Thursday, April 29, 2010

Boise Trip

Some of you may have seen my note on Facebook about my unexpected trip to Boise for work.  My boss asked me if I could go today and tomorrow to do some training for a new project that we're working on.

Imagine my surprise when I find out that we're going in his private plane!  Turns out that he and his wife and another couple need to go to Montana, so they decided to drop me and my cohort off in Boise on the way.  So, about 8:30 this morning I arrived at the Scottsdale airport and drove right up to this plane.  They drove my car away to hold until we get back and I climbed aboard (after a few pics).  Crazy, huh?

Part of the fun of this trip was seeing my friends, Phil the pilot (and Mark his co-pilot).  I hadn't seen them in a while.  I've never had the privilege of riding in the plane before, so this was a REAL treat!
This is what it looks like on the inside.  There are 6 seats, plus 2 for the pilots.  Very comfy and everything you need, like cup holders, pull up tables, electrical outlets, etc.  After about a 2 hour flight, we arrived in Boise and they brought our rental car right to us.  

We spent the afternoon learning and gathering information for the project.
This is the view from our hotel window.  There are snow capped mountains in the background.  The temperature right now is 47 degrees and it's windy with a chance of showers (as you can probably tell).  Tomorrow the sky's supposed to clear up a bit, but the high is still only forecast for 56.  I don't mind though because it's just one more day that it won't be hot.
Tomorrow we go back for more training, then we'll meet up with the others and the plane late afternoon or early evening to fly back home. 

What a fun trip and I can see why people that can afford it, go this way.  It's so much less stressful than fighting the crowds at the big airports.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

For those of you who will never have too many books...

Check out this contest at StrongFamilies.

Just by becoming of fan of their Facebook page you can have a chance to win a free autographed book - and you get to choose the book.

He has some great ones for life and parenting or even children's books for those special little ones in your life.

Spread the word!  The more fans he gets the sooner the drawing will be.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

2 Sweet Friends + 1 Husband's Birthday = 1 AMAZING Suns Game!

In case you haven't heard, Terry and I had the awesome privilege of going to the last Suns home game of the season this past Tuesday against the Denver Nuggets.  And you know what made it the most fun EVER?  We got to sit in the FRONT row!!!  Yes, on the floor just a single NBA basketball player step from the court.

Let me start out by admitting that even though it was intended as an early birthday present for Terry (his bday is May 13),  I probably had as much or more fun than he did.  I was so excited that I could hardly sleep the night before and I kept catching myself just before I would blurt out something about it in the days prior.

You see, Phoenix Suns basketball is my absolute favorite sport to watch.  Even though Terry watches nearly every team sport with legs, and has tried to teach me about all of them, my first sports love is those "Sunnies" (as my son-in-law calls them).  I fell in love with them back in the mid-70's in the early days of our relationship.  That was when he took me to a game and I thought that all they did was run up and down the court and whoever made the last basket won.  Now I know most of the players by name and position and can point out a pick-and-roll or an alley-oop when I see one.  I have realized that the reason I like basketball more than other sports is because it's a more relational game.  There are no helmets to block their expressions and there's constant movement and interaction between the players.  I love to isolate on one player and follow them on and off the court.  Not in a stalking sort of way, but like a proud mom watching their favorite "Sun" and their progress.  I generally choose my favorites, based on personality and temperament, not necessarily their accomplishments on the court.  Anyway, I could write a whole post just on my love of the game, but I'll save it for another time.

Today I get to take you into some those special places where I (and some of you) have never been.  It was an experience I'll never forget. I don't want to say too much about where we got the tickets, but suffice it to say that there are a couple of angels out there that shared a little bit of heaven with us and we will forever be grateful. Do you think they'll have basketball in heaven?  I think so, and the home team will always win.  :-)

Fun stuff!  Terry figured out that we were going to a game, which didn't surprise me because I had taken him to Suns games for his birthday before. But he had NO IDEA where we would be sitting and the other treats that were in store for him.  It was so great to see his eyes open wide with surprise when we pulled up for valet parking, then walked into the building and found our way to the special entrance for these ticket holders.

We held 2 tickets for ROW A, Section 113 but I hadn't showed them to him yet.  I didn't tell him about the free food throughout the game at the AOT Club either.  I was trying to be discreet so as not to look like a total geek, so here's a shot of the club from my camera location at my side.  To the right you'll see the underside of the seats that are behind the basket.  Up ahead are the food stations where we had our choice of so many tasty treats.  One of my favorites was the 4-cheese mac-n-cheese.  Mmmm...it was good and probably tasted even better since I've been trying to watch calories lately and have been staying away from things like that.  There were several meat options and all the sides you would want.  Free beverages too.

We arrived fairly early because we weren't sure how crowded it would be and weren't sure exactly where we were going.  When we entered the club we were warmly greeted and got the low-down on how things worked.  Fortunately, we had plenty of time to have some dinner and even stop into the Team Shop.  Afterward we sauntered out to see the players warm up before the game started.  If we had chosen to, we could have stayed in the club and watched the players come out of the locker room and go thru the tunnel. It's just beyond the eating area above.
 These are really OUR seats for the night!  Yup, front row.  Our feet are on the sidelines very close to the baseline, directly across from the visiting team's bench.  We've sat down in this area before to watch the teams warm up, but never for the whole game.
 This is what the Denver warm ups looked like from our seats.  He's standing between the 3 point line and the out of bounds line.
This is Nene Hilario coming on the court for the starting line up introductions.  Apparently he legally changed his name to just Nene, which is more of a nickname - Brazilian Portuguese for baby.  He's good friends with Leandro Barbosa. 

What I really need to know is how can I get one of those "PHOTO" stickers for the back of my shirt.  Of course my camera's not as big as theirs, but it would still be fun to be able to wander around all over the place to take pictures.  And I must say that the male/female photographer ratio is very imbalanced.  I could help with that.
 This is the opening tip off.
Since Denver is one of the most tattooed teams in the NBA, I wanted to try to get some pics of some of them for our son-in-law, Andrew's benefit.  Chris Andersen is a prime specimen if you like tattoos.
 Here's a fun action shot with Grant and Amare making a great effort at guarding the Nuggets.
 Sometimes this was the view that we had from our seats.  We're willing to make that sacrifice for the location that we had.  I must say that the target was very tempting.
 And of course we need a shot of LB since he's our daughter, Amy's favorite player.  This is the best one I could get.  The Brazilian Blur doesn't stand still for very long.
 Isn't it interesting how intent the guys on the bench are watching everything?
Our favorite coach, Alvin Gentry!  He's doing an amazing job this year.  I love the way he's allowing the bench to play in tough stretches of the game. The young guys are growing more and more skilled and confident because of his trust in them.  Their new defensive emphasis really seems to be making a difference too.

The final score of the game was Suns 123 - Nuggets 101.  It was so fun to watch and even more so because they won the game!  What a special treat to be able to enjoy it from court-side.  Wow!  It was a night that we'll never forget.  We were so thankful for the chance to do this.  That's one thing that I can cross off of my "Bucket List".

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Exploring the Apache Trail

A few weeks ago we took a drive out on the Apache Trail with some of our dear friends to see the spring desert in bloom.
We made a quick stop at Lost Dutchman State Park to see if there were flowers in bloom there, but we were a bit too early for that area.  The Superstitions Mountians were gorgeously green though.

Spring in the desert is a beautiful thing, especially with all the rain we've had lately.
This is Canyon Lake.  We ate lunch by Apache Lake and also drove beside Roosevelt Lake.  It's surprising how much water is out there in the desert.

We made a quick stop at Tortilla Flat.  Cathy found a nice necklace in the gift shop and we picked up some drinks in the restaurant.  This is the second place I've been this year where the walls are covered with dollar bills. I think it's actually a clever way for the restaurant owners to make a few extra bucks.

Just look at these amazingly delicate flowers that bloom in the desert before it gets hot.  Wow!  Aren't they beautiful?
Then when we got out to take pictures of the flowers we came across this old rusted out can.  It's been a long time since I've seen a can that had to be opened this way, so I just had to take a picture of it.
 And look at this sea of lupines!  Wow!  The roadsides were filled with them.
Here's Cathy and Terry's wandering around in the background.  You can see how green the mountains are in the distance too.
There were poppies too!  Isn't this a sweet color combination?  Blue, white, and that butterscotch yellow!
Marshall had a bunch of new camera equipment that he was trying out, and I'll bet he got some great photos.
We stopped to see Roosevelt Dam (which I had never been to).  If you look down near the lower right part of the dam, you'll see two pick up trucks to give you an idea of the size of it.  It's massive!
This bridge is just beyond the dam.  Originally the road actually went over the dam, but when they had to raise the height of the it they moved the road.

And since we were running out of daylight we didn't have time to stop at Fish Creek or at Tonto National Monument, so I guess we'll have to plan another trip out there.

All in all it was a perfect day!

Have you ever been there?

Monday, April 05, 2010

Happy Easter 2010

This weekend Terry's Dad and his wife, Ginny rolled into town from North Carolina.  Ginny drove the whole way 2065 miles over about 4 days.  Pretty awesome, huh?  They arrived at our house early afternoon on Saturday.

We were honored that they joined us in going to church on Easter morning.  And since they were staying at our house, where the Easter Bunny might not find them, I decided to make up an Easter basket for them.  It was fun shopping for a few treats that they could enjoy and take along on their trip home (if the candy lasts that long).  We discovered that Terry's dad has quite a sweet tooth, which is not so great when you're diabetic.  I bought low carb chocolate especially for him. (Trader Joe's is a great place to get that if you're wondering).  Plus a few regular chocolates and some Jelly Bellies for Ginny.  Turns out Dad likes Jelly Bellies too, even though he's not supposed to have them. 
We enjoyed a great turkey dinner on the back patio in the afternoon. The weather was perfect! We had slow roasted turkey, low carb stuffing, green beans and salad.  We tried to keep it manageable since we're all either watching carbs or calories to some degree or another.
Then after dinner we went for a walk with Grandpa and Ginny for a few miles or so (down to Baskin Robbins for dessert, because Cold Stone was closed).

On the way home when we were just a block or so from our house, we noticed a creature on the roof of one of the houses with a little annoying mocking bird squawking at it.  At first we thought it was a big cat sitting on the roof, then we realized it was a big OWL.  It just sat there on the peak of the roof right at the edge and only a few feet from the little bird.  Every once in a while the owl would turn his head and hoot.  I'm sure that he must have been perched near a nest, otherwise the mockingbird wouldn't have been so aggressive.

We stood there for several minutes watching it, then all of a sudden the owl took off and flew right toward us.  Wow!  His wingspan was probably close to 4 feet across.  This photo is a little blurry because I had to zoom in on it, but you can clearly see the owl's features.  I'm not sure I've ever seen an owl in the "wild" that close up.

And I'll leave you with this sneak peek at one of our Spring flower arrangements. I'll be doing a post about it because I think the "vase" is unique and actually kind of a fun idea, especially to use for an event.  I'll tell you more about it later...

Hope you all had a Happy Easter!

Friday, April 02, 2010

Happy 28th Birthday to our Daughter, Amy!

Since Kevin had his turn seeing his school pictures, now its Amy's turn.  Today is her birthday and I asked her dad to write a birthday note for her too.  This first photo is Amy in Kindergarten.  They're all cute photos as you'll see.
Here's the note from her dad:

Wow, are you actually that old? That’s pretty scary for your parents.

We’re so proud of you & what you’ve done with your life. We do wish you had decided to do it here in Phoenix instead of moving back to LA, but that’s OK.

We’re thankful for how you’ve grown & for the choices you’ve made - earning your Master’s, getting married, starting your own business. We’re so glad you brought Andrew into our family. And we’re very thankful for the marriage with which God has blessed you two.

I miss going to your plays & concerts – I still remember how proud I always felt watching you perform (maybe someday you could think about starting to do that again). I miss the other family times we spent together, like family vacations, holidays, and going to plays, concerts, & Suns games together. I remember how you & your brother used to pick on each other so much, and then what great friends you became.

It’s hard being separated from you by 400 miles and not seeing you as much as we’d like, but as long as I have history books you want to borrow, I know we’ll stay in touch.

Happy Birthday, my beautiful daughter! 

Now slow down … I’m going to feel ancient when you turn 30.

Love, Dad

1st Grade
2nd/3rd Grade
Amy was one of just four or five 2nd graders in a combination 2nd/3rd grade class and by the end of the year the teacher recommended that she skip 3rd grade because she had been doing 3rd grade work all year anyway.  By then we didn't have much choice since it would have been silly to make her sit thru 3rd grade again.  She handled the jump just fine.
4th Grade
(her shirt says "Chill Out")
5th Grade
6th Grade
7th Grade
8th Grade
9th Grade
10th Grade
11th Grade
12th Grade
(her casual photo - I like this one better than the formal one because it looks more real, like she is.)

Formal Senior Portrait
 This was taken in 2005.  We sure love being with our girl.
 
And here's Amy and her precious husband, Andrew in 2008.  
We love them and miss them and wish they lived closer to us because they're so much fun to have around.

Happy Birthday, Amy!  We hope you have a blast at Hearst Castle and an awesome year ahead.

Thursday, April 01, 2010

Sorry to have been absent for so long. I have tons of things to post, but just little time.

Here's one that I couldn't pass up sharing.

Did you know that non-profit organizations can get FREE BOOKS FROM THE LIBRARY OF CONGRESS?

And these aren't old worn out books.  They're brand new books!  Think of the things that your local homeless shelter, senior center, school, or after school program could do with this opportunity!

This is not an April Fool's joke either.  It's for real.

Check it out! It's amazing!

Oh and be sure to come back tomorrow for Amy's birthday post.