Friday, June 26, 2009


Happy people are beautiful. If somebody walks in the room and they're drop-dead gorgeous, they're fun to look at. But if someone is giving of their spirit and they make you laugh and feel good, that's a whole other level of beauty.

Drew Barrymore
1975 -

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Happy Father's Day!

This is a poem Stan wrote many years ago when our boys were little. I thought it appropriate to post it on Father's Day .....

by Stan Mullis

Once I thought that life was boring
Mostly it just left me snoring
Till one day the whole world changed
And now my life's been rearranged

First there was one, now there's two
Who knows what a third might do?
But my days are full of boundless joys
Thanks to the help of two little boys

Both are up at the crack of dawn
Running and playin while I just yawn
Wanting to help when I'm mowing the grass
Yelling and laughing as I bust my buttons

Swinging and sliding down the slide
Get those wiggles out before you come inside
Christmas, birthdays, all those toys
The smiling faces of two little boys

Somewhere life is still mundane
But at our house it's quite insane
Filled with the happiness and noise
Of man and wife and two little boys!

Friday, June 19, 2009


If the new American father feels bewildered and even defeated, let him take comfort from the fact that whatever he does in any fathering situation has a fifty percent chance of being right.
Bill Cosby
1937 -

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Lemon Garlic Shrimp Skewers

This is a family favorite we break out every summer. In fact, we're serving it for Father's Day this weekend, so I'm sharing it in case there are any other shrimp lovin' dads out there!

A brief cure in salt and sugar not only adds flavor to the shrimp and makes them more tender, but also acts as a mild preservative for transporting them. You can assemble the skewers through step 2 up to 1 day ahead; cover and chill. Makes 6 to 8 servings.

2 Tablespoons kosher salt
2 Tablespoons sugar
2 to 2½ pounds peeled, deveined shrimp (12 to 15 per lb) rinsed and drained
¼ cup olive oil
¼ cup chopped parsley, fresh
1 Tablespoon grated lemon peel
2 or 3 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
½ teaspoon fresh-ground pepper
Lemon wedges

1. In a bowl, mix salt and sugar. Add shrimp and stir gently to coat. Cover and chill 45 minutes to 1 hour. Rinse shrimp well and drain; also rinse and dry bowl.

2. Return shrimp to bowl. Add olive oil, parsley, lemon peel, garlic and pepper. Mix to coat. Thread shrimp on metal or soaked wooden skewers, running skewer through the body once near the tail and once near the head of each ship so it looks like the letter C.

3. Lay shrimp skewers on an oiled barbecue grill over hot coals or high heat on a gas grill (you can hold your hand at grill level only 2 or 3 seconds); close the lid on gas grill. Cook, turning once, until shrimp are bright pink and opaque but still moist-looking in center of thickest part (cut to test), 5 to 6 minutes total. Serve with lemon wedges to squeeze over shrimp.

Per serving: 161 cal, 8.3 g fat, 0.2 g fiber.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Lost Generation

This is a video that was submitted in a contest by a 20 year old. The contest was Titled "U @ 50", by the AARP.

The video came in second place. When they showed it, everyone in the room was awe-struck and broke into spontaneous applause.

Listen to the words as she reads them, and then listen to how they change when she reads them again ...

I hope you are as moved by this as I was.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Book Review: The Last Coyote

A few months ago I discovered Michael Connelly. The book I read, The Brass Verdict, had a character in it, Harry Bosch, that was intriguing. When researching the writer I discovered he had an entire series of mysteries based on the Hollywood Homicide detective, and have started reading them.

The Last Coyote is the fourth book in the series. Amazingly enough, these books just keep getting better and better.

Detective Bosch, on involuntary suspension for accosting his commanding officer, decides to tackle a case that has been spoken of in all the previous novels: his mother's murder. As he probes and delves into the mystery that his entire life has been based on, the narrative is interspersed with his sessions with a psychiatrist that reveal more and more of the what makes this fascinating character tick.

We are all products of our parents, whether they are with us or not, and as you read this book you cannot help but question some of the situations/events in your own background that may have led you to this point in your own life. It's a fabulous novel.

Connelly, a former reporter for the L.A. Times covering the police beat, knows his stuff. His writing is tight, clever, and riveting. Some of the events and language is tough, but fitting in the situations not just there for shock value. He is one of the best writers I have ever read; I would put him up there with Marcia Muller in the detective/mystery genre.

I'm so glad I discovered this writer. I'm looking forward to reading the rest of the Harry Bosch novels as well as other books Michael Connelly has written. If you decide to try him, I can guarantee you won't be disappointed.

Friday, June 12, 2009


I don’t want to drive up to the pearly gates in a shiny sports car, wearing beautifully, tailored clothes, my hair expertly coiffed, and with long, perfectly manicured fingernails.

I want to drive up in a station wagon that has mud on the wheels from taking kids to scout camp.

I want to be there with grass stains on my shoes from mowing Sister Schenck’s lawn.

I want to be there with a smudge of peanut butter on my shirt from making sandwiches for a sick neighbor’s children.

I want to be there with a little dirt under my fingernails from helping to weed someone’s garden.

I want to be there with children’s sticky kisses on my cheeks and tears of a friend on my shoulder.

I want the Lord to know I was really here and that I really lived.

Marjorie Hinckley

Thursday, June 11, 2009

One of those weeks!

I'm sure glad I have a garden full of hyacinths in my heart, because this has been a week I'd rather forget. Our poor ol' van, a 1998, keeps having problems. At this stage of the game, the problems are always in the hundreds of dollars range to fix, if not the thousands. This time, someone hit our rear door awhile back and we can't open it. Our insurance is paying to fix it -- yeah! -- and then last Friday night the drivers seat broke and now we can't drive it (unless you can do so lying flat on your back!).

It's been in the shop all week, and we have been dealing with one car. But, since Stan work's swing shift he has to leave at 2:15 in the afternoon and doesn't get back until close to midnight. This leaves us without transportation every afternoon and evening.

Not so bad, you might say, but AJ has been dealing with a nasty cold, and now it looks like he might have bronchitis. We have no way to get him to the doctor until tomorrow morning when he is supposed to be at work, and in the meantime he is coughing so hard it makes my chest hurt!

Just now Kevin came and showed me how the barber cut a mole when cutting his hair a couple of days ago, and now that mole is bleeding and painful. Again, no way to get to the doctor until tomorrow morning. When it rains, as we know in Colorado, it very often hails!

What I'd like to know is, how did people get along with only one car back in the day? I feel completely stuck and frustrated. Ah well .... at least I have the luxury of complaining about such things, right?

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Three Bean Salad

This is a wonderful recipe my mother gave me back in 1983. It's great for picnics since you don't need to be as careful with refrigeration (as with potato salad). It has a nice sweet and sour flavor that works well with BBQ too. Give it a try!

1 can cut green beans, drained
1 can wax beans, drained
1 can kidney beans, drained
1 cup diced sweet, white onion
3 or 4 Tablespoons diced green pepper

½ cup vegetable oil
1 cup vinegar
1 cup sugar

Combine salad ingredients in a large bowl.

Combine dressing ingredients in medium saucepan. Bring to a boil, and boil for two minutes. Pour over salad, and gently mix together.

Cover, and chill overnight in refrigerator.

Friday, June 5, 2009


The story - from Rumplestiltskin to War and Peace - is one of the basic tools invented by the human mind, for the purpose of gaining understanding. There have been great societies that did not use the wheel, but there have been no societies that did not tell stories.

Ursula K. LeGuin
1929 -

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

A Lesson in Honesty

My grandfather, Neal Jacobsen Hillyard, was born in Aalborg, Denmark in 1894. His mother, who was a single mother trying to raise a family alone, sent Neal to America when he was 11, hoping, I am sure, to give him a better life than the one he had in Denmark. The photo to the right was taken when he arrived on Ellis Island.

Before his death in 1967 he wrote down his personal history, which is something I treasure. We have kept it with his own spelling and grammar to keep the tone of his voice. The following is from his writings, which he called "A Lesson in Honesty." It is a sweet story. I can just picture that little boy and the man who taught him a lesson that he never forgot. I never have either .......

My next job was working for an elderly Gentleman who operated A candy manufacturing store, who would sell his candy to little stores in the City. My job was to clean up pot and pans and make Deliveries. (Do you know how a stick of candy look to a young boy?) One while getting ready to make deliveries while He was busy with the orders, and he was not looking I sneaked a piece of stick in my pocket.

I nearly out of the door when He yelled out, that could have been heard all oer the city. “Come here.” “Take that candy out of your pocket.” The look he gave me, as I handed over the candy, “now get on your way with the deliveries.” My Conscience had me worried or call it the still small voice, all the way, Why did you, You’l loose your job and your mother need what help you an give her; And son be honest, you will get a whipping when you get back to the store. And realy I don’t know all that whent through my mind. Well the deliveries was made and go back I must no matter what the out come may be.

As I enter he said come back here in the back of the building sit down is voice was gentle and calm. He said “Son do you know that honest is one of the greatest factor in a mans life, there is nothing matter as much as being honest you character is based on it. Did you ever think to have ask me for a piece of candy.” After a few more minute he talk to me. He said now let get buisy and clean up. As the time for me to go home He handed me a sack to take home. And in it there was a stick candy for each of us. Many of the time I see the picture as I take that candy out of my pocket I can see him. One of the many Hero’s in my life that taught me a lesson I have never forgot.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

A Grateful Heart

My good friend Tara went through surgery today. I have been praying for weeks that all would go well and that she will be feeling better soon. Her husband called to let me know that, while a couple of unexpected things happened (they were unable to do it laproscopically) she came through it all well. She will be spending a couple of nights in the hospital, and should be home and on the road to recovery by the end of the week.

I am so grateful that my prayers, and all the prayers of her family and friends who love her, have been answered. I know she still has a long road ahead of her, but the first step has gone well and she is going to get better.

I have always believed in the power of prayer. It is a gift, and I am so thankful for this blessing in my life; that I can go to my Heavenly Father with my concerns and my joys. My friend is doing well, and I can't wait to see her!