Sunday, December 14, 2014

Beautiful Neighborhood

We took the dogs on our weekly hike to my favorite place in the world, the Havasu National Wildlife Refuge.  It is down the street from our house, about a 5 minute walk.
It was 44 degrees!  I wore my special hat.  I needed to keep my ears warm.

I was thankful I brought my camera this morning, because the view was awesome.  A little bit of fog was hanging low over the water along the shoreline.  Beautiful sight.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Got Married

Facebook calls it a "life event," and I suppose that's appropriate.  We were engaged right before my 40th birthday in January and with that life event we were introduced to a lot of emotions.  We found that neither of us wanted to wait.  We certainly didn't want a Vegas wedding.  We wanted a quiet, solemn ceremony that would mean something to the both of us.
We planned for April but then a hot air balloon wedding was offered on February 5th.  It was set for the 14th!  Fortunately we'd done our shopping for the most part.  My dress already fit, Gary needed some new suit pants.......
it was ON.
I arrived in a rat rod


Wednesday, October 23, 2013

I Used To Love October

Work is busy.  Then there's the October stuff.  The Jet Ski World Finals, the Run to the Sun Car Show, the Parade, the Arizona Federation of Republican Women's quarterly meeting. It never ends.  I volunteered to be the Republican Women's Historian this year and I paid dearly.  I thought it would be easy because I'm always taking photos and saving stuff from meetings.  But then there's the scrapbook that's due in October.  It has to be fantastic because it gets judged at the State meeting.
It then becomes a gift to our club president.  I have my own from my term as President, and it's enormous.


I think I did good.

But the other stuff, the events.....well I worked my tail off.  So did Gary! He took vacation time from his regular job (60 hours a week) so he'd be down at the beach with me.  He ended up working, and it was HARD work.  He and his pal Guy were in charge of a myriad of things.


Now they are having withdrawals and they miss each other. It's cute.

The Run to the Sun was a very limited amount of work, but it was after I had already spent a full day doing nails at the salon and I was already a bit wore out.  The only time I had at the Car Show for photos was at the end of the evening....


That's the full moon rising, and then the other photo is the few people left at the end of the evening having a rest before we had to tear everything down!

So I've been online ordering new orthopedic shoes.  My feet hurt, they're tired.  I need a rest. 

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Work Work Work

It took me a year to get thru beauty school.  Took six months to finally get my license from the state.  I went to work recently for the very same nail salon that I frequented for years.

I was steadfast about my decision to work there.  It's Vietnamese owned, my coworkers don't speak great English, but they do great nails and it's always busy.  ALWAYS.  My mates who went to beauty school constantly questioned my plans to work for this place, I suppose they had "delusions of grandeur," with the idea that they'd go to work right after graduation in a high-end salon, making tons of really great trendy money.
Well, trendy money in fancy salons requires you to pay $500 a month in booth rentals, plus more money for products and supplies.  That's out of your pocket before you've taken in one customer.  Then you beg for the walk-ins so you can make a little money and pay that booth rent.

No thanks.  That's too much struggling.  I wanted simplicity, and I wanted to make money.  At the nail salon we're working 6 days a week, sometimes 10 hours a day.  The customers come in the door constantly, and I"m in no way begging for work like my classmates from beauty school.  In fact, after a month of working, I'd like a break!

It's funny to see the customers' faces when they notice a very white girl among the Vietnamese ones in the salon.  It inspired me to get my new business cards printed, "White Girl Do Nail."

Lovin the Lightning!

Arizona's monsoon season is usually quite exciting.  I tell people this all the time.  We have so many newcomers to our area, they just assume that the few pitiful little rainstorms we have are the norm.  Not so.  We are in the middle of a 15 year drought.  Before the drought, the monsoons were tremendous.
They typically begin in July, with the rain, high winds, and lightning, a tropical monster that is comparable to the damaging weather the Philippine Islands get each year. Floods, debris, lightning strikes, scary thunder....that's the normal for us in the summer.  Our city has been slowly getting us better prepared for the high volumes of water rushing downhill, and I enjoy standing near the floodgates to watch the white water rapids go by.

Last summer was our first real good monsoon in many many years.

We had massive flooding, damage, and even death.

The city did a little work with concrete and earth movers, making the flood control a bit better.

When the flood waters hit us this summer, it was much more controlled.  Our street is located at the bottom of the hill, so by the time the rain has run down the mountainside and thru all the washes, it's going at least 40 mph.  It's carrying rocks, trees, and debris, and it's aggressive.  We're the drain right before the lakeshore.
With the new culvert work, new concrete, we were pleasantly surprised:

No trees, no cars, nothing terrible rushing by.  Just water, and it was only about a foot deep. I commended the City Manager with the work that had been done in the past year, I wanted him to know that we'd noticed a  big difference.

Oh, but the lighting...

Those two photos were from our back yard.  That top one I refer to as the "hand of God" photo.  It was stunning to see in person.

This photo was from up the hill, at a church parking lot.  I was looking north toward the Havasu Heights area when I snapped it.

A few days later we were blessed with another good lightning display, and I ran outside with my camera.

This was over our house, at about midnight.  Crazy electrical storm.

A week later, another good storm rolled in.  I took this over my neighbor's house:

I guess you could say I'm glad the big storms have returned to our area.  No more disappointing monsoon seasons!!

The Kid is OLD Now...

My son turned 16 years old the other day, and it was a great feeling.  Each year in September I'm reminded of the difficult beginning we had with him, with the premature birth and time spent in the Neonatal ICU.

He was given an awful diagnosis by the neurologist in Phoenix, which turned out to be erroneous.  We scooped up our little guy and slowly took him home to begin dealing with our special needs son.

After several months of dealing with social services, specialists, and therapists, we began to figure out that we had a perfectly fine kid on our hands.  I think it was when Shay was six months old he had a follow up visit in Phoenix and the doctor who'd diagnosed him realized his mistake.

It's been just fine ever since.

He rides motocross, practices MMA fighting at a local trainer's place, lifts weights, and helps out mom whenever he's requested.

He's a good kid, always behaving, and he's respectful.  Couldn't ask for a better son.

Not long ago we found a great deal on a project truck, an S-10 pickup that someone was turning into a "pre-runner."  We bought it and began working on the essentials.

For Shay's birthday, I thought of a great gift idea; real race seats to go in his project.

It was pretty cool to see him smile when he saw his presents.  He went to school that day, proclaiming that he'd ride home on his bicycle that afternoon and install those new seats.  He did just that!

I would give the world for him, he's a great kid.  I'm glad all I had to do was shell out a little bit of money for seats!!

Thursday, August 15, 2013

People Watching

Most times we enjoy getting out an experiencing things.  Once in a while, though, we find a good opportunity to just sit and watch other people enjoying life.  We found such a spot, on the Colorado River up north of Lake Havasu.
It's called Devil's Elbow, and my friend from Iowa saw a photo of it once and declared that it was her favorite place on Earth.  It was neat to show it to her in person.  She loved it.

We pulled the boat over to a small beach, hiked up the rocks, and watched the people float by on their boats.  It was comical, because the sound of their voices carried up the rock walls so well. We could hear every word, see everything they were doing.  One small boat was full of young partiers (we assume they were young) and we watched them jump around, dancing on the deck.  Occasionally someone would hop in the water and we'd see them drift away with the current. Eventually the party boat had to run over and rescue their swimmers.

The way the water reflects the blue of the sky is just gorgeous.  I really love the upriver area, with its clean cold water and beautiful views.  

We mosied up near Topock and Pirate's Cove to check out the beaches, usually traveling 70 mph or so.  

We were surprised by a train overhead at the I-40 crossing, and it was really creepy to be underneath the bridge as it went over.

Watched the local kids playing around under the train bridge:

They had a rope and were swinging around over the water.  It's deep, fast moving water right there so they're nuts!!  I spotted one or two kids who had climbed way up underneath the train tracks. They were sitting with their legs dangling off the steel beams.

We went further north and beached on the Arizona side of the river. 

I've always wanted to poke around up on that side to see if there's any ruins.  Old mining camps used to exist there, over 100 years ago.  All I could find were rocks and mud.

While we walked hand in hand along the beach, we found a disturbing site.  Couldn't figure out what we were seeing, either!!

We saw these periodically along the shore and we were too scared to touch them.

Finally, we found one in the final stages of whatever it was doing:

Aaah, okay! It's dragonflies who are molting!!  Apparently they are larvae in the river, and when it's time they crawl up into the sand and go thru their changes.  

We learned a lot.

We also discovered the crawdads. Crawdads! Oh okay, I'm sure you're thinking of something else...Crayfish. Whatever...

There were a few of those, and I was happy to get them back to the water where they could scurry away.

We took our time going downstream to get home, taking in the beautiful scenery.  The number of boats on the water had decreased to almost none, so it was quiet and peaceful.  Instead of racing past the red rocks and dry waterfalls, we drifted past them slowly and admired them.

And of course we dreamed of how we could get a four wheeled vehicle to certain locations so we could possibly look for gold....