Category Archives: Unordinary

Zone of Totality …

Standard

So there was this thing about 10 days ago that created a sensation across the states (and the world) … the total solar eclipse. Now I’m not an astronomer (I tried, but I can’t stay up all night), and it’s taken me almost my whole lifetime to learn the names of and recognize the phases of the moon. But I LOVE eclipses; total or otherwise.  I haven’t traveled across the world to watch one (or I haven’t yet), but after being an eye witness in the Zone of Totality I just might.

We’re ready … total solar eclipse 2017

Check the light, the sun is about 1/2 covered and the night wind started blowing.

When the hype started 5-6 months ago I realized that our little ‘ranch’ although not in the exact center of the path was in the zone and I immediately thought PARTY!! And what a party it was … 17 peeps made a 7 hour trek to experience totality, plus our next door neighbors (next door meaning they get in their truck to get to our place).  The hype and Facebook and twitter and newspaper articles are awash with photographs … I heard folks were disappointed they didn’t turn into vampires, at least that was one rumor floating around… yeah, well … it’s what I heard.

This is soooo cool!

So, just 2 days before the eclipse I was talking to my little sister about how I wanted to experience things and stop seeing them through my camera lens … My point was I spend too much time ‘capturing’ the moment rather than ‘living’ the moment. So, what did I do? I wasted precious time trying to ‘get a shot’ of what my eyes were seeing (which didn’t work) and I wasted time that I could have seen the stars that came out, I could have, I could have … but I didn’t. But I will when I see the next total eclipse August 12, 2045 which goes dead-center over Utah, and after all I’ll only be 91 … guess that’s something to put on my I need to see and experience again list.

What else do you do at Grandpa’s ranch but ride the 4-wheeler

Just so you know that I did invite everyone I know and talked to in Boise and surrounding areas to come up and see the Total Eclipse … and what did I hear? “It’ll be 99.5% total here, why should I drive 2 hours north and get stuck in traffic”? What’s the difference? What’s the difference? It’s like running 26.195 miles of a marathon and stopping because 99.5% is good enough”. It’s like Neil Armstrong peeking out the window of the lunar module and saying, “this is close enough”.

In the Zone of Totality
Photograph Credit: Wyatt Taylor (yes, he’s my gson) Follow his Instagram @ High_Peaks_Adv and webpage

We were Here! We experienced the light dim to colors I’ve yet to have words to describe, to feel the temperature drop 15+ degrees and the night winds start blowing, to keep tipping solar viewing glasses up and down to see the light change, to look at the corona, to see the colors change again.  Then to watch that brilliant blast of solar light as the sun exploded into the beyond just as the moon slipped infinitesimally past  totality … it was a diamond ring.

But I missed stars! and I WANTED to see the stars. What a hard lesson that was … again.  My lesson? Be Here Now!

What an AWESOME display of the perfection of the universe and of God’s love to put the planets in such perfect alignment that on August 21, 2017 we were in the Zone of Totality … we saw & felt a Total Solar Eclipse!

The fam & friends had packed and were on the road before the end of the light show .. attempting to make it to the interstate before the throngs plugged the 2  lane running past our house.  It was a good plan, but an hour south they became part of the miles of traffic stoppage with other like-minded folks.

The total eclipse was worth it, and to add to our excitement Saturday night we had a 3 hour find Max the Schnauzer (dog with a heart condition) scavenger hunt. After many tears and recriminations he was found under a bush 100 yards from the house after a search of 90+ acres, and several miles of the rails to trails.

Idaho Eclipse Weekend Artifact; found in clothes dryer. Finder quoted saying, “I thought I said NO”.

Not to be outdone, Sunday was the evening of the RATTLESNAKE ! My theory is the old school gangsta rap they were listening to called the snake across 30 feet of burnt dirt and rocks, to hunker under the trailer & coil up next to the boombox between two girls.  Later the daughter discovered that No to a 10 year old son isn’t no to his grandpa.

Isn’t Life Grand?

Where will you be for the next Total Eclipse? https://www.greatamericaneclipse.com/future/

 

#nochristmasbeforethanksgiving #wanderingkeriwins

Standard

My #nochristmasbeforethanksgiving was successful! 30 days of Thanksgiving and No Christmas BEFORE December 1st … that was the journey  I started 30 days ago.  Did you join in?

Dang,  but it was hard to avoid Christmas decorations and the advertisements especially when I had to shop for essentials.  I have become a pro at ignoring the gauntlet of elves, trees, glitter, and HoHoHo’s down each aisle, near each cash register and the insipid all Christmas music stations  playing over every AM/FM band that started in NOVEMBER.

I’m certain I’ll pay a bit more for the few gifts I’m giving this Christmas season, but it was soooo worth it.  Actually thinking about and focusing on my blessings, mentioning something new each day for which I am grateful and thankful for opened my heart to even more thankfulness.  It opened my heart to realize how many, many more blessings I have than I ever thought possible.

In these last hours of the last day of November looking back over my 30 days of thanksgiving and it’s true, for each day of thanksgiving I posted … I thought of 10 more that would mean just as much.  Some things were silly, others heartfelt, and some  at the time seemed quite ordinary … but now I realize, nothing is truly ordinary, is it?

Most of us ... missing ... Steve, Aarin & Bayla ... Pam & Jeff, Clayton, & Breena ... & Chris' wife Cindy

Most of us … missing … Steve, Aarin & Bayla … Pam & Jeff, Clayton, & Breena … & Chris’ wife Cindy

IMG_2042

Ali (holding Mala) , Greg, Peter, and Tessa

November 1: I am grateful for all the wonderful souls in my life. (I can’t put all y’all’s pics here … but you are stuck in my heart forever!)

 

I Pledge Alligence

I Pledge Alligence

Nov 5th: I am soooo thankful to be living in the United States of America! I am grateful to the inspired founding fathers design of a representative republic and the constitution and bill of rights. Don’t take them for granted.

 

Who needs water? Trevi Fountain ... Rome

Who needs water? Trevi Fountain … Rome

Nov 6th: I am so grateful for my sweet husband … he’s a great traveling companion and my best friend!

 

743d8790e9248eb211ac7d6f9ce079d012th: I am so very Thank-Full and Grateful for 20 years of sobriety. Thanks be to God! Even after all these many years, it is still One Day at a Time.

 

6fa1b3ee50b284cc6dbc0b9a13d47e6fDay 13: I’m grateful today that I’ve learned not to take myself so seriously. Life is tooooo short for that!

 

Dad & Mom at the Cabin

Dad & Mom at the Cabin

18th Day: I am in awe and gratitude for the parents I was blessed with. They gave me all they had to give and more … miss you every day dad and I am grateful for a mom who continues to love and cheer me on.

Day 30: I am so grateful for eyes that can see beauty, a heart that loves and can feel love, ears that can hear giggles, the symphony of nature, and kisses. 🙂

I am eternally grateful for my testimony and love for Jesus Christ, my Savior. I am so thankful for the peace that came with repentance and turning my heart to Him. I know that He lives and that He knows me, and knows my name as he knows you.

Thank you for joining me on my 30 days of Thanksgiving journey. I am grateful and love you all! …  Life is Good and We are Blessed!

 

 

Bilbo Baggins is my Hero

Standard
You gotta have a motto!

You gotta have a motto!

If you’ve kept up with my last few posts you’ll notice a theme … I’m feeling a bit, what’s the word? Retired? Yep. Retired. Accepting that word as opposed to the phrase ‘Not Working Anymore’ has been much to hard to accept.  Creeped me out actually.  When I quit working I left a career that I absolutely loved working for the U.S. Forest Service. Twenty-one years of absolute joy, excitement, and adventure. The last 5 years were pretty close to hell on earth.   I didn’t just quit working I escaped and that made the transition to ‘not working anymore’ a relief. It was a thank goodness I’m alive relief … more than that, thank goodness I didn’t toss anyone down the stairs relief.  But now it’s time to put those last 5 years into a box, tape it up and toss it into the incinerator. I just have to let it go and remember the 21 years I loved working and making a difference … maybe that is what I am sensing is missing … making a difference?

It’s starting … the 12 week book adventure I’m going on … Julia Cameron’s  It’s Never to Late to Begin Again:Discovering Creativity and Meaning at Midlife and Beyond.  I’ve started reading. Today I am starting with morning pages, a walk, and a mental walk-about … to seek and find something more, something new, something old or find just me..

I admit I’m feeling a bit like Bilbo Baggins leaving Bag End the second time … knowing the time is ripe for change and new adventures.

The Road goes ever on and on 

Down from the door where it began. 

Now far ahead the Road has gone,

And I must follow, if I can,

Pursuing it with eager feet,

Until it joins some larger way

Where many paths and errands meet.

And whither then? I cannot say!*

*Lord of the Rings Trilogy, Book 1, Fellowship of the Ring

Loving it All

Standard

IMG_2305Welcome Monday! … my To-Do list has additions, the fruit trees blooming in the yard smell delicious, the sun is shining, the lawn mower is calling as is the mini roto-tiller and there are about 10 hours today to ‘git ‘er done’. Garden beds are calling and birds are singing and I’m sitting on the couch writing. Much is on my mind and in my heart.

Do you wonder sometimes why there are ups and downs in life? What tips the scales from good to bad in a minute or how we get on the slow slide into the blahs? Yep, life is just like that … it’s meant to test and try us. Yep, life is meant to help us become our best today, tomorrow, and always.  Yep, life is just like that … there is bad that goodness shines brighter in our hearts, sadness so we may know joy, tears so that laughter has meaning, and  …

Many of my life choices have brought me tears and heartache, the choices of others brought devastation that I had no control over … coming out on the other side of such pain, fear, and despair I gained much and can see the good in the horribly bad … I gained strength, courage, forgiveness, hope, optimism, joy, and most importantly love. I learned I can do hard things, but do not have to become hardened. I can forgive as I have been forgiven. I can see the sun shining behind the storm and know that it is always there and I need not fear the darkness.

I’ve learned that nothing can sustain true intensity forever … just as a tornado dissipates, an earthquake shakes only so long, a flood eventually recedes, calm does return. Though often it takes quite a while to clear the debris left behind and after the healing has started … I have learned that after the mess is cleared, the view is infinitely more beautiful … especially if I don’t go searching for the junk the tornado, earthquake, or flood washed away and carry it back into the yard.

Today the sun is shining bright in my life, challenges still come and I expect they will forever.  I have learned the most important thing … that I have never been alone. In the darkest of my nights, the deepest pits of my pain, in the face of my stupidity and fear I was always protected, guided, and loved by Christ my Savior who carried me when I didn’t know him, when I rejected him, when I was wandering in the wilderness. He saved me from myself, he rescued me and gave me life, joy, happiness, faith and hope.

IMG_2303He is the light in darkness. He is who He said he is: The living Son, of the living God.  He knows me, He knows my name, He died for me, He lives for me … and you.  Always.

 

Killer Cool Urban Shopping Bag …

Standard
IMG_2097

I Made These … Killer Cool Urban Shopping Bags

IMG_2099

And .. I Made This Giant Supersize Urban Shopping Bag

Ah … fresh powder morning and I’m … sitting on the couch.  Last fall I “knocked myself silly” by falling onto my head in my own driveway … after 4 months of ‘the dizzies’ I finally went to a specialist who yesterday rotated my head using a technique called the Eiger Maneuver until those pesky balance crystals fell back into place.  The doctor’s parting words … no fast moves or head turns for at least 2 days.  I whined, “but the snow” … he laughed not for a couple of days. Yep, Color me bummed out today.

So I thought I’d share my new crochet project … I call it the Farmer’s Market bag or really the Killer Cool Urban Shopping Bag.  The first one I made was a copy of a Pinterest pattern … then I just went crazy and changed up the stitches and well … I’ve made 5 of them. A couple I gave away for Christmas gifts and since I ALWAYS forget my use again shopping bags I’m hoping that since these are so urban chic I’ll remember them … just to show them off.

 

 

 

New Year’s … the Gate-day to Possibilities

Standard
Brighton Angie & Keri

Brighton Angie & Keri

Fox Hollow Feb 2015 Keri & Steve

Fox Hollow Feb 2015
Keri & Steve

…another year end.

Many of my intentions remain unfulfilled, others attempted with some sort of success, there were spectacular failures, and other intentions marvelously completed.  I didn’t get around to hiking all the trails I wanted, but I did hike.  I didn’t fish as much as I wanted, but I did fish (and caught & released some nice ones) on the new fly rod ,a gift from Dr. Paul Povanda, Greg’s cousin from NY.

Big Wood River Ketchum Idaho

#myheartisfull #fromboystomenovernight #ilovemygrandsons

#myheartisful#fromboystomenovernight ilovemygrandsons

It took months of planning, but our road trip (turned food trip) through Italy in September was PERFECT … beyond Perfect … it was magical.

In all of the ‘things’ I did, the vistas I ooohed over and snapped many photos of, and of the days that held an ah ha moment or a heart breakingly sad day (like when I sold the cabin at Zions); each is in it’s own way just as it was supposed to be and I learned  (A LOT) … and what I learned is what I learn every year; it’s the hours, days, and weeks with family and friends who are family, and strangers who became friends …  that made the tapestry of the past 365 days PERFECT.

IMG_1228 IMG_1287Once each winter I love dumping a new puzzle out onto the table … looking at the chaos of unassembled pieces on the table, each piece, is for me a foreshadow of possibilities of the next 365 days … the New Year!  The New Year in which there is a new tapestry on the loom, new clay on the turntable, new paint in the jar, yarn anticipating the crochet or knitting needles, wood stacked for the plane and saw, seeds ready for the dirt, skis in the car, but most importantly arms to hug, faces smiling and kisses from Sweetie.

The Fun Group _ Mom's 84th Birthday

The Fun Group _ Mom’s 84th Birthday

For a while I’ve felt an urgency to do something more than fill my hours with stuff … as I read my scriptures this morning several messages resonated with my heart (again, since I had them highlighted, I must have forgotten what they said) … which means I really need to pay attention to:

Organize yourselves; prepare every needful thing; and establish a house, even a house of prayer, a house of fasting, a house of faith, a house of learning, a house of glory, a house of order, a house of God; 

while I was thinking about how would I go about organizing, preparing, learning,  thinking on a worldly level I guess, wondering how would I make my home a house of … when this thought came to me … more intimately … how would I prepare my heart.

IMG_1997

Lunch with the Bellucci’s in Campitello Elisabeth, Alice, Daniela, Stephano, & Me

L to R ... Stephano Fanucci, Keri Vest-Vergari, Fiorella Mosca Fanucci, Laura Fanucci, Lisa Fanucci, Romano Fanucci

Dinner with the Fanucci’s in Gubbio L to R … Stephano Fanucci, Keri Vest-Vergari, Fiorella Mosca Fanucci, Laura Fanucci, Lisa Fanucci, Romano Fanucci

When just as I asked myself that question … these scriptures stood out with loving direction from Heavenly Father:

See that ye love one another; cease to be covetous; learn to impart one to another as the gospel requires.

Cease to be idle; cease to be unclean; cease to find fault one with another; cease to sleep longer than is needful; retire to thy bed early, that ye may not be weary; arise early, that your bodies and your minds may be invigorated.

And above all things, clothe yourselves with the bonds of charity, as with a mantle, which is the bond of perfectness and peace.

Pray always, that ye may not faint, until I come…

My heart, my home, my life … it’s a new year … my puzzle is spread on the table in a jumble of colors and shapes as are the coming days … days full of possibility. I love New Year’s Day and I’ll spend a few hours alone … I’ll ponder where I want to be next year, I’ll ponder this guidance from the scriptures, I’ll freak out when I put so much on my lists I get overwhelmed and then again, isn’t that what New Year’s Day is … the gate-day to Possibilities? All of the opportunities to be better in our motives and actions, to love and express love, to see more clearly, to let go of stuff and feel the lightness of forgiveness and joy.

This year’s puzzle is almost complete, there are a few days left to fill in the picture … but over all I can say Life is Good and I am Blessed. Thank You for walking with me through my wanderings this year … stick around and let’s see what this next year’s puzzle will look like.

Chaos ... with a purpose

Chaos … with a purpose

It’s a NEW Year … what’s your heart telling you?

Most of us ... missing ... Steve, Aarin & Bayla ... Pam & Jeff, Clayton, & Breena ... & Chris' wife Cindy

Most of us … missing … Steve, Aarin & Bayla … Pam & Jeff, Clayton, Breena … & Chris’ wife Cindy

Vest021

 

 

Familia Italia Style

Standard

IMG_1300Seven days in Umbria was not enough! This was the part of our Italia journey that I was most excited about … meeting Sweetie’s family connections in Campitello, an 1100+ year old village in the mountains of the Monte Cucco’s National Park.IMG_1275

Family history is one of my passions … when I find another person and connect them into their family tree I almost cry.  Their name may not have been spoken or thought of in hundreds of years  and I feel them … they are not forgotten, they lived, and because they lived we are. I followed the Vergari and Fanucci journeys from Jessup, Pennsylvania back to this deep valley in the mountains of Umbria.

Sadly, as the immigrant generation passed on the Jessup and Campitello family connections were lost, except for photographs of people we didn’t know that were carefully kept in a box of memories.

Sweetie and I knew we wanted to spend time in Campitello and hoped to find some family still there, but how to find them? The internet, of course.  I wrote a letter (having an Italian speaking friend translate it for me) and included Greg’s family tree then sent them cold to every Vergari, Scarinci, Lanuti, and Fanucci in Campitello, Scheggia e Pascelupo and Gubbio for which I could find an address.

Greg Vergari & Mario Fanucci

Greg Vergari & Mario Fanucci

The responses were immediate and overwhelming … I was facebook friended, received email and letters by post.  “Come, Come”, “..don’t know if we are related but Come, Come” , “…I have letters from Jessup; Come, Come”, “I have pictures .. Come, Come”.

IMG_1238

L to R … Rita Fanucci, her mother Ubaldina, Daniella Fanucci Bellucci, Greg Vergari, Daniella’s mother Elisabeth Lanuti Fanucci

When we arrived in Campitello, we were greeted with open arms. The table was set for lunch though we weren’t expecting it, and after lunch more cousins arrived; with open hearts … some came with photographs and the letters we had sent.  I had brought a 20′, yes 20′, long family tree and they went to work adding names, correcting my spelling and sometimes moving people into a different family group.

Later they walked us around the area showing us the home Greg’s great grandfather lived in and the church built 1000 years ago which is still in use each Sunday.

The home of Enrico Vergari before he immigrated to Jessup, PA, USA

The home of Enrico Vergari before he immigrated to Jessup, PA, USA

We had thought we would be visiting individually everyone that had responded  to us .. but Daniela made it so easy for us.  She gathered everyone together, opened her home not once but twice!

IMG_1335

Greg Vergari, Remo Scarinci & his sister Giovanna

When we arrived we may not have known them, but they knew us. They knew Greg’s father and grandfather and grandmother. They knew the cousins from America and they spoke with fondness of their visits (the last one in 1977). Some remembered and talked about their cousins as if it were yesterday. The first day we met Remo Scarinci and his sister Giovanna (they are double cousins … Vergari & Fanucci side of the tree), Fiorella & Stephano Fanucci (Anna Lisa’s mom & dad), and Mario Fanucci (though not directly related to Greg, he is a cousin to Greg’s cousins through their mother in Jessup).

Did I mention that the interwoven and convoluted connections between Fanucci’s and Vergari’s is the proverbial gordian knot … like playing the fictional Double Fanucci card game made famous in the computer world of Zork.

IMG_2011

L to R … Chiara Fanucci Scarinci, Maria Scarinci Braccini, her husband Beneveuto Braccini, Giovanna Fanucci Ceccacci, Dina Scarinci Fanucci, Greg Vergari, Elisabeth Lanuti Fanucci, Quinto Fanucci, Ubaldina Fanucci Fanucci

IMG_1946

Sisters. Laura & Lisa Fanucci

The second afternoon at Daniela’s we met cousins from another side of the family. The 90+ year olds shared many memories adding names to the tree that I couldn’t have done alone. With the help of Daniela’s daughter Alice and google translate (Lisa had other commitments that day) we had an afternoon filled with love and memories. (Quinto and his sister Chiara came from Rome to share the afternoon with us.)

Giovanna came again and brought her daughter and granddaughter. Catia is a ceramic artist and with her husband Roberto Fugnanesi has a studio Futuro d’arte (contemporary ceramics) in Perugia.

In between the days we drove to Campitello Giovanna invited us to her house to meet her husband Ubaldo and their daughter Paola who is studying law. Fiorella drove us and Lisa was again our wonderful translator.

That evening Stephano and Fiorella treated us to pizza night in their home in Gubbio.  Stephano’s brother Romano came and we met Lisa’s sister Laura.  We laughed a lot! Fiorella made these wonderful filled biscotti. I immediately asked for the recipe and though I haven’t made them yet I bought metric measuring cups so I could make them correctly without doing the whole grams to cups conversions.

L to R ... Stephano Fanucci, Keri Vest-Vergari, Fiorella Mosca Fanucci, Laura Fanucci, Lisa Fanucci, Romano Fanucci

L to R … Stephano Fanucci, Keri Vest-Vergari, Fiorella Mosca Fanucci, Laura Fanucci, Lisa Fanucci, Romano Fanucci

Stephano is writing a history of Campitello and his willingness to share some of his research with me was an answer to my prayers. (That’s a whole other post to come.)

We said ciao to Campitello and the wonderful family who opened their hearts and homes to us … the rain may have hid our tears but not the smiles on our faces or the love in our hearts for these wonderful people. Family once lost to us through time and an ocean … found again …

Stephano kept asking me why I did family history and the only way I could explain was to touch his heart and Greg’s heart and locked my fingers together.  Love.  Family. Together.  Forever.

L’amore, La famiglia , Insieme, per Sempre