Monday, February 28, 2011

This is where I live

Last Thursday and Friday were vacation days from school for the girls, and since I always check the school calendar before scheduling myself for my second job, I mostly had the days off as well. On Thursday I was looking through the newspaper and saw the national park on the east side of town was offering a ranger-led hike with the theme of Cowboys of the R** Valley. Since C & E have been learning all about cowboys, I knew it was the perfect activity. Friday morning we met at the visitors' center/ranger station at 9:00, then drove to the starting point about 7 miles farther along the perimeter of the park toward the south, then into the park from the south side. [GWP, when we went there, we stayed in the vicinity of the ranger station on the west side of the park.] I thought since most schools were out that day the group would be a bunch of mothers and children, but it wasn't. We were the only family with children and most of the other six hikers were older adults.

Here was our first awesome vista:

Kind of full of cacti, huh? Those cacti are called saguaro and it's not pronounced as you'd think, it's pronounced /suh hwah roh/. Just so you don't feel stupid by pronouncing it /suh gwar oh/. ;-)

The ranger pointed out lots of interesting nature things as well as told the history of the area. This picture shows a nurse tree:

Baby saguaros grow best when they are beneath an overhanging tree such as this mesquite. Usually by the time the cactus is big, the tree has died, but sometimes you can still see the relationship.

Our hike was about 1.3 miles along a pretty good trail. Our turnaround point was this old windmill:

It was put up more than a hundred years ago and it drew water and put it into the two large tanks for a long time. It was kind of jarring to see it there because the old homesteads are long, long gone, and really, the only sign that people once lived there are the fact that the saguaros are mostly about 80-110 years old in that area (taken down by the homesteaders desperate to meet their quota of livestock to prove up their 160, then 640 acres, and then trampled underfoot by said livestock), naturally regrown since the homesteaders left, and a very few remaining stream bed changes made by the settlers trying to change the rain runoff.

My girls were real troupers and had a great time out on the trail. Me too.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Menu Plan Sunday

Monday: Cuban Flank Steak
Tuesday: Layered Chile-Chicken Enchilada Casserole
Wednesday: Pancakes
Thursday: Chicken Parmesan. I'm not sure if I'm going to serve it with spaghetti as she does, and if I do, the serving size will look like the picture, not the pound of spaghetti she suggests cooking.
Friday: Pizza night

Friday, February 18, 2011

The Javelina Gift Shop

This is a javelina. It's pronounced /haah vuh leena/. Dh suddenly got a wild idea to go javelina hunting this weekend, got a hunting license, a javelina tag, loaded up the ol' Suburban and went. When E got up she asked if Daddy were still here. I said no, he'd gone already.

Then she told me she wanted him to stop by the gift shop to get her something. What? A javelina charm for her necklace. First, she doesn't even have a charm bracelet or necklace and second . . . a gift shop?? LOL Dh is headed out into the serious mountainous desert and I'm pretty sure he won't come across a gift shop. Or maybe he will?

Monday, February 14, 2011

My Son's Gotcha Day

Dear L,

I think of you every year on Valentine's Day because February 14th is David's "Gotcha Day," or the day we brought him home from the hospital. I don't know if you knew that. I went to the hospital in the morning because they were giving me a crash course that day in infant and preemie care. I also gave him a bath, which he heartily did NOT appreciate! By mid-afternoon he was ready and he was packed into his version 1.0 infant seat. Those seats sure were basic in those days!

I had a little crib set up for him in the living room because that's where his oxygen was and it was a small place so he would have been close no matter where he was in the apartment. He was so little and cute! My friend came over that afternoon to see him. She came in, but because of germs, etc., I held him up to the front window for her little children to admire, just like you would in the hospital nursery window.

I was really excited to finally be a mother, thanks to your infinitely generous gift. He is a wonderful son and I'm so glad we connected with each other, L.


This response came a couple of days later:

Hi Katie,

This was the best story and made my day. Thank you for sharing it with me. What a precious image of the day you brought David home. David and I have an ongoing texting conversation and keeping in touch. I've enjoyed getting to know him. I hope you are doing well. Take care,L.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Root Canal

Not as bad as I expected. I had one when I was pregnant with C & E, twice sort of, because they had to reopen it two weeks later to put some medicine in, and it wasn't horrible.

My dentist sent me to an endodontist for a second opinion, but told me he could do the root canal if it were needed. However, I loved the office and the endodontist so much upon my first consultation that I decided to go back to that office to have the work done.

I waited from December to February because I wasn't absolutely sure I needed the root canal. The affected tooth was in the upper back part of my mouth and I was having sinus problems there and wasn't positive the problem was the tooth vs. the sinus cavity. Continued pain convinced me it was the tooth.

Once the endodontist got in there he found a pulp stone which is a tiny calcification within the pulp cavity.
These are not my teeth, but you can see a shadow on both of these teeth and I believe the one on the right has the pulp stone. Anyway, the endodontist said it can form to protect the nerve from irritation of some duration. So I guess something was going on inside my tooth.

I've been taking 600 mg ibuprofen since I got home, but honestly, I hardly need it. It's already easier to chew my food (no pain!!) and I'm really glad I got it done and most of all--got it DONE WITH!!

Next up: go back to the dentist for the crown that is waiting in a tiny envelope in his drawer and be DONE with this tooth once and for all.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

A visitor

Ds1 came yesterday. That might not seem too exciting, but it is! I haven't seen him since April 2009. He's here for a week to look for a job and check out the local commumity college as he is kind of planning to move here next month. I hope he does. He's nice to have around. Dh is sure hoping he moves in because dh is very outnumbered in our household. One guy, five gals. At least then it would be two guys, five gals. :-)

A lot has changed since I last saw ds. We moved from one state to another. The girls are two years older which means a lot of changes in them over that time. There have been serious health and family changes during that time. It's one of those situation where if you could have looked forward two years in April 2009 you would have been sure the crystal ball was showing you someone else's future, not yours. I'll look at the positive side and just say there has been a lot of personal growth on the part of almost everyone in the family.

So all that aside, this week ds is going to put in applications and already has four leads. He's going to contact the community college to see if they have regularly-scheduled tours, private tours, or self-guided tours of the campus. He's going to get his tax information so he can file his taxes and at the same time fill out the Federal Application for tuition aid (you need tax information to fill it out). We're going to visit the zoo, a cactus national park, a natural zoo, and who knows what else. There are a number of things to do in our city. I hope he likes it here.

Friday, February 4, 2011

My smart chicken

I'll bet those three words aren't often written in the same sentence!

The other night we were just sitting down to dinner when Toek, my Plymouth Barred Rock (black and white) came up on the back patio. First of all, it's rare to see only one of the girls by herself because they really prefer to hang in a flock. She walked right up to the closed sliding glass door and pecked at it--something she has never done before!

I immediately knew she wanted help so dh and I headed out to see what was going on. Her needs were simple; it was getting dark and her sisters had flown up into the coop and were on their roost, but Toek couldn't/didn't want to fly up into the coop. She allowed me to lift her up, which told me how badly she wanted to join them, because the Barred Rocks are the least pick-me-up chickens of the four.

Considering how little brain power chickens have, I was impressed that she knew she had to come ask for help. :-)