Wednesday, February 25, 2009

you're killing me, suzanne

So I've been hiking quite a bit this winter. When I go out by myself, I go an hour or two, occasionally 3 hours. Every time Suzanne has a free day and thinks up a hike for us, we end up on a super long, over achiever boy scout, pack a suitcase, we are hiking into the next county, don't forget to bring some food 'cause we are going to be gone all day, kind of hike.

Last month we went all the way across the Phoenix Mountain Preserves, 11 miles. Earlier this month we walked from North Mountain to downtown, 9 miles. Yesterday we explored a trail on South Mountain and hiked 9 1/2 miles. (We only planned on 7. The extra 2 1/2 miles just about did me in!) I've got to say though, yesterday's trail was beautiful. I can see North Mountain and South mountain from my front yard, and from miles away, they look pretty much the same, but I was surprised how different the scenery and rock formations were.

Eight and a half miles were a regular foot path but we went off on a loop called the Hidden Valley. It began with a natural tunnel. We found ourselves shimmying over slanted rocks, we scooted and slid over slippery rocks. We squirmed under a rock formation on our back side. Then the loop ends with what is called "Fat Man Pass". Well, although I am most definitely fat, I am certainly NOT a man. So from that definition, we felt justified to push forward until we actually SAW Fat Man Pass. When I saw it I started laughing and realized I had to find some way up and over the pass or shimmy and slide back through the valley and back out the side where we began. It was a massive solid rock that seemingly had broken in two leaving a very narrow (VERY narrow) slit to pass through. My skinny friend Suzanne thought maybe we could fit through the pass. (I think maybe she was confident of squeezing through, and having a chuckle while I became permanently wedged between two slabs of stone). She got through and assured me the first 2 feet were the most narrow then it widened a bit. However, the narrowest part was level with the not-so-narrowest part of my body. With very real fears of becoming truly wedged, I gave it a try. Positioned sideways, bent like the letter 'S', hips forward, shoulders back I eventually emerged out the far side of Fat Man Pass. I am glad we were alone. This was a fun valley, but it would not have been a pleasant sight to any hikers traveling behind us.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009


Two thousand four hundred and twenty four boxes of girl scout cookies came into our house last weekend. If you get a craving for some Thin Mints, Melanie is your go-to girl. Notice a box is already open? Oh, this is so dangerous.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

not quite as exciting as i thought i was

Big news this week. Britney Spears' personal and private diaries have been stolen. Stolen and probably sold for a whole lot of money.
Can you imagine your personal diary being sold? I'm thinking of the content of my journal. Mine is a standard size journal that can be purchased in any bookstore - 8 1/2" x 11" hardcover, about 200 lined pages. The first entry is June 1986, I am age 24, it is near our first anniversary. The last entry is July 2004. This book covers 18 years of my life. It still has about 110 blank pages. Yes, that is correct. Eighteen years of my life is recorded in less than 1/2 of a journal. What disappoints me more than the absence of volume, is the absence of excitement. I think my kids may someday read bits and pieces of it, places that I have written about them. But I don't think I could pay anyone to sit down and read the whole thing. I'm thinking I need to ramp up the excitement level of my life. I need to add something to my life to make my journal worthy of theft.
Some random entries begin with --
1988 Dave took Rachel with him this morning to run some errands. The house seems too quiet with just Brady and I here . . . .
1988 We had some frustrating car problems - last night, the heater core developed a bad leak and BIG mists of antifreeze were spraying inside the car from the vents and covered the windows with a greasy film. . . .
1988 Dave rolled Rachel up in a big blanket and called her a burrito. The next day she got out all the towels from the cupboard and rolled up her babies and animals and made baby burritos. I found bundles around the house for days . . . .
1989 Dave took time off work this week to rebuild the roof. All day Monday, he tore the roof down to the wood. Wouldn't you know - for the first time in 6 months, it rained. We woke up to water dripping onto our bed . . . .
1992 Dave and I still share one junky old car. I look forward to the day when we have 2 cars. Sometimes I feel frustrated (sometimes angry) being at the mercy of his schedule to do anything on my own . . . .
1995 I think this is going to be a good year for Roxanne. Her 3rd year was a rough one - a lot of defiance, a lot of "NO"s, (and she means it when she says it). It seemed strange to see that happening because her so-called terrible twos were marvelous! She was a delightful 2 year old . . . .
The problem is that my life is pretty predictable, fairly average, kind of non-exciting. My high school and college journals weren't any better. I was painfully shy and hated getting noticed and hated getting in trouble so basically, I did nothing worthy of a great journal entry. " . . . I'm working on my english essay this week . . . " The most covert operation I ever conceived, carried out and journaled is in my 6th grade diary. We didn't have a TV in our house that year and I befriended a neighborhood girl just so I could watch after-school TV at her house each day.
But in my non-exciting life, I love that I've got a hard-working husband that is willing to fix the roof and many other things over the years, a fun creative daughter that has fond memories of her preschool years, a daughter that has turned into a lovely even-tempered 17 year old despite her rough third year. Four kids that were oblivious to the fact that we were living near poverty for many years - broken cars, an old house, and thanks to many cousins, lots of hand-me-down clothes.
I kind of love my regular, predictable, non-exciting life.
And now I've wet your appetite with the sample entries, my journal is up for sale. Bids begin at $29.99. (Don't even think of stealing it. )

Sunday, February 1, 2009

electronically retarded

Dave gave me an MP3 player for Christmas. I've been wanting one for a while. I figured I could download some audio books and get my bookclub reading done on the run each day. Normally I read when I crawl into bed at night and read until I fall asleep - which often happens in less than one paragraph. This month we have quite a hefty book to read, The Time Traveler's Wife. The audio version is 17 1/2 hours long. Although I checked out the book from our city's audio book library, I have yet to figure out how to get it from my computer to my player. It doesn't seem like it should be a hard process, but it is.
In the meantime, I transferred all the music that is on our computer and I am listening to random music belonging to various members of my family. I didn't actually plan to do this, but when I started the software that came with the MP3, it automatically scooped up all the music on our computer. I am not smart enough to tell it what to do, I just blindly obey. (Sometimes I think I am a reasonably intelligent woman. Other times I realize I am just kidding myself.)
So the first day, I listened to AFI, then Akon, then Brittany Spears.
Then the second day, I listened to AFI, then Akon, Brittany Spears.
I repeated those artists the third day.
You know why? It was playing alphabetically and the the screen on the player is such a miniscule size I can't read the menu when I'm outdoors in the sun and the type size of the font is .3 and also I can't work the player's menu.
The fourth day, I finally read the menu at home in good light and then asked politely if it would please let me listen to different music. I had a lovely play list while I was out that day.
I didn't know what I was going to hear. I've got to say, I am quite pleased with the selections of music my girls listen to. I enjoyed some artists I had never heard and probably would never have purchased myself. A couple of times there were some songs with incredibly harsh lyrics that surprised me. I got home and had a talk with the girls about standards and lyrics. They told me they had already deleted those songs from their players, and "by the way, Mom, what are you doing listening to inappropriate lyrics"?
Here are three products that are missing on the market. There's got to be some big money made by servicing these specific demographics:

Electronics for the over 40 crowd. Large screens, large typeface. My eyes changed literally overnight on my 40th birthday. I can't read small type anymore.

Swimwear for 'tween girls. Here are the options that are available:
Swimsuits with C cups and plunging necklines.
Expensive team-style swimwear in specialty sports stores.
Swimsuits with The Little Mermaid printed on the front.
What they need are fun, bold colors and prints, that are modest for a 12 year old, and come in ALL sizes. Sixth and Seventh graders come in ALL sizes. Is that so hard?

Also - cute shoes in wide sizes. Enough said.
Well that is all that is in my head today. I realize only my siblings and 3 friends read this, however - here's hoping someone will hear my pleas for the cute shoes, K?
The end.
Oh, and I made some caramel apples for Superbowl snacks tonight, from scratch.