California Dreamin’ – Pt 2

Sunday afternoon was spent leisurely walking along the bay. We ventured over to Hyde Street Pier to look at some of the historic ships.

The history of this city is presented every where you look. The buildings, the boats, the trolleys (which I did not get to ride!), the homes…just every where.

The smell of the bay – it’s pretty much the same smell as on the East Coast. No surprise there! Fish, fish, and umm, more fish!

KODAK Digital Still Camera           Ok – so this is a seal..

The houses aren’t cookie cutters in styles or colors, but they all fit perfectly together along the strip.

The youngest teen stopped in his tracks when he saw the first of a few outdoor workout areas. The concept is pretty cool – but to see people working out, some of those positions are not necessarily outdoor worthy views…if you get what I mean…wish I had a brain scrubber right about now…

We made our way over to a marina where we rested on a bench, watching the boats and seals in the water. A feathered friend decided to join us before the boys decided to play in the grass while we waited for our ride…we used Uber the entire time we were in the city and it was WONDERFUL!!


Life is good!!  ~MJ

California – What a Trip! – Pt. 1

We spent a week in California. And what a week it was!

We split our trip in half – sort of. Three days along the West Coast and the remainder of the week in the California Sierra Nevada Mountain Range, among the rolling hills.

Angels Camp is a beautiful, small town with much to offer visitors. Nestled among the rolling hills in Calaveras County, this tiny town was made famous from many successful gold mines as well as by Mark Twain’s The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County.

But I’m getting ahead of myself…and this will *have* to be a multi-poster. I mean, how can I just haze over some of the most amazing sights that were seen by a couple of East-Coasters?

We left from Louisville, KY for Chicago, IL before heading west. This trip was the first time the 14 year old flew – and the first in over 25 years my husband stepped on a plane. The flight to San Francisco was educational as we were handed Coke cans in Chinese…I think…even the waitress wasn’t sure.

We flew over some pretty landscapes – even boring Interstate 80 looked pretty from above.

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Our first stop – Lombardi Street. The world’s crookedest street. I thought this street was a few blocks, but thankfully, the crooked portion was only one block. We took Uber to the top of the block and walked down.

From the top of the block, you can see the houses over looking the bay. The colorful hydrangeas planted along the block add beauty to the street.Since one photo doesn’t do justice to the street, I took a few…one of which captured my son walking down behind me – the kid flew in from Salt Lake City in the wee hours of the morning only to go on a trek of the city shortly after breakfast. Yup – we love him to pieces!

From Lombardi Street, we ventured over to the San Francisco Bay. I love history, and seeing Alcatraz in person was another highlight for me. I saw it safely from the pier instead of traveling and dealing with crowds – I do not do large crowds. *shutters at the thought*

We visited the shops and sights of Fisherman’s Wharf along Pier 39. We watched the infamous Sea Lion’s lay claim to their pack of piers.The Sea Lion’s have a fair amount of piers they have taken as their own, to bask in the sun and lounge on one another.

Coit Tower was fascinating to see after watching a movie where the family met there if they got separated, not to mention a point of interest for visitors in Telegraph Hill. The top of the tower resembles that of a fire hose, though that was not the intention of the architect. Instead, it was a tower built in honor of the lady who left money “for the purpose of adding to the beauty of the city I have always loved” in a bequest upon her death in 1929. The tower offers a 360 degree view of the city. We didn’t make it to the tower, but we were able to see it throughout the day.

Now for the food – who goes to a new city in a never-before-visited state and not eat the food?! 20160605_12150420160605_121508

Blackened cod and fish and chips – served in a metal pail! Ha! I do have to add a little tid-bit about the bathroom – it was an “open concept” type…you walked in to a large area with double sinks in the middle of two sets of stalls. Two on each side. <whispers> they were not marked specifically “men” and “women”. It was a little unsettling until it was realized that people knew which side was which…thank goodness for locals!



I have been studying for a mega four-hour long test. I was well equipped with snacks, light saber bubbles, and NERF guns to help relieve stress, anxieties, and the munchies. Thanks to a couple co-workers.


After a few hours of studying – and I may or may not have pulled out some hair – I casually looked over and there laid the newest member of the family – Bristow. Sound asleep. Figures. I’m stressing and the cat that is to help calm our nerves is sound asleep.

20160528_123154      Some study buddy he turned out to be!

…test has been taken – but I have to wait 90 days for the results! Now THAT is stressful!!

Coaster Loop of Life

Darn thoseeyesclosed blinking eyes! The family was shrinking as everyone was moving out and now it’s growing again.

The oldest is married and in her new home, while working full time at the hospital and juggling two step daughters.

The second is out in Utah for college and driving us crazy with the “should I stay or should I go?” mentality. Why? Just why?!

The youngest – thankfully! – is only in 8th grade and has a rosy view of the world. He sings and smiles and looks to the positive. But then I am sure all that will change within the next year as he settles into his freshman year and starts his high school career.

The parental units have retired and are 95% moved into their side of the house. Sure, they have to travel back to Jersey for appointments and finishing up minor details here and there. But they will be returning before the winter months are upon us…At least that’s what they say. I sure hope so because I have a 50th Anniversary party that is in the planning stages and they are required to be there – since it is for them.

No one said life would be easy. No one said life would be fair. Do you know what No One Else failed to mention? That at some point you will be pulling out your hair because rollercoaster-loop-11989493between the kids and the parents, sometimes this roller coaster of life throws a loop and then lets you hang upside down. Just for a moment…or two…perhaps they forgot to turn the coaster back on…but wait – there’s someone now…oh never mind, they turned away…


That’s what life feels like at times. But we all know in the end, it’s worth it. Right?

So where does that leave me? I have added two additional titles to my name: mother-in-law and grandma. I can live with that. Being a grandma is interesting enough. Wait until my daughter has one of her own – then it’ll hit a different way. Simply because it means I really am old enough to be someone’s grandma.

Life is good all around. Thankfully, the coaster was started again and we are about to crest the next hill. hillview




College? Already? Are you sure you have the right child? He isn’t 18 yet…is he? Baseball    This sweet little boy will be leaving for his new home in just under two weeks. Love Laughter Life  He was only 10 last week, I’m sure of it. Playing with his younger brother at the park or trying to get Dad with waterfight the Super Soaker! Who told him he could grow up?

I don’t remember giving him permission.

And yet he grew. He is taller. He is smarter. He is older! 

1038 Shock has slowly turned to acceptance…but that doesn’t mean I have to like it.

I’m still not sure where the time went or when he grew up, but I am proud of the young man he is becoming. He is smart and knows what he wants. He set his expectations high and has a plan to make his dreams a reality. Salt Lake City is not around the corner, but it’s a beautiful city to visit and this tall green-eyed boy is worth every mile driven on the road to get there. He will do great at Neumont University. He will do great PERIOD.

Super Mattneumont university flag

March Madness

No, I am not referring to college basketball. More like the crazy snow storm that blasted it’s way from the South through the Mid-West to the shoreline of the East Coast. 

My siblings and I swap morning messages with our mom every day – usually it’s a few words of kindness.

This morning, however, instead of words, we shared our morning views…


From DFW Texas to the New Jersey shore…

And Southern Indiana….don’t think it skipped any of the family. 

But the scenary is pretty!