Posts Tagged ‘Phoenix’

Oh the Weather Outside is Frightful!

December 5, 2011

Really!  In Phoenix… in December… it snowed only 25 miles from our house!  We had rain … but we are not used to harsh conditions where we need closed-toed shoes… and a jacket!  I can imagine the sympathy in your heart for us!  haha.

December brought out Christmas decorations with a vengeance… lights, wreaths, trees, snowmen, etc.  First year EVER… I got the fake tree up with all the silver, blue and white ornaments… on December 1st!  A week later, we are still waiting to go buy a tree for all the non-blue ornaments.  A few years back, I came to the realization that red is not my favorite color.  In fact in the ROYGBIV list… I’m basically loving the rainbow in reverse order.  I’m a violet, indigo and blue gal from the boots up.  SO…. I went blue Christmas shopping and the blue tree was born.  I love it more each year… as the ornaments accumulate.  There are a few homemade preschool ornaments that made the cut… we have a popsicle stick Star of David with blue glitter…. and a dough star painted royal blue.  Yes, they are on the back, but they did make the cut for MY tree.

I love these stained glass snow flakes.  Rick and I bought these in Mexico two years ago at Christmas time.  Love them!

This stained glass trio was purchased last Christmas in Bogota, Colombia.  Yes, it’s supposed to by Mary, Joseph and the Babe Jesus, but I also like to think of it as Rick, me and our little colombian princess who joined us last Christmas!

Nora has loved the thought of Christmas since her first days in the USA.  She arrived to her forever home on December 22nd and it was one big blur of Christmas bliss her first week home!  Her eyes sparkled when she saw Grandma’s house all decorated in every corner!  A village with ice skaters and lights in the windows… a sleigh full of teddy bears… brass reindeer with ribbons… embroidered Santa pillows…. snowmen that play the piano and sing…. little Christmas mice climbing candles… matching wreaths on the front doors… and Santa himself waving the lantern from the top of the tree…Spendid!  All year long she has repeated that Christmas is her favorite!  We have stressed over and over that it is our favorite too, because Jesus was born then and THAT is the reason we celebrate.

We are doing the Jesse Advent Tree devotional with the kids.  We bought a little tree for the kitchen table that looks pretty lame right now with only five ornaments, but it looks a little better each day as we add to the story of Jesus!  We review every night and Nora basically gets it so far…. just a bit off on a few stories!  It is a bit alarming that of the first five stories, death is talked about three times!  (Adam and Eve’s disobedience, Noah’s neighbors and Abraham starting to sacrifice Isaac!)  I never thought of it before, but it’s all part of the story of our salvation!

So thankful for a relaxed Christmas month to share with our little girl!

Can you say Haboob?

July 10, 2011

Our re-entry to Phoenix, after a cool and lovely trip to Northern California, was not only welcomed by the largest haboob (sand storm) in recent history… but HUMID heat.  Whatupwitdat?  It’s supposed to be a dry heat.  We’re famous for DRY heat.  We got into our van on the day after we arrived home and the thermometer was burning the number 118 into my sweaty eyeballs.  Nora, my 7-year-old, who is experiencing her first Phoenix summer, whined, “Why couldn’t we just stay in Tahoe?”  I wondered the same thing!  Dry 107 is NOT the same as humid 107.  Not even close.

Photo credit to Dan Z. http://www.flickr.com/photos/55358384@N04/5907025323/

My plan to have the garage cleared for my van’s shady shelter through the scorching months has not yet materialized.  It’s too hot to clean the garage.  Why didn’t I think of this in January???  I went out there quickly at 7:00 am and analyzed the situation.  Biggest obstacle: city-certified rolling trash AND recycle cans.  They are huge… and stinky on occasion.  All the other junk (hockey nets, weight bench, bicycles, hockey equipment, kayaks, huge alternative fuel gas tank, shop vac, etc.) can be put on the unseen side of the house in the backyard.  But the non-attractive rolling trash receptacles have to be accessed on different days and dragged to the road.  “Put them behind your side gate,” is the logical answer.  But we have Houdini, the escape dog, as a beloved pet.  Not only is our side gate double supported with plywood on the back (because of Houdini breaking the slats to escape) but there are cinderblocks on both sides of the gate, so Houdini won’t push through.  There is a 4×4 buried in the ground under the gate as well, to hinder dig-through escape attempts.  Houdini is only 11 pounds.  But she is a wily and surprising 11 pounds.

So, my plan is to keep the cans in the front yard on the side of the house that is least visible from the road.  AND, get this, put a huge pot with a prolific plant in front of them.  We have Nazis on our HOA board, but I think this might work.  Afterall, we haven’t received a letter from them in at least two months now.  The letters have come regularly… for six years…. every few months… for basketball hoops… wrecked cars in the driveway…. cars parked in the street… weeds…. garbage cans NOT behind the gate… and my personal favorite, 50 pink flamingos standing in our yard.  Hey, the pot-with-prolific-plant shield is worth a try so I can get the van in the garage.  I’ll keep you posted.

No more Bats on my Fridge!

June 3, 2011

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Two years ago there was an article in the newspaper of Best Things To Do each month in Phoenix.  I cut out two of the suggestions and put them on the fridge…. with the hope of doing each of them… because they are the BEST!  One was to eat at Pizzeria Bianco… the other was to visit a colony of bats that live right downtown!  Rick and I did go to Pizzeria Bianco one night a couple of months back, but the wait was over two hours and we were too hungry to wait that long.  So, Pizzeria Bianco is still on the fridge.

In celebration of 24 years of wedded matrimony, Rick and I went away for a few days… not far… just away.  We were staying at a resort relatively close to the bat cave, so I suggested that we visit and view, because I’m a nerdy school teacher who is enthralled by God’s provision for animals in the middle of a big city (NOT including the ground squirrels who are STILL eating my garden… grrrrr.) 

In my hot little hand was the newspaper clipping with the bat cave location merely listed as Camelback Rd. and 40th St.  We arrived at said intersection to find a Fresh N Easy, Chelsea’s Kitchen, a dry cleaner and a gas station.  There were no signs indicating BAT CAVE THIS WAY —>  (Bummer.)  We started asking around and were pointed west along the north side of the canal.  I was not prepared for walking a half mile in gravel and dirt…. needless to say, I need a pedicure now.  I’m not sure what I was thinking, but hiking had not entered my mind.  More asking followed.  More pointing west followed.  We finally found a kind gentleman who knew exactly where we were headed.  Perfect.

The bat cave is actually a flood control tunnel that is two miles long.  It is huge… you could drive a garbage truck in there, if the gate was unlocked.  Our arrival couldn’t have been timed more perfectly.  As we wandered up to the top of the tunnel to read the signs, the bats began emerging.  It was cool.  The newspaper reported that there are 20,000 bats in the cave.  The signs reported only 5,000.  We figured it was more than 5,000… as I stopped counting at 476…and the stream of flying mammals continued for another 15 minutes.  The other end of the tunnel also has bats emerging… so definitely more than 5,000 Mexican Free Tail bats

bat cave_40thstreet.jpg

Don’t worry, that’s not all we did on our excursion!  We also ate out at two fine Mexican restaurants, did some shopping, watched some Glen Beck (FYI: Our family stands with Israel), swam and read.  It was most relaxing and VERY needed.  And there are no more bats on my fridge.

Pumpkin Pie Pudding

April 7, 2011

Anyone remember when the pumpkin shortage was announced back in the Fall of 2010??  Well, I, for one, was not going to be short on pumpkin come Thanksgiving time.  I stocked up when I found the cans of orange goodness in a local store.  Then we got our adoption referral and left for Colombia the day before Thanksgiving.  You guessed it, I didn’t cook anything with pumpkin last Fall.  When Christmas rolled around, we had been home from Colombia with our new daughter for three days…. and cooking anything was not on my list.  I was in survival mode.

Fast-forward three-and-a-half months to this week, and envision me standing in front of my pantry staring at cans and cans of pumpkin.  It was raining, even hailing, outside… yes, we still live in Phoenix!  Pumpkin cooking time had arrived and I was ready to fully embrace it.  I searched through the cupboards and took inventory.  Next, I went to www.supercook.com and typed in the ingredients from my pantry.  They ALWAYS can come up with a recipe for you no matter how strange your items are!  Amazing!  Well, I didn’t have any cooking oil, so that severely limited my pumpkin choices, but one did catch my eye…. Pumpkin Pie Pudding.  Sounded divine.  I was salivating thinking that in an hour or so, I could be savoring a yummy pumpkin dessert.

Not so.  As it turns out, the recipe I found was yummy, and easy, and quick to prepare…. but it was a slow-cooker recipe.  SEVEN to EIGHT long hours in the crock pot were required before I could partake of non-shortage pumpkin goodness.  I prepared it anyway… and 10:00 at last night. 

When my husband’s alarm went off this morning at 5:00, I asked him if he could turn off the crock pot.  He replied in the affirmative…. but failed miserably to act on his promise once he arrived downstairs.  When I strolled into the kitchen at 8:15…. yes, it was too late to resuscitate the supposed-to-be-orange-now-dark-brown dessert.  Pumpkin Pie Pudding had morphed into Dark Pumpkin Brick from the HOT place.  Sadly, I got a spoon from the utensil drawer to investigate the darkness inside the pot.  To my surprise, it actually was yummy pumpkin pie pudding, encased in a thick skin.  I scraped off the top layer and removed the savory remains to a separate dish.  YEAH! 

All was not lost.  PPP was a wonderful, cold weather treat today!

Linda, Linda, Quite Contrary

April 5, 2011

Garden Update #2.  The good news: Plants are sprouting!!!  The bad news: the dog buried a sock in the green onions.  Boooo!  I’m so impressed with the power in a seed!  Life… all dried up and shriveled… bursting forth into green goodness.  Does my heart SO good.  I go out several times a day and stare at the garden barrels.  Here are some photos to make you purely envious of my amazing gardening ability. (We’ll see if we’re all envious after the Phoenix sun does its duty in June and July!)

That is the spinach popping up their little heads toward the sunlight.

Little peas all straight in rows. (Thankfully I could see those seeds.  The carrots aren’t in straight rows at all.) Next is a cute and dainty green bean doing its thang.

Those pictures were from Saturday.  Here are the pictures from TODAY… only two days later!

Peas on the left and beans on the right.  The no-man’s-land in the center is going to be peas too, but they were planted 4 or 5 days later than the rest.

Bringing up the rear of the photo montage is the two zucchini plants…. soon to be the SOLE zucchini plant.  If you have ever planted and harvested this yummy squash, you know the SECRET to raising zucchini….. you only need ONE plant per family!!!  We learned the hard way, 18 years ago, when there were only two of us and we planted eight zucchini plants.  I believe we lost some friends that summer after we filled their car with the prolific vegetable!  Good times!

Milestones for the Month

January 23, 2011

We have reached several milestones in our lives this month. None has gone by without notice…. and with much thanksgiving in our hearts.

Jan. 14…..   FOURTEEN years since we made the big move from Alberta, land of the Oilers, to Phoenix, land of the Coyotes.  The two hockey teams face off this Tuesday night here in Phoenix and we will be there.  Oilers are doing so poorly this year, I can’t bring myself to wear the jersey.  But Rick will…. and I’ll be sitting next to him. 

Jan. 20…. my baby sister turned 40.  That just means I’m closer to 50.  Milestone… whatever.

(I made this cool t-shirt that says “Christy is 40… yippy!”)

Jan. 22…… Nora has been in her forever family for one month!  It seems like so much longer than that!  She is fitting in perfectly… unbelievably, really.  She is such a happy little girl from the moment she wakes up… bringing pure joy to our home.  We are thankful that God had us picked out for her years ago… as we prayed and waited.  If I had made a list (which I partially did in my mind) of all the characteristics I hoped she would have that are similar to our family, I don’t think I would have listed all of the ones she came with!  God knows what he’s doing, people, when he places orphans in families. 

Jan. 23…. the end of the first week after Austin’s snowboarding accident.  I am amazed once again at God’s healing hand and his creation of the body that heals itself!  Austin’s face looks 90% better than it did seven days ago.  We are so thankful that no bones were broken (a hairline nasal fracture does not count – no cast required!) and he’s doing okay mentally and physically.  It could have been so much worse!  Austin has an appointment in Feb. with the neuro-psychologist for baseline testing.  I’m relieved that it is finally being done!  Sadly, it took 6 (or 7?) concussions to get him into the office!  Sheesh!

Thankfulness is leaking out of my heart today.  What do you have to be thankful for?

A Plug for Grass

November 12, 2010

The phone rang in our kitchen, before the days of caller ID, and I answered unaware that I was in for the laugh of my life!  The kind lady simply asked for Rick, my husband.  I said he was unavailable and asked if she would like to leave a message.  “Yes,” she replied, “Terri from HCB… our number is XXX-XXX-XXXX.”  I jotted it down and inquired, “What does HCB stand for?”  “Hair Club for Men,” she answered.  Without any forethought or self-control, I burst out laughing…. you know, the laugh from deep down within your belly that brings tears to your eyes because you’ve just heard something so incredibly funny!  After I calmed down she asked, “Is Rick going to get this message?”  I spit out, “Oh, you bet he is!!!” 

A bit of background:  my husband’s hair has receded since I met him when he was an 18-year-old whipper snapper.  But it is still generally in place, and black and reasonably thick.  But he worked with a man once upon a time that we kindly referred to as RugMan… who, obviously, wore a toupee.  I think that guy talked Rick into thinking he would need one some day.  (Over my dead body.)  I’m not sure how the HCB got Rick’s name and number but I found it hilarious! 

We also had a chiropractor at one time that decided to get hair replacement therapy, more commonly known as plugs.  His hair actually looked a lot fuller and natural…. except for his scalp where the plug line started…. it looked like a curb with the plugs on top.  I could not look the man in the face for fear that my eyes would wander north to the curb.  We eventually found a new chiropractor.

All that to say, these stories were fresh in my mind this week as our grass came in.  In Phoenix, we have to plant the winter grass each year in October/November if we want a sea of green out the back door.  The summer grass is quite hardy and comes back each year.  We have never successfully planted winter grass… and this was our 13th unsuccessful year.  Last year I spread the seed and it came up looking like I walked out with the seed bag and tripped, spilling all the seed in one spot.  I didn’t, but couldn’t prove other wise.  After much discussion this year, we decided that we needed to aerate the lawn bed to promote drainage and even growth.  So we did.  But the outcome reminded me of a lawn that went to Hair Club for Men.  Look:

The entire lawn came up…. ONLY in the aerated holes.  This looks nearly as bad as my tripping, spilling, planting year.  Rick is determined to get green grass in an even, flat formation.  He went out again and did more aerating.  He spread more seed.  He adjusted sprinklers.  He watered by hand.  I think we’re simply in for the year of the plug grass.

Weekend Report

September 13, 2010

Whilst I was away scrapbooking amidst the pine trees, my family and our home-group from CCV had a garage sale to help raise funds for our adoption.  They are SOOOO awesome!  I did sell some of the bigger items on Craigslist too… and there are four or five more things to sell, but we made over $1,200 so far!  My teenage daughter and I pulled out all the like-new designer kids clothing from the piles and piles that were donated and plan to consign them next week.  That should be another couple hundred dollars.  Whoooo HOooooo!

The best story from the entire weekend was from Saturday morning at the garage sale.  For those who don’t know, we live in Phoenix, AZ…. home to MANY illegal aliens…. who ALL shop at garage sales.  AZ is also the home to the infamous SB1070 bill that enables officers of the law to ask for identification from anyone they pull over, who happens to look like they could be an illegal alien.  (I would love it if Obama came to AZ and got pulled over and asked for proof of citizenship…. but I digress.)

Anyway, there is a man in our home-group who is a policeman who works nights.  He arrived home from his beat and dropped by the garage sale to see his wife and offer his support to our family.  Well, his presence in his uniform didn’t go over so well with the shoppers.  In fact, many dropped piles of chosen articles where they stood, slouched to their vehicles in the cul-de-sac and escaped without showing proof of citizenship.  When everyone figured out what was going on, Mr. Policeman’s wife sent him home to change his clothes… and to stop hampering business.  As soon as he left the cul-de-sac, six cars came right in and the shoppers resumed shopping.  It was hilarious!

Ga-nats!

August 8, 2010

Yes, it’s monsoon season in Arizona and with the unusual amount of water pooled in various low places the GNATS have swarmed here and multiplied. I cannot use the word gnats without thinking of the Veggie Tales movie where the giant pea keeps pronouncing it Ga-Nats.  And even though I’m a homeschool mom with loads of diverse information in my noggin, I do not know the life cycle or reproduction speed of gnats.  Although, from the looks of our back door collection, I would surmise the cycle is FAST!  I cleaned the bottom of the sliding doors yesterday and awoke to this:

My pesticide-company-owning-husband said, “Well, they’re dead!”  I guess that is good, but gross me out!

The other sad news in the backyard:  yesterday we awoke, went downstairs and looked out the back windows… and something was missing…. it was the gigantic gazebo!  Gone!  Poof!  Obviously there was some sort of micro-burst in our backyard to pick up a metal eight-foot gazebo that was anchored down and throw it over the six-foot block wall!  Rick looked over all the neighbors’ walls until he located it.  That house is vacant presently, so he went over, picked up the mangled metal and canvas conglomeration and threw it back into our yard.  He knew how much I loved my oasis of shade covering my patio swing… so he slowly disassembled it in hopes of rebuilding it.   No such luck.  It’s gonzo, baby.  Makes me sad.  Here are before and after pictures, which should help you to decide NOT to vacation in Phoenix in the months from May to October.

replacement canopy for walmart mika ridge gazebo

Dilly Bars

July 6, 2010

In the van on the way home after the fireworks display on the 4th, our daughter says, “The only thing that would make this night better is if we had Dilly Bars!”  These are fine delicacies from Dairy Queen, in case you haven’t tasted the ambrosia offered on a stick at DQ.  I immediately pulled out the handy-dandy yellow pages that I keep under my seat in the van.  Unfortunately, I didn’t have my glasses with me and could not read a blinkin’ word on the page.  Larisa came to the rescue and started listing the addresses for DQs. Thankfully she came across one that was four blocks from where we were!  Sweet victory!

Dairy Queen on 27th Avenue and Camelback Rd. is not in the nicer part of our fine city, Phoenix.  As we pulled into the driveway, my brave husband spouted, “Let’s go in!”  Three of the four of us simultaneously responded, “NO!”  To match the neighborhood, the drive-through speaker is not of the best quality at the aforementioned DQ either.  We gave up and drove to the window to order our Dilly bars.

Dilly Bars are $1.29 plus tax….. OR six for $6.00 plus tax.  Yes, there are only five Crosbys at the present time.  Yes, that was a steal-of-a-deal to which my dear husband succumbed.  We were happily devouring our Dilly Bars when one of our sons asked who got the sixth stick of ice cream dipped in chocolate?????  And thus began the Dilly Bar Quest for Gold.  “Here’s the rules!” my husband declared.  “I’ll put it in the freezer right in front on the middle shelf.  The first person who wakes up after 3:00 a.m. without an alarm can go to the freezer and move the Dilly Bar to a hidden freezer location.  This way, they can save it for later. If you go down and the bar is moved, DO NOT EAT IT! or you will owe $5 to the winner of the Dilly Bar Quest for Gold!  Remember, you have to sleep first!” The scheming began.

One son said he would eat it all right when he won at 6:30 a.m., our early riser.  The other son said he would save it to eat in front of the rest of us losers.  (How nice!)  Our daughter just sighed, as she is a hard sleeper and late waker.  I thought I stood a good chance as I awake every morning at 5:00 a.m., just to look at the clock and go back to sleep. Just my luck, it didn’t happen last night.

The next morning, at 9:30 a.m. I came out of my bedroom to hear my sons arguing…… “You set your alarm!”  “No, I didn’t!”  “How could you wake up right at 3 a.m. then?”  “I just did!”  “I dreamed of ice cream, but I didn’t wake up!”  and on and on and on it went.  So, the son who wanted to eat the golden Dilly Bar in front of us, did so at breakfast.  Congratulations!