Sunday, October 22, 2017

On my drive to the gym this afternoon I caught just the very beginning of a Radio Lab segment on NPR, and it was so interesting (who knew that Allen Funt's Candid Camera actually started on the radio during WWII?) that I had to look it up after I got home so I could listen to it. 

Here's the link if you have about 35 minutes to be very entertained. (There will be a brief commercial midway, but make sure you keep listening until the credits roll at the end.)

There were only 3 participants at Boot Camp this afternoon, which is unusual. While I did last the entire hour (though barely!) admittedly it wasn't as brutal a session as when some of the missing regulars are there.  Still, we all worked up a sweat.

I did more yardwork today (had to stop when the second can got filled) and laundry, filled and cleaned the pool, swept/hosed porches, and other odds and ends around the house, and also got all caught up on the rest of the previous week's lectures and reading.  Now I'm all ready for the new week.

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Yesterday I dropped off a carton of cookbooks (at Tom's request I'm only keeping a few) at Marcie's since her daughter collects them.  Latina was at the vet having her teeth cleaned, and I definitely missed her exuberant effusive welcome.  Then last night I got the horrible news that she'd had a rare reaction to the anesthetic - and never woke up.  Marcie and Mike are devastated - of course! - and I will be see her later today to commiserate and cry together.

Friday, October 20, 2017

For the first time (ever!) I had a bit of a problem with my knee at the gym today.  Most likely I just strained something (though absolutely no idea how) but we skipped a couple of exercises in order not to create an actual problem... just in case!

I raked up the leftover pile of leaves that didn't make it into the big can last weekend (it virtually filled the big can) before I showered, and then we were off to order the 29 boxes of tile (and grout, and nine 50# bags of thinset), all of which Cesar will pick up.  Glad Tom doesn't have to load and unload all that weight!

Next we stopped in to talk to James; we're going to replace the window over the sink with one a little higher which means we will have room for the granite backsplash (which was not on the original order because with our problem window there isn't one there now.)  He doesn't think that'll be a problem, which is good news.

Both of those errands went well. Window shopping not so much....  At Lowe's we did find a Pella doubled-paned sliding window (with screen) in a perfect size, 36x36, for $120.  The problem is that they only carry it in a bright white frame.  While it turns out that it's also available in almond, that would need to be ordered.  Not only would that take longer than our schedule allows, but Rosemary said it would cost "a little more" - because anything ordered is considered a "special order".  Would you believe that an almond frame would virtually double the cost, to $226!  In what universe is a 97.5% increase a "little bit more"?

We left pretty disgusted, and while I ran a couple of errands (gas, library) Tom got on the phone.  He got excited when he found a Pella "showroom" in Scottsdale... except that they don't actually carry windows, they just order everything.  Many phone calls later, it seems that every window place would need to order, some quoting a delivery date as far as 8-10 weeks out.  We, of course, need to replace the window before the granite counters are installed in a month or so.

 Obviously these are First World problems - but still annoying.

Paul's crew of four worked hard all day yesterday, and our "jungle" is no more.  (Yes, I really should have taken "before" pictures!)  Everything desperately needed to be cut WAY back.  Now the orchid and peach tree branches no longer sit on the roof.  All of the oleander trunks/branches that had been pushing on the wall have now been removed (the short south-facing section of the block wall already tilts at quite a serious angle.)  

Of course years of flood irrigation saturating the ground underneath every few weeks hasn't helped the situation any!  

The oleanders should have been pruned back years ago, but someone-who-shall-not-be-named fought me about doing it.  At least it's done now, though until our serious growing season starts up again in a few months it will look pretty bare out there - plus the serious cutback is allowing the afternoon sunshine to stream into all the windows on the west side.

But oleanders grow incredibly quickly, and by next summer I anticipate quite a bit of shade - and peaches where we can actually reach to pick them! More good news is that I won't be doing any more of that endless raking each week, filling up the two green cans yet never seeing much evidence of clearing that section of property of detritus!

I'm sure Pokey was happy to be released from her garage prison after her 24-hour stay (though her emotions are somewhat difficult to evaluate) no doubt helped along by the fact that we treated her to some strawberries for enduring the situation so stoically.   I do wonder what she'll 'think' when she sees what happened to her favorite hiding place in the jungle, which is now fully exposed.

When the guys tackled the hedge in the Back 40 after they had finished clearing the jungle, it was a surprise to me at how far the oleanders (and the encroaching lantana) had migrated into the yard, about 10 feet.  But none of us realized that there was this (ash?) tree growing in the hedge!  When I went out back to admire the continuing progress I thought it was the big lantana tree that had been growing up through the hedge (the one I had hoped Alex could cut down at one point) and wondered how the guys had gotten it to stand up by itself.  When I had Tom come out to see it before it was cut down, he had the same thought!

One of the guys mentioned how many scorpions and spiders they had come across, both in the jungle and the Back  40.  Here's hoping none of them decide their new home should be inside ours!  We also spied a rat scurrying away in the Back 40 hedge, and again I hope he (and any friends he had!) also find new homes elsewhere.

In the afternoon I took Marcie with me to 35th Ave (as a first-timer there she was properly overwhelmed) where I needed to pick up that last 10-inches of fabric, and then I did finish up placemats 7 and 8 yesterday.  A check of my batting cabinet confirmed what I thought, that I just have bits and pieces left over from other projects. That means I will need to make a trip to JoAnn's before I can quilt them.

Marcie had finished the final borders on the baby quilt top, so whenever Irene is done with my spool quilt I can trade her this new one to work on.  

We met Alex for a birthday dinner at The Keg last night.  He was quite happy (though obviously not surprised <g>) with his annual gift, a Season Pass to Snowbowl.  As usual he's really looking forward to snowboarding again this winter.  

However the service was beyond appalling - and at their prices, there is no excuse! As one example (and just the first of several), our waitress brought bread and butter - but no plates or silverware. Service was downhill from there.  Alex and I at least enjoyed our meals (I ordered steak and lobster tails), but Tom's was pretty weak. Though The Keg was Alex's choice, we are not likely to return on our own.  Alex was headed out to Scottsdale afterward for an evening of birthday celebrations with friends, and assume he will sleep quite late today!

Thursday, October 19, 2017

In between emptying out more of the kitchen cabinets last evening (and deciding what to keep, what to rehome, what to toss) we watched a couple of excellent PBS programs.  The one about people reconnecting with wild animals they have rehabilitated and released into the wild was touching, and should make everyone reassess their views on the emotional capabilities of other mammals. 

What happens when people are reunited with the wild animals with which they forged a deep bond years ago? Will these gorillas, elephants, cheetahs and chimpanzees still recognize their human caregivers and how will they react? That is the premise of this program which also raises the question whether wild creatures can really experience emotions like joy, devotion, and love.

Another show, on the construction of the Forbidden City, was also fascinating; besides the fact that construction (in the early 1400s) only took 4 years, the ingenious methods they used render it virtually earthquake-proof!

Today is Alex's 25th birthday!  Now he's a whole quarter of a century "old".  (I celebrated my 25th birthday at Disneyland.)  We'll take him out for dinner tonight to celebrate.

I'm still waking up around 5:30 each morning, but at least that is a time I can live with.  On the plus side maybe I will be able to get in a little sewing before the tree crew arrives at 7:00.  My arm is sore today (probably as a result of Tuesday's workout) but that shouldn't hamper my sewing <g> too much! There's not too much on my "schedule" today so I'm hoping to get the remaining four placemats constructed.  (Alex approved of the first four when he popped over to return Tom's truck keys.) It's a plan!

I had invited him (and Kyle) to dinner last night - salmon on the grill - but they already had made plans to meet some friends.  Here's the pic Alex had me snap after the RV returned all nice and clean from the truck wash. (The inside looked a whole lot better also since they had mucked out 6 weeks of clutter!)

Nate X Frannie puppies have arrived!
We have 4 puppies, 2 boys and 2 girls (1 liver), no patches.
Birth weights were between 12.9 oz. and 15 oz.
All are doing well. Good girl, Frannie!
(Frannie still needed a clean up when this photo was taken, but she needed to rest more.)

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

At the end of Show & Tell this morning Joyce shared the frightening story of their drive home from vacation last month, when a speeding semi on I-40 hit them, sending them careening into the median.  She and her husband both are still painfully sore, but luckily otherwise seem to be okay.

After Busy Bees I needed to pick up the companion fabric for the backs of the placemats.  While I was waiting at the red light until I could turn left onto 35th, I took that opportunity to file a hangnail.  When I looked up the light had already turned green, but when I started to pull out into the intersection I realized that a speeding car racing north on 35th was in the process of running the red light.  Had I not immediately put on my brakes that car would have slammed right into my door, causing severe injury... if not worse!

When I got home the recycle can was placed in front of the garage door, so I correctly guessed that Alex had already relocated Pokey, as requested.  No doubt she won't be happy in there, but she will be safe tomorrow morning while the tree crew is working out back.

After I made a major trip to the grocery store
I spent much of the rest of the afternoon relaxing.

Frannie's puppies have started to arrive; the first little guy was born at 5:30 a.m. (Texas time) today.  Not sure who is holding him, but pretty sure that midwife is not Marilyn.  Despite several ultrasound pix, there are differing opinions on how many siblings will eventually join him.

Here is mom-to-be Frannie a few days ago, testing out her whelping box.

Yesterday morning I picked up the latest book to come in at the library (and yes, more arrived later in the afternoon so I'll be making another trip) which I'm finding well-written and am definitely enjoying.


Hazard is a poignant, unflinching memoir of the emotional intricacies of growing up with a severely disabled sibling. Margaret Combs shows how her Southern Baptist family coped with the reality of autism in an era of ignorance and shame, the 1950s through the 1970s, and shares her own tragedy and anguish of being torn between helping her brother and yearning for her own life. Like many siblings of disabled children, young Margaret drives herself to excel in order to make up for her family’s sorrow and ultimately flees her family for what she hopes is a “normal” life.
Hazard is also a story of indelible bonds between siblings: the one between Combs and her sister, and the deep and rueful one she has with her disabled brother; how he and she were buddies; and how fervently she wanted to make him whole. Initially fueled by a wish that her brother had never been born, the author eventually arrives in a deeper place of gratitude for this same brother, whom she loves and who loves her in return.

I did complete an upper body workout at the gym yesterday, but with lesser weights than usual - and, on one machine, we discovered we needed to cut back from full range of motion.  While I don't want to be a wuss, of course I DON'T want to aggravate my shoulder/arm issue!  I'm grateful that my wonderful and knowledgeable trainer Jim feels the same way, and doesn't belong to the "no pain, no gain" contingent!

I've started working on one of my holiday gifts, a set of 8 placemats.  While I am very happy with the way they are turning out, the stunning fabrics are doing most of the work for me!  Wanda came over in the afternoon (she needed to escape her house while her housekeeper was there) and heartily approved.  (She had been with me when I bought the fabrics.) 

It was fun to see all the projects she whipped up in Prescott at the retreat last week, and I might even make up one of them (at least I've now got a copy of the pattern to add to my stash!)

After a thorough search on the internet, Wanda found a picture of a quilt she wants to make in red/white (for the AQG Ruby Anniversary in March?) so I drafted a partial pattern onto graph paper for her.  Louise is going to use her computer EQ program (I'll see her at Busy Bees this morning) to whip up the entire pattern for Wanda.

Tom and I continue to muck out kitchen cabinets, and Wanda found a few items in our "rehome" pile (including a wonderful glass baking dish with handles) to go home with her.

Monday, October 16, 2017

Sheri had let me know that the quilt book I ordered had arrived, so after I made a deposit at the bank this morning I swung by TOQS to pick it up.  Judging from the number of cars parked in front I thought there was a class going on, but it happened to be GIFT: Get It Finished Today.  

Obviously the above quote was not meant for quilters, because starting new quilt projects is easy - and the reason we have so many UFOs.  It's the finishing that's hard, because we continually get side-tracked by new and exciting projects!

Then I was off to the chiropractor.  Turns out that my shoulder was out of whack, which was most likely responsible for the arm issue this past week.  He was able to do some adjustment (and I do have "homework" for this week) and I'll see him again in a week when hopefully he can bring it more fully into line.  Sure don't want it to turn into a rotator cuff issue, which is what he's trying to prevent.

This afternoon Tom and I started emptying out some of the kitchen cabinets.  Of course he's brutal, and wants to toss out a lot more than I do.

Alex got home, a day early.  The guys had a successful tour (with only a couple of hiccups) but are definitely glad to be off the road for a while.  I finally got to see the interior of the RV - very snazzy, with two (!) bathrooms... and a washing machine!

Sunday, October 15, 2017

The yard is looking really good.  Tom did a lot of weed-eating this morning, while I took care of things like sweeping/hosing porches (Pokey drags a lot of mud up onto them after irrigation), cleaning the pool, watering plants, etc.  I also brought Pokey's Palace (her igloo with the heat lamp) out of the garage where it's been stored since last winter because at some point <g> it'll cool off enough at night that she'll be looking for a cozy spot.

I knew it would be a tough session at Boot Camp this afternoon, because on Friday Jim had warned me that one of the ladies had requested a more intense workout.  So I just did what I could, and surprised myself when I made it almost to the end of the hour. 

Since I woke up so early this morning I did feel pretty worn out afterward, and this afternoon I may have drifted off on the couch - at least until the doorbell rang.  Someone up the street had found a large tortoise cruising along in the road and thought it might be Pokey.  Happily it wasn't; she was safe and sound out back.  Tom and I walked up the block anyway to check it out, and the rescued girl was sure a beauty, with a perfect shell; obviously she had been well-cared for. But unlike Pokey, she was not sporting a phone number on the back of her shell. 

I guessed that a posting on the neighborhood computer site would yield results, and sure enough her person claimed her right away. 

Marcie & I had a delightful day listening to the wonderful music at Arcosanti's open-air ampitheatre yesterday.  We got there just as the music had started (the opening act was the youthful group Jam Pak) and scored perfect seats, dead center under the wonderful shade awning.

It turns out that we could have brought Latina after all; there were a surprising number of dogs attending. We're both looking forward to doing it all over again next month in Wickenburg. Mike will likely come with us; it turns out he was bummed he missed all the fun yesterday!

Once home I caught up on the Wednesday lecture, though there's still some reading I need to do.  Andy announced good news at the beginning of that class: his recent federal case, which involved a rent dispute of many millions of dollars and was taking up a lot of his time and energy, is finally over.... and his client won!  So no surprise he was pretty happy.

I've been sleeping well lately (anytime I make it to 6:00 or later I'm happy), but it was disappointing that this morning I was awake before 4:00. 

Eventually I gave up on trying to fall back asleep, and got up and read. 
Just wish my eyes didn't feel so gritty.

Irene returned my call yesterday (I'd forgotten that she was going to be out of town for a few days at a quilting seminar) and says she'll be happy to quilt what is going to be the Foothills 2018 raffle quilt.  It looks fabulous with the top/bottom borders on (I saw it yesterday when I picked up Marcie) and the side borders, already cut out, will go on today.  My spool quilt should be ready sometime this week, so when I get that back from Irene I can turn over this next one.  "Somehow" I volunteered to be in charge of this project, so glad things are falling into place nicely.