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Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Las Posadas at Six Flags Discovery Kingdom

We celebrated Las Posadas, a Hispanic tradition at Discovery Kingdom this last weekend.  We learned the meaning behind this tradition: 
Las Posadas, Spanish for “The Inns,” is a traditional processional event that has roots in Spain and has evolved into a popular Mexican holiday tradition.

¿tiene lugar en la posada para nosotros ? 
Do you have room for us at the Inn?

Las Posadas, ( Spanish: “The Inns”) religious festival celebrated in Mexico between December 16 and 24. Las Posadas commemorates the journey that Joseph and Mary made from Nazareth to Bethlehem in search of a safe refuge where Mary could give birth to the baby Jesus.
The kids were given treat bags at Discovery Kingdom for their destination and we traveled from inn to inn asking for "lodging" in Spanish and given little gifts.  At the end of the travel, we reached the fiesta and there was
mariachi band, as well as sweets treats, chips and salsa and delicious Mexican hot chocolate.  
We are so lucky to live in such a culturally rich area !!!  Six flags has celebrated Chanukah Festival, a day to honor special guests whose lives were affected by the devasting Valley fire, a Santa 5K run, Las Posadas and Holiday at the Park with the tree lighting and music.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Apple Pudding Recipe

Apple Pudding from the Mother of American Thanksgiving

Apple Pudding from the Mother of American Thanksgiving

Sarah Josepha Hale's Apple Pudding

  • 6 very large green apples, peeled, cored and sliced
  • 1 lemon peel, cut into slices
  • 6 oz (2/3 cup) brown sugar
  • 6 eggs, well beaten
  • 1 pint heavy whipping cream
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 2 9-inch uncooked pie crusts or 9-inch round puff pastry crusts
  • Candied lemon peels for garnish (optional)

You will also need

  • 2 ceramic or glass 9-inch pie dishes
Total Time: 90 Minutes
Servings: Makes 2 puddings (about 24 servings)
  • Place the sliced apples into a medium saucepan with 6 tbsp of water and the lemon peel slices. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and cover the pot. Let the apples cook for 25-30 minutes till very soft. Remove the lemon peels from the pot and mash the apples while they’re hot till they are smooth and have the consistency of applesauce.
  • Pour the mashed apples into a mixing bowl and allow to cool. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
  • Stir in the brown sugar, beaten eggs, heavy whipping cream, and lemon juice. Reserve filling.
  • Line 2 pie dishes or pans with the 2 uncooked crusts—I use my All Butter Pie Crust for this dish (recipe can be found on The History Kitchen). Roll the outer edge of the crust over to create a neat ridge at the edge of the pie dish. Scallop the edge, if desired.
  • Pour half of the apple pudding into each crust to make two puddings.
  • To make the crust a lovely golden brown color, whisk together 1 egg yolk with 1 tsp of water. Brush a thin layer of the egg wash onto the visible edge of the pie crust.
  • Place the puddings into the oven and bake for 80-90 minutes, or until the pudding no longer wiggles in the center and is browning in places around the outer edge of the crust. Err on the side of cooking it longer, rather than shorter—if you undercook the pudding, it will turn out quite mushy. If the crust is browning faster than the pudding is baking, cover the outer crust edge with a layer of foil, leaving the pudding exposed in the center.
  • When the pudding is fully cooked, remove it from the oven and allow to cool. Decorate the top of the pudding with candied lemon peels - recipe can be found on
  • Serve the pudding as you would a pumpkin pie, sliced, cold or at room temperature. Keep leftovers refrigerated for 3-4 days.
  • Monday, November 2, 2015

    Swimmer - Good Nutrition

    July 22, 2015 6:23 PM

    Good Nutrition for Swimmers: What to Eat If You Swim

    It’s swim season! Whether you have a child or teen on a swim team, or you’ve joined the Masters class at your local Y, it’s important to learn about good nutrition for swimmers. Making smart choices will help boost performance at practice and meets.

    What do swimmers need? The Aquatic Sports Association advises swimmers eat a diet with “lots of fruit, lots of vegetables, plenty of protein…[and] complex or fibrous carbohydrates.”[1] USA Swimming additionally recommends hydrating with two to three swigs of fluid every 20 minutes.[2] Here’s the lowdown on each recommendation:

    · Hydration: Swimmers are surrounded by water, so it may seem counter-intuitive that they need more, but exercising while wet means you may not notice you’re sweating and losing fluids. Water is the best way to hydrate, so just take a water bottle with you to the pool, and leave it at the end of the lane you’re swimming in so you’ll actually drink from it! Energy drinks may seem like a good idea, but only if you’re swimming for 90 minutes or more. Look at the label and choose carefully; some are little more than sugar water.

    · Fruits: Most fruit is easily digested and makes a good pre-workout or between-races snack. Fruits are also generally high in vitamin C, which means they support immunity, so a summer cold doesn’t keep you out of the water on race day. The following fruits are the quickest to break down: ripe bananas, papayas, plums, nectarines, peaches and melons, including watermelon, honeydew, and cantaloupe.[3]

    · Vegetables: Dr. G. John Mullen, a coach and swimming researcher, recommends swimmers eat more vegetables: “Veggies are the injury prevention of nutrition, as everyone comprehends the importance, but neglects it.”[4] The Aquatic Sports Association recommends eating a wide range of colored vegetables, but particularly green ones like broccoli and cabbage and red ones like beets.

    · Carbohydrates: Swimming expends a lot of energy, and carbohydrates are the body’s go-to source for making more. Complex carbohydrates like whole grains burn more slowly and are healthier fuel than refined carbohydrates like cookies, cakes, or other junk food.

    · Protein: Protein repairs muscle fibers damaged during exercise, promotes muscle growth, and helps young athletes grow. A post-practice snack of hummus on pita or peanut butter on banana or apple slices can help aid recovery.

    Tips for Competitive Swimmers
    · Avoid new foods right before a competition in case they don’t agree with you.
    · If you feel too nervous to eat before a meet, try Juice Plus+ Complete, a whole-food based beverage mix that provides balanced nutrition in every scoop.
    · Have healthy, on-the-go snacks handy if you need to eat on the way to practice. Good choices include fresh or dried fruit, fresh raw veggies like carrot sticks, and Juice Plus+ Complete nutrition bars, featuring fruits and wholesome grains.
    · Try eating small, frequent meals to keep your blood sugar steady. This may especially help teen swimmers, who are expending a lot of calories during a period of rapid growth, avoid unhealthy snacks when hunger strikes.
    · Eat a small meal or snack 1-2 hours before training. Fruit, vegetables, and Juice Plus+ Complete beverage mixes and nutrition bars are good choices.
    · Refuel with carbohydrates and protein within 30 minutes of a workout.

    [1] Introducing a healthy diet: fruit and vegetables. MySwimFit. British Swimming and the ASA. 2015.
    [2] Caste J. How to stay hydrated during practice. USA Swimming. August 13, 2013.
    [3] Kerns M. A list of the easiest vegetables and fruits to digest. Livestrong. April 19, 2015.
    [4] Mullen JG. Science of performance: swimming nutritional program. Swimming World. 2012 Nov 27.

    Thursday, September 3, 2015

    15 year passing-Anniversary of My Father

    Passing of loved ones has become part of my life.  Today, September 3, 2015 marks the 15th year anniversary of my Father's passing in 2000. 

    My parents divorced when I was going into 6th grade, 11 years old.  I know that I loved my Dad, but I was happy when my parents divorced.  My Dad was what I hear now-a-days referred to as the "absentee parent".   My Mom pretty much did it all with us and for us.   I really wish things were different with our relationship, but it really never was. 

    There were some memories that I have of him that I think of fondly.  We had a very very large backyard and we had a little tiny walnut tree in the back where my Dad had a garden and then fenced in an area around the walnut tree and we raised a pig named "Charlie" and he also had an old bathtub that was filled with dirt and everyone in the neighborhood brought over there vegetable scraps to put in the worm tub and then they got worms from him to go fishing.  I guess this was a lesson of composting for me when I was young.  He also canned some great pickles that I wish I could get the recipe from his wife.  And then we went every year to Del Mar Race Track for family vacation which consisted of him at the races and us with my Mom at the pools or around San Diego.  Santa Anita Race track was another place.  And always a drink in the hand.  So mixed reviews on the memories.

    I will say, that when my son became about 8 years old, he loved my Dad, and I feel that he was a good grandparent to Matthew.  I am sorry that my Dad did suffer through a heart attack and then cancer and that was extremely difficult for him.   He passed away at a young age too.  Rest in Peace Dad....8/1/1942 - 9/3/2000.  He was 58 years old and today would be 73 years old.      

    My family when I was about 7 years old

    My Dad & his brother

    Wednesday, September 2, 2015

    Dump Day a Success in Vallejo, CA

    Successful Dump Day in Vallejo, CA

    Shawn Brewer, right, with Labor Ready, helps Vallejo resident Jaime Hernandez empty the contents of his truck bed into a dumpster during Saturday’s ‘Dump Day’ behind the Vallejo City Hall. MIKE JORY — VALLEJO TIMES-HERALD

    By Dianne de Guzman, Vallejo Times-Herald

    Cars and trucks sit in a line from Georgia Street to Florida Street along Mare Island Way, part of the hundreds of Vallejoans who waited in the blocks around Vallejo’s City Hall on Saturday to take advantage of the city’s free ‘Dump Day’ at City Hall. MIKE JORY — VALLEJO TIMES-HERALD   The line of cars stretched for blocks on Saturday morning, lined up from the parking lot of City Hall on Santa Clara Street, heading northward to Florida Street and then from Mare Island Way to Georgia Street.
    A huge number of residents driving pickup trucks, some U-Haul vans and even a few sedans were packed to the brim waited for the chance to drop off the items that have crowded their Vallejo garages, bedrooms, yards and more.
    Dump Day had officially begun.
    Residents endured what officials estimated was nearly a two-hour wait to leave their trash in city dumpsters, free of charge.

    Sorted into different categories, cars were directed through the City Hall parking lot, dropping off e-waste such as computers, old tube televisions and vacuums, or tires and furniture items, to general trash.

    Jeff Kruljac, operations supervisor at Recology, said that when workers first arrived at City Hall at 6:30 a.m. to set up dumpsters, at least 20 residents were waiting to get a jump on the line.

    When asked at noon how many residents had come through — with only an hour left before the end time for Dump Day — Kruljac was at a loss.

    “I can’t even begin to tell you,” Kruljac said from the head of the line of cars. “It’s been a constant stream since we opened up the gates at 8 o’clock. This line has not stopped.”
    Kruljac said that four hours into the event, organizers had hauled at least 15 dumpsters full of trash by his estimate, saying the goal was to “get ‘em in, load ‘em up and move ‘em on.” Mattresses and tires were two items that the company had received a number of and Kruljack said that they had hauled away five or six trucks each, of both items.
    According to Vallejo’s recycling coordinator, Derek Crutchfield, by his estimates about 600 participants had come through the City Hall parking lot at noon — with plenty more lined up to drop off items. To deal with the volume of cars, organizers said they would cut the line of residents off at 1 p.m. and allow everyone already in line to continue to leave their items.
    Due to an unclear report from the Times-Herald, a number of residents had left several trash items at City Hall just a week before, totalling 14,000 pounds of trash that were hauled away by city and Recology workers. In spite of that event, Crutchfield said that he was not expecting a crowd of this size on Saturday.
    “I didn’t expect this at all,” Crutchfield said of the line of cars. “This is way more than I anticipated. I thought it would be busy and I anticipated it maybe going up the street, but I didn’t anticipate it looping back around (to Mare Island Way).”
    Although those in the line suggested that Dump Day should be a monthly event, Crutchfield said that he hoped to hold another event like this soon. Addressing the wait times, Crutchfield said that while he was pleased with the turnout, there is room for improvement.
    “We’ll just try to do it again in the fall,” Crutchfield said. “This will help us to plan better for the next event and hopefully we’ll get better at it.”
    With the large amount of trash generated by Dump Day, the upside was that the trash collected would not be illegally dumped on the streets of Vallejo.
    A group of 12 men from House of Acts, a substance abuse treatment program in Vallejo, were on hand to help residents load items off their trucks and into dumpsters. Jose Madrigal was part of that group, saying that their workforce program directly deals with illegal dumping and that they’re the ones who wind up picking up items left around Vallejo. Madrigal said it felt good that the city was collecting all this trash.
    “...This helps for people doing illegal dumping,” Madrigal said. “A lot of times, like the alleyways that we clean, a lot of people do that: They throw all their stuff in the alley. It’s cool that they’re doing this because it brings (illegal dumping) down a lot.”

    Friday, August 21, 2015

    Olympian Jason Lezak stops by Cunningham Pool

    Olympic gold medalist Jason Lezak

    Olympian Jason Lezak stops by Cunningham Pool

    Two years after retiring from a stellar swimming career, Olympic champion Jason Lezak is hoping to inspire younger swimmers to follow in his footsteps.

    The eight-time Olympic medalist, referred to by many as “The Anchor,” decided to make port in Vallejo on Thursday to give dozens of young swimmers at Cunningham Pool autographs, photo opportunities and swimming pointers.

    “I blocked about a week of time this summer to head up to Northern California and just see if teams or people wanted some help,” Lezak said. “I get a big mix of kids at this one and I get to share stories and teach them a few things. I made a lot of mistakes early in my swimming career and when I look back sometimes, I say to myself that I wish I would have done this, or I wish I would have done that. There are some kids here that are really serious about swimming but there are also a lot that are just having a good time.”

    Lezak won eight medals, including four gold medals in his career that saw him compete in the 2000, 2004, 2008 and 2012 Olympic games. He also owns long-course world records in the 400-meter freestyle and medley relays. He may be known more than anything for his role in the 2008 Olympics in Beijing where in the final 25 meters of the 4-by-100 relay race he came from behind France’s Alain Bernard to win the race for the United States and give teammate Michael Phelps his record-breaking eighth gold medal in one Olympic games.

    Dylan Powell, who lives in Vallejo and swam at Diablo Valley College, was 12 when Lezak starred in the 2008 games. On Thursday the 19-year-old Powell was thrilled to finally meet his idol.

    “I remember watching his amazing, perfect swim in 2008 and it was like a dream finally coming true to finally meet him,” Powell said. “When I walked on deck I thought I was going to pass out. I was like, ‘Here is the guy. Here is the guy I’ve looked up to and he’s seven feet in front of me.’ So it felt great to finally shake his hand.”

    Powell would be part of one of Lezak’s demonstrations in the pool as the Olympian discussed how to perform a perfect streamline. A streamline form is used at the start of a race to help create the least amount of resistance to help the swimmer propel as far as they can.

    Powell and Lezak had a competition to see who could streamline the furthest. The crowd of swimmers cheered as Powell matched Lezak’s distance.

    “I was just honored to be in (Lezak’s) presence,” Powell said. “I was extremely nervous and just wanted to make sure I didn’t slip on the block and do a complete belly-flop into the pool. I just focused on doing my dive right so I could make him proud.”

    Vallejo’s Charity Donato, 11, was also thrilled to meet Lezak.

    “He was really inspiring and he talked a lot about the Olympics,” Donato said. “I was really happy to meet him and it was cool to be wearing the actual gold medal he won when I had my picture taken with him. I had a bag, a swim cap and a shirt autographed by him.”

    The 39-year-old Lezak said the decision to retire in 2013 was not a difficult one.

    “The number one thing is my body felt ready to be done,” Lezak said, with a laugh. “Although, since I retired it’s nice because I get to do things like this a lot more often. Sometimes when I was training I wasn’t able to help kids at clinics like this as much as I wanted.”

    Lezak also stressed that the most important thing to do while swimming was to have a good time.

    “For a lot of the young kids they are here just to have fun,” Lezak said. “At the same time I see some of these young kids and you can see the look in their face and it’s the same one I had. The main focus is to try and keep this about being fun.”
     Olympic gold medalist Jason Lezak, facing, center, talks about ‘streamlining’ while visiting a Vallejo Aquatics Club practice last week at Cunningham Pool in Vallejo. MIKE JORY — VALLEJO TIMES-HERALD

    MIKE JORY — VALLEJO TIMES-HERALD Retired Olympic swimmer Jason Lezak signs the back of a Vallejo Aquatics Club member during a visit to Cunningham Pool last week.

    Tuesday, August 4, 2015

    Six Flags Discovery Kingdom's Farewell to Roar

    Six Flags Discovery Kingdom's Farewell to Roar - An All Day Party!

    ROAR is closing for good and we're having a goodbye party to honor this wooden coaster classic.
    On Sunday, August 16 in celebration of National Roller Coaster Day, visit the park and ride ROAR one last time!
    As a special treat, we're having an All-Day Farewell Party in the area between ROAR and Superman Ultimate Flight from noon to 6 p.m. Here, you can enjoy music, purchase delicious BBQ and be eligible for prize giveaways throughout the day.As part of the party, and be on hand to sample Coke Zero! And of course, you'll also want to ride ROAR now thru Aug 16th!

    Season Pass holders, be sure to ride Roar during a special Exclusive Ride Time on Saturday and Sunday, August 16 from 9:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. Just flash your Season Pass to ride!

    Roar is closing to make room for future expansion. The ride opened in May 1999 and since that time, more than 11 million guests have experienced and enjoyed Roar. Thank you to all of Roar's fans for giving it a good run!

    Habit #4: Take Care of Your Body - Day #7

    Your body is simply the vehicle for experience – and as we all know how important it is to maintain our cars, bicycles or other mechanical vehicles, the analogy can be extended to caring for your biological vehicle. Keeping your body in top physical/physiological form will assist you in growing through the grieving process.
    Take control of your physical well-being by doing what you can every day: eat regular meals, full of nutritious foods; and limit junk food.
    Get enough sleep, even if that means taking naps during the day – but beware of too much sleep. Sinking into the sofa to sleep the day away is a sure sign of depression.
    Watch out for “creeping addictions”: alcohol and drugs (illicit or prescribed; even over-the-counter medications) will only delay grieving, and make it a more difficult process all together.
    Exercise regularly. Even just a walk around the block, on a regular basis, can help to restore your mental and physical well-being.

    Quotation for the Day

    "Pain (any pain--emotional, physical, and mental) has a message. The information it has about our life can be remarkably specific, but it usually falls into one of two categories: 'We would be more alive if we did more of this,' and, 'Life would be more lovely if we did less of that.' Once we get the pain's message, and follow its advice, the pain goes away." ~Peter McWilliams

    Habit #3: Relieve Your Anger - Day #6

    When I was growing up, I was taught that anger wasn’t “ladylike”, and as I watched my mother swallow her anger with every sip of vodka she took, I knew that way of living was self-destructive.

    As you work toward restoring your life after loss, recognize the power of anger for self-destruction – and harness it for growth instead. How? By recognizing that it’s okay to be angry – it’s a healthy human emotion that (when accepted and expressed) enables you to heal. Deal with it in constructive ways – discharging its energy in the following ways.

    Quotation for the Day

    "God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference."~ Reinhold Niebuhr

    Habit #2: Be Positive - Day #5

    I know that “being positive” feels almost like an impossibility – and I’m sure you’re wondering how you can possibly do that when you are grieving deeply.

    However, as we plan our daily activities, even the simplest one, it’s possible to put a more desirable, or “positive”, spin. That brighter outlook, that positivity expands in a positive direction – leading more swiftly to increased joy and recovery from loss.

    Quotation for the Day
    "What happened yesterday is history. What happens tomorrow is a mystery. What we do today makes a difference - the precious present moment." ~ Nick Saban

    Habit #1: Be Kind to Yourself - Day #4

    The first of the habits we’re going to cultivate is often ‘easier said than done’.

    Be Kind to Your Self

    Many things keep you stuck in a place I like to call “self-bashing”. While you’re grieving the feelings of guilt and anger are especially powerful – they can send you into a tail-spin of blame and self-criticism. The physical effects of grief, such as sleeplessness, lack of hunger, and depression can bring you into that dark place too, where you feel it’s appropriate to be less than kind to your Self.

    Quotation for the Day

    "Self-care means honoring and respecting the miraculous being that you are. Self-care means learning to listen with the ear of a dedicated mother to your physical, emotional, and spiritual needs, and then taking full responsibility for getting them met. Self-care means taking 100% responsibility for creating an environment that nurtures your physical, emotional and spiritual selves." ~ Carl Benedict

    Habits for Good Health during This Time - Day #3

    There are many things you can do to make your grieving harder. Not acknowledging the facts, not getting enough sleep, not eating well…not crying when you need to.

    But what can you do to make it easier? In this, and the next 5 messages, I’m going to be asking you to do those things that I label “self-care” activities, and journaling as you do so. You’re going to be making these activities into habits – things you do without thinking, like breathing

    What are the activities comprising “self-care”?
    1. Be Kind to Yourself

    2. Be Positive

    3. Relieve Your Anger

    4. Take Care of Your Body

    5. Record Your Thoughts as You Recover

    You’re already doing number 5 – or at least I hope you are! I’d like you to carry your journal (or a mini-journal/notebook) with you when you go out. So many places will trigger memories that your journal will become your best ally in the coming months.
    Why not start by thinking and writing about self-care? What does it mean to you? Can you see your own worthiness – and the importance of nurturing your Self while you grieve?
    Suffering a loss is traumatic and often renders us “speechless”; lost in emotions. Take just five minutes today, if that’s all you can manage, and write a sentence or two about how you’re feeling, and how you’d like to feel.

    Quotation for the Day
    "I define comfort as self-acceptance. When we finally learn that self-care begins and ends with ourselves, we no longer demand sustenance and happiness from others." ~Jennifer Louden ed

    Cecil the lion's death

    Lisa – In the wake of Cecil the lion's death, Delta Air Lines and United Airlines announced they would no longer allow the shipment of hunting trophies on their planes. South African Airways is now one of the only global airlines that allows the transport of hunting trophies. Add your signature to the petition below that calls on South African Airways to follow these other global airlines and establish a ban on trophy hunting transport.

    Sign Petition
    Petitioning South African Airways

    Tell South African Airways to stop shipping slaughtered wildlife trophies
    Endangered African animals such as the rhino, elephant, leopard, and lions are being hunted and poached to extinction. As the national carrier, South African Airways has a moral obligation to safeguard these precious animals, but it recently went back on its commitment to ban transport of these trophy animals. Please sign my petition asking South African Airways to stop supporting wildlife slaughter by trophy hunters.
    After Cecil the lion was killed in Zimbabwe, many airlines including Delta woke up and realized it's bad business and poor conservation policy to support the slaughter of some of the most incredible wild animals on the planet -- Delta, United, Virgin, British Airways, Emirates, and many other airlines now have global bans on transport of the Big 5 (lion, leopard, elephant, rhinoceros, buffalo).
    As someone with a passion for wildlife photography and who lives in South Africa, I can tell you photography tourism brings more income to the lodges, its surrounding communities, and South African Airways, as the same animals are being photographed, over and over again. Wealthy trophy hunters are exploiting Africa's animals in a cruel, shameful way!
    Once an animal is dead, it's gone. One by one they will disappear if the hunting continues, and South African Airways is enabling trophy hunters to slaughter these animals despite global criticism.
    Other airlines have listened to customers. We can make this change if we work together to show South African Airways it's bad business to ship slaughtered wildlife.
    Please sign my petition asking South African Airways to join other airlines who commit to stop transporting these animals gruesomely killed for fun.

    My Advisor, My Companion - Day #2

    My Advisor, My Companion - Day #2

    ""Grief is still my advisor; sometimes it is a friend and reminds me of my humble place in the universe; opening life to the mysterious gifts of awe and gratitude. At other times it casts me down and turns my heart of stone."" -Beth Witrogen McLeod, Caregiving: the Spiritual Journey of Love, Loss and Renewal, Wiley &Sons, 1999.

    Right now, your constant companion is grief – a collection of feelings, as well as the physical and psychological effects of loss. This is not the time in the process to try to push that companion away; rather it is time to embrace it. Sit with it, accept it. One day, you’ll part company, I promise; but not right now.

    Grief, for now, is your teacher, your mentor – offering you a way to be more present in the world each and every day of your life. Let’s take some time to visualize grief: what does this companion look like to you?


    Buy some colored pencils or markers, if you don’t already have some. Then, open your journal/notebook, and draw a picture of your grief. We’ll return to this exercise at various points throughout the cycle – and I think you’ll be surprised at the changes your companion goes through.

    If you’re uncomfortable drawing, then find a magazine, and cut out pictures that define “grief” for you. One of my clients cut out pictures of a large, heavy stone, a human heart, and a child crying. Pretty descriptive, huh?

    See what images you come up with – play with the exercise throughout the day. Get creative. Focus on this activity, and it will help you to spend time going “within”.

    Then, rest; sleep is a fine way to heal the mind, body and spirit. Until tomorrow, I send you love.


    Grief is a Five-Letter Word - Day #1

    Daily Email Affirmations

    by Passalacqua Funeral Chapel
    Grief is a Five-Letter Word - Day # 1

    Loss is everywhere, sprinkled throughout our lives, from childhood into old age. Some losses are shrugged off without much thought or acknowledgement – others are managed, navigated and quickly set aside, but others are so big we can’t ignore them. They lay us on the floor with sorrow, and the grieving process takes hold of us completely.

    Recognizing the actual regularity of loss, and the proven ability you have to work through loss and move forward with your life allows you to take control of your daily experience. You are the creator of your own experience. These emails will help you to work through grief, and come out the other side a stronger, more complete person. Each message will offer an action, an activity to help you put things in perspective, honor your place in the process, or care for your body and mind in some other way. It is our goal to help you “push the clouds away”, a bit at a time. Activity: Get a pad of paper, a blank journal, or simply a notebook. (I’ve found that writing in a beautiful journal can be inspiring – but some people would rather use an inexpensive notebook.)Buy a pen you love to use – something that writes smoothly and effortlessly. It’s time to start chronicling your experiences. One reason grief disrupts so many aspects of your life is because your loss is not isolated – now is the time to reflect on the other losses in your life. In so doing, each will become an opportunity to experience grief, and release it.

    List all the beings (animal companions, childhood friends, lovers, or partners) and all the places you’ve lost. Take a moment to honor each loss, perhaps closing the ritual by lighting a candle – a time-honored action of reverence. Here’s an example list from my own life:

    1. My first cat, Beethoven

    2. My childhood home

    3. My first dog, B-B (short for “Beast”, a teacup Poodle!)

    4. My marriage

    5. My husband

    6. My favorite teaching job

    7. My mother and father (one dead and the other estranged)
    You get the idea, right?

    What you’ll learn from this exercise is the recognition of your resiliency – you are strong, and you will survive this latest loss. Embrace the process, don’t resist it.

    My List:
    1)  My childhood cat, Alley Oop
    2)  My first pet as an adult, my cockerspaniel, Misty
    3)  My childhood neighborhood, Blackwood Street, La Puente, CA
    4)  My neighbors, Patty & Marcella
    5)  My Dad, Dave....first to divorce & then to passing.
    6)  My Mom, Carol
    7)  My husband, Mike, to divorce
    8)  My stepdad, Joe
    9)  Nanny Arlene
    10)  Corey, my boyfriend and daughter's father.

    Monday, August 3, 2015

    Rocky Fire

    Thousands of people were ordered out of their homes early Monday after wind-whipped wildfires burned dozens of buildings across northern California.
    Described as "unprecedented" by authorities, the largest blaze — which is known as the Rocky Fire — tore across the Lower Lake area north of San Francisco. It almost tripled in size to 84 square miles over the weekend.
    A firefighter monitors a burn operation to head off the Rocky Fire on Sunday near Clearlake, California. Justin Sullivan / Getty Images
    The scale of the blaze has prompted officials to order 12,000 people to evacuate their homes, according to The Sacramento Bee newspaper. Several roads were also closed.
    The fire has already destroyed 24 homes and 26 outbuildings and was threatening 6,300 homes, officials said.
    Photo Gallery: Rocky Fire Blazes Through California

    "It's jaw-dropping to see some of the things it is doing," California state fire spokesman Jason Shanley told the newspaper.
    Many of the California fires were sparked by lightning and the danger was expected to continue as the National Weather Service issued a Red Flag warning for Modoc County on Monday. A separate blaze the known as the Frog Fire continues to burn in that area.
    Officials urge "extreme caution" during Red Flag warnings "because a simple spark can cause a major wildfire."
    U.S. Forest Service Firefighter Dave Ruhl died in the fire around 100 miles south of the Oregon border on Saturday. Four others were burned in a fire near Sacramento.

    An air tanker drops fire retardant to keep the Rocky Fire from jumping Highway 20 near Clearlake, California, on Sunday. NOAH BERGER / EPA Image: Burn operation near Clearlake, CaliforniaImage: An air tanker near Clearlake, California

    California Wildfires - Rocky Fire
    I never thought about where firefighters slept when they are our fighting these enormous wildfires in California, until a firefighter friend posted a picture showing where he was sleeping while out on the Rocky Fire in Clear Lake, CA.   STAY SAFE CHARLES and all of the other firefighters !!
    from Charles "This is where Im sleeping tonight. The good old air conditioned sardine can"

    'This is where Im sleeping tonight. The good old air conditioned sardine can.'
    Here is an inside shot I found

    Friday, July 31, 2015

    Maynard E. Spurgeon Obituary

    Obituary for Maynard E. Spurgeon

    Maynard E.Spurgeon, 51, died peacefully with his family at his side as he took his Screamin' Eagle to the sky. He lived most of his life in Benicia.

    He worked as a mechanic for over 35 years, working for Ford, the last seven years working for the Stevedoring Services of American berth 58 at the Port of Oakland. He was a member of Machinists Local 1414.
    His interests included riding his Harley, building his Cobra car, fishing, hunting, traveling, golfing, concerts, Raiders games, and partying with his many friends and family. He inspired others how to enjoy the best of life.
    Maynard is survived by his beautiful wife Kim Spurgeon; father Jim Spurgeon; mother Sharon (Chuck) Lutz; and Aunt Betty Spurgeon; son James Spurgeon; daughter Elizabeth (Nathan) Springer; brothers Don and Carl Spurgeon; his brother Carl's wife, Marcella Mia Spurgeon, who he referred to as his sister; and Shannon Evans.

    His grandchildren Ariana, Ashlyn, Nathan Jr., Alison Springer; and Isabella Neely. His nieces and nephews: Justine and Adam Spurgeon; Josh Evans; Matthew Evans and Alexis Gentry.
    He was preceded in death by his grandparents John "Maynard" and Edith Cook, and his brother Shane Evans.
    Memorial services will be held August 10, 2015 at 6pm, Passalacqua Funeral Chapel in Benicia.

    Kids learn and compete in Vallejo healthy cooking competition

    2015 Jr. Chef Challenge - Vallejo, CA

    Team captain Olivia Jones samples the homemade salad dressing of young chef Benjamin Ceryes, left, as the team from Mare Island Health and Fitness Academy competes in Saturday’s 2015 Jr. Chef Challenge at the Norman C. King Community Center in Vallejo. MIKE JORY – VALLEJO TIMES-HERALD

    Elsa Widenmann Elementary School teammates Bianca Verdin, left, and Lesly Contreras, each 10, show their knife skills slicing melon and potatoes during Saturday’s 2015 Jr. Chef Challenge at the Norman C. King Community Center in Vallejo. Student teams from three Vallejo schools and two Fairfield schools showed off their culinary skills and cooking abilities in the event, sponsored by Kaiser Permanente, the American Heart Association and the American Stroke Association. MIKE JORY – VALLEJO TIMES-HERALD

    Kids learn and compete in Vallejo healthy cooking competition

    Learning to cook and eat healthy brought some 32 students to the Norman King Community Center in Vallejo to compete in the 2015 Jr. Chef Challenge. It was the third time the event’s been held in Vallejo, organizer Vicki Williams said.

    Students of the Kids/Teens Cook with Heart program have been working toward Saturday’s event for weeks, organizers said.

    Audience members and team members alike seemed to be excited about the challenge, which included participants age 10 to 18 10 competing in five rounds of meal preparation, said Williams, who is with the American Heart Association, which, along with Kaiser Permanente, sponsors the event.

    “The first round is knife cuts — how to safely cut veggies and fruits,” Williams said. “The second round is appetizers, in this case salad with dressing. The third round is about etiquette, the fourth is culinary questions and answers and the fifth is an entre.”
    Contestants were from Vallejo’s Loma Vista, Mare Island and Elsa Widenmann elementary schools, David A. Weir Elementary School and the Matt Garcia Learning Center in Fairfield.
    The winner is selected by three judges, based on a combination of all parts of the competition. Loma Vista Elementary School went on to take the victory, and with it tickets to Six Flags Discovery Kingdom. As the winning school, Loma Vista gets to keep the trophy for a year.

    Williams said she founded the challenge in 2011 through the Napa/Solano area of Kaiser, as part of an effort to fight childhood obesity.
    “It seems to be making a difference,” she said. “Based on a survey, more people seem to be eating more vegetables and drinking less sugary drinks, and being more conscious of what they’re putting in their bodies.”
    The hope is to make eating healthy more easily accessible, she said.
    “There’s a perception that to eat healthy is expensive,” Williams said.

    Led by working chefs like San Francisco chef Robert Edward of Oakland, event participants learned about what ingredients can be used to make food tasty yet healthy — a message that seemed to be getting through on Saturday.

    “I think it’s great,” said 11-year-old fifth-grader Marshalinn Louis, who said she was at Saturday’s event to cheer on her defending champion Widenmann classmates. “I want to do the cooking next time.”
    The aunt of one of the contestants said what her niece has learned is helping the whole family, which is precisely the point.

    “My niece has been working so hard, and to see her develop and blossom, it’s been so nice,” said Vallejo resident Hollie Harsh. “She’s learning how to cook, in healthy ways, and it’s real good.”
    Call Rachel Raskin-Zrihen at 707-553-6824

    By Rachel Raskin-Zrihen, Vallejo Times-Herald

    Posted: 04/25/15, 7:11 PM PDT
    Updated: on 04/25/2015

    Jeffrey A. "Jeff" Forney Obituary

    Jeffrey A. "Jeff" Forney

    Past away December 28, 2008 with his loving family by his side. He died due to complications following three brain surgeries at the age of 40.

    Survived by loving friend Kim Neely. Devoted son of Audrey and the late (Robert) Wheeler of Penngrove, Bill Forney (Linda) of Healdsburg. Cherished brother of Clinton Forney (Dana) and Andrea Proulx (Albert) all of Penngrove. Adored uncle of Ben, Matt, and Grace Forney and Lucas and Payton Proulx. Beloved grandson of Luella and the late Carl Hadermann. He was also the grandson of Carl's first wife the late Bernice Hadermann. Beloved grandson of the late Lee and Elsie Forney. Survived by numerous aunts, uncles, cousins, and friends.

    He graduated from Petaluma High School where he was very active in the Future Farmers of America and achieved the California State Farmer Award and various other achievements. Jeff became a partner of Electrical Equipment Company (EEC) and was a master at his craft in the electrical engineering field and well respected by all. In later years he donated his time by judging the agriculture mechanic projects at the local fairs and events.

    Jeff had a lively spirit and enjoyed hobbies which included dancing, playing cards, sports, gardening, cooking, abalone diving, skiing, boating and wakeboarding. He was also an avid outdoorsman who loved hunting and fishing and especially loved his family and many friends. Jeff's approachable personality, hard working attitude and trademark laugh enabled him to gain the love and respect of everyone he came in contact with.

    Friends and family are invited to attend the Funeral Service, Saturday, January 3, 2009 at 11:00 a.m. at Herzog Hall, 175 Fairgrounds Drive, Petaluma, CA. A Visitation will be held on Friday, January 2, 2009 from 3:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. at the PARENT-SORENSEN MORTUARY & CREMATORY, 850 Keokuk St., Petaluma, CA (763-4131). In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to Petaluma FFA, c/o Petaluma High School, 201 Fair St., Petaluma, CA 94952; 4-H Foundation of Sonoma County, P.O. Box 1283, Rohnert Park, CA 94927, or your favorite charity. Private Interment: Cypress Hill Memorial Park, Petaluma, CA. .Published Online in the Press Democrat from Dec. 30, 2008 to Jan. 1, 2009