Category Archives: Family

An Unexpected Hiatus

Well, I did not expect to be away from blogging for over a month, especially after I finally managed to get everything here into at least a semblance of working order. Clearly, though, that is exactly what happened.

My life has continued to roil with chaos ever since the washing machine died, my computer crashed, and my hubby retired. “Highlights” include the sink stopping up over Thanksgiving, the heater breaking, followed both of our cars, one after the other (in one case I was drafted to tow the broken car home from where it had died in a parking lot 3 miles away), all of this happening within a period of about two weeks.

Then it was time to get ready for Christmas, which progressed fairly well, until I started on our annual Christmas letter, had it completed, edited and approved only to be defeated once again by Windows 8.1/Word 2013 when, at the eleventh hour I hurtled headlong into indecipherable weirdness involving not the insertion of photographs into the document, but the attempt to move them afterwards. Heaven forbid you should do that, because once you try it’s over. And since it was close to midnight the night before we were to leave for California, I had to give up and finish it after we returned.

First we went to San Diego, a whirlwind three days full of memory making.

Lily has grown so much! She’s walking, running, climbing, talking in full sentences… soooo cute!  Christmas eve we spent on the beach in near perfect weather. (Click on the photo for a bigger picture.)

IMG_1808 (2) (1024x785)

Who are these people? My husband, me, Lily, my son and his wife, their live-in housekeeper/ helper/friend, the two boys, their dog Joey and, of course, Quigley, barking as usual

The day after Christmas we headed up to LA to visit my 92-year-old stepmother who, despite her advanced years still skunked me in dominoes!  It was great to be able to visit with her, but toward the end of the time we had to spend there, our late nights, early mornings and activity packed days caught up with us as we both developed what turned out to be either the flu, or one of the worst colds either of us have ever had. Not only were we coughing, sneezing, hacking and blowing, but we were completely exhausted.

We were twelve days recovering… all of which is why I haven’t been able to get a blog post up in almost a month!

Trip to Moab

I mentioned a couple of posts ago that my hubby’s aunt had died and they were having a memorial service for her in Moab which we were considering attending.

Since it was “only” a nine-hour drive (without stops) we decided it was doable and left early Friday morning, heading out of Tucson fairly early. The memorial service was Saturday, and we drove home Sunday. With stops, the trip was twelve hours. Which wasn’t bad, but left both of us pretty tired Monday. I did nothing but lie around and it wasn’t until Tuesday that I began to put things away, try to get caught up on the things that didn’t get done and fuss about my rose bush.

I’d asked the neighbor to water, which she’s done many times before but somehow a soap can lid fell down behind the gate she needed to open and got it jammed so she couldn’t get in. Talk about weird… The result was that neither of the roses got watered for two days, during which our humidity was something like 13% or lower and the dew point was practically zero. One of them was droopy but recovered. The other lost almost all its leaves. It was very, very sad.

But after watering, fertilizing and laying down some mulch, it looks like it will survive… new leaves are now sprouting, so I’m happy about that.

In any case, that along with all the other things, which seem like nothing but end up taking up the minutes, took most of my time last week. Plus, Monday was Memorial Day and my hubby was home… so not only did I lack the time, quiet space and mental energy to write a blog post, I did no work on Sky either. I’m hoping to get back to it tomorrow, however.

For now, I thought I’d share some shots I took from our trip.

Quigley likes to rest his head on my shoulder or Stu's hand looking out the front window while we travel

Quigley likes to rest his head on my shoulder or Stu’s hand looking out the front window while we travel

monument valley trashed small

Traveling through Monument Valley I was shocked to see the rash of the white trailers and various structures which had sprung up at the bases of the rock formations. From a distance it looked like a scattering of trash. If only they’d painted their trailers and structures a color more like the surroundings… Ah well, I guess there’s no place left that’s immune to development these days. Maybe the Sahara Desert. Or the Gobi…

Redrock cliffs in the waning sunlight as we neared Moab

Redrock cliffs in the waning sunlight as we neared Moab

Driveway and cliff view from the house of hubby's relations where we stayed.

Driveway and cliff view from the house of hubby’s relations where we stayed.

Fabulous log fence and field of yellow flowers nearby.

Fabulous log fence and field of yellow flowers nearby.

Amazing cottonwood tree on the grounds of our hosts

Amazing cottonwood tree on the grounds of our hosts

my poor sad, dried up rose as it looked when we first returned...

my poor sad, dried up rose as it looked when we first returned…

White Mountain Memorial

Last weekend, as I mentioned in an earlier post, we gathered together with my son and his family, and my sister up in the White Mountains.

When my son was growing up and we were home schooling, we used to take an annual trip up to the White Mountains to a place called Big Lake where we camped for about three days, enjoying the changing of the aspen. My mother always went with us and my sister drove in from New Mexico to join us.

We have all sorts of good memories associated with these trips, and my mother especially enjoyed them, so we decided to have a trip in memorium for her.

Originally we were going to do it last fall, but after the Wallow Fire  blazed through there last summer, we decided to wait a year.

We had never camped in an official campground, but in our “own” special spot off the road to Big Lake. There was a pipe spring there, an old cabin, and a glorious stand of aspen — in addition to expansive views of the open range, which my husband glassed morning and evening for antelope and elk. (Click to enlarge all photos)

It was a place far enough away from the roads we could let our dogs roam free, and they loved it, too. We camped, roasted marshmallows, took hikes, sketched, painted, and took lots of photos. Sometimes in the wee hours of the morning, we even heard the elk bugle as they came out in the fields below us to challenge one another.

Though I had prayed the Lord would spare it, we had no way of knowing if the place was even still standing, for the fires had raged right through that area…

Given my son and his wife had Lily, only a little over a year old and would be coming from California, we opted for staying in a condo in Pinetop and driving out to spend the day at our spot rather than camping as in the past. I think it was the right decision.  We had a wonderful time.

Here are a few more pictures:

View from our cabin in Pinetop. I love the way the aspen leaves flutter to the ground in the wind which you can almost see in this picture.

Lily walking like a pro. She and Quigley became friends and cohorts in making trouble. She opened the drawers and doors and he took full advantage!

En route to our “spot”: the fire had raged through much of the forest, leaving skeletons of burned out trees

Thankfully we found our spot mostly untouched, complete with the cabin my mother, sister and I had sketched many times

The trees nearby were also still standing unharmed, and the aspen were midway through their autumn display

Lily was fascinated by the gold aspen leaves quivering in the wind

We saw this guy at the end of the day as we were driving out. Great finish to a wonderful day.

The Mystery Project Unveiled

Over the weekend, we gathered together with my son, daughter-in-law and extremely cute granddaughter up in Pinetop, AZ, and that is why I had to finish my Big Project last week — so I could give it to her. It was a quiet book.

I got the pattern for free from a website called Modest Maven. You can see the original I worked from HERE. And you can download your own pattern and instructions there, as well. Or other things: she sews a lot of stuff for her friends and family all the time.

The book has twelve pages of different activities, several of which I’ve pictured below from the book I made.  The last picture was a substitute for Maven’s telephone because  I thought the old-style landline telephone, with its hand receiver connected by  a coiled wire to its base and rotary number dial would be something unidentifiable to today’s kids as a phone. Furthermore, I could think of no way to represent the modern-day cell phone with its number pads, or worse just the screen, in any way that would work in a quiet book. So I substituted an apple tree with hooks…

Anyway, here’s a look at a few pages:

use the velcro-attached balloons to match the colors

velcro-attached clothes dress the little girl and a mitt fits just right on a little hand

Felt buttoned on flowers and and a lace-up football.

A zippered tent with a little dog in it (who looks suspiciously like Quigley… but that was purely accidental. Really. ) and two children who can be put to bed or taken out as desired

the aforementioned apple tree

She’s Walkin’

Well, I didn’t get my photos downloaded and ready as soon as I expected. Yesterday I spent putting stuff away, washing clothes, talking to friends and lying around, zonked. I did get the pics transferred from camera to computer but that was about as far as it got.

So I’m a day later than I’d planned, but better late than never. Here are some highlights from our summer trip to San Diego to visit little Miss Lily.

And her parents of course!

First day: Lily’s Ice-chest assisted walking

Our Next House! On Coronado Island, right near the dog beach!
Hahahaha!! We wish.

Who’s at the door?

It’s DADDY!!!


Fun at the Beach. (Note Quigley is expressing his opinion, too. He loved the beach.)

Last day — Sheee’s Walkin’! Look out now, parents.

Traveling Again

I’ve been away from my office and desk and well, Arizona altogether for the last week. It’s been something of a milestone in that for the first time I also managed to put up some blog posts, even though I was away from my computer. (I’m from the Jurassic age and do not have a cell phone, let alone an ipad.)

Anyway, much thanks to my son and daughter-in-law for allowing me to post from their computer.

I haven’t yet uploaded the many pics I took while away, but will do so tomorrow and then figure out which I want to post. There are sooo many good ones to choose from.

Lily is walking now. Only three steps at a time, but all on her own. If she has someone to hold her hands she’ll walk all the way across the living room, dining room, into the kitchen and back again. Two little teeth showing. Big blue eyes. Bright, happy smile. Wrinkly nose… Cuter than ever.

DS and DDIL (that’s Flylady lingo for “Dear Son” and “Dear Daughter-in-Law”) were in the midst of moving from their previous location to a new larger place two lots up the street. Hubby and I (and Quigley) stayed in the older, smaller house and we all spent a lot of time walking back and forth (partly because the washer and dryer were still in the smaller house and they have lots of diapers to wash… plus that’s where the computer was! ) Hubby left on Monday, and I stayed an additional three days, then flew back this afternoon.

So, as I said. I’m tired. This pic from last winter expresses it perfectly:

A Dire Event Turns Into a Fun Weekend

Well, I’m probably overstating the “direness” of my event last weekend, but nevertheless, it seems generally that whenever the potential of having cancer is mentioned people take it as dire. Major surgery is, I suppose, regarded by most as dire, as well. Maybe I was just in denial but I don’t think so.  I’ve known for some time that God had complete control over the matter and I had none. Zip. Zero. Oddly, that realization is the one that most often gives me peace.

So, how did this “dire” event become a fun weekend? Well, the Lord just had a bunch of little and big blessings stacked in waiting to unfold.

It started with my son and daughter-in-law arriving with little Lily Thursday night. I kind of protested them making the rather large effort it is to pack all the paraphernalia that one must bring when traveling with a baby and spend about 8 hours driving over here after a full day of work… after all I was going to be in the hospital most of the time they would be here and what were they going to do? But they wanted to come, so I didn’t protest too much, because any chance to see them I am happy for.  In retrospect, I am so glad they came.

In the morning, they slept in, since I would be sequestered in the bowels of the hospital without visitation from about 5:30 when we arrived until about 10 when my surgery, slated to begin at 7:30, was to end. They planned to come sometime after 7:30 to be there at that time.

At 5:15am  I walked out of the house in the still dark wee hours of the morning and the first thing I saw was a huge full moon hanging low over the western horizon. Very cool.

When we arrived I was the first person to be escorted back to the preparation area — and into Rm #3. I have this game that I think God sometimes plays with me using the numbers —  3 is the number of God… so that was to me, a cool reassurance.

Overall, I was totally relaxed. I always seem to like my nurses and techs, and this time was no exception. Eventually they brought me into pre-op where the anesthesiologist introduced himself and told me all about what was to happen. Then we waited for the doctors to arrive. Mine was late, but at one point some random nurse, not the one caring for me, came by and told me I was really lucky, that my doctor was really good. “He’s a surgeon’s surgeon,” she said. I counted that another unexpected reassurance from the Lord.

Finally the doctor arrived, we talked a bit and then it was time. The anesthesiologist told me he was going to give me a light sedative before we left pre-op during which I’d still be awake so I could follow different commands to move from the gurney to the operating table, etc.  Well, awake or not, his words were the last thing I remember.

Next thing I knew I was waking up and being wheeled through the a hall, through a familiar double door to a familiar waiting room which was filled with people that I knew — my husband, son, daughter in law, grand-daughter and one of my closest friends. I got a room right by the nurses station with a view of the mountains. Room 1411.  Hmm. Three ones and a four. Four refers to God’s creation, the natural world – and by implication His power over it. And 3 and 4 make seven, the number of perfection. (Yes, I know, I’m weird. Really — it’s just a fun little game and keeps me amused in times like these.)

My husband and friend came in and I got the news — the surgery, ten minutes late to start had finished ten minutes early and “everything had gone exactly as it should go.” Plus, as I mentioned yesterday, they found no sign of cancer.

As my friend was leaving my son and his family came in and turns out they spent pretty much the whole day there, except for when they went out for lunch and dinner. And they brought Lily. I had not expected that, I guess because I had this idea that people just didn’t bring babies to hospitals if they didn’t have to. Plus I’d found out that my daughter-in-law’s mother and brother were in town that same weekend, so I figured she’d spend the day with them.

Thinking I probably wasn’t going to get to see much of her, I’d prayed in a random sort of way that “sometime” (like in the more distant future) I’d get some one on one time with her to just visit and get to know her better. But no way did I expect the Lord to answer that prayer the very next day. Yet that’s what He did. It was cool to sit there and realize He had done it, too. What a gift. She’s a very busy young woman, and doing a great job mothering Lily, too.

So, overall, a fun day of visiting, and watching Lily, who’s crawling now, and squeals like a dinosaur and just seems to be a generally cheerful child with lots of smiles and grins for everyone. Her two little teeth are sooo cute!

That night my son suggested we do a “Good Friday Service” wherein we all read aloud in turn a sequence of passages my d-i-l had assembled narrating Peter’s denials and Jesus’s death on the cross.

Saturday was a long process of the nurses making sure all my plumbing was working correctly and that I could eat without nausea. My biggest problem was the CO2 gas they pump into your abdomen to make the organs easier to see and deal with during surgery. They try to press some of it out but there’s still a lot left, which takes the body a few days to absorb and eliminate, through excretion or exhalation. It hurts, and moves around, and pushes on nerves that for some reason register pain in your neck and shoulders, even though there’s no gas there. And it makes it difficult to eat since you feel like there’s no room in your stomach for anything.

Eventually though, I was discharged and wheeled out to the hospital’s front entrance and the car (we laughed because for two days they’d been urging me to walk — which I’d been doing — to help mitigate the effects of the surgical gas, and now that I was leaving insisted I ride in the wheel chair.)

That night we watched my new favorite TV show, The Mentalist. My son had determined this that same morning by asking me about the shows I watched while he watched the monitor showing my pulse  and blood pressure. The Mentalist elicited the greatest increase in pulse, ergo it must be my favorite.

Then Sunday we all went to church together, which I don’t think has ever happened. That day, too, was a reunion of sorts for the members of the Sunday School class I taught for 14 years. Kids who started as toddlers, now grown, some of them engaged or married, and with kids of their own were there. One of them told me we had the largest number of them together since the class had disbanded some 10+ years ago. So that was pretty cool, too.

Afterward my husband took us out for Easter dinner, and then my d-i-l changed the sheets on our waterbed (which I’m not allowed to do since I’m not to lift more than 10 lbs for 4 weeks, nor strain my abdominal muscles) and my son vacuumed (another forbidden activity).  (I also can’t walk Quigley since he would definitely strain my abdominal muscles)

After that they left to drive back to southern California and I was just basking in the pleasure of it all. What a blessing it had all been. (So, if you’re reading, guys, thanks for coming out and providing such great support. It was greatly appreciated and enjoyed.)

Who would ever have thought the weekend of surgery would turn into such a wonderful set of memories?

200 Mile Relay Race

Well, somehow another week has passed and I haven’t managed to get a post up. We had a sort of mini-Bible conference over the weekend, with close friends coming into town to visit. All very exciting and stimulating, but also exhausting.

Anyway, none of that has anything to do with the title of this post, so I’ll get off the update and on with the post…

Recently my husband was invited to participate in a 200 mile relay race. He will be on a team of 12 runners, each of whom will do three legs of varying distances and difficulty. My husband has one “very hard” leg, one “hard” leg and one “easy” one. The hard and very hard legs account for 15.5 of his total 19.7 miles. The entire race is expected to take about 27 hours. There will be two vans for the team to bring each runner to the “exchange points” between legs.

As part of preparing for this race, one of his friends sent him the following video of a “typical conversation between a runner about to do a relay race and a non runner”. It’s done via the same animation program that was used for the “I Don’t Care –Obama is Awesome”  clip I posted some time ago.

We watched it together the other night and laughed our heads off, so I thought I’d share it. The details given by the animated runner are more or less consistent with what my husband will be doing, except for the price — though he did have to pay for the privilege of running. (Nor will he be a part of one of those “Ultra” Teams, either). The questions asked and exclamations uttered by the non runner pretty much parallel my own, as the non runner in our family.

Thus, without further ado:

Lily and Her Dad

Time for the four-month photo collage of my grand-daughter Lily, which her mother made  a few weeks ago. Again, too cute not to share. But also, I noticed how her coloring has come to look like her daddy’s.  So I’ve put up one of his pics afterwards from about the same age.  (Though her mama also had blond hair when she was little. As did I, and now our hair is dark. So I guess time will tell).

Click to enlarge.

And now Daddy:

None of these photos as they are coming through in this post does justice to the BLUE of those blue eyes!