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Ten Things of Thankful: Yee Haw and Other Flight Delights

  The view of a sunset taken from an airplane. The sky is orange and just a sliver of sun is visible. I made a quick trip to Oregon this week to visit my parents. As I waited at the airport to depart, I noticed a baby sleeping on her dad's shoulder. I was flying on Southwest, which doesn't have assigned seats. I was in boarding group B. As I boarded the plane, I noticed that the window and middle seat in the first row of the plane (the row with lots of legroom) was empty. I was surprised, but gladly took the window seat. I alternated between reading a book and looking out the window. It was so good to see the mountain lakes filled with water. I got a wave of nostalgia when I saw the peaks in the Cascade Range, as I have memories of going across the mountains to visit my grandparents when I was younger. I used to see Black Butte from the front window in my grandparents' home, but from the plane, I could see it in relation to the Three Sisters. Though Black Butte is aptly-nam
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Ten Things of Thankful: A Lake Wobegon Inspired Post

  The Rosie the Riveter image from the Library of Congress Digital Collection shows a woman dressed in a blue shirt and red and white polka-dot head scarf raising a fist and showing her muscles. The image is captioned, "We can do it!" Every week, my dad would turn on the radio and we would sit around the table and listen to A Prairie Home Companion.  At the end of every episode, Garrison Keilor would sign off by saying, "That's the news from Lake Wobegon, where all the women are strong, all the men are good-looking, and all the children are above average." With Mother's Day coming up on Sunday, I've been thinking about the strong women in my life, and I'm thankful for them. Two smiling 90+ year old white-haired sisters  My great-grandaunts, Golda and Olive, pictured above, were two such strong women. They were two of eight children born to George and Cora Telfer. Golda (on the left in the photo) was born in 1891, and Olive (in the dark sweater, on th

Ten Things of Thankful: Wading through the Week

  A young boy from shoulders down, dressed in shorts and blue sweatshirt, wading in a creek It's been an interesting week, one which was fairly quiet for me personally, but one which was more eventful for some family members. Some events were planned for, and I anticipated being needed to help, but it turned out I really wasn't. Other events were unscheduled, but again, my presence wasn't required. So I've had more free time than I thought I would. As I've been wading through this week, I've been thinking about how the advice airlines give to "put your own oxygen mask on first," and how that can relate to everyday life. I think when I'm on a plane, it's easy to think, "Of course I would need to put on my own mask first," but in non-aviation-related reality, it somehow seems selfish to put my own needs first. I've been realizing this week that taking care of myself first is selfless, because it allows me to be in a better position

Z is for Zuma Beach: A Free to See #AtoZChallenge Post

  A camper drives by a sign marked "Zuma Beach" I'm living in southern California this year, and decided to use my exploration of the area as my focus for the #AtoZChallenge. I'm concentrating on free to see places, though I will include locations that require a parking fee. This is the twenty-sixth post in the series. I couldn't have made it all the way through visiting places in southern California without featuring a beach, so today let's go to Malibu and take a stroll along Zuma Beach. When I visited early in April on a weekday afternoon, it was neither crowded nor empty. I imagine that on summer days or weekends it would be much busier. The beach is free to visit, but I did pay to park in the lot.  Zuma Beach is the quintessential California beach, with long stretches of sand, waves for surfing, volleyball nets set up for pick-up games, and lifeguards stations dotting the area. A few families have claimed their spots on the sandy expanse Seagulls scope ou

Y is for Yucca's Valley's Desert Christ Park: A Free to See #AtoZChallenge Post

A statue of Christ with upraised arms sits atop a hillside in Yucca Valley' Desert Christ Park I'm living in southern California this year, and decided to use my exploration of the area as my focus for the #AtoZChallenge. I'm concentrating on free to see places, though I will include locations that require a parking fee. This is the twenty-fifth post in the series. On my quest for a letter Y post, I drove out to Yucca Valley on a sunny spring day. My target was Desert Christ Park, nestled against a hillside and established when Reverend Eddie Garver invited sculptor Antone Martin to place his works on Garver's land.  A sign near the (free) parking lot tells of the purpose and early history of the park with a poem by the sculptor, which reads:  A fellow once dreamed of a grand peaceful world With banners of brotherhood ever unfurled, A world that had banished its hatreds and fears, A world freed of tensions and terrors and tears. He fashioned an object of concrete and st

X is for "X Marks the Spot": A Free to See #AtoZChallenge Post

  Lifesize pirate figurines adorn a house in Newport Beach, California I'm living in southern California this year, and decided to use my exploration of the area as my focus for the #AtoZChallenge. I'm concentrating on free to see places, though I will include locations that require a parking fee. This is the twenty-fourth post in the series. I imagine I'm not the only one, but I had to take some creative license to find a place to visit for today's #AtoZChallenge letter, X. I thought of the phrase, "X marks the spot," and went with that. In my research, I learned about a cartography museum, but sadly, they are no longer in operation. Then my mind turned to pirate maps and lo and behold a Google search unearthed the Pirate House in Newport Beach, California! The Pirate House is a private residence that certainly stands out in the neighborhood. Located at the corner of Marcus Ave and 35th Street, you can't miss it. On street parking is free, though I did ha

Ten Things of Thankful: Catching Up

  John and I with the Pacific Ocean behind us I didn't get a Ten Things of Thankful post written last week, so I'll just jump right in and try to catch up today: I took my youngest granddaughter to Disneyland days before she turned 3. (It's a popular time to take a toddler, because 2-year-olds and younger don't need a ticket.) We enjoyed meeting Mickey Mouse and riding child-friendly attractions. We got stuck on a ride I had never been stuck on before--Jungle Cruise--but we were in a shady spot on the river, and granddaughter was able to catch a nap, so I really didn't mind the delay. I'm thankful for the chance to spend time with Baby-Baby. While we both enjoyed ourselves, I was both surprised and delighted when my granddaughter asked mid-day, "Can we go to the library?" I told her that of course we would go again to the library, but it wouldn't be that day. On the ride home, she again mentioned wanting to go to the library. When I explained the l