Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Impromptu Bath

Ellie got really, really dirty today crawling around on the deck. The tops of her feet and every piece of exposed skin got dirty - sand, slurpee juice, cheezie dust, and just general grime. I took her to the bathroom to get a facecloth to wash her face and hands and ended up stripping her down and sitting her in the sink full of water for a bath. She's a bit big for this type of bath, but it's all I felt like getting involved in in the middle of the afternoon. She loved it and the bathroom got a splash cleaning in the process!

I love the reflection of her head in the mirror - it shows such vulnerability and sweet babyness. Look how dirty that water is. Hard to believe a baby can get so dirty in a few hours of play.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Guest Photographer

I haven't taken any pictures since returning from Arizona and was wondering what to put in my blog. Then Kenzie and Sydney came down and Kenzie started taking pictures with my small camera. This is the one I like best. It's Kenzie's little sister, Sydney - 3 years old. Love her eyes!

Friday, September 26, 2008

Remember This Name...

Mark MacKenzie.

On our last night in Arizona we got together with our nephew Mark to celebrate his birthday with some extended family down there. Mark lives here in Alberta but has been working with some music producers in AZ, one of whom produces for Lyle Lovett, on his first professional CD. Mark has a beautiful voice and writes a lot of his own songs so we're all hoping that when this CD comes out, he'll get lots of air time and begin a successful music career. We're all cheering for him.

After dinner at a local restaurant we all went back to someone's home where Mark performed some of the songs from his CD for us. Good sounds and lots of fun.

And now we're home, missing Arizona already.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Last Day

We're heading home tomorrow so today is our last full day here in Surprise. It's hard to have as much fun on the last day as on other days, knowing that our holiday is coming to an abrupt halt tomorrow, but we spent time in the pool and did some final shopping. Tonight we're going out with our nephew Mark to celebrate his birthday with his stepfather and his family. Mark is down here working on the CD that is being produced with the help of Lyle Lovett's producer. Mark has a beautiful voice. Hopefully this CD will get lots of air time. Tomorrow morning will be our clean-up time. We head to the airport at 2:00.

When I was loading pictures into Facebook yesterday I realized that I didn't have any pictures of the front of the house. So I went out and took some. Here's what it looks like in all it's desert landscape glory. It's 40C here today - 105F. Gonna be hard getting back to cold Edmonton temps.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Working Hard...or..

...hardly working!! Since Lloyd is technically 'at work' this week, he takes his Blackberry out to the pool and conducts business from there. What a life! He met with the Child Welfare people at Tuba City on the Navajo Nations reservation yesterday - a 4-hour drive each way.

Anyway, wouldn't it be nice to be able to work in such peaceful surroundings every day?! I don't know how he's going to adjust to working in High Level, or even in Edmonton, after such a laid-back existence here.

PS: Sara, show this to Quincey. He could easily conduct business pool-side.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Toad-ally awesome!

I fell in love with this foot tall/foot round toad in WalMart's summer clearance section that I just had to bring him home and put him in the back yard. At first I sat him at the pools edge, but then decided he'd look better tucked back by the sage bush. Isn't he just the cutest thing!!

Saturday, September 20, 2008

One More Pool Picture

This is my second posting today so it'll be short. It'll also be the last pool picture I post.

Lloyd has rediscovered his boyhood love of swimming under water and wanted me to take a picture of him doing it. I must say he does it with more finesse than I do the Grammy Stroke.

I love the way the water distorts the images.

Good form for an old boy, hey!

He likes this one the best because the water swoops his hair back (what's left of it) and makes his head look like it's covered in hair. He's cute anyway, balding or not.

Beautiful Arizona

We were out at 7:30 this morning garage-saleing. They start early here and end by noon because of the hot afternoons. I took my camera along to take pictues of the native plants used in much of the landscaping. I love cactus - there are so many varieties. I got a book to help me identify them. Here are some of my best shots. Always keep in mind that I can't photo-shop any of my pictures until I get home.

This is a cluster of beavertail cactus.

Since I couldn't get out and stand in the middle of the road to take this picture, it's blurry and unclear because it's taken out the front window of the van (Curtis' new van). It's just a road bordered on both sides by tall palms. I like it.

This is a barrel cactus in bloom. I don't know what the smaller cluster of cacti is called.

More beavertail, I think.

Looking way up at the top of a palm.

I'm not sure what this is - yucca??

Pretty, but unknown to me.

This is pipe organ cactus.

One of the most common - Saguaro cactus - it's flowers are the Arizona state flower.

An orange tree. You can see some of the fallen fruit on the ground.

A really tall barrel cactus, I think. Birds drill holes in the trunks and build nests inside them.

A common sight in Sun City, where the seniors use golf 'cars' to get around - only legal in areas where the speed limit doesn't exceed 35 mph.

This cactus has a beautiful blossom. I'm not sure what type it is though.

And I love these - I think they're Queen Palms (my book isn't very comprehensive).
So that's it for today, and it's only 10:15 am.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Grammie Stroke

There's just no getting away from it...the pool is our favorite part of this vacation house. We spend an hour every afternoon in it...sometimes more...and usually an hour in the morning. The water is like silk - soft and buoyant.

I'm not a swimmer...never have been...but I'm so comfortable in this pool. I've developed a method of propelling myself from one end to the other, which I call the Grammie Stroke. It's a mixture of treading water and random forward moving strokes. Looks funny but it gets me where I'm going. Lloyd is nervous when I get in over my head - the water is 9 ft. deep at the deepest part - but I think I have him convinced that I can stay afloat...as you can see here.

This is the major part of the grammie stroke. Do not, under any circumstances, put your face in the water. It's an up and down stroke and I like it.

There...see...I can make it to the end.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

The Great Scrapbook Store Hunt

Today, armed with addressed gleaned from the Internet, Lloyd and I went looking for some scrapbook stores. The first three we 'found' had gone out of business. The fourth, almost an hour from our house, was alive and kicking and I managed to buy a few 'samples' there. The woman who runs it told me that most of the scrapbook stores in the valley have closed down, with the exception of three in Mesa and Chandler, a couple of hours away. I think I'll wait till Mickey is here in January and we'll make a day trip of visiting those stores. I really liked the store we found though so most likely will go back there

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Just Puttering

We've been buying a few things for the house today - no major purchases - just little things. It'll get totally furnished eventually. Here are a couple of pictures of what parts of the house look like right now.

This is our kitchen/dining area. There's a huge island as well as lots of cupboard space. The glass door on the right opens to the pool. The room you can barely see on the left is the living room and dining room.

This is taken from the kitchen island - it'll be the family room. The window on the left looks out onto the deck and pool. The door on the right leads to a 2-piece bathroom, a closet, and the garage.

This is the back of the house and the pool. It's the law here in Arizona that a pool must be enclosed by a childproof fence. I'm standing up in this picture so you can see the division between shallow and deep. It gets deep rather quickly from where I am - one more step and I'm up to my eyeballs in water. We look forward every day to our time in the pool. It's late afternoon when this picture is taken and at this time of year, it's mostly in the shade. During the heat of the day though, it's still in the sun...fun swimming in sun or shade here.

That's all for tonight. I'll post more pictures of the interior of the house later.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Cooling Off

Today, at last, we had our first swim in the new pool. It was 39C today and the water was lovely and refreshing. We love the pool, although the shallow section is much smaller than the deep. We'll have to be extra vigilant when the kids are here - life jackets for all. It's such a treat to have the pool to play in when it's so hot out. I wish some of the kids and grandkids were here to enjoy it with us.

Lloyd always likes to make a big splash!

Look at that golfer's tan!

Lloyd enjoying the pool.

My first time in the pool.

Here We Are

We arrived here in Surprise, AZ tonight. It's 37.5 C. It took us 25 hours of driving, over 2.5 days. Today was the most beautiful part of the drive,through southern Utah and straight through the length of Arizona. One of the prettiest places we stopped was Kanab, UT, where western movies used to be filmed. It's surrounded with red cliffs and has a beautiful park in the centre of town where we stopped to take some pictures.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Off to Arizona

I know...this isn't the best time to be heading to Arizona...temperatures there are still in the high 30s (C), but with the pool and air conditioning I think I'll live through it. (and frequent visits to scrapbook stores down there) I really need the break right now. It's been a hectic six weeks, with the visit to BC to help out when Mary's son was born, the wedding and all that involved, and Mum's visit....I need time to unwind and relax for awhile. We're taking Lloyd's laptop with us, with an air card, but I'm not sure how often I'll be posting here. I'll try to keep it up, but if I can't, you'll know why.

August 5 - Baron Kesey Bourne is born in Oliver BC. Our 17th grandchild and a sweet little boy.

August 23 - Emily marries Allan Taylor in a lovely backyard wedding.

August 21 - Sept. 9 - Mum visits and spends time with grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

This is our backyard pool in Arizona. It was just finished in July and friends of ours spent two weeks there in August, breaking it in for us. Now it's our turn....catch you later.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Grab My Hand...

I haven't taken any pictures the past couple of days so tonight I did this layout so I could post it. It's done on Paintables cardstock - I had to color in all the flowers and fence. I added stickles glitter glue to the centres of the flowers, the petals of the blue and red flowers, the borders around the pictures, and the bee.

What I really like about this layout is the words flowing throughout: "Grab my hand and run with me, trek the mountains sail the sea, forget the map, we'll find our way forever together". I feel it fit the theme of the photos - Mum at 87 with some of her great-grandchildren. Probably the last time she'll ever see them and knowing that in the very near future she'll forget them altogether. She enjoyed being here with the family these past couple of weeks, although it was very confusing when we were all together for the wedding festivities when she didn't recognize grandchildren or great-grandchildren - knowing she should know these people but not remembering why or who.

Everytime I see her she seems worse than the last time. Alzheimers takes an awful toll on a person...the stage she's in now is so hard on her because she knows she's forgetting things and there's nothing she can do about it and she gets so upset with herself. She's back in Winnipeg now in her own home and familiar surroundings where she has a measure of self-confidence and comfort. We know now that travelling is too hard on her. She's lucky to have Wendy there to watch out for her and make sure she has everything she needs while she's still able to live on her own. Thanks Wendy.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Getting Gas...

It should have been simple. It should have taken a maximum of five minutes. It was not so simple. It took much more than five minutes.

Mickey, Mum and I had planned a few hours of fun time, having lunch, maybe going to the park, whatever we felt like doing. As I was driving to get Mickey I realized that I was out of gas. Fine. That's easy to remedy. I picked Mickey up and headed for the gas pumps at Safeway. Pulled into position, and realized that I didn't have my Safeway card or credit card with me because I had changed to my cute little pink purse which is just large enough to hold my small pink camera, my pink cellphone and my driver's license and debit card.

I needed my Safeway card so I could get a seven cent per litre discount on gas. Luckily Safeway is just a few blocks from home, so I went home and grabbed my purse and a hunk of banana bread I had baked earlier to give to Mickey, and we decided we could go to lunch before continuing our gassing up adventure.

So with lunch out of the way, and with the car smelling warmly of the fresh falafel Mickey bought after lunch to take home to her men, once again I positioned myself at the gas pump, got out of the car, grabbed my purse, only to realize that when I switched to my pretty pink mini-purse I had taken my wallet out of my big purse and left it on my bed. Damnation!

Once again I headed home, grabbed my wallet, and finally, after three tries, managed to fill the car up with gas...not to mention the smell of falafel and banana bread! And we were off to Costco for photos, photo albums, and free samples of goodies.

It was a fun day, although we ended up not going to the park because it was wet and rainy. And I think I'll stop switching purses.