Friday, September 29, 2006

Scott's new blog

Check out my friend Scott's new blog. I suppose you're asking who in the world is Scott? Scott Crozier is a dear friend that I've kept in touch with for close to 4 decades. Can you believe it? I've actually known him since I was about 7 or 8 years old. He can probably correct the year. He remembers everything! I knew him when I was a little kid because he was one of my brother, Pat's friends from the time they were very young. Scott was also in Cub Scouts and my mom was their Den Mother. All those scouts in their cute little uniforms used to come over and work on earning their merit badges, usually in the kitchen, with my mom's help.

As we got older and into jr. high or high school, rumors spread around our little town that Scott had become a "Jesus Freak". I didn't pay much attention since we weren't really close friends at the time. I hung out with the drinking crowd and he was older and a "Jesus freak". What did we have in common?

After my freshman year of high school, God used Scott as one of His tools to lead me to Christ. After that we became fast and dear friends. I loved to listen to him play his guitar and sing. He's got an amazing voice! I also loved to watch him and his best friend, Gene Moore goof off. They had so much fun imitating the 3 stooges and just being crazy. We laughed a lot & they taught me many things in that next year. We studied the Bible together, visited all kinds of churches together, we talked and talked about everything and sang and sang. We went to any Christian concert we could find in the area. We spent hours upon hours at Shirley's house fellowshipping, sharing our faith, reading, praying, and just enjoying life. I really grew in so many ways because of Scott's influence on my life when I was 15.

What I just realized is that we were only together as friends for about a year, because my family moved to Arizona just before I turned 16. Isn't it amazing that we could form such a bond in just a year? It was a very special year of my life!

I'm so thankful that we still keep in touch now. I think we've seen each other in person maybe 4 or 5 times over the last 30 years, but I'm still thrilled to call him my friend. Maybe some day he'll come out and visit us in Arizona.

Scott is a teacher and lives in southern Ohio with his beautiful wife, Becky and their 2 nearly grown daughters. He emails a few times a year just to let me know that he's still alive. He's a wonderfully creative guy in so many ways. He's an artist, a song writer, a singer and a writer. Wouldn't you love to have a teacher like that? I still remember the sculptures that he made in high school art class. They were so cool! I wish I had one now.

I'm hoping that his blog will help me keep up on what he's doing and I think once he dives in to the writing you'll love to read his stuff. Check it out!

No pressure or anything Scott.
What's in a name?

Hey gang, I've decided to try to come up with a witty name for my blog instead of the boring NanAZ, but I can't think of anything witty. Give me some suggestions to get me going.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Check out this awesome site that I got from Antje's blog.

When you get to the blank page move the curser and every time you click the mouse, the color changes. It's so much awesome! Have fun!


Pat fought the weather & the weather won.

Pat's adventure - Day 23

The phone rang this morning at 4:30 a.m. It's so scary when that happens. We always expect the worst, don't we...because who would call at that ungodly hour if it wasn't a dire emergency?

After gaining a foggy conciousness and realizing it was my phone instead of one of our alarm clocks, I picked up the cell phone by my bed and the voice on the other end said, "Hi Sis! Did I wake you up?"

"Yes, Pat. It's 4:30 in the morning."

"Oh, sorry. Hey I'm in the bus station in Cleveland, waiting to catch a bus to Sandusky..."

Now if you read my last post about Pat's adventure, you're probably wondering how he got lost going from Sulphur, Louisiana on his way to Ft. Myers, Florida and ended up in Ohio, so let me catch you up.

After his 2 days of wandering in Sulphur he made it to somewhere near Lafayette, LA. Remember that he's been dealing with rain storms and wind pretty much the whole trip and I think he had just had enough. He called me on Thursday and asked me to check online to see if he could catch a bus from Lafayette to somewhere near Vermilion, Ohio, which is where we all grew up. Much of our extended family still lives in that area too.

It seems that whenever Pat is tired of wandering, he either ends up in Ohio or Phoenix where things are more familiar and there's some family around. He said he wasn't ready to come back to Phoenix (probably trying to avoid the heat and desert as long as he could) he chose Vermilion. I don't blame him. I would love to be in Vermilion this time of year when the leaves are turning and there's a chill in the air, schools have started and the sweaters are starting to come out. If he hangs around until October 15th he'll be able to go to the Woollybear Festival! They didn't have that when I was in Ohio, but I hear it's a lot of fun. Knowing Pat though, he's not a big fan of crowds so it's probably not something he would look forward to.

I was able to confirm that there was a bus from Lafayette to Sandusky, which is relatively close to Vermilion. So he headed for Lafayette on his way to Ohio.

When he arrived in Lafayette, he packed up as much as he could in his backpack and daypack and sold his bike, bike trailer and whatever he couldn't carry on his back at a pawn shop. He caught the bus and arrived in Cleveland this morning...not sure how he ended up in Cleveland instead of Sandusky, but don't even want to ask.

Anyway, as of this morning, he needed a place to stay in or around Vermilion, so I started making phone calls and hunting online to see what I could find that would be cheap (he doesn't like to spend a lot of money) and short-term (like nightly or weekly) until he can decide what he wants to do. Hopefully he'll get into a longer term situation if he decides to stay there for a while. Fortunately it's off-season for the tourist areas in northern Ohio so there are some places near the lake that aren't too expensive. The thing that really amazed me is that so many of these places look the same as they did over 30 years ago when I lived there. Time stands still in Vermilion in some ways. Take a look! Boy do they bring back a lot of memories! How fun!

Some of these websites start with music so be careful if you're in a quiet place.

Cottages at the Water's Edge
Lakeland Lodges
Wild Waves Motel (this is probably where he'll be staying)

So as I write, Pat's on his way to the Wild Waves Motel from Sandusky, which is about 10-15 miles to walk. He was thinking of calling a taxi, but we'll see if he decides to spend the money. Who knows how long he'll stay in town. The last time he went back there he stayed until it started getting too cold to get around easily. Since he doesn't have a car and the public transportation in those small towns is pretty sparce, he usually gets tired of being out in the cold...we'll see how long he lasts this time...

If you're in the Vermilion area and want to get in touch with him, send me an email ( and I'll give you his cell phone number.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Carmel, California - Just couldn't go without posting these from our day in Carmel and at the ocean...

We drove through town (one of my favorite places, because the buildings are so quaint) then along the road close to the beach. The houses look like they're right out of a storybook, but at a hefty price tag in the multi-millions $$$$.

We also stopped for a few minutes at the Carmel Mission
and discovered that St. Kevin is the Patron Saint of Blackbirds/Ireland. And did you know that Lawrence is the Patron Saint of Chefs and Comedians? Who comes up with these things? Saint Andrew is the Patron Saint against fever. Sorry, there's no Saint Amy or Erin that I can find yet. These are some medallians on sale at the mission gift shop in case you need to ward off chefs and comedians...oh maybe that's to protect them...

After we left town we drove south along the highway and Kevin took us to his favorite spot for tidepooling and climbing on rocks (one of his favorite sports). We did lots of climbing and exploring, we watched the sea otters and checked out the interesting creatures in the tidepools. By the end of the day we were windblown, a little sunburned, tired and coated with sea salt but had a great time!

Hmmm, I'm not able to post my otter picture or my storybook cottage picture, but maybe another day.

Oh and Kevin arrives here at midnight tonight as a pitstop on his way to Texas. He may be here for a couple of days and we're SO thrilled to be able to spend a little bit of time with him.

Pat's Adventure update - Day 17 :

O.k. so I have a lot more to post about our trip to CA, but I have to fit this in while it's on my mind, I started to let everyone know about my 50 year old brother, Pat's latest adventure then never got back to it. So here's the scoop. Pat left Phoenix on August 31st, drove a rental van to Corpus Christi, TX, dropped off the car and started out on a bicycle trip from Corpus Christi to Fort Myers, FL. This is a picture of all the stuff he was taking with him, including his bike, in the back of our car. You'll notice a few extra items, like a folding chair that we brought to our house, but 99% of this stuff he was going to try to fit in a little trailer behind his bike, a backpack and a couple of saddle bags. Who knows if he actually fit it all in.

This next photo is Pat with our mom just a few days before he left. She'll be doing a lot of worrying over the next few months! But it isn't the first time that he's gone on a major adventure and it probably won't be the last.

Based on my very rough calculations Pat will ride well over 1300 miles. If he averages 40 miles a day, (he says his range is 30-50) his trip should take about 40 days.

He started from Corpus Christi on September 2nd so we are now at day 17 and here's his status. He called this morning to let me know that he's in Sulphur, LA which is at least 350 miles by interstate from his starting point. Now understand that he can't go on the interstate freeways with a bike, so he has to travel on state highways and surface let's add another 100 miles to his route just to be safe. If you do the math, right now he's only making about 26.5 miles a day. If he keeps up this pace, it will take him about 53 days. If you watch the national weather at all, you know that he's been getting rain off and on the whole time. Of course, we warned him many many times that it was hurricane season, but he wanted to do it now anyway. We're just praying that he just gets rain and no hurricanes.

Another point that will help you understand Pat. He was in a motorcycle accident (riding without a helmet- don't EVER do that!) when he was in his late 20's and had severe head injuries. He can function o.k. in daily life, but many of what we all have as normal manageable weaknesses are more extreme with Pat. He gets frustrated easily, he gets confused and lost easily, he tends to be paranoid and not trust people. He's very stubborn and always thinks he's right and knows everything about everything. He doesn't understand or trust computers or much new technology. He does own a cell phone - Thank you God!

Imagine what this does to his situation when he's riding across the country in strange places with strange people and hard to follow directions. So is he extremely brave or just plain crazy? Probably a little of both. He's probably better discribed as a wanderer...never really being able to settle his soul long enough to feel at home. He really wants to have companionship and feel loved, but has a hard time getting along with people because of the issues I mentioned before. He needs someone who can be patient, but even his own family gets frustrated with him at times.

When he called this morning the first thing he said was, "Hi sis, guess what? I'm lost!" He had been wandering around in this small town of Sulphur not far from the border of Texas and Louisiana for two days trying to find a specific highway that he could see on his map but couldn't manage to find in real life. He said his map was falling apart because he had taken it out so many times in the rain that he couldn't even look things up any more. He said he had gotten directions from 4 different people and had been to every part of town that he could imagine, but still couldn't find the highway. He was starting to believe that the people were giving him wrong directions on purpose (there's that paranoia again). I assured him that they wouldn't do that, and while I had him on the phone I looked up the town on Yahoo Maps (What did we do before online mapping?) and helped him figure out where we thought he was and where he needed to go to get out of town. Fortunately, he called later in the day and left a message that he had found the road he was looking for and finally escaped the clutches of Sulphur, Louisiana...NEXT STOP - Layfayette, I think. These next days are probably going to get more difficult as he gets into the areas harder hit by Katrina. He was already planning to swing north of New Orleans since there is so much devastation there. I just hope he goes far enough north to be able to actually find the roads that he needs to still be intact.

So keep Pat in your prayers for protection and safety, some decent food and a good night's sleep...and maybe even to meet some friendly people that he can enjoy along the way.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

I've been having trouble posting pics, but finally here's Kevin's graduating class. The ladies are all their teachers. The one in the fuschia top is hoping that Kevin will give her name to Uncle Ted so she can go to Hollywood. Cute, huh?

I need to go now so we can get breakfast and head for the airport. Hopefully I'll get home early enough to post more tonight. I took way too many pictures at the coast south of Carmel yesterday, just trying to get the perfect one...more to come...

Friday, September 15, 2006

This week we're in Monterey, CA to see Kevin graduate from the Defense Language Institute. He just spent nearly 18 months, training full time to learn Mandarin Chinese. We arrived on Wednesday night and will be here till Sunday. The high temps this week are only supposed to be in the 60's, which is very refreshing after the heat of Phoenix. This coming Monday Kevin leaves to go to Goodfellow Air Force Base in Texas for another month of special training. Erin will be staying with her parents in Southern California while he's there because the assignment is so short. Sadly, they'll be spending their first wedding anniversary on September 24th in 2 different states so be sure to send them a note that day.

Yesterday we went to Kevin's graduation ceremony. There were 6 guys going through the ceremony, but only 4 of them actually passed the final exam and will move on. The last 2 guys have to stay on in Monterey and keep studying to retake the exam. The assumption is that they'll have to stay another 12 weeks. Wow that must be hard for them! The ceremony was pretty laid back for the military. Interestingly, the officers, teachers and staff in attendance far out-numbered the graduating class. The six guys sang the national anthem (a-cappella), received their diplomas, then there were several speeches, including much in Mandarin (with English translation of course). The ceremony was held in one of their classrooms that had a bunch of Chinese cultural pieces in it. Kevin graduated with honors and afterward his teachers raved about how smart, mature and what wonderful guy he is. Of course, we think the same, but we're his parents. I'll be posting a photo of his graduating class plus the teachers, but right now Blogger isn't cooperating for some reason...I'll try a little later.

Last night we went to Benihana's to celebrate - Teppan cooking is usually Kevin's restaurant of choice for special occasions and this was no exception. We had fun and great food! In honor of his graduation, they gave Kevin a silly balloon hat, sang a song to him and made him dance while they were singing. Cute! While we were there Erin decided to find out how many ways she could creatively use her napkin. There were many variations, but here are just a couple. (I'll post as soon as Blogger will work)

Today we're sitting here at K & E's place with packing guys in every room boxing up all of the belongings that they're not keeping with them. The military pays for all the boxes and furniture to go to storage for at least 4 months when Kevin & Erin will ultimately end up at Offutt Air Force Base near Omaha, Nebraska sometime about mid-January...interesting time to be gettting to Nebraska and quite a drastic change from the beauty and mild climate in Monterey. Kevin's not quite sure what he'll be doing between the end of October and mid-January. We're hoping he'll have some leave time, but not sure. They'r epacking the internet connection so I'll finish this later...

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Recipe: After dozens of requests (or maybe just a couple) here's the recipe that I talked about earlier along with a few more tips...

This is also great on shrimp. The cilantro gives it kind of a mexican flair, but not spicey. We made fajitas with the leftovers and there was enough flavor on the chicken that we didn't even need to add more spices for the fajitas...just grilled peppers and onions...quick and tasty!

Cilantro Pesto Chicken Tenders

Marinating time: 2 hours, minimum

2 Tblsp coarsely chopped walnuts
2 med garlic cloves
1 1/2 cup loosely packed fresh cilantro leaves and tender stems
1/2 cup loosely packed fresh Italian parsley leaves and tender stems
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 lb chicken breast tenders
1 lime, cut in wedges

To make the marinade: In a food processor, finely chop the walnuts and garlic. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add the cilantro, parsley, salt and pepper and process until finely chopped. With the motor running, slowly add the oil to create a smooth puree.

Place the chicken in a large, resealable plstic bag and add the marinade. Press the air out of the bag and seal tightly. Turn the bag to distribute the marinade, place in a bowl and refrigerate minimum 2 hours.

Remove the chicken from the bag and thread onto skewers. Grill over DIRECT HIGH HEAT until the meat is firm and the juices run clear, 6 to 8 minutes, turning once. Serve warm topped with lime juice.

Monday, September 04, 2006

# 3 - The end of an era...Terry just shipped off his prized PFL (Placerita football league) trophy to the commissioner of the league, Jim Daggs, in Santa Clarita. For the first time since 1989 he has decided not to participate in the fantasy league that was started by a few of the guys in our old church in Southern California!

Terry's been participating in this league for 17 years and won the Super Bowl 6 of those years, which is better than 35% of the time. He also played in the Super Bowl many other years, just missing the trophy with second place
. Because of his skill at the game, he became one of the primary targets for the other teams to beat each year.

This trophy has made it through all those years too. It even survived the Northridge earthquake in 1994. It's a bit nicked and scratched and scraped up, but still has the name and year of every guy who won the PFL Super Bowl since 1989. I suggested once that maybe we should replace the football on top just because there was a big spot where the gold finish was missing, but Terry wouldn't let me. He said it gave the trophy character!

One of the great ground rules that the guys decided about this league when it started, was that it wasn't going to be about the money. It was about the skill, knowledge, strategy and spirit of
competition. One of the requirements was that the small amount of money that they won for first or second place, HAD to be used to take their wife (or significant other) out to dinner. Great news for me! One year our son, Kevin and his friend, Josh came in second in the PFL. Since they weren't married and didn't have girlfriends at the time, it was decided that they had to take their mothers out to dinner. So Josh, his mom Jamie, Kevin and I enjoyed a great meal together at Red Robin. What a great memory!

The potential for a nice dinner out was at least some consolation for the wives who gave up countless hours while their husbands researched players, watched the games every
Sunday and Monday, checked the box scores and the injury lists and stood around after church "trash-talking" about which PFL team was going to win in the matchups each week. Especially in the early days when there weren't resources on the internet or special magazines and articles specifically about fantasy football.

Back when they started the league, it wasn't the big business that it is today. Now you can get your list of players to draft already compiled for you. That's a little bit of why Terry's decided to retire from the PFL...the challenge isn't what it used to be. He really loved the research and statistics and all the attention to detail that was needed to win and its just much easier now for everyone else to get the same information that he worked so hard for.

So the football season won't be quite the same this year. Terry won't be keeping track of how many touchdowns this guy got or how many yards another guy ran. Oh, I'm guessing he'll be watching what's going on with the guys who are still in the PFL and will be harassing them by email like he did when he was in the league, but it just won't be the same somehow, I just might miss it too...

Who is this man in my kitchen and what have you done with my husband?

Let's start with my lucky number 7...could be lucky because my birthday is 7/7! Anyway, I'm just loving the fact that Terry has decided that he wants to be adventurous with the grill. He's been trying out some fantastic recipes that are absolutely delicious. Tonight he made Cilantro Pesto Chicken Tenders. mmmm... Instead of using the standard boneless chicken breasts, he tried it with boneless thighs and shrimp. Both were wonderful! The other night we had coffee crusted pork chops with a bourbon cream sauce. Excellent as well!

Of course, the kitchen gets a little more messy, but it's well worth it. Now we need to invest in a good food processor. All I have is one of those mini ones which just won't cut it for these recipes from scratch. Now that we've tried them out, we can serve them to guests. Anyone available for dinner?
I am overwhelmed at all the things I have to blog about just from the past week! Here are a few of the topics I'm thinking about. I'm having a hard time deciding what to write about first.

  1. Learning...I went to 2 days of photography workshops last weekend...learned a lot and discovered that I have a lot more to learn.
  2. 50 year old brother, Pat just left on a huge adventure to ride his bike from Corpus Christi, TX to Fort Myers, FL...over 1300 miles during hurricane season!
  3. An end of an era...Terry just shipped off his prized PFL (Placerita football league) trophy and has decided not to participate in the fantasy league for the first time since 1989!
  4. Unexpected joys...our friend, John Lynch was a guest on the most unexpected TV show with life-changing results.
  5. Family times...Amy, Andrew, Terry and I took a day trip to see Terry's mom, whom A & A lovingly call, Grandma Irish.
  6. Shopping...I went shopping on Saturday to Ikea with 3 dear friends and got some great organizing stuff for my scrapping room. I'm not ready to post pics yet, but it was very inspiring!
  7. Terry's cooking!...who is this man in my kitchen and what have you done with my husband?
  8. It's a matter of in the world can I find the time to spend with friends and family, take pics of beautiful things, keep up with email and my friend's blogs, post on my blog, scrapbook our activities, participate in ministry and enjoy the worship services at church, read my Bible or anything for that matter, pray regularly, help with the shopping, laundry, cooking, housecleaning, organizing, decorating, and landscape planning, all while working full time?
I'm going to take a break, get dressed, run to the store, then come back and decide on something to write about. Any suggestions on where to start first?