My Glorious Summer of ’76

Note: Since I’m on vacation, I’m giving you a rerun. This first appeared on June 3, 2015, back when I was new to blogging and had about 10 followers. It relates a childhood memory of mine that involved murder and explosives, as all good memories do. Also, the post includes a recipe because when I first started blogging, that was supposed to be my schtick. Then I forgot my schtick.
That’s the trouble with schticks. They only work if you remember them.
Oh well. Enjoy.

Growing up in the 70s was great. I’m not even talking about the movies and music from that era, although we had some darn fine ones.

What I’m talking about is the total lack of parental involvement. Even if a parent stayed home, they pretty much left us to our own devices. It was great.Kids-jumping-and-playing-outside-940x600

Brother and I had it even better, as both Older Sisters and Older Brother were out of the house.

We’re talking complete lack of supervision, baby! Frankly, it’s a wonder we didn’t burn the whole place down.

Though we came close. Continue reading “My Glorious Summer of ’76”

In Defense of Lazy Gardening

This morning as I was walking Dog, I passed by that house.

You know which one I mean, right? There’s one in your neighborhood too. It’s the one with the perfect yard.

Perfect yard

The grass is perfectly green, the bushes are perfectly shaped, the flowers look like they were planted with a ruler and level.

Walking by such a yard used to fill me with envy and shame, for I knew I had no chance of joining their anal-retentive ranks. Frankly, I was too dang lazy.

Since then, I’ve come to realize there are lessons to be learned by lazy gardeners. Highly important lessons. Lessons that can change lives!

Okay, I can tell you’re skeptical, so here are three such lessons from my own yard.

Continue reading “In Defense of Lazy Gardening”

Appreciating Art: Best Done Sober or Stoned?

Phoenix art museumDaughter and I went to the art museum last week.

You know. To appreciate the finer things in life.

As did many other Fine People in Phoenix, including at least one couple who did it while stoned.

I’ll tell you about my stoner friends later. First, let’s talk about the museum…
Continue reading “Appreciating Art: Best Done Sober or Stoned?”

Community News With Pancakes

magazineThis last Sunday at church, a woman handed me a magazine to give Husband, who is currently out-of-town.

It was one of those freebie publications you might see at a doctor’s office or hair salon, with a ridiculous number of ads and one or two articles on local interests.

The reason she was giving it to Husband is that he sings in the same group as the couple on the cover, so she figured he knew them. (He very well may, but beings how he’s out-of-town, I can’t say for sure.)

What I can say is that somewhere in the 85086 zip code, there is a woman who may or may not be in dire need of medical attention. Also, whoever Mama G is, her pancakes look damn fine.
Continue reading “Community News With Pancakes”

The Suicidal Mice of 40th Drive

One look at that little rodent corpse, the serene look on his face, and I knew. It was a clear case of mouse suicide.

My family lived in west Phoenix in a square cinderblock home, painted turquoise. And the thing to know about cinderblock homes, however unattractive they might appear, a splash of turquoise paint makes them nearly… less unattractive.

housemouseIn any case, cinderblock keeps out rodents and reptiles, and for desert living that’s darn smart.

Although about the time I was 12-years old, my dad built a garage in our backyard.

Actually, it wasn’t so much a garage as a giant workshop/sanctuary. It took up nearly half our backyard and was made primarily of wood.

That’s when the mice moved in.

The reason we knew we had mice is that every so often, about once a week or so, we’d find one floating in Pepper’s water dish.
Pepper being our family dog.

Continue reading “The Suicidal Mice of 40th Drive”

Birds: Helpful Neighbors or Ruthless Overlords?

treeA three day weekend before me, I had one plan and one plan only: to move a tree.

To be specific, a volunteer tree that was growing in a small shaded area between our home and the back fence. Far too close to both home and fence.

After some careful research, I determined it was a silk tree – Albizia julibrissin – and that it would make a pretty little shade tree near our front entrance.

My dad was a great one for transplanting volunteer plants, and I think of him whenever I follow his practice. Although my success rate is nowhere near as good as his, I like to think I’m improving.

I also tend to think it will go much faster than it actually does, because I forget I live in Phoenix. Digging a hole in Phoenix is not for the faint of heart.

After 20 minutes, this is what I accomplished:

Continue reading “Birds: Helpful Neighbors or Ruthless Overlords?”

A Fabulous Football Quilt From 1939

quiltA few days ago, someone brought a quilt into the office that was made by his great-aunt. She made it in 1939 when she was 15 years old, living in the small town of Ajo, Arizona.

Fifteen years old!

She made it in honor of her high school football team, the Red Raiders.

It’s clearly been well-cared for and the workmanship is excellent, but it was the attention to detail that impressed me the most.

See for yourself: Continue reading “A Fabulous Football Quilt From 1939”

Lutherans Do It Right

Since we both had a long weekend coming up, Husband suggested we escape somewhere quiet, where we could both relax, recoup, and so I could write.

That’s actually what he said: “and you can write.”

What can I say? Some girls are just lucky.

The tricky part was finding a place that wasn’t too expensive, was far enough away that we felt like we were getting away, but not so far away that I’d get carsick. After much discussion back and forth and exploring all possible options, we finally decided on a retreat center located in Carefree, Arizona, about an hour and a half from our home. Yeah, yeah … big whoop. But there are retreat centers, and then there are retreat centers.

This one was run by Lutherans, which neither of us are but as I was raised Lutheran, we figured that gave us an in. Best part? They were running a special of $50 a night.

I know what you’re thinking. What kind of place can one get for $50 a night? It crossed my mindWP_20150907_09_31_56_Pro[1] too, but I survived Hotel Horror with relatively few scars and really all we were wanting was someplace quiet. We figured as long as the bed was one step above a cot and we had a private bathroom, we’d be doing pretty good.

The retreat center is called Spirit in the Desert. Let me show you around the place.

Continue reading “Lutherans Do It Right”

Stormy Weather

sunshine-2I know a lot of people think the weather in Arizona must be pretty boring. Just a lot of hot air, right?

That’s only true for our politicians.

Point of fact, we can get some real doozy of storms, especially this time of year when we are in the midst of what many call our monsoon season.

Continue reading “Stormy Weather”