Friday, January 29, 2010

SNOW DAY!!! (Part 1)

Sometimes my heart just aches to experience the changing of the seasons.  After growing up on Ohio, with the full range of sights, sounds, and smells of the season, I just miss it so much that I need to get somewhere out of town.  I especially feel the tug in the Fall and Winter.  We get our own share of Summer and enough of a feel of Spring that I don't miss that too much.

The last few weeks there have been so many reminders of snowy winter, especially last week with all the snow that they got in northern Arizona.  I started thinking about a road trip to Flagstaff probably on Thursday, but the storm continued thru Saturday which made it dangerous to drive up there before last Sunday. So that  morning we got up and decided to hit the road.

It was a perfect day!  The roads were totally clear, the traffic was light and the sun was shining as we headed up the mountain toward Flagstaff.  This was our first glimpse of the snow in the distance.

We drove thru Starbucks in Cottonwood on the way up and Terry picked up an apple fritter with his coffee.  He didn't want me to take a picture of him eating it (he's supposed to be watching his carbs, you know. But I think this is incriminating enough.
Next we started to see snow on the ground by the road...then we really got into snow country!  Look how heavily it was covering the trees.

Look at this gorgeous shot of the mountains coming up from the south of Flagstaff.
Not sure if you can tell (below), but we're actually parked in the road.  The off and on ramps were plowed, but not the road that they lead to.  There was a 6 foot pile of snow in front of the car from the plow blocking the road, so if there was anyone living down there, they wouldn't have any way to get out unless they had a snowmobile or something.
This is the sign that goes across the road. I'm not thinking that anyone's going to get anywhere in that direction on something with wheels.
Here's Terry starting up the hill.  You can see that it was thigh high in most places.  Fortunately it was pretty good packing snow and there were a few paths that were packed down enough that we could walk on them without sinking down too deeply.  There were a couple of times that I "fell in" and Terry had to pull me out so that my camera wouldn't get in the snow (which happened once).  It's so funny because there's just no leverage to push yourself up, since your hands sink down in it too.

It had been so long since we'd been in the snow that we forgot to bring extra pairs of pants.  Fortunately, we didn't get too wet and we did have dry socks, so we were o.k.
It was so sweet to hear the crunch of the snow under our feet!  I love the SOUND of Winter.

And look how amazing the trees were!

We watched showers of snow coming down from the branches very regularly.  Fortunately we weren't beneath any of them.

Isn't it cool that there were icicles hanging from the tree's needles?

When we first got there, the only people around were a couple with their little boy.  I'd guess him to be around 5 and he was having a were his folks.

Then just before we left we were joined by a young family from Phoenix with 3 boys who had NEVER seen snow!  What an exciting day that must have been for them.  And the littlest one couldn't have been more than 3 years old.  As they were trying to climb the hill he kept sitting down in the snow and his mom kept telling him to stand up.  Then the dad suggested that maybe he couldn't stand up with all the clothes bundling him up.  He was SO adorable!  That's him coming down the hill on the sled all by himself.

It brought back some great memories of our snowy adventures with the kids in years past.

After playing in the snow there for a bit, we started driving toward town then decided to head toward Lake Mary to see if we could get there.  Our prospects didn't look good, but we stopped at the visitor center and had a chance to take a few more pics, of course...

It's taking me forever to get this post up, and I need to leave again soon, so I'm going to do it in two parts.

Stay tuned for part two of our snow day!  It was a blast!

Sunday, January 24, 2010

I just signed up for this class at the Desert Botanical Garden in Phoenix and I'm so excited!  I've heard that it's relatively easy to grow herbs here in the desert climate, but they surely don't last on my window sill in the kitchen.  I'm looking forward to finding out the secrets of planting them (and keeping them alive) outside.  I will mostly plant in pots to start with, if that's workable.  When I'm finished with the class and my herbs are thriving it will be exciting to use them for cooking.  Fresh herbs are SO much better than dried ones!

Herbs from Garden to Kitchen

Take your herbal knowledge to new heights–from growing herbs in your garden to dazzling your senses in the kitchen. In three sessions you will learn herb gardening for success in the desert, herb varieties and their uses, and delicious herb-inspired recipes and menus for healthy cooking. Open your senses to the bounty of herbs that grow in the desert. Also included is a wonderful informational and instructional manual prepared especially for this series by your instructor Catherine The Herb Lady. Limit 20.

Session 1: Edibles in the Desert - Learn to garden for success in this introductory session designed to get you growing.  From planning to planting, ‘The Herb Lady' will teach you about our ‘flip- flop' planting times, give you the scoop on soil, and why "location, location, location" is as important in growing herbs as in buying real estate. You will also learn about one of  most important tools for desert gardening, bugs both good and bad, and more.

Session 2: Herbs - Anise to Zahtar - Discover the incredible variety of herbs that can be grown right here in our desert. While some are used to beautify, others are aromatic and flavorful, and many are "multitaskers", fulfilling many roles. Learn about gardening with themes, plants that play well with others and some that do not. This session includes an interpretive guided tour of the Herb Garden.

Session 3: Beauty on the Table, Delicious on the Dish - Treat your taste buds in this savory session by sampling some herb inspired recipes prepared by ‘The Herb Lady.' This interactive session will lead you, step-by-step, through a wide range of healthy, mouth-watering menu ideas. All are tasty, some unique, and all guaranteed to put more real food with real flavor on your plate, while minimizing fat and salt.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Today I've been cleaning up the office and getting rid of some holiday catalogs that piled up on our desk.  Of course, I had to just flip thru a few of them and here are a few treasures that I found.

Check out these cool picture frame stickers from !

For those who can't put a lot of holes in the walls, or want something that's easy to change around, these look like so much fun!

They range in size from 4 x 6 " to 8 x 10".  Just imagine the possibilities.  You could even stick them to a mirror or window or even your refrigerator.

I also love this idea for making a customized name sign with photos of different objects that are shaped like letters.  I can't copy the picture, but go here and zoom in to see the detail.  For example, each letter is a black and white photo of things like wrought iron scrollwork in the shape of an "S", or a wooden barn door with the boards in the shape of an "N".  All kinds of creative objects.  I'm sure that all you creative photograhers could do this yourself and just put the words in a college frame.

I really like this custom Nautical Tile Clock from National Geographic (  If you provide them with the town and zip code closest to your waterside home or favorite spot along the U.S. coastal waterways, the Great Lakes, Alaska, or Hawaii, their artisans in New England will screen print a local chart on tumbled marble to create an analog clock.

Someday maybe I'll get one with my hometown of Vermilion, Ohio, right along Lake Erie.

Well, that's enough browsing for now.  I need to get back to cleaning.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

January 16th was our chance to get together with some of our dear friends, all of which we've known for 30 years or more. I'm not sure if it's really our 20th year of doing this, but it's been a long time.  It started when we lived in Southern California for 18 years and nearly every winter we'd come back to Phoenix between Christmas and New Year's to visit family and friends.  We always tried to reserve one day to gather with a few of our dear friends that we've known since the late 70's when we lived here in AZ the first time.  Most of these friends were married around the same time as us and had children at around the same time.  Our kids have known each other since birth and hopefully our grandkids will be the same.

This year the Mozingos graciously hosted the gathering.  It's really one of our favorite places to go, because it's like going out of town, even though they're still in the metro Phoenix area.  You'll see why from the photos.

This first pic is the inside of their front door.  They built this adobe home themselves and it has so many gorgeous touches that make it unique.  I just love the character of it.  The sidelight is made from the bottom of wine bottles.  I love the way the light shines thru it.

Most of us arrived by mid-afternoon so we could watch the Cardinals playoff game against New Orleans.  We had high hopes, but if you know anything about football, you'll know that they lost miserably, so the attention soon turned to the delicious food, wonderful fellowship and beautiful weather outside.

We each brought something to contribute to the meal.  Appetizers, drinks, desserts, soups, etc.  I won't go into a lot of detail because I forgot to take pictures of the food before it was picked over, but as always, we had so much more than we could eat and EVERYTHING was amazing!  If you don't want to come to these gatherings for any other reason, you will come for the food.  We are all very good at putting on a good spread.

During half time, many of us wandered outside to get our minds off the game and to see the latest developments in the Mozingo compound.  Some of us were fortunate to get a tour of Rand and Michelle's winter garden.  Brimming with gorgeous greens, turnips, radishes, cauliflower, broccoli and more.  It was fun to see and sample so many delicious healthy treats.  Thanks Rand!  You're a gardening inspiration.

After the tour we all just hung out in the back yard for a while.  I decided this year that I wanted to try to take a group photo at these annual gatherings so that we can look back at the growth and changes that have happened.  Sadly we haven't done it all along, but we still have lots of photos of these times together each year.  And now that I have a tripod and a remote control for my camera, it makes it that much easier.

The Thompson clan was out in force, but the rest of the families were a bit light on kids.  I think our kids would have loved to be there, if they weren't living in other states. We need to figure out a way to do this when they're in town sometimes.  And Emolyn was the only grandchild here, so needless to say she was quite the center of attention.  I look forward to the day when there are scads of little ones running around, experiencing what true friendship looks like and the love, grace and joy that fills these times together.

Can you tell that her Uncle Tyler adores her?
She's at that perfect age when she'll do all kinds of "tricks" with the prompting of
adults around her. We saw many animal impersonations, ad-lib songs, dancing and so much more.
What a fun age she is!

And here's Aunt Miranda singing with Em.

 Enjoy the rest of these photos.  They are self-explanatory.  I hope you get a picture of this wonderful place, group of people and time together.  It's one of our favorite gatherings of the year.  We wouldn't miss it for the world. 

We decided that next year we want to bring marshmallows, chocolate and Ginger Snaps and make a new kind of s'mores.  Doesn't that sound delicious?  But what should we call them?

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Check out this gorgeous lettering!

You can download these drop caps and others like them to dress up your blog or website here.

The Daily Drop Cap is an ongoing project by typographer and illustrator Jessica Hische. Each day (or at least each WORK day), a new hand-crafted decorative initial cap will be posted for your enjoyment and for the beautification of blog posts everywhere.

What a cool idea!  How generous of her!

Special thanks to Amy for sharing her discovery of them.

Here's another one.  Don't you just love them both?