Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Wednesday Hodgepodge

It's time for Wednesday Hodgepodge hosted by Joyce at From This Side of the Pond.  Go to Joyce's blog for links to all the fun bloggers who participate.  Go here for instructions if you wish to play along.  Enjoy!

1. What can the average citizen do to honor a military veteran and/or those currently serving?

  • When you see members of the military, thank them for their service.  I know they appreciate it. 
  • Don't take your rights and freedoms for granted.  You've heard it before but I'll say it again.  Freedom isn't free.  Millions have lost their lives for our freedoms and rights.  Millions continue to protect those freedoms and rights.  We should honor them by being grateful everyday.

 2. Besides a flag what is something you own that is red, white and blue?

I'm sure I do own something, but right now I'm drawing a blank. 

3. Does love really conquer all?

No.  At least not for me.  You can really love someone, but there are issues that even love can't overlook.  Drugs, abuse, adultery...just to name a few. 

4. Strawberry shortcake or blueberry pie?
Strawberry it! 

5. Do you share personal stuff with your hairdresser?

No.  But then I don't share personal stuff with many people.  When I go to the salon I think of that as time away from all my problems...I don't want to bring them with me.

6. Does money lead to selfishness?
I don't think so.  I think having money exagerates the type of person you are.  So, if you are a little selfish to begin with, money will only make you worse.  If you're generous to begin with, money will make you more so. You're either a selfish person or you're not.  I don't think money, or anything else, can change who you really are inside.  When people say money, or fame or whatever changed a person...I think they didn't know that person as well as they thought they did. 

7. What piece of furniture in your home most needs replacing or refinishing?

Um, everything.  I often refer to my decor as "Early Other People".  The only thing in my house that wasn't previously owned by someone else are my kids beds.  Everything else belonged to someone else before it belonged to me.  Some of those things, like my mother's hutch and dining room set, I love and cherish.  Other pieces, not so much.  I just have them because I've never really had the cash to buy furniture.  If I had to pick one I'd say the chair I sit in to crochet and watch's in desperate need of a makeover.

8. Insert your own random here.
I hate Mondays.  Whether it's a real Monday or a Tuesday after a long holiday weekend...I hate them. 
Ok, there you have it. Another fun Hodgepodge.  Hope you enjoyed it!

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Quotation Tuesday

I think of myself as a pretty patriotic person.  I love this country.  With all it's faults, I believe it to be the best nation on earth.  Our nation has been pretty divided for quite a while.  The divisions seem deep and hard to bridge.  Both sides are passionate about what they believe.  Neither side is willing to bend.  With that in mind, I've been thinking about a few things, and since I've vowed not to debate politics in this forum, I'll just post a few quotes that express my feelings.  Consider it food for thought.

My fellow Americans, ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country. 
~John F. Kennedy~

Patriotism is supporting your country all the time, and your government when it deserves it.
~Mark Twain~

The highest patriotism is not a blind acceptance of official policy, but a love of one's country deep enough to call her to a higher plain.
~George McGovern~

A healthy democracy requires a decent society; it requires that we are honorable, generous, tolerant and respectful.
~Charles W. Pickering~

Always vote for principle, though you may vote alone, and you may cherish the sweetest reflection that your vote is never lost.
~John Quincy Adams~

I predict future happiness for Americans if they can prevent the government from wasting the labors of the people under the pretense of taking care of them. 
~Thomas Jefferson~

See you all tomorrow for Wednesday Hodgepodge!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Wednesday Hodgepodge

I've decided to join in the fun of Wednesday Hodgepodge, hosted by a great blogger I found during the A to Z challenge.  Please check out Joyce's blog, From This Side of the Pond.  She's great.  Play along if you like!

For Wednesday Hodgepodge she gives us 7 questions to answer and an 8th random thought.  So here first Wednesday Hodgepodge...enjoy!

1. What's something you miss about the 1980's? If you're too young to miss the 80's how about the 90's?

I really miss being a young mother and having babies...that's what my '80's were all about.  I do not, however, miss big hair bands or leg warmers...somehow my daughter thinks all things '80's are super rad...even the leg warmers.  Go figure.

2. Do you have a library card? If so, how often do you visit?

I do have a library card and I don't visit as often as I'd like.  I LOVE the can read all about my library love here.  Maybe I'll go to the library this've planted a seed Joyce!

3. What's the secret to success?

Not being afraid to fail.

4. This is National Backyard Games week...what's your favorite backyard game?

Hmm...this is a hard one...I don't usually play backyard games but when I was a kid I loved I'll go with that.

5. If I dropped by today what would I find on your coffee table?

You would find nothing...and not because I'm such an outstanding housekeeper or anything like that (just ask anyone who knows me!)'s because I don't have a coffee table.  But in the interest of fun, I'll tell you what would probably be on a coffee table if I had one.  Papers of some kind...probably relating to softball, because my husband leaves papers everywhere and they usually relate to the softball league that he is president of, even though we no longer have any children playing softball.  Kinda got off track there...sorry.

6. Do you own a bicycle? When was the last time you rode a bicycle? Is that something you enjoy?

I'm not sure.  My Schwinn bike was one of the few things I brought with me from my parents house to my own home after I got married.  But, it just sat in the garage and collected dust, so I'm not sure if my husband got rid of it or not.  If I had to guess, I'd say not, because if you saw our garage, you would know my husband doesn't get rid of anything.  I have lived in my house for over 30 years and I've yet to park a car in my garage...ok off topic again ( I really do love my husband, he's just a collector..of papers and other random stuff...not of anything fun.  And he's a procrastinator...but that's for different post).  I can't remember the last time I rode a bike but I did enjoy it when I did.  Ok, I'll try to stay on point here.

7. What's your favorite cheese?

Extra sharp cheddar

8. Insert your own random thought here.

Since I'm writing this on Tuesday...I'm wondering if the Coyotes can play well enough to keep this series going.  That and the fact that my kids are going to the game and we saw a traffic alert that says about 650 parking spaces at the arena are going to be down for repaving.  Who repaves during playoff season?  My husband says those things are planned out way in advance and who ever would have thought that the 'Yotes would have gone this far....well, they should have thought.  If there's a chance you are going to sell out the building at any don't pave the parking lot.  But then, who am I to question.  I'll let you all know how the parking and the game turned out.  Go 'Yotes!!

Well, this was fun!  Can't wait for next week!

PS~ Parking was fine.  They got there early enough to get "rock star" parking, according to my daughter.  The outcome of the game was not so fine.  Coyotes lost and the season is over...more on that in an upcoming post.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Quotation Tuesday

Laughter and tears are both responses to frustration and exhaustion. I myself prefer to laugh, since there is less cleaning up to do afterward.  ~Kurt Vonnegut~

I've had quite a bit of frustration in my life recently.  I wish I could say I'm the type that laughs when I'm frustrated...but alas, I do A LOT of cleaning up afterward.  In fact, I cry for almost every emotion.  My dad used to tell me I wore my feelings behind my eyes.  He was right.  As usual. 

I really wish I could change that about myself, but I don't see how at this late date.  I've tried, I really have.  But the waterworks are just there immediately, for everyone to see.  That in itself is frustrating.  But, it's who I am, so I'm owning it. 

Do you cry when you are frustrated, sad, hurt, happy, angry (I hate that the most!)?  How do you deal with your emotions?

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Arizona Almanac


In this installment I want to introduce you to a local charity that has a great mission. 

Packages arrive overseas
Photo credit: Packages From Home

Packages From Home was started by Kathleen Lewis in March of 2004 when her son, Christopher, was deployed to Iraq.  She sent him packages regularly, and learned that he was the only one in his squad that was receiving packages.  She got some friends together and they started have "packing" parties in her garage.  Donated items were packed and sent to her sons squad.  Over the course of the next year the grassroots project grew into the charitable organization it is today.  Today,  Packages From Home provides an average of 1000 to 1500 packages to overseas troops every month. If you live in the Phoenix area you can collect your own donations and go to the PFH facility to have a "packing party".  You will be able to pack your own donations for the troops, which PFH will then send overseas for you.  You can also drop off donations and they will pack them for you.  If you don't live in Phoenix you can also donate online.

So why am I telling you about this today?  Well, today is Armed Services Day and PFH is doing a "money bomb". A money bomb is when an organization asks all of its supporters to make a financial donation - of any amount -  to the organization on one specific day.  The effort is primarily online. They hope to raise $15,000 today which will provide 1000 packages that will help 5000 service members.

Go here to read more about Packages From Home and make a donation, if you wish.

Happy Armed Services Day to all our military heroes.  Thank you for your service!!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Quotation Tuesday

Coyotes Monday practice.  All eyes and ears on Coach Tippett.
Photo Credit: @walshtodd

By now you know I love hockey.  And right now I am obsessed with it.  Coyotes are in the Western Conference Finals.  They lost the first game on Sunday.  Game 2 is tonight.  Today's quote is a message to my hockey team.  Not that any of them will see this...but it makes me feel better :)

"A good hockey player plays where the puck is.  A great hockey player plays where the puck is going to be."    ~Wayne Gretzky~

Be where the puck is going to be boys, and win Game 2!  That is all.


Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Coyote Love

I bet a lot of you thought this was going to be another post about Arizona and those little critters that run around the desert.  Nope, not even close.  The Coyote species I speak of does reside in the desert, although they don't run around the desert.  They skate on ice.  Yes, we have ice in Arizona.  I know, sometimes even I have a hard time believing it.  But, we do, and the Coyotes who skate on the ice are the topic of this post.  If you are not a sports fan feel free to go back to whatever you were doing before you opened up this post.  I won't be offended.  I get that not all people are as rabid about their sports teams as I am.  I don't know why they aren't, but I accept it. Anyway...two great things happened last night and I'm going to tell you about them because they make me a very happy hockey girl.

The Phoenix Coyotes of the NHL have been ownerless for three years.  The previous owner put the team into bankruptcy and when no buyer could be found, the NHL bought the team so it could stay in Phoenix.  I'm very grateful to the NHL for doing that.  I haven't liked most things the NHL has done in recent years but this one was good.  The last three years have been a roller coaster for the players and the fans.  There were several interested buyers but deals could not get done.  Despite all the turmoil surrounding the team, they made the playoffs the last three years.  The players decided to rise above it all and play like winners.  I love them.  The Coyotes have, however, never made it out of the first round of the playoffs since moving from Winnipeg to Phoenix in 1996.  Some called it a curse.  Whatever it was frustrating.  But the team continued to improve and this year...they did it.  They beat the Chicago Blackhawks in 6 games.  Moving to the second round for only the second time in franchise history. 

In the second round we met up with the Nashville Predators.  Everyone picked the Preds to win.  But everyone always picks the other team to win...that's just what we have to live with.  With home ice advantage we felt pretty good about our chances.  We won the first two games in Phoenix and split the next two in Nashville.  So all this leads up to last night.  Game 5, in Phoenix, in front of the White Out.  Up three games to one with a chance to finish on home ice for the first time. 

Yesterday morning the news agencies were all reporting that the NHL Commissioner was going to have a press conference before the start of the game to talk about a deal to sell the Coyotes.  Every one was on edge...are they staying or going to another city?  What does this mean for the team?  And why make an announcement right before the most pivotal game in franchise history?  The players don't need that distraction.  But, the announcement was good.  The NHL has come to an agreement with a buyer and the deal is almost done.  The new owner has every intention of keeping the team in Phoenix.  Now, we've all been around long enough that we don't get overly excited about these announcements.  We've been burned before.  But this one looks good, so we are cautiously optimistic. 

The Stanley Cup or Lord Stanley's Cup
Photo Credit: Wikipedia
And then, as if the stars are aligned (or maybe it's the supermoon effect) the Coyotes won last night!!!!!  This team, that never says die, and plays their hearts out for the fans of Phoenix, with no superstar and a real team going to the Western Conference Finals for the first time in franchise history.  I could not be more excited than if I owned the team myself.  I have been wearing a smile all day long.  One more series win and we would be in the Stanley Cup Finals.  Playing for Lord Stanley's Cup.  It's unbelievable. 

The next series will be tough.  We face the LA Kings.  They are hot right now and they have an awesome goalie...but so do we.  We have home ice advantage again, and we are also a great road team.  I like our chances.   Today I am full of Coyote Love!


(Thanks for bearing with me while I professed my Coyote love :0)

Quotation Tuesday

Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind.   ~Dr. Seuss~

I love Dr. Seuss.  I think this quote typifies his writing.  He was all about just being yourself.  Because your the best you there is!  I also love this quote because I've never shyed away from saying what I feel.  I won't say something that will hurt someone's feelings (at least not on purpose)...some things are better left unsaid, but in the right situation I have no problem speaking up.  This quote goes together nicely with another favorite of mine....

To thine own self be true.  ~William Shakespear~

It's all about keeping it real and owning who you are. 

Do you have a favorite quote? 

Monday, May 7, 2012

Reflections of a Blogging Fool

Blogging from A to Z Challenge....or....How I spent the entire month of April 2012. 

We've been asked by the great team at the A to Z Challenge to write a reflection post about our experience with the challenge.  I didn't intend for this post to be so long, but I'm long winded, so there you have it.  First let me thank all my new followers and all the awesome people who left great comments.  I appreciate you all!  I hope you enjoyed your little tour through Arizona and I hope you stick around!   Also, thanks to the great team of bloggers at A to Z who organized this whole thing and kept us all in line.  They are awesome!!

I found out about the challenge in the fall of 2011.  I coaxed my daughter into thinking it would be a fun mother/daughter thing to do (I wonder if she'll ever forgive me).  We both needed to jump start our blogging and I thought this sounded like a perfect way to do that.  Sign ups weren't until January and that seemed far enough away so we thought, why not?  We would think about it and make a decision at sign ups.  We both decided to do the challenge and signed up right away.  I had every intention of pre-writing all the posts to have them done before the challenge even started. laid plans and all of that.  I wrote my first post on March day before it was supposed to post.  I played catch up the entire month....I always felt really frustrated me.  But it was my own fault so I'll live with it.  There were good and bad things about doing the challenge.  We'll do the bad first so we can end on a good note :)

I mostly enjoyed the challenge but there were parts that were painful.  Like the research. I'm glad a picked a topic but I had no idea how little I knew about my own yes, research was involved. Somewhere around day 18 I just started to feel like I was back in school.  Again, my own fault but still....I have no desire to go back to school...ever.  I do enjoy learning new things and I do like to research stuff...but not on a deadline...again, my fault.  The other part that totally frustrated me was the lack of time to visit other bloggers and comment.  I suppose being better prepared and having my posts done ahead of time would have helped this little matter also.   Besides not being prepared, I have obligations outside of my blog...I know, hard to believe huh?  Of course there's work, but more importantly....the hockey playoffs fell right in the middle of this whole thing.  The timing could not have been worse.  I wonder if the A to Z team will consider moving the challenge to say...June, when the playoffs and the cup are over and decided.  That would help me out tremendously!

Believe me when I say...the Catholic guilt struck hard on this one.  I just felt guilty the whole time because I wasn't visiting and commenting enough.  I mean, I don't think there are commenting police out there that are just waiting to put my blog in jail...but I still felt guilty because that's the whole point of the challenge.  To meet other bloggers, have them meet you, increase your readership...all of that.  So, yeah, I failed that part of the assignment and I'm just waiting for the teachers to send me to detention.  I wonder if it will help if I tell them I had the best of intensions....really I did!

One last negative before we hit on the positives.  The serious lack of material at the end of the alphabet.  I'm surprised some of these letters keep their job.  Listen up U, V, X, Y and Z, you need to step up your game before next year.  Ok, enough of that....on to the good...

This was my A to Z Challenge went everywhere with me...
I think I'm having separation anxiety.
Notice all the things listed in the bottom  right...those are things I decided not to write about...look for them in future Arizona Almanac posts.
 I met some amazing bloggers and added so many new blogs to my blog roll that I have no idea how I'm ever going to have time to read them all.  But they are amazing writers, so I couldn't pass them up.

I am so glad I chose to blog about a topic.  I had intensions of just winging it and writing whatever came into my head.  Turns out my head is kind of empty (no comments from the peanut gallery!) and it's a good thing for all of you that I chose to blog about Arizona.  It ended up being a good thing for me also.  I'm an Arizonan born and raised, which means I've lived here for over half a century (yes, I'm that old).  I've never lived outside the confines of this lovely state and yet there were lots of new things I discovered that I never knew existed.  Some of them were kind of disturbing (remember this) but a lot of them were truly amazing and I'm planning road trips in my mind as we speak.

I think when you live any place for your entire life, there are a couple of things that can happen.  You want to live somewhere else (preferably a place where the temps don't reach 120 in the summer).  You start to focus only on the annoying aspects of where you live.  You stop appreciating the beauty that exists all around you.  OK, so maybe these are just things that happened to me, but I have to tell you, before beginning this challenge I was pretty darn fed up with living in the desert.  And sometimes I was fed up with Arizona all together.  But during the coarse of writing the blog I started to rediscover this amazing place.  I started looking at my surroundings differently.  Driving to work one morning I realized how lucky I am to have the beautiful mountains and amazing sunrises accompanying me on my morning commute.  I remembered why so many people come to this valley to make it their home.  It is a pretty awesome place and you don't have to shovel anything in the winter.  So, while I still abhor the heat and I would move to Flagstaff in an instant if I could, I don't have that feeling of animosity toward my native land.  In fact, I appreciate it more and I'm proud of where I live.  That's something unexpected and totally awesome that came from doing this challenge and it's something that I'm very grateful for.

I talked about this last week but it bears repeating (or copying and pasting...however you like to look at it ;).  The best thing to come out of this challenge is that I lost that feeling of not feeling good enough. I realized that I can hold my own when writing. Am I the best writer in the world? Not at all. But I'm not the worst and I even feel somewhat competent. I realized that I have my own unique voice in this blogging world and that cured my blog envy. I'm now ready to forge forward with this blog and I'm excited to see where it takes me.

Last thing.  Assuming there is one, will I participate in the challenge next year?  I'm not sure.  The pain is still kind of fresh.  But I suppose that, like childbirth, the pain fades with time and you forget why you said....I'll never do that again!

Thanks for reading and I'll see you in the blogosphere!

Thursday, May 3, 2012


If you've read my blog for very long you know I love quotes.  If you're new to my blog...I love quotes.  I usually end each post with a quote that in some way pertains to whatever I have written.  But, now I'm looking for ways to jump start my brain in an effort to blog more.  One of the ideas I had was to do a post once a week based on my favorites quotes. I'm going to do the first one today to see how it works out, but from now on I will post these on Tuesdays and I will still have my Arizona Almanac on Fridays (except for tomorrow...I'm taking tomorrow off ;).  Here goes:

What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies with in us.         
~Ralph Waldo Emerson~

I love this quote. 

What lies behind us: It's useless to worry about what happened in the past.  It's over and done and you can't go back and change it.

What lies before us:  We have no idea what the future will bring, so don't worry about it.

What lies within us:  The only thing in life we can control...the things that lie within us: Our character, our moral compass, our convictions, our spirituality.  If we master these...what lies behind and before will take care of itself.

That's it...short and sweet.  Let me know what you think of this idea.

Hope everyone has a great weekend!

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Arizona, My Arizona

Who knew that when I decided to write about Arizona for the blogging challenge it would change not only the way I feel about my state but the way I feel about myself.  Two for the price of one.

I'll go into how I feel about Arizona in the wrap up post next week.  But I think one of the most amazing things that happened while writing this is that I lost that feeling of not feeling good enough.  I realized that I can hold my own when writing.  Am I the best writer in the world?  Not at all.  But I'm not the worst and I even feel somewhat competent.  I realized that I have my own unique voice in this blogging world and that cured my blog envy.  I'm grateful for that.  I'm now ready to forge forward with this blog and I'm excited to see where it takes me.

During the challenge a couple of things surprised me.  I knew Arizona was a big mining state.  I mean, you can't grow up here and not know that, it's part of the Arizona history you learn in school.  What I wasn't prepared for was how many of these little mining towns still survive, and even thrive, long after the mining boom left.  I wrote about four of them, but they are numerous and sprinkled throughout the state.  The biggest surprise to me was how much I wrote about the southern part of the state.  Until doing this challenge I really didn't like anything south of Phoenix except the mission.  So, imagine my surprise when seven of my subjects came from the south.  And, I want to see them all.  I think that was the most pleasant surprise, finding things about my state I didn't know and now I look forward to exploring Arizona with new eyes.

Now let me tell you where my state stacks up.  I decided to do this unofficial, totally experimental, not at all scientific research about the state of Arizona.  This was a last minute decision made as I wrote the first post.  I decided what category to put each topic in only after I had written the post.  I want you to know that I did not, in any way, fix this outcome ahead of time.  So with those disclaimers out of the way, here are the results:

Fun: 1
Interesting: 9
Amazing: 8
Quirky: 8

I cannot believe how even these results are...well, except of course for fun...more about that in a minute.  At the outset of this project I would have bet money that Quirky would have led the a large margin.  But I found (or rediscovered) so many interesting and amazing things that I couldn't even write about all of them.  I have 12 subjects left that I didn't write about and those will be the next subjects for my Arizona Almanac series.

While the fun category only had one vote, I think all the things I wrote about could be fun in some way sooo...

I have decided that I live in an amazingly interesting place with just enough quirky to make it fun.  I hope you agree!

(Watch for my A to Z Challenge reflections post coming May 7th!)