Friday, July 31, 2009

My sweet niece, Courtney

Check out this video of Courtney being interviewed in San Louis Obispo at the Humane Society where she works, while going to college.

She loves dogs!

Thursday, July 30, 2009

My Hometown:

Look at this amazing photo that was taken by a new connection from Vermilion, Ohio, my hometown. Scott Dommin has started posting photos on a Facebook page about Vermilion. and I've been enjoying a tour of the local sights.

The lighthouse isn't functional, but is a replica of an 1877 one that stood in the Vermilion Harbor long ago. It sits right next to the little Inland Seas Maritime Museum. Immediately to the right, just past the bushes is the sometimes sandy and sometimes rocky shore of Lake Erie.

This picture reminds me of the awesome summer storms that I could see from my 2nd story bedroom window. They would roll in off Lake Erie filling the skies with this spectacular lightening show. It was mostly exciting, but sometimes a bit frightening when the thunder and lightening got a little too close for comfort.

We used to swim in the lake until the last possible moment before the storm came in, then we'd go swimming again after the storms. We would always be guaranteed great waves at those times, which made things quite interesting. I remember one time being convinced that I would never make it back to the pier because the waves kept washing me farther and farther away. But God was watching over me and I did make it back safe and sound.

Just another reminder of God's constant protective hand on us. What an awesome God we serve! He's big enough to create the storms, but personally involved enough to carry us thru them!

Thanks Scott, for sharing this picture.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

I've never been a huge Starbucks fan, mostly because a lot of their coffee is just too strong for me. I have to add so much stuff to doctor it up that it's out of control on calories. Add to that the cost and it just has (fortunately) never become a regular habit for us.

We do however have a couple of traditions that are brewing (get it?). Usually when we're headed out of town on a trip we'll pull in the drive-thru at the Starbucks between here and the freeway and pick up a couple of drinks for the road.

Lately on Sunday mornings when Terry and I both have to go to church very early to help with worship and we carpool with our friend, Don we'll also grab a cup at the one that's just a few blocks the other direction. We leave the house around 6:30 am, call Don to get his coffee order, then Terry drops me off at Starbucks to pick up the drinks while he goes a few more blocks to pick up Don. By the time they get back, I have the drinks and I'm ready to go. Easy peasy and a fun treat for an early morning!

A few weeks ago we were repeating this ritual and I happened to have my camera with me. The sun was peeking thru the clouds and I snapped these shots of the sky and the coffee cups just for fun while I was waiting for the guys to pick me up. Think about it. Someday, someone will look at this photo and say "What's Starbucks?"

Did I mention before that I love the gorgeous clouds in Arizona during monsoon season? They make everything in the sky so much more interesting.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Simple Summer Pleasures...
I don't know if you like food as much as I do, but there are certain kinds of food that have etched indelible memories in my mind.

I have always loved summer and the promise of fresh fruits and vegetables! Growing up in Ohio and having a grandmother that sold produce at her roadside stand for a living, made me appreciate it even more. We often had fresh picked melons, tomatoes, beans, and more straight from the garden. Have you ever bit into a Beefsteak tomato that's bigger and deeper red than an apple and let the juice just drip down your chin? There's really nothing that compares to it.

And to this day, some of my favorite meals were the summer corn roasts that we used to have at our neighborhood HOA clubhouse overlooking Lake Erie.

My dad would build a grill about 6 feet long and 4 feet wide from cinder blocks and metal grates and he and the other neighborhood dads would roast corn (in the husks) until everyone had their fill. That aroma was so amazing and the taste of sweet corn picked that morning, swimming in butter was to die for! Did you know that the longer the corn is off the stalk, the less sweet it is? So the sooner you can cook it after you pick it, the better it will be.

At those corn roasts, the women would all bring their best picnic dishes, potato salad, watermelon, hot dogs, baked beans, apple pies, chocolate cakes and the works. The kids just enjoyed the feast on extra long picnic tables topped with red checked cloths. We'd skip down to the beach every few hours to take a dip, cool off and work up an appetite, then come back up the hill for more scrumptious food! What a day it was! Summer and corn season always reminds me of those special days.

Anyway, I digress...down memory lane.

Today I'm talking about a few other simple treats. I've been trying to take more healthy food to work for lunch lately and have been buying more celery. I really like celery. It's nearly the perfect snack, after all. My problem is that if I don't cut it up all at once I'm too lazy to do it in the morning when I'm putting together my lunch. So, I cut up these stalks yesterday and just LOVED the way they looked in the container. You know that if you store them in water they stay crisp and fresh and you can just grab a few whenever the urge strikes.

I also bought this little pot full of fresh Basil from our local Sprouts store. I love having these around to pinch off a few leaves for salads, sandwiches or other recipes. I'm hoping to be able to start my own little herb garden soon, so I have access to other herbs all the time. Once you've had fresh herbs, you never want to go back to the dry kind.

The Desert Botanical Garden here in town has a class on Herb Gardening that I'd love to take the next time it's offered. Would anyone like to take it with me?

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Antiques Roadshow - what should I take?

Have you ever seen the TV show? I don't watch it religiously, but I have stopped the remote once in a while to see what treasures they happen to be appraising that will make someone the next millionaire, or at least a little more comfortable in their retirement. It's a fun show and the optimist in me cheers for those who find hidden treasures in unexpected places.
You may remember my announcement that I would be receiving 2 tickets to the Roadshow's visit to our own town of Phoenix, AZ. I'm excited that I'll be going with my friend, Linda whose home is filled with all kinds of collectibles. I can't wait to see what she brings. August 1st is fast approaching and I've been trying to decide what to take to be appraised. I think I've made my decision, but not sure... These are the items I'm considering. Let me know what you think, please.

First option is to take photos of Terry's mom's mini-grand piano (above), that I mentioned previously on this post. Unfortunately, it's too heavy and fragile to be taken down to the Roadshow location, so we would see if they can at least give us a little bit of info on it, just with photos.

I'm also considering this Roy Lichtenstein print. It was created specifically for donors who gave money to a 25th anniversary fund raising campaign for California Institute of the Arts, where I used to work. The only reason I have one is because I found some of them leftover in the attic at the school and they said I could keep a couple of them. Since Lichtenstein is fairly well known and has since passed away, I'm assuming these were printed in limited enough numbers that they may be worth something.

Next is this vintage camera that my brother brought home last year. I have no idea where he got it from, but it's pretty cool, in that it folds down into this compact little case.

And last, but not least we have several very old books from Terry's family. These 3 are the oldest.

The Silas Marner book is copyrighted 1909 and has the name Edith Lindberg written in pencil in the front. There are rumors that Terry's dad is related to Charles Lindbergh (the aviator). You know how people used to change the spelling of their names back in the old days. Anyway, this one isn't in bad shape. It has a photo of George Eliot inside, but no other illustrations or photos.

The other two are more worn and tattered, but more interesting to me.

Looks like the last copyright on the Tom Sawyer book is 1917. The pages are falling out of this one, but I love the full page black & white illustrations by Worth Brehm.

Gulliver's Travels dates back to 1912 and has a note inside the cover: "To Billy - from Daddy - Xmas 39". This one's in a little better shape, with some full page color illustrations by Milo Winter.

So please give me your input on what I should take. I can only take 2 items and it's a tough choice. Thanks!
Little Updates Around the House
The last time Amy and Andrew were here, Amy was giving me a hard time about the fact that I didn't own an apron. I'm not sure why, but I've never really used one in the kitchen. My mom never did either, so I guess that's why I never really thought about it. At some point along the way, Amy has started using aprons, so she was disappointed that I didn't have one to use when she was here. Anyway, I was checking out the new Goodwill store down the street on Saturday and came across this one for just $1.98. Isn't it cute? And it looks like it's never been used! So now, I just need to start using it and Amy, don't let me forget that it's in the bottom drawer in the kitchen when you need it.

Here's another treasure that I found recently at a yard sale down the street for $2. It's an accordion-style shutter with working louvers about 20" wide and a little over 3 feet high. If you notice the Wheaties box on the shelf in the background you can get an idea of the size. It's a little dirty and I'm planning to paint it (black, I think). I plan to put it in the corner of my living room, behind my birdhouses for now. You can see that the corner needs a little something to add height & interest.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

A new form of art!
As mentioned before, we visited Terry's mom, Carole, this weekend and while we were there she showed us this new piece of "OvenArt" that she created. Can you tell what it's made of?

I asked her if she'd pose with it, but she declined, so I decided to do a few different views of it to help you truly appreciate the piece.

I love the abstract nature of it...the tentacle-like legs reaching out between the vertical metal bars. It almost looks like a jelly fish or some otherworldly creature. It think she should sell it.

Now can you tell what it is?

I'll reveal the secret at the end of this story.

Terry has always told me the stories of when they were growing up, his mom used to store bags of potato chips in their oven because she didn't have enough cabinet space to store them anywhere else. Every once in a while, she would forget that they were in there and turn on the oven to bake something. As you can imagine, it wasn't long before things were smelling strangely, the room would fill with smoke and sometimes, if she was really busy (and distracted) they even caught on fire. Fortunately nothing else in the house went up in flames.

Now, I must say, in her defense that taking care of a family with 6 kids (5 of whom were rambunctious boys) had to be so much more than a full time job. You can't really blame her for overlooking a measly bag of potato chips in her busy day.

Have you figured out the artwork yet?

It's actually a couple of plastic container covers melted down thru her oven rack. She put them in there because she didn't have room anywhere else for them. Sound familiar?

It's nice to know that she can laugh at herself though. We love her for that.

I really do think she could sell it.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

A Weekend with Mom Hann
We drove up to Prescott this past weekend to spend some time with Terry's mom, Carole. We had offered to take her to see the musical, Wicked, for her Christmas present and decided to go and pick her up so she wouldn't have to make the drive down alone.

As an added bonus, we had a chance to get out of the extreme heat for a few days.

On Sunday, we drove down from Prescott to ASU's Gammage Auditorium for the musical. This is what we saw when we sat down. It's a little out of focus since I couldn't use a flash and had a long lens, but it was a pretty cool sight of the stage curtain with the lurking dragon, map of the Emerald City, Oz and more.

The play was excellent! I love the songs and the woman who played Glinda (or Galinda), Katie Rose Clarke did an awesome job! She was hilarious and her subtle mannerisms added just the right touch to make things even funnier.

While we were at Terry's mom's we were talking about some of the items that she has around the house and found out that this little piano was a gift to her from her parents on her 7th birthday (68 years ago). It was one of two mini-sized Wurlitzer grand pianos that were window display models at their neighborhood piano store (1 black and 1 white one). She was told that there were no others made, but we're guessing that maybe they made one for each store, which would still be a very limited number of these pianos. I took some pictures of it, and I'm thinking I might try taking the photos to the Antiques Roadshow in a couple of weeks. I'm not sure if they can give me any kind of appraisal on photos, but it would be worth it to get even an idea if it's worth anything. just so she knows.

She says it's very heavy, a little wobbly and in need of tuning, but pretty unique, don't you think?

Monday, July 20, 2009

Drum Roll Please...
For those of you who aren't on Facebook, here's a link to a series of pictures showing the transformation of our front yard from haphazard, and relatively hideous to clean, neat and hopefully welcoming. Of course, you need to imagine all the plants and trees bigger and with flowers on them. Most of the plants we chose are flowering ones to add color to the desert landscape. We'll have purple, orange, yellow, red, and lavender when everything fills in.

Eventually we'll also be adding plants to the shelves in front of the windows, but I'm on the hunt for the perfect planters and that's taking a little longer than I thought.

I would have loved to have a lush grass lawn and a full cottage style garden, but that's not quite reality for Phoenix, especially if we want to honor water conservation and the fact that we live in a desert that hits 100+ degrees so many days of the year. Plus we wanted to make it as low maintenance as possible for Terry, but still have some usefulness, color and beauty. I'm actually pretty amazed that there are still so many nice plants that will survive in this weather. God is good in giving us beautiful things to look at even in the desert.

You'll see in this 2nd picture that we have a good sized patio for enjoy the outdoors in the cooler weather. We're talking about bringing our copper fire pit out to the front sometimes to enjoy evenings with friends (when it's cooler, of course).

Be sure to click on the link above to see all the steps that it took to get here. I hope you like it.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Awesome New Lanterns!

Check out these fun lanterns that Linda gave me for my birthday! Aren't the colors just awesome? They're each about 5 inches tall which is a perfect size to fit just about anywhere.

Linda said they were for hanging on our new tree(s) in the front yard, but the trees aren't quite big enough for the lanterns yet. You'll see what I mean in my upcoming landscaping post.

For now I have them hanging from this basket rack in the corner of my dining room. I'm sure I'll try them out other places hanging from the back patio cover or on the living room front window sill. They would look great next to the red sofa.

Thanks Linda! You're such a great shopper. I always love the things you find. I'd love to have even more of these in any and all colors!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Sicilian Garden Salad
Last week I went to The Kitchen for lunch again. It's becoming one of my favorite places. I hope it can survive this slow economy. They're running some great lunch and dinner specials right now, so if you're in the area, stop by and check it out. They also do catering. It's at 8977 N. Scottsdale Road, near Doubletree and we want to keep them in business.

While I was there I tried a new salad at the deli counter. It was called a Sicilian Garden Salad and it was delicious.

So delicious, in fact, that I tried to copy it on Friday when I was at home. I didn't copy it exactly, but it turned out pretty well, if I say so myself. Here's a picture of it. These are the ingredients. Just mix them together and chill. It would probably also be good added to a nice cold pasta, but this way it's much lower in carbs. A great picnic salad!

  • Marinated artichoke hearts (quartered-with a small amount of the marinade added too)
  • Sun dried tomatoes
  • Fresh cherry, yellow pear or mini heirloom tomatoes
  • Grilled asparagus
  • Grilled red or vidalia onion
  • Hearts of Palm
  • Black or Kalamata olives (pitted)
  • Small balls of fresh mozzarella cheese (or sliced string cheese sticks)
  • Chopped parsley (it's not in this salad but was in the one I bought and added a lot of freshness)
  • Small amounts of Good Balsamic vinegar and olive oil to taste
  • Fresh ground pepper and salt

Of course, you can leave out anything that you don't like. I would say the artichoke hearts and sun dried tomatoes add the most flavor. Try it and let me know what you think.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Sam's 60th Birthday (in May)
I am finally getting around to posting about our friend, Sam's 60th birthday party. (Thanks Ann for reminding me...sorry it took so long) I ended up being one of the few people with a camera there, so I took as many pics as possible to pass along to Sam and his family so they could have some memories kept of his big night. And it was quite a night!

What a special time of honoring this dear man for his life and commitment to Christ and the love he shows to everyone that crosses his path. Terry and I are truly blessed to have known him for over 3 decades. Since my blog is also intended to be a personal history of sorts, I'll share a little more about Terry and my history with Sam in another post soon, so come back and visit or set up an RSS feed if you want to know more.

Sam's beautiful wife, Ann (in the orange dress) and their kids did a wonderful job planning and executing the party for quite a large group of friends. We had a delicious Mexican buffet and all the trimmings.

When we first arrived we had a chance to visit Sam's own personal bar area that he built in their garage. It's pretty amazing actually. Filled with all kinds of sports memorabilia and even a full working bar. There is a dress code though. You have to wear a tie if you go in there. Which is why you'll see a bunch of people with random ties on. Sam will provide a tie for you if you forget to bring your own.

After our visit to the bar, we joined the rest of the party, had dinner and caught up with more old friends. Then the mic was turned on and people started to share about the impact that Sam has had on their lives. It started with Sam's son and daughter and continued with many friends old and new. It was a beautiful night of affirmation and love!

This photo is of Dennis, Sam, John and Terry who were roommates in the 70's before all of them were married. I'll tell more about that in my "history" post. They were quite an eclectic group of guys!
Here's another group of guys from our church and some other dear old friends. A wonderful time was had by all. We were honored to be there.

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Call in to this radio show, Saturday please...

I promised my friend, Allen that I would put in a plug to encourage people to call in to his radio show.

Would you be able to call in a home improvement question to him this Saturday? He can handle any kind of questions. The show airs Saturday from 9-11 AM Central time, so be sure to calculate the time difference.

It's even a toll free number! 800-946-4420.

Here's a little taste
of what he's doing when he's not doing the radio show.

Allen and I used to work together for a residential builder in Southern California. Now he's back living in his hometown of Mobile, Alabama and traveling the countryside as co-host on the TV Show - Today's Homeowner with Danny Lipford. I'm sure you'll pick up on the accent if you call in or watch the show. It doesn't air in Phoenix, but could be on locally where you are. If you go here you can enter your zip code and see if it airs in your area.

Now I'm sure there's some burning question that you'd love to get an answer for, so give him a call Saturday.

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Happy Birthday to me - Early Birthday Presents

I haven't posted in detail about it yet, but Saturday we had a get together at our house for Andrew's birthday and the 4th of July. Since my birthday is this week too, a few people brought over gifts early.

Now being from a large family, I never expect gifts for my birthday, especially nothing elaborate. And since last year for my 50th, Terry and the kids went all out, I am definitely not expecting anything big. With that said, it's always nice to get treated special, no matter what the occasion.

Amy & Andrew brought me these gorgeous beach glass wine charms. Based on the packaging, I'm assuming they ordered them thru Seashaped on Etsy. You know what wine charms are, right? They're supposed to be used to tell which glass belongs to which person. Unfortunately, I don't think these will ever make it on a glass. They're just too pretty! Here's what I'm thinking. I'll make each one into a necklace, or maybe I'll make a couple of them into (non-matching) earrings. Wouldn't that be awesome? Now I just need to find someone to show me how or help me do it.

My mom also gave me a sweet card and some spending money, which is ALWAYS fun!

My dear friend, Sharon gave me these lovely blue drink stem glasses that can be used for anything - wine, dessert parfaits or even water! They'll match the gorgeous blue glass pitcher that she gave me last year. She also topped it off with the yellow and green summery dish towels. She knows I love them!

What a fun day. Tonight Terry will take me out for dinner wherever I want to go. Seafood, of course!

Sunday, July 05, 2009

The Many Faces of Andrew Schubert - Happy Birthday Andrew !!

Today is Andrew's birthday. This first photo is from when Amy & Andrew first started dating. Doesn't Andrew look so, so young?

This weekend they came over to Phoenix from their home in So Cal. We were excited to see them! We haven't been together since Christmas.

The picture with his cousin, Lucas was taken at Christmas in 2003. He's a great cousin!

They arrived around mid-day on Friday and we just relaxed a bit, Andrew went swimming and we got ready to go out for his birthday dinner at Richardson's. Andrew loves spicy food, so we thought that Richardson's New Mexico cuisine would be unique and perfect for his birthday celebration. Andrew got chorizo-stuffed pork chops. I didn't bring my camera (because Amy brought hers), so hopefully she'll post some pics from dinner (although it was pretty dark, so not sure how well they turned out). I think Andrew liked the food.

Saturday we had a BBQ - Pool party in honor of the 4th of July and Andrew's birthday. We feel privileged that he chose to spend his birthday weekend here when he could have been anywhere. We had lots of family and friends over. I'll post more about that later. This post is for Andrew.

The pic of Amy & Andrew in red and blue was taken exactly 1 year before they got married when Amy was in Kim & Jed's wedding in November 2004. This was one of Andrew's short hair phases.
Then a year later, on their wedding day he was looking a bit shaggier, but still handsome. Shoot, he looks cute no matter how his hair is cut.

I think most of you know that a few months ago Andrew got his first engineering credit on the latest Green Day album. You can see his name on this black page with white print. Awesome huh!

This special edition album set was our birthday present to him. He told Amy that he wanted it and she kindly passed the tip on to us. Those hints really help for someone like Andrew. He always has a long list of music that he's hoping to get, but because his tastes are so eclectic, we would never be able to guess what he wants, so we're happy to get the inside info.

This last pic is from yesterday when Andrew was going thru the box of albums that my sister, Diane and her boyfriend, JD gave him. If you haven't heard, he collects vinyl and loves it! I think he'll enjoy going thru all of these oldies. There were Beatles and Eagles and I don't know what else in that box.
We're just so thankful to have Andrew in our family! He's so sweet and considerate and loves our daughter like no one else can. He's got a great sense of humor (although a bit bizarre) and loves to laugh. He is a great cousin to the rest of the kids in our extended family and will someday be an amazing dad and uncle, I'm sure.

We're excited to see how well he is doing in following his dream of being a recording engineer. He's a hard worker, conscientious, smart, creative and responsible. He knows how to keep information confidential for their high profile clients and is learning so much in his job. We know that he's going to go far in reaching his goals.

What a gift and a blessing he is to our whole family! We're so thankful that God sent him our way.

Happy birthday Andrew. We love you!