Saturday, December 26, 2009


There just aren't enough times in one's life when you receive some thing that makes you feel so special. Well do I ever have a pair of earrings that will add bling to anyone.  Lucky, lucky me, I received these beauties for Christmas from my mother and father in law. During my latest trip to Washington DC, I saw them at the Renwick Gallery's store. Thought they were oh so beautiful.  Bling is not usually my style, there was just this special something about this pair, and I thought if I ever had the money I would purchase them.  And we all know how often that happens, not very, we usually forget about the item long before we can remember to get them.
When asked what I wanted for Christmas, I remembered not my two front teeth...but the earrings!  Last night I received them, it was wonderful, and I am going to say enchanting.  They are authentic reproductions of earrings worn by Jackie Kennedy to an official state dinner for Shaw and Empress of Iran on April 11, 1962.  She wore these waterfall earrings, a Sunburst pin in her hair, a Hampton bracelet and an evening gown with a white satin bodice and pink sating bell skirting. Can you imagine the setting, the picture, I can, pure glamour and enchantment.
And now I am a very proud owner of an authentic copy of the one's she wore.  Life sure affords us some wonderful surprises.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Christmas Cards

Christmas Cards 
The earliest known designer of a Christmas card was Sir Henry Cole, the first director of the Victoria and Albert Museum. It was both the Penny Post postal service in 1840 and the industrialization of the printing industry however, that led to the popularity of sending Christmas cards. By 1846, one thousand were sold at one shilling each. Cards in unsealed envelopes could be posted for half a penny. A German printer by the name of Louis Prang was designing and selling cards in Roxbury, Massachusetts in 1874. Ten years later his shop was selling more than 5 million cards a year. What a beginning.
This year I actually had time for my cards instead of fitting them in on a Saturday night or just not sending any at all.  I am so organized now, have my list, verses saving the envelopes from the year before or doing a web search for them. 
I had the cards all addressed, sealed and ready to be mailed today so I was off to the post office. Upon entering, Oh no, there in front of me a crowd, a large crowd, a half hour or more wait, I almost left, I hate lines.  No I couldn't, really wanted to get this one thing off my mailed. With forty unyeilding cards and a box to mail, I couldn't leave so  I stood and stood. Bought my Hanukkah stamps, mailed the box and paid the bill.
Asked myself, when did mailing Christmas Cards become so expensive? After attaching a stamp to each wonderful, beautiful Christmas card envelop, I was's completed.  Finally can mark this one item off my list.  This list seems to double at least every third day and I cannot figure out why... there certainly cannot be that much more to do when one is not employed.
Outside I realize I cannot find my car keys! Back inside now to check everywhere, ask the service agent and even some one in line...Did you see any car keys?  No they weren't there. Outside again, I can't see the keys, but they could be under some coupons I had printed out on the front seat, not sure. One thing I knew though that all of the car keys are here all three of them are in the car. There is no way to have a friend bring me an extra key because they are here inside this car.  There is a reoccurring problem with the ignition switch that costs around $300. to fix and I have been delaying that repair...if one key doesn't work then use another.
Opening my purse, I pull out my change purse to locate the AAA card.  There are just some things in this life that are a necessity and this card is one of them. 
After a half hour wait, the service man was there, thank you Lord, it was getting cold out and I really had to go from the cold you know.  With a few nifty tools and five minutes, he had my car unlocked. And the keys were on the front seat. Another miracle, the car started, thank you again, needed the ride home to be quick. It was.
Two of the traditional Christmas items completed, Christmas decorations outside up and the Christmas Cards mailed...two to go!  The tree and finish my Christmas shopping. Tomorrow is apron day, I have six to make in the next few days. Wish me luck.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Thanksgiving in Ohio

This year was delightful, I was able to share this day with my ex mother in law, who bless her heart is 95 years young. Sharp as a tack and happy to be alive and sharing her time with us.  Though her eyesight is failing and she doesn't hear very well, she is still up on the news and is a lively person, though she is restricted with her movements.  No longer able to visit her favorite restraunts, whenever possible, some one brings her dinner from the Red Lobster and Wholly Bears.  The time spent is worth the travel to get here.  

She lives in Penfield, Ohio which is about 45 miles southwest of Cleveland.  The house is situated on twelve beautiful pine tree filled acres with a pond and lots of wild life.  Speaking of trees, look at the adjacent picture...this tree was maybe ten feet tall on my first visit to this charming house around 40 years ago...oh my...time has gone by. Now it is over 40 feet in height and just a beautiful tree. Unfortunately the picture doesn't show it's full size and glory. 
This trip brought back lots of Thanksgiving we were snow bound for three days. Couldn’t' t get the vehicles out, so we enjoyed being snowed in and time spent in front of the fireplace. Cooking was always Vi's expertise.  And she could cook; lots of comfort food, along with some Polish and Hungarian recipes thrown in.  Always knew you were welcome and you were going to get plenty to eat...And a dance around the kitchen to annoy her was always part of the welcome, as well as a trip to her cookie jar. Things have changed, the cookies are still there, though store bought now and unfortunately she doesn't cook any longer.  Missed her great meals.

We weren't sure who would be joining us for the day, with lots of grandchildren and great grandchildren living in Ohio, it's always a toss up to see who will be able to come.  Much to my surprise and joy, Kim, her husband Dan and stepchildren Elisabeth and Kelly drove up, 
from Dayton to spend a couple of days here. They brought a complete turkey dinner along with what we had prepared, we had a wonderful and filling meal.  Lots of left over’s made for delicious meals for the next couple of days.  I cannot tell you how much I enjoyed my time with this wonderful family. We worked on puzzles, took trips to antique shops, a candy shop, Roots Candles, a wonderful bakery and of course, we ate. 

Friday morning gave us a surprise, there was snow falling. Though not really a surprise in the part of Ohio, it was wonderful to see after living in Arizona so long.  A walk in the snow, being drenched by very wet snow, made this holiday memorable.  It didn't last long, sure help make this a true homecoming though. Left on Saturday to come back to Arizona.  I could have stayed longer...going back in April, my promise to Vi. Going home (Ohio) can be wonderful and it was.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Washington DC

The day started early with my arrival at the MARC train depot in Fredrick, Maryland at 6:45 am.  The train ride to DC is approximately one hour and a half long...this is a commuter train with lots of sleepy  people aboard and its Monday morning.  The train was comfortable and the sights along the way, beautiful...trees, small farms, deers roaming and downtown areas of some of the small towns that we stopped at. We arrived in Union Station around 8:40 and I was off.  Found a helpful lady that directed me to the Metro and planned my route to the White House...this lessened the amount of walking thru this great city which I was grateful for, the weather was damp and cold with rain forecast. And being from the southwest, it was chilly...chilly.  Forgot to mention, windy at the same time.  One of those days where you can see steam rising from the manholes and you know its cold.

Each time I go to DC, a visit to the White House is always on the list of places I see, it’s like a reference point for me. The house looks stately, crisp and clean even on this dark day.  Next on the list is a visit to the DAR headquarters, which is located about two blocks south of the White House, the real reason for my visit. With my daughter moving, I was not sure when I will return to DC, I had to make it this trip. And the visit didn't disappoint me.  I was fortunate to get a wonderful docent named Nancy, who was from Annapolis and she volunteers here each week. For the next hour and a half, I got a private and educational tour of this fine building and its contents.  The various DAR state chapters have decorated rooms in different periods dating from the early 1800's to 1930. Some rooms have been decorated as drawing rooms, bedrooms and studies. All done by donations right down to the wallpaper.  The DAR library is inspirational and a beautiful room. As with most buildings in DC, there have been some adaptations in their use, the library was once a place for plays..imagine the moldings, and decorations.  They have left the items to be true to the original purpose and have worked around them.  After the tour I enjoyed the museum, which had on display quilts, samplers and a Wedgewood collection from England.

After conferring with the receptionist about a good place to eat that was close( didn’t want to travel far, I was hungry), he directed me to a little cafe located in the basement of one of the federal was great and cheap compared to DC standards. Once outside, I noticed or should I say I felt the rain.  And it was coming down cats and dogs.  Needed an umbrella in a hurry or give up, it was that bad. Thank God there was one of those souvenir stands located next to the mall and just a couple hundred feet from where I was. Cost $5.00, that’s all and it worked.

With that purchase, I could now look around and determine where I need to go…and there before me was the Washington Monument at the other end of the Mall, my other point of reference.  The World War 2 memorial is located adjacent to the Washington monument.  When I say adjacent, that doesn't mean close, it’s a good walk.  By now my pants are wet to my knees, but I was warm. Borrowed my daughter's LL Beam coat, which I was thankful for the warmth and for it being waterproof.Thought this was an interesting picture of the monument, with the mounted park patrol, the flags and the monument itself.  On previous visits, this area was crowded and I actually got to see more of it and look closer at the inscriptions while it was raining.

Adjacent are some pictures of the World War 2 monument, a picture cannot capture size and scale, and it must be visited.  Met a volunteer park ranger who told me some stories about it and also found out his wife and him are from Arizona.  She works for the FBI, the reason they are in DC.  He is retired, but as he said he volunteers to get out of their small condo and to avoid housework.  Now who wouldn't? So much to see in this city.

The picture of the War Department Files is that of my uncle. I have been trying to locate more information on him and find my cousin, who I know is living in Prescott, just haven't been able to find her yet.  Uncle Francis was either killed in a plane crash over France or in England. I haven't been able to determine this yet. Sad though I didn't have time to visit the War Department for his records.  With this information I found, I might be able to find some other documents regarding his service. While Jefferson Monument is at the other end of the pond, it’s a little to far for this type of day and a third visit is not required today.

Remembering seeing the Renwick Gallery, which is located across from the Executive Offices, I decided at this point I to head back, at least this way, I knew how to get to the Metro Station.  This Museum was unique, lots of odd things, like this glass dress. At close inspection, you can see every ripple and bulge as though it was actually molded over some one's body. The museum also had lots of original landscape paintings from the 18th century. This building had been used for various things thru the years and has under gone a partial restoration.
With a quick look at the time and noticing that it was getting dark, time to leave DC. Though I did stop at a couple of shops on my way back to the Marc. Union Station has lots of upscale shops and eateries to look at.  Back to Maryland on the train, seemed a fitting end of the day.  I was thankful for the warmth of the car as we traveled thru the night.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

The Tick

Seems this area of Maryland has ticks...those wonderful blood sucking insects.  Yesterday we burned two of them off of Chloe, they were attached to her ears.  Had a long and sleepless night, hearing noises in the house, sounded like someone shuffling up and down the stairs, and my bed partners being two restless dogs, with two hours I noticed some discomfort on my chin.  It felt ichy  and a little sour, checked my face in the mirror and much to my dismay...I saw a tick with the skin around it, disclored.  This was at 8:00, Keith was gone, Krista wouldn't be up for a couple of hours, so I looked up what to do on the net...I couldn't see it well enough to remove it myself...didn't want to leave just the head attached. So I waited...with it feeling more uncomfortable. Then my thoughts turned to Lyme disease, started praying for Krista to get up.  Well she did and the tick after several trys with a hot set of twissors, the critter let go. With the lyme disease scare, I saved it, when I get back I will see if I can get that tick tested in Phoenix. Have a yucky looking spot now...hopefully it goes away soon.
Tomorrow, I am off and running to Washington DC.  Taking the Marc train out of Frederick to Union Station, from there I think I can get a bus to the DAR headquarters, off to the Smithsonian and then I want to see the World War 11 monument.  Should be a fun and exciting day...hope I don't get lost.  Will be taking the train back and then it's off to Ohio for the next part of this trip.  Always good to go home! Ohio!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Leaving Maryland

Sitting here in my daughter's kitchen, the sadness is a bit overwhelming.  The house is flithy and a mess.
Just unloading so I can get rid of the negative feelings I am having. Hope this move for them is thier own new beginning...they will need to change a few things.  But I am letting go, I can not and will not feed this any longer.  Time for both of them to grow bills and not just buy 300 dollar headphones.  Unbelievable!
Have been up for almost 3 hours and no one is does she expect me to clean up the mess, so I at least feel comfortable and do all of the packing. They pick up thier truck next Tuesday...a lot to do.
At this moment I would rather be at work...the feelings are depressing right now...Oh well, time for a smile as Lis says and get the day going. The sun is out and it truely is a wonderful fall day! And I am back east where my heart is...and this makes me cry...looks like I am also finding some answers to my own future.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Keeping on Track or Just enjoying the day!

It has been awhile since I have added a post.  Looks like on October 19th, I added a list of items to write about. Tackle them now one by one. After recieving my final check from CVL, it actually took me a week and a half to get up the courage or determination to actually take them to the bank to deposit,  seems like a final seperation notice, which of course it was..Today, I can not really explain why, I was putting it off. Perhaps, I was thinking, if I ignore it, it didn't happen?  The Cobra letter was really the topper, it discussed the reason for me recieving this option...TERMINATION!  It was like a knive being driven thru the heart, not laid off but terminated. Now to me that meant being FIRED...and in a sense that is what a lay off is. You were chosen to be let go...your services at that time are no longer needed or wanted. A hard thing to accept after years of service to the company, I thought I would retire from.
Thoughts also turn to will anyone else want me, is this a field I want to stay in, or is a new beginning needed.. a new career route or perhaps its time to go back to many options or paths to follow. Will need to decide soon...but not now!
But its on to some new beginnings, some of the joys of this time: no need to be in a hurry, actually have been enjoying breakfast (Joe's Grill) and lunchs with friends(Del Rio), the word hurry is not part of my life right now, walks at the riparian, no Sunday night worries, going to the movies with your friend actually during the week, taking care of things around the house, helping friends with thier projects and spending time with some very old friends that mean a lot. Regrets...haven't got to the aprons yet, they are cut out and waiting for me to finish. Must get to these soon...the fabric was for fall and that as we know is almost gone.  Keeping on track with project, without a job to help schedule a week is hard. There actually is no need for a daily schedule now and I need to change that. Though the inside of the house has been touched up, walls and baseboards. Next item here is the front door,  I do have the blank door and now I need to finish my design for the window insert...will be a prairie style and when completed will let a lot of light into the front hall...have wanted to do this forever!
I got the coupon bug...saving money has become a priority.  There are so many websites that people
have started to help you get started.  Actually have gotten fairly good at around 54 to 60 percent on my grocery bill each week..If I don't have coupon, well we don't need it that week.
Time has raced by and I now need to get more on track to finish and start some the items I need to. One being finding a resume writter and a good head hunter.  Decided that four resumes are needed: one to showcase my civil work, second to showcase my project management skills and third on for Public Service Jobs...number four will be for out of the country jobs.  After my trip to Maryland and Ohio, this will be my priority...looks like I won't be sleeping much, I have a lot to do.
Its off to Maryland for the last time Wednesday night, my daughter is moving to Boise, Idaho and I am
going there to help her pack.  Another sad departure, I love her house, land and location. If I could afford it, I would buy it myself...and since she will not longer be back east, this move for her  may change my own plans. I love the east coast, so this will be something I need to evaluate..especially if there is a grandchild involved.  I can only hope and pray every thing works out.

Enjoy the day...I am, off to the Riparian for a walk! One adventure planned for next year, walk the
Grand Canyon from the south rim to the north rim. Twenty one miles...three days...time to enjoy it.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

The Hair Disaster/Eulogies

The Hair Disaster
This morning I colored my hair or a better phrase is I attempted to.  Now I look like a Sun City resident, a lady in her mid seventies that went to the beauty shop where they only have two hair colors  available , black and this awful pinkish grey blond color. If you are from Arizona, you know exactly what I am talking about. And at one time or the other every one here has had a laugh about it, the look of the Sun City hair. Well now..I look like one of them...this  is all to much. Look at me, I am too young for this.  
After I  finish this post, I am off to Walgreens or Walmart to get another box of color, hopefully that one will cover this mess that is my hair right now. I did consider going to the Beauty Shop for help but after a phone call and a quote given, decided I can finish my own mess. That would be a trip of last resort.
Henry James once said, Sorrow comes in great waves...but it rolls over us, and though it may almost smother us, it leaves us on the spot and we know that if it is strong we are stronger inasmuch as it passes and we remain.
And if you are wondering how I could tie a hair disaster with eulogies...
Recieved an email today from work regarding my layoff. It was just a simple statement from a recent client of sorry to hear about Jean - she was a good person. Now doesn't that sound like like a statement someone would make after your death.  Perhaps I am being a bit touchy but after reading that email I did get teary eyed. My first responce was I am not dead, I am here alive in Gilbert. But being realistic, in a way I am dead, dead, gone and unable to help my past clients.  This is a time of struggle for anyone faced with this and I know that I am not alone. Need to keep the faith and know that I will get by this difficult part of my life, it like a passing. Certainly am glad that they thought I was a good person, not the wicked witch of the west or the lazy slob in the next cubicle. Though now do I need to write my eulogy? A eulogy for my job or for the person I was there?  I think I will ponder this for a while after I fix this Sun City hair color. 

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

One Week Later

Today was interesting, mix of taking some time for me(reconnected with an old friend) and actually  starting the dreaded task of sorting thru some of the items I brought home from work.
Did you ever wonder what to do with the all of the little nick nacks and trickets that collect in your office or  workspace after a number of years?  An elephant from an old friend, gone from this earth or the little bell from Idaho, or the ferry boat from Seattle?  There are pencils for every occasion, pictures of friends and thier childern, cards, caps and visors, an old bottle of what is now vinegar I am sure, a computer gargoyel, can of vienna sausages, an elephant back scratcher, toy trucks, water bottles from a now defunct home builder, a halloween ghost, a small christmas tree, a christmas tree candle holder, a cute taco bell dog complete with sun glasses and cap(he will join the others safe in the house), calender from an old friend, two wall clocks( one from Rich) pins, magnets, a dish full of pennies, pictures from friends, pictures of Christmas's past, a Harry Potter book, my cottage picture, M & M holders, wind chimes, a flag, mugs, a TY puppy (now on the monitor at home), pictures of my dogs that have left this earth and others items I can not think of at this moment...what to do with them?  And of course the wedding picture where I look like I had been drinking for a week. These things have been with me for years and actually I would look at some of them fondly, thinking of the memories almost every day.  Do you leave them in the garage to gather dust and be forgotten or some how incorporate them into your living space? I don't want the memories to fade or the wonderful thoughts behind some of the items.
I sorted thru some of them...until the hurt and tears started, decided on some items that I am worried about getting broked, then came in and got a couple of throws for those boxes which will remain covered for now.  Maybe next week I will be able to sort thru them again. Memories...what a blessing and a curse.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

And the day after the first monday...

Yesterday...first monday is so many years that I didn't have a job to go to, felt empty and lost.  Didn't feel right...are we so defined as to our person or well being  that to be complete, acceptable  we are measured by our jobs and ability to produce an income.

First thing in the morning to keep busy I took our dogs, Barkley and Mattie May to the Gilbert dog park.  On the way, the irony hit me, no job, no place to go to earn a living and so a few tears where shed. These tears seem to pop up unexpectantly through out the day...hopefully in the future, it will be less and less.
The park was a success for the dogs...poor little Barkley fell in the lake, but he could swim and swim he did!  And he took to the water like a duck, called him and swam right over to me.  He never has been in a lake...great surprise and relief. And went back in he did to swim some more.
This will have to be a weekly adventure for us. All kinds of dogs and looked like all kinds of humans...good people watching I am sure.  Rough looking characters and the typical house wifes to name a few...we'll see where I fit in in the realm of dog park attendees or the unemployed.

My new challenge is to find all of the freebies and coupon adventures I can. Free money and what else do I have to name a few...
spread cow manure on the front and back yard after planting the winter grass.
added new fall plants to the planters and hanging plants.
changed the front door hanging to Halloween.
cleaned out my, maybe I will wash it.
ordered the replacement part for the diswasher...cost $3.81 and with shipping was $ off.
called an old friend to meet for breakfast...will be good to reconnect with her.
cleaned the bathrooms.
entertained the inlaws for dinner.
And that was yesterday.
On to the library to check out books on resume writting.  The fear of not finding a job is the article in Sunday's job section...even with professional resumes and coaching those three women have not found jobs.  Unsure were everything is scary. And I must admit I am also one but dogs, cats, kittens and a bird to talk to. No one close at hand to check on or ask how thier day is going. Think I need to get busy quickly...

Saturday, October 3, 2009

What if I?
My thoughts today were a combination of what ifs, what if I hadn't been laid off and what if
I did ????
On to the new what ifs, at least now, they will be out there to think about and add to.
What if I start a consulting business...with who and focus?
What if I move out of state...where?
What if I buy that new's hot!
What if I sell Real who?  Need to find clients? Need to complete soon.
What if I hire a head it worth the money?  And the results?
What if I find a job that's silly!
What if I go back to school...what is interesting?  Honestly I don't have an idea about a direction here!
What if I start a  business redoing homes... this is probably the one that would bring me the greatest joy!
What if I do a resume...myself or do I hire a  professional?
What if I take time off...that has been my course of action for at least a month, do nothing, but my gut is telling me something different today.
What if I run that sounds more worries at least in this reality.
What if tomorrow I wake up and have the magic answer...there is hope.
What if tomorrow I wake up smiling and it is a great day....sounds like a wonderful thing!
Here's to hope.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

The Beginning

And it has started...I am not much for writting at least not as well as my friends, this will be a new beginning for my writting skills and a life without the daily contact with my friends at work though would rather call them family because they shared my life for the last fifteen years or more.

Yes, I was laid off but I still can smile, get wonderful calls from friends, have lunch with dear dear friends and share some laughs. This will be a continual exercise to keep smiling, at times it seems totally out of control and so sad and others...well it was wonderful and what a life.

Yesterday was my last day at work, turned some projects over to thier new PM's, finished my last time sheet, worked for the last time on Layton Lakes for Jeff Gunderson, finished packing the last few boxes with cherished items and gifts,had lunch with a wonderful young lady who I admire for her courage, thoughtfulness, and funny stories, shared some of the best sweet potatoe fries I have ever had, said good bye to some wonderful people, gave my water gun away, shared smiles and cried with Lani who I consider my second daughter( but don't let her know), laughed with others, had a massage from a wonderful friend, my office was filled for the last time with friends, wishing me well, time spent with Jackie(discuss her later) and after empting the office, leaving the building, walking to my car..there was a sign! No, no a cat! Cats have been overwhelming presence in my live the last few its been kittens..about 20 of them. Well I am digressing, this cat's name is Sonny Boy, a young male cat that lives in the neighborhood and is the spitting image of his father. Jackie and I have been feeding nieghborhood cats for years, Sonny Boy's father was one of the first batch of cats that needed feeding. Haven't seen him for months, the ferels don't show thier faces in the heat of summer, but when it starts cooling off...there they are and there he was. Grown up now and filled out and I firmly believe he was saying good bye. Sat and looked at me and Jackie for a few minutes and then went to the feed bowls, where I took this picture. I must admit I cried for the past and the future, but some how I know it will be alright.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Coming Soon...

I am currently working on my blog site. This is
a little new to me so I am still working out all
the kinks..