Tuesday, January 27, 2009

please keep in your prayers...

Please keep in your thoughts and prayers, Claudia and Dave Shilton. Dave passed away yesterday suddenly from a fall. My heart goes out to you, Claudia, during this difficult time.


Sunday, January 25, 2009

all good things must come to an end...

We had our last day here in Arizona and spent it sleeping in, hanging out at the house, and then to my Uncle Richard and Aunt Vicki's house. They really were across the desert out the back of our house. 5 minutes down the road. So I was glad that we made it over there to spend the afternoon.
We were able to catch an amazing sunset after dinner. Poor Kathy Jo - we kept her busy today that she missed her usual Sunday afternoon nap. She was getting pretty tired by the time the sun was going down. But I managed to get another good photo out of her.

We walked out a bit behind the house to the big Saguaro cactus named Grandpa. Such an amazing plant that they all seem to have different personalities and characteristics. Each one is different from the other -kind of like us, I guess. Wonder if they think the same thing as we stand next to them talking about him like he is a person...

I think the key to the perfect sunset is to have some clouds in the sky.

My uncle made burgers and chicken for dinner.. He hasn't changed a bit.

We each used a walking stick on our little walk in case of critters and to push away prickly branches. But hey, if it doesn't poke ya, bite ya or kill ya, you are not in Arizona.
It took some arm twisting but I finally did get a good picture of my aunt and uncle together out on our walk.

Just before we left on the walk, Dan and Sunny came by. Dan is my Grandma's brother's son from my mom side's of the family. So he is cousins with my uncle Richard and my second cousin. I am sure that I have met him before at reunions and get togethers but it was good to see him and catch up a bit. They live just down the road a bit from my aunt and uncle so I was glad they stopped by.
But we have packed up and picked up the house a bit now. We are enjoying our last night here. We have had a great time.
June and Kathy Jo - I am so happy we got this opportunity to spend the weekend. You gals make me smile just thinking of you and the memories of this weekend will be with me forever. I can't wait til our next getaway - January 2010??? I love you, Girls....
So going to show the girls how to make a folded cupcake and think about going to bed. KJ is looking kind of droopy and needs to get some sleep. We fly home tomorrow and back to life at home...
Til next time.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

cacti, cacti, and more cacti!!!

Today was a full day of desert experience. We started off by going to the Sonora Desert Museum. I was worried it would be walking through a dark musty building looking at replicas of cactus and old dusty stuffed animals - but every time we told someone we were going there, we got a great reaction. Oh is a must see. Oh yes - you gotta go there. So we are so glad we did. What an amazing place. It wasn't really a museum though. The name doesn't really do it justice. It is more of an outdoor walking path through the desert with live animals.

But for some reason my pictures are all out of order so will have to jump around here a bit....

Here are some highlights from day two of our Arizona adventures...

Kathy Jo took on a part time job as a bar maid for the afternoon in Old Tucson Studios.
Look at those cowgirls coming back from their trail ride.

Really couldn't keep them away from the cowboys.... May need a new Sheriff in town because the guy in the middle is in Kathy Jo's suitcase...

June continued to shop for the perfect outfit today. This time tried out a little fringe number.
Before Kathy Jo and June went on their trail ride just out of Old Tucson Studios - I just grabbed myself a cowboy... and skipped the trail ride. This is me, Cowboy Tim and his horse.

Kathy Jo just really couldn't find the perfect boots....

June and I were ready with our six shooters and side arms for the OK Corral...

Was just a perfect beautiful day in Arizona with the desert, cactus and wildlife - and good friends...
Either she was being held up or being a Saguaro...

Sorry, now jumping to the end of the day for a bit. We went to Saguaro National Park and what an awesome place to stand among these cactus. We found out that these cactus are 70 years old before they get their first arms. Then it is every 6-7 years for each additional. So this guy - not sure why - but they were guys to us today - was over 106 years old! Was looking pretty good for a guy his age...

Just amazing. We stayed til the sun went down trying to get that perfect postcard sunset...

Now kind of back to the start of our day...
We started with a bird of prey show and saw some amazing birds. Apparently I didn't have enough coffee this morning or something... The show was scheduled for 10:30. We got there a little early and were chatting with the volunteer. I asked her, "How do you plan this show at exactly 10:30 and know the birds will be here?" "Well," she says practically at the same time, Here is your sign... "Well, we put little alarm clocks on their tiny little feet and hope they show up on time. It got to be a little tricky with the time change so Arizona stopped and no longer adjust for daylight savings." Oh well, duh! Ok, bring out the birds.... lol

This was the last bird of the show and the wingspan was five feet from tip to tip. Just a beautiful bird. We saw a raven, an owl, and a falcon (I believe.)
Sorry, pictures are out of order, but this is June and her secret service agents on the bridge crossing the Rio Lobo River in Old Tucson Studios. A lot of the old western movies with John Wayne were filmed there. Even episodes of Little House on the Prairie and Bonanza. After the desert museum, we spent a few hours in the afternoon at the studios. Great photo ops...

This is another picture of Kathy Jo just not getting the map.....
Some how over the past two days, I have kind of become the map reader. June - don't think she even looked at one, she just keeps saying, "I'm with you guys..." Kathy Jo - now this girl just can't read a map.... Even if we are looking at the same map!
We had finished the birds at the museum and were making a plan of what we wanted to see and where to go to next. No, Kathy Jo, your map is upside down and see yours says the same as mine.... Really...
Finally we decided on the route to go, but just not which way to head out...

(We went with my plan... and made it out alive.)
Oh and we even took a little side trip (there are no photos of this just for the sake that we didn't want to leave any evidence and to protect the innocent) we drove up on an unpaved loop to an overlook in the Saguaro National Park in search of the best sunset photo opp spot. But did I mention that we are using the Mercedes that is in the garage of the house we are staying??? Is this an off road vehicle? Does it have 4 wheel drive? Are the tires in decent shape? Is the tank full? The answer would be no to all of the above but it actually drove very nicely down the water wash (or drive river bed) that was the road.... Just a little side adventure to add to our memories of another fantastic day.
They we came back to the house after the sunset and I made dinner for the girls. Pork chops with cinnamon apples and raisins on top with a baked potato (Great recipe from Rachel Ray) and we uploaded our photos and had even more laughs. Oh and we went out to see all the stars - such a clear night and there are no street lights out here so it was just an fabulous site to see all those stars!
But getting pretty late and I am finally starting to feel a little tired. Should call it a night. Tomorrow is another day. We plan to just hang out at the house though til we go to my aunt and uncle's for a BBQ. Our weekend is coming to an end too fast - makes me sad. These gals are such beautiful people that I am blessed to have as friends. It has just been a perfect time catching up, laughing and sharing the wonders of this area.
So til next time....

Friday, January 23, 2009

check your guns at the door!

So here we are in Arizona and just having a great time. We have had a little rain but it seems to only rain when we get in the car to drive to our next point of interest.

Yesterday was our travel day. We is Kathy Jo from Chicago and June from Salt Lake. We all arrived by 1pm and our driver, Julio, brought us out to the house. The house is beautiful and kind of in the middle of no where. But hey - we are on vacation and just loving it!

We put together a shopping list and headed out with Gertie, our GPS, and the mercedes... We ended up in the middle of road construction in Tucson. There was a stretch where all the exits on the freeway were closed. Poor Gertie was in such a tailspin and recalculating, recalculating.... Finally we found an open exit and used our paper map to navigate our way back. We found the restaurant and had a wonderful Mexican dinner. Our trip home was uneventful as we were starting to get a feel for the area - even in the dark. We went to the grocery store and then back to the house to make a game plan for today.

Today, we headed out down the road to Tombstone. Took us about an hour together but it was worth the drive. We wandered around for a bit like tourists, cameras out.... and just was taking in the sites. A guy started telling us about the trolley tour and then the town historian came up and said it was great way to see the town. And it was... The historian was also the trolley driver and he was just hilarious. Was a great tour and we picked out the spots where we wanted to go back to see.
After the trolley, I met Woody from the Stand on the porch advertising water bottle prices tribe. He just needed some support for doing a good job, I guess... This is June and I at the visitor center. Had to get our brochures of the sites.

This is the historian aka trolley driver, me and the other guy we talked to first. Think he was just kind of the town greeter guy.

This is June and Kathy Jo after our tram ride up to through the Sanbino Canyon. Oh such a beautiful place... They were laughing at me because there was a sun dial we were looking at. I asked June, "how does it move?" She said, "It's a sun dial - the sun moves...." Ok, so I can't read a compass either.... Anyway good laugh.

Driving toward the canyon, we saw this beautiful rainbow. I was surprised my camera took this one so clear from a moving car.

This is just before the tram ride up into canyon.

A park ranger took a picture of us - boy are we windblown from the trolley. We rode in the very back row in the open car for the best views.

This is June and I. The trolley stopped deep in the canyon for a bit so we grabbed some more quick pictures. Definitely a popular place for runners, bikers and walkers. Lots of water running over the bridges and just overall beautiful.

This is June picking out her new outfit in Tombstone.

Look at these photogenic girls...

Well, so now we are back at the house and going to do a little scrapbooking. I brought some work stuff with me so better get to that. Our game plan for tomorrow sounds like the Desert Museum (everyone says it is amazing), maybe some caverns - need to check into those and another national park. Sunday we are going to a BBQ at my aunt and uncles house. Turns out they are 5 minutes down the road from the house here... Will be great to see them. Still holding out for some amazing sunset pictures.
So good night for now.
Til next time -

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

I am checked in...

Tomorrow at 7:10am, I fly off to the sunny land of Vail, Arizona for a girls weekend away. Can't wait to see Kathy Jo and June. Hope to also see Michelle and Heidi and also my aunt and uncle while I am there. Can't wait!

But today is a work day and need to get the boys to school - so talk to you all more later.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Happy Birthday, Shauna!!

Today is my friend, Shauna's birthday. This is one girl that words can not say enough about. It was about 9 years ago, maybe even 10??? I met Shauna online through a scrapbooking group. Wow - to think how many people I have met this way - could be kind of scary... But Shauna was a talent that I admired. She does great work. Shauna even became my rescue shuttle driver to and from the airport after an incident where my shuttle driver fell asleep and then later was pulled over for excessive speeding. But that is the kind of gal she is... No matter what she is going through - she always says "Why didn't you call me?" So when I was asked to work part time for Hot Off the Press the summer of 2006 - I jumped at it because I could work side by side with her. I never would of guessed it would turn out the way it did and I would end up working in her space for several months. I could never call it my desk and I could never move anything because I wanted to make sure that her things were there when she came back. I think I probably did my best work though sitting in that seat. Felt like I was sitting in some big shoes.. Anyway, since that time, I have gotten the chance to become closer with Shauna. She has been going through so much in the past two years that I now admire her for so much more. Her strength and will to make each day count. I laugh everytime I hear a story about her teenage boy because it is so like my Lucas. Teen boys - they are so alike... We could write a book. I will leave that though to Shauna, she is the writer. Anyway, I don't know how she does it - I probably would of given up going through what she has.

But girl - you are one tough cookie. Keep fighting your fight because I for one am behind you. I appreciate and cherish your friendship. You are always in my thoughts and I hope that you had a wonderful birthday today.

Hugs to you and thank you for your friendship!

Friday, January 9, 2009

ok just curious....

Is there such a thing as grocery store etiquette? Or is it just me that thinks things are just wrong...

I have been to the same grocery store twice in the last two days. Right about the same time of day, just after dropping the boys off at school. So it was about 9:15am by the time I was going through the checkout line.

Yesterday, I was done paying and was bagging my groceries. Now I didn't have a lot because I knew I would be there again today. I knew there was someone behind me so I was not just lallagagging around... (Is that a word?) Anyway, this lady behind me moves my cart - which is completely out of everyone's way at the end of the belt and past the bags, turned towards the belt so someone could easily use the other side for their cart and to bag their groceries. I bag in both paper and sometimes plastic. So I had a couple things in the plastic bag hanging on the thing, and was pulling more items to put in that bag. This lady pulls my bag off the holder and pulls off a bag for her, goes in front of me and pulls some brown paper bags from underneath and goes back to bag her things while they were still in her cart.... Ok, if she was in a hurry - would of it of been such an inconvenience to say, excuse me, would you mind if I grabbed some bags, I am running late????? Instead, she cuts in front of me to take out the bags. So she was just ticking me off so I put up three paper bags on the belt and one thing in the plastic bag holder so I was taking up as much space as I possibly could.... Seriously - how rude? Then I left the store so wishing I had said something... Are people really that self-centered that they have no clue what is going on around them????

So today - same store, same time, even same register! Hardly anyone in the store. Plenty of registers open. Absolutely no reason for anyone to cut in line or be rude... Right? No... This lady (ok, different lady than from yesterday) looks right at me as I am pulling into a line to unload my cart. Today - more groceries. So when I see someone coming up to the line with fewer items than I have, I offer for them to go ahead of me.... I didn't even have a chance. This lady quickly picked up her pace to get to the line, bumped my cart to the side and pulled in to unload her groceries. I just stood there and said, "Really?" She knew exactly what she did and said nothing. She pays for her groceries and goes to other end to bag. She leaves her cart in the aisle so no one can get by to use the other belt. So I ask her if I could move her cart - she says nothing. So I moved it anyway. She says - "do you mind?" I said, "Actually, I do mind. No one can get by your cart because you are taking up the entire aisle." I was ready with so much more....

I move my cart to the other belt and start bagging my groceries. She is just mumbling away as she bags.. Instead of using the cart - she grabs her bags and walks out of the store. LEAVING HER CART IN THE AISLE!!!! I looked right at her and said, "Really? Could you be anymore inconsiderate?" She just leaves the store...

What is with people these days? Do we not have any consideration for other people? Are we not all busy with our lives - but does that give us the excuse to just be rude?

Anyway, just venting.... Thanks for reading along, if you are still reading... I think there should be a new reality show - Grocery Wars - like that show Parking Wars where they follow the people around who put boots on cars for those people that have so many parking tickets... I could be the host!

Well, hope you are having a happy friday. I am looking forward to tonight - my month to host Bunco. So better get back to making my chili and getting my house finished up.

Til next time...

Sunday, January 4, 2009

they will go back to school, they will go back to school.....

Can you tell that three weeks is too long for Winter Break? There is rumor that there will be snow tonight but I am chanting that they will go back to school.... How many times do I need to repeat it to make sure it comes true??? Positive thinking right?

Well, update from here... Been some busy times. We have been done with the snow now for about a week and it has been wonderful. I hadn't driven in two weeks and just had cabin fever just awful! So it has been a new freedom.

So you would think we have been up to a lot! Not really. :0) Christmas came and went. New Years came and went. We did go to my parents house for New Years Day and had our delayed Christmas. Mom loved the tree skirt I made her and I got some wonderful new sheets. What is it about new sheets? Just awesome... The boys got Wii Music so new sounds have been coming from the man cave this weekend. They also got a poker chip set so they have been trying to teach me poker. Kind of fun! We have been watching a lot of movies over the past week. I keep saying week, but really it has only been since last Wednesday - so really just a long weekend... Friday, I went to work for a little while. Trying to just get used to being back to work again - almost felt like my first day. Then I met with my quilting coaches for a bit in the afternoon. Got started on my next project. Can't tell you what it is because they are gifts... But I am liking how they are turning out. Then Saturday, Lucas and I helped with the boy scout tree recycling. We drove around from 10am-4pm picking up Christmas trees! Did 7 truck loads by the end of the day. The boys did good though - they collected a lot of donations. They also collected bottles and cans. Somehow those ended up in my truck to take to the drop off place. We hand fed each bottle and can for almost an hour! AH! That is a lot of work for the amount of money you get in the end. Anyway, it all goes for the troop... But by the time we got home, I was wiped and did not want to make dinner so off to Applebee's we went. Tom and Jake went on a hike that day so it was a nice way for us all to catch up on our day. Today - a quiet day at home. The boys and I took down the Christmas stuff and got that all boxed up again. Watched another movie - The Lazerus (sp?) project. Good movie - different and confusing at times, but good movie. Glad it ended well. Worked on the never ending mountain of laundry and a few other household chores. Now I am going to make some ham and bean soup while the pies finish in the oven. Not sure why, but I have been baking for three weeks now... Have an apple and a blueberry going now. I think it is the smells. I love the house smelling of warm apples and cinnamon.

Later I have some projects to finish up for work and then it will be get ready for the boys to go back to school tomorrow... I am in no way excited for this, really.... Ok, just a little... They will go back to school, they will go back to school.....

Hope your 2009 is off to a good start.
Til next time.