Sunday, April 26, 2009

Chihuly Exhibit at the Desert Botanical Gardens

One of the things we did on Easter Sunday was to go to the DBG in Phoenix as the guests of our friends, Cathy & Marshall. We had a chance to visit the Butterfly Exhibit as well as the Chihuly Glass Exhibit which was thru-out the gardens. The two exhibits are so popular that you can only see them with a reservation, so if you go, be sure to call ahead to reserve your time slot.

We decided to go from 4 pm to 8 pm since we knew that would be a good timeframe for photos. The weather was perfect too! We went from late afternoon sun, thru dusk, sunset and dark. Since it's a lighted exhibit in the evenings, it looked amazing in all the stages we saw. I took what seemed like a bazillion photos and I'm thinking of entering a few in the Arizona Highways Photography Contest. There are a lot that I like personally, but it's hard to come up with something truly unique for a contest. I may enter anyway just because I like the prize that they're offering and you just don't know if you don't try. We'll see...
First I want to share a couple of fun photos of our friends. Marshall spent quite a while waiting patiently for a good shot of this lizard. I'm sure he got a better shot than I did.

He moved around to a different angle so this stick wouldn't be in the way and the lizard actually moved and "posed" on a rock for him. All the people around us stood and admired the lizard and Marshall taking pictures of the lizard.

Then Cathy posed for this fun picture. Doesn't she look so sweet? Well she is! We're privileged to know them both. I'm so glad God brought them to Arizona and to Open Door. They're such a precious couple.

Here are a few of my favorites from that gorgeous day.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Making Progress:

I'm feeling good about progress in several areas over the last few days.

First, on a personal note; I have actually exercised both of the last 2 days. Yesterday I set up my laptop on our treadmill and walked for over an hour while I caught up on email. Then today, Terry and I went for about a 5 mile hike at the Phoenix Mountain Preserve. If you look at the map we were on trails # 100, 8 and 8A. We entered off of 40th Street, just south of Shea. Fortunately, it cooled down a little after hitting 100 degrees earlier in the week. It was probably in the mid-70's with a really nice breeze most of the time. So I'm feeling good right now. I'll probably be sore tomorrow though, but at least it's for a good reason.

We've also made progress on the outside of the house. Here's the new paint job above. It turned out more pale than I expected, but I think I'm o.k. with it. I would really like to get some shutters for the front windows to add a little more of the dark green trim color to the mix, but otherwise I'm happy with it. And at least it's not beige like all the other houses on the street. I also think that when we get more landscaping in it will be a nice background for the plants.

Speaking of landscaping...we're beginning to make progress there too, even if it's just baby steps.

First, we were able to use an old french door to replace the ugly wooden gate to the little atrium in our back yard. This is the walled-in area that looks out from the picture window in our master bathroom shower. The view below is from inside the atrium looking out to the yard.

Also, after almost 5 years of living in this house we finally put some plants in the atrium. This is a similar color scheme of blues, purples and white that I'm hoping to do in the front yard. We bought a Blue Plumbago, (thanks Linda for the idea). I'm hoping to get a trellis and see if I can get it to grow up over the wall so we can see it in the backyard too. We also bought this nice Mystic Spires Blue Salvia, as well as purple and white African Daisies.

I am envisioning a gorgeous view of this beautiful cottage garden from the master bath once everything starts to grow and fill in. Now Terry just needs to keep it alive. I'm terrible at remembering to water outdoor plants, but he usually does a great job at it and keeps the plants going that I've planted. Of course, this area doesn't get a ton of sun, but I'm hoping the light reflecting off the walls will be enough, so we'll see how these do.

Keep your fingers crossed that they will thrive and grow and make this little corner of our world pleasing to look at. If they do well, I'd love to add a bird bath in this area as well. Can you picture a sweet little birdbath fountain in there? It would be nice, especially since the salvias and plumbagos both attract hummingbirds and butterflies.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Some of my favorite people!
A week ago (Friday) we were privileged to have a few old friends over at the house to do some reminiscing and catching up. Several of them were former members of Glory Road, the band that Terry was in when he we younger. Greg Williams was in town from northern California visiting his new grandbaby, so we tried to get a few other folks together to see him. Rob & Toni Brunner, and Bernie & Kayelen Rolfe came by. And Dave & Kathrin Argentati drove up from Tucson. Sadly, another Glory Road member, John Heath wasn't able to come because he was at band practice for his current band. We missed him and others too.

We enjoyed a simple dinner, then while catching up on the latest news, we found out that Dave was chosen as a finalist for the TKMA Songwriting Contest and will be playing two original songs at the Tucson Folk Festival on May 2nd. We asked him to play the songs and thankfully he obliged. As expected, they were wonderful and Kathrin sang along with him, which was an added treat. The other nice thing about Dave playing the songs was that it got the guys started playing music.

Over the next few minutes, Terry kept going back to get more instruments and soon there was an instrument in each of their hands. For those who are observant, try to count how many different instruments they played. (They were all Terry's.) The cool thing was that they kept taking turns playing different ones.
They sang such a wide range of material, including several originals written by the guys and some old Glory Road and even Shira songs. They also played songs by James Taylor, the Eagles, the Band, and many others. It was such a blast!! Everyone was singing and jamming and having an amazing time. They kept it up until almost 2 a.m.! It made me feel young again.

I had fun singing along and taking pictures. I even dug out the video camera and taped a song or two. If anyone can tell me how to transfer an 8 mm videotape over to a computer file, I'd be happy to post the songs. I don't know if I'd need more software or anything, but let me know if you know how to do it.

What a huge blessing it was to be able to share this night with such precious friends. It was so much fun to see the joy in their eyes and hear the laughter of a lifetime of friendships.

Even though some of them are in other cities, these are the kinds of friends that just take up right where they left off the last time we were together.

What a gift that night was!!!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

An atypical Wednesday night dinner:

Tonight we had a great meal just for fun! We were really low on groceries last week, which is unusual for us. So I went grocery shopping (to 3 different stores) over the last week. I ended up at Sprouts when I was hungry and they had some awesome deals and delicious looking food, as usual.

Because of that we had all this wonderful stuff in the fridge for dinner. Grilled jumbo shrimp, grilled fresh asparagus and clam chowder. Plus Easter chocolate for dessert!

I love the fact that Terry's not afraid to grill things that he hasn't tried before. This cookbook was one of the best investments that I've ever made. I bought it at Half Price Books for Terry for his birthday (or Christmas) a few years ago. He refers to it all the time for instructions on how to grill various kinds of meat, vegetables, etc. He even commented tonight on wanting to try one of the grilled dessert recipes. Love it!

Thursday, April 09, 2009

Interior Design Color's fun to be ahead of the curve.

Check out this cool website for Colour Lovers! I do love color!

This link shows one of the latest trends in interior design colors. Green and White!

I've had those colors in my kitchen for a couple of years and have been adding more as I grow more in love with it. Here are a few pics from my kitchen below.

If I could afford it, I'd change the colors in my house nearly every season. I try to keep neutrals for the permanent areas like walls, floors, etc. so I can have as much flexibility as possible to change colors around. My biggest hurdle right now is my red (Pottery Barn) sofa that I bought at a yard sale before we moved in to the house. The sofa itself was a great price and is an awesome piece, in a slipcovered style. I thought I'd be able to buy more slipcovers for flexibility, but it turns out the slipcovers cost more than I'd normally pay for a new sofa, so that hasn't been in the budget. I don't really prefer those really loose slipcovers with no definition, but I was glad to see recently that Pottery Barn has come out with a more tailored slipcover that's not as expensive as the standard ones. They're still over $100, but I hope to be able to get one of those in a neutral maybe sometime this year. Then I can go crazy with my accent colors any time I want and look for inexpensive pillows, and decor on clearance and at yard sales, etc. That would be so much fun for me!

By the way, I bought this green & white tray and bowl at Target (on clearance) for a total price of $6. Cool thing is that I can use it for decor, and also for serving pieces.

I just used it last night, in fact. I'll be posting later about our get together with some old friends. Suffice it to say for now that there was much singing and music. There were 3 guitars, a banjo, a mandolin and harmonicas (all Terry's) until nearly 2 am! What a blast we all had! I love it when lifetime musicians get together and jam. You can just see the joy that comes thru in their hands and voices. This is what God created them to do and they are in "heaven"! Imagine what heaven will really be like with all those amazing musicians there! WOW!!! Can't wait.

Our house is almost finished being painted too! It turned out a little lighter than I expected but it's growing on me. We also repurposed an old french door to be a gate to our little atrium.

More to come on all this...

Have an AWESOME EASTER!!! Filled with the love of family and friends and the joy that comes from knowing that God loves you more than life itself! Ponder for a few minutes how that can even be possible...because it is!

Sunday, April 05, 2009

A Fresh Coat of Paint for the Old Lady
Our house has really needed a paint job since we moved in several years ago. We even had other colors picked out and got a few estimates last year, but for some reason never got it done. I don't even remember why.

Last year I had chosen a light tan with off white trim and a touch of a deep steely blue, but during the time between then and now I've just grown sick of beige. I will say that 9 out of 10 houses on our street and probably in our neighborhood (really, in all of Phoenix) are some shade of beige or tan. We live in the desert after all, so I guess it's understandable.

Right now the house is beige as you can see, with a faded out, peeling mauve trim. Lovely, right? It may be lovely on some houses, but not ours. The photo above was taken last year at the peak of our (African daisy) wildflowers that pop up every spring. We had less this year and they have already died so the yard is full of brown dead plants about ankle deep. We are in desperate need of a face lift!

So, because I LOVE color and get bored easily (with beige) , we're going with this color scheme. It was really the photo next to it that caught my attention. Even though you don't see any of the "Sea Fern" green and very little of the "Pale Sagebrush" in the photo, I love the look of the green plants against the white trim and pale green walls. I'm hoping that it will enhance the small amounts of green that we'll have in our front yard in the desert landscaping (when it's in). Plus I hope these will be nice cool colors to highlight any desert flowers that bloom.

The dark green will only be around the front door, on the plant shelves under the front windows and MAYBE on the corbels that stick out up at the roof line. Our painter suggested the corbels, but we're going to try one first and see how it looks. Eventually, I'd like to get some shutters for the front windows, but that will wait for another time.

Fortunately, we're on track to have the job started this week and not a day too soon. They start with prep on Monday and I am so excited! Not sure how long it will take, but looking forward to the finished product. I'll take a pic when it's done, as long as the lack of landscaping isn't too distracting.

Landscaping (front yard only for now) is next on the list and we're hoping to get it done before it gets too hot. I hope to get some estimates while the painting is being done so they can start right away when it's finished...we'll see. So if you know of any good & reasonably priced landscapers, please let me know. We need a little help with design, although I have lots of ideas. I'm just not sure what will work and what won't. I love the process though!

So, next time you see the house it will be a cool shade of green. Can't wait!