Saturday, May 31, 2008

Our California Adventure

Ha! I finally got this thing posted!


A week ago Friday my cousin Ally received her Master's in Marital and Family Therapy. At least that's what they tell me. The Hubs was working, so we couldn't make the ceremony, but we still wanted to congratulate her in person.

So last Saturday we hit the road.

From Phoenix to Ally's home in Orange County, it's about a 7-hour drive including stops (several) and getting lost (several times).

The drive was actually very nice – there were desert ironwood
trees in bloom along the roadside and a dramatic overcast sky. (Remember, rainy/cloudy is good if you’re from Arizona.)

Of course, we passed all the California road trip landmarks I remember seeing on various family vacations growing up. There's the Colorado River,

the miles of windmills (Wind turbines?
Giants? What are those things really?),

and the dinosaurs invading the city. (Maybe it's the other way around. I think they were there first.)

We also discovered a new California road trip landmark.

That one is not so cute.

We finally made it to where Ally lives, which somehow reminded me of Disneyland. Only the animals don’t sing.

A few highlights:
  • squeezing our crowd into an already crowded restaurant and pouncing on the first available seating (FYI, that's Ally on the left and her roomie, Kelli, Kacie, on the right.) (Sorry about that! I need to quit blogging tired!)

  • walking in the park with the Hubs and my Uncle John (and some rabbits)

  • learning to throw change into the toll booth thing - without even stopping the car

  • going on a quest for guinea pig food
  • reconnecting over coffee

And as fun as all that was, it's good to be back.

P.S. Most of the photos are by me. The Hubs took the gas pump one...and the ones with me in them.

Technical difficulties

In case you're wondering, I've been wrestling with Picasa the last few days. I was (attempting) to use it to edit and upload some of the photos from my California trip. Even though it drove me bananas last time I tried, for some reason I thought I had it down.

It's true I don't know what I'm doing, but usually that's not a problem with Google. Usually their stuff is very user-friendly and intuitive. I <3 docs, the reader, Gmail, iGoogle...etc. Picasa is like the evil son (daughter?) of the Google family.

And, after saying that, who else is thinking that my blog is about to "mysteriously" disappear from Google search results? Better bookmark it now, just in case.

Monday, May 26, 2008


So we're back from California. But more on that later (uploading photos right now).

It's Memorial Day. Yes, we're going to a movie and going shopping, and I'm holding a sale in my shop. Oh and grilling chicken with my parents this evening. I'm also feeling a bit pensive.

I'm thinking about my grandpa, who told me one time this is a hard time of year for him. He served in Korea World War II (why do I have this distinct memory of someone telling me he fought in Korea? Did I dream it?), and at the end of May Memorial Day reminds him of the friends that didn't make it back. Then June starts and brings with it the anniversary of my Grandma Betty's death. This year, I'm not sure if he's aware of the date or not, but we're still planning on visiting today.

I'm also thinking about those I've lost this past year, most of whom I haven't mentioned on this blog yet. Sometimes it feels better not talking about it, you know?

If you'd like to share who (or what) is on your mind today, feel free. If you'd rather not talk about it, I understand.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Graduation day

Remember that insanely busy weekend I mentioned a couple weeks ago? Well, it kicked off on that Thursday when I went to two - yes, two - college graduations, which I started to write about. (Started. Ahem.) Since the Hubs and I headed to California today to celebrate another cousin's graduation (Ally's), I thought I should get this grad post up first.

I had known both of the two-ceremonies-in-one-day grads since they were girls. And I'm not sure how they got to be old enough to graduate.

During graduation #1 (Fine Arts), I was sitting on the aisle where the graduates lined up. As dozens of names were mispronounced read one after another, I tried to picture these cap-and-gown-wearing students as toddlers. Then I tried to picture what they would look like very old. Either reality was hard to grasp, yet one had definitely happened and the other is a definite possibility.

Why is it that we freeze people and places in our minds when we know that change is constant? Why do I still think my cousin (of graduation #2: Political Science) is still a kid? Or at least a teen? Why does growth so catch us by surprise? It's a completely normal - not to mention inevitable - part of life that continually freaks us out.

Happy graduation, ladies!

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Photos by me. They've kind of got that grainy, paparazzi feel to them, don't they?

Friday, May 23, 2008

On a lighter note...

Earlier this week we had record-breaking heat. It got up to 109 or 110, which is much closer to what you'd expect at the end of May than the weather we're having today.

Yesterday the rain started (in AZ, rain=good.) This morning, it was 54 degrees when I left to take the Hubs to work (in AZ, 54=winter.) And still raining. I put on a long sleeved shirt. And a jacket. Crazy.

By all accounts, we should be in the midst of scorching, dry weather - for the next few months. But I have the windows open. And I am breathing in the beautiful fragrance of Arizona rain.

That, to me, feels a lot like grace.

Thursday, May 22, 2008


This is the third time I've started a new post to write about the same thing. My heart is heavy and I go back and forth between feeling like I must talk about this and like I'd rather not. So I'd better get it out, huh?

Yesterday morning the Hubs and I got an email telling us that Alfonso, a good friend in Peru, had passed away.

(That's Alfonso on the far left. The woman drinking out of a coconut is his wife, Isabel.)

Even though he had cancer, we didn't expect that...yet. We were hoping to make a trip to see him and his wonderful family this fall. We might still go. But now I feel so very far away. I wish we could be there now with the family. And maybe that's why I want to share this with you. To feel connected. Even though that doesn't make any sense.

Suddenly, I feel very tired. Is it okay if I tell you the coconut story later? There is a time for everything, and I think now it's finally time for sleep.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008


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More Wordless Wednesday participants. If you can't see the photo, click here.

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Update: Kind of having technically difficulties with my photos. (i.e. photos disappearing, reappearing, changing, etc.) Just started using Picasa, which I already love, even though I don't know what I'm doing and keep messing up my post. :D Hopefully, they'll stay put now. So much for wordlessness, but I thought that merited an explanation.

Monday, May 19, 2008

When Real People speak...

Reading information is one thing. A person you know relating their experience is completely another.

A friend's experience can make what I read seem much more credible. I'm all about the personal recommendation. The anecdotal evidence. Is that just my personality? Or are you the same way?

Yesterday at church I talked to Tiffany, who has been doing her own reading on BPA (bisphenol A). She decided that even though there's a lot of conflicting information out there, she'd rather be on the safe side. She got new BPA-free sippy cups for her kids.

Her telling me that somehow made the things I'd read seem real. Which is funny, because she's not even completely convinced BPA has negative effects. She got rid of the old cups, etc. as a precaution.

And, you know what? Even though I'm still confused about the whole issue, if I had kids, I think I'd do the same thing. And it's not (just) because she told me her story.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Using my voice

Another ridiculously easy PSBN project brought to you by me...

I've been noticing lately how many things could come in recyclable containers - but don't. Then the other day the Hubs and I enjoyed some sweet, cold Starbucks badness. We noticed that our cups were recyclable (yay!) but there was nothing but trash cans around (boo!)

We ended up taking them with us and throwing them in our recycling bin. If we hadn't been headed straight home, though, we probably wouldn't have bothered.

I also took something else home with me: a business-reply-mail comment card.

I let them know that recyclable containers are good, but an actual on-site recycling bin would be even better. And I drew them a picture. (Well, they had this little cafe scene on there already, and I couldn't help myself.)

Now I'm thinking that wasn't so bad, maybe I'll speak up more often. Maybe I'll start saying something about all those non-recyclable containers.

Each of us only has one voice, but put all those voices together and you get...loud.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008


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More WW participants. | If you can't see the photo, click here.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Always learning

The idea to start this blog came to me when I was driving home from a baby shower last summer. (I'm thinking it was Lory's...wait, no, that couldn't have been, those things come in waves and I can't keep them straight...) Anyway, the mom-to-be received a whole lotta gifts, many of which I couldn't even identify. Everyone around me had to endure me whispering, "What are those?" and "What do you do with that??" etc. pretty much the entire time.

Now, after...let's see...8, 9, 10, 11 months...? Is that right? We'll just say less than one year. For less than a year, I've been reading, blogging, window shopping, and generally paying more attention to baby stuff, and guess what?! I went to the Hub's cousin's baby shower during last weekend's madness, and I knew what (almost) everything was!

There was only one exception.

Let me introduce you to the pacifier pod. It keeps your pacifiers handy. It keeps them clean. And it looks cute.

So now we know what that's about too.


Photos by me.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

In between craziness

To those of you who continue to blog in the midst of life's craziness, how do you do it? It seems like I can't blog until the dust settles a little.

Right now, for example, I'm just coming off several days of graduation/party/baby shower/Mother's Day madness. And I'm missing out on more festivities as I write this, but I'm hoping not to have to leave the house until it's time to take the Hubs to work tomorrow. Ya gotta know when to stop.

And from Thursday's silliness post until now, I haven't been able to get any thoughts from my head into my blog. That's a long time in the blogosphere. So I kind of feel behind. But I guess I just won't worry about it. I'll start with now, and go from there.

The plan this evening? Laundry, get this weekend's photos off the camera (oh yeah, it decided it could connect to my computer again after all - I don't know if they just had a spat or what), read through some of the blogs in my Reader, figure out if we have any food in the house what we're going to eat this week.

Earlier, I had some kind of grand delusion about organizing the office/project room/guest room, but that sounds kind of funny at the moment. We'll see.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

In defense of the silly

Glad I'm not the only one who recognizes the importance of silliness. You would think so from the stares I get sometimes, but, I digress...

Anyway, this post is all about how important it is for children to sing, play, and be silly - and how we should join in the fun as well.

A little teaser...

It is these little games, where the only props they might have are a dishcloth, a cardboard box and a wild imagination, that will give your child the tools they need for life.
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Photo by Just-Us-3. Creative Commons License.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

May not be harmful, but just in case...

National Geographic's Green Guide has a very thorough (read: long) but easy-to-understand article, which discusses different sides of the BPA issue.

It also said that, in addition to baby bottles and Nalgene bottles, BPA can also leach into wine (from the vats, not the bottles) and into canned food and beverages. Great.

The BPA we injest may (or may not) cause diabetes and/or cancer and/or who knows what else.

The good news is that if you want to avoid it, they made you a list of ways to do just that - which you can skim if you don't have time to read the whole 4-page article.

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Photos: 1) By jawcey. Creative Commons License. 2) By maureen_sill. Creative Commons License.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Baby food doesn't have to be gross?

I came across Seventh Generation's Review of Healthy Parenting Guides, which focuses on books about raising kids in a less toxic environment (with organic food, without certain household chemicals, etc.). You probably know where I went next...

My library only had one book on the list: The Organic Baby & Toddler Cookbook by Lizzie Vann, so I took a look at it.

Let me tell you what. Some of those recipes sounded so good that I would eat them (skipping, of course, the step where you blend otherwise appetizing ingredients into mush).

Actually, Erin and I chatted about that at our last play group. She said that a lot of times you can adapt whatever the rest of the family's eating for a baby or toddler, so you're not making two (or three...) separate meals.

Anyway, besides all the recipes, the book talks about what different age groups need nutritionally and why. Which I liked. I also liked that it takes into consideration that you might not always be able to get (or afford) only organic food.

So I'd say check it out, but, be warned, it might make you hungry.

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P.S. Right now, my camera says "connecting to computer" but it's not connecting. So these photos (all of which were taken by moi, BTW) may seem strikingly similar to some in other posts. Bonus points if you can tell me which ones.