June 30, 1900

Hazel Aileen Largaud Bridges was born in Pt. Roberts, Washington on June 30, 1900.   I called her Grandma Bridges.   She lived well into her 90’s.  She was a wife, mom, sister, tea drinker and a very hard worker.  Her husband died just under twenty years of marriage.  She was a widow the rest of her life.  That meant, she still had three (including a set of twins) of her five children still at home that had to be fed (she baked bread 3 days a week after she came home from working all day) and cared for.  She kept a small albeit very neat house.  She picked berries and fruit and vegetables and canned everything. She made meals seven days a week for her family.

ploverShe needed a job.  She went to work at the cannery. She stood on her feet all day long.    She took a small boat, The Plover from Blaine over to the cannery every single day.  (Side note:  our children have taken a trip on the refurbished Plover.)   She was an expert in crochet.  Every year on our birthdays, a crisp dollar bill would flutter gently out of the card.

When you skim through all the old family history, the main things recorded were name, birthday & place.  They don’t mention things like what type of crib she slept in or if she had a crib at all.  I am guessing if she slept in a crib it was borrowed & had been passed down through many siblings.  The history books don’t record if she was a fussy baby or if she and her sisters, Grace and Flossy were good chums.

Over the weekend, Mr. Right and I took a trip to Babies R Us.  Wow.  Intense & overwhelming are two good words to describe the store.  First, if you have never been, it is huge.  It smells like a freshly powdered baby and oodles of stern store workers wearing headsets have their fingers posed ready to type in the name of the parents to be, into their computer data base.

There are young couples, in all stages of pregnant walking around dumbfounded.  They each have a glazed look on their faces. Do we need this?  Do we really need that?  In a sad, strange way, I feel like those young couples are being bullied.  That store is an assault on the senses.  Gosh, just being there, you start to feel like you won’t be successful if you don’t buy this or that.

The marketers are very, very good at their jobs.

Then there are the grandparents.  You can spot them a mile away.  Smiling, ready to chat with anyone about their new grand to be.  They have the printed registry in hand and are shopping for things on the list.   They are old enough to have cash, credit/debit whatever needed to buy everything and anything the new babe will need or ever want.  We tried not to look too confused as to what this or that was.  Some items I remember using and were a big help with our boys and our other two grands.   Some things, I didn’t know I needed.

There was the $95.00 baby spa, bath set.  Um, no, I don’t think a new-born baby has enough stress to warrant a spa bath set.  I must say those gentle bubbles and soothing music did look inviting.  It was pretty small.  Looked like the perfect foot spa for Grandma Daleeeeeeen.  harockaroo

Then we saw something called the Rockaroo.  He figured out how to turn on the computerized machine.  Apparently, it is for busy mom’s that don’t have an extra set of hands to rock the baby on their shoulder while stirring pasta for dinner.  You put the baby in this seat, then choose a setting:  rocking, car motion, up and down etc….. For $249.00 you too, can buy this contraption, which I am sure is very good.  I just had visions of our of our youngest son getting car sick, while sitting in a Rockaroo on the kitchen floor.

Actually, I remember a friend wearing a backpack while she cooked.  Kevin sat happily looking over her shoulder.  Then I remembered an Army wife in Oklahoma.  She wore a back pack while she mowed the lawn.  I asked her if she would like me to watch her baby while she mowed?  Happily, she said, no thanks.  Good exercise and she was “teaching” him how to mow a lawn.  ha

I want to tell our son and daughter in law, take a deep breath.  You will be amazing parents.  It will be okay.  We have come a long way in 114 years.  However, I think if you have a kind heart (which you do) and a desire to dress your babe, swaddle him in a blanket and rock him on your shoulder….. you will be just fine and dandy.  And so will he.

Hazel Aileen Largaud Bridges did not have a spa bath set nor the rockaroo when she was born.  Nor did she have it for her five children.

She did fine.  She did amazing.  She crocheted them each their own blanket with yarn she had to save up for.

She went on to crochet each of her grands and greats a crocheted afghan.

She rocked babies while she canned and made dinner and baked bread.

Grandma Bridges went on to rock 15 grandchildren.  Grandma Hazel to some,  went on to rock oodles of great grand children.

She wore a silver charm bracelet with the heads of all of her children, grands and greats every single day until the day she passed away.

Happy Birthday, Hazel Aileen Largaud Bridges, you have left behind a beautiful family legacy.

Come October, I will be very grateful and happy to add a new charm to my bracelet.  DSCN4260

don’t worry, be happy

20140629_194333Summer has some lazy moments hidden just for you to find.

The boyfriend bought me a package of the new ink joy pens.

Paper-mate $3.77.  Get some.  Get some happy.

Doodle for no reason.

Doodle to be happy.

Need a gift to mail to a favorite niece or a favorite grandkiddo?  Do you want to make a girlfriend smile?  Pop them in a padded envelope and send some good karma out into the universe.  Buy a package for the neighbor kid.  Buy a package for your sullen teenager.  Turn off the video game and hand over some white paper and some pens.  Watch the imagination fall out of their brains and find its way onto the paper.   Skip the latte and spend the moola on a brand new package of gel pens just for you!

Buy yourself some new doodle toys.  papermate, inkjoy

Let your mind swirl.  Make some happy.

No, I was not paid to say this.

I love having ink on my fingers.  Evidence of time spent doodling.

Do something creative every single day.

Grateful my boyfriend knows what will make this girl tie her hair up and turn up the music and doodle.

Makes for a happy girlfriend.

When was the last time you spent some time doodling?  It’s good for your spirit and soul.

We all need some do nothing time.

Time well spent.



granola for the win

DSCN4856Granola and I have history.

I love her crunchy goodness.  I adore her nutty sass.  I love the variety.  I always get a kick out of seeing a jar or two on the counter.  The jar is crammed full to the top with all sorts of goodies.  I love to turn the jar over and finds bits of goodness hidden here or there.

Oh, be still my heart, the color.  The toasted, roasted, gently browned warm caramel color.  Makes me light-headed.

Sometimes, I am in the mood for the clumped together bits of love.  Sometimes, I want to precisely pick out a perfect piece of toasted coconut or a perfect pumpkin seed.

In my old life, I loved dumping gobs and I mean gobs of granola into my yogurt.  Fast forward a couple of years.  Good bye yogurt.  Good bye oats.  Good bye making trays and trays of the stuff to nibble on in the afternoon or on a car trip.  sigh.

Enter grain free granola, posted by http://www.bloomingonbainbridge.com/   Teresa is another blogger  that I follow and heart.  She lives here in the Pacific Northwest and has a spirit that sort of oozes through the computer screen.  Her goodness sort of gets all over you once you visit her page.  Yes, that sweet and sassy.

I owe her.  I owe her my love and gratitude for ever and one day.  She shared an amazing GRANOLA recipe sans oats.  I am one thankful girlie.

Heck, my dog is giddy.  When momma is happy, everybody is happy!

This morning, while indulging in my hot brown rice cereal with fresh sliced strawberries, I was doing a little jig in our kitchen.  I generously sprinkled on the granola!  Then I went back and sprinkled some more.

Heck, full honesty here, I already grabbed the jar and ate a few bits and pieces while I was on the phone.   Um, that would have been my 9:51 am snack.  DSCN4852

This is goodness for goodness sake.

This food is worthy of my spirit and good for my soul.  Yeah, bet you didn’t know granola could be so deep and important?

Indulge, we are worth it.  Here’s to our health and wellness!

ps.  please add a jaunty bow to your jar.  It elevates the goodness, and yes, Virginia, you are worth it.

 “Health is not simply the absence of sickness.”  ~Hannah Green



Yesterday, someone asked me something about Mr. Right, marrying people.  I think I might have shared much more than they bargained for.  It went a little something like this…..

According to me,  he is the best, greatest, most amazing husband, dad, Papa in all the land.   He is one of the good guys.  The kind of guy that lifts others up.  He is the kind of guy, that even after a long commute home, phone call with grandgirlie number one, dinner, clean up, made juice, made his lunch,  bathed the big hairy Golden Retriever,  watered outdoors….. he still had time to play a new board game, not get to frustrated at my lack of understanding the rules and THEN sit in the living room and do his reading, while I did some embroidery.  (my stitching light is in there and I don’t want to move it, she said whining)

It is coming into full-on wedding season and once again he finds himself helping people get hitched.  I love this part of his character and “resume”.  I adore that he is the kind of man who people ask to marry them.   Young and old, military or civilian, family and friends and people he has just met for the purpose of hitchin’ them together, they all end up feeling honored that he guided them through a day of pure goodness.   Trust me on this one, he is the guy you want in your corner.  He honestly does not remember the bride’s “colors”.  He has to be gently reminded to take the wedding favor the bride and groom are giving away.  He looks like he cares when I steer him over to look at the amazing  illuminated cake table.  cake table

He is the man who can’t tell you what flowers were in the bride’s bouquet or what shoes the Mother of the Bride wore.  He is the guy who believes kindheartedly in the marriage.  The meaning. The union.  He is the guy behind the scenes working on the script, the words, the sincere passages that will guide and direct their path.   The months and years ahead.   He believes in the goodness of people and the pure joy and happiness as they begin a life together.  A very well-educated man of honor, responsible, loyal, honest, conservative in his personal views, patriotic, pays his taxes on time, mows his lawn, keeps a well tuned up and clean car, adores a good pun, God-fearing and loving American…….AND he still believes in happily ever after.

He is not the puffed up, pompous,  feeling bigger, stronger, authoritarian, demanding man standing before all.  He is the guy who cleans up well and is there to lift up, help and welcome  a new couple to the club.  He and I have been in the “club” for 32 years now.  Oh yeah, he is the real deal.

A couple of pictures popped into my head.  The very first couple I saw him marry was inside the parents’  living room.  I remember the ceiling of the home was a very swirly texture, spotless  home, very European in design.  It was years ago, the groom was scheduled to leave for Afghanistan the next morning.   The wedding was short and sweet. You could feel the intensity of the moment.  They signed the license and ran out the door, laughing, holding hands and giggling.  We all stood there for a moment.  The air had been taken out of the room.  The parents and family and friends all once again began talking and laughing and of course everyone wanted cake.   No, the bride and groom did not stay to enjoy a leisurely piece of cake and chat with their guests.  They had “other” important plans.

I have been witness to him marrying people in a gazebo, in a barn, in a hay storage shelter, in a park, in a building, outdoors in full view of the Space Needle, in an office, in backyards and inside homes and on and on the list goes.  Tears slipped out of my eyes as I watched him marry our son and daughter in law in the middle of a lemon grove with flowers and citrus trees allimg_7068 around them.

In the second wedding picture, you might look at the happy couple just married, he in his stunning kilt, she in her ruffled, take your breath away dress, I am looking at the person who just married them.

bruce marrying Gary and MidoriMany of the guests were caught up in the backdrop of hot, brilliant sunshine glimmering off the Space Needle and the Seattle sky line.  All of us were fascinated by the kilts and bag piper and the ring bearer dog.  (who, I might add was the most well-behaved, well-trained dog, I have ever met)

I was the girl in the back, looking at the person officiating.  I am the girl still getting goosebumps when I look at my guy.  I am the girl in the last row, who still giggles when she catches his eye across a crowded group of 200 + guests.  I can send him ESP and he receives it.   “hey, nice save.” “good job” or “let’s blow this pop stand, change clothes and get a donut on the way home” .

When he says those happy words, “you may kiss the bride”, it never fails to make me smile.  It seals the deal.  It is like the secret handshake of the marriage club.  Each time any bride or groom, any age, gets a smooch it seals the deal one more time.

This Friday, when he invites another couple to “join the club”, yes, I will be tickled to peek inside a landmark mansion I have been wanting to see for ages………..I will be the one  in the back row, smiling and swinging her feet, gazing at her “boyfriend” like a school girl.

May your marriage path begin with an amazing guide, and may your days be sealed with a million and one kisses.

“A kiss is a lovely trick designed by nature to stop speech when words become superfluous.”  ingrid bergman



thankful Friday

What if you woke up today and only had the things you thanked God for yesterday? 

I saw that question on face book this morning.  Yipes.  Quick, let’s review.

Good news, bad news.  I live my life purposefully with gratitude.  So in the good news department, I am covered.  I am every single day of my life, sincerely and heartfelt thankful for Mr. Right.  I am thankful for our four adult children and three grands.  I am mighty thankful for my family in Vermont.  I gave thanks for my health. I gave thanks for the healing sunshine.  I am thankful on a daily basis for my freedom.   I am thankful for our dog, Sweet Liberty. DSCN4798 I gave special thanks for four girlfriends who made my day so much sweeter.  I was pretty gosh darn thankful for a phone call from a girlfriend.

DSCN4821Here’s where it takes a turn.  I usually give thanks at the end of the day.  So, if I am a tad bit sleepy-eyed, um, I may wrap things up a bit too quickly. I gave a sigh of pure goodness and said thanks for the amazing cozy pillow and extreme feather filled  duvet .  Okay, so I threw in a great big heap of thanks for the Watermelon colored toe nail polish by Essie that turned out so pretty. Then, when I sat down on the edge of the bed, I spied in my closet the weird green colored shrug that had slipped off the hanger.  I had been searching for the little sweater and instantly thanked God I found it.

So that is about it.  In the bad news department, I forgot to say thanks for our home, our car, our food, our chickens, all our nice things, all our other friends & family,  my vitamins & supplements, my rebounder, my bikes, & fresh air. I forgot to say thanks for clothes, regular clothes and a dining room table and a nice bed and shoes.

So let’s sum up, yes, I have my family and four girlfriends.  I have a dog and some sunshine and my freedom.  I have some watermelon colored toenails (with a sassy sparkle top coat) and a weird colored green shrug.   I have a pillow and a duvet.

Maybe no one will notice I am only wearing a weird green colored shrug because of my sparkly toenails? thankful 3

Lunch is served

Washington girl moves to Germany.  During a quilt guild meeting,  girl makes a new friend from Puerto Rico.  Washington girl’s world is changed for ever.   Twenty years later, friends end up living in the same state.

“New” friend is a remarkable quilter, take your breath away handiwork, color and pattern choices.  Her knitting skills are masterful. I have never in my life seen better.  Not just blue ribbon good, she is the level of knitter that judges who is awarded the blue ribbon.  She is a smarty pants with a sharp, lightening quick wit that always makes me pay attention and soak it in and laugh.   I recently sent her a note.  I wrote, “You inspire“.  That describes how I feel about her, perfectly.

She values her family and herself so much, she has taken extraordinary measures to cook & serve excellent quality real food.  She grows food.  She makes sure every single day she is exercising.

Here’s the thing, when you are lucky enough to have someone in your life that is head and shoulders above the crowd, sassy and inspiring………..be a smarty pants and listen.  

I didn’t grow up with a palette outside of the traditional, middle class, Caucasian set.

I had to learn to cook rice.  She didn’t make fun of me.  She explained it, answered my questions and guess what?  I can actually make a delicious pan of rice anytime I want.

Last week, I asked what is a tomatillo?   She didn’t laugh.  She explained it, she offered a suggestion or two and off I went.

tomatillo 1Side note:  Tomatillos are small, round, green fruits resembling little tomatoes bearing a papery outer covering.  They are from the nightshade family, related to the gooseberry.  Tart and packed with Vitamin C & K.   tomatillo 2

I am grateful that my food palette is bursting with color and flavor.  I am grateful that my friends add so much color and flavor and sass to my world.  You can tell by the color and flavor of my plate. just how lucky and grateful I am.

Here is the salad recipe she shared.  In the past, I have made something similar, however with the addition of the salty black olives and the bright, tart tomatillos this salad will rock your Saturday afternoon.  So good, filling, lush and so packed with bright flavor and color, you will be so glad you gave it a try.

Say Grace for having diverse and amazing friends.  I am thankful and grateful to live in a swirl of color and goodness.

Avocado Salad

 (easy, quick, mouth-watering, bursting with flavor and color)

Toss together:  chopped avocados, black olives, onions, garlic, tomatillos, tomatoes, black beans, cilantro, S & P, and some fresh lime juice.

 Serve with chips, rice or stuff into a wrap and make a burrito.


Painted on our wall in our family room is this quote,

” Mankind will endure when the world appreciates the logic of diversity.”