December 10, 2009

Old Soul or Just Plain Crazy?

I am absolutely fascinated with the history of my ancestors.
Perhaps it's because I have always felt
very drawn to the past.

I always keep a few of Issac's stuffed animals
on the back seat of my car.
The other morning as I got ready to leave for work
I noticed that the animals
were laying across the seat.
I found myself saying,
"Darn, they're scattered
hither and yon.
Hither and yon?
Did I just say hither and yon?"

Either I've been reading WAY
too many historical articles,
or I truly am an old soul!

September 20, 2009

Back From NYC

This morning I let the cats out into the backyard and noticed their water bowl was tipped over. This is usually a sign that raccoons have visited during the night. After I closed the French door, I noticed 2 muddy paw prints on the lower glass pane. Apparently a little critter was curious as to what was inside. Thank goodness I don't have a doggy door.

I was suddenly reminded of a comment Issac made a few years ago. We were having a family dinner and I had mentioned seeing a few raccoons in the yard one night. Issac asked me what I had done with them. I told him that I knew they had come into the yard to eat fruit off the ground and I just let them be. Uncle Mike asked him what he would have done. He replied, "I would have taken them to New York City!" He then burst into laughter. During the next few days I kept thinking of his comment and some silly ideas began to flow. With a bit of computer cut and paste, I came up with the above picture. That is Issac as the cabbie and a raccoon as his passenger. Needless to say, he thought this picture was hilarious. (click on the picture for a close-up of these 2 handsome creatures)

Since I was sound asleep when my late night visitor arrived, I missed the chance to hear all about his NYC travels. Perhaps next time. ;-)

September 7, 2009

Holy Ground

"Earth's crammed with heaven,
and every common bush afire with God;
and only he who sees takes off his shoes,
the rest sit round it and pluck blackberries, ..... "

I read this Elizabeth Barrett Browning poem recently and had an "aha" moment. It wasn't her reverence for nature that amazed me; it was her reference to the burning bush and the removal of shoes. I knew the burning bush was in reference to Moses.
..take off your sandals,
for the place on which you are standing
is holy ground.
(Exodus 3:5 NIV)

In re-reading the burning bush story I felt stunned.

Years ago, my grandfather had terminal cancer. We knew that he had just a few weeks to live. My normal routine was to come home from work and greet Sara and Michael, then go to visit my grandparents. On this particular day, I just felt that I needed to go straight to my grandparent's house. I had no strong thoughts that death was near, for I had seen my grandpa that morning and we shared smiles and hugs. I just sensed that I should go there first. When I arrived, my former husband Steve met me in the kitchen. He didn't say a word, nor did he have to. His face said it all. I immediately knew that my grandpa was dying. As I headed toward the bedroom, I stopped in the hallway and removed my shoes. At the time, I had no idea why I was doing this.

For years that has puzzled me. Why did I stop and remove my shoes? In reading this poem, and God's words to Moses, I suddenly had my answer. I removed my shoes because the moment I crossed the threshold, that small bedroom became a sacred place. The place that held my precious grandfather, Bopee. The man who held me right after I was born. The man who loved his family with all his heart. The man who made me laugh with his fun sense of humor. The man who taught me faith and love through example. The man who called me Sunshine.

It wasn't a coincidence that I went straight there that day. I believe it was divine intervention. Within hours, my precious grandpa passed away. It was the last time that I was able to hug him or tell him (face to face) how very much I loved him. On April 9, 1996.... I was indeed standing on holy ground.

July 22, 2009

Murder For Hire?

I was watching a show recently about a man who tried to hire his co-worker to murder his estranged wife. Fortunately, the co-worker went to the police and they set-up a sting and arrested the husband. Crazy? Definitely! Even crazier..... my first thought ..... "If anyone ever tries to hire me for murder, I'm going straight to the police!" I seriously thought this. Okay..... perhaps this summer television viewing is taking its toll on the ol' gray matter. I think it's time to go play in the garden!

Anyway..... I immediately began to laugh. Somehow I doubt that anyone is going to try and hire me, a vegetarian who feels bad killing spiders, to commit murder. But if they do by golly, rest assured, I will "do the right thing." This will most certainly make my parents proud. ;-

July 18, 2009

There's An Impostor Among Us

I start my vegetables from seed, with the exception of tomatoes. Tomato seeds are extremely tiny so I've never tried to cultivate them. In March I purchased 4 tomato plants ~ 2 cherry tomatoes and 2 different large red varieties. They were all clearly labeled. To me, all 3 inch tomato plants look pretty much the same. I decided to plant both of the cherry tomatoes near to one another. Once the plants became large enough to flower, I realized that something was a bit odd. One plant didn't have the same cluster pattern as the other. When the fruit began to form, it was obvious that I had an impostor on my hands. I figured that the large green fruit which was forming would eventually turn red. Well...... to my surprise, the fruit ripened to a beautiful yellow. The garden center where I purchased the plants didn't even sell yellow tomatoes. Talk about serendipity!

I always give thanks for any fruits or vegetables that I gather from the garden. Recently I found myself giving thanks for the error in labeling. -->Heaven only knows how many yellow tomatoes are out there pretending to be “Sweet 100’s!” Hopefully nobody lost a job over it. ;-) I cherish my little impostor. So much so, that I am going to save some seeds and try my hand at tomato germination next year. I love surprises. Especially the edible kind!

July 11, 2009

Magical Moments in the Garden

I had just stepped out into my garden the other day when I caught a brief glimpse of yellow floating by. I immediately ran inside for my camera, praying that my spectacular visitor would be there when I returned. Fortunately, it was still enjoying the nectar from the Butterfly Bush. I was fortunate enough to capture this wonderful photo. This particular butterfly is a Western Tiger Swallowtail.

I once felt that I was a bit odd grabbing binoculars when a rare bird made an appearance in my yard or dashing inside for my camera. I now realize that it is merely the childlike wonder and amazement that is peeking out. It's sad that we often lose that as we age. I no longer view these times as odd...... I view them as magical moments!

June 26, 2009

Rarely A Dull Moment

I learned a few interesting things yesterday!

When the power goes out, elevators stop working.

It's a bit unnerving when the elevator suddenly stops and you are stuck inside.

Not all buildings have back-up generators.

Cell phones work inside some elevators,
and 911 is a handy feature.

After about 10 minutes,
the elevator begins to feel a bit stuffy.

You have to yell pretty loud
for the firefighters to hear you.

A metal coat hanger works wonders
in the hands of a skilled rescuer.

I remained calm the entire time!
Not bad for a girl who used to be very claustrophobic.
Spelunking helped cure me of that. :-)

June 16, 2009

"Anchors Aweigh"

Since my quilted wall hanging has a nautical theme, I decided to try out a few terms from the sea while sharing this post with you. Some phrases might be a bit antiquated, but remember, I am a "land lubber" ~ not an experienced sailor.

Last fall I spotted this adorable sailor boy and girl on Stitchy Britches. At the time, I had no idea how to turn a drawing into an embroidery transfer. I must admit that I was ready to "cut and run" but decided to hang on to the "bitter end." Before "launching" into my research I made a quick trip to the "galley" for a hot "cup of joe." After a bit of "skylarking" I decided I'd better "turn-to."

I didn't have any problem with the embroidery or hand quilting. Binding the quilt was another story. I initially felt as if someone "had taken the wind out of my sails." In the past, I have used the birthing method which is fairly easy and requires no binding. I was tempted to "abandon ship" and "deep six" the project, but I just didn't have the heart to leave this cute duo unfinished. Once I watched this helpful How to Bind a Quilt video I began "making headway." Once I was "running on an even keel" I completed my wall hanging. I'm very happy that I got it "squared away." I've enjoyed sharing my quilt and "spinning a yarn" for you.

"Eight Bells and All Is Well" :-)

June 8, 2009

Perfection not required

The two major careers of my life, Dental Assisting and working as a librarian, have required perfection and extreme organization. My attention to detail and organizational skills have helped me immensely at work. The problem is, those same traits have really thrown a "monkey wrench" in my creativity. I have so many fun ideas dancing through my head, yet I hesitate to play unless I feel that the outcome will look close to what I believe is perfect.

Well..... as of today, I am turning over a new leaf. I've decided that "perfect" is whatever feels good to ME, no matter what that inner critic is saying. With that, I present my little Monkey Boy! He is filled with whimsy and mischief, much like his creator. ;-) Granted he won't grace the walls of the Louvre, but he will bring a smile to my face and remind me that it's okay to color outside the lines. Here's to the freedom we feel when we let our imaginations come out to play!

May 30, 2009

Lynn's ATC's

My friend Lynn recently created a new blog for her ATC's. I must admit that initially I had no idea what an ATC was. I figured a quick check on Wikipedia would solve that. Well...... there's a long list of items for that acronym. Judging by Lynn's wonderfully stitched and hand painted ATC's, I was able to whittle the list down. I felt pretty confident that she was not referring to Air Traffic Controllers ... the Appalachian Trail Conservancy ..... Automatic Train Controls .... and most certainly not Ancillary Terrestrial Components. Not that there's anything wrong with Ancillary Terrestrial Components mind you, I just think they'd be a bit difficult to whip up on a sewing machine. Undaunted in my quest for the elusive ATC definition, I finally struck gold. Artist Trading Cards! Okay, now that makes sense. These miniature works of art are the size of a baseball cards and made to be traded. Below are just a couple examples of Lynn's work which she kindly gave me permission to post.

She made the beautiful flower with watercolors. For the cute stitched card, she used batik fabric and green dyed recycled dryer sheets. Yes...... she is creative with a capital C!

I want to mention that Lynn's original blog is titled "Lynn - Getting my feet wet" Check it out and you will agree with me that she has moved WAY past getting her feet wet. In my opinion, she has crossed the English Channel. ;-) She is a multi-talented artist, with a zest for life. She is a wife, mom, grandma, photographer, quilter, and painter who has a loving, compassionate soul. She has inspired me in many ways.

Huge TerBear Hugs to you my friend

May 26, 2009

USS LKC to the Rescue :-)

My son Michael is in the front... on the left.... facing the back. There is a tiny little refugee from Somalia with them. The Somali refugees' skiff had been adrift in the Gulf of Aden for 7 days. The ship rescued 52 men, women, and children. They were given food, water, and medical treatment. The photo below shows people being cared for on the deck of the ship.
The entire crew did a wonderful job.

The Navy article can be found by clicking here. The CNN article can be found by clicking here. The CNN article has an area to view more photos. There are some really touching pictures of the children.

I must admit that I cried when I read the CNN article. I initially cried for very selfish reasons. As I was reading, I would glance up at the picture and see Michael sitting precariously on the edge of the boat, oceans away, in a war zone. To say that I worry about him and miss him would be a huge understatement! I then cried thinking of the nightmare that SO MANY people in the world face each day. I can't even begin to imagine.
Prior to Michael's deployment, I really had no knowledge of all the goodwill missions the Navy participates in such as COMREL and Project Handclasp which help people from many other countries.

I love the saying,
"We've been blessed to be a blessing."

I'm happy to say that the men and women on the USS Lake Champlain have had many opportunities in the past few months to "be a blessing."

May 16, 2009

Veggies and Kisses in my Garden

My veggie garden is off to a good start. A few of the plants are already producing. I noticed 5 little zucchini plus eggplant and green beans. The tomato plants have blossoms, so that's a good sign. My only frustration this season has been snails. Since I don't use any chemicals, they sometimes get the upper hand. Fortunately, most of the seedlings have survived. I know that I could go out at night and catch them in the act, but then what? Smash them? Hmm....... I'd rather let my garden be of the "Survival of the fittest" variety. :-)

Perhaps my garden's success is due to the addition of this adorable garden gnome. He is blowing sweet kisses to the wind. He never fails to bring a smile to my face. I guess I've always been a sucker for catching kisses, especially from children. Surprise someone you love today by blowing them a kiss.

May 11, 2009

"Steve's been shot."

May 11, 1993 began as a beautiful, sunny day. It ended as a nightmare. The moment I heard, “Steve’s been shot”….. my world froze. Those words, and the events that followed, will forever be etched in my memory. Upon hearing the news that every law enforcement wife fears, I felt as if time abruptly stopped. I had a difficult time understanding how this could be. I had just spoken to him a couple hours earlier. After the words sunk in, I felt as if my world, my life, suddenly began spinning out of control.

Telling Sara and Michael that their Dad had been shot was incredibly difficult. I tried to comfort them, yet I felt as if my heart was being torn in half. Family, friends, and fellow officers were equally shocked and saddened.

I grew up hearing that all things happen for a reason. 16 years later, I still haven’t quite figured out the reason, but I have seen the good, and I am so thankful for the outcome. The good is ~ he is not bitter about the shooting that robbed him of part of his eyesight and his position as a Deputy Sheriff. The good is ~ he had lots of time to spend with Sara, Michael, and I while he was healing. The good… rather, the GREAT news is ~ he survived!

Although we are no longer married, he is (and always will be) one of my dearest friends. He is a good man and a wonderful father.

Happy 16th “Second lease on life” Steve.

With love and admiration,


May 10, 2009

Happy Mother's Day!

Mary Cassatt - Young Mother Sewing

Mom, Patty, Aunt Neena, Mammo, & Ruth
My deep, heartfelt thanks for your continuous love, encouragement, friendship, support, and inspiration.
You have each contributed to who I am today.
A "Mother's" love is like no other.

Sara and Michael
How blessed I am to be your Mom! Because of you, I have had the wondrous opportunity to experience the deepest love
I believe there is..... that of a parent.
My love for you knows no bounds!

"I love you right up to the moon - AND BACK."

* Guess How Much I love You by Sam McBratney and Anita Jeram

May 7, 2009

Warmth and Love

I was a teen the last time I embroidered. It was very vogue back then. I stitched between macrame projects. Okay..... I realize It has been awhile since macrame plant hangers were all the rage. ;-)

I was immediately drawn to the cappuccino and goodies transfer. I decided to add rick rack because it has such a happy, nostalgic feel to it. I think it makes the hankie look complete.

I had fun with the sunny little face. I added iridescent beads around each of the rays. They probably don't show up too well here, but they look nice up close.

My wonderful grandpa gave me the nickname Sunshine when I was a teen. He called me that until he passed on. I lovingly dedicate "Sunshine in June" to him, in honor of his birth month.

My sweet grandma turns 93 next week (Hooray!) She was recently watching me stitch and asked what I was working on. I told her that I wasn't quite sure yet. I said that I embroider to keep myself out of mischief. She immediately laughed and called me a little chipmunk. Let's see.... TerBear, Sunshine, and now Little Chipmunk. Good thing I don't have to fit all that on my driver's license! Speaking of nicknames, I have a first grade student who calls me Ms. Iguana instead of Ms. Fonbuena. It sounds so cute, I don't have the heart to correct him. ;-)

Smiles and Blessings,
Bopee's Sunshine / Mammo's Little Chipmunk

April 22, 2009

Happy Earth Day!

We do not inherit the earth
from our ancestors,
we borrow it from our children.

~Native American Proverb

April 18, 2009

According to my calendar.......

......... and Simba, my trusty feline secretary, I now have an entire year without a binge "under my belt."
That is nothing short of a miracle!

As I re-read the Divorcing Ed post, I find myself feeling a bit sad. I felt so excited and victorious at that moment in time. I believed that the most difficult part of my recovery was behind me. I now realize that recovery and healing take time..... lots of time. For 37 years, my life vacillated between bulimia and anorexia. It's silly for me to expect these ingrained patterns and coping mechanisms to disappear overnight.

~ I still struggle with anorexic thought patterns

~ The desire to binge is often present

~ I long to eat like a "normal eater" (if there is such a thing)

~ I worry about relapse

~ I often feel as if my disordered eating calls the shots,
not the other way around

~ The Good News ~

~ God directed me to the help that I desperately needed

~ I was open and ready to accept that help

~ I'm not alone ~ for we each have our "Ed's"
in one form or another

~ I am surrounded by loving, supportive family and friends

~ Despite my occasional melancholy, I have much hope
for a bright future

~ I've learned that I am one tough cookie
(did someone say cookie?) ;-)


"When the student is ready, the teacher will appear."

Big hugs to my "teacher" Louise at Kaiser!

April 9, 2009

A Memorable Day in the Woods

This past Saturday, Rich and I spent a wonderful day at Muir Woods National Monument. It's amazing how small we look compared to this giant redwood!

Redwood Creek runs along the forest floor. The sound of the flowing water, and the sun reflecting off the water's surface were very soothing and serene. This was one of my favorite parts of the forest!

This unpaved path is known as the Ocean View trail. Funny.... it felt like a 3 mile hike up, but only a little over a mile back down. ;-)

We saw many types of wildflowers. This cute little clover caught my eye. It must be the Irish in me.

This was the final ascent to the viewing rock at the top of the trail. I love the split rail fence.

The view was spectacular. I could see the ocean off in the distance and the amazing forest below. To quote one of my favorite songs, "Our God is an awesome God!" How blessed we are to have opportunities each day to witness His wonderful creations.

March 29, 2009

Signs that Spring has Sprung!

My lilac bush is in full bloom. It is so beautiful. I was sitting on the patio enjoying the sun yesterday morning when I heard splashing in the bird bath. The first guest was a beautiful Robin. I believe it was a male due to the deep, rich colors. He has having a grand time bathing and fluffing his feathers. Once he was finished playing in the "bathtub" he flew to one of the trees and sat in the sun. He was probably enjoying the nice warm weather as much as I was. I went back to daydreaming when I heard a distinctive little peep near the bird bath. I turned to see a new visitor. This time it was a Black Phoebe. It wasn't interested in bathing, it was thirsty. It sat on the edge and continually dipped its tiny beak in the water taking little sips. Phoebes have a very distinctive trait. While sitting, they bob their tails up and down. This little creature was no exception. They also "eat on the fly." As it left the drinking hole, it flew across the yard in a bit of a zig zag pattern. It was probably grabbing a quick snack in mid-air before touring the neighborhood.
After my little friends had flown off, I sat in awe as the gentle breeze blew the rich fragrance of lilac my way. Ahh ...... Spring has definitely Sprung!

March 22, 2009

Donkey in the Well (author unknown)

"One day a farmer's donkey fell down into a well. The animal cried piteously for hours as the farmer tried to figure out what to do. Finally he decided the animal was old and the well needed to be covered up anyway, it just wasn't worth it to retrieve the donkey. 

He invited all his neighbors to come over and help him. They all grabbed a shovel and began to shovel dirt into the well. At first, the donkey realized what was happening and cried horribly. Then, to everyone's amazement, he quieted down.
A few shovel loads later, the farmer finally looked down the well and was astonished at what he saw. With every shovel of dirt that hit his back, the donkey was doing something amazing. He would shake it off and take a step up.
As the farmer's neighbors continued to shovel dirt on top of the animal, he would shake it off and take a step up. Pretty soon, everyone was amazed as the donkey stepped up over the edge of the well and trotted off! 

Life is going to shovel dirt on you, all kinds of dirt. The trick to getting out of the well is to shake it off and take a step up. Each of our troubles is a stepping-stone. We can get out of the deepest wells just by not stopping, never giving up! Shake it off and take a step up!"

February 25, 2009

My Trio of Bears

You may remember the little bear holding the shorts from a previous post. At that point, the poor fellow was without a body. I completed that block and gave him two cute friends. I made a pillow with the "Slippery Soap" square. I'm still trying to decide if I am happy with it. I could easily make it into something else, I'm just not sure what. If I had more background fabric, I would make an even number of blocks and do a little wall hanging. Any suggestions for this cute trio?

February 21, 2009

Swirling Koi - Courtesy of Sara

My daughter Sara just finished this painting. I LOVE it!
When she paints, she loses all sense of time.
To me, that is the definition of peace and contentment.
How blessed she is to have found something
so soothing to her, and so beautiful to others.

February 18, 2009

Embroidery Block of the Month

I serendipitously came across a fun "Christmas Block Of the Month" courtesy of Gail Pan Designs. A link to her site can be found in the sidebar. Please let me know if you decide to follow along. There will be 9 blocks total which should leave enough time to finish the quilt by December. At least that's the general plan. Since I've already cut and sewed all the blocks, I'm off to a great start. I waited to see February's block, which says Merry, before deciding on a color scheme. The main embroidery colors are purple, violet, (two of my favorites!) red, and green. I know that purple and violet are not typical Christmas colors but....... I'm no typical girl. Hey that reminds me. They give discounts on three or more for skydiving. Any takers? Maybe they'll even let us use purple parachutes. It never hurts to ask. :-)

February 15, 2009

Does Modesty Begin In 1st Grade?

A few months ago Sara took my grandson Issac in for a physical. The nurse directed them to the exam room and told Sara to have Issac strip down to his undies and wait for the doctor. Issac must have been so preoccupied with all the "gadgets" that he didn't hear the instructions. Sara removed his shirt and told him to take his pants off before the doctor arrived. He turned to her with a look of shock and said, "You've gotta' be kidding me!" Sara tried not to giggle. She assured him that it would be okay. She told him that Mommy and Daddy have to do the same thing. Knowing that, he felt a bit better. I laugh each time I think of his comment. Children are so precious!

February 11, 2009

Thanks Mom and Dad!

47 years ago today I made my grand entrance
into the world.
Thanks Mom and Dad.....
I couldn't have done it without you! ;-)

January 29, 2009

When the going gets tough....

....the tough keep busy!

I've discovered that working with my hands is pretty good therapy. The photo above shows the product of my latest "therapy session." Who knows, by the time Michael's ship returns I might be able to open up my own jewelry and craft store. ;-)

January 15, 2009


Those of you familiar with crafts have probably heard the acronym UFO. In fact, you may have a few floating around your house. For those new to the craft world, UFO stands for Unfinished Objects. For some reason, UFO has a bit of a negative feel to me. I have decided that those wonderful projects in bins and drawers are WIP (Works In Progress). I must admit, I have a few of those at my house.

I wanted to share this WIP with you. Perhaps it will motivate me to put down the books and embroidery for a bit and return to my sewing machine. I have machine pieced many projects, but this is my first attempt at machine quilting. I have all my layers pinned together and ready to go. So far, I have quilted one of the sewing machines. Once I finish with that I will go back and add needles and complete the spools of thread. I'll post it when I'm finished, but please don't hold your breath. I'd hate to see my friends turn blue. ;-)

January 12, 2009

Creative Daughter ~ Proud Mom

My daughter Sara has been artistic for as long as I can remember. She began drawing and painting as a young girl. She has the ability to draw or paint strictly from memory or imagination! I wish I could say the same. I must continually look at the object and have a huge eraser handy. ;-)

This is a photograph of one of her latest creations. There was a glare from my flash, but hopefully you can see the fun textures and rich colors. I love how it turned out. This mixed media style is new to her. For this painting she used acrylics, torn paper, stamps, and metallic pens. I love her choice of colors and the freedom she has to create from her heart. Yep.... that's my girl!

January 10, 2009

Michael has been deployed - along with a piece of my heart!

Graduation from the USNA - May 2007

A few quiet moments with his Sweetheart before leaving yesterday.

To my precious son and close friend:

May this be a time of adventure as you see and experience new places

May the beauty of the setting sun over the ocean take your breath away

May the continual roll of the waves remind you of my constant prayers for you

May you easily recall moments of sheer joy when loneliness sneaks up

May the immense love that I feel for you travel beside you wherever you go

And may God bring you home safely

January 2, 2009

Thanks Paula Deen

Being a native California girl, I used to pass over Paula's Food Network show because her Southern Drawl was a bit distracting. After giving it a chance, I realized that her Georgia (jawja) accent is fun, and her recipes are usually really good. I was looking for an easy dessert recipe to take to a New Year's Day gathering when I happened upon "Paula's Sweet Shop" episode. This recipe immediately caught my eye because it begins with refrigerator crescent rolls. Now that's my idea of easy! Add some cream cheese, sugar, almond extract, nuts....... and voila!

The rolls shown above are filled with the cream cheese mixture, egg washed, topped with nuts, and ready to be popped into the oven. *I didn't have almonds on hand so I substituted chopped pecans.

Once they were done baking, I drizzled them with an almond glaze. They disappeared fairly quickly, so I've decided to save this recipe for future gatherings. The recipe can be found on by searching Paula's Sweet Shop. There are two other recipes from the episode that look pretty delicious too.
Happy Baking Y'all ;-)