Monday, January 29, 2007

Quick update before I leave for work...

We're hoping to get the o.k. for mom to go home today. She was up walking and sitting in a chair yesterday and eating as usual. She had a few levels in her system that were a bit out of whack, like sodium and magnesium, etc. so they wouldn't let her go yesterday. I wasn't there when the nurse or doctor talked to my sister, so not sure what those issues would mean. They were expecting to have everything back to normal by today so she can go home.

She's definitely ready to get home and back to her routines.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Thanks all for your thoughts and prayers.

My mom’s doing better! She had a long night last night with a bad headache and nausea (probably from the anesthesia or the pain medication) but as of mid-day, those symptoms are nearly gone and she’s been able to have a reasonable amount of food and keep it down.

She’s resting well, so now we’ll just wait for tests to come back on Monday that may help the doctors know what caused it and if any other steps are necessary to prevent it from happening again.

She’s looking forward to getting better and back home…hopefully by Monday or Tuesday.

The photo is in honor of her "road to recovery". I took it in the Rose Garden at Butchart Gardens last year. She loves roses!

Friday, January 26, 2007

It's interesting what happens when someone you care about is in the hospital. It seems like everything in the outside world just stops and the only reality is what's happening in the hospital.

For most of us, our everyday lives don't really have pressing responsibilities that can't be missed, so our normal life stops while we tend to the one we love. When I try to think about my day-to-day tasks or deadlines that may be missed, I try to put it in perspective with a question. "In the grand scheme of things, if this doesn't happen today, will anyone know or care 10 years from now?" I'd say for 99.9 % of our lives, we can easily answer, "No" to that question.

Wednesday night, my sister took my (83 year-old) mom to the emergency room because she'd been having extreme fatigue, lack of energy and some shortness of breath for a few days. She'd been feeling under the weather for a week or so, but thought it was just a virus or something. A few days ago, when she admitted that she didn't have the energy to walk down and pick up her mail, we knew there must be something wrong. She LOVES to be out and about seeing her neighbors, so it was a big deal when she couldn't do that.

My other sister and I met them at the hospital. After they ran a few tests, they decided to admit my mom. They found that she had fluid around her heart that was preventing it from pumping like it should. They had to do surgery to drain it. So, for the last few days my 2 sisters and I have been taking turns at the hospital, with a few other visitors coming in along the way.

Today mom had the surgery, which went very well. Sad thing is, she's had a headache and nausea all afternoon since the surgery, probably from the pain killer that they gave her. It's hard to just sit and not really be able to do anything to help, but I feel better somehow just having at least one of us here with her.

Hospitals bring up lots of thoughts in me. I'm constantly thinking about the patients and families that are here with much more serious issues than me. I'm also reminded of the times when I was visiting the hospital with more serious issues.

It so hard to be in a place like this without thinking of our own mortalitlurk y, but it's comforting to know that God is watching over the details of each of our lives and that nothing happens without him knowing about it and giving permission for it.

We'll continue to pray for my mom, of course, but she's a real trooper and in great shape for her age, so I have no doubts that she'll be up and around in a few days. Every member of the staff who comes in to see her says she looks great for her age! I think she does too. It will be really nice when she's back to normal and feeling better.

The realization lurks out there that at some point, she may need to live with one of us, but for now, she loves her independence and we'll let her hold on to it.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

I just posted my second entry on my travel blog at Hotels By Check it out. By the way, you can comment on my blog there too and I would love it if you link to that blog from yours just to get more traffic there.

I'm also in the process of making a list of things that I can blog about as I have time. I can choose from any of these categories below but I'm only supposed to write about items in the Phoenix metro area.

At some point I'll probably try to do some posts about day or weekend trips FROM Phoenix (kind of cheating, but I think it will work). That way I can use more of my photos.

You can imagine that my stories about Bars and Clubs will be pretty minimal, but the rest is wide open.

So I need your help. Let me know what you want to hear about or what you think potential visitors to Phoenix will want to hear about that they may not find in a normal travel magazine. Or just give me some ideas of your favorite places and things to do so I can pass them on in my blog. Amy, if you tell be when Obadiah Parker is playing next, and send a photo or two, I'll post it.

You do know that some of you will have to go out with me to try some of these places, so I can take pics for my blog, so be prepared...I'm thinking about trying to go to Pizza Bianco sometime soon...any takers?

Monday, January 22, 2007

So I'm officially a travel blogger for!

This is my first post about the FBR Open Golf Tournament that's coming up next week. The gig is kind of exciting, although really no big deal. Just a volunteer deal and I might make a few bucks if people click on the ads on my blog page (hint, hint). Minimum requirement is to post at least twice a week, but more is recommended. We'll see how much time I have. I'm sure that I won't run out of things to write about. There's always so much going on in the valley.

Looking forward to the challenge and even to being able to post some of my photos as well. Now I just need to get out and take some pictures.

Soon, I'm hoping to head over to the Borgata, an upscale shopping center in Scottsdale on a Friday night when it's warm enough to wander outside. They have a European Market and free concerts that sound like fun. I think it would be an interesting photo op too. Who wants to join me?

Sunday, January 21, 2007

A Life remembered...

We just got back from a memorial service for the father of our friend, John. Although the rest of the service was tragically devoid of any mention of God, and was full of lots of "self-sufficient" statements, John did a beautiful job of sharing the wonderful story of his dad's life. He's such a gifted story teller and knows how to truly capture the essence of a person.

The service made me think about a few things:

1. John mentioned that his dad made a list after his first wife died of 10 things he wanted to do before he died. It made me think...what would I put on a list like that? A couple of little things that I thought of right away. I'd love to take a ride in a hot air balloon and take a horse-drawn sleigh ride in the snow (and take pictures of both). Can you imagine what cool pics you could get? I'll have to think about the other eight...alot of them would probably have to do with places I'd like to Ireland and Australia...we'll see about the rest.

2. John also read from journals that his dad had hand-written back in the 40's when he was a young man and in World War II. It was so special to hear how "swell" life was for him back then. It made me realize that I should be journaling more. I've already been thinking about this and am using my blogging for some of my journals, but want to start adding more, just because someday my grandkids and great grandkids may have fun reading what Grandma was thinking about.

As usual...I have way too much to blog about and not enough time...sigh

Check out this awesome job that our son-in-law (Andrew) did in framing this poster that we got on vacation in Washington last summer. We decided that we're going to get lots of pictures of places that we've been to hang up in our office and other rooms. It will be a wonderful reminder of the fun we had and the beautiful creation that we've been able to enjoy. Generally we like photographs, because man-made art just can't capture all the beauty. We like these posters though, because they're kind of nostalgic in style but still beautiful reminders of the place. The artist, Paul Lanquist has done some great work. After seeing what a great job Andrew did in framing this one, we ordered 4 more last night. Take a look at the Pacific Coast Highway, Sequoia Trees, Mount McKinley Cabin and Yellowstone Falls. Those are the ones we ordered and we've been all those places. How fun! Can't wait to get them. (Thanks Andrew for making this one look so awesome!)

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Trip Advisor posted a few of my pics on their restaurant review web page for Santiago's, the Mexican restaurant that we went to in Bisbee. Just go to the site and click on "View Candid Traveler Photos" and you'll see 3 of them. No big deal, I just had to submit them for approval, then they post them.

Just thought it was fun!

This place had this pork dish that was amazing, but I can't find a menu listing so I don't know what it was called. It's the meat on top of the tortilla on the left side of the plate.

More to come about Bisbee...Enjoy!

Sunday, January 14, 2007

One quick post, then I'm outta here for today!

Just a little tease about our Bisbee trip. This is a branch that we saw in one of the local Mexican restaurants (Santiago's) when we visited in December. I also saw a similar branch in a magazine with photos hanging from clips. I LOVE IT!!! I'm not really into ultra-modern things but somehow I think this is cool. You could change the decorations with the seasons. I'm thinking I'd hang things from those drapery clips from Ikea. Things like photos or Christmas ornaments or postcards or mittens or whatever strikes my fancy.

Now I'm on the lookout for the perfect branch. Let me know if you see one.
Suns' Favorite Places to eat:

SUNS FORWARD SHAWN MARION is a Benihanas fan, just like Kevin. Maybe we'll see him there someday.

"Benihanas. Anywhere there’s a Benihanas, I’ll go. The team goes to eat together a lot."


How is it that our 2-time MVP Steve Nash is not a front runner for the NBA All Star voting for starting line-up? I'd say it must be lazy fans. Are you voting every day for your Suns? Steve is in 4th place right now and needs to be at least in 2nd to be voted in as a starter. Here's the latest count as of Thursday.

Here's a link to the voting.
You can also enter to win a trip to the All-Star Game in Las Vegas. Now THAT would be fun!

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Joanne West Photography Workshops

Check this out. I just stumbled across this site. She's doing some photo workshops locally and is very reasonable!

One is at Boyce Thompson Arboretum this Monday! Too bad I have to work. Another is in February about how to take pictures of a full moon at the Superstition mountains!

By the way this photo is of Havasu Falls in northern Arizona. I've been there and it's like paradise! The water is really turquoise like that. I'd love to go back but it's quite a hike...we'll see.

She does some nice work!
Travel blogging...

Back to some of my favorite trips... Here are some pics from Boyce Thompson Arboretum which is just an hour or so outside of Phoenix. The photo of the cardinal isn't mine. It's from their website, but the others we took when we were there in April 2005.

It's a beautiful place and never what you think you'd see just an hour from the desert. They have huge eucalyptus trees and gorgeous red cardinals! I hadn't seen one of those since I was in Ohio. They have a wonderful butterfly and hummingbird garden as well. We found at least a dozen walking tours and classes to enjoy for little or no cost. They also sell cuttings of their plants a few times a year. The spring plant sale is March 9 -25. I want to try to go again this spring. Maybe we can get there for one of their gardening or landscaping classes.

Side note: I took the picture of this plaque at Boyce Thompson because Crider is my grandparents name. I had forgotten all about it. I want to try to research to see if we're related...

Thursday, January 11, 2007

I just finished reading this book, "7 Seconds or Less" about the Phoenix Suns and LOVED IT!!! I read most of it last night. Now I want to be one of them...o.k. so maybe I could work there doing their travel arrangements or something...or be the team mom. They sound like such great guys...oh a little insecure and stressed at times, and who blames them, but overall an awesome group.

You'll fall in love with Barbosa (he seems so innocently sweet) and Nash (he's not innocent but a very caring, intelligent, hard-working leader of the team. even though somewhat of a social rebel at heart).

Here's a review of the book to give you a taste.

Read it!

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Pranczar and Vyxx'n have added a new member!

CalmEt (pictured in these rare pre-release photos).

We've been hearing rumors that they're releasing their sophomore Christmas EP very soon...word on the street is that it's just as fun as their first one.

Stay tuned to their site for the new release.

Saturday, January 06, 2007

Mom's 83rd Birthday Bash!

Today we had a birthday bash for my mom's big day. Actually we just had a simple lunch with some of mom's favorite foods and a get-together for the family members that were able to make it.

My niece, Heather surprised us by coming and bringing he
r daughter, Faith. They live in Kansas now, but she surprised her mom with a holiday visit and showed up at our place too. She's the one with the big earrings sitting next to her big brother, Russell . You'll also notice that the two of them are in the cousins picture in the post below. How fun!

My niece, Lisa and her boyfriend, Davis (in hat) were also there. Lisa's sucking her finger in the post below. I'm sure she loves that I'm pointing that out.

We decided that since my mom's getting up in years, we wanted to try to record some of her stories while she can still remember and communicate them. Right now she's doing great and you'd never know she's in her 80's, but it's one of those things that could change any day. She even mentioned that every year she feels like she's slowing down a little more.
Anyway, we enjoyed our lunch, then had mom open gifts. Pretty simple stuff...some clothes, lotions, jelly bellies (her favorite treat), and her very FIRST cell phone. My oldest sister, Diane got it for her so she could have it when she walks to the store, etc. in case of emergencies. Yes, she still walks a few blocks to the store once in a while, which is probably some of what helps to keep her in good shape. I gave her a gift certificate for a weekend away. She's always loved to travel and doesn't like to go alone. Last year mom, me and my two sisters did our very first trip together to visit her sister in New Mexico, so maybe we'll do it again this year. I told her it had to be within driving distance of Phoenix, which still offers a lot of options.

After gifts, we turned on our video camera and started asking her questions about anything and everything...I even found out a few things that I didn't know, like when my mom and dad were separated for a year, my mom was in her 40's and dating a guy that was 27 for a few months! I never knew that until today. Obviously it didn't last because my parents got back together just before their divorce was to be final. My dad said he just couldn't go through with it and drove 2000 miles from Ohio to Phoenix to reconcile with my mom. Yay Dad! That was when we all moved
out to was part of the deal. I wasn't thrilled with it at the time, but I'm thankful for it now.

We also heard about the kinds of houses mom lived in growing up during the depression and special stories or characteristics she remembered about each of her kids. We asked questions and let her talk for 2 hours of taping and we probably could have gone on if we had more tape. She was getting tired and was ready for a break though. Maybe we'll do more on Mother's day... I think she was really honored that we wanted to take the time to hear about her life and that several of her grandkids were there, interested and listening to everything she had to say.

After we were done, the "cousins" played a game of Apples to Apples. Davis wasn't so sure that he'd like it, but he ended up winning, so I guess he thought it was o.k.

It was a very special day for all of us. Now I need to find a way to convert the little video tape to a DVD and make copies for everyone and maybe do a little editing. I'd also like to transcribe it so that we have it in writing somewhere. Maybe that's something that Amy can do now that she's semi-retired!
So I'm trying out a new template and made some minor updates to my links...added Erin's and dropped Randy's blog since he doesn't really use his anymore. What do you think of the new color? I'm not might be too plain for me...we'll see.
Precious Poses

My sister brought over some old photos today. I thought these were especially precious.

The black & white one is of my oldest brother & sister, Rusty & Diane in 1955. He had some kind of boyhood mishap that gave him the big scab on his nose. For some reason my mom has a bunch of pictures of him with that. Crazy huh? Diane ended up to be 5 foot tall and Rusty was over 6 foot. You wouldn't know it from this picture.

The next ones are of the cousins on my side of the family. Left back to front: Hope, Amy, Heather, Lisa. Right back to front: Russell, Kevin, Nick. They're all college age or older now. Most of these guys were together today for my mom's 83rd birthday party. I think she was really honored that they were there...more on that later.

The last one is some of the same cousins. Kevin, Lisa, Nick & Amy. Kevin and Nick were only a few months apart but Kevin was always several inches taller than Nick.

You HAVE to open these up and look at them closer. Amy's hair and expressions in both of them is hilarious. Kevin's smile in the last one is so cute. Well, they're all so cute. It's so much fun to look back at these different ages! What a blessing!

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Bisbee's treasures old and new...

In early December Terry and I went to Bisbee, AZ for the first time ever to celebrate our anniversary. For those who don't know, it's an old mining town and in its heyday was one of the biggest cities in the West.

This Old West mining camp was one of the world's richest minerals sites, producing nearly 3 million ounces of gold and over 8 billion pounds of copper. By the early 1900's Bisbee's 20,000 population made it the largest and most cultured city between St. Louis and San Francisco.

Today Bisbee is an artist community known for its antiques, galleries, community theatre, historic homes etc.

I have plenty of pics of the sleepy little town, our cool B & B room and it's cute old buildings and will write more about our weekend, but for now wanted to show you some of the treasures that we uncovered there. Two of them are from a current artist and the others are vintage pieces that I look forward to finding a place for in my house.

In one of the Antique stores there were boxes and boxes of vintage postcards, which reminded me of the collection that my Aunt Eleanor has of antique postcards of Ohio. She let me borrow one of the beach in Vermilion where I learned to swim. I made a color copy (enlarged) of it and gave one to each of my brothers and sisters. I have mine somewhere. I need to frame it, when I track it down. It brings back wonderful childhood memories. The ones I bought in Bisbee were from places where we've visited at various times. I'm thinking I'll probably use them in some of my scrapbook vacation pages, but not sure..any ideas?

I especially love the Christmas postcard. Simple design and even writing on the back. It was postmarked in 1920!

The turqouise blue glass jar was in an antique shop. I just liked the color and thought it would have a lot of uses.

The two heart-shaped pieces below are new from a local Bisbee artist (I'm guessing). I just loved the details and the lapis stone is such a gorgeous blue. One is the size of a large Christmas ornament and the smaller one on the right is a l
apel pin.

And do you know what's best of all? Except for the postcards, which I paid for myself, I got all of them as Christmas gifts from Terry. I picked them out, he paid for them and wrapped them. Funny thing is, I had totally forgotten about them with December being so busy. So every time I opened one, what a great surprise it was!

What a sweet husband I have! He's a keeper.

Our Phoenix Suns

Check out these photos from last night's Suns game! Leandro hit the game winner with 1.5 seconds left!

No wonder Mike D'Antoni was named Coach of the Month in December!

It was awesome!

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Pajama Day!

Yesterday was my last day at home after being off work since Dec 22nd. I ended up having a pajama day. I literally stayed in my pajamas all day and wasn't even sick! I haven't done that in years. I did a lot of catch up on the computer and preliminary planning for the new year, then at the end of the day, Terry and I watched a movie.

He's had a cold all week long. Fortunately he was off work too, but it still dragged on. He's still not over it, but he gets to stay home one more day because of the Day of Mourning for President Ford. His company closes whenever the stock market is closed, so they gave him the option of working for overtime pay or staying home. He chose to stay home, duh! I would have done the same.

Even though I like my job, I'm not looking forward to going back to work today. I would just rather be home more and more. Having Terry and Kevin both at home, makes it that much harder to leave. And of course, all those projects I was planning last week didn't get done, so they're still waiting here for me.

Well, my time's up...I have to hit the road to get to work. Traffic should be great today though and the drive is usually only about 10 minutes anyway. I'm sure I'll be fine once I get there with a week's worth of emails and projects to catch up on.

I'm looking forward to the new year, but hoping to find a way to have at least one day at home during the week...we'll see...

Monday, January 01, 2007

December fun!

Although we had several gatherings with friends and family this month, I've decided to post about the last one first. I'll do the others later. On Saturday, 12/30, we had our annual gathering with several of our life-long friends. We get together with the same group each year and it's always one of the highlights of the holiday time. This year about 20 people were there.

This year we met at the Mozingo's. One of our favorite spots, since it feels like we're getting out of town even though it's just extremely west Phoenix, or officially Waddell, AZ. As you can see from the pics, it's like being in another world with a gorgeous view of the White Tank mountains in the distance. You'll also notice that it's now Autumn in Phoenix. Interesting that we don't skip the fall, we just delay it by a month or so to confuse everyone.

We all got there by mid-afternoon carrying lots of food and drink to share together. We found out that Rand was up at 3:30 a.m. to start smoking the meat! Now that's a committed chef and it was well worth it for us! That's another reason why we love going to Rand & Michelle's. They LOVE to cook and we LOVE to eat their creations. Michelle made a delicious seafood bisque (see photo above) to get us started. I definitely need to get the recipe. It was awesome!

Along with that we had tons of other food to keep us all happy until late into the evening. There is just too much to write about and too many pics to post here so I've posted them to this site if you want to see more.

Around 5:00 Randy started the big bonfire so it would be warm and toasty by the time the sun went down. You'll notice that Michelle also enjoyed poking around a bit in the fire. By the time it was dark it was perfect, even on such a chilly night! It was probably in the 40's by the time we left.

It always such a joy to see how all of our kids interact and have a great time together. They've pretty much known each other since they were born and I love to see how their relationships are evolving into close friendships as they grow up. Kevin and Shawn have a very similar sense of humor and are always laughing about some random thing. On Saturday Miranda & Nicole joined in with Kevin and Shawn and just sang their hearts out. They sang everything from Oldies to Christmas carols to Don Henley with some of the most "surprising" harmonies you've ever heard! I think they had a blast and even the older folks joined in for a while!

I also got to try out the new remote control for my camera. As you'll see from the 2 pics below, the remote eliminates the vibration that happens when you press the button on the camera to take the picture. Now there are two cool things about using the remote. 1. My night shots without flash are much clearer. 2. I get to be in the picture! (Open up the one of all of us around the fire. I'm on the far side of the circle. ) Cool huh?

Well thanks for staying with me through this long post.

I hope you have an awesome 2007, filled with the love of friends and family!

Scrapping Contests:

Check out these new contests for Recollections and Heidi Swapp!
Check out this site for making your own snowflakes. You can create your own, view over 4 million snowflakes that have already been created on the site and even send your to your friends.

I remember making snowflakes with paper and scissors and this is so much easier and can turn out so beautiful! I love it!