Thursday, November 24, 2011

thanksgiving 2011

Cindi and I went hiking for a bit this morning. It was perfect weather, an hour hike, and good conversation. I don't know how she was looking so cute so early in the day. It was fun to catch up with her and her busy life. On our way back we noticed some blood on the rocks, not just in one spot but drips for about a hundred yards. Cindi innocently worried that there was an injured animal nearby and hoped it was ok. I was worried we'd see some crime scene tape.You'd think the parks would be kind of empty with everyone home making pumpkin pie, but no. By 8 a.m. every parking spot was taken with dozens of people waiting to park.
The rest of the day was spent in the kitchen. We actually all love to cook together, using every available inch of counter space. And, of course, we had the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade on all morning. It's not Thanksgiving without the parade. I wonder if it would be as fun to see it in person? It would be a LOT of time, money, and cold. I think I shall continue to enjoy it on TV. I tried to get some prep work done last night, chopping and dicing, but most of the cooking was done through the morning. Our local boy scout troop cooks our turkey for us (delicious deep pit, slow cooked meat), so at least the oven in not taken up with that task. A friend on facebook today called her "before" picture, the calm before the storm. Pretty True. There is also another blog I read that began today with "If you are checking blogs on Thanksgiving you probably got a really easy assignment for dinner. Be honest, you're in charge of the olives, aren't you?" haha.
We talked through our plans for Christmas. Melanie felt a need to audibly review her Christmas wish list with us all. You can see she has us on the edge of our seats with her reading.The rest of the day was just relaxing. We went for a walk, watched Wall-e, put together a puzzle (or got it started anyway, 1000 pieces is too many pieces for one evening). I have to make a confession to Suzanne. She gave us a really cool puzzle of heart shapes found in nature. It was cool because I collect heart shaped rocks in a bowl on our front porch. Anyway, I lost the unopened puzzle approximately one day after Christmas, but never confessed. She asked me once if we had ever assembled it and I had to make up a lame excuse that we were waiting for the right puzzling mood to strike us. Anyway, I found it tucked away in a really weird place last month so tonight, we enjoyed her puzzle gift from long long ago. This is my very tardy "thank you". Hope everyone had a wonderfully fun and/or relaxing day. Happy Thanksgiving! (And , as I'm watching my girls strap on their running shoes, . . . Happy Black Friday Shopping!)

Friday, November 18, 2011

holiday random-ness

Talking about travel plans for Grandpa for the winter:
Melanie "What, are we just playing ping pong around the country with Grandpa?"

Ham Sauce at Thanksgiving - Dave: "This is good. We should make this into a cookie flavor"

Eating leftovers Thanksgiving evening - Melanie "I just had your Pumpkin Bars, Rachel. It brought back good memories of a few hours ago"

Preparing for middle of the night Black Friday Shopping - Melanie "I want to buy some Moccasins."

Kiss-mas countdown - "Melanie you tied those up faster than I ever have, and they look nicer too."
"Well, I do practice tying my shoes a lot."

los angeles

Suzanne and I took a quick roadtrip to Los Angeles last weekend. We didn't even call it a vacation - just a long weekend - because I think we both put in a 40 hour work week both before and after our trip. I have to say again that Suzanne is good to travel with. I just ask how many days will we be gone? Should I take a sweater? and when should I be waiting for you on the curb? She likes planning and I always enjoy whatever she has in mind.

We were heading to do a studio tour at Warner Brothers, but got there a little early so drove down the street to eat at Bob's Big Boy. It is the oldest Big Boy still open - serving hamburgers since 1947. Bugs Bunny greeted us at Warner Brothers. We took a 2 1/2 hour tour through acres and acres of their studio. We saw where they were taping "The Mentalist", we saw Scooby Doo's van, and one of the many many General Lees that were driven in the Dukes of Hazzard. Saturday morning we went to Santa Monica and had breakfast at a trendy little place called Huckleberry's. I had a breakfast of quinoa, butternut squash, kale and eggs. A little different than the breakfasts I fix at my house, but delicious.

We planned to go walking along the beach, but got rained out after a few minutes.We spent the afternoon in downtown L.A. in the wholesale garment and fabric district. It was cool for a while, then as Suzanne says - it kind of does an overload on your senses. There is SO MUCH TO SEE!Saturday night was a concert at the awesome Pantages Theater in Hollywood. There were lots of costumes and characters, favorites "White and Nerdy" and "Soon I'm gonna be a Jedi".

On Sunday, we found a church to attend in Pasadena. I researched to make sure we weren't attending a deaf ward or a Korean ward. (Dave and I showed up to church on vacation once with our 4 little kids and ended up in a Young Singles ward). Anyway, there should have been a note on the website that it was a toddler ward. SO MANY BABIES! Not that I mind babies, but I was surprised to find it hard to concentrate on the services for the noise in the chapel. Anyway, after the meetings, we took a little 2 mile hike up the mountain in Griffith Park to the Griffith Observatory. Beautiful views up there. Sunday night we had to dash back to the hotel to watch The Amazing Race. I have to admit, it was difficult for both of us to watch it without the convenience of TIVO. We couldn't rewind, or pause to comment.
Monday morning before we headed back to AZ, we made a quick stop at the Coroner's office. Why? (That's what Dave asked too.) There is a little gift shop in the lobby. It was fun to find out the the Coroner's dept has a sense of humor. There were t-shirts with body outlines, crime scene tape, BBQ aprons that said "We have Spare Ribs". You can even shop online: skeletons in the closet
Good things about traveling with Suzanne - 1.) Everything planned is fun and interesting. 2.) She is a quiet sleeper. I'm not used to that. If Dave slept that quiet, I would check his pulse. 3.) She likes to drive and I trust her driving.

Worrisome things about traveling with Suzanne, which I have never noticed before this trip. 1.) Terrible parking skills.
(This picture is not pulling into the spot, nor pulling out. This picture is our car, fully and completely parked in a parking space.) A particular attempt at parallel parking caused some shame! Sorry Suzanne, but now the world knows you are not perfect.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011


My friends are writing a daily thankfulness post. Sadly, I can't commit to remember to do something like that each and every day, but I am thankful nonetheless. Here's a month worth of thankfulness:
1. I am thankful for postage stamps. I can stick a 44 cent stamp on an envelope every Tuesday morning, and someone will hand-deliver it to an apartment in DesMoines by the end of the week. Never fails.
2. I am thankful our weed eater broke. It has been working poorly for several months, but not poorly enough to warrant buying a new one. But when it broke in half - yay! I had to get a new one.
3. I am thankful for our library system. I walk in, pick up anything I want, and walk out without paying a cent.
4. I am thankful for Phoenix winters. The winter lawn in the back yard is coming in green and lush. It is pleasant to work outside.
5. I am thankful for our mailman. It's like a little mini Christmas everyday when I see him stop by our house. I have always liked getting mail. When I go through all the junk that comes in our mailbox and find a hand addressed envelope, my heart melts. I love getting letters. I love getting checks and rebates and other good things that come in the mail too, but the hand written envelopes always make me smile.
6. I am thankful for blogs. I like to read about what other people are doing, making, and cooking.
7. I am thankful for an 8 year old mini van. It squeaks in weird ways, it rattles, it has no wheel covers, and yet it faithfully gets us from point A to point B.
8. I am thankful for the local University that is educating our daughters. Rachel is graduating next month !!!
9. I am thankful for a daughter that is graduating from the University. It has not been a quick or an easy road for her. Her persistence through a lot of tough stuff is heroic. She is a strong wonderful young woman.
10. I am thankful to be a business owner. It's not easy, but the work is steady. A steady income is an enormous blessing.
11. I am thankful for good neighbors. We chat over the fence, they love our kids and watch out for them, they watch over our house when we're gone, they share stuff with us. Jack randomly handed me a light bulb the other day. He had bought a new light bulb, it didn't fit in his light fixture, he pulled it out of his pocket and handed it to me over the fence. I went inside and replaced a bulb in our pantry that burned out that morning. Weirdly random, but just what I needed.
12. I am thankful for Draino. A couple of $5 bottles saved us the cost of a repairman.
13. I am thankful for Netflix. I subscribe to the smallest plan they have, just because once or twice a month I know I can get the most random, old, foreign, or bizarre movie I ever hear about. I just watched a 1971 foreign film from the Netherlands last night.
14. I am thankful for a wonderful husband of 26 1/2 years. His motto is just as true today as it was decades ago -- "I'm a nice guy. You'll like me!"
15. I am thankful for the local Boy Scout troop that cooks our Thanksgiving turkey for us each year. It's a deep pit, overnight slow cooked turkey. Delicious!
16. I am thankful for a new roof on our house. I know last month I was complaining because we were installing it ourselves. We are done now, and I have stopped complaining. Now I can be grateful for it.
17. I am thankful for old friends. I was telling someone today that I have been friends with Suzanne since we were young adults. I have women that I have been friends with since our adult children were babies. I have friends from Jr High and High school. You can't replace those kinds of friendships. I often take them for granted. I shouldn't.
18. I am thankful for my siblings - who are my heroes. Seriously, heroes.
19. I am thankful for our nephews and nieces. We've got a lot of them on both sides of the family. I love them all. I think Dave's goal in life is to be a favorite uncle. I think he does a pretty good job.
20. I am thankful for being able to play the piano and the organ. Actually, I'm just a fake organist ( I never use the pedals, and I hardly know what many of the stops above the keys do). I marvel at people who can really play the organ. However, I feel blessed that I can participate in Sunday services and help with funerals and other programs. Even though I was horrified at the nerdiness of taking piano lessons as a 16 year old, I'm glad my parents encouraged me to stick with the piano and some lessons on the organ before I left high school.
21. I am thankful for my CVS rewards card. I know, I know . . . it is a gimmick to get you to keep coming back to shop in their store, but when they hand me a $3.00 extra bucks receipt, I feel happy.
22. I am thankful for a palm tree in our yard. Dave is not a fan of the palm tree, but I won't let him get rid of it. How many places in the world can your kids grow up and say, We had a palm tree in our yard when I was a kid? We live in Phoenix and it's just meant to be.
23. I am thankful the orange tree is very full of fruit this year. We will have tons of oranges over the winter. I need to get a lemon tree planted, then all my citrus needs will be fulfilled.
24. I am thankful I can read. I am grateful that there is a never ending supply of books I'm looking forward to reading. I hope my eyesight holds out until I'm 99.
25. I am thankful for a truck to come twice a week to our house and hauls away all our trash. Then I can pretend it just disappears to a far away location and safely dissolves back into a natural form. We lay our tree trimmings and big items next to our curb, and a very nice man scoops it into a truck and takes it away. We also drain our dishwater from the kitchen sink and the dirty water magically disappears to some never never land. Our lives really are easy.
26. I am thankful for the internet. There is random, useless information at our fingertips at any time of the day or night. Melanie had an old song running through her head the other day. Neither one of us knew the name of the song, but she wanted to know who sang it. We typed in a phrase of the lyrics and found the song, the artist, the year it was recorded and a bio of the artist and the producer. That information wasn't available back in my day.
27. I am thankful that I can say "back in my day". I liked life "back in my day" and I'm glad we can share some things with our kids that are old, weird and quirky. "Back in my day" (in the previous century) we had 11 people in one house and we all shared the same phone. One phone for a whole household of people, can you believe it?? It sat on the end table and was connected to the wall with a cord. When you talked on the phone, you had to halt all your activities because you could only move as far and the coil cord would allow you to move. If you were sneaky and quiet, you could lift the receiver on the other phone in our parents' room and listen in on your sister and her boyfriend, because even though there were two phones, there was only one phone line. Now we have one house phone, one fax phone, and 6 cell phones because in this day and age, we can't seem to share so well anymore.
28. I am thankful for our parents. Dave and I lucked out with some good people that raised us.
29. I am thankful that our kids are growing up into nice strong wonderful adults that like each other and seem to like us too. We've had a lot of good and bad for them to deal with in all their growing up years, they seem to have weathered the storms well. I am thankful that we will all be together again soon. I have missed having the 6 of us around the dinner table. Only 5 more weeks!
30. I am thankful I have a knowledge of my Heavenly Father. He has a plan for us. He is mindful of us. That calms my heart and makes me happy.

Monday, November 7, 2011


(I framed a halloween picture of Grandpa for him to take home)
Grandpa: "I look at that face and it doesn't look like me. I don't know why. I thought I'd be better looking!"

The day Melanie bought her first car: "Now I can take you all out to dinner. Well, you'll have to pay for it . . . but I will take you. That's the point of having a car, right?"

Melanie, during homecoming - full face and body paint: "I sneezed blue and gold - that's real school spirit!"

Melanie: "Grandpa - you take all of those pills at once? Those are huge!"
Grandpa: "Well sure, can't you swallow a big pill?"
Melanie: "Not all three at once, that's like swallowing a submarine!"

Rachel, about a friend from church: "He has so much flirtatious energy, it just lands on anything female."

Grandpa "I just want to go and be with Betty, she's in a better place."
Dave: "Well, Dad, she's definitely in a good place, but what if you don't quite make it?"
Grandpa: "Well, then I'll just have to stay with you!"

Pancakes for dinner, I meant to say - "Melanie, can you cut one in half for me?", but it came out - "can you calf one for me?" She painstakingly carved a silhouette of a calf out of the remaining pancake on the serving plate and handed it to me.