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Thursday, August 27, 2015

Barbara Jean Anderson Gobel 1939 - 2015

June 12th Update: Barb Anderson-Gobel: Mom is still in intensive care (ICU) after her fall last Saturday afternoon. She went under anesthesia for 3+ hour surgery to stop the bleeding in her brain and to assess the fracture to her skull (Frontal to rear of her head). It's been a week of many follow-up tests (MRI/Cat-scans) and waiting for answers. While we still don't have a clear forecast of what is around the corner, the bleeding has stopped! As expected by the physicians, her memory goes in and out and at times she is very confused. On a positive note, the feeding tube has been removed and she has been eating small amounts of solid food! Our family appreciates the messages (calls, texts, emails) that we've received and are grateful for your love, thoughts and prayers! JD

Jodie Gobel Kramer 
I love you Aunt Barb!! Gone too soon but never ever forgotten. Rest in Peace sweet little woman. 

 Tim Burkinshaw
 Beautiful collaboration of Wonderful Pics of Her , and My Two Terrific Friends, her Boys.
Barbara Jean Anderson Gobel

Born: July 3, 1939

Died: August 23, 2015
Jason, his dad Lawrence and his Grandma Barb.
As a side note, Lawrence is writing her obituary and I'll add it here when I receive it. 
Barb was married to Ronnie Gobel and they had 2 sons Lawrence (on Ronnie's lap) and Jim (on Barb's lap). 
Some beautiful facebook comments for Barb:

Patti Fulbright:
Don't forget the deal we made last night. I am to look out for Lawrence and JD for you, and you are to say hi to Mom and Daddy for me. I just got home from meeting Bruce in Ventura on his way home from saying good-bye to you last night. Such a powerful pull you had on so many of us to bring us together this weekend. I love you Barbara Jean.

Kim Aguilera:
Miss and love you!! Say hi to my Grandpa for me and give him a hug for me. Give Ronnie a hug for me too!! Rest in peace sweet friend.

Mark Millhouse:
Aunt Barbara, we will miss you terribly but know that you are on a new and exciting journey back home. Enjoy the loves. Tell all the family that has passed before that I love them. Kiss Mimi and Pops. Slap Uncle Ronnie on the back and tell my Dad to say hello sometime. We'll all be there in the blink of an eye!

Denice Harvey:
My dear friend, you will be terribly missed by many. Larry and Jimmy are amazing men and I am truly sorry for your loss.

Julie Millard Griffith:
Well one of my other best friends died today, Barb Anderson-Gobel. I shall miss you so much, everytime I would call you I can still hear your voice, first words, hi honey. With Jim Perry dying yesterday and Barb today, it is enough. Your heart can only take so much. Love you Barb. And love you Jim. 

Pepe Ward:
Jimmy and Larry, I'm so sorry to hear about your mom. She was a great lady. It seems like yesterday Rick and I were spending lots of hours driving to Oregon Rodeo's and Ropings together. And Rick working for your Dad. God has put them back together. Watch out heaven roping, Ronnie has his cheerleader back. 

Candy Brock:
My beautiful Aunt Babs. I'm at a complete loss for words .... Well I know that made you laugh!! Let's just say, I would not be me had I not had you in my life. I love you so much!!! You are missed already and forever! Kiss everyone up there for me and give slickie a beer, he won't drink boxed wine. 

Susan Bobish:
Barb, I know you like reading FB posts to keep up on things, so know that you are missed. It's just not the same knowing you aren't around the corner. Love you my dear. 

Denice Harvey: 
I am heartbroken to hear that Barb is no longer with us. I know she is walking with God. I have all the memories in my heart of her. I am so, so sorry for your loss.

Matt Fulbright:
I love you, Aunt Barb.

Karla Flores:
With a heavy heart I say goodbye to an incredible woman, she was feisty and sweet, a handful for sure but amazing in her own way. Barb, you were more than a neighbor, you were my grandma as well ... you were family and we will carry your memory forever. We love you and will miss you. 
Lawrence, Barb and J.D. (Jimmy Demar)
Barb's three children: Penny, Lawrence and Jimmy Demar

Barb gave birth to a baby daughter prior to her marriage to Ronnie and gave her up for adoption. Penny found Barb and was welcomed with open arms. 

Penny's comment on facebook: Barb not only blessed me with the gift of life, she also gave me a wonderful second family! She was quite the character and she will be missed tremendously. xoxo

Lawrence's back to Penny: We thank Barb for giving you, Penny to us. You, Steve and my nieces: Stephanie, Shanna and Cassidy make our lives so much fuller, richer and happier than anyone could wish for.

Sharon Davison's comment to Penny: Penny, I didn't realize how much you look like Barbara Jean. I know she was very proud of you and your family. She would talk about you all, a lot. I'm glad you two got together. 
Barb, Lawrence and Mitch (Lawrence's husband).

Mitch wrote this beautiful tribute on facebook letting us all know about her passing:

With great sadness we bid farewell to Lawrence's mom, Barb. She will be severely missed by all of us who knew her, loved her and were constantly entertained by her. She was a character beyond what I could have even imagined writing into my life story.

The Buddhists have an expression "when the student is read the teacher will appear." Barb was unquestionable the most profound teacher I have had in my lifetime. The lessons didn't always come easily and I wasn't always quick to learn, but in the end I was left with nothing but gratitude and the same accepting love she always gave me.

Actually Barb told me she loved me the very first evening almost seven years ago when I met her. She was saying good night to her boys. I still can hear her voice and see her smile as she said, "I love you too. I'm just not sure why yet."

Now I know why. She gave me my life partner in her son which absolutely has to be my greatest gift and joy. I had the privilege of watching how Lawrence loved and took care of her through the sweet and bitter times. Up until her very last moments on this side.

She accepted me always as her son's love and never questioned a same-sex relationship or marriage. That motherly acceptance will carry me through whatever bigotry and discrimination lies ahead. My wide wish is that every gay person out there has an in-law like Barb who just loves and gets on with life in all of its normalcy. It feels like I have struggled all my adult life to have my own family's acceptance of my 'lifestyle' only to find it resolved in my mother-in-laws embrace and eccentric antics. Now I understand that I can heal my own family wound surrounding my sexuality and their continued absence from our lives.

Blessed Be, Barb. My books are ready for school, the pencils are sharpened and my backpack is filled with fantastic stories of you, my marvelous mother-in-law. I am not certain that it will be easy to be without you as my previous year's teacher. But with the years of learning that lie ahead, I promise to take care of your Larry and keep your lessons and love close.

Facebook comments to the tribute Mitch wrote:

Linda Salerian: So sorry for your Loss. Prayers for your Family.

Linda Shields: So so very sorry for the loss of Lawrence's Mother!!! These words are truly beautiful, Mitch!!!  May all the beautiful memories you shared with her, live forever in your' hearts Please let me know if I can do anything for you!!!! Sending my prayers and love to you both!!!!

Teri Tillman: Love

Beatrice Simson: Soo sorry for ur loss. Sending prayers for your family and condolences.

Robin Keefe: My sincere sympathy to Lawrence and you.

Mike Hardy: My deepest condolences to Lawrence and you.

Diane Haaga: Saddened by this news n touched by your words of gratitude! Prayers w Lawrence n his family today!

Sara Riggs: Sorry for your loss.

Patti Fulbright: What a beautiful tribute from one teacher to another. She was a character bigger than life and a force to be reckoned with.

Jeni Harris: Sincere condolences to you and Lawrence during this time,

Jeff Miklya: Sending you guys much love

Roberta Williams: A beautiful tribute, Mitch. So sad to hear of Barb's passing. I know that she will continue to live in your hearts, and through your stories of this unique lady. heart emoticon to you and Lawrence.

Fran Romans So sorry. My thoughts are with you and Lawrence.

Emigdio Avalos Jr I'm sorry for your loss Mitch. My prayers and condolences to you.

William White: My deepest condolences to you and Lawrence. You're in my thoughts during this difficult time!!

Maria Di Pisa Brady: What a lovely tribute. I am sorry for your loss.

Pattricia Vienna: What a kind and loving tribute to a wonderful person. My most sincerest condolences to you and Lawrence.

Maile Goodman: Very beautiful. May she rest in peace.

Elizabeth Fuller: We are so sorry and saddened by the loss of your mother-in-law and Larry and Jim's mother, Barb. We know she will be missed greatly but her beautiful star will shine on forever and ever. We send our love to all of you. Sincerely, Betsy and David.

Katy Pabst: Sorry to hear this, will keep you both in my prayers!!

Miyuki Kanno: Paul My deepest condolences to both of you. To Mitch, Barb loved you because she loved her son and the one who her son fell in love with. What a great heart she had and you are one lucky son in law!

Shauna O'Brien Law: So very sad for the loss of such a beautiful person. My thoughts and prayers are with you all. Much love to her boys.

Aladdin Nabulsi: Beautiful tribute. A blessings to have been able to share great memories with her.

Marty Ray: Larry, Jim and Mitch .... SO sorry, wow, so hard to believe. I used to love going to your house and seeing her, never knowing what she might say today ! So much fun to be around. Lotsa love.

Mary Blott Godfrey: I didn't know Barb, but am moved by your tribute and realized that I too have been a student of Barb, through you and your stories (including this tribute) of course. Prayers continue for you and Lawrence...Hugs to you both.

Marlena Fox: Your words are so inspiring. I am so sorry for your loss Lawrence Gobel and Mitch.
Thresa Day: I'm so very sorry! I'm sending much love! My hope is that peace is quick to find you.
Lori Cunningham: I am so sorry for your loss... may you cherish the memories and continue to grow from all the lessons she has taught you both. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family during this difficult time.

Tammy Brown: Lawrence Gobel, just read this. I didn't know she was still ill. Sure did love that sweet, fun lady. She made me fine. Beautiful tribute Mitch.

Sondra Murray: I knew this was coming, but am terribly heartbroken by the news of her passing. What a beautiful tribute. I know how hard this has been for Larry and Jim to say goodbye to their mom. Words can't express the sorrow I feel. I'm sending my thoughts and prayers to you and all who have been touched by her life.

Frank Hastings: For you Loss and for your sadness, A prayer for you and your Family. Take comfort that she is at peace and no longer suffering. Love you guys! Thank you Mitch Mitchell for your eloquence and love. I'm sending everyone love and hugs Lawrence Gobel and J.D. Gobel RIP mom

Tara Thompson: So very sorry for your loss.

Barbara Hayes: My deepest sympathy to you Mitch at this time of great loss. What a beautiful tribute you gave Lawrence. Both of you were blessed to have such a wonderful woman love you. Know you are in my thoughts and prayers Mitch. If one is lucky enough to have a mother like yours...she never really dies as she will always live in your heart.

Mirna Coloma Muro: That was beautiful. Lawrence I am so sorry for you loss. Keeping you and Mitch in my prayers.

Marty Bierbrier: Lawrence, so sad to hear this news. I know how super your mom was. My deepest condolences to you and your family.

Rosina Iribe Amador: Such beautiful words.. My deepest condolences to both of you ..

Jacquelyn Baca: So beautifully said. (((HUGS))), prayers and strength.

Lori Flashner: Beautiful message. I'm so sorry for your loss. Please know that you are both in my thoughts and prayers.

Doug Hull: Lawrence--I'm so sorry to hear about your mom. I know how close you were to her and how much you've done for her over the years. She was lucky to have you as a son. Our thoughts are with you.

Bob Guzzi: Mitch, such a beautifully worded and heartfelt tribute. Lawrence and Mitch, I'm so sorry for your loss. Barb was, or I should say "is", one special woman. Her love and memories will live with you forever. And I'm sure her soul is now onto its next adventure. You're in my thoughts, my friends. Namaste.

Molli Oliver: So very sorry for your loss.

Barbara Hayes: So sorry I miss read thinking it was Mitches. mom...however the same goes for you Lawrence of what I said please forgive my error

Adrienne Hanhauser: Dear Lawrence and Mitch, Tom and I send our condolences during this time of loss in your lives. We sincerely wish you a gentle, loving and supported time with friends and family. Mitch, your tribute to your mother-in-law is truly beautiful and without a doubt from the core of your being. How blessed you were to have had such a teacher...to continue to show you the way "inside" and to have helped you to come to a new understanding of it "all". And how blessed you are both to have each other....now and always.

Regina Saladino: I'm so so sorry Keeping your family in my prayers !!!

Cindi Benson: What beautiful words you speak. I had the privilege to meet Barb. I hope your wonderful memories will fill the empty space in your heart. Take care.

Kara Brown Bower: Beautiful message! I'm so sorry and extremely sad to hear this news! My thoughts are with you! Xoxox

Ty Dote Heart: felt beautiful words, Mitch. Sending you, Lawrence Gobel and JD my deepest sympathy. ox

Rosalina Guerrero: Lawrence, our prayers are for your Mom and Family!! We are happy that she was around this long and she taught you lessons you will treasure always, She is happy resting in Gods Mansion and is free of Pain!!.. Praise the Lord..

Antonio Holguin: prayers of comfort and healing to Lawrence, JD, Mitch and family. Love to you all!

Nicole Moscoso: Sorry for your loss.

Deneen Chin: Oh wow! Just read this and am saddened. I met Barb a few years ago when she was living across the street from you guys. I can't believe she is gone! . Sending my condolences and prayers to you and the family. strength and love during this difficult time.

Nicole Johnson: That was beautifully said. I am sorry to hear of the loss you have both suffered. Wishing you warm thoughts during this difficult time.

Steve Melonas: Well said, Mitch. Barb was like a second mother to me, too, and I will miss her terribly. I'll be keeping you all in my thoughts and prayers.

Christopher Bleser: Lawrence, Mitch, J.D., I'm so very sorry for your loss. I was always very fond of Barb. Mitch, what you said was so beautifully worded and heartfelt; also tough to read as I resonate well. You are lucky to have had her in your life, even through the tough times. As you say, people often teach life lessons, many of which we are not aware we need, until a later moment in time.

Evelyn Legarda: beautiful of life your mother is still guiding parents from heaven.

Ardas Wachter-Grene: Dear Mitch and Lawrence. We are deeply saddened by your mother loss, an absence that is present always and is palpable. We've never been honored to know a son who loved and cared for his mother as you, Lawrence. Your pure goodness and mother love was a protective cloak embracing Barb with unconditional love. We've never known a son-in-law like you Mitch who with courage lit the lamp to truthfully focus to understand and contemplate your relationship with Barb and to arrive at the door of compassion, true love and kindness. We hope can help in this moment. He has taken the words and teachings from the sutra to be "Given to the Dying" and made them into a lullaby song. "This body is not me, I am not caught in this body, I am life without boundaries, I have never been born and I have never died. Over there the wide ocean and the sky with many galaxies All manifests from the basis of consciousness. Since beginning less time I have always been free. Birth and death are only a door through which we go in and out. Birth and death are only a game of hide-a-seek. So smile to me and take my hand and wave good-bye. Tomorrow we shall meet again or even before. We shall always be meeting again at the true source, Always meeting again on the myriad paths of life.

Donna Dondlinger: Sorry for your loss Mitch Mitchell

Denise R. Williams: Lawrence & Mich I'm so sorry to hear about Ms. Barb. My deepest sympathies and condolences go to you and your family. You all are in my thoughts and prayers.

Tiffany Hobbs: That was one of the most touching tributes that I’ve ever read, and I’m sure she's on the other side bragging about you and the beautiful relationship that you and Lawrence have created. May you both be comforted and strengthened within the healing process. We love you.

Melissa Lindemer: I am so sorry for your loss. What a touching tribute. Prayers to you and your family that you may find comfort during this difficult time.

Scott Umfress: Sending you both and all in your family my deepest sympathies and love-

Cameo Nghele: My condolences. Prayers and hugs.

Janice B Cinko: Love you guys, so sorry for your loss!!

Scott Slaven: Beautiful tribute, Mitch. I first met Barb nearly 30 years ago when Lawrence and I were roommates. From the first day she referred to me as her other son! Such a warm, funny, lovely woman. Love to you, Lawrence and Jim.

Kolette O'Keefe: My thoughts are with you Lawrence!!

Cristina Salvador Klenz: What a beautiful tribute to her life. So sorry for you both.

Lota Jackson: Beautifully said Mitch, I remember her fondly, always a kind heart! Hugs to you both.

Bill Untalan: I'm so sorry for your loss. Love and prayers to both of you.

Kamara Regina: I hate hearing such sad news. I'm sorry for your loss.

Jo Anne Guzzi Liples: What a beautiful tribute and memory to share. I am so sorry for your loss. Sending huge amounts of love and light your way.

Jim Burchell: so well put Mitch....give Lawrence Gobel a hug from our family. Losing a parent your are close to is very hard.

Scott Anderson: That was really beautifully written, Mitch. She was one of a kind. Please accept my condolences and extend my love and energy to Lawrence and JD.

Susan Bobish: So sorry Mitch, Lawrence, and J.D.

Glori Alvarez-Torres: I'm so sorry for your loss Lawrence...

Betsy Oliver-Gallo: Lawrence Gobel I'm here for you. My thoughts and deepest prayers to you and the family.

Alicia Kern: So sorry for your loss, Lawrence and Mitch. Blessings to her spirit and may memories of Barb be a comfort to all who loved her.

Andrea Anderson: What an amazing tribute to Aunt Barb Anderson-Gobel.

Dorothy Rieko: What a beautiful tribute. Sending my condolences and lots of love to you and Lawrence.

Lillian Martinez-Robles: There aren't words on our part that will comfort such a loss. Just know we are thinking of you and praying for comfort, strength, and wisdom to heal your journey now without this important person in your lives. Big hug to both of you.

Michelle Harris Kramer: I'm sorry to hear this & what a beautiful tribute to her. What an amazing woman she must've been. Sending you both love and big hugs.

Theresa Fulbright: Absolutely beautiful tribute. I still remember how welcoming she and Ronnie were when I first met them 30 some years ago. We hung out at the river and had a great day and they drove us all over for sightseeing there in Oregon. She truly believed she would again see Ronnie, her other family members, and her little doggie "Trouble" and all her other wonderful pets. "

Ervin Leazer: So sorry Lawrence and family! My condolences!

Jill Warner: Beautiful tribute Mitch. She was quite the character. Everyone loved her who knew her. Love and hugs to you, Larry, Jim and everyone else whose life she touched.

Brigitte Kelly: I say with a HEAVY HEART U are in my thoughts and prayers Lawrence Gobel your mom will always be around U in spirit guiding and supporting U. Love you both.

Maribel Mena: So sorry to hear about your loss. A beautifully written tribute to a wonderful woman. Sending my love to you and Lawrence.

Kristian Lewis: So beautifully written. I wish I could of meet Barb. May we all cherish the Barb's in our lives. Sending you, Lawrence and families love, light and blessings through this time and always.

Kate Neale: Sweet one. How lucky to be loved and accepted by this lady. Let's reschedule our visit sooner than later.

Lisa Hilburn: One of the most beautiful tributes I've ever read. God bless you both, during this time. All my love and; prayers.

Sharon Murray: Beautiful. She will be missed. Love you all

Leanne Mitchell Dotson: I'm so very sorry for such a tremendous loss! Prayers for peace and comfort during such a difficult time!

Julie Millard Griffith: Mitch, this is so sweet hon, so sad right now

Rebeca Peete: Beautiful!!! I'm so sorry to hear the loss of you mom! My prayers are with you and your family...

Michelle Meeks Peterson: Mitch what a beautiful tribute to love  Lawrence and Mitch and your family, my heartfelt condolences.

Kristi Nelson-Black: Absolutely beautiful...

Stacy Priola: Oh, Mitch! I am so sorry for your loss. What a wonderful tribute to her. Please send my hugs to Lawrence and yourself.

David Macaulay: What a beautiful lady !! So sorry!!

Cheri Harner: Sorry for your loss Lawrence

Michelle Namaka Fonoimoana: I am so sorry for your loss Mitch and Lawrence. May the memories shine upon you in warmth to comfort you in this time of loss.... I was glad to have had a chance to meet her.... Many hugs.

Marion Buttari Harper: perfect

Shelly Castillo: Mitch, so beautiful written. I am so sorry for both of you losing such a wonderful lady and mom. Take strength from family and friends in the difficult time to come. Bless you all.

Sally Elenitsky: You have such an unbelievable gift with words that become so empowering for what you believe and stand for. Such a huge loss for all of you but she has left you with so much.

Alex Whitman-Herrero: Sorry for your loss Lawrence and Mitch. Many hugs coming your way.

Kris Hupp: With all my love and deepest sympathy! I always enjoyed chatting with Barb at your parties. Such a fun friendly lady! Sending big hugs to Lawrence and you Mitch! xoxo

Romina Seto: So sorry for your loss Mitch, but what a beautiful tribute to an amazing lady. Sending love and prayers your way Mitch. Let me know if i can be of any help.

Debbie Andres: So sorry for your loss and for Lawrence's. It sounds like you had a wonderful mother-in-law and I know you will keep her memory alive forever.

Maruta Dankers: Loved reading your tribute to Lawrence's mom. Hugs to you both! Thinking of you two!

Esther Chai Rho: beautiful tribute. sending you + Lawrence lots of love. xx

Pamela Parker Mitchell: I'm so sorry for your loss, David and Lawrence. Regardless of where I stand about your lifestyle, my heart hurts for you both.

Annette Mote: Well said Mitch. I'm so sorry for your loss. My thoughts and prayers are with you both.

Melissa Hall: So sorry for your loss. Prayers are with you all

Susan Cabezas: Sorry for your loss.

Beth Marroquin-Mossman: I'm so sorry for your loss!

Brenda Ayala: All my sympathy and love to you and Lawrence for your loss at this time. Sending hugs to you both

Emilie Oliver Leigh: So sorry for your loss! What a great tribute to her. Thinking of you and your family. Xo

Tina Constable Jamieson: So sorry.

Kristin Gall Massi: I read that twice. So wonderful. Hugs to you and Lawrence.

Denise Appell: I am sorry for your loss. Sending prayers to you both.

Gail Kempf: Sorry for your loss Mitch and Lawrence. She will always be in your heart.

Sharon Davison: Larry so sorry about Barbara Jean. But she's now with Ronnie and happy again, going to ropings and having her tomato beer. And on another sad note
Jim Perry died of an heart attack yesterday. And Mitch I know you don't know me, but I wanted to say what beautiful things you said about Barbara Jean. She will be missed by a lot of people.

Kristen Holm: I am so very sorry for your loss. What a beautiful tribute. hugs to you both.

Chris Guevara: Such a lovely thing to say about such a special person. My thoughts and prayers are with you both

Andrea Arias: Both of you are in my thoughts and prayers.

Jennifer Yi: I'm sorry. Hugs to you and your husband.

Alma Fong: Oh Lawrence I am so sad to hear of your great loss! You are lucky to have Mitch to lean on during such a difficult time. My prayers go out to you, Mitch & your family.

Julie Claycomb: so sorry for your loss.

Nat Pendle: Beautiful words as always, you have a gift! My condolence to you both. Sending hugs from Paris

Jill Miller: Our deepest sympathy to you both. What a beautiful tribute Mitch!

Susan Picking: So sorry for your s and Lawrence's loss. Her love is so big, I could feel it through this tribute. Though Barb has transitioned her love still lights up your hearts. We definitely need more Barbs in this world

Patrick W. Aina: Such sad news. My heart goes out to you Lawrence, Mitch and JD.

Trine Bacchetti: So sorry for Lawrence and your loss. Thank you for sharing your gratitude and memories. So much love in your family.

Doug Williams: I am so very sorry for your loss. My prayers go out to you

Judy Bloomingdale-Vinke: I am so sorry for your loss. My deepest sympathy to you and Lawrence and his family.

Lauren Selinsky: Oh Lawrence!!! Our condolences

Curtis Maughlin: So sorry for your loss Lawrence and Mitch! Those were lovely words, and a fantastic tribute to her life!

Tim Burkinshaw: What a touching and beautiful tribute to my Dear Friend Lawrence's Mum. My deepest condolences to You, Lawrence and of course, JD. My heartfelt thoughts are with you, at this time. xoxox

Gail Mooers: Beautiful words for a beautiful lady! much love & prayers to you, Larry and Jimmy! xoxo

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Hummingbird Dance

There are certain times in my garden cycle that I always see hummingbirds seek out a feast of nectar.
 In the spring when the honeysuckle vine is in bloom and near the fall when the obedience plant is in bloom. 

I love it when they are regularly in my yard!

Today when I looked out the window I saw 2 hummingbirds in a dance. They were either trying to scare one another off or doing a love dance. They would fly in sync through the yard and then find some nectar to drink.

Here are a few pictures!
 The obedience plant is in purple. I've pointed out the hummingbird with a white arrow. 

There are two birds, one with a red tail and the other all gray. 
 Here is the gray one. 
 The red one  .... and on the far right hand side is a flash of the gray one. 
 The gray one decided to find other nectar and came to the patio hanging baskets. This poor fuchsia basket has been having a hard time in 100 degree weather, but it's still hanging on. 
 Now the red tailed hummingbird found a beautiful Zinnia to feast on. 
This time of year when everything is big and blooming - it gives me such joy. 

I do love my garden and all the creatures who enjoy to feast on nectar here. 

Please come again!

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Sunday Motivation

I love this quote which originally came from Jenkin Lloyd Jones.
It's so true that most of our lives are ordinary. However, that doesn't mean we can't love our own journey and rejoice in the little things with a grateful heart. 

Friday, August 14, 2015

Brady Guest Blogger: 21st Birthday Vegas Trip!

My birthday is typically a non exciting event. I can't really even remember most of my birthdays, and I think most of them were just another day with cake and maybe a card from my mother. My birthday is at the end of summer when school is out, and I wasn't a really social kid, so I never had a birthday party where people would care besides my family really. I remember my 8th birthday, as I got to have some friends over and we did a little campout sleepover thing in the backyard, I remember my 18th birthday, as I was up in the Sawtooth National Forest in the White Cloud Mountains on a backpacking trip on high adventure back when I was still LDS, and my 20th birthday I got my tattoos and made Super Mario Piranha Plant cookies with my friend just coming back from a trip to Puerto Vallarta Mexico to celebrate my brother's 30th birthday. So that's three birthdays I remember.

This however, this was the first birthday where I actually celebrated it. My 21st birthday, the big one. The one where society in the United States trusts me with everything really except maybe renting a car, and what better way to celebrate the age you can drink than by going on an ultimate trip to Vegas.

Vegas almost didn't happen. My mom had talked about earlier in the year that we should go to Vegas with my brother and sister in law, but then she cancelled because she's been trying really hard to get out of debt and get a new roof for the house. So then I was left to finding friends... *facepalm* my awkward life. So, if you don't know me that well, I'm not socially awkward, but I am introverted. I can have perfectly normal conversations and make friends with people, but I don't typically hang out with people outside of the place I know them from like work/school/extra curricular activities. I did have this one friend named Christyn who I met my first year after transferring to the University of Utah. We both sat in the front row of our Calculus III class, and were both in Computer Science, and have been friends ever since as we ended up being in a lot of the same classes. This last year, we were joined at the hip as a lot of our assignments turned into group projects. She also hinted that I should go to Vegas with her for my 21st birthday while we were still in school. So this summer, we actually did end up hanging out once, and then I asked her. Then the adventure was on.

Before the trip, my mother sent me a little package in the mail.


There was a cute little card, some movies for my iTunes library, and then a ton of balloons! I decided to pour the balloons out to see if there was something at the bottom. Then I pulled out one of the popped balloons and saw that there was money sticking out from inside and realized that every single balloon had cash in it. I quickly popped all of the balloons and was surprised to see that there were some pretty large bills in there. I think after I counted, there was about $300 in cash - a glorious amount of spending money for food, transportation, and fun at Vegas.

Day 1:

On the day of my birthday, I woke up, got ready, and packed for my trip. My hair was looking pretty cute that day, but when I went outside to go to the Trax station to go to the airport, it was raining pretty good outside. Shortly after stepping outside, my straight hair immediately went into a giant curl, and then I just kind of had to suck it up the rest of the day.


The flight went pretty good as well. Christyn and I talked pretty much the whole time, and the flight was offering complimentary wine and beer on our flight. I however declined because it was a red wine instead of a white, and I haven't enjoyed red wine or beer yet in my short experimenting while in Mexico last year. Once outside of the plane, the hot air of Nevada hit us like a brick wall. I was pretty well contained, but the highs in Nevada were about 108 degrees and in Salt Lake it was about 86 degrees. Once inside the airport, we both laughed as there were already slot machines just outside the gate. I could just feel the sales pitch, "On a layover in Las Vegas? Want the Vegas experience? Now you don't even have to leave the airport! Go ahead and lose all of your money at a slot machine only 20 feet away from your gate before you leave!"

Anyway, we go out and take a cab to our resort hotel called Treasure Island, and our cabby is very nice and talkative the whole time. We told him that is was my 21st birthday that day, and he instantly lit up, started basically giving us a tour along with a list of fun things we could check out while we were there, many which were already on our list. The best line he said was, "If you look hard enough, you can find anything here," and then he started to awkwardly transition into drugs. He then started saying things like, "Marijuana is almost legal here, and the cops are pretty chill about it. If they catch you with a joint, they'll probably grab it from you, slap it onto the pavement, maybe fine you, but as long as you aren't carrying bags of the stuff around you should be pretty okay."Cristyn had this other friend who went traveling and told her that they got stoned on their trip, and she was like, "How do you even know how to get drugs in a new city that you've never been to before?" and her friend replies, "Oh, just ask the cabby or the bellhop, they always know where to get drugs." Bam, there it was, first had experience, cabby knows where to get drugs. Christyn almost pushed it and wanted to ask him where we could get drugs just to confirm, but decided against it (which I'm glad she did because that would have made my nervous).


We get to our hotel, prior to the trip, my mom and I decided to splurge and pay a little extra for a view of the strip.

That was the view we got from our window. Yeah, it did have two really big parking garages in front of it, but that's still a pretty decent view of the strip nonetheless.
The first thing we wanted to do was figure out transportation and get to the Mandalay Bay hotel to pick up our tickets for Blue Man Group later that day, and to visit the Shark Reef Aquarium, accompanied by a lovely birthday dinner also at Mandalay Bay. We figured out that we could get bus passes that pretty much patrol the strip frequently for only $20 for our three day stay.


The Shark Reef Aquarium was spectacular, I got some really good selfie pictures in.
     






After that we went out to eat at Strip Steak. It was very funny because we realized that everyone thought we were together, but nope. I'm into guys, and she's into girls, it just wouldn't work out. I was surprised when she grabbed the bill though. She wanted to treat me to my birthday dinner. I compromised with her and told her that I would give her half of the resort fee that we split at the hotel. My dinner would have bout about 2 weeks worth of groceries at home, and is probably going to be the most expensive meal I'll have until I'm 30.

I am glad I decided to get desert though, I was going through a really bad chocolate withdrawal as I was basically cut off for the last four days due to me running out of food at home and not wanting to go shopping. I didn't take pictures of my food, but Christyn did grab this little shot of my Chocolate Napoleon cake.


Then we went to go see the Blue Man Group show. We booked our tickets on vegas.com basically at the same time, but we ended up sitting in completely different areas from each other. Good tip for anyone making reservations for a show, if you are going with other people and you don't get to chose your seat, only your section, make sure you buy them with one transaction and have the other person pay you back. It wasn't too bad though. She sat next to me pretty much the whole time before the show started, and left when the people with the assigned seats arrive, which wasn't until the end.

Before the show they were flying around these giant remote controlled floating eyes, and they were handing out this florescent streamer thing that everyone was putting around their head, so I followed suit. It's hard to explain what the blue man group is. It was kind of like several short skits, interesting music, and at the end there was a lot of confetti, streamers, and giant balls that they let us bounce around the audience for about five minutes. It was pretty trippy, and I'm glad I went.

After that, I we went out Fremont Street, and it was the first place I got card checked. I was actually really surprised that they didn't card check us at Strip Steak for the wine. The barmaid hurrahed that it was my birthday, asked if I wanted an extra shot of liquor in my drink, and I was like, "Sure! Lets do it!" and then she also asked if I wanted an extra shot of rum, and I think that shot was on the house. So I had in my hands the most alcoholic beverage I have ever held.


That picture of my drink is the level at which I was drunk, that's how much alcohol was in it. I have never been drunk before in my life. I asked my friend Christyn if I could stop, to which her reply was more of a cheer, "Not drunk enough! Not drunk enough!" And she made me finish the whole thing, such a good friend.

Now, I am a light weight, I don't drink, so this is probably the most drunk I will ever get in a while. I didn't really like being drunk. I've had drinks before, and I have wondered if I was actually drunk and just didn't know it - I have felt completely in control every time I've had a drink. Nope, I think that when you're drunk, you know you're drunk. I was trying to stay in control, but there was this odd disconnect between my brain and my body. Yes, I didn't trust myself to walk in a straight line at the level when I took my picture, and I was probably slurring, either that or I develop some type of drunk accent because hearing myself talk while I was drunk was a new experience on it's own. Also, my body would giggle a lot at things, but my brain was like, "Okay Brady, it wasn't that funny, why are you laughing." And then there was this certain point where I couldn't really seem to focus on faces that well. I can also totally see why someone would probably be a slut when they're drunk as well. First, you're in a really good mood, and you feel like making out with someone would just make you feel that much better. Second, because you can't really focus on people's faces, you don't really care how attractive they are. I mean, I wasn't at the level of drunk to where I could wander outside of my type preference - I wouldn't make out with a girl, or a black guy, or a really muscly dude, or an old dude, because those are not my type - but if there was a white skinny boy that came up to me and was like, "Hey, can I make out with you?" I would be like, "Heck yeah! What's stopping you!? Come here!" All in all, for the most part I didn't enjoy being drunk enough to do it again; it's not something that I think is fun, which is good. The reason I abstained from alcohol even after coming out is because the church taught me to be afraid of it. I was super worried that I would get instantly addicted and fall into this dangerous lifestyle, but it didn't happen like that at all. I'm not worried about becoming an alcoholic and I think it's fine for people to do, just be semi responsible; don't text people and don't drive.


Anyway, Christyn and I after a late night stumble onto the bus to take us back to Treasure Island, and there were like these really nice people on the bus with us. They handed Chistyn all these cards for a "Gentlemen's club" and then she started to hand them out to people as they came on the bus, and it made me super embarrassed, but she made a great card pusher, I have to admit.
The reason I say the guys on the bus were nice is because they made friendly conversation, they didn't mind that I was sloppy drunk on my 21st birthday, and best of all, they told us that our stop was coming up so we could get off. Christyn and I were just chatting up a storm and if they hadn't said something, we would have kept talking until we hit the complete south end of the strip and had to get off and wait for another bus going north back to our hotel.


Christyn and I had some pretty great open drunk conversation. We both kind of sat in the bathroom drinking water out of the sink so we didn't die the next day. When I went to bed though, I totally got the hiccups. Christyn thought it was funny, she's like, "Who actually get's the hiccups when they're drunk!?" to which my response was, "People! It *hic* 's a thing!" Then, when we stopped talking and I was trying to hold my breath to get rid of my hiccups, out of nowhere Christyn just goes, "RAAAAAA!" and jumps across half missing and half attacking my bed. I'm like, "What the *hic* heck was that Chrystin?" and she said, "Sorry, I was hoping I could scare the hiccups out of you (me hiccuping in the background), but I don't think it worked."


Day 2:

The next day we woke up, got our next show tickets at the Wynn which was a very nice place, it had this very Great Gatsby theme to it - this like 1900's elegance. They had this big waterfall, chandeliers that moved up and down in one room, and a hot air balloon and a merry-go-round that were entirely made out of flowers!


Then we decided to go on a bus tour, like on one of those actual two story buses without the roof on the top with the whole tour guide pointing to things as we pass buy explaining what they are and fun facts about the place. 






After that, we decided to walk the strip, go to the M&M world, Coca Cola store and the Hersey's Chocolate World on the strip next to New York New York. We were a little dehydrated from the bus ride, so I didn't remember to take many pictures as I wasn't too impressed by the things and stuff at the time. However, when we did go into a store to buy bottled water, we saw those same nice people from on the bus the other day. It was soo weird.
We then went to the pool at the resort to relax a little. After that, we went back to the Wynn to watch Cirque du Soleil : Le RĂªve (The Dream). I don't have any pictures of the show of course, but I have a really bad dark picture of the Aqua Theater, which was this happy world of genius engineering and beauty. All the performers were on point, and the costumes and special effects were glorious.
A clip of the show from YouTube:
Day 3:

The next day, we wanted to check out Circus Circus. They had an amusement park inside of a giant dome. However, after arriving, my opinion of the place was that it was pretty ghetto, but what can you do.


But honestly, after the theme park and getting a tad motion sick, we ended up just going back to the hotel and having an extremely lazy afternoon. On the first day of the trip, we were put on a complimentary champagne list because it was my birthday, so we ordered that from room service and spent the whole afternoon watching TV. We would have went back to the pool, but it was kind of cloudy. 
So, when the time came, after watching a lot of rich people eat food on the tele, we went out to a classy French restaurant at Paris on the strip. I had escargot for the first time which was a bonus, and of course slaughtered a lot of french pronunciations, my French teacher in high school would probably cry.

We then tried to do a lot of the free night activities. The Bellagio (featured in Oceans 13) was pretty close to Paris, and we watched a few water shows. We then tried to basically sprint to the Mirage to see the Volcano Explosion. It was swarmed by tourists and I could barely see the thing on my tip-toes.

Then, we were hoping to see this thing called the "Pirate Fight" at Treasure Island, which was our resort, however, apparently the show was cancelled 2 years prior, so we just had strawberry daiquiris in little cups that we got to keep, and then retired to go back to the airport the following day.

Yeah! That was it. I really loved the city and the sky scrapers so much! I really wish every city was designed in as much excess as Las Vegas. I think I really have to live in a place with a lot of sky scrapers when I leave Utah. Now I'm looking forward the next adventure in the not so distant future.

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