back in November I got to participate in a photography class at the Wildlife Learning Center here in town. I was able to get up close and personal with Nanuk and about 10 other rescued animals.

Betty is a rescued American Porcupine. 

The Random...
I bought a book on French Idioms at a local vintage faire for $2. (score) Since I'm teaching myself French...I figured...why not!

The Fun...
I was looking through my archives earlier today and found this...

Back in 2009, we took a cruise to Alaska. We were on a bike excursion. It was spring and the salmon were running. Bears were just waking up from hibernation and as you can see...skinnnn-neeey! The tour instructor assured us that most likely the bears weren't interested in us because they were hungry...for fish! I was pretty new to photography and even though this isn't the best photo,  the thrill of being out in nature and actually seeing bears makes me smile.

Do you have any good, random, fun to share?

Happy (wild animal) Snapping!

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Little Things...


I finally got my hands on some Trader Joe Peonies and now I know why I never get any! Women scoop them up as fast as they come into the store! It just so happened that it was a fluke the time of day I was even there...but I got my hands on my own little batch!

I won't be here for next weeks LTT. I'll be in Florida closing a chapter in my life that has been the most painful, challenging, remarkable and life changing event a child could endure. My brother and I now own my parents home. He and I, along with my sister-in-law, will be doing some necessary repairs to get the house ready to go on the market. Neither of us wants to hang onto the house. It holds incredibly painful memories and we're both happy and more then ready to unload it.  

There's going to be plenty of tears and knowing my brother, plenty of laughs. Sadly, my parents left this world with more questions than we have answers for and so we are left to come to terms and make peace with things on our own.
My brother is a biker and he asked if I'd be interested in riding to my parents final resting place. That whole concept has been painful too but I think I'm ready, he's ready and so together we'll ride. 

It's not always easy having to wear your big girl pants but I'll just plow through one day at a time.

Until next time...
Happy Snapping

Sharing over at Kim's

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Good, Random...

The Good

This ice tea...Gold Peak Sweet Tea
I don't drink it regularly, but ohhhh, oh a hot day it's mighty delicious.

The Random

Today is our last day of school and the teachers I work with gave me these adorable flowers and a gift card
 to Barnes & all time favorite book store...our only book store...I have to travel 20 miles to get there.

The Fun

Just when you think your kid can't get any cooler! Austin and his girlfriend, Amanda, just went down to Disneyland one last time before their annual passes expired.  
They came back with this adorable Tinkerbelle charm.
(big puffy heart!)
Of all the Disney characters she's the one I identify with most...spunky, a little naughty, hot tempered,  and independent. I will always treasure the charm, but more that my kid thinks about me when he's out in the world (another bigger puffy heart!)

I'm playing over at Tamar's today.
 Happy ( almost summer)  snapping!

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Little Things...


I have a thing for history and California missions. 

I googled the 21 missions along El Camino Real (The Royal Road) and was happy to see one only 45 minutes away. I left early to avoid traffic and was not disappointed. Bells like the one in the above photo dot the freeways from San Diego to Sonoma to mark the mission's trail that was financed by the Spanish monarchy.

Mission San Gabriel Arcangel is the 4th mission and was founded by Father Junipero Serra in 1771.

As I was strolling the grounds it dawned on me that our state history is relatively young
compared to Europe's history.

The largest bell weighs a ton and can be heard 8 miles away.

This building has been established as the oldest brick, stone and mortar building in Southern Ca.

This is the original grape vine dated 1774

Beautiful textures were everywhere.

original confessional

I actually had to do a double take on these flowers-they looked like wax.

This is the original aqueduct where water came to the mission from Wilson Lake.

The Roman Catholic church is fully functioning with baptisms, mass, weddings and funerals still being performed.

There are at least 4 other Missions that I plan to visit over the summer.

What are your summer plans? I'd love to hear.

If you missed Monday's short post about this Mission, you can read about that

I'm linking up with Kim

Happy (mission) snapping!

Monday, June 6, 2016

The Traveling...


It's not like there's a shortage of things to do here in So. Cal. I'd certainly have my calendar full if it wasn't for one thing...Traffic. We are plagued with a freeway system that just isn't efficient at moving the 100's of thousands of cars daily coming and going in and out of city. A 20 mile drive can take up to 2hrs. And while us Californians think nothing of driving 40, 50, 60 miles for a day trip, the traffic can be a huge time suck. 
On the other hand, I've got a few years left here in the valley & I think I'd regret not making an attempt to visit some of the amazing places that offer a view into California's history. 

This weekend I drove south to San Gabriel to visit Mission San Gabriel.

I was just smart about it! The mission opened at 9, it's a 45 minute drive, 
left at 8-not too much traffic that early-
 -was home by noon.

Wine was essential at the mission. It was used for church services, at mealtime and as medicine.

There are 21 missions from San Diego up to San Francisco. 
Mission San Gabriel Arcangel is the 4th along El Camino Real (Spanish for The Royal Road)
and was founded on September 8,1771.

I spent 2 hrs roaming the grounds. It was so peaceful and full of beautiful morning light...and much visual interest. Not to mention the history.

Today I'm sharing over at 

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Little Things...


Hi friends! 
The days are flying by & with only 8 more days till summer vacation, I'm all giddy inside. I've been a bit absent minded of late...well...because there's only 8 more days till summer vacation & I'm all giddy inside!!
 Don't get me wrong, I love my job but this has been a challenging year with the gas leak & our school's relocation. I had one particular 2nd grade class that really went through the ringer until we finally got a devoted long term sub. She salvaged what was left of the year and got the kids back on track. And that has been no easy feat either. The really good news is we just got word that the 2016-17 year will be in our own school...Yup, we're starting to pack up to move back!

So, I follow Sarah Here on her many wonderful excursions. I live vicariously through her beautiful words and photos. I really wanted to have my own little adventure this weekend, but Frankie left for a trip and both Austin and Amanda's had to work. So, I decided to pull a "Sarah" as I now call it, and  go on my own little day trip~alone...which is really not in my nature. There's a cherry farm about an hours drive north I wanted to check out so I gassed up and went!

Hard to believe that on one side of the road there's this stark, desert landscape...

...and on the other, a lush farm of over 4000 cherry trees. 

Can you say

I plan on doing a lot of little excursions over the summer...You know, pulling a "Sarah!" 
What about you? Do you dare go on exploring on your own? 
I'd love to hear.

Linking up with Kim today.

Happy (cherry picking) snapping!