Sunday, January 31, 2010

On the Road Again!

Not me! The kid! Michael's come and gone. It's always great to see him, but nice to get back to my boring life after he leaves. Part of his reason for coming home between events was to get his van serviced, so I played carpool mom for a couple of days. And there's always more cleaning and cooking when he's around. He's really into tea and breakfast, but cleaning up the remains -- not so much! He also likes to romp with Saby all over the house so he can make sure any room that's just been picked up returns to its former state quickly. Ha!

He arrived with tales from the road. His favorite celebrities at the Bob Hope Classic were William DeVane (I hadn't heard his name in a long time!) and Ron White (Love his sarcastic comedy!). Freddy Couples caused a huge commotion by wearing one of their shoes that's in low production. Now everyone wants a pair! He also mentioned Jack and I immediately assumed it was Jack Nicholson. I really have to get with it. Jack is obviously Jack Nicklaus in the golfing world. Now he's off to the Carmel area for the Pebble Beach AT&T where he'll be handing out those Ecco golf shoes to all the celebrities at the Pro-Am. He's really found his little niche in life and that's always exciting for a parent to witness. He promised to save Craig a Pebble Beach beanie, but his dad would really like to be a little mouse in his duffle bag!

Michael turns 30 in another week, so we celebrated his birthday early. This kid HATES having his photo taken. He was a great poser until he reached kindergarten -- then it was all over. But I managed to get a couple of not so great photos with my camera phone.

Craig and Michael at Cheesecake Factory. And no, we didn't eat the cheesecake. But my salad was great!

Happy 30th!

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Happy Anniversary!

Do you know how children sometimes give their parents gifts they want for themselves? When I was a kid, I always gave my mom a Whitman's Sampler (cheap chocolates) because I knew she wouldn't want them and I'd get to pig out! I remember my younger cousin giving my aunt little toy cars for her birthday.

So I'm thinking about giving Craig THIS for our anniversary in late June.

And the reason I'm doing that is so I can get this!

A couple of weeks of glorious sunrises and relaxation!

I know, I know. It's not exactly a Gift of the Magi situation. It's a little selfish! I wish I could go ahead and book it, but I know airfare and maybe even lodging will be a better deal in a few more months. At least it gives me something to dream about! : )

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Happy Feet!

Actually, I'm not sure whether to call this post happy feet or stinky feet! Michael got home from the Bob Hope Classic in Palm Springs last night and surprised me with a new pair of sandals. They fit perfectly! They're actually a replacement pair for the originals that met a stinky fate on Isla Mujeres in November.

I don't think I've told this story on my blog because it's a little embarrassing. The last week of my trip to Isla in November was extremely rainy, so I was constantly wading through flooded streets. Some people actually took shoes off and walked barefoot, but there's no WAY I was doing that. I was trying to keep my birthday sandals, Ghandia's by Ecco, nice because they were brand new. I soon discovered after wearing them one evening that they were so much more comfortable than my other walking sandals (also a gift from that wonderful son of mine), so they became my walking sandals. The other pair was relegated to the status of beach explorers. After my first few wades through flooded calles during the second week, I gave up on keeping my new sandals pristine and decided they'd probably wash up just fine when I got home.

Anyway, long story short, the morning Ida hit, a wonderful man came to the Rocamar in a white pickup truck to rescue me, my bags, and my sandals and take me to Media Luna. As the two men wrangled with getting my large duffle into the bed of the pickup, I got into the cab. I thought to myself, Wow, this pickup is kind of smelly. I wonder if there's some fish bait in here under the seat. But I was so relieved to be rescued from my situation by a guy who spoke English and quickly informed me on the current status of the hurricane (I'd had no updates since the night before) that I didn't give the smell a second thought. My hero quickly navigated the streets over to Media Luna and helped me with my bags into the lobby. Once I got into my new hotel room -- sniff, sniff -- there was that smell again. Well, that's kind of funky! Then it suddenly dawned on me. It was my feet! Specifically my brand new sandals!

I was a little horrified thinking that my rescuer had to have noted the smell and thought my last bath had been about a week ago. OMG! I soaked, soaped, and scrubbed those shoes in the bathroom at Media Luna, but they still stunk! After soaking them some more, I decided they were acceptable if I wasn't in a confined space. I debated whether to risk wearing them home on an airplane and decided to flip flop through the airport in Croc thongs instead.

But I still cringe when I think what that man in the white pickup truck must have been thinking!

Anyway, Michael to the rescue! The original pair were my normal size, but a little big. So I now have a brand new pair that fit perfectly. Incident forgotten (but maybe not)! : )

Monday, January 25, 2010

Sunday Brunch

Craig returned from his Texas roadtrip late Saturday night. I was a little pent up after spending the week by myself with the rain and Saby, so we decided to break out of our normal routine Sunday morning and try a new restaurant. We're creatures of habit and usually dine at the same neighborhood joints week after week, but I remembered a friend had recommended Z Tejas to me three years ago. We've been looking for a restaurant in that general location to meet friends since it's about halfway between our houses, so we headed there to give it a test drive!

The restaurant was decorated with sophisticated Southwestern decor. I loved this cool glass sculpture behind our table. They were serving brunch on Sunday, but the menu fortunately included breakfast and lunch entrees which was good since I'm not a real breakfast fan.

I ordered the chicken enchiladas and they were fantastic! I consumed it so fast, I didn't notice the Z sauce decoration until I looked at the photo!

Craig decided on the breakfast Jack Chicken Quesadilla and it was just as good!

Mine came with their signature cornbread. I let Craig have half, and he split his banana nut muffin with me. The cornbread was really good!

We definitely picked a winner and found a great meeting place for the next time our friends are in town. But I'm fairly sure we won't wait until then! : )

Friday, January 22, 2010

Monsoon Afternoon!

I guess you'd say Saby and I are just nesting. This morning, the rain lightened up enough for me to put on a Goretex coat and take Saby on her daily walk. We've turned this dog into a little monster. She won't go in her own yard. She'll only give when she's walked to her favorite place four blocks away. It's usually not a problem, but in this weather, it's a pain. Aargh.

The sun came out by noon and I ran a few errands. I picked up a couple of items at the library that I thought would be ideal entertainment.

At Walmart, I saw the Pico de Gallo rotisserie chickens and remembered a recipe I'd seen on the Year of CrockPotting blog for chicken enchilada chili. I racked my brain to think of the ingredients and managed to pick up everything except the celery.

Once home, I decided to go ahead and make the pot of soup! I followed the basic recipe except for a few changes. I substituted a green pepper for the celery I didn't have, added extra cumin and halved the chili powder, and added the entire can of enchilada sauce because I figured it would go to waste otherwise.

Absolute yum! Since I wanted it quicker, I made the soup on the cooktop instead of a crockpot. By the time the monsoon had started again outdoors and Monsoon Wedding was on indoors, the enchilada chili was ready.

Craig missed a good one! He doesn't get home until late tomorrow night. Saby seemed interested in the soup, but I had to tell her -- not for Saby! (That's all I need is for her to eat beans!) There's plenty for leftovers this weekend!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Stormy Thursday

Okay, I've finally succumbed to storm preparations. I heard the words tropical storm force winds this morning on the news and that got my attention. But I don't think we're talking this.

Or that!

But I do have a strange craving for Bimbo products and Snicker bars. Thank God I'm not a block from the supermercado!

Saby and I managed to get a little morning walk in before the wind and rain started. I just can't resist her pleas and that smile she has on her face when she's out walking.

I did take down all the free standing umbrellas, and I decided to just forget putting the trash out for pickup today. There's nothing worse than having your trash blown over a two block area and finding your container a block away. The side yard is flooded, and they're now predicting four inches of rain before this ends. I'm hoping that's an exaggeration since I'm not sure what to do if the pool overflows! And I have plenty of candles in case the power really does go out.

I may have to run out early before all the streets are flooded and treat myself to a carryout picnic! Speaking of a Picnik, I put a few more photos through the cross-processing method.

Early evening on the square.

Medina the evening after Ida passed.

Palapas at Aluxes.

High water in front of Maria del Mar after Ida.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Come Hell or High Water!

My dad used to say that! And I'm now seeing some high water around here. It started raining yesterday afternoon and by evening, the drainage backup areas in the neighborhood were filling. The rain was steady all evening, at times bordering on a deluge.

Yesterday, I did make hay while the sun was shining! I started the morning with a long walk, and later a trip to Sam's to stock up (but I didn't purchase sandbags)!

Heavy rain is predicted again for Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. Since the ground is already saturated, I imagine motorists will be driving into high water and getting stuck by the end of the week. Major entertainment on the local news in Phoenix consists of watching vehicles drive through flooded draws. I admit I don't mind watching it! Arizona has a stupid motorist law, so if they have to be rescued, they pay the bill.

I really don't mind the rain. It's a welcome break from the monotony of that big yellow thing in the sky! (Not that I mind that sun!) Saby doesn't share my enthusiasm for the wet stuff! She absolutely hates having to go out in the rain. I guess she doesn't like getting her fancy fur coat wet!

After last night's walk, we dried her off with a towel and she kept it wrapped around her. We're pampering her, so she got a chewy as a reward. Evidently the growth in her mouth isn't hurting her if she can eat rawhide!

Craig leaves for Lubbock, Texas this morning. I begged him to let me tag along (ha!), but he said no. I should take him to the airport so I can keep his SUV. If the water gets high, my Bug might drown!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

The Sun's Out!

Despite the dire predictions of constant rain all week, the sun is shining bright this morning. So why don't I feel sunny?

Number one reason -- we took Saby to the vet for a shot yesterday and she has a growth in her mouth. It could be melanoma and will need to be removed. I'm holding out hope that it's benign and simple (but not inexpensive) removal will do the trick. She'll have to be put under, so they'll clean her teeth while she's sleeping.

More bad economic news. Two more houses went on the market in the neighborhood this weekend. People I know. I don't know their story, but no one's electing to just sell houses on a whim now because prices have dropped massively in the last two years. The market is glutted with short sales and foreclosures.

We stopped at the Kwik Stop on Sunday to fill the tank. I heard a young mother in a mini-van chattering away to Craig at the pump. I asked him what that was about after he got back in the car. She was asking for change to help buy food for the baby because the food bank wouldn't be open until Tuesday. She was apologetic and said 75 cents would give her enough because everyone at the station had been chipping in. Now I have to admit, panhandling at gas stations is common here in the Phoenix area, but not in our neighborhood. But this woman didn't fit the profile. Craig gave her money and we both thought -- there but by the grace of God go I.

It's easy to forget when things have improved in your own household that there are still record numbers of people suffering in this area, country, and the world. Most of the guys Craig got to know in his networking meetings last year are still without jobs. Another acquaintance is thinking about letting her house go. It's depressing and makes me wonder how and when this country will ever climb out of this mess.

At least it's not raining! I'd better get out and seize the sun while it lasts!

Monday, January 18, 2010

Coming to Phoenix This Week!

Rain! They're predicting it will last all this week, so all those poor souls paying mega bucks to come to Scottsdale for the Barrett Jackson auto auction may need to stay under the tent! And scratch the loungers by the pool and golf games.

They started predicting it last week with warnings to get prepared with candles, batteries, sandbags, etc.... ?????????? I have candles and flashlights, but I doubt I'll need them. I also doubt we'll be needing Craig's hip-waders to walk the dog. Or the sandbags to build a moat.

I heard the sound of rain on the roof this morning at 7 a.m., but the rain's now turned to sprinkles. I guess every part of the country feels the need to dramatize the weather. If I'm wrong, do you think I can dial 911 for the Ark?

All that being said, a stack of books and DVD's might not be a bad idea. Lately I've been missing Seattle, so I guess Seattle is coming to me! : )

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Saturday Sunrise

Phoenix has amazing sunrises and sunsets. I'm sure there's a scientific explanation for that, but I have no clue. I was up this morning in time to notice the magnificent color in the sky and grab my camera. Here's the view over the backyard wall.

Craig got home late late last night from Florida, so he wasn't up to see the sunrise. Hope everyone has a great Martin Luther King Day weekend! He has the day off on Monday, so we're hoping to have some fun!

Friday, January 15, 2010

Processing Isla

I spent some time yesterday editing some photos on Picnik with a technique called a cross process. I really like the effect! These are photos from my 2009 Isla trip.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Bits and Pieces

It's been awhile since my Ida experience in November, so thunder and rain again seem like a luxury. So I was excited when I heard it last night! I love it -- Saby hates it. She was cowering and shaking following me on my heels all over the house. Poor baby.

Michael left yesterday in his tech van for the Bob Hope Classic in Palm Springs. He does setup and then the tournament starts next week. He's unsure whether he likes the new wrap on his wagon, but I thought it was pretty cool. It was formerly black, but parts of the wrap blew off coming back from Palm Springs in December. Oops!

I'm hoping he'll check the Ecco outlet while he's there and get me a replacement for my new birthday sandals I ruined on Isla. I managed to get most of the smell out (from slogging around in the flooded streets that week), but the harsh stuff I soaked them in made them look a little road worn. They'll still be good as my Isla beachcombing/walking sandals, but I bet that smell comes back!

Craig's in Orlando this week, so I'm Saby's new walker. Actually, I always take the morning shift, but he usually handles the evening. She almost took me down on her walk last night. Some neighborhood idiots, a father and little kid, leash their unruly dogs to their bikes and take them out for runs in the street. Saby went nuts when she saw the large pitbull mix running at her on a long leash. About the time I got her under control, the little kid came by with their other large dog cavorting back and forth in the street and I almost bit the grass. Craig's mentioned it before, so I guess I know now not to take her on a 5 p.m. walk.

I think I'll use the Fabuloso this morning and reclaim the house, then I have movie plans in the afternoon. I'm enjoying having the house all to myself again! : )

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

For the Birds!

No deep thoughts in this post, just some photos of the birds on the California coast. The birds on the piers seem freakishly tame, but there are warning signs about the pelicans. Evidently the pelicans are testy and don't particularly enjoy pesky tourists getting in their faces.

Pelicans look so funny when they hunker down in this stance. Are they cold or threatened?

Love this gull with the shoreline in the background.

These shore birds almost look fake!

They weren't moving, so I had to walk around them!

This pelican almost looks like a souvenir sitting right next to the door with all the postcards.

These two were hanging close to the pier fisherman hoping to scoop up some discarded bait.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Watch Mania

Okay, I'm back at it again! Crafting 101. Craig thinks I somehow missed this phase in Girl Scouts, but it's just fun. And something mindless I can do while I watch Jake the Bachelor tearing up over the horny model who got it on with the crew member. Here's my latest obsession. That Cinderella watch just kind of got me started!

I like the one in the middle because it has the oversized watch face that's in now. I bought it as a cheap markdown watch at Steinmart and cut the wide white band off of it. But maybe it's too big? I was at the gas station on my way to the movies the other day and bought some red licorice from the man/woman (?) at the cash register. He (she?) said in a deep suggestive voice -- Enjoy your niblets. Ewwwwwww.

I made the red, white, and blue watch while I was watching The Bachelor last night. Poor Jake is just too serious! And he can't even weed out the Psycho Girlfriend after two rounds. For a pilot, he sure can't use his radar!

I like this one because it looks good flipped around on the wrist. Chunky baubles!

Monday, January 11, 2010

Slim Pickins

Sounds like a Country Western singer, doesn't it? But no, it's not. I'm referring to the amount of seaglass we found on our Southern California trip. From five days of beachcombing the beaches listed on some of the seaglass blogs, this is what we found! And when I say beachcombing, I mean it. We spent in excess of an hour and a half with both of us looking at each location. Paltry pickins! We were really disappointed. For anyone who hunts seaglass on Isla Mujeres, this wouldn't even be a decent take for an hour hunt on Playa Media Luna, much less five days of beachcombing.

At the end of our quest on our last day at the beach on Coronado Island, we were headed back to the car. Actually, we were lost and trying to figure out where we'd entered the beach. Suddenly, Craig spotted this thing rolling in on the waves. He waited until the tide went out and retrieved it.

A big turbo shell! Dead shell, no animal inside. A great way to end five days of beachcombing. The thing measures about 5 by 5 inches. I think my beachcombing angel was giving me a little present! Actually, I think I know who that angel might be! ; )

P.S. I need to put a little disclaimer to let people know we were not in a protected area when we found this!

Sunday, January 10, 2010

A Few More California Pics

This house is flustered. Rush rush rush. I'm sitting here watching having an out of body experience. It could be the cold medicine, but my brain's jumbled just watching and listening. Get to the airport. Last minute glitches. The I-Phone died. Can't access email. Drive to the designated route. As Craig just said -- the mad scramble.

I have to confess, I'm looking forward to having the house to myself after Michael comes and goes this next week. He's in New Hampshire and Craig just left for Orlando. Michael comes back and then leaves by the end of the week to head out on the road for the year.

I think I'll get out the Fabuloso, clean the house, and then just sit and enjoy! In the meantime, I'll post some more California photos just for the memories of a more serene time!

Oceanside Pier

Old Town Door

Hotel Del Coronado

Strange Bug

Rooftop Sunrise

Watching the Sunset

Surf's Up!

Sunset Palms

Friday, January 8, 2010

Coastal Gardening Inspiration

The Southern California landscape is basically the same tropical flora we plant here in Arizona, but the climate there allows all that vegetation to thrive! Here in Arizona, the landscaping looks a little torched in the winter because of the cold overnight low's. And it's too hot in the summer to get that lush effect! Right now, a lot of the flowering shrubs are droopy and sad. The bouganvilleas have been frozen and the foliage is dropping. What I saw in California made me want to dump mass amounts of fertilizer on everything in my yard, but I know it's the wrong time of year. Bummer! Oh well, the cold snaps will be over in another month or so.

Wish these photos were from my backyard, but they're California.

More of that gorgeous blooming aloe.

Birds of paradise blooming in the winter!

A garden shop.

Gorgeous poinsettias.

I'd love to have this fountain on my patio!

Or this one!

Succulent garden.

Love these big tubs of greenery!

Wish my hibiscus looked like this in winter!

This photo makes me want to buy a talavera planter and paint a wall red!