Sunday, December 23, 2012

On Traditions and Evil Panic Monsters

 Merry Christmas from the Clem Castle to yours...
The first decorations that go up every year.  Some pieces I bought and some were inherited from Dan's mom.
 Sharing with you some of my Christmas decorating and a wish for a very Merry Christmas.  I have a ton of things to do on this eve of Christmas Eve...but when the inspiration hits you have to go with it!

This is probably my favorite spot.  It's always too hot to burn a fire here in AZ, but I wouldn't give up my fireplace for anything!
Building on last year, I am trying my best to have a blissful, non-panic filled, zen Christmas.  I have evil panic monsters in my brain.  When they come out it's no fun for anyone...I try my best to keep them at bay.  It helped that I was off from work this whole week in order to prepare. And I decided to do no baking this year.  Something had to give and that was it.  No one in our house needs the extra sugar so it was the easy thing to cut.  It's hard for me to give up these things I consider tradition, but quite honestly, I don't think anyone has missed it.  If they have they are being nice and not saying anything about it. 

My two smaller trees and my mom's hutch.  I love everything about this!


 Santa and Snowmen tree on the left, Teddy Bear tree on the right.  This grew out of my love for teddy bears and wanting to have a tree dedicated to just that.  Then, over the years it just sort of morphed into this.

There are some traditions that are not negotiable.  Such as decorating.  I have thought many times that I would just put up the big tree and the nativity and do nothing else.  That's pretty much how my mom decorated.  But, even though I do go a little over board, it makes me happy to turn on the lights and enjoy all the beautiful things I have collected or inherited over the years. My favorite tradition is our annual Christmas Eve dinner and a movie followed by Christmas Eve Mass.  This is a tradition we started with our kids about 12 years ago and I am happy to say that even now that they are all adults, they still want to do it every year.  We all pick out a movie, go to the theater in the early evening and after the movie we walk across the street to Chili's and have dinner.  After dinner we go home, change clothes and head off to Christmas Eve Mass.  It's been a wonderful tradition for us.  A kind of way to wind down after all the hubbub of preparing for the holiday and a time to get rested up for Christmas Day...when we host close to 30 people every year for dinner.  I love traditions, and these are my favorites.

The big tree and my hutch in the foyer.  The stockings hanging on the hutch are Dan's and my first stockings.  The are two of my favorite things.

I have been making sure that I remember my blessings this year also.  I am so very blessed by everything I have in my life.  My faith, a wonderful family, a job, a roof over my head, food to's a long list.  I really believe this has helped me to put the focus where it needs to be this year.  Whenever the evil panic monsters start invading my brain, I just start thanking God for all the blessings He has rained down on me.  My heart feels instantly lighter and the fact that I have not wrapped a single present yet, doesn't seem so important.

My wish for you this Christmas is a day filled with faith, family, friends, traditions and no panic monsters.  I hope you all have a very Blessed Christmas, and remember.....

Jesus is the reason for the season! 

Friday, December 7, 2012

Friday Randomness

Happy Friday!!  Just a disclaimer:  This is a very random post (and long).  Kudos to you if you are able to follow along without feeling schizophrenic.  I felt somewhat schizophrenic just writing it :)

Been a while since my last post.  I go through this on a pretty regular basis.  I get in the writing mood and then it escapes me for a while.  When I was young I thought I was going to be the next great American novelist. Then when I got a little older and really found my passion for history, I thought I would be the next great American historian.  But then I realized that I'd much prefer someone else do the historical research and I'll just read their books.  Thank you,  David McCullough.  I discovered that what I really love is to read more than write.

Someone said to me once, "You know you're a writer when you wake up in the morning and that's all you can think about all day.  All you want to do is write."  I think that's when I realized that, while I love to write, I don't want to be an author.  Writing is a way for me to purge all the thoughts that swirl constantly in my over active brain.  I'm a big fan of getting things on paper (or a computer screen) where you can see them and they are tangible, not just swirly thoughts in your mind.  I'm a true believer of pro/con lists...I've written many of those in my life.  So, while I wish that I could be the next great American blogger, I know that's never going to happen.  I love to crochet too much.

One exciting thing happened since my last post.  My youngest daughter got engaged!   It's a weird feeling.  I'm very happy for her and I love her fiance...he's so good to her and that makes me happy.  But at the same time, I can't get over the fact that she's old enough to be married.  She seems so young to me still.  And then I remember that at her age, I had already been married for three years.  Just weird.  The other weird thing is...I'm going to be a mother-in-law!  That has so many negative connotations in our society and I am determined not to be the stereotypical mother-in-law.  I have good examples to follow.  My own mother-in-law was so wonderful to me.  She treated me like her own daughter.  And I will always believe that my mother loved my husband more than she loved me.  She thought he hung the moon.  Both of our mothers were perfect examples of what a good mother-in-law should be.  Supportive, caring, compassionate and never a buttinski.  They are both gone from us now, and I miss them both dearly.  I'm going to try my best to follow their example.  So, just when I was getting kind of comfortable with my role as mom to adult children...another new role and another chance to redefine myself.  Change is good.  Change is good...

Christmas is around the corner.  I've mailed my cards but my house is still not decorated.  Hopefully I will accomplish that this weekend.  Last Christmas I wrote this...all about my attempt to downsize Christmas.  I have to tell you, I was successful.  And guess what?  The world didn't end.  Everyday I'm getting more and more used to this paring down thing.  If you've been around here for a while you've read about my addiction to Hallmark ornaments.  Or, Hallmarkitis as I like to call it.  This year I went to the ornament premier which is in July ( I know! It's a sickness!).  And, I haven't been back since.  If you don't know anything about Hallmark ornaments, starting in July, they have several weekends where they premier new ornaments. I went in July and fulfilled my commitment to all the series that I have started and that was it.'s been OK.  Every once in a while I think about it and wonder what cute little Santa or snowman I might be missing...and then I pick up my crochet hook and everything is forgotten.  Now you understand why I've been crocheting so much this fall!!

Speaking of crocheting (I always do, don't I?).  I've started another new project.  At first I wasn't a fan of the colors but I knew they were perfect for the recipient.  Funny, they've really started to grow on me as I've been working with them.  Take a look...

This is in the beginning stages.  I'm about half way done now and I have to say it is turning out beautifully.  I'll post another picture when I've finished. 

I'm sure you all remember this project.  I complained about it enough.  I was very proud to give this as a gift and I know that the new mom loves it so that makes me happy.  The baby for whom this was made was born yesterday and he is gorgeous.  Plus, we are getting cooler weather this weekend...just in time to be wrapped in a cozy afghan and matching cocoon. 

I guess that's enough randomness for a Friday.  I told you it was going to be schizophrenic.  Thanks for sticking it out to the end.  I hope everyone has a wonderful weekend!

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

On Being Grateful

I don't know if you you've noticed or not, but, I think I may have complained a time or two (or a hundred) about the heat here in AZ.  There really is no secret about how much I hate it and I'm really good at complaining about it.  But sometimes, things happen that make me feel so guilty for all the complaining.  Because while the heat is obnoxious, I can go from my air conditioned house, to my air conditioned car, to work or the grocery store or really anywhere and be in an air conditioned environment.  And by and large the heat really never causes any inconvenience other than once a month when I have to pay for all that air conditioning. 

So when disasters hit in other parts of the country, I always feel guilty about complaining about the heat.  Because we are so lucky here in the Southwest.  We don't get earthquakes, tornadoes, blizzards...or hurricanes.  The most we deal with is some flooding when the monsoon hits, and if you don't live in the flood plane, then pretty much you're good to go most of the time.  Nothing as dramatic as what has happened on the eastern seaboard the past few days.  And so, since this is a post about being grateful, I have to say...I'm very grateful for where I live...even if it is hotter than hades.

I'm also grateful that I have a very level headed daughter who seems to never lose her cool when faced with adverse circumstances.  You see, she has spent the last four days stuck in Manhattan.  She can't get a flight out until Friday.  She flew back to NJ for a wedding last Wednesday.  She and a friend from high school decided to make a vacation of it.  They've been planning this trip for months.  They went to NJ early for the wedding and then the plan was to go to NYC on Sunday and come home yesterday.  Sandy had other plans. 

When I talked to her on Sunday I expressed my concern about their plans to still go into Manhattan.  She assured me that where they were staying would be much better than staying in Jersey and since all the flights had been cancelled by then, there was no way to get out of the area anyway.  I decided to trust her, because what else could I do.  Surprisingly my anxiety level wasn't too bad.  And, of course, as always, she was right. 

She works for a large luxury hotel chain and she already had reservations at one of their hotels in Times Square.  There could be worse places to ride out a storm.  Thankfully the storm did not affect the area where she was too badly, as you can see by the picture below.  This was taken Monday night from the window of their hotel room.  I've added her caption from FB below the picture.

For everyone who has been wondering...this is our view from midtown. No flooding, we all still have power, and the rain is even taking a break.

So, here is what I'm grateful for today:

1.  My daughter is safe, dry, has a roof over her head, food to eat and great friends to spend the time with.

2.  None of her friends were harmed during the storm.

3.  All my family and friends that live in the area are safe and sound.

4.  She works for an awesome company that has comped not only her extra nights but also all her meals.

5.  NYC is providing buses that will take passengers back to Newark for $16.  Thus saving her a ton of money on what could have been a very costly cab ride back to the airport.

6.  They were able to get out and about a little bit yesterday and more today and thankfully they will be able to salvage a tiny bit of their "vacation".

So, there you have it.  So much to be grateful for...even the heat...maybe.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

The Big Finish

The afghan is finished!  I don't think any four words have ever made me happier.  This was by far my least favorite project EVER!  Not because it was the hardest.  It wasn't.  But it was the most tedious.  It took me about 4 hours to make all 42 of the squares. The assembling of this afghan took me 15 hours.  Yes, you read that correctly.  one, five....15!  I've never spent that much time assembling an afghan...and I never will again.  It just makes the whole thing...not fun.  And crocheting is suppose to be fun.  Not 15 hours of "I wish I was doing anything else but this".  I could explain to you why it was so tedious, but that would be I'm not going there.  Just believe me when I was hell. 

But, even after all the hell....I LOVE the finished product.  The visual effect is very cool.  I'm excited to give this gift, especially since I will be able to tell the recipient that it is a one of a kind, never to be duplicated piece!  Hopefully they will love it also.

Here are a few pictures of the finished product:

This was taken while I was procrastinating.  I'd already put together two strips and figured out what the process was going to be like.  I procrastinated a lot....putting off the inevitable.  And then I spent last Thursday and Friday doing nothing but assembling. Ugh.

This was the moment of triumph...completely assembled.  Only thing left was to put on the border and edging.

And here it is...finally finished...finally!   Awesome, right? 

So now it's on to the next project.  I have a few in mind and I'm not certain which one I'm going to start next, but I can assure you, it will NOT take 15 hours to assemble :)

Hope everyone is having a happy and productive week!

Monday, October 15, 2012

A Life Well Lived

I'm never one to turn down a trip to San Diego.  I haven't been many places in my life, but of the places I've been, San Diego is at the top of the list.  I never miss an opportunity to go to Point Loma.  I love the lighthouse there, but more importantly I love to stand at the whale lookout, feel the wonderful ocean breeze and listen to the waves of the Pacific crash against the shore.  It's one of those spots in the world that make me feel totally at peace in my heart.  It feels like home to me. 

I have lots of happy memories of San Diego.  Not the least of which are the times we went there to visit Dan's aunt and uncle.  They lived in a little town about 30 miles east of San Diego called Alpine.  They lived up on a hill that overlooked some beautiful pasture lands right across the I-8 highway.  Dan's uncle built the house himself.  They were life long residents of Chicago who had had enough of snowy winters and when Dan's uncle retired from the Chicago fire department, they moved to Alpine.  Lucky for us.  We spent some wonderful weekends there listening to Uncle Lyle's stories and eating Aunt Jackie's spectacular food.  After we had kids we would stay with them and take trips into San Diego to take the kids to Sea World and the zoo.  Aunt Jackie was the one who introduced me to Point Loma.  She took us there to show us the lighthouse, she loved lighthouses.  Little did she know that she was helping me create a life long love affair with the Pacific Ocean.  I will always be grateful to her for that. 

Jackie and Lyle were typical salt of the earth, hard working Midwesterners.  They worked hard all of their life, even in retirement.  They were never idle.  They raised seven sons who all live their lives pretty much the same way.  They are a perfect example of how to live life well.

Aunt Jackie passed away about 10 years ago after a long illness.  Uncle Lyle continued to live in their house in Alpine until just a few years ago.  Most recently he was living in Colorado near one of his sons.  We knew his health was declining so it wasn't a huge shock when we got the call that he had passed away, but it was sad news indeed.  So this past weekend we traveled to Alpine to attend his memorial service.

I have to be honest and tell you that I really wasn't looking forward to going.  I've been to many funerals for the people in the generation previous to mine.  Every single one has been someone we've lost way to early.  Either to illness or tragedy.  It wears on you.  Of course you always celebrate their life, but it's tinged with this overlaying sadness of what might have been and the loss of a life cut way too short.  So this was the experience I was taking with me to say goodbye to Uncle Lyle.  Thankfully it was not the experience I left with. 

We gathered in the cemetery on Saturday afternoon.  Many of us had driven from Phoenix to be there.  Many had come from all over the country.  We stood in the beautiful California sunshine, with a cool breeze blowing, to listen to the testimonials of the people who loved Lyle.  And as I listened to sons, nieces, nephews, grandchildren, neighbors, friends and in-laws talk about Lyle, I got such a sense of peace.  Of course there was some sadness as there always is when a loved one leaves us.  But this service was much more about celebrating a life than mourning a death.  We had all gathered in this place to pay respects to a man we all loved. We payed respects to a life lived with purpose, hard work, family, faith and service to others.  A life very well lived. And as with every experience I have, I tried to figure out the lesson I would take away from this one.  I listened well to the stories shared. I shared my own.  I came away with this one singular thought:

There is nothing better that you can give your loved ones than a life well lived.

This thought was reinforced as we later gathered at the hotel to eat and visit and tell more "Lyle" stories.  So much happiness and joy on a day that would have typically been sad and gloomy.  I was so grateful for this experience.  I was so happy to reconnect with people I had not seen in years, people whom I think about with fondness and that make me so happy that I married into this amazing family.  I was so honored to help celebrate Lyle's life.
Point Loma

On Sunday, Dan, Sarah and I drove out to Point Loma.  We walked up to the lighthouse and out to the whale lookout.  As I stood there looking out over the ocean, with a beautiful breeze blowing and the sounds of the waves crashing on the shore, I said a prayer of thanksgiving for having had the chance to know Lyle and Jackie.  I said a prayer of thanksgiving that they were now together again for all eternity.  And I said a prayer of thanksgiving for the lesson of a life well lived.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Wednesday Hodgepodge

Jeez, it seems to fly by from one Wednesday to the next!  Time for another Wednesday Hodgepodge.  Questions courtesy of Joyce at This Side of the Pond.  Go on over to her blog where you will find links to all of us who play along on Wednesdays.  Come join's fun! 

1. In what ways do you indulge yourself?

I love chocolate, so, that's usually my go to anytime I feel the need to indulge...and even when I don't :) 

2. Have you ever taken a cooking class? Any interest? What type of class would you most like to try?

I don't think I need cooking classes because I am the chef of everything boxed, canned and frozen.  I also make a mean take out.  Who needs classes for that?  Seriously though, I'm sure my family wishes I would have taken a class or two.  I even think about it sometimes when I'm watching the Food Network...which I do on a regular basis.  But then I come to my senses and call Pizza Hut.  Does anyone else who hates to cook love watching the Food Network and convince themselves that if they only had Giada's kitchen they would love to cook?  No.  Only me, huh?  Ok then...

3. What does it mean to be a good citizen?

Follow the laws of your state and country, vote, take care of the environment around you, be nice to your fellow citizens...appreciate the abundance of everything we are so fortunate to have in this country.

4. 'Tis the season of the political these ads influence your vote?

Nope.  Because no matter who they are, they can spin anything to make it look they way they want it to.  I actually throw every piece of political mail in the trash before I even look at it, I don't answer my phone during election cycles (that's what caller id and voice mail are for!) and I usually mute the TV when the ads come on.  I do my own research and vote my conscience.

5. What's something you see today that makes you wish you were a kid again?

I can't think of anything that makes me want to be a kid.  I think I had an awesome childhood and I think today's kids are missing out on the simpler times with all this technology they are hooked to. But, I see things all the time that make me wish my kids were little again.  Fisher Price has a doll house that I am dying to buy for someone...sadly, my girls are too old for such things now.  Guess I just have to wait for grandkids...

6. What's your least favorite cliche?

At the end of the day...   It's over used and I'm sick of it 

7. What percentage of your Christmas shopping has been completed? How does that make you feel?

Zero, nada, zilch, none.  I don't feel anyway about it because it's normal for me.  I can't get in the spirit of buying things until it gets closer to the day.  I'll start getting panicky around the second week in December.

8. Insert your own random thought here.

Words cannot express how badly I wish it was November 7th.  I am sick to death of all this election stuff.  I just want it to be over and then lets deal with the outcome.  I wish politicians wanted to be public servants...

Ok, ladies and gents, that's a wrap on another edition of Wednesday Hodgepodge.  Hope everyone is having a fantastic week!

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Crochet Gone Bad

So here I am with my first post after my "ah ha" moment.  And guess what?  It's all about crocheting.  Today will probably be the first of many posts about crocheting.  I'm fairly obsessed with it so it's a good assumption that it will show up many times.  I never really wanted to write about crocheting because I don't intend for this blog to be a crocheting blog. There are certainly enough of those out there and most of them are much better at the art than me. Also, I kind of figured it would be boring.  But, it's who I am and since this blog is about get crocheting.  If you're bored, I won't hold it against it you if you just move along to the next blog on your list.  That's what I would do.  If you stick around and leave a comment I promise to return the favor.  Onward...

A little background for those of you who don't know me very well: 

I've been crocheting for 34 years.  My best friend taught me to crochet and then I fell in love with her brother and married him.  I had three kids and was really busy with Little League, girls scouts, violin lessons, orchestra, softball, and band.  Oh, and I worked full time too.  I crocheted when time permitted but it wasn't a lot. It hasn't been until my recent "empty nest" experience that I have really become obsessed with it.  My husband is convinced that I don't even know what I'm making anymore.  He says I "just make and make and make and never take a break".  But I DO know what I'm making, which is mostly afghans, and mostly for gifts.  So this brings us to my current WIP (work in progress for you non-crochet types ;) 

It started out as this lovely idea for a baby afghan.  I modified a larger pattern down to baby size.  The visual effect of this afghan is pretty cool...but you'll just have to take my word for it because I don't have any pictures of it that don't belong to someone else.  Yeah, I'm not going there anyway, you'll have to wait for the finished product for that.  Here is my progress in pictures, with a few comments...and a lot of frustration.  You'll see what I mean....

I started out with these lovely colors....I love the makes me happy :) 

And this is what the individual squares look like.  I was pretty happy with them at this point.  The container is filled with half done squares.  I crochet assembly style as I find it is much faster...even if I have to finish off all the colors and tie in all the ends....oh those wonderful ends...where's that sarcastic font when I need it?

All the sad little yarn ends...waiting to be tossed.  336 ends to be exact.  Woven into the work and cut off.  So much fun....not.  This is my least favorite part of crocheting...or at least it was until I started trying to put this together.  When I found this pattern I didn't think far enough ahead and ask myself  "how will this be stitched together?"  I didn't even think of asking myself this question because I never have, and I have never had a problem.  Until now. 
Here's the problem.  All the squares get stitched together in random fashion (which will eventually make sense when it's completed) and the colors don't match up.  So, you can't use one color to stitch them have to use two or three and change them as needed.  I think you can figure out what I mean by looking at the picture.  I also had to find a new seaming technique which requires me to sit at the table and not in my comfy chair in front of the TV.  This is a problem.  I'm pretty sure I've said this before at some point, but it bears repeating.  The real reason I crochet is so I can justify watching TV.  I love TV.  I probably love TV more than crocheting...but don't tell anyone.  You'll blow my cover.  If I'm crocheting, then I'm not wasting my time while watching TV...or so I've convinced myself.  Anywayyy....

I decided to make it my mission last weekend to just sit down at the table and get the dang thing done.  I worked on it about 3 hours on Saturday...only finishing 3 strips.  Did I mention this seaming technique is also time consuming?  No?  Well, it's time consuming, frustrating and I can't do it in front of the TV.  It is the pure definition of crochet gone bad.  Even having my little shadow for company couldn't make it better.  So, I put it away and didn't work on it the rest of the weekend. 

Instead, I made this for my youngest daughter.  It's a table scarf for an end table.  It was way more fun...and I got to watch TV while I made it!  Win, win.

I am on vacation next week so my plan is to work on the evil one for a couple of hours each day in hopes of getting it done.  It's not gonna beat me...I don't think...

Ok, if you made it all the way through are now my best friend and I promise to crochet something special just for you ;) 

I hope you noticed, in the background of the pictures, the cute blanket that my cute and thoughtful daughter made for me.  She made it in honor of my mother whom I lost to breast cancer.  October is breast cancer awareness month.  Do your breast exams, get your mammograms and see your doctor regularly.  I hate this disease and I don't want to lose anyone else to it. 

Hope everyone has a great week!

Friday, October 5, 2012

The One Where I Screwed Up

So, I haven't posted in a couple of days.  Nothing really new about that.  I know you all are painfully aware of how sporadic my posts can be.  But in this instance I had an excuse other than being lazy. 

I received an email from Blogger at the beginning of this week. It scared me, and made me re-evaluate everything about my blog.  I was probably on the way to doing this anyway, but this gave me the extra shove.  Before I tell you what happened, let me say a few things first.  I have never, nor will I ever put ads on my my blog is totally not for profit by me or anyone else.  I'm not trying to make money off my blog or any of it's contents, nor will I ever do that with this blog.

Apparently I copy infringed on someone by using one of their pictures in my blog.  Blogger took down the post and I got the reprimand (please spare me lectures.  I know what I did was stupid.  Believe me when I say that you could never be harder on me than I am on myself.  If you feel the need to lecture, fine, but I will be deleting your comment if you do).  Back in April when I was participating in the A to Z Blog Challenge, I used a picture I found of the painted desert in one of my posts.  I NEVER implied that the picture was my own or tried to make money off it in any way.  I also gave photo credit to the website where I found the picture, which I naively thought would protect me from this.  I had seen it done on other blogs so I just followed their lead.  I'm pretty sure my mother warned me about doing this when I was little.  You know, "If everyone else was jumping off a bridge, would you jump too?".  Apparently Mom, I would.  So here is forewarning about following the crowd...don't do it.  I'm pretty sure you are all smart enough to know this though.

Anyway,  I have taken down all the posts that included pictures "borrowed" from the Internet.  Spending time in court defending myself against copyright infringement is not my idea of a good time.  I'm weird like that.  It really hurt to remove the posts, but I only have myself to blame.  I feel stupid and embarrassed.  So, lesson learned...I will not be doing that again.  Kind of puts a damper on my Arizona Almanac posts though.  I'm not a world traveler...not even a state traveler...not even a little bit.  And I'm not much of a photographer either, so that's going to limit what I'll be writing about.  Unless you'd like a tour of my back yard, which is in Arizona.  I could pass it off as Arizona wilderness, if you saw it, you'd hasn't seen a mower since softball season started.  I digress...

I've been thinking a lot lately about this blog and what I want it to be.  I read tons of other blogs.  I have a good amount of blog envy.  I try not to, but it's what I'm best at.  Comparing myself to other people, and not in a "I'm better than you" way, but a "I can never be that good" kind of way.  Which I tell my kids not to do all the time.  Practice what you preach...another lesson my mother tried to teach me.  Apparently I'm not a very good student.  So, I started really paying attention to the blogs I absolutely love and one thing became clear.  Every single one of them writes about their everyday life.  They write conversationally, which is how I like to think I write.  They write about the things they love.  Their family, their hobbies, their husband/wife/significant other...all the things that make up who they are.  And they are darned interesting.  See, I always feel that if I write about my life...who would want to read that?  I'm certainly not that interesting.  But what I realized was that I'm no different than most of those people who's blogs I read.  Well, most of them are thin, and most of them have young kids...but other than that...we are pretty much the same.  And I find their blogs amusing, entertaining and sometimes informative.  I feel like they are my friends.  And I think I feel that way because they just share who they are.  With no pretension...they are just real people writing about what really happens to them.  So that's what I've decided to do. 

I'm just going to write about my life.  Those of you who know me know that I am honest about all aspects of myself.  I have no desire to portray something I'm not.  So, you will probably get lots of posts about crocheting because that's really what I'm obsessed with right now.  I'll try to mix it up a little, but if it's heavy on the crochet...I apologize up front for that.  I'll probably talk about my kids some..sorry kids but it's for the good of the'll just have to live with it.  I will certainly be talking a lot about my husband because being that he is the King of Procrastination...well, he's full of good material.  I'll probably write about the cat.  The weird cat.  Sheesh she's weird.  But I'll save that for another time.  So, I'll just be writing about me and what I'm doing from now on.  The blog is called The Gerri Chronicles after all.  I guess I should be writing about Gerri.  I might throw in an interesting tidbit about Arizona here and there...but there will be no pictures unless I took don't hold your breath :)

That's it.  Thanks for reading and thanks for sticking with me.  I'll be doing lots of crocheting this weekend so I should have lots to share in the future ;)  Hope everyone has a terrific weekend!

Thursday, September 27, 2012

32 Years and Counting

Two posts in two days...amazing huh?  Well, this one is going to be short and sweet...and while you're picking yourself up off the foor, I'll continue...

Today is my 32nd wedding anniversary.  I'm married to one of the best people God ever created.  Everyone loves him!  I'm pretty sure my parents loved him more than me.  Anyway, I've written two previous posts about Dan and I and how we stayed married, so I'm not gonna write any of that gooey stuff in this post.  If you'd like to read them you can go here for the story of Dan & Gerri (it's a good one!) and you can go here for the reason why we've been able to stay together so long...contrary to what the Beatles may have told is not all you need.

Today at work someone commented on how being married over 30 years is such a rare thing these days.  Maybe.  But I don't think so.  I personally know eight couples off the top of my head that have been married more than 30 years.  So I don't think it's THAT rare....or maybe we just all run in rabid dogs...who knows.  The one thing I do know is that four out of the eight couples we know, we met through Little League.  So, maybe my husband is right after all (you have no idea how much it KILLS me to admit this!)...maybe baseball does make everything better...including marriage. 

Today's Quote: 

A successful marriage requires falling in love many times, always with the same person.

~Mignon McLaughlin~

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Happy Wednesday Hodgepodge

Here we are, another Wednesday, and time for another Hodgepodge.  Time just goes so fast these days, but not fast enough to get rid of this dang hot weather. 

Joyce always gives us great questions and this week is no exception.  She actually made me think this week...not sure if I really like that or not ;)  Please hop on over to Joyce's blog, From This Side of the Pond, and read all about Wednesday Hodgepodge, visit some new blogs and play along if you like!  It really is fun...honest!  Ok, here goes....

1. The Wednesday Hodgepodge this week falls on John Chapman's birth date. He's more famously known as Johnny Appleseed...what's your favorite variety of apple?

I'm not a big apple person.  I have animosity towards the apple that dates back to Eve.  The apple is directly responsible for my menstrual cramps, the horrendous labor pains I had with all three of my children AND menopause...totally the apples fault.  Ok, not really...I just don't really care for them.  Cooked maybe with a little sugar and cinnamon...but raw, not so much.

2. When did you last say 'ick'?

When I read the words "printed pants" in question #6....

3. Do you think there's a generation gap? Explain.

I think there is always a generation gap.  Times change.  Every generation grows up with a different environment and usually they think the way they grew up was best and that today's generation is ruining the world.  I remember very clearly my father being incensed by the Vietnam war protests and the riots at the colleges.  He HATED rock and roll.  He thought the world was going to hell in a hand basket.  But we all survived and we are here today...repeating the same things our parents did.  I HATE rap...and I will reserve my thoughts on whether or not were going to hell in a hand basket until after November 7th.  Having said all that...I think you should drop on over to my daughter's blog and read her response to this question.  She hit the nail on the head for her generation.

4. What's on your computer screen saver? Do you leave it alone or change it often?

I can't even tell you what my screen saver is so I'll tell you about my desktop background.  At home I have some random nature shots that came with the computer.  It's new (hence why I have no idea what the screen saver is) and I haven't downloaded a lot of my pictures to it yet.  But usually I change for the seasons with random pictures of my kids or my Christmas trees.  Once, I left my Christmas trees on a whole year because it made me happy to look at Christmas in the middle of July.  On my work computer I have this beautiful pic I took of the Indian ruins north of Flagstaff.  I wrote about it here.  I always feel calm when I'm there so I was hoping it would give me a sense of calm at work.

Wupatki Pueblo Indian Ruins: photo credit: me :)

5. If you had the attention of the entire world for two minutes, what would you say?

Get over yourself.  Everyone has problems and all problems are relative.  We need to learn to get along and live on this big blue marble together.  Be nicer to each other...try to walk a mile in someone else's shoes before you judge.  Lastly, costs you nothing and you never know when your smile will make someones day.  There is an acute shortage of smiling in this world.

That's it.  Simplistic I know, but I feel like if we took a simplistic approach the world would be a much nicer place.

6. Four fashion trends to try this fall are-brocade/jacquard (fancy printed fabrics), peplum, lace, and printed pants...which of these four would you be most likely to wear?

HaHa...this makes me laugh.  Only because, I wouldn't know fashion if it hit me in the face.  I'm sure I am Stacy and Clinton's #1 nightmare.  Honestly, I would wear none of those...especially printed pants...ick ;)

7. What can make your bad day better?

Being with my family, talking to my kids, listening to my youngest daughters's infectious.  Oh, and chocolate...always chocolate!

8. Insert your own random thought here.

Three months from today Christmas will be over.  That is all.

Ok, kids, that's it!  Hope you enjoyed reading as much as I enjoyed writing.  Enjoy the rest of your week and meet me back here on Friday for Arizona Almanac...we'll both be surprised, because I have no idea what I'm going to write about!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Wednesday Hodgepodge: Fall Edition

Happy Wednesday Everyone!  I'm back to doing Hodgepodge.  Joyce has provided us with some great questions this week.  If you want to play along or just read some really fun blogs, hop on over to Joyce's blog and visit all the Hodgepodge posters! 

1. What's the best and worst thing thing about growing older?

The best part of growing older is knowing that there are some things you will never, ever have to deal with again.  Like going to high school...blech.  Puberty...eewww.  Toilet training toddlers...exhausting.  Raising teenagers...blech and ewww and exhausting plus frustrating!  I think the worst part of growing older is all the changes in your body.  In my head I'm still 30 and I can't figure out how my children got older while I stayed the same age.  But the body is the rude awakening.  It just doesn't move the way it used to and no amount of cajoling works.  Old age is stubborn...that's for sure.

2. Autumn arrives this week in the Northern Hemisphere...what one thing do you love most about the fall season?

Well, I could say cooler weather but in Arizona it doesn't get cool until December so that won't work.  I love Thanksgiving and I feel like it often gets lost in the hubbub of Christmas...since Christmas starts popping up in July now.  I also love fall colors.  Oranges, reds, yellows....they all make me happy.

3. Speaking of fall...pumpkin seems to be flavoring everything these days-are you a fan? What's your favorite pumpkin flavored food or beverage?

At the cost of being banned from Thanksgiving forever, I have to admit that I'm not a huge fan of the flavor.  I don't hate it but one piece of pie at Thanksgiving and I'm good for the year.  I do however love the smell of pumpkin.  Candles, cooking...I love the scent.

4. Since we're on the subject of fall...what's the worst fall you've ever taken?

In October of 2006 I was at the softball field watching my youngest play.  They had a double header in which the two games were played on different fields.  I was walking from one field to the other, stepped in a hole, fell and broke BOTH my ankles.  So, I fell in the fall...nice huh?  I was out of work for 11 was not fun, or pretty.  Let's just say you really find out how much someone loves you when you cannot get yourself on and off the toilet.  My husband is a saint!

5. If you could own a prop from any film what would you choose?

I have to pick two because I can't choose between them.  First, I would want William Wallace's (Mel Gibson) kilt from Braveheart.  Second, I really want Benjamin Franklin's colored spectacles from the first National Treasure.  Yes, I AM a history nerd...and proud of it :)

6. What's the most interesting word you've read or learned in the past week?

I love words!  My favorite this week is: conundrum. There are a few definitions in Websters but the one I like the best is: An intricate and difficult problem.  Sometimes, writing my blog is such a conundrum! :)  I just love the way it sounds and the way it rolls off your tongue.  Ok, I'm just a nerd...period.

7. When was the last time you locked yourself out of your house, car, or office? Was it a big deal?
I honestly can't remember the last time.  But I remember the most awful time.  I locked my two toddlers in the car in the middle of the Arizona summer.  I could not convince my daughter to unlock the car after having taught her that touching the locks on the car door was a very bad thing.  This was way before everyone had cell phones and I was stuck in the middle of the grocery store parking lot with no help.  Thankfully, a very nice man happened by with a hanger and got the door unlocked.  It was very scary.

8. Insert your own random thought here.

The fact that there are only 96 days until Christmas completely freaks me out.  Not because I'm behind for Christmas, but because I cannot for the life of me figure out where this year has gone.  I still have vivid memories of taking down the Christmas tree last year so it cannot possibly be almost time to put it up again.

Ok, that's it for another edition of the Hodgepodge.  Thanks for the questions Joyce, they were fun!  Meet me back here Friday for Arizona Almanac.  I've got a bridge I want to tell you about.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Quotation Tuesday: Motherhood Melancholy

Motherhood is the only thing in my life that I've really known for sure is something I wanted to do.
~Cynthia Nixon~

A few of the people that write blogs I am fond of have recently either adopted a child or birthed a child. It's made me kind of melancholy. The quote really says it all for me. Nothing I ever wanted to do or ever have done was better than being a mom. I love being a mom. But once your kids are adults and you haven't stepped into the grandparent role yet...the role is undefined and kind of blurry. You are still their mom, but with conditions. More about that later. So, I am melancholy. It might be the blogs or it could be the hormones. Another lovely gift from Eve that I could have done without. I've never been able to figure out why she ate that dang apple. As far as I'm concerned apples aren't even that good. Now, if it had been chocolate...I would totally have her back. Anyway, here I sit, before my blog and I am melancholy for motherhood. So I'm going to write about it. Because it's such a conundrum, motherhood.

Motherhood is the most heartbreaking, frustrating, taxing, tiring, wonderfully exquisite thing I've ever done. Here is the first conundrum of motherhood (or parenthood...I'm under no delusions that I did this by myself...I had lots of help from the best father in the world...but for the purposes of this post...we'll use motherhood): You love and care for your children and protect them at all costs. You would lay down your life for your child. You do everything in your power to raise kind, compassionate, independent, productive citizens of the world. You're whole focus is making sure that they can exist in the world without you. So the very thing that you raise them to be, ultimately breaks your heart into a million pieces. It is also the source of the most joy you could ever feel. Being a mother is all at once heartbreaking and joyous. I've never figured out how to balance those emotions, and maybe I'm not supposed to.

Conundrum two: After you release your children to the are basically left standing on the sidelines to watch. You are not allowed to, nor should you, tell your children how to live their lives. Even if you don't approve, even if you know they will be hurt, even if you know it's THE most wrong thing they've ever done. They are adults in charge of their own lives. Your opinion no longer matters, unless they want it to matter. I always vowed I would NEVER be a busy body mom to my adult children. Hopefully, I do an ok job in that department.

Conundrum three: Will I ever be able to let go of the guilt? I think most mothers would say that motherhood comes with a fair amount of guilt. I take feeling guilty to a whole new level...I'm the master of motherhood guilt. Even now that they are raised and no amount of parenting voodoo can undo anything I might have screwed up...I still feel guilt. I'm lucky that I have three wonderful kids who fit the above bill pretty well. Do I think I got them there...I'm not sure. Sometimes I think it was all a big crap shoot and I'm just lucky they turned out ok. Sometimes I'm sure that I must have done something right...sometimes I just don't know. People have complimented me on my kids and on my parenting style. I smile and say thank you all the while wondering in the back of my mind if they would still feel that way if they knew that I once locked my children, all under the age of 6, outside on a hot Arizona summer day because they were driving. me. crazy! I wonder what they'd think of my parenting skills if they knew that when my daughter threatened to run away from home for the millionth time, I helped her pack her suitcase, walked her out the front door and locked the door behind her. She was four. Funny thing about that one though...she never threatened to run away again. I guess it worked...but I still feel guilty. I feel guilty about the numerous times I lost my temper and my patience. But, I did the best I could in each circumstance, so why I still carry the guilt, who knows? I guess it's in my DNA.

Last conundrum: Around the time my youngest daughter turned 7 or so, I decided I was done having children. It took me several years to really be ok with the decision. So why is it that the feelings of wanting a baby never go away? My logical brain knows it's not possible and I really have no desire to go through the teenage years ever again. So why am I envious when I see or read about people having babies? I am envious of 3am feedings, diaper changes and baby baths (oh how I love to give a baby a bath...nothing better in this world). I'm envious of bedtime stories, lullabies and rocking chairs. My logical mind knows it's over for me, but my heart doesn't know that. It still hurts know that I will never again feel a child in my womb, never again feel labor and the wonderful, beautiful feeling of the first time you lay eyes on your child (that feeling alone makes up for every transgression, traffic ticket, broken curfew or little white lie along the way).

So, here I sit, feeling melancholy. I'm not sure this post accomplished what I was hoping for, but it sure felt good to write it down and get it out. One thing is for certain...I love my kids more than life itself, and that will never matter how old they get.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Friday Randomness

A little post filled with randomness (and a few rants) to kick start me back into blogging. Let’s get started:

1. I have been spending most of my time crocheting, which is why I haven’t really been blogging. That and I’ve been lazy. There. It’s out in the open. I’m a lazy blogger. Oh well. The next generation continues to procreate so I’m doing my best to keep up with the baby afghans. Unfortunately, one of the little ones is now too big for a baby afghan so he is getting a bigger one…ooops. I am currently working on this for a special little someone:

2. Tiger has adjusted pretty well considering what a huge change it was to go from a one person apartment to a 4 person, 4 bedroom house. She is very chatty and lets you know when she wants something. For some reason that is unfathomable to most mankind, she has chosen me as her “person”. I don’t really even like cats that much. My husband thinks she can sense that I had the final word on whether or not she would come to live with us and that because I said yes, I saved her from certain doom. I’m not so sure about that…I think it has more to do with the fact that I’m the one who feeds her. I’m going with that.

3. I am beyond upset about this stupid hockey lockout. I think both sides are babies who make too much money. I want my hockey. I also want to be able to co-exist in relative peace with my hockey crazy daughter. I don’t think that’s going to happen until they sign an agreement. And to make matters worse our ownership saga continues…just let me publicly say that I think the City of Glendale sucks. Ok, got that out of my system.

4. I am way over the heat at this point. Every year, sometime in August, I start to just mentally give up on trying to cope with it. At least it’s not as hot in the mornings anymore, which gives one hope that it will cool down eventually. Every year though, I fear that it will never fall below 100 degrees again. Summer is the bane of my existence.

5. I wonder when in this country we stopped teaching basic grammar. I read a lot of blogs and some of the things I read just make me cringe. But my biggest pet peeve is the misuse of the words “then” and “than”. It. Absolutely. Drives. Me. Crazy. Sentences like this: “I had to go to the store and than to the gas station.” "Than" is ONLY used as a comparison word. As in: I like this dress better than that one. But I have seen people use "then" in that circumstance also. Why does this drive me crazy and why do I care? Because the nuns said so…that’s why. And what the nuns say goes…every good Catholic school child know this. Some things are just hard to let go of…even after 40 years.

6. I’m going to end this little post on a bit of sad note. Nothing sad in my life, but just something that I have been thinking about since reading this blog post. If you don’t want to read the blog, basically it’s a post about an awesome family that adopted a little girl from China. They shared their adoption journey through this blog and even took us along to the orphanage where their daughter was living. I have to tell you that nothing in a very long time has broken my heart like this did. Seeing the crib that this little girl and all those other babies have to live their lives in. Just a metal crib with a board at the bottom. No mattress. No sheets. Nothing. What’s worse than that though…no one to love them. They are starving for human attention. No one picks them up to comfort them. They get no lullabies, no stories before bedtime, no one tucks them in and kisses them goodnight. They have no mother to say to them, “No matter what happens, your mother always loves you.” I said this to my children, a lot. I wanted them to know that there will always be someone in this world that has their back. Someone who loves them unconditionally and without reserve. These little ones have no one like that. I am heart broken over it. I wanted to get on the next plane to China and bring them all home with me. (and yes, I know there are lots of children in this country that are neglected and need love too...but I didn't see a blog post about them, I saw this one and it made me sad) Obviously I knew this existed and I’ve even seen pictures of orphanages like this in the past. But for some reason it really hit me just now. It might be that I am essentially an empty nester which is really hard for someone like me who thrives on being needed by children. Or it could just be the pre-menopausal hormones…which is probably the better answer. If I had the means I would probably adopt one…or two. But sadly I do not and so I have just been praying for them. Praying that they find an awesome family who will love them forever. If you are the praying type, please pray for these little ones, and all the little ones everywhere who deserve to be loved but aren't.

Ok, that’s it for now. Hopefully next week will see me back on track with this blog. I hope everyone has a great weekend!

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Computer Love

I hope you enjoyed Tiger's view of life in the Clem Castle. She is adjusting nicely. She is, however, the weirdest cat we have ever had...and we've had many. She is very skittish and afraid of EVERY THING. She doesn't really play with cat toys but prefers yarn and her tail....she chases her a dog. It's quite amusing. Dan is really hurt by the fact that she doesn't seem to care for him in the least. This surprises all of us as Dan is an animal charmer. I believe this may be the first animal in the history of our family that didn't immediately fall under his spell. She has attached herself to me, which is quite hilarious because I really don't like cats all that much, and if we never had another one, it wouldn't faze me in the least. Told you she was weird. But we love her anyway. Her weirdness just means she fits right in here at the 'ole Clem Castle.

My New Best Friend!

 On to the point of this post. I am writing this on my brand new, super lightening fast, computer. I am in love. It's right up there with the refrigerator in the amount of love I feel for it. I have been absent from the blogosphere because I just couldn't handle how slow and annoying my ancient computer had become. If I wanted to include pictures and links it literally took hours to write one post. So, needless to say, I am very happy to be back among the blogging world once again. I have a few ideas for posts to come, and the Arizona Almanac will be returning to Fridays.  All this will have to wait one more week though, as I am going on vacation to my happy place....Flagstaff.   Dan and I will be spending a week up north in the cool country. I CANNOT wait to get there. I'll be taking pictures and you can bet there will be a post about it when I get back.

Hope everyone has a great weekend and I'll see you back here next week!

Friday, July 20, 2012

The Kitty Says...

Hi! Tiger here, checking in because my mom finds it impossible to blog right now. 

This is one of my favorite spots...on the arm of my mom's chair.

Things are going ok in this new house.  I love my special place under Dad's sink.  I go there when I don't want to be bothered and thankfully my family gets it and they leave me alone.  The other night I noticed these twirling blades on the ceiling and they scared me to death.  I don't know why I didn't notice them before...they are in EVERY room in this house!  Some of them twirl and some of them just stay still.  No matter how hard I try I just can't figure that out.  I thought they might come down from the ceiling and get me, but they seem to be staying in place for now, so I'm kind of getting used to them, but every now and then they freak me out.  For some reason my family finds this hilarious...I don't think that's very nice, do you? 

I really like my mom,  I love to sit on her lap and make her pet me.  I don't think she likes it as much as I do.  Probably because I make her nose itch and her eyes water.  Oh well, she'll just have to get used to it.  I think it kind of irritates my dad that I like her more than him, but he tries to hold me and I don't like that.  I am a very independent feline!  I also tricked her into giving me some yarn to play with, even after she told everyone she wasn't going to do that.  I love my yarn!  I am now plotting ways to get into the big yarn stash next to my mom's chair.  She keeps a pretty close eye on it though so I'm gonna have to be sneaky.

I have tricked the family into giving me lots of treats.  Except for that girl that brought me here.  She keeps telling everyone that I am going to get fat and spoiled.  She's probably right, but I think she should just mind her own business.

So, I heard my mom say she ordered a new computer.  She seemed really excited about it.  I'm excited too because I really don't like the noises my parents make when they try to use the computer they have now.  I'm a cat and even I can tell that thing is an antique!  I heard it's supposed to arrive in the next week or two and then mom can start blogging again.  She also said something about finally being able to get on Pinterest...I have no idea what that is, but it sounds addicting so I think she should watch out for that.  She also said she has a big family reunion to plan, pictures to organize and something about a Christmas letter.  Sounds like she will be spending lots of time on that new computer.  It better not cut into my petting time or I just might have to find a way to sabotage that thing!

Ok, time for me to crawl back under the sink and take a nap.  Have a great weekend everyone!

Quote for the Week:

Cats have it all - admiration, an endless sleep, and company only when they want it.

~Rod McKuen~


Tuesday, July 3, 2012

The Kitty Says...

New buddies: Stephen and Tiger

Hi!  My name is Tiger, I'm six years old, and I'm the newest member of the Clem Clan.  I've decided to take over my new mom's blog today so you can get to know me a little better.  Because I'm a cat, and it's all about me.

Last night I came to live with the Clem Clan.  They are my third family.   My new mom says the Clem Clan is my forever family, but I get the feeling she is only tolerating me.  I don't think she really appreciates the specialness of cats.  The other people in the clan are great!  My new dad is so happy I came to live with him, I can tell.  He smiles at me a lot and loves to pet me.  Same with the boy in the picture.  The other people in the clan call him the Cat Whisperer.  I guess this means he likes to whisper in cats ears.  So far he hasn't whispered at me, but he is really nice and he let me sleep in his bed.  He smiles at me a lot and pets me too.  I know we are going to be very good friends.  The girl who brought me home is nice too.  I've even forgiven her for stuffing me in that tiny cage, putting me in a car and driving me across town.  I did NOT like that trip one bit.  She's nice though and likes to pet me too.

I hope Mom is right and I get to stay here forever because moving to new places is not fun. The last place I lived was a one bedroom condo.  I got here and wow...this place is big!  I didn't even know where to start exploring.  And there are some doors that are closed...I think they are keeping secrets from me.  I want to get into those places so day, when they let their guard down, I'll figure out how.  For now, I'm happy exploring everything else.  This morning I woke up my new mom at 3:30 am.  I don't think she was too happy about it but I just couldn't resist finding out what was in that cabinet under the sink.  She tried to make me lay on the bed with her and dad...but I was too restless for that.  I needed to see if I could claw my way into the other closed door in the hallway outside their bedroom.  She opened it up so I could see that it's just a closet full of games that I can't play.  I did try to get in there, but she wasn't having any of that.  I can tell she's not gonna be the fun one in this house.

Right now I'm the only animal that lives here.  But I can tell that other cats have lived here before.  I've figured out all the places they liked to hang out and I'm keeping an eye on those spots to make sure they don't come back.  I also overheard them talking about getting dogs.  I'm not very keen on THAT idea.  But even if they do, I'll be sure to let everyone know who's boss.  I am a cat after all....we rule the world!

I'll be back occasionally to let you know how I'm doing.  I think I'm gonna like it here, as long as they let me have my way.  I'm pretty sure I already have three of them in my back I just gotta win over the new mom.  I hear she's tough.  We'll see.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Wednesday Hodgepodge

Time for another Wednesday Hodgepodge.  We have a few questions about summer.  I hate summer.  But then, where I live, on the surface of the sun...summer's not so fun.  But I'll play goes...

1. Summer officially rolls in with the Hodgepodge this week, for those of us in the Northern hemisphere anyway. What song says summer 2012 to you?

I don't listen to enough radio to be up on what's new this summer.  What I can say is that anytime I hear the Beach Boys it makes me think the kind of summer I wish I had.  The theme song to my Arizona summer would have to be...Walking On The Sun by Smash Mouth.

2. What's your favorite quintessential summer food?

Ice cream.  I love it at any time of the year...but so much more satisfying on a hot summer day.

3. I've spent a lot of time traipsing up and down the NJ Turnpike in recent weeks. Did you know the rest areas on the turnpike are named after people who lived or worked in NJ? Clara BartonWalt WhitmanJames Fenimore CooperMolly PitcherJoyce KilmerThomas Edison, and Gover Clevland just to name a few. Of those I listed, who would you most like to have known and why?

Molly Pitcher, hands down.  I am quite obsessed with the American Revolution.  In my younger days I used to fantasize about living in that time.  Now that I'm older, I realize that I would not survive a day in the 1770's.  I would crumble and cry like a baby for my mommy.  I am too used to plumbing, running water, air conditioning, mousse and a blow dryer and tampons...ok, that last one was probably a bit too much, but you know you've all thought about that.  Yes, you have.  But, if I could talk to Molly Pitcher she would tell me what it was like to be there and live through those scary, awesome times.  I admire a woman who will go to war for what she believes in, whether on a real battlefield or a figurative one.

4. At what age did you move out of your parent's house and what prompted the move?

I was 18 and I had to get out of the small town I was living in and back to the big can read why here.

5. What's more satisfying to you-saving time or saving money?

Neither.  I don't have anyone to answer to but myself (well, my husband thinks I answer to him, but, what he doesn't know won't hurt him ;) so time is really not an issue for me.  I quit trying to save money a long time ago.  Every time I'd get some saved up, something would happen and I'd have to spend I just quit trying.

6. Name something you think brings out the good in people.

A smile.  Don't you feel better when someone smiles at you?  I do.  It's such a small gesture but it makes a big impact.  It's hard for people to be grumpy when you're smiling at them.

7. Will you be taking a vacation or a staycation this summer? If so where will you go? If a staycation is on the calendar have you made any special plans to fill the time?

I think mine is a vacation, but I'm not leaving the state, just going to another maybe it's a staycation...but the city is 200 miles away soooo...I don't know.  My husband and I are going to my favorite place in Arizona...Flagstaff!  We are going in it August yet?  I'm so excited to get away for a week.  We are planning on taking a trip on the Grand Canyon Railway...something I've never done despite living here my entire life.

8. Insert your own random thought here.

I am not a fan of summer.  I do not like the heat.  If you've read my blog for any length of time you know this already...but I think it bears repeating.  I hate the heat.  People wonder why I'm not used to it after living here my whole life.  I don't know why...I hated it when I was a kid, and I continue to hate it well into my 50's.  The only reason I suffer through the summers here (which by the way, last from early April to mid October) is that I don't have to deal with any of the other weather related atrocities such as hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes...and snow.  I mean, I think I would like snow...until I had to shovel it or drive in it.  Then, not so much.  Winter here makes living with the heat somewhat bearable.  I rarely wear a sweater or coat of any kind in the winter...I just want to soak in that wonderful weather for as long as it lasts.  I cherish every day from November through March.  And during the summer...I just go from one air conditioned space to another as fast as I can!

Thanks Joyce, for all the great questions.  Please go visit her blog to get the links for all those participating in the summer fun...and join in!

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Happy Father's Day or Why I'm the Luckiest Girl in the World

Happy Father's Day to all the great dads out there!!

I am a lucky girl.  I have many wonderful fathers in my life.  I have brothers, cousins, brothers-in-law, nephews and one very special uncle, who all personify what it means to be a great father.  I am so lucky to be surrounded by these men, and to be a witness to how much they love their families.

I was blessed with the most wonderful father, who sadly is no longer with me.  I miss him everyday, but especially on this day.  He gave me many gifts in life and I appreciate every one of them.  Please go to this post to read more about My Father's Gift.
My father - Art.  I love you Daddy, and I miss you everyday!

My children are very fortunate to have a wonderful father of their own.  My husband has also given them many gifts.  He has never been much of a lecturer or preacher but he is a teacher by example.  He has lived a life filled with service to others, hard work, honesty and faith in God.  My children have followed his example. They are all compassionate, caring, giving adults.  They are hard working and honest.  They live the example set by their father.  I hope they realize just how lucky they are...I think they do.

Thank you, Dan, for being a great father to our children.  I love you with all my heart.

He has also taught them who to root for!  Love my family!!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Wednesday Hodgepodge

I know I promised you an Arizona Almanac for last Friday and then never delivered.  After I life kind of derailed and the post never got done...I'm still trying to catch up.  Posting Hodgepodge Wednesday so you know I didn't completely fall of the face of the earth.  Plus, they were fun here goes...

1. In what way are you your own worst enemy?

Can I say every way?  I feel like I do at least two things a day that cause me to say later..."Why did I do that?".  If I picked just one would be my tendency to worry just a tad too much.  And by a tad...I mean A LOT.  The worrying only makes things worse and it never solves anything, but I've yet to figure out how to stop it.  I'm better...but not cured. 

2. Jacques Cousteau's birthday was Monday, June 11th...ever been scuba diving? Is that something you'd like to try? What's your favorite 'under the sea' creature?

I've never been scuba diving and I'm not sure how I feel about it.  I love the water but, to be honest, scuba diving kind of scares me.  I am fascinated by whales.  I don't know why.  I just love them.  One of my dreams is to go on a whale watching cruise.

3. On a scale of 1-10, how comfortable are you in and around the water? (1=not at all, 10=very) Do you know how to swim and if so how and when did you learn?

10.  I love the water and I'm a good swimmer.  I'm not really sure who taught me to swim.  I know I didn't have any formal lessons.  I do remember my uncle throwing me in the water and telling me to swim so maybe that was it...but that was long ago and far, far memory is fuzzy.  But, thanks Uncle Ted...for throwing me in and making me swim....for whatever reason :)

4. What's something you do to motivate yourself to tick an item off your to-do list?

The satisfaction of a job well done.  That and knowing if I don't do it, it will just be waiting for me another day.

5. What makes a good neighbor? Are you a good neighbor?

I think a good neighbor minds their own business unless asked to help out with something and then does so with a joyful heart.  Good neighbors watch out for each others well being. 

I don't know if I'm considered a good neighbor or not.  I really like to keep to myself, but I will help out if asked.  I think my husband is the epitome of a great neighbor.  He talks to everyone.  He helps everyone with anything they ask.  Everyone loves him.  Except for the crazy lady next door.  I live in a wonderful neighborhood with great neighbors...except for the one who happens to live next door to me.  She is crazy and I pray everyday that she finds a reason to move. Good neighbors do not call the city on you for parking your vehicle in front of your own home and then report it as an abandoned vehicle.  Good neighbors do not yell like a banshee at your children when they are minding their own business.  Good neighbors do not make enemies over a stupid trash can.  Sorry...but it did feel good to vent :)  Thanks for that!

6. Who loads the dishwasher at your house? Is there a right way and a wrong way?

My son loads the dishwasher most of the time.  He is still living at home and this is one of his chores as set down by our agreement for him living at home.  I like the dishwasher loaded a certain way...but I don't force anyone else to do it my's not worth the fight and as long as the dishes get clean...that's all I care about.

7. You know it's summer when_________________________.

Everyone says this over and over and over...."But it's a dry heat"

8. Insert your own random thought here.

Some days it doesn't pay to get out of bed....I've had a few too many of those days recently.  Here's to better days ahead!

Hope you all enjoyed the Hodgepodge.  Hop on over to Joyce's blog and find out how you can participate and find links to other blogs that are joining in the fun.