Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Taking A Sentimental Journey

Those of you who know me know that I am passionate about flying.... airplanes... airports....anything that has to do with the ethereal thrill of flying 36,000 ft. through cummulonimbus thunderheads or looking down at the patchwork quilt of America's heartland. I am plain stooooo-pid about flying and my poor friends have to indulge me now and then when I go ga-ga over something that has sparked my passion in full blaze!

I have posted about my amazing son who is the 'payload specialist' for a World War II B-17 bomber stationed here in town. There was an airshow at another local airport over the weekend and when this beauty of an aircraft was heading down for the 20 minute flight, my son texted me and my class and I were able to go outside and see him fly over!! It literally takes your breath away as this silver craft lumbers low over rooftops - 4 props pulling it smoothly through the sky.

This weekend, I was lucky enough to be able to fly on this bird back to home base after the airshow. I have never flown in anything close to this, and the anticipation, as always, was like Christmas Eve when I was 4 years old - I could hardly wait! I arrived at the airport as the crowd was making their last rounds through the airplanes on display and the show was starting to wrap up. I milled around taking pictures and walking around this aircraft, touching its wing, fuselage...with a distinct sense of disbelief that in a couple of hours I would be airborne in her.

Even better to the day were my friends, J and M, showing up to watch me take off! J is an aviation nut, like me. They brought their camera for a few shots of this beauty taking off with me in it! As luck would have it though, there was one seat left on the return flight.... one seat left. Hmmm.... a bright idea put to my son soon had J with a 'window' seat on our flight! His wife, M, is just a gem and SUCH a good sport! She was happy to drive my car to the other airport and pick us up! How sweet is that? She goes to an airport with her hubby for a photo op and ends up waving bye to him as he flies off !! And then she has to drive up to go get us!! What a trooper she is!!!

A briefing of in-flight procedures and a buckling up, and we were soon on our way! After getting clearance for take-off, we soon rumbled down the runway and were airborne!!!

The flight was AWESOME!!!!!!! We cruised at about 1,500 ft. over town up north back to home base. Once at that level, we were able to unbuckle our seat belt and 'move about the cabin'...HA! We were instructed as to where we could, and could NOT, hold onto! Grabbing a bare cable could be hazardous to our health as that cable CONTROLLED THE PLANE!! Here's son and I airborne and lovin' the experience!!!

And son and J - two aviation nuts enjoying the ride and the view!!!

The flight only lasted about 25 minutes - including the FLY-BY we did of the departing airport control tower (a la 'Top Gun' !! Woooohoooo, baby!!!!!!!!!!!)
Once we were on terra firma, we had a job to do! Wipe the oil off of the underbelly of this craft, baby! Rag in hand, we proceeded to wipe her down! Another thrill! We learned so much information about this airplane and the how's and why's of it all!

It's taken me two days to come down from this high....and to be honest, I'm not sure that I have all the way yet!! This was a once-in-a-lifetime thrill and I'm so grateful to have had the chance to do this! Thanks, son.... you are the BEST! It was a thrill to soar with you!!!

Thursday, March 04, 2010


When one has an amazing student teacher, and one's classroom and kiddos are in very good hands, one's mind and eye tend to wander towards other things that surround them....

and one looks closely....

and waits....

and watches....

and notices....

and delights....

Sunday, February 21, 2010

A Rose By Any Other Name...

I received a rose last Friday....around noontime. It was very unexpected, but then, sometimes those are the best kind of flowers in life....

meet Rosie

I've had a very difficult time getting over losing my sweet Ross. I've gone back and forth as to whether or not I should get another dog - maybe I will, no, I won't.....maybe I should, no, I can't.....I miss not having a dog, I miss not having Ross around..... and so on......

Our wonderful school secretary is such an amazing spirit and she volunteers at a local animal shelter. She's often brought a dog with her to school for the day from the shelter and there are several teachers who are now the proud owners of such lucky pooches! Who can resists those eyes?? That tail??? She's been so kind, gentle and gracious with me as I ask her about the dogs at the shelter every so often. We'll talk about those whose pictures I've seen when I've visited their website.... I even went up to visit one recently, but my heart held me back from saying 'yes'.

Well, such same routine happened last Friday morning...and sweet B casually mentioned that there was one sweet pooch whom I should check out on the website. I truly forgot her mentioning anything until around 11:00 am. My student teacher was with my class, so I checked out the website and saw this whiskery face with a big, black nose! I immediately dialed secretary B....and within 5 minutes, we were one our way up the street for a quick 'lunch' the animal sanctuary. I met this sweet face, and although there was angst, turmoil and anxiety - um...all on my part, she was totally fine with the event..... I said 'yes, I'll take her!' Rosie came back with me for the afternoon in my classroom and my kiddos are absolutely smitten with her. We had a good chat about pets, how to get to know a new dog, and how to let Rosie sniff their hand to become familiar with them. Later, during Friday Free Time, my desk became decorated with notes of love ....
Rosie is joining a family of 5 cats. They seem somewhat put-out about her presence. Skittles, however, was seen rubbing against Rosie's legs this afternoon. She also pulled rank when Rosie got a little too friendly - as only a cat can do. Rosie has a propensity to chase, and she seems to think that our cats are wind-up toys for her to do just that! Olivia hopped upon the wall and Rosie was not sure what to make of it - other than to just wistfully stare.....

I think she'll be okay with the cats as she gets used to them....they are more than capable of defending themselves and letting her know how we roll in this house! We've spent the weekend visiting my vet for a thorough check-up and stopping by the pet store for a new pink leash and collar and some chew toys. She sleeps on the bed like a log and has no problem hogging her side. She's using the pet door and learning how to go up and down stairs....they seem to intimidate her a bit. We've had some real bonding time and I think she's feeling comfortable with her new home.

This evening I went to dinner with some friends and left Rosie alone for a couple of hours for the first time. I wondered how she would do .... and I made sure to put things away, have her chew toys out, water and food in the dish, etc. She got in the car with me, so I had to back out of the garage, close the garage door, turn off the engine, go around and let her out of the car and in the front door - just so I could leave the house by myself. I think she took the separation rather well, don't you??

I guess we have some work to do..... Rosie.....I have to go to work tomorrow morning....

Sunday, February 07, 2010

When It Rains It Pours

Yes, I am still alive. No, I have not forgotten about my blog nor my visitors. Oh, trust me on that point! I don't know how many times I've thought of what the post would look like as I've traveled this path the last few weeks. But it's a beautiful, sunny, rained-last-night morning and with a cup of Winter Blend coffee (Trader Joe's seasonal brew) at hand, I'll tell you the story.

Almost three weeks ago I was quietly fixing dinner on a Wednesday evening. After chopping some onions and a tomato, I rinsed off my favorite knife, started to reach for the olive oil and stopped...."hmm.....

"Is that a sound I hear?? I think I hear something.... Hmm..... it sounds like it's coming from...... (I bend down over my left kitchen sink opening).... down here......" I open the cabinet door below and, sure enough, a faint, little whiny noise was coming from my hot water line. I thought it was the little knobby thingy going out after 17 years. We wouldn't want to have it bust while I'm at school and have a major issue, now would we??? So, dutifully, I called a plumber that evening who would come out pronto the next morning to replace it.


Long.......very long story short...... it wasn't the little hot water knobby thingy that needed to be replaced. Nope. And it wasn't going to cost me $100. As a matter of fact, I'll just let this tell the story.....

Yes, that is a jackhammer that you see John using to tear up my foundation (and my bank account). Yup. I had a leak in my foundation ..... two feet down. But as Ron Popeil says....

But wait!!! There's more!!!

As Doug, from the sonar place was using high tech equipment to pinpoint the leak earlier in the week, a storm of huge proportions visited. As I was sitting in my family room watching and waiting for him to determine the leak's exact position, I noticed something amiss in my dining room. I got up and notice three wet spot in a line in my carpet. "My cat did this?!!???" I'm wondering????? No way!! Looking upward to see why water came downward revealed the answer..... my ceiling was leaking!!! Actually, little rivulets of water down one wall and drippy-drips along the soffet of the other was more like it. I stared in disbelieve....and horror....and more disbelief.... then a thought drifted through my mind.....

"My name is C....and this is my life's path!" all made sense now.

But wait!!! There's more!!!

"BEEP...BEEEP!!!! This is a weather alert. The National Weather Service has issued a tornado warning for the east valley!"

Of COURSE they have. And why not?? Just blow my house of horrors down the street and be done with it!!!

I placed another call to my insurance company. Water Mitigation' is determined to be needed - pronto!! Two guys showed up with three of those blowers that blow up those inflatable jumping toys for kids birthday parties and a big dehumidifier. They cut square holes in my walls and attached plastic tubing to them to dry them out. The dials were turned to 'high'.... and I felt like I was sleeping in the parking lot of a Mack Truck truck stop for three nights.

But wait, there's more!!!

The second night, while I lay in bed watching the news, my smoke detector chirped twice. "Hmmm..... I wonder why it did that..?" I didn't think much of it and went to sleep. I thought a lot more of it the next morning when none of the electrical outlets in the bathrooms worked. No hair dryer, no curling iron....nada. Ah, yes...the dehumidifier had been plugged into the downstairs bathroom outlet.... hmm.... interesting. I simply thought that the GFI outlet in daughter's bathroom had been tripped. I tried to reset it but couldn't, and thought that it had finally given out. So wonderful son came over and replaced it.

Nothing. Absolutely nothing. After an hour, he gave up.

I placed another call to the company who is 'restoring' my home. Electrician Kurt showed up the next day...and the next. After 4 1/2 hours, he was befuddled, betwixted and between. He could NOT find the source of the problem. Of COURSE he couldn't. So he rewired that circuit up in my attic, said I'd probably see him again because he wasn't sure he really liked the way he did it.

"My house won't burn down because of an electrical fire, will it???!!??"

" shouldn't."

But wait!!! There's more!!!

The cause of all the little water drops INSIDE my house obviously has to do with my roof. Ahhh, yes. The ambiguous roof damage story. I get a call one day at work from a guy whose up on my roof! He tells me it's OBVIOUS that this is all due to storm damage and that my insurance will cover it. Thank goodness, because I've heard horror stories of how insurance companies are very strict about whether they cover roof damage or not. If they deem that my roof is in disrepair due to 'lack of proper homeowner maintenance' or my ever-lovin' need to dance on my roof under the monthly full moon, I'm S.O.L. But J.C. assures me while standing on my roof that this is basically a no-brainer. I come home to this....

I'm fine with my roof looking like this, but I'm marking the days until my homeowners association sends me a notice telling me that I am out of compliance with the CC & R's....

What I wasn't fine with was a call a week ago asking if the roofer had been to my house. I had no idea....I was at, um...WORK.... "Well......" says Diane. "He says that your roof repairs won't be covered because the damage was not caused by a storm. It was lack of maintenance by the homeowner, so... um.... your insurance company won't pay to have it fixed."

"Don't tell me this, Diane." was my reply. That's about all I can truly type here.... not because the following conversation was more fiery than a sailor getting ashore after 15 months at sea, but simply because typing the words doesn't give the intonation of my voice justice. Trust me on this one.

With some Divine Guidance from above, however, Aaron comes by the house last Monday to give me the low-down on how this restoration job is going to roll. He also delivers the good news that my insurance company WILL cover the roof!!! However, because we haven't been given the official go-ahead from the insurance company yet, I will refrain from doing my happy dance until such call is received.

For the last week, a lock-box has been on my water bib and nice man Mark and his assistant, Jose, have been putting my kitchen back together and tearing my dining room and living room apart. Mark told me that I would need to unload my 'new' hutch that my sister and brother recently gave me of my mom's.... *see recent post. God forbid if anything was to fall over if they tried moving it. I told him I would empty it this weekend so that they could move it tomorrow. I came home Friday to this......

OH, THIS CAN'T BE GOOD!! I thought he said I had the weekend to empty it!! It's moved??!?!An old ex-marine moved my mother's crystal glasses???? I ran around the front to see this....

I don't know how he did it, but everything was just fine!! We'll work out the details to moving it back tomorrow.

I'm sure my account is now flagged in bright red. Two separate claims in a 24-hour period. Two separate deductibles, too. Companies and people have been in and out of my house like I'm holding a two-week open house. I've talked to Diane, Aaron, Jose, Shawn, John, Kevin, Mark, J.C., Mary, Darin, Kevin E., and more that I can't remember. I'm not thrilled with having people in and out during the day while I'm at work, but it's not feasible to be home for a week or two and 'watch' people work on my house. I also am not comfortable with M being in and out during the day.... but I am putting faith into God and praying that He will cover my home, my daughter and myself with safety as we work our way through this latest situation.

But wait!!! There's more!!!

As I type this waiting for a call-back for someone to come snake my drains because they are clogged and the toilet doesn't want to flush down, I work on keeping this all in perspective and giving thanks and gratitude for what I have. This, while grand it is at the moment, is minor in the big scheme of life. There are millions of people who would give their eye teeth to have my problems right now. I have come to a quiet resolve to embrace my life and the path that I am on...for I am blessed.

I wish for blessings to find you.

Go, Saints!!! : ))

Monday, January 18, 2010

Treasures of the Past

It's a wonderful winter day...... a day off to reflect about dreams. Cloudy, rainy, blustery, wintry........ a perfect day for oh, so many reasons! One of which is a recent treasure that was given to me by my brother and sisters. Upon my dad's passing, many sentimental items of my mom's were given to me....items that have no monetary value....but are rich in the sentimental value that I have for them. A week ago, my brother and sister brought over a curio cabinet that was still left from cleaning out dad's house. I wasn't sure where I would put it, but got that figured out yesterday when I passed on to my son his great-grandmother's radio and lamp that have resided with us for 20+ years. In its place is now my mother's curio cabinet and treasures of hers now adorn the shelves.
I put on a pot of coffee but couldn't stop unpacking, washing, drying and setting up the cabinet. I was surprised at how excited I was to set this up! The coffee could wait a while.
My mom had three of these beautifully etched glasses. I don't know the story behind where these came from....which is unusual. I only know that I love them....and find their story curious.

A gold-plated vase that was my grandmother's. Mom passed it down to me many years ago.

A porcelain yellow rose on a porcelain branch. As a little girl, my favorite kind of birthday cake was white with white frosting and yellow roses. Sweet mom always got that for me. Truth be know, it is still my favorite kind of birthday cake.

A sweet cranberry glass vase. I had bought two of these one for me and one for my mom because we both loved cranberry glass. I still have mine, minus the cord. But to have my mother's back was a full circle.

As a child, my brothers and I would spend the summers with my grandparents in Iron Springs. Every day we drank out of Grandma's cactus glasses - so iconic for a little scamp of an Ohio girl in Arizona. I'm not sure what happened to Grandma's set - I think they ended up getting broken or shuffled around. So imagine my glee when visiting my Grandma's sister, Aunt Ann, in Colorado I discovered that she had a set of the same glasses!! They were given as a free gift with a fill-up from Blakely gas stations back in the '50's and I've always had such a spot in my heart for the memories they hold for me. Aunt Ann was happy to pass her collection to me, where they have sat wrapped-up in a cardboard box in my garage for probably 15 years. That all changed this morning.

I remember when my Mom bought these from J.C. Penny's back in the early 70's. She just thought they were so pretty and they have endured for 30 years. For some reason, I've always liked them because my Mom liked them.

My new cabinet graces my home with cherished treasures. I sat down with warm cup of coffee, finally, and simply admired it. Two cups later, it was time to check a few things around the house outside before the huge predicted storms arrived.

A walk of my garden had me standing in shock and awe at this little spot....look at these iris buds!!! They were NOT there yesterday! I know because I planted some freesia bulbs there yesterday and those stalks were not there!!!

Garden Happy Dance !!

I love how the buds are the same soft, periwinkle color of Mr. Garden Wizard!

Hmmmm......... I wonder if he didn't have something to do with this when I wasn't looking!?!

Speaking of surprises, as I was planting those freesia bulbs yesterday, I pushed some garden bark to the side to find a spot to dig in and lookie what I found!! Daffodils sprouting through! I had received blooming daffodils last year as a gift and planted the bulbs here - and lo and behold, they are getting ready to spread yellow happiness in my garden!

I love the juxtapose of our ash tree.... autumn leaves clinging with their last bit of stubbornness, while fresh new growth bursts out all around!! Add in some bare branches and I have a tree of autumn, winter and spring!!

Time for some homemade lemonade!!

Out my kitchen window was my mulberry tree, loaded - not with mulberries (it's not that type of 'mulberry' tree) but with cold, puffy birds! They aren't as keen to the weather as I am!! They are predicting rain ALL WEEK LONG!!! (does her rain happy dance!)

How is winter looking in your corner of the Earth?