Monday, November 29, 2010

For My Children...the Cat Lovers

Be sure your volume is ON.

From dooce via youtube. Because I can spot a good video when I see one, but clearly don't have enough time to search through all of youtube.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Believe It or Not

This morning's Sunday School lesson was about The Greatest in Baby Jesus.  As the "shepherd" (small group leader) I was to start my group talking about a time when they received some great news.  There was one little boy sitting off by himself....who we learned earlier was a first time visitor to our I asked him to come join our group.  He seemed like the quiet type and my group was made up of 3 little girls and 6 rowdy boys already.  What's one more, especially if they're the quiet type?

I'm talking about great news....and I hear a little side conversation going on beside me.  This is not unusual.....the room gets very loud with several small groups all talking at once.  But all of a sudden I hear......


New Boy:  NO, there isn't.  Never has been.


Me:  Hey guys, can you tell me about a time you got some really great news?  (Talking to the two arguing ...trying to deflect and keep moving....)

Rowdy Boy:    He said there isn't a Santa Claus.

New Boy:  Because there isn't.  

Me:  (to the Rowdy Boy)  Hey, why don't you come over here and sit closer to me.  (he scoots over...then I whisper to him)  Listen, my family believes and your family believes but maybe his family doesn't believe.  So let's just not talk about that right now.  Okay.  So today we are going to hear a story of the greatest.......

New Boy:  Santa never existed.

Rowdy Boy:  YES HE DOES!!!

New Boy:  Nope, he doesn't.

Wow....they are not letting this go. At this point, I can't believe the other kids aren't in on this....I think it was because they were all talking, too.  I had lost all  of their attention by now.

I separated the two boys in my circle....we moved on to watch the Large Group teachers put on a play/lesson.  After the lesson, I spoke to New Boy off to the side while the others were doing their craft.  I explained that some families believed in Santa and some celebrated Christmas with different traditions.

Me:  I know you don't believe in Santa but some children do so let's just not talk about it right's upsetting Rowdy Boy. Do you have a Christmas tree up in your house?

New Boy:  No, we don't celebrate like that.  We don't give gifts either.  We choose a family and pray for them.

Me:  Alrighty then.  That sounds good.  (what could I possibly say?)

This situation was NOT in the training manual....and these were not my own children.

Really, you can not discuss Christmas without kids talking about Santa.  And our lesson today was very clear about the Baby Jesus being the most important part of the season.  But they are children and this Santa is a huge deal to them. 

I felt a little sorry for New Boy.  It sounds like his family are good people.  But no Santa?  Rowdy Boy would have none of that!  He may end up being that boy in 5th grade who gets made fun of for still believing but today wasn't going to be the day he found out.......nope, not on my clock.

Surprised by The Coming Home......

As I said in the last post,  the coming home from our getaway deserved a post of its own. 

While we were packing up to leave, Chuck got a phone call.  I heard him say hi to my sister......then the rest of the conversation was a lot of "okay" and "uh yea" and "alright"......and I was saying "what?" and "tell me" and "give me the phone."  It was my sister and he looked concerned and I was getting worried.

Finally, he gives me the phone and my sister tells me she needs us to swing by her house when we get back in town because her father-in-law is giving her husband one of his hunting guns and she needs us to hide it until Christmas.  I say, "can't you just hide it under your bed?"  She says, "we have to clean our room tomorrow."  I say, "Okay."  (Makes sense to me because maybe they are rearranging and he will see under the bed???)

This sister doesn't ask much of me.  She's the giver.  And if she needs me to do this for her, then sure.  We can do this.  It's not on our way........but sure we can swing by her house....on the southwest side of the city.  We live in the far northwest side.....a 50 minute drive away.  But sure we can do this for her.

So we finish packing up, eating breakfast, checking out, and heading over to The Hill Country Galleria for a little shopping.  After a couple of hours, Cameron left us to head back to College Station.  She had a major project to work on.  Kiss, hug, us when you get there.

On our way out of town, we drive through downtown Austin and through the University of Texas campus.  And then back on the road to home.

At about the place we would need to exit to head towards my sister's, I say I think we should go home first to check on the dogs, the house and the mail.  We can unload the car, then head over there.

We get home and make the quick turn around to get back in the car to head to my sister's.  I call her and we discuss maybe eating out somewhere.  Mexican or Italian?  We can decide when we get there.  Fifty minutes of more driving.  And we pull up to her house. 

We walk in.  Everything appears normal.  I head into the living area.  Normal.  I turn the corner and see her table fully set for dinner.  My nephew asks, "Have you seen our bathroom?"  I follow him to it...but I am still trying to process the visual of the set table.


Cameron who left us early to go back to College Station.
  Cameron who had text me that she was "home."


My sister and Cameron apparently had planned this all week.  A surprise dinner party.  Guests included my sister, her husband, her two sons, and us.  Steak and chicken,  twice baked potatoes, green beans, Caesar salad, fruit salad and pumpkin pie for dessert. 

The gun?  Never happened.  Just the story they came up with to get me over there.  My brother-in-law?  Kept saying all night, he really wanted that gun for Christmas. ha.

What a pleasant surprise.  Of course, I felt a little "off" all night.  I mean, I fell for the story.  And I was questioning my could I not have picked up on anything? 

I think I know.  It wasn't me.  My family can lie.  Really well.

I got my camera out but not until after the dinner.  I asked the kids to get on the stairway for a group shot of the cousins.  Somehow the dogs were invited to be in the group shot.

 By the way, that furry trouble in those pictures?  His name is Asher.  He's not even one year old yet.  Asher has trouble with boundaries. 

The dog on the bottom?  That's Tipper.  She makes a great cushion, apparently.


Oh, don't feel too sorry for Tipper.  She has boundary issues, too.

Meet Tipper, the lap dog.

Dear Sister, Brother-in-law, Nephew 1, Nephew 2, Husband, Daughter 2 and Son:

Thanks for the surprise!  The icing on the top of the cake......the cake being my wonderful birthday week.
You fooled me.  And I would like to say that's not hard to do.....but it seems it's easier than I thought.

You made my birthday very special. 

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Thankful for The Getaway....

For years.....and years.......and years, Thanksgiving was always at my house or my sister's and days and dollars were spent preparing the huge meal that took all of 10 minutes to eat and 2 hours to clean up after.  Pessimist?  A little.  Of course, I always loved the time with the family....especially the cousins playing and bonding.  But there was a point in my adult life when I realized this was a lot of work and maybe tradition needed to be broken. 

So for a few years I convinced Chuck to go somewhere for the Thanksgiving break.  I had friends who went skiing or cruising or mini-vacationing over this break in school...and I was ready for this change.  These trips were way more fun for me than my kids.  I am married to a traditionalist and have given birth to 3 more traditionalist.  I'm more of the "whatever works this year" kind. So while I'm met with lots of complaining when I suggest we go somewhere,  I know they will understand one day.......when they are the adults in charge of this holiday. 

It's been a while since we've gone somewhere for Thanksgiving, so this year I was ready for another getaway.  My friend Mary suggested Lakeway Resort on Lake Travis near Austin.  It turned out to be the perfect place.  Just 2 1/2 hours away (that somehow Chuck's navigation system turned into a 4 1/2 route.......I am not took us the longest route possible to get to this place but Chuck believes in this thing......thank goodness it didn't tell us to pull INTO the lake) it was the perfect place to just chill out.

It was exactly what I was looking for.....

Leave the relatives behind.....

 enjoy a little water skiing and relaxation.......

.....let the others do the cooking.......

.....while I spent some one on one with the old man.

Kidding......those pictures were in the lobby of the restaurant and I just had to share them with you.  Seriously, though, I did get what I was looking for.

I was looking for a getaway....a different view out of the window.  An escape from the rat race of life.  A time to stop and spend time with my family without the distractions of our lives.

And I got it.  Thanks to Chuck for agreeing.  Thanks to Mary for the suggestion.  Thanks to my kids for going along.  Happy Birthday to me.  Happy Thanksgiving to us.

But I also got a little bit of normal. 

This was Wednesday evening, my birthday.  Let's just say I had way too much birthday beverage....thanks to my sweet husband Chuck who is never allowed to order my drinks ever again.  Ever.  Again.  And my daughter in this picture?  She hasn't had a beverage yet. 

Later she and Will went down to the Capitol steps in Austin for the Aggies' midnight yell practice.  Will was approached by a homeless man who offered him some weed.  Well, now.  We paid for them to take a taxi there and back so no worries about them driving.
Thursday was full of sleeping in, eating a good meal, taking naps and watching the Texas Aggies beat the H. E. Double L out of the Longhorns.  I have some very good friends who are Longhorns.......but really, it was our year.  Surely they understand.

Cameron and Chuck watched the game in the bar with a large crowd....some Aggies, some Longhorns.   I stayed for about a half  hour then decided to head back to my room with a good book.  I have this supernatural power that few know about.  When I leave the room.....the football team Chuck is pulling for starts scoring and winning.  So you're welcome Aggies.  I do what I can.

Of course, because one kid was happy, the other was bored.  Will let me know he was bored but like any good mother, I said "get over it."

We headed home on Friday afternoon....after a little eating and shopping.  The next part of the story deserves its own post.  So to be continued..........

P.S.  We missed Jordan and Chris.


Hope your Thanksgiving was just what you wanted.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

But wait.....

One of the reasons I love my little low paying job is because I am with 5 year olds all day.  They are as real and honest as it gets.  Somehow by the time a kid turns 8 or 9, they have already learned to bottle up their emotions.  With a 5 year old, they say what they mean and mean what they say. 

Yesterday, when I walked in the kindergarten area, I was greeted with shouts of "Happy Birthday, Mrs. Hackney!"  And every time, I walked through a class, more shouts.  To the point I had to stop and instruct them to just wink at me from now on.  I'm sure the teachers were so over the disruption I was causing, but I was reveling in it.  Two classes made me a Birthday Book......where each child writes the words Happy Birthday! and draws a picture of a cake with candles on it.

They were told I was they believed it.  That is an intangible number to a 5 year old so it sounded old to them. 

They were told my favorite cake is pumpkin pie (it really is) so many of them drew a pumpkin pie instead of a birthday cake.

And the day went on full of love and best wishes.  I had an internal glowing all day.

Until about 3:00.

One of my favorite kids this year is a little boy who is very solemn and quiet.  When he does speak, he says something like, "How's your day going, Mrs. Hackney?"

Ugh.  Right to the heart, that one.  He's wise beyond his years and he's a worrier.  He happens to be the oldest child with 2 younger siblings.  And his parents are divorced and now he is moving.  Away.  From me.  From US.  The US that has invested 12 weeks into this child and have fallen in love with him.  Ugh.

Up until yesterday, it was unsure whether it was his last day, but around 3:00 was a phone call.

The teacher went over to his table after packing up his things and leaned down by him saying in a quiet voice "today is going to be your last are moving to your new house." 

Because he is so solemn, he just nodded okay. 

But the boy who sits next to him........he overheard the teacher......and he did a double-take.....

Other Boy:           But wait......                               He's

moving?                         He's leaving?             But.......

He's            my             best             friend......... 

 (and here come the tears.....more like a flood...)

And the teacher and me? 

We had to look away to keep the moving away boy from seeing our pain.  It was palpable. It hung in the air.

As I left the area for the day, I told the moving away boy that I would see him later.  Not goodbye.

I said, "Who knows?  Maybe I'll see you in the store sometime."  (huge lump in my throat)

He said, "Yea, Mrs. Hackney....I'll say hi to you."

A risk of the job:  heartache

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Aging Gracefully

Not that I am aging gracefully, but I'm aging.  I might as well take it as gracefully as possible.  I turn 53 on Wednesday.  It's the new 33 with a hell of a lot more wisdom.  And weird skin things.


At the age of 13........I hated my fair skin because all my friends would tan.

At the age of 35........I quit trying to tan.

At the age of fair skin is freckled with sun damage but the wrinkles are few because I didn't "worship" the sun. 


At the age of 17.........I lathered on baby oil with iodine in failed attempts to tan.

At the age of 53.........I apologize for my neon skin that can be blinding in the sunlight. 



At the age of 23........I hated my fat thighs.

At the age of 53........I know now that those weren't fat thighs.


At the age of 26........I worried about my big hips and wished my stomach was flatter.

At the age of 27........I had my first c-section scar and stretch marks on those big hips, which were now bigger......but carried a perfect baby full term.

At the age of 53........I admire my 3 c-sections scars because they represent 3 of the happiest days in my life.  And the hips?  Now I'm just thankful when they don't hurt.


At the age of 35.......I remember looking at my aging aunt's arms as I sat by her on a sofa.  I felt sorry for her and wondered how her skin got so loose and crepe-y looking.  At the time, she seemed very old.

At the age of 53.......I realize it happens when we're living life.  My aunt was only a few years older then than I am now.  And sometimes I see a little crepe-y look on my hands and legs...before I look away quickly.


At the age of 45.......I watched an older friend putting on her make-up. As she pulled the eyeshadow brush across her eyelid, the skin of her eyelid stayed put on the other side.  I remember thinking how sad that must be.

At the age of 53.......My eyelid sticks to the other side as I pull the eyeshadow brush across my lid.  I pull it back and realize it's not as sad as other things.


At the age of 20.......I still had breakouts on my face.  I remember thinking I was way too old to have pimples.

At the age of 53.......I still think I am too old to have pimples...but somehow now they make me feel like I must still be young enough.


At the age of "fat weight number" was a number I would never go over.

At the age of 53........I would give anything to weigh 20 pounds more than that "fat number".....and I'm way over the 20 that's over the "fat number."


At the age of 20.........a boy broke my heart and I have never felt so desperate and alone.

At the age of 53.........I would thank that boy if I could. I can still feel the pain sometimes, but I see how God worked it out.


At the age of 24..........I had lots of first dates with boys that never called back.  What was wrong with me?

At the age of 53..........It was them.  They were wrong. 


At the age of 15..........I was still waiting to develop what it took to fill a 32C.  I begged my mother for a padded bra.  She bought me one.  I wore it every day for 3 years.  Yes.  I.  Did.  You can't exactly wear it every other day.  Flat on Monday. Big on Tuesday. Flat on Wednesday.

At the age of 16..........I realized that padded bra ended up being birth control.  No way I was letting anybody enter what was inside that bra. What a dissappointment that would have been.

At the age of 27........I got to enjoy filling up a C cup through the wonder of pregnancy.  And again at the age of 30 and 32. 

At the age of 40.......Things deflated.

At the age of 53..........I am just thankful for a clear mammogram.  


At the age of 21.........I was living in my own apartment and I told my mother I didn't have to answer to her anymore.

At the age of 53.........I'm on the receiving end of that now.  Ouch.  But I completely understand.  I was that independent girl once.


At the age of 30........I was full of anxiety.  Every twinge was a tumor and I worried about every little thing.  Who would help Chuck raise the children when I died....and I felt certain I would die early.

At the age of 53.......I stay in the moment.  That worry was a huge waste of time.

We are here but a moment.
  Please don't waste it on worry.


Friday, November 19, 2010

Everybody needs a friend.....

Chuck is an introvert (no secret) and for our 27 years of marriage, I can only count 3 friends that he has considered  good friends.  I, on the other hand, am an extrovert (big secret) and have always had several circles of friends spinning in my world.  I like a lot of friends in my world....some make me laugh, some  are younger, some older, some give me great advice, some go back as far as my childhood, one is my sister.  There's Bunco, Book Club, neighbors, co-workers, Sunday School, crafting buddies, phone friends, fb and blogger friends.
But Chuck?

Chuck is probably one of the nicest people I know. He is really the nicest person I know, but since I live with him, I do see a little bit of his stubborn take a few points away for that. Everybody likes Chuck. And Chuck likes everybody. But he doesn't really have friends outside of work friends.  Except those "3" I mentioned earlier...from the past.

A few years ago, I told Chuck he needed a hobby so he could make friends outside of work.  Like golf, softball, church activities.  You know what he came up with?  Coin collecting.  yep. 
 Coin collecting does not require any conversation or leaving the house. Does that speak volumes about how Chuck feels about socializing outside of work?  

Then a while back, I asked Chuck who his friends are.  (People,  I have to work hard at conversations with quiet Chuck...I've already asked favorite food, favorite color, favorite book.)  Chuck thought a minute and said a couple of names of co-workers then added John.  John works for another company who partners with Chuck's company on a project.  He actually lives in Chicago and commutes to Houston for the work week.....each week....and has for the last 5 years.

Well, John is leaving the project and moving on to a new one in a different city.  Chuck's good friend John will be missed.  Not just by Chuck, but by me.....who liked knowing that Chuck had a good friend. 

The last 10 days have been about saying goodbye to John at work.  A going away party at work, and two different dinners out this week.  I told Chuck he should take his picture with John before he last night at dinner, he did.


The worst part about having friends?  Saying goodbye. 

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Budget, Smudget

Two kids in college and a wedding last spring have thrown Chuck and me into a budget zone.  I hesitate to use the word "budget" because that is so not me.  From the time I got my first job, I thought the paycheck amount was meant to be spent before the time the next check rolled around.  And to be spent on whatever my heart desired.  Of course, I was responsible enough to pay my rent and car payment and other bills, but the rest was blown. And usually within 3 days of payday....meaning it was a long time until the next one.  No wonder I was so skinny back then.  There was no grocery money ever.

Then I married Chuck and he had completely different views on how a paycheck was to be used.  Something about saving it and blah, blah, blah. 

Twenty seven years later, we are at a place where we don't fight about money like we used to.  But that doesn't mean we think alike. 

A recent conversation:

(I am at the computer, he walks in...)

Chuck:  We need a new computer.  That one's on its last leg.

Me:  Really?  It seems fine to me.

Chuck:  I've been looking at new ones and I think it's time.

Me:  Really?  'Cause I've been looking at new bedding.  I want a new comforter for our bed.

Chuck:  Noooooooo, I like the one we have.  It's fine.  It's just the right weight.  (yes, he said that.)

Me:  Well, it's hard to wash and the last time I washed it, it didn't come clean. (it's white...but now dingy from the dogs) So you can have a new computer and I'll get a new comforter.

Chuck:  The computer's fine for now. 

He leaves the room.

And that is how we do a budget in our house.  See how we just saved at least $2000?

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Me and Paula Love Butter

I just finished reading Paula Deen's It's Not All About the Cookin'...her memoir. I'm a big fan of Paula Deen because she seems real and she cooks with butter. Her food is home cooking versus gourmet and since I spent the last 20 + years cooking casseroles loaded with cheese and cream of mushroom soup, I feel like I have a kinship with her. In this book, she writes about some very personal issues......from her anxieties to the breakup of her first marriage. She's where she is today because of alot of hard, physical work. She didn't start her catering lunch business, called The Bag Lady, until she was 42...proof it's never too late to start or change careers.
Look at her now.

In the book she says she finds the SNL spoofs about her funny. If you don't know of Paula Deen, where have you been? And you won't find this funny. But having just finished this book where she writes like she talks...this skit made me laugh.

There ain't nothin' better than some booter and awl.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Veteran's Day

Occasionally the kindergarteners have to be taught things besides reading and writing and counting to 100.  Sometimes the teachers are required to teach them about things like Veteran's Day.  Most things can be brought down to a kindergartener's level of understanding, but this one is hard. 

Today, one of the teachers had just read a book to the class of 5 year olds about veterans and how we celebrate and honor them on Veteran's Day.  She said the whole class was really listening to the book.  She went on to talk to them about freedom and what the soldiers do to protect us.

One little boy raised his hand.  When she called on him, he said, "We are really lucky to be Americans."

Yes, she certainly agreed.  At this point she was starting to tear was really a moment and the kids seemed to be making a real connection. Then another boy raised his hand.

Teacher:  Yes?

Him:  When are we going to our second work station?

Well....goodness, they are only 5 years old.  But they've been making flags and they're going to wear red, white and blue tomorrow because our school does Veteran's Day up big. 


There will be a program in the morning with our 5th grade choir performing to a group of 67 veterans....each a relative of at least one of our students.  The kindergarteners will line the halls and wave their flags as the soldiers leave the cafeteria after the program and head to the library for a reception honoring them.

I think those kindergarteners will get it tomorrow.  I think they will see those veterans...some in their perfectly starched uniforms....and they will know these veterans are important...and special.  And if they get that, it will be enough.

I think it's hard to really comprehend what a soldier sacrifices for us. Not to mention his families' sacrifices.  But rarely a day goes by that I don't think about how lucky we are to be free.....and how lucky I am to be an American.  Our worst day here is so much better than a moment in Iraq.  And for that I am every soldier now and every soldier who came before them.

To my father and Chuck's father, our uncles, my father's cousin......the veterans in my family....I hope you feel the love up there tomorrow.

Thank you doesn't really cover it.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Animals and Dust

The weeks are flying by.  I'm too pooped to do much on the weeknights, but I have a few things I want to post about.  Nothing too important.....just mainly putting them on here for me (my memory).

Maggie  The sweet, somewhat low IQ, loving shihtzhu-poo has had a place above her eye for a while now.  It sort of looks like a wart. The last time she went to the vet for a check-up in August, the vet said it was nothing to worry about unless it began to grow or bleed. 

About 3 weeks ago, I looked down and it was bleeding.  Upon closer look, it had grown.  Just a little. Then it continued to bleed and grow.  So the afternoon before we left for Scottsdale last week, we took her back to the vet. 

Sorry, if you're eating while reading this.

The vet seemed very concerned, said it wasn't a wart, and took a needle biopsy.  She threw out a few 3 and 4 syllable words that are types of growths and skin cancer and said it would need to come off and the surgery would be at least $1000 (beginning point) because of the intricacy of it  being removed so close to her eyelid. Oh...and less..around $700 (beginning point)... if we had her teeth cleaned while she was under.  Huh?
Our precious dog may have cancer and you will give us a discount if we let you clean her teeth?

We would get the results on Friday.......while we were in Scottsdale.  The total for the visit $133.00.  Ouch. 

The results were negative for cancer but the vet said it still needs to come off.  Again....minimum $1000 ...and a little less if you get her teeth cleaned.  Got it. 

That is funny to me.  Not the part about Maggie...that is sad.  The part about it being less if we get her teeth cleaned.  Does that make sense to anybody out there? 

Like a doctor would say:  You need open heart surgery.  It will cost $65,000.00 But if you let us clean your teeth, it will only be $64,700.00....what'dya say?  Let us clean your teeth? 

Now that we know it's not cancer we are probably going to put off having that surgery.  And teeth cleaned?  We'll think about it.  I will say that's the least of my concerns.  I'm doing good to get all of us to the dentist twice a year for our own cleaning.  And we like our dogs' tartered teeth. 

Chuck's pondering the teeth cleaning option.

HOLIDAYS Yesterday, I took down the Halloween and got out the Thanksgiving.  It forced me to dust and Windex and vacuum around here.  The whole time I'm taking down and setting up, I'm wondering if this is for me or them.  Old habits die hard.

And as I look at these decorations, I realize in less than 3 weeks, I will be putting these up and getting out the Christmas.  Which means I will dust again in 3 weeks. ha.

Thankful I have a home to dust.

Addiction Our Internet has been extremely slow the last few days and I have realized how addicted to this computer I've gotten.  I will sit here and wait forever for it to pull up a sight and then realize how long I've waited. Yesterday morning it was down.  Nada. Zip. Not just slow...NOTHING. I never thought I would be addicted to a computer, but if it goes down and you can't think of anything else to do, I think that's addiction. 

HULU   My kids told me about this site and I love it.  You can watch any television show one day after it aired..........with just a small commercial at the beginning and somewhere in the middle.  I've been catching up on The Office and SNL and Raising Hope.  I even watched the Leanne Rimes interview.  If you haven't watched Raising the pilot on hulu.

Will  He called one afternoon and said he had met Miranda Lambert.  MET her?  Well, she walked past him and his friend.  And in this family that counts as a "claim to fame." 

She was in Nacagdoches for a concert and he and his friend decided to check out the auditorium where she was playing in hopes of catching a peek at her.  Stalking.  The security asked them what they were doing.......they played dumb.....something, something about Miranda Lambert......he told them she would be coming out, to hang out by this certain door and that is how he saw her.  Stalking.   

Cameron This child got a letter of "intent to hire" from the company she has been interning with the last two years.  That means she has a job upon graduation in May.  This is great news....for her...and for us.  We couldn't be prouder.  She will be in their Houston office.  Since she's been working for this company they have changed policy about new hires.  They now have to do a 3 month training on an off shore drilling rig.  With a practice drill for escaping a helicopter.  We will not focus on this.  We will focus on finding her a cute place to live.

If anybody can do it, she can.  That girl has put her stubborn genetics to good use. 

Oliver Cameron's cat.  That is really more like a dog.  He's staying with us again because her semester is crazy and she's never home.  He has taken over the dog bed and the dog food.  The dogs let him rule.  

Serious contortion.

He sits in front of it as the dogs look on timidly.

Dixie  Still dropping her ball in the spa and having to go in to retrieve it, 'cause we don't play that game.

Nudge, nudge.

Uh, oh.

Going in for it.

To the left.

To the right.

Life at our house...lots of animals and dust...thankfully a little dull.


Saw the movie Due Date this afternoon.  I laughed, so it was worth the money for me.  I believe I could stare at Robert Downey, Jr. if all he did was stand still.  Beware of some raunchy humor.  If you liked The Hangover, you'll like this one.  Zach Galifianakis' character is very similar to the one he played in Hangover...somewhat of a quirky, dumb loser that's likable.  Robert Downey, Jr.'s character is a rich architect with anger issues but he's working on them.  These two strangers get thrown together and have to make it across the country, from Atlanta to L.A., before the due date of Robert's character's baby's birth.  Got that?

Monday, November 1, 2010

Two Birds With One Stone

Chuck and I just spent 3 days in Scottsdale, Arizona...
killing two birds with one stone...
 as the saying goes. 

We bid on "a 2 night stay at a hotel in Old Town Scottsdale" in a silent auction last year and actually had the winning bid.  We rarely bid at silent auctions and if we do, we never win because our limit is usually surpassed quickly. But we won this 2 night stay and
 it had to be used by the end of November, 2010. 
 That little vacation was the first bird.

The second bird was spending time with Jordan and her new husband Chris...who live in a very fun place to visit.  I decided not to take my better camera because it is so heavy and going through security, I just took my small camera.  Of course, I didn't charge the battery so it was acting up and finally died on Saturday afternoon.  But I managed a few pictures before this.

 Watched "Grownups" on the flight there.  Glad it was free
(well, sort of, if you consider I was already on the plane).  It made the 3 hour flight go by
but I would have been mad if I had gone to the theater for this one.

Jordan picked us up from the airport on Friday morning and our first stop was Arcadia Farms for lunch. This is the cute place where her Bridal Luncheon was held....just a little over 7 months ago.

 They were setting up for a luncheon, but we snuck a peak. 

Check out those pumpkins.  They had been stenciled with metallic gold paint. 
 Surely you can throw some of those on your buffet for Thanksgiving.   
It will have to go on my list for next year.

We spent the afternoon riding around, shopping,
going to see their condo and visiting our granddog, Mia,
then checking in to our hotel.

 Chris and Jordan picked us up a couple of hours later and we headed out for dinner at Blanco's. "Mexican food" in Texas is so different from Arizona's variety. I love Arizona/Mexican food....they use different cheeses and sauces and it is all very fresh.

As if the delicious food isn't enough appeal....check out the surroundings.
Camera's feeling ill at this's not your eyesight.

I love this ceiling and the light fixtures. 

After dinner, we went back to J & C's condo to pick up our granddog, Mia,
 and take her to the Dog Park.

So fun.

 Mia is very timid and spent a lot of time hiding under my legs or some stranger's legs.
 But she made some friends and got some exercise.

 Racing her shadow.

Saturday morning was breakfast at Royal Palms......the resort where Jordan and Chris were married. Chuck really wanted to revisit the place and we decided breakfast would be a good time to do that. This place is so beautiful and calming. Water fountains and beautiful, lush greenery everywhere. We ate our breakfast outside on the patio, then walked around the place before leaving.

 Waiting for our ride.  Chuck's wearing my reading glasses. 
Get your own, old man.

The entrance of Royal Palms Resort.



Setting up for an evening wedding for 200. 

Walking towards the outdoor chapel where they were married on 3-19-10.

 A year ago.......newly engaged and checking out this location for their wedding.

 Standing at the alter.

Seven months ago, they kissed. 
 This day they shook hands. 
 I will not read anything in to this.
  I will not read anything in to this. 
I will not read anything in to this.

After breakfast and some store hopping and shopping, Chris drove us up a mountain so we could see the "valley" is so much prettier than this picture. The camera was in cardiac arrest at this point.

The valley.


And the camera battery finally died...
which really makes me mad because it was Halloween weekend and I missed some great shots.
Old Town Scottsdale does Halloween big....and a lot of the partiers were staying at our hotel.

Jordan and Chris are both involved in Young Life and had a banquet to attend on Saturday evening, so Chuck and I walked around Old Town and out of shops and up and down the streets then later ate at a restaurant called Yard House.  We actually could have walked there from our hotel, but were lazy and took a Rick know the bike rider who pulls the cart behind him?  Yeah, one of those.  Our bike/driver told us his name was Rick Shaw.  Good one, huh?

I felt so bad for Rick Shaw pulling our weight. 
but he said he has been doing this for 6 years, 7 days a week.
  Surely he's had heavier loads. 
We gave him a big alleviate my guilt. 

Sunday morning we went to J & C's church...Sun Valley Community Church (love),
 then ate at Oregano's with Chris' mother,
brother, sister-in-law and their 2 cute and well behaved kids
 before heading back to Houston.

 This is Jordan's busy season with The Fiesta Bowl Organization, so I suspect she is worn out because she didn't really get a restful weekend.  We appreciate our very own event planner, Jordan and her new husband for entertaining us and letting us spend some much needed time with them.