Posts Tagged ‘cactus’

Thankful!

March 14, 2017

Today while I was minding my own business in the Butterfly Pavilion at the Desert Botanical Gardens, a woman approached me and gushed, “I don’t want to embarrass you, but I know who you are and I want to thank you for the article you wrote about your son not reading until he was nine.” I thanked her for saying something, asked about her kids and met her friends that she was butterflying with. She wasn’t done, however. “I cut out that article and put it up in my bathroom. I read it every day! And I say to myself, ‘If Linda Crosby can make it through this, I can make it through this.'”

Her willingness to approach me and spill her beans blessed my socks off. I am so fortunate to be able to speak to homeschoolers through seminars, articles and day-to-day meetings around town. My passion is to encourage others to keep on keeping on. I am so blessed this year to be speaking in five other states, so I can love on some hurting mothers who just want to quit. This home educating gig ain’t for the faint of heart!

By no means am I the Wonder Woman of homeschooling. Far from it. I have made more mistakes than most… ask my kids! No, don’t. It might hurt my homeschool mom feelings. But there is something to be said about hearing how another mom failed over and over again, and seeing that their kids actually turned out okay… mostly, as contributing members of society who aren’t too socially awkward.

Be encouraged, homeschooling mama! The days when everything goes haywire are the days the kids will probably remember the most. (Unfortunately!) Usually they recall how you handled rough situations and they watched you get up out of bed the next day and try again at the homeschoolin’ deal.

My advice for the “End of March Blues” is to relax. Hardcore-Textbook Mom, play some board games. Stick-to-the-Planner Mom, read a good YWAM biography to the kids. Neatnik Mom, break down and let the kids papier mache outside… with the back door locked. OCD-Math Mom, cross out half the problems on today’s worksheet. Live on the edge. It’s okay to relax once in a while and have some fun. Funschooling is real.

Know that you are not alone. Find another homeschooling family… or five, and go to the Botanical Gardens! We did! It was a great break and math will still be there tomorrow!

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In My Absence

November 8, 2011

The lack of blogging is due to a disturbance in the force.  We went camping and didn’t take the computer…. go figure!  Four families made some plans, reserved some camp spots, packed everything including the kitchen sink (but all forgot ketchup!) and headed out to the lake for four days of wilderness survival.  It was hardly wildernessy or survivally, except for the hurricane that hit with 65 mile-an-hour winds on Friday night.  The boy’s tent blew down flat… broken poles and all.  Two of them moved into the boat (with a canvas cover) and two moved into the van.  Let me just add that the wise man builds his house in the van.  By 12:30 a.m. the boat boys were soaked and texted a plea to the RV, “Please help. Wet.”

Our tent was not handling the gales well either.  A nylon strap snapped and rain was coming in on my head….. I was more worried about getting electrocuted from my electric blanket than worried about being wet.  Don’t judge me.  We also were graciously invited into the 5th wheel in the blowing blazes of the storm.

If the storm wasn’t enough, Keeve’s retainer went missing AGAIN.  This is the second camping trip where the retainer was MIA.  Thankfully it was also the second camping trip where the retainer materialized before his father could wring his neck.

AND…. our friend’s golden retriever was profusely sprayed by our neighborhood skunk.  I’ve smelled city kitties before, but not so strong where it burns your throat.  Wow…. brought tears to my eyes as well.

If all those events didn’t add enough excitement…. our car battery died…. deader than a doornail.  So we used the van as a storage unit until my knight in shining work truck went a bought a new battery.  Wow!

Yes, the water level is extremely low in Lake Pleasant at the moment, but it is filling as we speak.  Many a nap transpired by the lake and we ALL enjoyed the lazy time of not being in the hustle and bustle of home life.

Despite the disturbances in the force, a relaxing time was had by all…. most of the time.

FORTY-FIVE!

April 8, 2011

No, that’s not 45 more days of school!!!  (There’s only 33!)  Today I embarked upon this milestone in my life…. half of 90 years old.  It’s not that bad.  Other than not being able to read some of the tiny print on my birthday cards and the plant ID tags that I received.  Okay, or the free movie popcorn tickets.  Thankfully the numbers on currency are really big and always in the corner!  Yes, it’s my birthday!

How did I spend my day?  Oh, not exactly as planned, let me tell you!  Sleeping in was a wonderful pleasure.  After all these years, it still rates right up there with reading novels and gardening! After sauntering down stairs, I discovered my daughter cooking up my yum yum yummy breakfast… homemade apples and cinnamon oatmeal and special scrambled eggs!  Thank you, Larisa!  BUT, half way through my breakfast, I realized it was 10:30 am and I was going out to lunch with some friends at 11:15!!  So I put my birthday breakfast in the fridge for tomorrow!

Birthday lunch was fun with seven sweet friends!  Lots of laughs and turtles.  (Remember, my un-wanted turtle collection?  It is continuing!… potholders, garden kneeling pad, RING, etc. etc.) Thanks, Friends!

Upon returning to the castle, my son tells me that he wants to take a short cut over the canal to his friend’s house.  He tells me that he balances on this little pipe over the water WHILE carrying his bike.  I say NO!  He said it’s perfectly safe, as would any 14-year-old lad whose brain is saturated with testosterone.  I say NO!  So he drags me out to the canal to see the balancing pipe.  Well, it IS perfectly safe.  It is over the canal, but the canal goes under a HUGE cement overpass at that point.  There is a pipe…. but it is next to a wall that he leans on for balance.  And the water it is over is a puddle… only 12 inches below him… and eight inches deep.  So I let him go.  All is well, ….. but no. 

Nora was with us on the dangerous pipe exploration trip and went down on her hands on the ground in some cactus.  OUCH!  The spikes are as thin as hairs and my 45-year-old eyes can’t see them.  We arrive home and I google how to remove cactus thorns.  Lo, and behold!  I love google!  I spent the next hour smearing Elmer’s school glue on her hands in two layers and waiting for it to dry.  I peeled it off like sunburned skin and the ouchy was no more!  I love google.  Did I mention that?

Off to a birthday party at my parents and VOILA!  I survived my 45th birthday without scars.

Stray Rock, my foot!

May 16, 2010

Bullet hole through glass.

Last night I was reminded of an interesting story from our not-so-distant past that I have never shared here on MSJ.  We were house sitting for my parents, enjoying their large home, TV and swimming pool, and all was well.  Or so we thought.  I had a bad cold at the time and preferred to be heavily medicated at bedtime, so as not to awake 403 times during the night.  In the dark of the night, a VERY loud blast caused my husband to jump out of bed and yell something.  I had earplugs in, so I didn’t understand him.  Plus I was drugged… and happy about it.

The lights flicked on and I was realizing quickly that something had excited my dear husband.  Upon the removal of earplugs, he proceeded to tell me that something came through the window right across from his head.  After some detective work, we found two holes in the double-paned window, a hole in the wooden blinds and shards of glass and wood all over the carpet.  The holes were all about 3/4″ round.  This was not a stray thrown rock…. it was a bullet! I watched enough Perry Mason episodes to know a bullet from a rock!

Being still heavily under the influence of NyQuil, I went to the family room and fell asleep on the couch.  Rick called the police and they said they would come and see in daylight.  The next day we searched the floor in the bedroom and found a bullet slug!  Now, my parents lived in a nice neighborhood!  Nice homes with nice people!  This is not downtown Phoenix I’m talking about.  This is a Lexus, Shih Tzu, swimming pool, diamond tennis bracelet neighborhood.

The slug was found approximately 12 feet in the other direction from the entry holes in the window and blind.  We figured out from the angle of the holes that the bullet would have hit Rick in the head, if it hadn’t been for an industrial strength wrought iron bedside table that deflected the shot.  I was in awe of God’s protection

The police figured it was a stray shot from the mountain preserve next to my parent’s home.  I wondered why anyone would be in the mountain preserve in the middle of the night.  There’s cactus, coyotes, javelina and bobcats up there.  It seemed more likely to me that it was shot from a car passing by from the street adjacent to the side yard. 

Anyway, the windows were replaced as well as the slat for the blind.  No one died.  The carpet was vacuumed.  And we are still saying our prayers before bedtime!  Sweet dreams!

Desert Beauty

March 14, 2010

Four years ago we were studying the flowers, plants, animals, landforms, etc. of the Sonoran Desert in which we live.  There was this great activity in our curriculum that explained how to make a desert plant terrarium, so I bought this little round cactus for the enclosed desert botanical garden.  That’s as far as we got with the activity.  Since then, it has been just that… a little round cactus on my kitchen window sill for four years.  Being a cactus, I only water it once a month by setting it in a pan of water for an hour or so.  Then, THIS year, it decided to show off.  This beautiful orange blossom opened a few days ago revealing the true beauty of the desert. WOW!  The flower is only an inch across and the cactus is not quite three inches tall.  Teeny.  Perfect for a little desert terrarium.

Taliesin West

March 13, 2010

This is the studio/school/home of Frank Lloyd Wright in Scottsdale, Arizona.  It is so beautiful out there!  Enjoy!

Awesome Flowers!!!!

March 25, 2009

Oh, you have to go see my sister’s photos of her springtime flowers up in the great Northwest.  Makes me unlove the cactus growing at my house in the desert.

http://christysthoughts.wordpress.com/

So absolutely beautiful.  Makes me green with envy.  Congratulations on your green thumb, Christy.

Kickin’ Off Spring Break

March 16, 2009

canyon-lake-020

We just finished a unit of Floating and Ships which we wrapped up by renting a boat and spending the morning on Canyon Lake.  It is amazing to me that there are beautiful lakes only an hour outside of Phoenix.  Canyon Lake is one of a chain of three man-made lakes that fill steep canyons bordered with cliffs, cactus and even mountain goats.

canyon-lake-027

This is the perfect time of year to go because it’s not too hot yet.  It was 65F when we arrived and 80F when we left.  I’m not sure who loved it more, the moms or the kids?  We decided we needed to plan some more units that would involve boating…. like animals of the Southwest, plants of the Southwest, classification of rocks, water conservation, gas propulsion, the sun’s effect of exposed skin, etc.  As you can see, there are plenty of times we can return to the calm waters of Canyon Lake.  It was a relaxing morning to kick off Spring Break.  On the way home, we stopped at a ghost town of an 1893 gold mine.  What a tourist trap…. but the kids had fun kickin’ up the dirt and talkin’ like cowboys.

canyon-lake-066

Spring Break is a sweet gift to homeschooling moms.  Makes me smile.

Beauty in the Desert

July 16, 2008

Photography by ME.  Unusual for sure.  I usually lift them from Google images.

For the life of me, I cannot figure out why any covered wagon settlers stopped here in the Sonoran Desert.  It just doesn’t make sense.  There was no air conditioning then, let alone swimming pools.  And from my limited knowledge of that time and practices, I think they had to travel in the summertime….  which leads me to say, “What in the world could they have been thinking?” 

Was it a completely broken down wagon… and no trees in sight… that caused them to pause here?  Or was it a botanist discovering the flowering cacti that forced his wife and chillens to stay on the dry, cracked dirt?  Or someone from the Sahara Desert who finally felt at home with the mirages and heat stroke?

I don’t mind living here… in this day and age.  It’s quite comfortable as long as you stay inside and your A/C doesn’t go out. It did take a bit of getting used to.  My first summer here, 11 years ago, I jumped into my Dad’s ’66 Mustang without moving the metal seatbelt out of the way.  I had a burned-in, blistered horse tattoo on my backside for a long while.  But we have the necessary tools of survival… NOW.  I’ve seen women driving wearing oven mitts so they don’t have to touch the steering wheel.  We have spring loaded window shades that take an ambidextrous person to collapse.  Not to mention the safety glasses necessary whilst opening them.

Today, it’s a balmy 102.  Relatively mild for July.  If I remember right, it was 118 this week last year. And I like water.  Lots of water.  Camel amounts of water.  It makes me feel… wet and cool… bloated and waterlogged.  As long as I don’t have to do yard work from May – October… I’m good with living here.

www.bagsforzaza.blogspot.com  www.LindaCrosby.com

Teddy Bear….. whatever!

March 10, 2008

teddycactrus 

Here we have a photo essay of the Teddy Bear.  One is cute and cuddly.  The other is prickly and parlous.  Whoever named this particular member of the cholla cactus family ‘teddy bear’ needs a lobotomy.  Why am I so opinionated about this plant?  I have hugged both varieties pictured.

Let me take you back to a cool, cloudless day in the City of Phoenix, Maricopa County, Sonoran Desert, Arizona, to a hill behind my parent’s home.  A family hike with the youngin’s in tow was under way.  There was no path, no trail, no guide.  Just a rocky hill with a summit to be conquered.  Enter the teddy bear. (sinister music should be playing in the background)  Numerous times we had instructed the chil’ens to leave a wide path between themselves and the teddy bear cacti.  Rumor had it that this breed actually reacts to ground movements and can “shoot” a limb at a passerby.  I did not believe it until that fateful day.

We were half way up the incline when my husband yelled, “OOOOUUUUCCCCHHH!”  He was bringing up the rear of the ascent, so we all turned to see what the alarm was.  He held up his hand to reveal a teddy bear arm embedded in the side of his hand.  My insides did the roller-coaster flip-flop upon first glance.  No one witnessed the attack, so we’re not sure if it was human error or preying plant.  “Find something to pull it out!” Rick yelled.  We all began scanning the hillside for sticks… but there were no trees…. and hence, no sticks.  Just dead cactus arms, rocks and scrubby, brittle bushes. 

Two water bottles were the best retraction devices we could come up with, so I advanced toward the victim with the bottles gleaming in the sun.  “Wait a minute,” Rick added as he searched his pockets with his free hand, “I should take a picture of this with my cell phone.”  Now, when I’m in pain with a parasite digging it’s spines into my flesh, I do not think, “Let me take a picture of this!”  It’s got to be a guy thing.

Anyway, photo-shoot behind us, I advanced with the water bottles a second time.  Rick held his arm straight down and I tenderly placed the bottles on each side of his hand.  On the count of three, I squeezed them against the poky branch and after a bit of resistance, it dislodged…… and flew into my thigh…. sticking through my jeans… and secured it’s new territory whole heartily.  I lost all the air in my lungs, while firmly gripping the retraction devices.  Confirming what I had earlier surmised, I did not once think of taking a picture of my pain.  I’m such a girl.

When I gained mental fortitude, I squeezed the bottles again.  But alas, the teddy bear was enjoying me more than my husband and was hugging more fiercely.  My second attempt was successful and I was indeed cactus free.

Later that night, simply for the comparison factor, we counted blood-dot entry points.  Rick’s hand had 9.  Linda’s leg had 23.  I won.  And I don’t even have a picture on my phone to show for it.

When hiking in cactus country, Be Prepared!  1. Water  2.  Sunscreen  3.  Large comb to remove cacti.