random reflections

sdo – sisters’ day out

by jani on November 14, 2012

GNO or GDO have become common acronyms for those fun night or day outings with our BFFs – mainly just a great excuse to get together with our girlfriends. Well here’s my newest acronym and I hope I can use it more frequently because it is just a special day… SDO or “Sisters’ Day Out”!

We often hear the term sibling rivalry. Yep, I had this with my big sister, but only in the typical, “Jani, you ruined my favorite sweater!” kind of way! My sister is five years older and has always been perfect in every way. She always followed the rules… I always broke them. If someone mistook me for my sister, it was immediately followed with, “Oh wait…  you’re the younger one…  the one with the personality! That’s right, your sister’s the pretty one!” So, you see the rivalry really never came from her, personally. It’s how those who were on the periphery viewed us, that set me up with years of feeling inadequate.

Dee Dee (my nickname for my big sis) went to Castilleja (prep) School… so of course I had to follow in her footsteps. She went to Stephens College in Missouri… so I went to Stephen’s College. She was a dancer… so I felt that I needed to be a dancer. Her field of expertise was ballet; mine was contemporary jazz. She got her degree in secondary education and became a beloved teacher for thirty years –  raising two lovely children. I received my degree in elementary education from University of Denver and began my family and career as an at-home mom of seven. Why did I always feel like I somehow needed to compete…  to become as accomplished as my sis? So many wasted years of struggling to be just like my sister… which was a total impossibility, to begin with. The only time I could even remotely share clothes with her was when I was 15 and she was 20! She’s always been a perfect size 2 to 4 – I’ve always fluctuated between a size 12 to 16. Whenever I could wear a size 10 it was time to celebrate! And at one or two times in my life, I actually fit in an 8… imagine that?!

So, I’ve finally had this epiphany this past weekend… all those years spent feeling I couldn’t possibly fit in my sister’s shoes (both figuratively and literally) was self imposed! We are as different as two people could ever be and yet, there is a love and respect between us that will last forever!  That difference is what makes each of us to be the best “us” we can be! I see the refection in my sister’s eyes differently now. I see her smiling with a love and admiration that can only come when you feel genuine love and respect. She truly wants and hopes for my happiness and I for hers.

Every year for as long as we can remember, she chose to spend her birthday with our mom. Now that Mom lives near me in an assisted living home in Utah, my sister flies the many miles from her Bay Area home to spend this special weekend with my mom and me. This year was no exception. But during the latest visits Dee Dee has made, we have found time for just the two of us. It has become our SNO or SDO. We treasure this time. We catch up one each other’s lives, our children’s lives – and of course sharing photos of the newest grandchild. We reminisce on many of the  moments from our youth, and always… always find ourselves laughing that hearty laugh that can only come from the deepest core!

If you are ever struggling with a sister rivalry, get over it. One or both of you let go of those feelings that can tend to poison relationships. It’s just not worth the pettiness! And you may never enjoy my favorite new acronym for a best time spent… the SDO.

Here are a few shots we took at a favorite gift shop – the Emporium at Thanksgiving Point. We could spend hours there… and we did!

So no, we’re no longer those two little girls working on trying to be the best in our parent’s eyes. We know we’re the best in each other’s!

If you have a sister or are fortunate enough to have more than one… take that special plunge. Find time for just the two of you and make it count. After all, isn’t this what families are all about? “Together Forever”!


me and my shadow on a beautiful fall day!

by jani on October 22, 2012

It was perfect – a quiet Sunday afternoon in my backyard… the only sound were the birds chirping about the newly poured birdseed in the feeder. You’re most welcome, little birdies! And then there was the faraway sound of an occasional jet making tic-tac-toes in the sky. I couldn’t think of a better day. It was just me, my Canon Rebel T4i and my new (a gift from my sweet son) EFS Standard Zoom  Macro Lens for Canon. I know I need to take a class and learn manual… but even on AV or auto settings it is so very cool!

Here’s part of the tic tac… you get the picture ( pun intended).

Then there’s the mélange of fall berries on our trees. They’re beautiful and an inspiration for putting away spring/summer bright greens and bringing out all our colors-of- fall décor!


Then, way to ruin my high… I’m thinking this would make a cool picture, right? A close-up of a dead cricket. But oh no, after I take my shot… this poor little wounded critter tries to move. Do I step on him and put him out of his misery? I’m wearing my cool ankle boots. Hmmm… go change into my junk-around shoes.  I can’t do it, I can’t step on it. I have absolutely no problem with swatting a fly and dumping it down a running disposal while it’s still wiggling. But this little cricket is so helpless. I just scoot  him into the shade… maybe that will ease whatever the little guy might be  feeling. Probably doesn’t feel anything, but it does have a broken leg. Poor little Jiminy! It was gone this morning, so I suspect a bird got it. Yep, I should have stepped on him!

So do you feel tendenessr towards some creatures, less so with others? Do you love lizards and get to have the nickname, “The Official Lizard Catcher”? I liked that when I was at camp! But I could so easily kill a yellowjacket, mosquito or fly, 9r pour salt on a slug (mean, I know) or smash an ugly spider… Sorry Charlotte!

The point is…  I love fall and I’m sad for the cricket! How about you? I bet you spent your time doing the have-tos, like corn mazes, haunted houses (both I stay clear of – or bring my own working electric saw!) And there’s always the enchanting pumpkin patch and my dash to find the white ones! Why do we feel they’re so enchanted? Cinderella? Nah! They’re just so much fun to cut up into gruesome looking, scary faces… well, for some.

I’ve decided that I am now officially a lover of fall…. I’ve come over to the dark side – or bright side depending on how you look at it. Haunted houses are dark and creepy… and pumpkin patches? Now I could spend all day taking photos in those! What about you – are you a haunted house kind of fall lover, or a pumpkin patch  lover… or are you just an anything kind of fall lover? I’d really like some fun comments on this one. We could change the world!


two bees and a fly – don’t rush fall!

by jani on September 21, 2012

Can I just remind you what Bill Murray said in “Groundhog Day”? “I’ll give you a winter prediction. It’s gonna be cold… it’s gonna be gray…” Yeah, I know he says, ” …it’s gonna last you for the rest of your life”… but, seriously… think about the cold and gray part. I do know that winter where I live is cold and gray and blustery and freezing and… well, you get the picture. So, unless you live in Arizona (not always warm in the winter) or Southern California (also not always warm in the winter) or Florida or on some tropical island. Can we please slow down with all the autumn and fall soups, decor etc? At least for a couple more weeks?

So here’s how I’m enjoying my last few warm, sunny days. I’m watching our neighborhood bees (yes, we are fortunate enough to have beekeepers nearby) pollinate. It was fascinating to watch these two bees working together in the same rose along with a fly. The bees – I love!

More beautiful September flowers from our rose garden!

…and more pollination!

 … and more pollination!

I filled the bird feeder today, listened to our hundreds of birds singing happily in our trees, and picked tomatoes, basil and yellow squash from our garden. Still seems like summer to me!

I’d love to hear how you are enjoying the last warm days of this year? Or are you in a hurry to decorate for fall? 


“toilets by any other name would smell…”

by jani on September 12, 2012

I love Shakespeare – but somehow Shakespeare and toilets just don’t go together… or do they? ” To pee or not to pee; that is the question?”.” A toilet by any other name would smell [not] as sweet!” I don’t know does the loo or WC make you think…stinky? It’s a question for the ages….

But as ridiculous as it may seem to be having a discussion about toilets, it seems to be on a lot of people minds these day. Just check out the Deseret News article on the new toilet technology… if that happens to interest you:.http://www.deseretnews.com/article/765597529/New-toilet-technology-after-150-years-of-waste.html

As for me, I have a few thoughts on WCs, loos, restrooms, washrooms, honey pots or however you describe them. How would you feel if you happened to be walking into a restroom and saw this sign… it would not be a comforting moment.

Or this…

Or definitely not  this…

So, I turn around, gather my nerves… I was not expecting to see this.

I don’t care how many white plastic bags and blue tape are used to cover these… it’s just not workin’ guys!

Seriously?! And, this is  gonna make me think it’s not a… urinal?! Yeah, it really worked well – because, I wasn’t feeling like I was walking into the biggest germ infested hole ever… And why is that? It was just a guys’ restroom. Why did I, and everyone else I talked to in there, feel like we had to wash and rewash our hands a dozen times? Not even double bagging and double taping is working here, people!

This cute lady and I had a laugh over this whole thing – but she agreed that it made her feel a little leery about using these facilities.

So this is just a suggestion… let me just throw out a novel idea. Maybe if you throw a huge tarp over those sweet little urinals, no one would even notice. I’m just imaging  how long it took these guys to wrap each p-o-t-t-y. I ask why? Were they really that dirty? or stained or… yuck! So, a large tarp over this whole area… a much better idea?

I have other p-o-t-t-y stories. I assure you they will be rated PG! But I would be interested… does this gross you out at all or are you like…”Oh, no big deal dude, it’s just a wrapped urinal! I’d love to hear your thoughts on this deep and stirring conundrum!