Archive for February, 2012

The poem I wrote on our 40th anniversary says it all. Kurt’s Swedish family was against the marriage because I was a Mexican Catholic. They advised him against marrying me. His mother even flew out to California from Minnesota to convince him, bringing a minister with her. We went to dinner with her and Kurt made sure he was never alone with her so she couldn’t bring up the subject of our differences. The letters from his family sure did, however. “You’ll have to stay in the Air Force all your life because you’ll never be accepted in polite society.” This one cut deeply but we were young and we knew better. We were best friends first and we knew we shared many things in common, including the fact that we both came from large extended families that cared for each other.


Kurt clowning as we opened gifts on our 40th anniversary.


Me opening gifts on our 40th anniversary.

Today on our 48th year together we are still best friends and firm in our belief that we were meant for each other. We’ve gone through our share of trials and tribulations, mostly in our later years but breast cancer, open heart surgery, and Parkinson’s have brought us closer. Our joys are our children and grandchildren!


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I ordered a Fitbit tracker from Amazon and got it yesterday. I set up this afternoon so now I can keep track of how far I walk, how many calories I eat, and how many times I wake up during the night! Amazing how this little plastic thing will do all that.

Fitbit even gives you flowers!

This morning was clay class day. Two of my students didn’t come, one was in California visiting her daughter and the other had pressing things to do. Shirley and I had the Casita to ourselves and glazed bisque ware. She glazed some wind chimes she made and I glazed a couple of platters and mirror frames. It always takes more time to pick just the right color for our projects.

Shirley made her first planter today and it turned out well. It’s drying and will be ready to fire in a week or so. I have two masks that I’m working on. One is a Yaqui mask that I’m using underglazes on so that after the bisque firing, all I have to do is use clear glaze on it. The other is a cat mask that I’m still carving on so I’m keeping it wrapped until I can get to it. I had to stop working on both masks for awhile so that I could glaze the projects I had bisqued. My next firing is a glaze one and I almost have enough projects to fill the kiln.

A Yaqui mask I made a couple of years ago.

Painting the glaze on projects is enjoyable but I prefer working with the clay. It’s more creative for me and I love the feel of the clay. However, opening the kiln after a glaze firing is exciting – just like opening Christmas presents. I never know how a glaze is going to turn out – hopefully just as I planned but sometimes better and sometimes a disappointment. I like the surprise element of firing glazes.

I tell my students, we play with the clay for fun and relaxation. It’s the process, not the product so that when something breaks in the kiln or if it doesn’t turn out the way we wanted it, we’re not too upset. We enjoyed the process and getting a product is a bonus!

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Kurt, Shirley (one of my Morenci High School classmates) and I went to Carlsbad this weekend to attend the wedding of our friend and MHS classmate, Linda Henderson Hoffman. It’s a long way from Tucson to Carlsbad, New Mexico so we took it in stages. We left on Friday and stayed over night in Las Cruces. We enjoyed shopping in Mesilla and had a great Mexican dinner at La Posta.

The next day at the wedding, we met another MHS classmate, Sonja Kennedy Nerud and her husband Gary. Linda was happy to have us there at a private wedding for family only. She counted us as her family! She and I have known each other since Kindergarten. Sonja and Shirley joined us in 5th grade. We four, plus two others, Irene and Deanna, have been getting together here in Tucson for the last 12 years. We call ourselves the Morenci Girls!

Morenci Girls

Elena, Linda, Sonja, and Shirley

When Linda was walking to her groom, she caught sight of us and mouthed “Morenci Girls” and welcomed us with a radiant smile. Linda’s husband passed away last January and Jim (her new husband) lost his wife only a month or two before. The couples were best friends and during this year of mourning, they consoled each other. It was only natural it would lead to marriage. Jim had his three daughters, their husbands, children, and grandchildren there. Linda’s daughter Starlene was her matron of honor and the only one of her three children to make it to the wedding.

Jim’s family reminded me of the large extended family I grew up with. My grandparents had seven daughters, two sons, and a multitude of grandchildren plus my grandmother’s nieces and nephews and their children visit them for lunch every Sunday. My grandmother, Teresita Limón Díaz, cooked big pots of chicken mole and rice and with her daughters made stacks of flour tortillas to feed us all. The women gathered in the kitchen, the men on the porch or the living room, and the kids played outside.

Linda with her new husband and great-grandchildren

After the traditional toast, cutting the cake, and throwing the bouquet to the great-granddaughters and the garter to the great-grandsons, the community of Riverbend started arriving for cake and punch and to offer their good wishes. Linda and Jim are fortunate to live in a very active retirement community. Shirley, Kurt, and I had visited Linda several years ago and were impressed with how these neighbors looked after each other. It reminded us of living in Morenci.

After all the festivities were over, the Morenci Girls and their husbands went to dinner at a steak house that had a private dining nook where we able to catch up and get to know Jim. We had to make sure that he understood what an honor he was awarded by marrying a Morenci Girl!

Jim reads his vows to Linda.

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Yesterday, my husband Kurt, our son Adam, and I went to Karchner Caverns. It was the second time Kurt and I had visited this impressive “live” cavern. We saw it for the first time several years ago and it amazed us by its splendor. On that visit, I was “kissed” by the cavern gods three times. This visit, no “kisses.” Water dripping on you brings good luck. The ranger who led the tour this time told us that I should have stayed behind back then as property of the state of Arizona because with three kisses, I was a formation!

The first time we heard about the cavern was a short article in a magazine and of course we wanted to see it. The next time we were in Arizona, we stopped in Benson. Surprisingly no one knew about it or where it was. Later we found out that it was kept secret by its discoverers for 14 years until they were able to arrange stewardship so that the cavern would not be destroyed. The Karchner family who owned the land, sold it to the state and they in turn created a way for people to see it without destroying it.

Going underground to see it is an adventure – a delight for the eyes and for me, a spiritual experience. I was glad that the tour group we were with must have felt the same way because they were silent for the most part. It was like being in church.

Thirty years ago we visited Carlsbad Caverns and found it amazing in a different way. The number of tourists roaming around and the rainbow lights that the National Park system had installed eclipsed the beauty of the cavern. I’m hoping to visit it again soon to see what it’s like after the colored lights now that they’ve been removed.

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Our youngest granddaughter, Kayla, will be one year old on February 22nd, but her parents gave her a birthday party in the park on Saturday. Kayla had a marvelous time, observing everyone and everything. I’ve never seen a baby be as curious as she is! Everything interests her. There was so much going on and she was in the middle of it all.

Kayla playing with Papa Honey's ring

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