Saturday, February 28, 2009

In Bloom!

No cracks from the peanut gallery about any phallic resemblance! Ha! When I stepped out on my patio yesterday, I noticed one of the cacti had bloomed! Bright pink flowers! I guess it's time to get out and take a desert hike while the flowers are in bloom!

Friday, February 27, 2009

Get Checked!

No pretty pictures in this post.

I hate public service announcements and lectures. so don't take this the wrong way. I'm writing this because I'm the worst culprit! So the lecture's to me! Breast cancer has struck again in my family -- two times in one year. In fact -- twice since last summer. It's a plague. But both of my loved ones have been vigilant about getting yearly mammograms, so it was caught early. Stage 0. So they'll have a total cure and a long healthy life.

As I said, I've been the worst about being regular with mammograms and health care. I give myself every excuse in the book and procrastinate, procrastinate, procrastinate. I have an irrational dread of not only doctors, but bad news. I'm a real chicken. I was feeling like crap in June and finally went to the doctor. I found out I had REALLY high blood pressure. Duh! It runs in my family, yet I couldn't even bother to keep track of it by checking it at the drugstore. I'm on meds now for everything that ails me and hopefully caught it soon enough before any damage was done. And I'm also now caught up on mammograms. All I have left is the colonoscopy.

Anyway, buck up and go get smashed and prodded! An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Think of it this way -- you're missing a possible opportunity to extend the quality and longevity of your life.

Okay -- enough already! :)

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Junk Garden!

We spent Sunday cleaning up the backyard -- trimming and fertilizing plants, repotting, etc... I finally dragged some of my antiques out of the garage and arranged them in the garden. I've still got aways to go, but thought I'd post some pics of Sunday's work.

old garden bench and tools

patio pots

old blue chair and watering cans

and more pots

Stay tuned because I have an old shopping cart that I'm going to try and use as a succulent planter. :)

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

A Taste of Mardi Gras

This Carnival video shot on Isla isn't mine, but it's a good one! I arrived on Isla in February 2007 just in time to take a few photos on the last night of Carnival.

The King and Queen


Birds of a Feather, Flock Together!

Tiny Dancer

Isn't she gorgeous!

Will dance for beer!

These women from Holbox showed up on the island the weekend after Mardi Gras. Their driver told me they just wanted to keep dancing. They danced up and down Juarez for free hotdogs and beer! I love the expression of the woman on the right.

The other thing I LOVE about this picture is what it illustrates about Mexicans and their healthy views on body image. Few women in the U.S. with curves and rolls would want to dance in the street in outfits like this. We're embarrassed by bulges and imperfections. But Mexicans seem just fine with their bodies. Have you ever noticed how the local men when it's really hot will roll their shirts up above their bellies (often bulging) to cool off? I wish our culture had the same healthy attitudes and didn't worship stick thin!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

The Evening Update!

I was sitting at home this morning catching a little computer time after my workout at the gym. The phone rang and I decided to screen it -- mainly because Craig's jobhunting and I like to have an intact message for him in case the call is important. Anyway, listening to the message, it was a reporter wanting to interview him. Fox News Channel. She had seen him quoted in a Reuter's online article. What the HECK? I'd answered a call yesterday morning from a man who identified himself as a reporter, but it was a name I recognized as someone he'd met at a networking meeting. So I didn't think much about it. I quickly googled Craig and a list of articles (all the same) popped up. The original article dated back to February 13. But everytime I google him now, more articles come up! Reuters. Yahoo. The Macon Daily. Arab Times (I'm not joking!). It's everywhere, it's everywhere! Anyway, here's a link.

By the way, Craig expressed some views that weren't included in the article. We both think any mortgage relief should come from the government subsidizing lower interest rate loans through the banks. In other words, people still owe the full amount of their mortgage. Neither of us believe the government should be involved in the lowering of the principal for people who are upside down in their homes. For example, if they owe $300,000 and their home's only worth $200,000 right now -- that's life. Many Americans are in that same boat. Maybe part of the relief could include a restructing of the rates and the length of the loan term (from say 30 to 40 years) so the payments are more affordable. Buying down the amount of the loan would create a totally unequal playing field when it comes to resale. As would providing a subsidy payment directly to people to help them make mortgage payments.

By the time Craig got home to return the Fox News reporter's call, he was old news. (Actually quite old since it was out there on February 13. I guess one should google their name frequently?) And not being on Fox is a relief. Tee hee.

But at least Craig had his 15 minutes of fame.

A Fresh Paint Job!

I splashed a little bit of fresh paint around Isla last weekend!

The Original Cool!

You gotta have Sol!

Love the new Club Pescador colors!

Brightened up the Mango a bit!

The Batik Factory got a fresh makeover.

Tweety and Friends have a different hue.

The land revolutionaries got a little edgier!

Monday, February 23, 2009

Short and Sweet

I've been busy gardening, doing taxes, etc... So not a lot of time to blog. Here's my post for today -- short and sweet (well maybe not exactly sweet?)!

Here's a challenge. Think of three words that sum up your week!

Sunday, February 22, 2009

The Blue Hair

She may be a Blue Hair -- but she still likes lollipops. Saby's got a lot more gray and white on the muzzle, but she still cuts a rug when she decides to play!

She still loves to run wild patterns around the house, and maul Craig to get a treat!

Craig puts on the baseball cap because she's discovered the quickest way to win the game is just to take her big abrasive paw and scratch the top of his head. So the hat levels the playing field.

She occasionally has to take baby aspirin for a recurring shoulder injury.(She's fine for a month or even two, and then pulls something playing.) We think she's almost 10 years old, so that would make her about 70 in people years? But she chases the ducks, herons, kitty cats, squirrels, etc.... It's her duty to herd all those birds from the shoreline into the lake everytime she passes on her walk. And the Bumpuses' cat doesn't have a chance in our backyard!

Here she is relaxing on the patio yesterday, waiting for birdies to flock by so she can chase them from the yard. She's giving me one of those stern looks (Did I SAY you could take my picture?).

Saturday, February 21, 2009

If You Saw These People

If you saw these people in a lineup today, what would you think? The men look a little scary. Truthfully, they look a lot like some of the homeless men who lived under the Alaskan Way Viaduct in Seattle. I'm hoping those beards were in vogue back then! Anyway, they are my ancestors. The guy in the back row on the far right side is the direct link. Mathias Bauman. Four of the brothers served in the Union Army during the Civil War, including Mathias. When their parents died, Tina, the only sister, evidently had charge of the purse strings. She caused her own little Civil War. She disinherited Mathias because he changed the spelling of his last name to Bowman after the war. Actually, the U.S. government changed the spelling of his last name to Bowman on his Civil War pension, and Mathias just wanted to make sure he got his checks! That Tina must have been a real witch!

If you look at the scroll above, they all lived fairly long lives! That's really remarkable considering four of them served in the Union Army and the average life expectancy was much lower then than today.

Now here's the scary thing! Every man in that picture has the same exact nose! Even Tina has that nose! And if I showed you a picture of my father in his later years, you'd notice he had the same nose! Uh - oh. I should photoshop that nose onto my face and see how I'm going to like it!

(Uh-oh. Maybe I already HAVE it!)

Friday, February 20, 2009

The Felon Patrol

Okay, this is interesting. A friend forwarded this to me, and it works. Click on this link, then type your address in the boxes at the top of the page. It will show you all the convicted felons in your neighborhood. Look for the red balloons and red push pins. Very enlightening. Not much in my actual neighborhood, but a collection of sexual offenders, arsonists, stalkers, and assaults on the county islands bordering us. I guess I'm a real Pollyanna because I'm surprised! But it's nice to know who lives where you walk, ride bikes, etc... By the way, when you move the cursor away from your immediate neighborhood, you'll need to enter new addresses for the info to come up again.

Speaking of lurking, another interesting little 'thing' popped up this week. I put that little Feedjit gadget down on the sidebar because I enjoy seeing the little dots light up when people hit my blog from various locations. It's fun to imagine who's viewing my blog, where friends might be traveling, or why someone in Dubai would read my blog. I think a lot of the hits from across the pond are random, but sometimes I speculate that maybe one of my friends is taking a wonderful European tour or an exotic hop through Indonesia. It's a little geography lesson!

Anyway, the point of this? The Feedjit gadget also tells me what posts people look at, what searches they perform on my blog, etc... Well -- once in awhile there's a sicko. I just noticed this week that someone in New Orleans had searched my blog for 'skimpy', 'naked', 'nude'. Uhhhh -- sorry buddy! I'm very middle-aged and you don't WANT to see it skimpy, naked, OR nude! I come from basic Midwestern stock and I won't be posting anything skimpy, naked, or nude! So there! By the way, I'm not in the buff in that childhood beach photo. I have on a one-piece suit that blends into the background. Get out your magnifying glass!

And back to the subject of felons -- remember those houses in foreclosure that I speculated were being stripped? On Tuesday, I drove past on my way to run errands. There were two Chandler police units on site talking to a man in a pickup truck. He had pulled the truck back in under a garage to try and hide it. Since the police station is located directly south of there, I'm guessing they had also noticed the ripped out windows and were waiting to catch a thief. I'm hoping they busted the guy!

Book 'em Dan-O!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Bob Bob Bob, Bob Bob Around!

No, I'm not daft. (Not at the moment anyway!) I know the name of the song is Barbara Ann. But as a kid, I was always the nerd who sang the song with the wrong words! I thought the song was about bobbing around?

The scene here is my birthday party. Since mine's an October birthday, bobbing for apples was always on the menu. Do kids even do this anymore? (Probably not!)

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

What I Did on My Summer Vacation

I'll probably get in trouble for this one, but I found this old photo from 20+ years ago and had to post it! It's Michael and Craig on a beach down in Oregon. Looks like Newport, Oregon!

Life's a Beach!!!

Monday, February 16, 2009

Where Have I BEEN?

I just noticed this commercial on television last night! I'd never heard of this wireless company. I must be Rip Van Winkle just waking up from my long winter's nap. Anyway, this commercial's pretty funny, and so WRONG!

(But I wonder how much a girl could save on disposable razors in a year? Food for thought in these hard times! Tee hee.)

The Neighborhood Playground

This weekend, we took a walk over to the local park. I thought I'd have some fun with the photos since it's desert -- brown on brown.

Sorry, but I couldn't resist turning the lake orange. Veterans Park is a new City of Chandler facility. It's a nature preserve/water recharging facility with a learning center and also a neighborhood police station. The park has different basins to hold water at various times, but the main lake above is always full. People walk, fish, bike, bird watch, etc... It's a nice bonus because we had no idea we'd end up with a park like this so close to our house. It was a big dirt field when we moved here.

Craig, Saby, and the purty pink cactus. I think Miss Saby is laughing!

Craig and Sab chatting it up with a fisherman. And no, he hadn't caught anything.

Ducks have also found their way to the lakes. We see birdwatchers decked out in full Wally Cox regalia with binoculars, tripods, cameras, etc... for weekend nature walks. It amuses me because our neighborhood across the road has about 20 times the waterfowl in the common area lakes. There are also supposed to be scorpions, snakes, etc... in the park, but thank God I've never seen them. I hate to say it because I'm afraid I'll jinx myself, but so far, I've seen no scorpions at our house. I worry about that scenario a lot since I'm bug phobic. When we first moved in, I collided with a black widow on the family room couch. That was not one of my better days. Tee hee.

This waterfall looks a lot better in lavender. (It's muddy water.)

And last of all, a prickly pear cactus. They get really big. And dangerous!

(I've been pricked.)

Sunday, February 15, 2009

A Sign of the Times

Neil Young posted this song on You Tube recently. Notice his I-Pod! He takes a bite out of it at the end. It's all about the Big Bust (and I'm not talking Hooters).

The economic situation right now seems surreal -- something we studied in U.S. History, but never expected to experience in our lifetime. I guess it's human nature to think that the bad crap will always happen to someone else. We're acutely aware of the current economic crisis here in Phoenix. It's everywhere we look. Small shops and big chains going out of business, developers going bankrupt, foreclosure signs, high unemployment, long lines at job fairs to get in the door, etc . . .

Real estate is especially bad. People are stuck. The odds against selling or renting a house are huge, so you stay put and watch your equity and home values plunge. Developments and developers all over the valley are bust. Fulton Homes, one of the biggest commercial and residential developers in this area, just declared bankruptcy.

On our walk to the park on Friday, I snapped a few photos on the way. Here's a new (now bust) development just south and east of our neighborhood. It's a scary repetition of what we're seeing all over the Phoenix area -- a sign of the times.

The homes originally started out two years ago advertised in the low 800's. Then they changed the sign to low 700's. Then all the way down to low 500's. The development was originally named Charlevoix, then changed to Montage.

Construction started on three homes (I hope models, because otherwise, some poor souls lost their down payments) and progressed to the stage where windows were in and roof tiles were ready for installation. The exterior insulation then turned yellow and everyone started to notice work had stopped. Then chain link fences went up around all three homes. That's a foreclosure sign -- the bank trying to protect its assets. Now the chain link is down and they're stripping the homes. All the windows have been ripped out. (Look below.)

We're not sure if the bank is tearing them down, or scavengers are having at it. But the house below is being stripped back to the studs.

Anyway, that's a little edition of the Hard Times News from our area! I think a lot of us will need to learn a new vocabulary word before this is all over!

re⋅sil⋅ience -- noun
1. the power or ability to return to the original form, position, etc., after being bent, compressed, or stretched; elasticity.
2. ability to recover readily from illness, depression, adversity, or the like; buoyancy

As Neil Young says -- Keep on bloggin' till the power goes out. Your battery's dead, twist and shout!

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Happy Valentine's Day!

Please don't associate this choice of song with my grade school Valentine's pic. SO inappropriate. I just heard the song on the radio the other day, and now I'm singing it to the dog. (Substitute 'Saby' for Baby!)

Valentine's Day has always been a WEIRD holiday for me. The first year we were married, we were in a bad car wreck on Valentine's Day and I broke my back. I ended up spending six months in a brace that had steel girders on the front. Kind of hard to find clothes that fit. (I fell in love with elastic.) Anyway, that was one bad box of chocolates that year! (Not to be too graphic, but they ended up on the hospital emergency room floor.)

This is the year I had the mumps on Valentine's Day! I remember some boy from my class bringing a large decorated sugar cookie to my door. That was so sweet! My first admirer? I realize now his mother might have been the room mother and they hand delivered me a cookie from the school party. Anyway, my mother made me the Queen of Hearts that year. And it looks like my brother had a fat lip! Wonder if I injured him leaping around in a sugar high? Or maybe it was sibling abuse! Ha!

Hope everyone gets a GREAT box of chocolates this year! Happy Valentine's Day!

Friday, February 13, 2009

Shades of Valentine's

It's almost Valentine's Day! I thought I'd spread some shades of red!