Sunday, October 31, 2010


It's been a stressful couple of weeks -- business deadlines, business problems, business paperwork, long workdays, etc. But I looked at how many times I got out my camera this week and I realized we had a little bit of fun, too.
Last Sunday, the weather was perfect, the winter lawn is up, and we enjoyed a long leisurely dinner in the back yard AND it was Rachel's birthday. Happy Birthday favorite daughter!! (Don't tell your sisters I said that.)Monday gave us one of the most beautiful sunsets I have ever seen. The horizon was blood red for about 15 minutes. The picture doesn't do it justice. Saturday was the trunk-or-treat party. I wore a costume for the first time in about 15 years. Then when we got to the party, I found my twin.Isn't this the funniest game for kids? Throwing rolls of toilet paper into a toilet. I thought it was funny.Melanie's Young Womens group did the haunted house. It was over-the-top and awesome! They worked on it forever and worked in it all night.
We missed seeing Roxanne on Halloween. She was having her own festivities across town.
The three musketeers headed off to a party across town and as usual had a great time and stayed out way too late.So, I am going to ignore the stress of this past week, and just pretend it was a pleasant week after all.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

chiricahua mountains

Can you believe this is Arizona??
Suzanne invited me to go hiking with her in the Chiricahua Mountains on Friday. I was completely unfamiliar with the area, but Suzanne always plans such great trips, I just said yes, cleared my day and planned to hop in her car and go where ever she was going. I actually had to look on a map Thursday night to see really where we were heading. The Chiricahuas are situated down in the southeast corner of Arizona, almost a 4 hour drive from Phoenix. We headed out at 5 am, hiked for almost 6 hours, stopped for dinner in Willcox and back home before bedtime.
I guess I was expecting a desert hike, but I was wrong. It was high elevation and beautiful pleasant temperatures. The scenery was gorgeous, you could see for miles.
Doesn't it look a lot like Bryce Canyon up in Utah . . . only grey instead of red?

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

crazy arizona weather

This is the corner of 7th Street and Mountain View. North Mountain stands right on the other side of this intersection. I suppose it is still there, but I sure couldn't see it this afternoon. I made some new friends though, when we were all stuck in the lobby of the Post Office. The rain and hail started up so quickly and so violently, nobody wanted to go out the door, so we stood and watched the crazy storm for 10 minutes or so. One couple had walked from their apartment down the block. They waited out the storm, then left when they thought the worst of it was over. The minute they got to the sidewalk, a truck drove by and the splash of rain water from the gutter that hit them could have been on "America's Funniest Home Videos". It wasn't really funny, but the splash was huge, and their screams were classic. I couldn't not laugh. Mostly because I was glad it wasn't me. The rain stopped quickly, but the sky looked ominous all afternoon. For some reason, Melanie decided it was a day to play outside -- soaked through and through in less than 3 minutes.
Our plumbing trench that we filled in over the weekend sunk in from the water and we have a little lazy river water feature across our backyard today. The weirdest event of the day was that something brushed against the back of my head while I was fixing dinner. I thought Dave had tossed a towel or something at me. I turned around and there was a frightened bird flying around our kitchen. Then suddenly there was not just a frightened bird, but a frightened family too. What exactly are you supposed to do when a bird is flying around your kitchen? We had the doors open to enjoy the cool stormy air and I guess the bird wanted to escape the storm. Surprisingly, Melanie caught it quite easily on the windowsill and was able to get it outdoors. She wanted a picture, but it jumped out of her hand before the shutter would snap.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

the lawn is always greener . . .

Some people have problems with their kitchen sink drains, so they call a plumber, write a check and go on with their lives. We have a problem with our kitchen drain and we spend a weekend doing this.
We have been having problems with our drain - the water from our kitchen sink goes through some piping directly under the center of our house. There is no basement, no crawl space, our house is built directly on a big slab of concrete so there is no access to repair anything under it. After having problems for years, the original 1948 drain pipe finally broke and we had no alternative than to run a new drain line from the kitchen wall, under the driveway, around the side of the house, across the entire back yard and hook into the sewer line. Yay!!
Actually, the pipe broke a couple of months ago, but we simply didn't have the time or energy to fix it right at the moment. So Dave, being the ingenious man that he is, took one of his fire hoses, hooked it to the drain line outside our kitchen wall, and ran it out to the flower bed in the back yard so our sink would drain until we could get to the repair. Wouldn't you think that a little oatmeal rinsed from a bowl down the sink, or maybe a little tomato soup or whatnot that gets rinsed off our dishes would be good for a garden? It's just water from the kitchen sink. Shouldn't be too bad, right? If that is what you think, you would be wrong. We we ended up with an unexpected toxic situation with a smell that defies explanation. I don't know what happens to oatmeal when it travels 60 feet through a hose, but it comes out NASTY! We lost a handful of plants in our garden, and we have a mud pit that no one can go near for the smell. I may have to let nature run it's course and do what it has to do for a couple of weeks while it dries out before I can weed the area and replant it and get it back to normal.

Dave came in at the end of the day exhausted, dehydrated, and sore. But I have some photographic evidence that he pulled a little "Tom Sawyer" trickery on Melanie. "Really, Melanie . . . it's FUN! Just come try it!" (Actually it was a cool little machine, we probably could have got many kids from the neighborhood to come do some of the digging if we had thought it through better.)
Don't think for one second that if you show up to our house on a workday afternoon wearing a shirt and tie, that you will be excused from ditch digging duty. (Sorry Missionaries - glad to have you come to lunch, but I should have warned to to wear your work shoes)
Or if you are a teenager and coming to our house to hang out with our kids, nope . . . you are not excused either.
So what used to be a nice green lawn yesterday morning, is now not so nice or green today. But hey, -- I should show you a picture of how nicely our kitchen sink drains now!


Suzanne and I have been hiking in the Aravaipa area a couple of times before. It's a gorgeous canyon southeast of Superior. We went with a larger group this time, a really fun day.
We saw a little bit of wildlife, most of which zipped into the brush faster than we could get our cameras pointed. We saw a javelina, frogs, a snake (which I will not post a picture of for Katie's sake), butterflies galore, fish, tent catepillars (hundreds of catepillars in a nest-like thing in a tree), and a coatamundi - which I honestly thought Suzanne made that name up. How do you have a name like that on the tip of your tongue when you see an animal dash quickly by in the distance?? (I actually did look up the name when I got home, and what do you know, it's a real animal! although we have had some discussions as to whether that is what we actually saw, or maybe something even more rare/exotic). Anyway, we also saw a centepede. The perspective of this photo doesn't really show how big it is -- but it's crawling on the stick and it was a good 8 inches long! Melanie was like Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer. Her bedazzled headband was our beacon if anyone got lost.It is such a pretty canyon. There has been some discussion of a trip next spring - hiking all the way through to the other end of the canyon -- 11 miles. That would be cool.