Tuesday, March 31, 2009

It's a Twos-day

Officially. I have two little girls coming shortly to spend the day at Grandmas. Two handymen kinda carpenter guys to paint the chimney and repair one of the roofs. Two tons of gravel being delivered.

I'm suspecting it might end up being a two margarita day (if I can last that long)

Hope your day isn't too two-rifficially busy, too!

Monday, March 30, 2009

Defrag Disabled! On and Off out of order!

Uh oh. Any of you techie types out there who can tell me how to reset my defrag? Or to find the on/off switch to my brain. That has to be what is wrong with me. I think there’s a good chance I am factory imperfect. Sssshhh…. Don’t tell my Mom. I have been giving her grief for years for my quirky medical genes and now this!

I awaken from a sound sleep with my mind racing with things I need to do, things I could do OR things I forgot to do.

My mind starts humming away with little remembrances, words unsaid, too many words spoken or just plain ridiculousness. I mean seriously, do I really need to spent much brain power thinking about phrases to paint on a garden bench that I don’t even have?

If I could just find my “control” and my “alt” buttons I know I could power this cluttered brain of mine down. I’ve tried pressing on my nose while pulling on either earlobe but that doesn’t do it. I’ve felt all around on my skull but there are no magic buttons anywhere!

I think I’m going to write a well composed letter to my manufacturer and see if they can suggest anything to me. And obviously now I will spent a lot of time tonight instead of sleeping trying to compose the words just so.


Saturday, March 28, 2009

Peony fields forever

You’ve all heard the stories of my beloved old, farmhouse in Ohio. The place where my heart still resides rejoicing in the sprinkle of snowy apple blossoms from the ancient trees. The place where my souls joy lived in the grace of countless lilacs and daffodils and peonies planted everywhere on the property.

The peony field sat atop a gentle slope above the old spring. Two gnarled old apple trees stood sentry above the clear cool gush of water from the pipe in the hillside. The tin cup hanging on the stub of a branch there was always ready to help with a drink of cold refreshment no matter how hot the day.

The peony field was not always there but the peonies came from old, old garden stock rescued from the cold, steel blades of a tractors plow.
Lori, a woman I had become “baseball Mom” friends with purchased a decrepit brick farmhouse with her husband. The home sat on a little, flat piece of land and had always been intriquing to me with it’s Federal architecture and overgrown surroundings.

Nothing invokes mystery and history for me like farm buildings and homes in disrepair and overgrowth. I feel if you take a moment and lay your hand or your cheek against the weathered old wood you can feel the history of the place. You can feel the moments and the magic and the memories from some other farm wife who laid her hand or cheek in that exact spot. Gazing at a carefully placed rock edge in a now-weed filled garden it is easy to imagine that same farm wife carefully snipping blossoms to fill a glass jar in the center of her scrub-worn kitchen table.

Lori’s farm was no different. Fields surrounded her house with chest-high weeds and I never ventured into them on my visits there. We rummaged in some of the old buildings planning restorations and we sat at the edge of her crumbling front porch talking about having the simple joys of grass you could walk through without worrying about snakes and tripping over abandoned farm equipment.

One early, early spring day I got a frantic call from my friend. Her husband had endured the overgrown fields long enough. He had purchased a brush hog and plow for the old tractor that came with the property. Unknown to Lori, over the period of several weeks he had been hauling all the rusted old farm equipment and fallen down fence posts out of the area. Lori had decided to venture into the wasteland provoking the urgent call. “Jenny,” she exclaimed, “there are all kinds of things planted in that field! I don’t know what they are but there are all kinds of tags and markers but no actual plants!” Well, hey, the kids were at school and I can never resist a plant mystery so I jumped in my car and ran right over. She lived fairly close but it felt like the drive took forever. I was so intriqued and so excited.

She met me in the driveway and we ran out to the field and started looking at all the tags. There were hundreds of tags – all with different names on them: Schaffe, White Japanese, Boule de Neige, Mons Jules Elie. We looked and deciphered and read fading painted signs for quite awhile until it finally dawned on me that these were peonies. Scraping away some of the leaves and dead plant growth on the ground you could barely see the crowns starting to show growth. Oh, I was excited until Lori said that Doug was plowing that field in two days and he could care less what the plants were in there. Then I was panicked! He had told Lori to dig up anything she wanted for the house but the rest were going to be plowed under!

What! No! Oh no, no, no! I told Lori I would try to get them all moved and she said she would help.

As soon as I got home I called our neighbor who plowed my gardens and asked him to come over right away to cultivate a new field for me. He came that same evening and worked up the rich, black earth into what seemed like a huge bed.

As soon as the kids left for school the next day I took a bunch of boxes to the farm and started digging, being careful to keep each tag with each tuber. About ten minutes into the digging Doug came home and said he had the day off work and he was going to start plowing right away! Oh no! Lori and I dug and dug and piled peony tubers into the truck helter-skelter. We were covered in dirt and mud but no matter how fast we dug the rows still stretched on.

We heard the tractor starting up and realized we were never going to get finished but we grabbed two more plants and then watched as that shiny metal started ripping out years and years of beauty and history. Did I mention I never did like Doug?

It made me sad to watch so I left to drive carefully home. Careful of the blisters on my hands, careful of my precious cargo.

The kids filled buckets of water from the spring and we spent hours and hours planting the 27 plants that had been rescued. Five had tags. The rest were a mystery.

They all grew. Each one into magnificent plants laden with blossoms of every color from the palest yellow frills to almost black single blossoms. Most of the varieties I could never identify. I found out later that the man who had lived on that farm for fifty some years was a peony breeder and had varities from all over the world.

Each year I lived in that old house the peonies took my breath away. I could feel the history in the blossoms. Feel the mystery in the unnamed varieties.

Several years ago when I was back in Ohio I asked the people who now live in my home if I could walk around the yard. The peonies were gone. The old apple trees were gone. The perennial beds were gone. So much was gone. All of that was in the way of mowing they told me.

I left that day feeling so sad. So much lost beauty for the sake of an hour or two saved on a lawn mower.

I realize that the blossoms are still inside my heart and with no effort at all I can still feel the dirt under my hands as I cultivated around them. My memory still sees their glorious colors illuminated in the late afternoon sunshine.

But sometimes no matter how vivid the memory my heart still grieves for the passage of time and the loss of something wonderful. Tend your peony beds carefully, my friend. They may never come again.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Well Howdy

It's Friday. I'm happy. It's not very hot out today and we get irrigation and I am babysitting Morgan and Riley and it's just going to be a good day, darn it!

Steve is heading off to the doc soon for his foot booboo, I am working on an April Birthday list for my Chick friends AND did I mention it's Friday?

So I'm gonna get along like a good little dawgie (gosh, I haven't even been watching Westerns, not sure what is up with this) and drive my cattle out on the range.


Thursday, March 26, 2009

I will not stop and smell the roses, I WILL NOT!

I will stay focused on some things I want to accomplish for the day AND look forward to meeting Sara F. and her beau Brian with Steve for coffee early this afternoon.

If I go anywhere near my roses I get sucked into their fragrance and color and want to get a big, gaudy hat and put on something gauzy and frilly (neither of which I own)

If I go near my rose garden I forget that I am going to stain a door today, haul some sand back to the gourd ramada and plan dinner.

If I go near my rose garden I suddenly loose 40 pounds, get radiant flowing hair and my wrinkles all disappear. Oh, heavens, wait! What am I thinking???????

I'll be in the rose garden for the rest of my life.

Write me there, please, should you need me for anything at all.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Working Grandpas can be boring

Morgan always stays here while I pick up Riley from preschool. Steve said she came in and plopped down in one of his office chairs with a book. After he was on the phone a little while he looked over to see this. Awwwww...

Monday, March 23, 2009

Oo oo oo I have an iris blooming

I know that this is not technically newsworthy but here it is anyway

Do you want to see the rest of the garden? Just click here then!

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Me love grapes is

Morgan has a different way of talking but isn't she just sweet? Awwww...

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Two quick pics from Steph and Jims visit

Green bag giveaway

My sweet friend Beth is giving away a green bag kit on her blog. Visit her for a chance to win this cool prize.

Gardening Galore

I am getting ready to head out for my own personal garden tour and then Steve will drive me in the Jeepster to work as a greeter for the Maricopa Master Gardeners "Real People, Real Gardens" tour. That should be fun but I'm worried it will be too hot. My MG shirt is red and HOT (I think I am going to order a t-shirt) Hopefully my face will not match my shirt all day with potential heat stroke.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Yes I can can!

I have lots to tell but today I just kind of layed around and caught up on some stuff AND I canned 12 pints of dried beans. It was cool. You put the dry beans in the clean jar along with salt and crystalized ginger, fill it with water and then pressure can for 75 minutes. They look neat! I don't know if you can tell in the picture. I did pinto, anasazi and black beans. I want to open one to taste it but I guess that would kind of defeat the purpose.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

How not to spend a Sunday!

You know that 25 pound box of Anaheim peppers I told you I got on Saturday morning. Well, I opened it this morning and realized that they were not going to keep super well in the garage since we're in the high 70's and so it began.

I took pictures but I'm too tired to post them.

I have lots and lots and lots of roasted anaheim chopped pepper muffins freezin' away.

That was seriously, totally a lot of work.

But it's done now and I conned Steve into renting Nights in Rodanthe (I might have forgotten to mention "chickflick" - o darn!).

Steve is out attempting to cook some funky stuffed peppers I thunk up on the grill.

Later tater.

Just not later anaheim pepper.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Organic Food Co-op haul

Oh my heavens. The bag on the right has all kinds of gorgeous looking asian vegetables, the gold bag in the center is almost filled with apples, pears, grapefruit and oranges AND there is a 25 pound box of Anaheim peppers in the garage. I'm really, really glad my two flats of strawberries got delayed by several weeks.

Friday, March 13, 2009

It's a fine Friday night

It was a good day. Busy but good. It started with a lovely, slow walk through the garden...Come along with me here!

and then segued to lots of little girl time. First took Riley and Morgan to Barnes and Noble for story/craft time, then we stayed and read on the comfy couches, got them a treat at Starbucks, picked up Julia for early out school, went to Chick Fil A and they ate and played on the playground and then we went to Morgans ENT surgeon.

Morgan was pretty nervous all day about going to the Doctor. She kept saying "I no go hopsital." I kept telling her the Doc was just going to look at her throat. When I told her it was time to leave her lip came out and her eyes filled with tears.

She was awfully stand-offish during the exam but after she realized it was over and there were no shots or catheters or horrible pain she lightened up and said goodbye to the poor Doctor.

He gave her a clean bill of health.

I'm off to bed. We have an early pick-up for our organic food co-op basket and I have lots and lots to do over the weekend.


Thursday, March 12, 2009

Acccckkk, I've become my Mom

Not that it's a bad thing cuz my Mom is just fine, thank you but...

Yesterday afternoon I found myself tidying my stacks of magazines inside the cupboard and then sorting them by type AND I cleaned out two closets with no monetary bribe whatsoever from Steve.

I'm hoping this frenzy continues today even though I should be destroying the brick sidewalk in preparation for the new cement vision to come.

But, I need to go. Right now. My computer screen is smudged and I think it needs cleaned. Immediately.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

I'm proud to be an American and...

...proud to be a Grandma especially today.

Our sweet little Riley (5 years old) often draws pictures for one of our friends sons - a man who has endured more pain, suffering and medical nightmares in his life with bravery, positive attitude and joy then anyone I have ever met.

With great concentration Riley spends hours, literally, drawing pictures that are "just perfect" for Mike. She knows how to spell his name now without a cheat sheet.

About a month ago Riley asked me if she could call him and talk to him. At the time he was in the hospital but she perservered. Since I usually babysit her on Monday, Wednesday and Friday (which are Mike's dialysis days) it just doesn't work.

Today we were coloring at the kitchen table and she sort of jerked up in her chair "Grandma!!!!! What is today ????" I said "Tuesday" to which she immediately replied "Let's call Mike! He will be at home today!"

So we did.

Riley wandered around the house chattering away about knowing how to do "Balleray" (Ballet) and I'm not sure what. Then she started singing one of her favorite songs to Mike "I'm proud to be an American"

Later when our mail came I got a letter in the mail from Mike's beautiful Mom, Mo. Such a coincidence so I gave it to Riley to open. It contained a picture (for a kind of pictoral index I'm going to build for our online friends group). Riley said "Oh, she is beautiful Grandma. She must be proud of Mike! And you must be proud of her!"

And she is. And she is. And I am.

And I'm also very proud that Miss Riley has such a beautiful, caring heart.

All this....

The result of two little girls cutting up cantaloupe, mixing eggs, fixing toast:

So we can have this. Ahhhh.... 45 minutes of peace and quiet. (and only 20 minutes of kitchen cleaning to get it! ha)

Monday, March 9, 2009

What happened to Saturday and Sunday?

Seriously. I blinked and now it is Monday. OK, technically I blinked, went to Rileys soccer game, went out to lunch with my parents, visited Jessie and Kevins, cleaned the house, made a bunch of birthday and sympathy cards, made about 12 meals (why does it sometimes feel that way when it's really only four?), painted like a mad woman on the house (with Angie and Feris' help), stained wood, coerced Steve into agreeing to attempt to make a sidewalk with me (note to self: find good divorce attorney) dried laundry outside, weeded a bit in the garden AND watched Rudy (one of the best movies of all time)

But here it is Monday and billing awaits and more meal planning awaits and someone needs to get groceries and I have Morgan and Riley today and I never even got a chance to plan world peace or solve world hunger.

Don't you just hate when that happens?

Friday, March 6, 2009

A much happier day for music

The unnamed someone contacted the unnamed hotel where they possibly lost my sweet lime green i-pod and low and behold...what was once lost was found! And will be in the mail today and I will have it in my happy little hands on Monday afternoon. Thanks unnamed someone for going to the effort to retrieve the gift you gave me in the first place.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

1/25th complete

Look, look! I got a little bit more of the house painted. Yesterday I was only 3/100ths done but now I am 1/25th complete. Actually it is 4/100ths but to make that into the smallest fraction I had to convert it to 1/25 cuz that's how I roll with math stuff. Sigh.

A sad day for music...

Some person (who shall remain nameless) borrowed my sweet little green I-pod to go to Texas (I'm not naming names here) and lost it!



I shall not be bitter because that nameless person is, in ironic fact, the person who gave it to me in the first place.

I am deeply reminded of Mary Chapin Carpenters song "This Shirt".

This shirt was the one I lent you
And when you gave it back
There was a rip inside the sleeve
Where you rolled your cigarettes
It was the place I put my heart
Now look at where you put a tear
I forgave your thoughtlessness
But not the boy who put it there

Technically, though I guess I won't get it back, the nameless person doesn't smoke, that nameless person is not thoughtless and I would forgive him just about anything.

So I guess the lyrics are not really relevant at all and I'm not sure why they popped into my head other then my Mad Cow disease is flaring up...

...and I'm just plain odd.

It's still a good song, though.


Wednesday, March 4, 2009


It's Steves fault this time. How could he abandon me like this with no warning? Just disappear into the sunset without a word? How can a woman expect to survive such neglect and cruelty?

OK, technically he just went to Dallas for two days on business but I forgot about the whole being gone overnight thing.

That is just wrong.

I understand the need for business but at least he could come home so I have someone to cuddle up to during our frigid, bone-chattering Arizona nights. I think it might have even gotten down to the high 40's last night. I know! I know!

You are shocked also that sweet Steve could be so mean.

Well, he is!

So there!

And I'm crabby today because I didn't get any sleep so you better not side with him in this matter....


Tuesday, March 3, 2009

My dishwasher broke this morning

My dishwasher broke this morning. I went to unload the dishes and they were disgustingly caked with dried bits of who-knows-what. We bought the dishwasher because it was supposed to be one of those never-rinse-your-dishes kind of things so we succumbed to the fancy sales pitch. But they lied.

So I filled the sink up with soapy hot water and started putting dishes in there to soak and pretty soon I was up to my elbows in sparkling suds washing and scrubbing and then I realized it actually felt good.
It felt wholesome and healthy and brought back so many memories of standing by so many sinks doing the same thing. My parents had four dishwashers (each of us girls reluctant and complaining) and for all of the first years of my marriage I did dishes by hand. After family parties we always end up with lots of dishes to wash by hand and, of course, doing Thanksgiving dishes is almost a written-in part of the holiday itself.

But it doesn’t seem like it should be a treat does it?

But our Granddaughters clamor to help wash dishes if they see me doing it. They drag the beaten-up old brown bench over and stand bright-eyed, armed with their dishcloths ready to dry, dry, dry away.

I never see their bright blue eyes light up in anticipation of loading the dishwasher. I never stand dreamily at the dishwasher watching the morning awaken the side yard and illuminate the just unfurling ash leaves with tender golden color.

Well, I have dishes to dry and put away but I wanted to tell you the big news. My dishwasher broke this morning. Aren’t I lucky?

Monday, March 2, 2009

The rest of the story

So... Steve forwarded this e-mail to me from his cousin who still owns and operates the Lewiston Tribune.

Great remembrance! You know, he might have died with your belt on.

I remember the Lewiston visit well. I was covering the Roundup and up to
my ears. Alice (this is Steve's Mom) gave me a phone call at something like 4:30p, inviting me and Nancy)(Nancy is the cousins wife) to the social at John (John is Steve's Dad) and Alice's. No, I said, but thank you; I explained there's no way I could get away. Yes, she said, you can
and you will.

So, of course, I did! I remember having two Scotches and then proceeding
to the North Lewiston park. John got me together with Paul Harvey for
about a five-minute chat. My remembrance, other than his personality and
golden voice, was this advice: Son, you've got a cigarette in one hand
and an alcoholic drink in the other. I suggest you never have either
again. Period.

Steve doesn't have a blog so...

I thought I'd share his sentiments on the death of Paul Harvey...

Maybe I should make a claim on the estate for that belt he “borrowed” from me in 1965and never returned.

He was the “grand marshal” of the Lewiston (ID) Roundup parade that year, brought to town by my father and his radio station partner Gene Hamblin which broadcast Harvey’s ABC New commentaries. He stayed at the house for the local events that year. And he needed a belt, which was loaned by this high school sophomore, but never returned. The visit did turn into a pretty good interview for the HS newspaper, a story that won several state & national HS journalism awards that year.

Monday, Monday

Hmmm.... here I sit surrounded by stuff to do .... hmmmm....

I really want to crawl back into bed but billing awaits.
Little girls await.
The piles of chaos in my office await.
Solving the problems of the world awaits.

All I can say is thank God for coffee!

If you see my Cousin Allison you can yell at her for me for making me create the piles of chaos in my office. I signed up for a card-making swap (hmmmm.... yet again) and she sent me some card kits that are too wonderful. Now I have to rethink my whole "slap-a-sticker-on" and call it a day approach. And on top of that she sent me some little cute lime-green fancy stapler and I cut up all kinds of strips of paper to make some little bows. If I have time afte I get the billing done before the little girl invasion I'll take some pictures of the cool stuff she sent.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

It's a beautiful day in the neighborhood...

But I refuse to put on a sweater because, hey, I live in Arizona and, hey these five months are our reward for tolerating blood boiling temperatures all summer long.

Morgan is doing wonderfully. Hooray. Her voice is still very high and sweet and it just melts my heart to talk to her.

I'm getting annoyed. In part it's because I've not had any coffee yet since Mr.-sleep-until-noon (OK, technically it's 7:30 but that's still pretty darned late for our household) has not yet made it but it's more then that. It's family stuff.

Our family is loosing touch with each other. It's horrible.

I IM'd my younger sister yet and she didn't know Morgan had been in the hospital. Not that the whole family communication is all about me but, darn it, I think we all need to know more about what's going on.

Since I have the biggest mouth I think I'll just write everything I know here until I can find a way to get a participatory thing going.

1. Dad has got some lung thing going on. He is coughing and stuffy.
2. Aunt Sharon (who was visiting my parents with her husband John and got deathly ill to the point that she was admitted to a hospital in Kansas on the way home) seems to be doing better
3. Mom is having eye surgery this coming week. I want to say it for glaucoma but we talked about it while I was on severe sleep deficit so now I forget ....d'oh)
4. Jessie is doing good. Kevin is traveling some for his job. Their house is looking neat and Jessie is doing a lot of gardening (I'm ahead of her, though, hee hee)
5. Chris and Lindsey are settling into Tucson and Chris is pretty overwhelmed at work. Lindsey (at this writing) had not found a job yet and is wondering if she will be able to continue on her education path if the school there closes.
6. Becky and Mike are engaged.
7. Ben is settling into college and starting to travel with the team. He is having some health problems. Poor feller.
8. Sam is playing ball and that's all I know about Sam.
9. Julia is done with basketball and I'm not sure if she loved it but she sure improved since she started.
10. Riley's soccer season will be over next Saturday but she will start spring league in April.
11. Dan and Emily are still getting married the end of May. I don't think they know where they are doing their residencies.
12. Tom and Kris are continuing with their wedding plans. Knowing Kris this will be a serious (and wonderful) event
13. Steve's foot hurts.
14. Oskars stomach hurts from eating trash yesterday. Dumb dog. Actually he must not be because he figures out how to get the child-safe latch up on occassion. Sigh.
15. Greg is home from Vegas for a week.
16. I'm continuing on my paint the house, stain and varnish the woodwork, whine about all the stuff I just can't figure out how to do project! Actually it's fun,though.
17. Oh, and the roses are almost ready to bloom.
18. Jim and Steff will be in Tucson mid-march and then here for a day or so. I'm too lazy to look in my e-mails for the actual dates.

Well, gee, this is just kind of boring. But, hey, I did my part for family communications. So there.

I smell coffee! Bye for now!