Celebrating An Extraordinary Matriarch Who Was Amazingly Gifted

This beautiful picture graces the walls of my living room. My mother painted this picture before I was even born. To say she was multi-talented, would be an understatement. It was more like, what couldn’t she do? I’m sure my big kids have an image instilled in their memory of Mom coming to our condo and our rescue many times with her tote bag full of tools. I appreciated her handyman abilities. Patching walls to fixing leaks, refinishing furniture the list goes on and on.

These pictures had an Asian influence.
They reside, one on each side of my fireplace.

This one has been hanging in my kitchen for many years. This is a picture that I grew up with. Mom hung this proudly in every house I lived in as a child. I acquired this after she passed away. My sister has a few  of Mom’s paintings as well. My oldest has a beautiful picture of San Fransico that Mom created. She was such an interesting multi-faceted person. A certified draftsman long before I was born. A dance instructor. She ran a small dance studio in Fresno. She met my father there at that studio, he was one of her students, she taught him how to ballroom dance.

She was a gifted seamstress that costumed every childhood play my sister and I were ever in. She would make costumes for every cast member!  She was so outstanding that she created her own patterns for most things that she sewed. She made coats, special beautiful prom dresses for my sister and I. Halloween costumes galore…she even made gig clothes for the guys in the rock band I was in lol!  In later years she created special quilts for every grandchild that she had, 13 of them, each a different design. A Grammy original so to speak! I was 7 months pregnant with Zoe when she passed away. She had almost finished a quilt for Zoe as well. The day before she died at home, she told me that she wished she could finish the quilt. She was sad that she wasn’t well enough to complete it.  She dearly wanted to get up out of bed to go finish it. Bless her heart, I found the quilt upstairs nearly finished after she passed. My sister and I were able to finish it for her.  It would be her last creation, for her last grandchild whom she would never meet. I cherish this quilt! Looking back, it’s amazing that as sick as she was, she had the will, desire and ability to make this.

Her love and emphasis for the arts was paramount. She wrote, produced and executed two musicals in her lifetime with the Roseville Civic Theater in Carmichael, CA. She wrote songs for the musical by humming them to her pianist friend. Lyrics that were cute and very catchy as well, “I’m In Love With The T.V. Repair Man”, comes to mind. She was fun and funny! Great sense of humor and a quick wit! The smartest woman I have ever known with many varied interests.  An avid reader. Always had a book in her hand. History, geography, space exploration, parapsychology, and even religion. She would sit for hours with graph paper and chart earthquakes. She would collect and chart compiled numerical data in an effort to one day predict where they would “quake” next. She would always say “For every action, is a reaction on the other side of the world be it seismic tremors, quake or volcanic activity”.

In latter years she would chart and graph the winning lottery numbers in an effort to somehow dispell random drawing of numbers. She was sure everything was predictable if you could chart and graph it until it came together and became a predictable pattern?

She always had a globe nearby. My oldest owns and display’s that globe now. Sometimes, she would sit with my kids and play this game… She would spin the globe and see where my child’s finger would land. They would talk about that place. If she didn’t know much about it, she would refer to her set of encyclopedias. My kids enjoyed sharing in that with her. One particular day I recall her spinning the globe with all of my kids in attendance.  Mom marveled at their discovery… She said, “I didn’t know this island was here!” She put her face down close to the globe for further inspection of the new find and exclaimed so matter of factly, “Oh, it’s peanut butter island…” This was so funny, we all just laughed. Somehow peanut butter laden fingers had made their way onto her globe. Kids and peanut butter, go figure…This  became one of my most treasured memories of her. It was so sweet and endearing!

She was my biggest supporter and played the role of cheerleader in my life, so many times. She helped me get through all of my tough years of single parenthood. She would bolster me up emotionally, give me a pep talk before and after every court appearance that I had to make in family court. My ex and his wife drug me to family court many times in an effort to take the kids to get out of paying child support. A decade that robbed us all of joy and peace! It never worked, the court always saw through his baseless allegations. I hated like hell though having to answer to those allegations.   They would drum up the most ridiculous and awful things that you could say about a person. I was forever in a defensive legal posture. I wouldn’t wish that decade of my life on my worst enemy!  I used to tout that I’d rather have a root canal without any anesthesia than have to appear in family court and play this emotionally torturous and exorbantly expensive game. I always prevailed and nothing ever changed regarding custody of my children but at great monetary expense and emotional hardship. My Mom helped me hold onto my family. She helped fund my legal expenses. OMG she was a lifesaver.

My Mom was always there to talk to and she always gave the best advice! “Be careful of what you want, you might get it”. On darker days when she was really angry about it she would say, “The best revenge is living well”! She was my best friend. We would drink coffee and talk together for hours about all kinds of things!

I  physically cared for her for many years. She lived with me for the last 6 years of her life. She was ill for a long time although the actual cancer diagnosis came only two days before her death. She wouldn’t have wanted to know and fight that anyway. She detested Dr.s and never wanted to think of herself as sick. She never acted sick! For many years before we lived together, I would clean her large house and maintain the yard for her. I still have dreams about cleaning that house…Mom was a borderline hoarder. It was a real challenge to whip that place into shape and dejunk. Wow, she did not like to clean. One day I decided that I would step in and take charge. I was shocked that she let me! She didn’t fight me and told me years later that she was so glad that I took over managing everything. She had let her property taxes go unpaid for years and they were about to foreclose on the property. I had no idea until I answered her telephone and was given that news.  That was the day I realized that I needed to step in and take charge. It was a full time job in itself as the property was run down and in need of updating, remodeling and a lot of TLC. So, I took charge of everything and contracted  out repairs and elbow greased the rest. Sold both her home and my condo. I bought a home for all of us and we settled together in a Paso Robles, CA. She had the upstairs portion of the home which was spacious . A large master bath, bedroom and a craft room. Her own space which she thoroughly enjoyed. By this time she had Alzheimer’s as well. It was difficult watching her cognitive decline.

The kids and I occupied the downstairs portion. By this time, the kids were in highschool and my youngest at the time was in middle school. Mom died peacefully at home with all of us there with her. I was so glad to have Hospice to help with her passing and to provide the loving comfortable exit she so wanted. She died within two days of her lung cancer diagnosis. I brought her home from the hospital and she passed away the next day. I held onto the home for another year after she passed. I sold our home when Zoe was a one year old toddler. My new husband and I decided to move to Phoenix. I had lost so many of my older relatives there on the central coast that sadness and memories were looming around every corner there.  Two sets of Aunts and Uncles died within years of each other. I welcomed a fresh start in Phoenix.

Mom was decorating a cake she had baked back in her old, dirty kitchen lol…before I took over…

She always loved that I could play and sing. She was my biggest, (only) fan. She was amazed at my childhood music savantism. This was one of her favorite songs that I started covering as a teen. She would tear up when I played this…

I know she would be thrilled to know that I have revisited my savant. I took many years off only playing the piano occasionally when my kids were young. The past couple of years that I have been actively been pursuing my music has given me great personal joy! I know she would be smiling down on me to know that I actually write songs of my own as well as cover them. Even if it’s taken me to 54 to get here lol.


Birthday Bash Late Night Crash Critical Choices

I am thinking about how lucky I am to have my grown daughters living close by. A few years ago my oldest and I decided that we will get together for everyone’s birthday and at least have cake together. We have so many birthdays around here! So, that is what we do…This happens to be the latest of birthdays, my oldest daughter Brittany who is now 32! We had a wonderful time! My Grandaughter Alissa stayed home because she had fallen asleep and she was catching a cold. I  made the decision to let her sleep. Howard stayed home which wouldn’t have changed things anyway. He doesn’t like hanging out with my family much. I have lived with a great divide in family for many years and, I resent that so much! Britt had to work until 9:00 so it was a late event for the kids!

Britt’s boyfriend Adam, made a very impressive and delicious cake! I am so impressed. Wow! She really was appreciative of the fuss he made over her special day. Very sweet and nice to be included in on!

On Britt’s actual birthday the following day, Alissa and I put this together for “Aunt Brittany”. I think she is a really great sport having missed the party! I was impressed.

I’m putting together my resume hahaha  lol… I’ve been busy scoping out places to apply to. My job search is just beginning. Friends are writing letters of reference for me. This career housemaker is searching for gainful employment! Too bad I can’t make this work on a resume lol…

Christmas In July Takes On New Meaning For Me

Fool’s Overture is written by Roger Hodgson.

Needless to say when I found out that Roger Hodgson is coming to town around Christmas, I was ecstatic! This would truly be on my Christmas wish list!

Here is a small clip of a really special to me, cover. This song in it’s entirety is 7+ minutes long. The original that Roger Hodgson plays is minutes longer than that! This original by Roger really conveys to you the musical genuis that he is. I used to play this as an instrumental only. I decided recently to try playing it with the vocals. The vocals are out of my comfort zone range wise which is why I never sang them. Very soprano for my alto voice! I never have reached the end and said wow, I did it. I reach the end and I say hmmm, ok. I decided that at 54, the vocals don’t need to be perfect, they just need to be there! The intensity and desire to attempt this grand song is here… This song struck a chord (pardon the pun), in me the first time I heard it. Brilliant and amazing were my first impressions as I listened with fresh ears. It sparked the music savant in me and at age 15, I began playing this on my piano.  Almost 40 years ago! Although I have never played it verbatim as it appears on the album. Impossible to do with all of the special effects! This is the essence and what came across and stuck with me. Here I am some 40 years later playing this of my own arrangement/ interpretation. My SoundCloud cover upload below, is in it’s entirety.

Something tells me that Roger Hodgson is like me in that he probably doesn’t sit down and write music in symbols? I wonder if he reads music at all! Maybe he does? This is something I would want to ask him if I ever had the chance. I don’t read music at all. I just play. This doesn’t mean it’s easy. I get the framework of a song but many times struggle to find certain chords. Some songs are more challenging than others to put together. Playing by ear is so rewarding though!

He and his band are playing at the Celebrity Theater here in Phoenix on Dec. 2nd! Of course I will be in attendance. My oldest daughter Britt and I will go together! A few years back I attended a concert of her favorite band, Big Bad Voo Doo Daddy. Just so happens it was right around Christmas as well! It was a magical evening. I was thrilled that she got to meet in person her favorite singer, Scotty! A cherished shared memory for us both! I was so glad that I got to share in this magical moment! I snapped this wonderful bucket list photo of Britt with Scotty in a hug.

I hope to be able to meet Roger Hodgson as well. I have written to his fan club to ask for a couple of meet and greet passes. I sure hope that his manager will allow me the opportunity! I definitely have this on my bucket list to do even if for a brief moment! The music of Roger Hodgson has influenced and shaped my musical thinking nearly my whole life. Few artists are able to incorporate classical and total Rock stylings so well. He has spiritual and historical references in his lyrics here. Quite a lot of his songs are very spiritual and soul to soul speaking. Making his songs so relatable they bring you to tears! A gifted, gifted songwriter! Is it any wonder that I would dream of coming face to face with this great musical genuis?

Ps. The featured picture in this post is of my newest Temp-tations ware. These came together as a set of the dragonfly pattern. I used them together yesterday for a weeknight meal. They were perfect for my homemade pasta salad and my special baked beans. I enjoy having them so much! Thanks Tara and QVC!


 The Fire Breathing Dragon Days Of Summer

I put together some little souvenir bags for the G-Kids. Not much of anything really just some m&m’s from m&m world in Las Vegas and, a light up toy. I found the little tags online to print out. The cups were recycled from the Coke store where we sampled international sodas. I knew when I saw the little cups that I could use them for souvenirs for the kids. I had browsed the gift shops and all they had, seemed inappropriate for little kids. 

Between laundry, unpacking, cleaning and cooking, I have been busy. I have one more week of my 28 day fitness challenge with Fit Body left. Taking that week off, was un helpful! I feel like I undid whatever progress I was making! I actually feel as if I miss my own routine of power walking and jogging. I have however, learned a lot of new exercises to incorporate into my own regime for continued progress? The walk/jog routine that I was doing gave me an outlet in which to meditate. I miss that!

An adoption caseworker is coming tomorrow to get us started on that path. I was told that the process can take 2-4 months. She will give me a list of attorneys to call. I will know more tomorrow how this procedure works and what is required to accomplish this. 

Back to school shopping is right around the corner and this year we have two to shop for. School starts August 1st here. Alissa is starting kindergarten! I have already enrolled her in school. It has been a long hot summer here in Phoenix. All this week it will be 110+. The monsoons are delayed. We have had really no break from the scorching sun at all!  Forget the dog days of summer…in Phoenix it’s fire breathing dragon days! Already 18 days of temps above 110 this year. 

I decided that I should make some playlists of my SoundCloud tracks. Maybe it will make it easier for people to find my music? If you are interested, please click on the links below to listen to them!

Roger Hodgson Covers:

Rick Davies Covers:

These are the two separate Supertramp songwriters of which I cover. I will start with these.

Have a great day!

Las Vegas For The Opportunistic And Opulent Ambience

Here is my view from our room at the Paris Hotel in Las Vegas. We are vacationing and I’m running around with this iPad taking pictures! I have this to say about Vegas… It’s surely something to see but expensive! Opulent and ridiculously expensive. To go off the strip is to find yourself in dirt poor industrial surroundings. It’s a crazy difference. The street players and homeless people are everywhere. Everyone and every nuisance is opportunistic. A person in a superman costume photo bombed our family picture then asked/ demanded $5.00 from us because he was in our pic… I am disappointed this trip. I have been to Vegas before but this time it just feels like a money grubbing hole in the earth…

We want to the Venitician to look around. I had so wanted to go to Carlos Bakery of (Cake Boss) fame. I talked and talked about seeing this. If you follow my blog you would understand this desire of mine. 

What a huge disappointment this was! Small beyond belief and expensive. We didn’t even buy any pastry. We just left… Sad! The bakery in our Hotel, Madelines, has beautiful looking pastries! I think I will go see if I can grab one of those and some pics. 

Here are a few more pics of the Venitican

The pic below was a statue outside the Mirage Hotel but I thought is was sweet… 

Here I am with girls playing tourist…

Anyway more to come!

The Great Gig In The Sky Fireworks For America

Happy 4th of July! I hope that you are surrounded by people that you love and furry friends to cuddle. Enjoy a day of celebration with plenty of pazazz, sparkle and something decadent to eat while paying homage to Uncle Sam! Make your own fireworks, (not literally), lol! Be a firework and a sparkler, set the world on fire! Again, not literally! Ok, just have fun!

Notice it is still always 5:00 here in my living room…

Here is a video of my family that I put together. I thought it fitting to use my cover of, “The Great Gig In The Sky”!

Click on the video…

The Magic Of Fireworks Family And Friends

We had the most wonderful impromptu party last night! Our local fireworks show was last night rather than on the 4th of July. We weren’t even sure if we would be able to see them as we had monsoon storms popping up all over and around Phoenix. Even a tornado warning was issued for the west side of Phoenix! We only had a few sprinkles here. Not much activity at all here in Ahwatukee. The original plan was to meet up for the fireworks and then take the kids out for ice cream. Instead, my oldest daughter Britt brought her 4 kids over earlier and we ended up putting together a hotdog and mac & cheese dinner. My other grandkids and son in laws joined us for dinner. 

Here is a pic of all 7 of my G-Kids together! Britt (pictured here), and her daughter Liz made these wonderful patriotic headbands for all of the girls to wear. Beautiful keepsakes for many years to come! I just loved these headbands and the big and little girls did as well!

Zoe & Paige!

Alissa, Garrett and Ashlyn
Oh the joy of fireworks! Alissa is taking all of this in and it’s fun to watch her world light up!

A really fun evening! I’m so glad that we got together and did this!

Today will be low key and hopefully less humid! Heat and humidity make summer uncomfortable here in AZ! Have a wonderful 4th of July weekend!