Sunday, November 29, 2015

November 23 - 29, 2015, AZ

I'm Sunday, November 29.  I can't believe that a week has gone by without writing on my blog.  It's been a week of mostly hanging  up at home.  Arlene's activity if cleaning out the kitchen cupboards got me inspired and so I spent a couple of mornings doing that and have only the pantry left to do.

I got out the Christmas decorations and got started on that, little by little.  I rode my bike a few times, walked quite a bit with Frisco, had lots of phone conversations with family and friends over the Thanksgiving holiday.

I spent Thanksgiving with Nan, Dale, Monica, and friends Mike and his wife Menchu, a very pleasant afternoon with great folks and yummy food, and a FaceTime conversation with the grandkids.

Speaking of Grandkids, I finally finished the collages of their last year.

Charlotte Casey, age 3-4
Norah Lou, age 1-2
Camille Rose, age 1-2

Yesterday, I went with Arlene, Betty, and James to Arlene's sister, Marilyn's house to have dinner with her and Karin and also Sharla and Tom.  It as a full fledged Thanksgiving dinner amidst great company. Dinner was traditional with lemon, pumpkin and a blueberry, goat cheese and basil pie that was topped with toasted almonds.  Mmmmmmmm! Unusual but very tasty, with just a hint of basil.

Arlene, Tom, James, Betty, Me, Marilyn, Sharla.  Karin took the photo.  Good times.

I spent the day finishing up on the decorating for Christmas, got the outdoor lights up and they are set on the timer, so we will see what happens when it gets dark out.

I also did laundry and cleaned up the car in preparation for a trip with Pat and Roger tomorrow to San Diego and Yuma for a few days.  It should be a good time.

Monday, November 16, 2015

November 16 - 22, 2015, AZ

Monday, November 16.  For the first time in a week, I had a perfect night of sleep, 8 uninterrupted hours and I felt so good when I woke up.  It's going to be a good day.

Wednesday, November 18.  The last 2 nights have also been good for sleep.  Amazing how good your feel during the day.

Yesterday was full and of good news.  First was that the spot they have been watching on Rita's lung turns out to be a Minimal Non-invasive Carcinoma, slow to change, and too small to be removed.  They will continue to monitor it.  It was such a relief that I burst into tears.

I also learned that I have a new great nephew.  Little Jax Randall was born to my niece, Ali and her husband James and my brother Randy became a Grandpa.  He was 7 pounds, 1 ounce and 19.5" long.  Welcome to the world, you beautiful little boy.


I had dinner with Bruce and Carmen last night, a great evening of conversation, some drinks, and good food.  Bruce and I discussed the role of Secretary for the Highlands Community Club that I have agreed to take on.  I finished the minutes this morning and got them sent out to the board.

I spent the day making a felt Christmas tree for my Granddaughters, something that I spotted on Pinterest.  When I saw it, I remembered using felt boards in elementary school and thought it might be fun for them.  The tree is about 3 feet tall and I made  a bunch of felt ornaments that they can decorate as they choose.  It was a fun project.

Thursday, November 19.  I worked on the felt tree again this morning, adding some star ornaments and an angel, then made a trip to Home Depot and the post office to get things for hanging it and mailing it - want it to arrive by December 1.  Now I'm thinking that it should be stiffened a bit - will have to ponder that one.

Jan, Connie, and I took Vicki to lunch at Sassy's this morning.  She and her husband, Bill, of 40 some years have decided to divorce and she will be moving away.  The news was a shock but is a change that they both agree on and are settling things up and starting fresh.  Sassy's is a nice, cute, girly kind of place, I only saw a few men in there. They moved this summer to a new location closer to me and the place is so cute and the menu is full of healthy and yummy items.  

I worked on pruning Arlene's Texas Ebony trees again this afternoon and got the branches that hang over Kirk's carport.  Apparently, he had asked her to trim them because Al's bedroom is next to the carport and the branches scrape in the metal roof and keep him awake at night.  It was on my list of things to do, so I filled 2 trash cans full of trimmings and now have only a few branches hanging over Arlene's roof that need trimming.

Tonight, Arlene had tickets to see Mary Poppins at the Hale theater in Gilbert (Sharla is still not feeling well and couldn't go), so I accepted her invitation.  We had some dinner at Joe's BBQ, then window shopped, had a drink at a little bar, then headed to the theater.  The production was excellent with some wonderful talent, great costumes, music and dancing.  I kept thinking how Charlotte would like something like that - I will have to find an event for her and I to see this summer.  She might not have the patience quite yet for a show that long, but I know she would like the dancing.

Sunday, November 22.  I don't remember exactly where I was back on this day in 1963, when I learned that President John F Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas, Texas.  I know that I was in school and I do remember my Mom's sadness and crying and being glued to the TV.  What a tragedy for his family and for our country.

I went to the Homecoming party and dance on Saturday night and what a wonderful time.  We had pizza and Jeff Stevens provided music and jokes and I spent most of the night on the dance floor. What a great time it was!

Today, I invited some friends over for BBQ ribs slow cooked on the Holland Grill - they turned out to be great and as usual we had lots of good laughs and lively conversation.  Good times!

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

November 9 - 15, 2015, AZ

Tuesday, November 10.  A busy day today, yesterday, not so busy other than having Pat, Rog, and Connie for grilled chicken dinner.

I slept in this morning until 7:30 - what is going on, that rarely happens for me.  I was awake for a while during the night with coughing and breathing problems, I'm sure it is allergy and dust related and will see the doctor today to be sure my lungs are ok.

I walked, then Connie and I went to the library to get movies - they have a nice selection, although not the newest and most recent, and we've been going about once a week.  We also picked up free culture passes to see the Heard Museum in downtown Phoenix on Friday - we are taking the light rail with Pat and Roger.

Jan treated me to lunch at Lo-Lo's today and the chicken and waffles was yummy, as usual.

I had an hour to relax at home before heading to the doctor and yes, I'm on a cycle of Prednisone to clear my lungs once again.  I don't think the Arizona air quality is good for me as I seem to have problems every fall and I'm not alone according to the doctor.

I had another short break at home before heading to the clubhouse for the HCC meeting, where I filled in for the secretary who has recently resigned - last minute with no notice.  How rude is that?

Wednesday, November 11.  The Veterans Day program at the clubhouse was very nice today, definitely emotional right from the get go when the Honor Guard placed the flags in their stands - that was Mike's job at the Navy reserve meetings in Madison and I saw him do it at parades through the years.  The performer sang, told a few stories, and was accompanied on the piano to several songs about different parts of America and many patriotic tunes.

Saturday, November 14.  Yesterday was a day of culture for me, Pat, Roger, and Connie.  We met at my house at 9 am and drove to the park and ride lot at Mesa Drive where we got on the Metro light rail to head to downtown Phoenix.  Pat and Roger got us senior tickets for $2.00 for an all day pass on the train and Connie and I picked up free culture passes to the Heard Museum from the library.  

On our arrival, we took the guided tour of the various galleries, then had a bite to eat in the patio and toured more of the galleries.  One of the saddest stories I have ever heard was that of the white people sending the Indian children to white schools, stripping them of every dignity and culture they had grown up with, and molding them into what they considered to be the way to be.  It made me think of Adolf Hitler and his trying to create the perfect race but this happened right here in our country. What a cruel world we live in.  

There was also an exhibit on the photographs of Frida Kahlo, a collection of thousands, although 250 were on display.  An interesting woman and a very interesting collection.  This excerpt is taken from the museum's website:

An exhibition by Frida Kahlo Museum – Casa Azul/Diego Rivera Museum; Banco de Mexico Fiduciario en el Fideicomiso Museos Diego Rivera y Frida Kahlo

The Heard Museum presents a selection of more than 240 images from the 6,500 which are part of the Blue House archive. The photographs, along with Frida Kahlo’s personal items, were locked in a room of the Blue House, the residence where she spent most of her life, and revealed to the public in 2007. The images have served as memories to Frida, as work tools or as a means to exorcise solitude. The exhibition Frida Kahlo—Her Photos, curated by the well-known Mexican photographer and photography historian Pablo Ortiz Monasterio, shows the importance of this medium in Frida’s life.

The photographs – taken by Man Ray, Martin Munk√°csi, Tina Modotti, Edward Weston, Nickolas Muray, Manuel and Lola Alvarez Bravo and others – were cherished by Kahlo when she was immobilized and isolated in her bed.

Frida Kahlo had a very special relationship with photography. Besides her personal background – both her father, Guillermo Kahlo, and her maternal grandfather were professional photographers – she brought different uses to photography: she collected daguerreotypes and visiting cards (carte de visite in French or tarjeta de visita in the original) from the 19th century, she kept photographs upon which she put her personal stamp, cutting things out from them, writing dedications on them and personalizing them as if they were paintings. Some of the images have red lipstick kisses, others are trimmed or folded. Some have personal notations on the reverse.

These images give visitors an intimate view of Kahlo’s life. The exhibition does not intend to depict a chronological biography, but rather to exhibit parts of the personal history of an artist, of a country and of a period. It is a photographic collage made up of images that allow us to discover new facets of a key figure of the 20th century.

For Frida Kahlo—Her Photos 241 photographs have been chosen, organized into six main subjects: The Origins; The Blue House; Politics, Revolutions and Diego; Her Broken Body; Frida’s Loves and Photography. The images throw new light on Frida Kahlo’s work as an artist, a way of understanding her life in historical and cultural context, and a demonstration of her passion for Mexico.

After riding the train to the end if the line and back to the parking lot, we found Roger's tire to be flat and they had to call AAA for assistance.

Tonight's news was all about an ISIS terrorist attack on the people of Paris, over 140 people were killed at various public events, a concert, a soccer game and on the streets.  Sad, Sad, Sad!

This evening, Connie, Arlene, and I went to the Desert Botanicsl Gardens to see Big Nick and the Gila Monsters - a lively blues and jazz concert.  It was a beautiful evening, kind of cool, but there were heaters scattered around to help keep us warm.  The music kept you moving and that helped too.  Thanks to Sharla for giving us her tickets and I hope that she gets to feeling better soon.

Sunday, November 15.  It was a stay at home kind of day, complete with dark skies and off and on rain, followed by a cool down over the next few days.  In fact, night time temps are expected at 39 degrees - brrrrr!

My highlight was a FaceTime conversation with Ben and the grandkids.  They were in the play kitchen and Charlotte served me some vegetables that were healthy and also had some juice in them. I also got an open invitation to come and she will cook for me.  Norah's contribution was tea and I got a cup of water from Camille.  It's so nice to see them playing as if I'm right in the room.  I learned that Charlotte has moved up to the next level in her swim classes and will be doing a lot more swimming on her own.  

I plan to select some chapter books on my next trip to the library, to read to her In the afternoons when Jill needs a break or to get something done without interruption.  I think it will be a great activity for both of us.

It was a lazy day - I read, I bathed, I finished a jigsaw puzzle, I watched the movie, "Frida", the film about the Mexican woman who was featured at the Heard Museum on Friday, I walked the dog, had some phone conversations with family, and truly enjoyed a day at home.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

November 2 - 8, 2015, AZ

CTuesday, November 3.  I have something to write about tonight, and strange it is.  The last 2 days, I have noticed Frisco sniffing around the foundation of my house, getting excited like there is a critter there, like he did when he chased chipmunks at Pat's house this summer.  Tail wagging, nose to the ground, and sniffing like crazy.  Then tonight, he's doing the same thing inside and then I hear a cat meowing.  That reminds me that I heard a cat meowing the last 2 nights.  And then, while I'm watching a movie, a knock comes at my door.  I ask who is there and a guy says, "it's Shawn, I live behind you and I think my cat might be under your house."  I went outside and met Shawn, then let him crawl into the crawl space under my house to get his cat, Spade.  Thinking back a couple of days, I had the cover pulled back from the crawl space because I was messing with the cables and apparently, I left an opening big enough for the cat to get in there. Then, when Frisco starting sniffing around there, i thought it might be mice, so I put a mouse trap under there and moved the cover back tight, apparently trapping the cat under there. Luckily, he didn't eat the poison and has been rescued from the dark, dirty, depths under my house.

I finished pricing my things for the patio sale on Saturday and also priced Arlene's items for her.  I'm hoping for a successful sale that will mean that I have fewer items to pack when the time comes.

Wednesday, November 4.  It is a cool but beautiful morning as a front rolls through to the north, large tufts of gray clouds, spotted with bright white where the sun touches the edges, and a blue backdrop spotted here and there.  I heard raindrops a good part of the night and the high for today might not reach 70 degrees.

I did not hear a cat meowing during the night, so that means that the neighbor was successful in getting his cat out from under my house.  I am so relieved that it wasn't some rodents or that the cat  didn't die under there.

I helped Arlene with some yard work today as she wanted a plant moved from a pot to the grounded to dig out a couple of dead rose bushes.  Boy, the ground is rock hard and she had to go get a heavy duty digging tool to break it up.  We both worked on it and were able to get the plant in the ground.

Connie and I went to do the shopping for the groceries that we need for making meat lost for TGIF on 
Friday night.  It looks like we are cooking for about 45 people and I'm a bit nervous as I have never done this before.  I think we will be fine.

We stopped by Sue's house to say goodbye to her, as we had learned earlier that her house had been sold and she would be leaving tomorrow morning.  She is happy to move with her family to KC, but it all happened so fast.  Social services determined last week that she should not be living on her own, they contacted her family in KC who arrived here in Sunday, they sold her house on Monday (probably gave it away with everything in it), and they are leaving tomorrow.  I hope she will be ok.  She has been active in this community for the last 20 years and has done so much to help individuals and the entire community.  We will miss seeing her happy smile, her wobbly little dance moves, and feeling her friendly, open arms in a hug.

Sunday, November 8.  I'm remembering my dear brother-in-law, Dan on his birthday today.  He would be 66 years old today - it's sad that he isn't with us to celebrate.  Miss ya, Dan!

The last few days have been busy.  Friday, preparing and cooking meat loaf with Connie for the TGIF dinner on Friday night for 50 people.  It was well received, we got lots of compliments and it disappeared.

Yesterday was the annual community patio sales and it was another waste of effort.  Why do I keep doing this when every year I say that I won't do it again.  At the end of the day, most of the stuff was donated to Sunshine Acres, a worthwhile cause.  I was worthless the rest of the day, ready for bed at 7:30.

This afternoon, I took the bus with several folks from the park to see the Chandler Symphony Orchestra and the show was very enjoyable.  Pat and Roger invited me for brats tonight and that was a great topper to the weekend.

Rita sent me this photo today, taken in 1962 on Easter Sunday.