Thursday, July 30, 2009

We've Been Walking...

... a lot! We're trying to be more healthy and take better care of ourselves. So, a walking we will go. There are some beautiful parks in Salem, and we have been enjoying ourselves while taking advantage of them.

photo from

Our favorite place is Bush Pasture Park. There are several trails to walk, and the park this time of year is gorgeous. Plus, we've been experiencing such high temperatures this week - the park always seems cooler with all of the grass and trees.
Happy Walking!

Sunday, July 26, 2009

My Godmother - Sentimental Sunday No. 21

L to R - Sylvia, Ginger, Orie, Cindy, Johnny
August 1968

Yesterday would have been my Godmothers birthday. Evaleen Kelly, known as Ginger, was a ballet dancer for Theodore Kosloff. She performed at Los Angeles’ Carthay Circle in the 1920’s. She married my Godfather, Orie Carfagno, in the early 1940’s. Ginger was my mother’s best friend from 1944 until they both died in 1986. We referred to them as Lucy and Ethel… although I’m not quite sure which was which. I suspect they traded off – depended upon the situation.

I started ballet classes when I was 10 years old. Ginger spent hours teaching me and helping me practice my positions and my point work. She shared stories of the days when she was a dancer. I think those were exciting times and she basked in those memories. Not too long before her mother, Ida, passed away - she gave me a pair of Ginger's old point shoes. I still have them, wrapped carefully in tissue paper in one of my drawers. They are one of my most treasured possessions.

Every year my parents and I went to Las Vegas in the late summer, to celebrate their anniversary. My godparents were always there as well – along with members of their family. Las Vegas holds so many happy memories for me – and my godparents are a part of those memories… seeing Elvis, Frank Sinatra, Wayne Newton. Meeting and spending an evening with Mac Davis. Going to all of the “big” shows – Folies Bergere at the Tropicana, Jubilee at the MGM Grand, Lido de Paris at the Stardust. Those were fun and exciting times.

Ginger and my Mom began every day the same… talking on the phone with each other, drinking coffee – or tea in Gingers case, Lipton tea with two tea bags - and then their day began. Best friends forever. I was so lucky to have two such wonderfully strong and funny ladies in my life. Those two guided me and helped me mold my life. They were influential in making me the woman that I am today.

I picture them up in heaven together… drinking their coffee and tea, smoking their cigarettes, and gossiping about what the other angels are wearing. They’re laughing and carrying on and I’m sure they are the life of the party. Sometimes when I close my eyes and listen really carefully I can still see them, sitting side by side sharing secrets – and I can hear their laughter. There was always lots of laughter.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

True Beauty...

can be seen in these gorgeous flowers. In late May and early June our Peony plants display the most incredible blossoms. I wish they lasted longer!

Sunday, July 19, 2009

See's Candy - Sentimental Sunday No. 20

photo from See'

Cindy’s paternal grandmother, Julia, worked for See’s Candy in Los Angeles for many years. She worked at the plant and we were never in short supply of See’s at our house. Mom and Dad always got a 25 lb box of candy at Christmas and Cindy always received the MOST AMAZING Easter baskets. One of my favorite memories of her bringing candy to us was the bags of nuts that had fallen off the candy on the conveyor belt. The workers could bring those nuts home for free. We always had a white See’s Candy bag in our freezer that contained an assortment of nuts with bits of candy stuck to them. They were delicious. Click here to link to History Los Angeles blog story about See’s Candy.

One year my mom gave my Godmother, Ginger, a two pound box of See’s. Ginger really wasn’t supposed to eat much candy – so she would hide it from her family and would take a piece out of the box to savor, every now and then. One evening, when we all returned to my Godparents home after dinner, as we walked in their front door we noticed a trail of empty See’s Candy wrappers meandering through their living room. (You know, the little brown paper cups that each piece of candy sits in within the box.) We couldn’t imagine what had happened. But, my Godmother was quick to deduce that their German Shepherd, Silver, had found her candy hiding place and had eaten practically the entire box of candy. Amazing that Silver didn’t get sick. Of course, that dog ate A LOT of things that dogs shouldn’t eat and never got sick. For example, 10 pounds of modeling clay and wood turnings that my Dad and my Godfather had been working on in the garage. She was a wonderful dog – and always managed to amaze all of us.

See’s Candy is fabulous, but for me it’s always a walk down memory lane as I stand in front of the counter selecting pieces of my favorites. Some of mine are Marzipan, Butterscotch Squares, Walnut Squares, Peanut Crunch, Scotchmallow, Molasses Chips… well; the list could go on and on. What are your favorites?

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Family Time

On Saturday we went to Kelly's house. (Richard's Sister) Our newest grand nephew was there visiting with our niece, Holly, his mom. Canon Lucas was born 8 weeks early in April. He was just over 2 pounds. After several weeks in the hospital he came home in mid June. He is now six pounds and doing GREAT. We are all very thankful!

Here are some photos we took with my cell phone. Sorry for the grainy quality. Forgot to grab the camera on the way out the door!

Aunt Cindy & Canon
Uncle Richard & Canon

Our other grand nephew Rowan and his sister Finley were visiting Kelly too. Rowan calls his Grandparents Bob and Mimi instead of Grandpa and Grandma. So adorable! We had a great time visiting with both of them. Rowan will be three in August and Finley is almost 11 months old. They're a couple of cuties.


Kelly with Finley Rose

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Tomatoes - Sentimental Sunday No. 19

photo from

Nothing tastes more like summer than home grown tomatoes. My father grew the most amazing tomatoes every summer. They were huge and juicy and full of flavor. Funny thing was that he didn’t eat tomatoes. He hated them. Would pick them out of salad, didn’t want them on hamburgers, and would never think of eating one by itself. But, he loved salsa, catsup, and spaghetti sauce. Mom and I were lucky that he liked growing them – and did so for us.

My Godfather, Orie, grew fantastic tomatoes too. After Dad had passed, Orie gave me some tomatoes one day when I was visiting him. They were so wonderful. I remember making a tomato and cheddar cheese sandwich. It was truly the best tasting sandwich I ever had. I can still recall the flavor of a warm summer day on bread. It was fantastic.

Dad and Orie both tended their tomato gardens with great care. And, Orie believed if the plants didn’t bear enough fruit you merely had to yell at them in Italian and threaten to cut them down… then they would bear fruit. Hey, it worked for him. He had a plum tree that didn’t bear fruit for YEARS. He finally got tired of it “just sitting there”. So, about the time the blossoms should have started to appear – he went out back and yelled at it… in Italian. He told it that if it didn’t bear fruit that year he was going to cut it down. That darned tree gave more plums than you have EVER seen. I think half of them ended up rotting because there just weren’t enough people in the family to take the plums. I made jar after jar of plum jam out of them. It was delicious.

Unfortunately, we don’t seem to have the “green thumb” when it comes to tomatoes. We attempt to grow them every year – and they just don’t want to give us much in the way of ripe delicious tomatoes. Hmm… maybe I need to learn Italian!

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Independence Day - Sentimental Sunday No. 18

Photo from

We hope that you all had a wonderful 4th of July yesterday. We celebrated with our good friends and neighbors, Kerry, Dodi and Alyssa. It was a nice warm Independence Day, for a change. Normally we are rather chilly while lighting the fireworks in one of our yards.

Growing up in Southern California, when I was very young, all the neighbors on Girard Avenue would get together and we would share our fireworks. We would all congregate at the midpoint of the street, and the Dads would huddle together and light the fireworks for us kids. We all sat, ooo’ing and aah’ing at the colorful showers. And, we would all laugh and cover our ears at the shrieking Piccolo Pete’s. Those were good years; fun years.

As time went on, fireworks became illegal in our area. We could see the fireworks show at the high school, from our front yard. So, we would sit outside - and ooo and aah at those. This was typically done after we had spent the better part of the day at my Godparents house for swimming and a barbeque. My Dad always wanted to be home by nightfall – just in case anyone had obtained illegal fireworks and might be shooting them off close to our home. He just wanted to be sure to be home in order to protect it from stray showers or sparks.

When Richard and I lived in Long Beach, we managed the apartment building that we lived in. Those were some fun years. We had our friends over for barbeques and after dark we would all go up on the roof of the building to see the various firework shows around Long Beach and even neighboring cities. Our building was three stories tall – so we had a great view. Good memories.

Moving to Oregon was an eye opener for us. Fireworks are legal here; at least the normal kind of fireworks that you can get at CostCo or from the various firework tents around town. Of course, people still find a way to get illegal fireworks and shoot them off close to our home. That always scares me and I now understand why my Dad wanted to be home after dark on 4th of July.

We enjoy the tradition of 4th of July; the barbeques and time for friends and family. I love sparklers and colorful showers and still enjoy the shrieking of Piccolo Pete’s. Another Independence Day celebration has come and gone. But, while I enjoyed myself yesterday I took a moment to reflect on 4th of July’s past. Not much has changed. I’m still just a big kid that ooh’s and aah’s at the fireworks and is sad when the last one has been lit.

Happy Independence Day everyone – God Bless America!

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Adventure to California

Last weekend we had a whirlwind trip through Southern California. We went in order to visit family and friends, and to go to Disneyland for one day.

Disneyland on Thursday. It was a great day. Lots of people, but we never waited longer than 30 minutes for a ride. Perfection!

Our Grand Daughter Megan brought our Great Granddaughter Angela to the park to visit with us. Cindy must be the only 49 year old Great Grandmother in history. Let's explain the family tree to you - just a little bit.

Richard is older than Cindy, and had two children - Brian and Kristi. Kristi married an older man, Bob, who has three children - Megan, Darby and Cameron. Therefore, Bob's kids became our grand kids. Following along so far? So, when Megan and her husband, Andy, gave birth to Angela - she became our Great Granddaughter. Got it?

On Friday we travelled to Redlands to visit Cindy's Cousins. In the photo below: Blakely, Mikki, John, Nona and Cindy. Nona was Cindy's Mom's 1st cousin.

From cousins in Redlands to friends in Carlsbad. We went to visit Tom and Kris. Tom and Cindy went to grade school together. Our friend Carol was there too, with her son Jack. Unfortunately, we didn't take any photo's until just before we left on Saturday - and Carol and Jack had already left.

From Carlsbad to Menifee. On to visit with Kristi and Bob, Megan, Andy and Angela!

We bought Angela some Sandra Boynton board books. They were some of Cindy's favorites to read to John when he was little. She is so adorable. Only 10months old. Look at how attentive she is while Cindy is reading to her.

Some group photos with Megan, Andy, Angela and Bob

Dinnertime with Grandma Kris and Grandpa Bob. (By the way, Kristi is a 38 year old Grandma! She was only 37 when Angie was born!)

Angie needed a little bath after dinner. Grandpa Bob introduced her to Cheetos. She loved them - but had them ALL OVER herself.

Andy suggested taking a Four Generations photo. It was like the paparazzi with Richard, Bob and Andy all taking photos. Kristi, Megan and Cindy weren't quite sure WHERE to look. Four generations... pretty funny. There are only 17 years that separate Cindy from Megan!

Of course, once the cameras were out of the cases, everyone had to get in on the fun.

We had a great time visiting with our family and friends. Going to Disneyland was fun because this is the first time that John could appreciate the things that his Grandfather built at the park.

We feel so blessed for our beautiful family. And truly blessed to have such fabulous friends. Richard and John continued their trip for another week after Cindy returned to Oregon. They will be home this morning. We'll post pictures of their great adventure later this week.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Happy Blogiversary!

Our first post on the blog was one year ago today; 127 postings ago. Can't believe how quickly the year has gone by. We still have fun with the blog and enjoy sharing our lives and photos. Hope you are still enjoying it to.
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