Monday, December 29, 2008

Eyeing the situation.......

At first I thought Grant had a reaction when he saw this year's Christmas bill.......but it turns out he caught a box with his eyeball while at work.

He was very lucky and the doctor said he should fully recover in about four to six weeks.

That should give him enough time to write a best selling novel about a dysfunctional family and their holiday celebrations, eh?

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Massive Bailout

Another kind of a Massive Bailout dumped by The Bluebird of Happiness is my guess.

Seriously this bird had to be scary HUGE given it's dump capacity.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

National Photo Exposure

Last May we were in the midst of a hectic end of school year schedule. Jillian was graduating High School and turning 18, Janeva was graduating Middle School and turning 14, and Grant's daughter Angela flew in from Australia and was turning 19. All three girls have birthdays in a three week span. Grant planned a birthday bash which would be a kick off for his daughter's visit with us. A lot of our Geocaching friends came to Peter Piper Pizza to celebrate Angela's arrival and all the girl's birthdays.

Master of Ceremonies giving introductions

I was taking pictures throughout the evening. Among the pictures were random shots of all the girls individually, together, and coupled at random. They were just your normal snapshots of time. I have always been a prolific photographer at family events so this was no different.

I think it last July or August that I was viewing some of my favorite websites. One of my clicks took me to the Family Circle Magazine website and I saw a photo contest link. The photo contest was themed "Family Time Photo Contest". I read the rules and thought it looked interesting and I thought it would be fun to submit a few of my photos.

I went through my files and piles of photos and decided on four or five photos that would fit the theme beautifully and were some of my personal favorites.

On the 17th of November I received an email from the editor of Family Circle Magazine notification that I had won third prize and requesting more information....address, full name etc. Out of some 5900 entries, one of my photos won third prize!! I was in total shock and some what disbelieving. Two days before Thanksgiving, I received a very official package asking me to sign a release so the photo can be published in an upcoming issue and to sign off the tax papers in order to receive my prizes. One prize arrived yesterday and THAT is when all of this became real to me. OMGosh!! I WON THIRD PRIZE IN A NATIONAL CONTEST FOR A MAJOR PUBLICATION!!!

The problem is, I don't know WHICH photo won so now I'm dying of curiosity now to find out which one of the photos will be published!

Sunday, November 30, 2008

I am now a Mobile Blogger!

I am now a Mobile Blogger, thanks to the new camera phone that Grant surprised me with. (Thank you Honey!)

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving!

Giving Thanks is on the agenda today. After all the political strife of the last year, the economy tanking, pension plans disappearing, investments and 401Ks sliding into the black hole as the result of what we are told is a deep "recession" (I think it looks more like political manipulation and criminal acts by insiders.....but I digress) it seems that there is very little to be thankful for. But, giving time to look deeper, I was surprised and comforted for all the things I have to be thankful for after all. I hope you are able to take a moment and give thanks and express appreciation for what you have and perhaps it will give you comfort too.

I am very thankful for.......

....being here to share this holiday with my family. As a cancer survivor, I "GET IT" today is a gift!! Try to live each day as it is your last. (When life is hectic, it is easy to forget this.)

....having a warm meal to share with my family. Even more thankful at being able to prepare a meal for my family. (My mashed potatoes are to die for!)

....having my mother to call this morning and share with her an early morning laugh and getting to look forward to her arrival next week.

Side story: I miss my grumpy gruff father, and I appreciate the strength and humor that he passed down to me and my own daughters. My favorite memory of him, just before he died, I was in Tennessee taking care of him and helping my mother caring for him and cooking for both of them. One night, I baked a big batch of cookies when the house was quiet. He was pretty much bedridden by then so I stayed on California time and stayed up till the wee hours of the morning so my mom could try to sleep. After the cookies had all been baked and the last batch was laid out on the counter to cool, I laid down to try and rest. That day had been particularly rough and I was drained. Just as I was about to be drift off to sleep I heard a noise in the Kitchen. Mouse? I hoped not...something shifting in the cupboards? This isn't California, nope no earthquake. What was it? I got up to investigate. My mom was sleeping soundly. Went in to check in my was dark in the room so I couldn't really see him but was listening to his breathing. It didn't sound right. Stepped lightly over to the side of the bed for a closer look, and in the shadow of night could see he was awake. I whispered "are you okay?" and he mumbled back "uh huh". But he didn't sound right, his mouth was puffed a little. THEN I FIGURED IT OUT and said to him "HEY!! Did you get into the cookies??!" He couldn't really answer because he had a mouthful of cookies. I then said "I caught you red handed old man, you are sooo busted!" The two of us had the biggest laugh over that!! He had to really struggle to get out of bed and shuffle to the kitchen...but he did just to SNEAK a cookie!!! That memory is one of my favorites, only later did I discover it would be one of the last. I'm very thankful for that moment and memory of my dad.

I am thankful for....

....having a wonderful growing relationship with my niece Allyson, and getting to share my love of knitting with her and daughter, Hannah. OH...and hearing how they are now infecting others with handmade knits of love. (I know she will read this, ;) ) I can't wait to see Heidi's project too!!! Knit on Girls!!

....having a warm dry home to wake up in. (we are currently being pounded with rain and had a tornado warning just a bit earlier....this is unheard of in Southern California!!)

....having a loving husband who makes me laugh, puts up with my yarn, wears the sweaters that I knit him, and who on occasion makes us a fantastic fondue dinner just so that we all can knit and graze on a marathon knit Sunday! (Allyson, Hannah and I finished two projects on one of those days!!) It was fiberly fun!

....having a job, that provides the family with a small amount of security and allows us to do some of the small things we do for fun. (All too often I forget to be grateful for just having a job.)

....having a friendship with my x-husband so that on holidays and special occasions we all can celebrate and share a meal and everyone can get together and share these moments with our two daughters.

....having an extended family in Australia and getting to learn more about another culture. I'd love to share a traditional Thanksgiving Day with all of them one day. I think that they would enjoy this day as I grew up celebrating Thanksgiving.

The more I sit here and think of what I am truly thankful for, the more I have to be thankful of.

I hope that you all can find things in your life to be thankful for.

Friday, October 24, 2008

A discovery

As you know by now, my husband Grant is one of the contributors that are featured in the Chicken Soup for the Soul: Divorce and Recovery Book. This is about his experience in writing his story for the book and my discovery coming from all of this.

It was about a year ago that I stumbled across a notice about a contest where several of the “winners” would be featured in a book. I encouraged my husband to submit a story. Much to his surprise he was told he won “first place”. It was exciting for Grant as he had recently immigrated to this country to pursue a new life and a writing career.

This is a second marriage for both Grant and I. What I discovered from my divorce is that a heart can be so wounded that in the healing process scars develop, much like any wound on your skin does, the deeper the wound, the uglier the scar. Typically, scar tissue results in a loss of sensation, a numbing of that area which has been hurt so significantly.

Although not unique, my divorce was a traumatic one. I was determined to survive it and live on. I have felt that the resulting scarring of my heart has been a closely guarded problem for me. I knew I had “healed”, “moved on” and “progressed” from a failed marriage and have been able to work with my ex-husband reestablishing a friendship for the sake of our children. Yet, I was still numb and unable to really feel the way I used to feel about people and situations like I had before the divorce. I assumed that I was emotionally damaged by disappointment and divorce, consequently going through the motions with this lack of sensation that I had grown to fear. Is that normal? I have felt numb to deep heartfelt emotions and feelings for anyone or anything. Or so I thought………

I was happy and proud of Grant for submitting his story and winning a prized status of being published in one of the Chicken Soup for the Soul books. I know that his story relates to a very painful period in his life and to have the courage to share something like that was probably very difficult for him at first.

Last night, after a rare dinner date, Grant and I were strolling through a mall and stopped by a large bookstore. Grant was able to find “his” book. (this is how it is referred to in our home as ‘HIS’ book). We stood in the store and scanned the Table of Contents to find his story. He was visibly touched at seeing his story and name in the book. Since he had been recently notified that his copies of the books had not been sent due to an oversight, he purchased the book so he could send it to his daughters in Australia.

We came home, excited and I felt blessed as this seemed a great way to end an evening out. We plopped down on the couch, kicked off our shoes and took another look at the book. Grant went to the back of the book to look at the bios of the contributors. Flipping the pages forward and backwards, we looked three times only to discover that he is THE ONLY contributor whose bio is not included!

Imagine the crush of disappointment that is now the reality. The diminishing of Grant’s role in this publication by omitting his name in the section of the book devoted to “Contributors”. How did this happen?

This leads me to my newest discovery. I healed much more than I ever knew till now, because I now hurt for my husband and feel his disappointment. I would almost prefer being numb.

Grant shared an inspirational story of recovery and shifting of roles as the result of his divorce. A very difficult time in his life should not have to be celebrated by a new disappointment from which another recovery has now begun.

A question about my own fears of old wounds appears to be answered now. It is now apparent, I’m no longer numb, it hurts to see someone else hurt.

While I'm not able to prevent the hurts and disappointments that my loved ones will face, I hope I can be strong enough to help them overcome set backs and move on stronger than before with resolve to not be knocked down in defeat but to regain footing and resolve to try again and succeed.

UPDATE: Grant sent an email pointing out the omission of his bio in the book. This morning he received an email apologizing and saying that it would be included in the next printing and his copies of the books would be replaced with the newer release in December.

For me, this is perhaps why I knit, it is not just a hobby, it's a coping tool. I use the time to knit to ponder these moments and sometimes it keeps me from reacting immediately in a manner than I'd likely regret later. In the last week I have received four new knitting books.

Glam Knits and Custom Knits are two books that I will be using a lot. The patterns are well written and the projects look like they will be fun and engaging. Knitting On Top of The World has a few projects that interest me and each time I thumb through this book I find something new. The book itself is just gorgeous! The Mason Dixon Knitting Outside of the Lines, is a fun book, a great read and the projects are functional, fun and even conversational pieces. I particularly like the reusable swifter floor mop pad and when I saw the knitted cuffs for rubber gloves I about pee'd my pants from laughter. These two projects just suit my family's twisted sense of humor beautifully! I don't know if I'll make a set of these for my sister and wrap them up in a gorgeously Christmas package or use them as a stocking stuffer. Either way, I can hear the laughing already!

Oh yeah! I am going to be coping all this weekend with these new books and my stash of yarn quite well.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

My Husband Is A Writer

Today has been an eventful day.

The girls left today to meet up with their father in New Orleans for a family reunion. So the morning seemed hectic with the packing, checking what was packed, identify items that hadn't been packed (i.e. toothbrush), doing last minute small load of laundry because of the typical "Mommmmmm, I can't possibly go to New Orleans without my favorite top" crisis. So with hair on fire we leave the house for the airport. Girls meet up with their Grandma and the three of them are off for what is hopefully a 5 day fun filled trip reacquainting with great uncles and cousins.

From the airport Grant and I had to do a whirlwind tour between two bases to get my expense report generated and submitted so I can get my money back from this week's trip.

Back at the house by 4:30 to meet up with a roofing contractor to get an estimate. I'm long overdue for a new roof and while I knew it was going to be expensive, but this is turning out to be a budget buster. Anyhoo........

FINALLY, around 6:30, Grant and I find ourselves starting the evening with no kids, no contractors, no mandatory errands, no paperwork or mail to go through........we look at each other and both of us seem to say "what now?"

This evening Grant and I had a really great dinner at Claim Jumpers and proceed to waddle out of the restaurant and stroll over to a Barnes and Noble. I head over to the knitting book section (Grant always knows where to find me if I'm in a bookstore). Grant goes off to some other section......usually somewhere in the area of WWII history section. I'm looking through the knit book section and I'm mentally adding to my Wish List when I turn around and see Grant standing behind me with a book in his hand.

About a year ago, Grant submitted an entry in a contest for one of the upcoming Chicken Soup for the Soul series. Soon after he sent in his entry, he was notified that he won first place! In the last year we'd get periodic updates as to the release of the book and the title. About three weeks ago we were told the final title of the book, "Chicken Soup for the Soul: Divorce and Recovery" with a release date.

This evening while at Barnes and Noble, Grant found the book. I call it His Book, but he will tell you "it is a book that I contributed to" is
HIS FIRST U.S. American book published. I can even prove it!!!......

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I thought it was pretty exciting to be standing in the middle of a leading bookstore and find a book on the shelves with a story in it that my husband wrote. I think he was excited too!

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This was a great way to end an evening!!

Monday, October 20, 2008

Traveling Knitter - Day Two

Well......I didn't sleep that well last night.....guess the new surroundings, the big fluffy white bed, and all this quiet space to call my own was just too much for me to be able to relax. Morning came fast enough though. I finally gave up and just got out of bed at 5:30 to get ready for the complimentary breakfast (little things like that excite me).

I left my room with the best view from the top floor to head down to the lobby where a dinning room off the main hall was suppose to set for breakfast. I got to the elevator where I found a sign was posted over the buttons that simply said "Elevator is out of order, please take the stairs at the end of the hallway. Sorry for the inconvenience."

So I stood there and pushed the elevator buttons. You know what? The elevator was really broken. So I ended up taking the stairs. No biggy. Problem is, I think I ate more than I normally would have because the damn elevator was broken!! Eating more was really just a delay tactic hoping against all odds that the elevator would be 6:00am. I end up taking the stairs back up to the room to get ready for the training class. 40 minutes after I got back into the room I was walking back down the stairs and heading out for the day.

My smelly rental car had trouble starting this morning. It was a cool foggy morning and the car wasn't turning over. The car made sounds like it had climbed up and down stairs all morning but I dominated and with my foot firmly pressing the gas into the floor, it started and I was off to a running start.

The class went well and I was able to keep up with class. The training facility had lunch brought in.....(great, more complimentary food). I was fine up till lunch time, but after lunch I was struggling to stay awake. The Italian food that was brought in was great and very filling. I was badly in need of a nap after a hearty lunch. I took comfort noticing that EVERYONE else in the class was leaning back in their chairs or leaning a little more heavily on their desks.

After the class, I headed back to the hotel....walked right past the gym and giggled when I saw the elevator was once again operational. I got "home" and kicked off my shoes and have settled in for the night. I brought food in from Chili's and now just too full to move, let alone discuss.

OH...since this is a knitter's blog, I think I'll post some pics of a couple of newly finished knit projects. This is a Winterberry Hat that Hannah absolutely loved. When I get home I'll try to take better pictures of it because it really is cute. This is the first project that I got to embellish with french knots, lazy daizy stitch and duplicate stitches. (I'm really hooked on duplicate stitch now!)

Winterberry hat, crown Winterberry Hat

Here is a pic of Janeva in her Rusted Root top that I finished last week. She is such a joy to knit for because she is so excited to not only get a new top, but to model it for me too.

Janeva's Rusted Root

One more day of training and then I'm back home where I'll be a little more appreciative of the noisey chit chat of my daughters and knitting clutter next to my bed and my snoring Australian next to me trying to wrestle some covers away while I sleep soundly again.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Traveling Knitter

I'm up in Irvine, California to attend a two day course in an up and coming database system. I'm not a professional traveler, I'm not even a good amateur......

In order for me to attend a two day class, it took 3 days to create a profile and make reservations for the hotel and rental car on the "travel site" my company requires us to use. Now I can see the benefits if you travel ALL THE TIME...but for me, not so much.

In my profile I put "non-smoker" for the hotel room and rental car. So I knew I was screwed when I picked up my rental car and the inside of the car smelled like the Marlboro Man had been last man driving that car. Problem was I was in a I didn't return the car. I just rolled down the window and held my breath.

I was more than shocked to discover that the rental car ran my check/visa card for more than three times the estimated total cost (holding amount) for the three day rental fee. This freaked me out because I didn't know if I'd have enough for the hotel this was one major reason for the sour stomach I had all day. This really triggered me and I got wound up AGAIN over those dumbass AIG executives with their big fancy fat bloated expense accounts and craptastically huge extravagant trips. Do you think they ever got a stomach ache sweating the moment when their credit cards were swiped at a hotel? How about one of those brilliant bailout politicians in D.C.? ........but I digress.

As is typical for me, I had put everything off till today to do before I left. I had laundry and grocery shopping. Jillian participated in the "Making Strides Against Breast Cancer" Walk-a-thon this morning and needed my taxi service as well. Jillian had a great time, and did a great job raising money with a bake sale that her team did the day before.

Between errands, some chores and packing clothes that all took me about an hour to do, but I still had to pack a knitting project. 3 + hours later, I packed up 4 knit projects and got into the car and headed North on the freeway. I got on the freeway and discovered that the smelly car also has a wicked shimmy when going freeway speeds. This wasn't going well.

It was later than I had intended so I was pushing to get to the hotel before 5pm because my niece Allyson, and her 10 year old daughter Hannah, were going to meet me. They have the knitting bug big time (hmmm, how could that have happened?)_ and so we had a night of knitting planned.

I arrived safely, rattled and frazzled but ready to kick off my shoes and knit awhile. Allyson and Hannah arrived about 5 minutes after I got the room. I discovered that I had left the camera at home so I only have the cell phone camera with me. Here are a couple of shots of the hotel room. I didn't even think of the cell phone camera while Hannah and Allyson were here. The pics are kinda rough but you'll get the idea. The room is very comfortable with a great seating area and was perfect for a mini Stitch N Bitch.

Business Trip, my hotel room Business Trip, laptop work area

On the bed you can see the new Laptop that Grant surprised me with. It is perfectly pink and fun. The best part of all is that he set it up and when I log on, Ravelry pops up! WAY COOL!!

Allyson and Hannah are now new members of Ravelry, which is going to be great for me because now I can watch their projects grow as they progress. They are recruiting my nephew's wife and his daughter too. This Christmas is going to be a BREEZE!! Can you imagine this..... I only have to give them some yarn and exclaim, "It's a new pair of socks, or a scarf, or a bag, or a hat.......or whatever just have to knit it!"

Currently, I'm blogging on my pink laptop on this wonderfully fluffy bed and I get to sleep in till 6 or 7am. I have a TV remote, and a knit project beside me. I think I'm okay with this business traveling stuff after all.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

I'm BACK!!!!

I am knitting again! It has taken several months for the flair up of my hand to die down and get the all clear to knit again by my doctor. I started with a couple of felted projects because the size of the needles are bigger and it is straight knitting. Seemed like a good place to start....

The first project is a Gelato Bag made with Cascade 220. This is the first time I ever felted anything on PURPOSE! I was nervous about throwing the bag into the washer with a warm water setting, but I survived it and now I'm hooked. Jillian has already claimed this bag as hers. I actually think this bag should go through the wash one more time though.

Gelato Bag

This is a Booga Bag made with Noro Kureyon. I liked the colors and the bag knitted up Saturday. Jillian is eyeballing this bag too, but I think I might make several of these felted bags and use them as "gift bags" at Christmas time.

Booga Bag

It's good to be knitting again. Lots of stress around this time of year and with the economy tanking and an election around the corner I'm grateful to have something to distract myself with. Sooooo, how about that craptastic bailout, eh?? (never mind)

On the home front, Jillian is still driving with a "learner's permit" which means that she has to have a "grown up" with her. I am the only grown up in the house apparently so the two of us are stuck with each other. Jillian is doing great, I on the other hand, not so much. I sit in the passenger seat, put my seat belt on, and then the oddest thing butt becomes vacuum sealed to the seat and makes a sound like a Tupperware lid which Jillian has said is how she knows "we are good to go".

Upon arriving home and after she pulls into the driveway, I once again inhale which apparently breaks the seal between my butt and the seat and I'm able to jump out of the car. Then I need to lay down for about an hour which is about the time I can feel my legs again.

If I had known in advance the anxiety of riding with my teenage daughter while she is learning to drive.........I may not have stopped taking the pill.

About the time Jillian is licensed and I'm comfortable with her driving, Janeva will be getting her learner's she keeps reminding me!

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Introducing "The Enforcer"

Nothing much to write about on the knitting front. I haven't finished any projects this whole summer because of the lingering hand issue. The couponing is continuing however. Single Dad Tom is pretty close to pro and Tall Chocolate James is so freaking good, the stores not only PAY him to take stuff out of the store, this last Friday, the store literally paid him to bring stuff back. This leaves Comic Ronn to envy Tom and James and Barely 20something John can only hear the story and wonder how. Let me explain......

A few weeks ago, our little gang "Four Cheap Guys and a Frugal Chick" nearly wiped out the San Diego county Walgreen stores of Pop Tarts and Nutrigrain bars. There was a promo that if you buy 5 boxes of Pop Tarts for $10.00, you'd get a $5.00 Register Reward (RR) back as a credit to use on your next purchase in the store. Well for some reason there was some computer foul up and so what really happened is if you bought $10.00 in Pop Tarts or Nutrigrain bars, you'd get $10.00 in Register Reward making your purchase entirely FREE. Toss in a couple of coupons ....and the best we did was buy 5 boxes of Pop Tarts for $8.00 and we'd get $10.00 RRs back...MAKING $2.00 profit.

It was THAT particular deal that made believers of The Four Cheap Guys.

This week, Tom and James asked me to go with them to Walgreens to do "coupon training" and see if we figure out some good coupon/rebate deals during lunch. Cruising the store Tom did really well, buying nearly $80.00 worth of stuff like hair irons for his daughter who is his coupon clipping helper, his total out of pocket (OOP) was around $10.55 but after RR and rebates he will be making some basically, they paid him to shop at the store.

James and I did the "Ragu and Skippy" deal. James bought 6 jars of Ragu on sale for $10.00 getting a $5.00 RR back and a lip balm that was on sale for 2.99 giving a $2.00 RR back. Using coupons, James basically got out of the store for about 5.00 but getting back $7.00 in RR. We left the store all of us on a coupon high but James kept looking over his shoulder (I call this couponer's paranoia). I asked him what the heck he was doing and he said he was expecting to see Security coming after us. He was a little surprised to find that combining the coupons with sales and promos could net you stuff for nearly pennies.

The next day, James was going to shop for the Skippy peanut butter. On the coupon both the Skippy Regular and Natural peanut butter was pictured so he picked up 6 jars of the Natural peanut butter. While James and I were waiting for Tom, James was studying his receipt intently. By the time Tom came out of the store, James figured out he was short a $5.00 Register Reward that he was expecting. We all looked at the flyer and then realized that the deal the store was offering didn't include the Natural Peanut Butter so James decided to go back in and return it, because without the RR he was not getting nearly as good a deal as he was expecting.

James takes his receipt and the peanut butter back into the store to return it. The clerk is about to give his money back when the manager comes to the register. The manager "takes over" and starts questioning James asking if he did anything with the peanut butter, tampered with it. James explains that he thought it was part of the Ragu/Skippy deal and he'd get a RR for it, but since this wasn't part of the deal, he didn't want it. The manager was satisfied and gave James his $10.00 back.

On the way back to work, James is studying his receipt, counting his money and really puzzled because he felt he got too much money back. Turns out that the manager was so busy asking questions that he ended up giving James the full amount back....instead of the amount less coupons. So, James ends up $3.00 ahead.....just for walking into the store.

The day before, James basically got paid to take stuff out of the store, and this day he was paid to bring stuff back!

Meanwhile, I have no sympathy for Walgreens. They, Walgreens, has great sales, give great rebates, and offer store coupons that can be used with manufacturer's coupons, but the employees at certain stores can be complete jerks....looking at someone using coupons as someone stealing from them....or treating you like you are taking money out of their own pocket. I have always felt that the deals were good enough that I would never consider doing anything out of bound or attempt to stretch the boundaries of honest coupon redeemtion. But when I run into a situation like I did this morning....I seriously come out of the store a wreck feeling humiliated.

This weeks' Walgreen's flyer has an instore coupon for "Dawn Dish Soap - 10.3 ounce size" limit 2, for .99. This coupon can be used with a manufacturer's coupon that I have for .50 off any size Dawn dish soap. I went to the store and expected that I could get two bottles for .50 each. When the clerk rang me up, he said I couldn't use the coupon....because it was one per purchase. Well I was purchasing two, therefore I should be able to use two coupons. The manager came over, told me I was wrong but he would allow it THIS TIME and that he wasn't going to be taking so many coupons in the future. WTH???

I came home all ruffled and irritated and told Grant about it. So it began

Grant: "How many of those coupons do you have?"
Me: "A bunch, but they won't let me use them."
Grant: after reading the wording on the coupon, "well I guess we will just have to go to Walgreens and clean them out of their Dawn Dish Soap now".

Off we went. This time, there was no challenge or issue across multiple transactions. They took my coupons, let me buy my coupon limit and they were all friendly and smiley.

In the car, I looked at Grant and said...."what the heck just happened? They were great about it this time but this morning they were just awful and mean."

Grant: "This morning, you didn't take your Coupon Enforcer with you!"

I'm going to take couponing to a whole new level now.......... 8-)

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Celebrity Sighting and Breaking News Update

Stephanie the creative blogger from A year of Crockpotting stopped by and commented right here on this blog's post from yesterday. Of course I had to run and get Grant to show him that she posted on my blog! Since he is a fairly new blogger, he can only envy me at this point but he is sharing in my excitement.

On the coupon front, I have a quick correction, as I had previously posted, Single Dad Tom went to Walgreens and his total bill before coupons was $109.00 (not 120.00), he did a great job getting using $41.00 in coupons but the BREAKING NEWS is that today he reviewed his purchases and discovered that he also qualifies for $12.00 in rebates. That is coming pretty close to 50% savings on his first trip out with his coupons!!

I told all of the guys at work that I was blogging about their coupon adventures and so now of course they are discussing the possibility of forming a union. CCBCA (Coupon Clipping Blog Characters Association)?

Monday, July 21, 2008

Recipe Review and Couponing Update

The "Coq au Vin" recipe from "A Year of Crockpotting" got a 3 out of 4 thumbs up in our Aussie-American taste test. Janeva wasn't "thrilled" with it, but I'd make it again because Grant and I have taken it to work and had it for lunch and it is just as great as a leftover as for a Sunday sit down dinner.

Tomorrow I'm going to try the Cowboy Stew and see how that fairs in this household.

I owe Grant a good meal tomorrow because he has a day off and it will be spent waiting for a Pest Control guy and then Grant has to walk Murphy and his neurotic brother Max around the block for 30 minutes till the bug juice dries off. Not exactly a great day off when you aren't expected to get off work till 2am the morning of.

On the couponing front, the guys at work have made a couple of trips to a nearby grocery store during lunch to mentally work out this coupon stuff. I figure if they will do this, they are liable to get really into it fast and start saving some money........or will they?

Single Dad Tom went to Walgreens and knocked $41.00 off his bill using his beginners stash of coupons!! His first time out with his cache of coupons and I think he did a great job. Tomorrow we will be going over the rebate offers to see what rebates he may have coming at the end of the month.

Tall Chocolate James (that's how his wife describes him) is cutting and using his coupons but hasn't really gone for the big kill yet. He went to Target with his wife (could be a married guy's version of a date) and they were able to use some of the coupons there. James always has questions about what stores has what sales. I think he is just processing all the information before he just goes out there and starts working deals.

Barely 20something Single John is just taking it all in, and alerts the other guys to big breasted women in low cut tops bending over in the canned good aisle. I figure that at least the kid is getting familiar with a grocery store and telling his mother of some of the coupon deals.......and ya can't discount the potential for his being scooped up by a well set Cougar looking for a young guy who's coupon savvy! (Side note that struck me funny - the link for Cougar directs you to the AARP website!)

Should Have Been a Comic Ronn married with two kids is cutting coupons (or might make his wife cut them) and is looking for the FAR (free after rebate) stuff so he can sell it on Ebay. He is using the coupons but isn't really saying if he is hitting the deals by combining them with store sales and store coupons. After reading Trump's "Art Of The Deal" and looking for any lucrative deal he can find, I can see Ronn producing a new line of videos "Couponers Gone Wild" or something and perhaps recruiting Barely 20something Single John as a spotter.

Be warned the next time you are in the grocery store bending or reaching for that can of Sweet Peas.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Passing The Time - Trying A New Recipe

I found this amazing blog "A Year of Crockpotting" and I'm trying out this recipe today. I'll let you all know how it turns out and if it passes the Aussie-American taste test.

I have been forced to take a break from knitting the last few months. I'm hoping and praying that this isn't a forever issue for me. Knitting is a therapy, hobby, passion, conversation starter and all occasion coping mechanism for me.

A few months ago I noticed swelling and pain in my left index finger whenever I was knitting. Now I have been known to have marathon knitting sessions, which explains why I own 6 wonderful
crockpots and have had my eyes on that robot vacuum cleaner and floor moper for the last several years. I had cut back on my knitting sessions to try and not get to the point of chronic pain, but over the last couple of months it got to the point where it just doesn't matter, when I knit, my hand hurts. So I sought out an orthopedic doctor to see if there was a magic glove, pill, lotion, vitamin, diet or anything that could be done to allow me to knit pain free.

I felt kinda silly going to a doctor for just one finger, and sillier still getting ONE finger x-rayed. The x-ray was taken (I was amazed at the different shots and angles you can x-ray ONE finger) and the doctor said they came back "normal" although I requested to see the report myself (long story, which resulted in my need to see any reports and understand what any doctor tells me backward and forward, go figure).... the wording on the radiology report stated "normal for age". What the hell does THAT mean? The doctor explains that what it means is that I have the onset of arthritis which is apparently "normal" for women my age (a 40 something woman?). "Isn't that an old person thing?" I ask..... moments before realizing that the doctor appears to be about half my age (he must have excelled at medical school and is one of those prodigy Doogie Howser types, finishing medical school in his teens or something, I'm thinking)

The doctor did suggest a cortisone injection in one of the tendons and inside the knuckle joint which out of desperation I agreed to. That shot hurt like a muther, but after about a week my finger seemed all better......till after about an hour of knitting. (insert harsh language here)

Despite all this, I have been working on something fairly simple, a Green Gable tee for Janeva using Brown Sheep Cotton Fleece in the Nymph colorway. It has taken me about 2 1/2 weeks but if I take breaks and pop some Motrin, I am able to get my knitting fix in.

For now, I will use some of my "extra" time finding new blogs, new recipes and maybe even shock Grant with a couple of cleaned out closets or something. Grant would say, "Cleaned out closets, you???? Not bloody likely!"

I have to say, he'd be right on that one. 8-)

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Cosmic Question

Do household drains only block up on the weekends?

Let me paint the picture here. Small house, 3 bedrooms, 1 bathroom, 1 Australian husband, one slightly annoyed wife (that would be me), two teenage daughters, one practically resident teenage boyfriend and two Labs.

Do household drains only block up on the weekends? It seems to be the only time they do at our house. Friday night, as if on cue, the tub drain plugs up tight. 4 bottles of Liquid Plumber, 3 hours of Grant playing plumber, 5 gentle WIFELY suggestions to call a plumber.....then as if this is written out by Stephen King, the block worsens to where we have the laundry machine in the garage backing up into one side of the kitchen sink. Then Sunday arrives. Kitchen sink is backing up when we do laundry so we have to bail water out of the sink when the laundry is in the rinse cycle to avoid flooding, so water is getting tossed out the kitchen door from the sink onto the side yard. The dogs see this and start pacing around the tree in the middle of backyard to guard the only workable urinal at our address, as if just waiting for Grant to overtake their domain. The bathtub cannot take one of the daughter's 20 minute showers so we have two very irritated, and irritatingly complaining teenage girls.

The bathroom sink, which is the only sink that is draining, but that is because the water from the bathroom sink makes the water rise in the bathtub when the sink drains. I'm praying now that our one and only toilet holds, or we are going to have to frantically upset dogs in the backyard and three girls in the house wishing we had bigger bushes in our landscaping. Today Grant surprises us all with a offer to to go to the movies. (I think he googled and status of their bathroom facilities first though). We are scrambling around to get ready for the movies.

I decide I should try to shave my legs before the movies, because I see a horrendous traffic jam in this Aussie-American household tonight. As a result, I had a rude awakening to the fact that I'm too old to try and balance on one foot while sticking the other foot up to waist height to clear the counter and put my other foot into the bathroom sink, which unknown to me till today is designed for a size 7 shoe size and I have a (nice for balancing) size 9 1/2 shoe size foot. I curl the toes under and endure. After finishing shaving one leg, I'm dripping in sweat and exhausted. I walk out of the bathroom with a limp, hoping I don't need a hip replacement and filled with anxiety at the thought of trying to shave the other leg. (right now I'm just thinking I'll sleep on the other side of the bed and explain to my husband "this is my good side".

The good news is, my wonderful husband (whom I adore) calls a plumber who will be out sometime tomorrow to launch us back into the 21st century with working indoor plumbing again.

Friday, July 11, 2008

The Economic Squeeze

In the last week or so the main topic of discussion around work has been about the impact of the current economic squeeze we all seem to be under lately. Whether it is the rising gas prices or the increases on the price of foods at the grocery store, it seems all areas of our lives are impacted and the situation is threatening to get worse before better in the coming months.

I have always been drawn by the challenge of trying to work the coupon deals at the grocery store. This has been something I have done off and on for years as our family needs shift. I get excited when I'm standing in line with all my groceries in the cart and my coupons in hand, knowing before I pay my bill that I have just whacked my food bill by 65% to 70%. I can't help but be amused at the initial groans from the annoyed individual standing behind me when they see me holding a bunch of coupons but when my total comes up and the clerk comments on my total savings after coupons, is all of a sudden interested and full of questions.

Currently, I work with a diverse group of men in various stages in life and it would seem odd that the discussion of coupons would hold their attention, but like me, they are sweating the current situation and looking for ways to squeeze the most value out of their spending dollars.

As a result, I'm going to be stepping the guys through the grocery store sales cycles and how to maximize the benefit of using coupons and rebating. I will put links on my blog to some of my favorite coupon sites and will periodically post progress reports from the guys. I've also decided to start along with them and take this step by step as if I were just starting out too, so then I can measure our progress as a group. We will experience the slow start of acquiring the coupons, some of the typical pitfalls of a workable file system and re-evaluate along the way to achieve our goal of facing the money squeeze without cutting out some of our favorite foods and perhaps ending with a surplus of household items which can then be donated or shared with neighbors.

So it begins......
Week One: Acquire all the coupon inserts from FIVE Sunday newspapers this next weekend. Sign up for the club cards at two of your favorite grocery stores. Mine are Ralphs and Albertsons. Also, pick up the sales fliers for those grocery stores as well as a drug store you frequent. The two drug stores I will be using are RiteAid and CVS. CVS also has a store card that you use to get coupons and Extra Care Rewards. Here is a great article that explains where we are going with all of this.

Using coupons immediately will reap you some savings, but I believe it will take approx 8 to 12 weeks to really get a good understanding of a workable system and make couponing/rebating a habit rather than a short term experiment.

Follow along with us if you like and if you have any additional tips or comments please share.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Unexpected Blow Back......

What have I done?

As a loving and supportive wife I feel it is my job to encourage and support my husband in his writing endeavors. I am in fact his biggest fan. After all, he encourages and supports my knitting habit! He even wears the sweaters I knit for him.....AND is willing to try on a wool sweater in the hottest month of Summer!!


So, in turn, I have been strongly encouraging Grant to write for himself and to create a blog of his own. What I didn't anticipate is that he would not only listen (this time) but that he would actually follow through and become a "blogger". My husband is a new member of the blogosphere.

What I didn't realize was that I would be a topic of discussion in the blogosphere!!

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Independance Weekend - Catching up......

I need to get into the swing of things again.

Since the end of May, I have been overwhelmed with activities.

First, Jillian and Jimi's Senior Prom. An exciting and wonderful cash draining event, but a fantastic photo op, so I was thrilled. The one thing ....small thing really, was that Jillian wanted to wear tennis shoes with her dress so she could "bust a move" on the dance floor in comfort....[scratching my head] I was able to inject one last motherly "influence" on her before she turned 18 and she instead wore a cute pair of silver flats. She was comfortable AND still fashionable, go figure.

46267_6 IMG_2164_1

Grant's daughter Angela arrived from Australia to spend some of her school break with us. We celebrated Angela (19), Jillian (18) and Janeva (14) birthdays during one big bash as Peter Piper Pizza where Grant had arranged a gathering of Geocachers to welcome Angela to the U.S.


Then as if that wasn't enough fun, we had Jillian's High School Graduation. Neither Grant nor Angela had experienced an American High School Graduation ceremony before (but Angela did point out she had seen it in movies before) so it proved to be interesting for them. I didn't even think to prepare them for it, because this is all I have ever known a graduation ceremony to be. They were expecting something more somber and dignified...... but really, let's be honest. It is really more like a carnival. It is fun, exciting, noisy and HOT with most parents in the stands just plain RELIEVED and shocked to see their kids in the traditional Cap and Gown. Then about 2 hours later sitting in the summer heat under blinding sunlight, you are so over it!!! Particularly, if your child's name is called at the beginning of the ceremony you just want to grab your son or daughter, hug them, congratulate them and leave them to cheer their friends on the rest of the ceremony.

But wanting Grant and Angela to have the full American High School Graduation Ceremony experience.....we stayed for the ENTIRE thing...even getting there 2 hours before the ceremony began so we could be assured of seats.
I think it safe to say, Jillian had someone fly in the furthest to see her graduate!

IMG_0234 IMG_02331

Jillian hated the hat, cursed the hat, refused to take pictures with the hat! The thoughtless rebel! Still, I was touched by the moment, seeing her holding her diploma and knowing another big milestone has passed....and then I did something my mother would do, I cried. (OMG, how freakin embarrassing!)

So, with a week to recover, we did it all again. Janeva "graduated" from Middle School and is now officially in High School.

Janeva and her Aussie Cheer Guard P1010204

I managed to get a few more photos at Janeva's ceremony, and she was enjoying her time in the spotlight.

Once again, another milestone, more tears (me), and the realization that I am becoming more and more like my mother. I just can't wait to read Jillian's and Janeva's blog when THEY become more like ME!!!!

Oh yeah.....Karma, embrace it, I say. 8-)

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Janeva's First Sweater - Flashbacks

Last weekend I was going through old photos and came across some photos of Janeva and the very first sweater I ever knitted for her.

Of course it comes with a story.

Soon after the holidays back in 1998, I decided to try my hand at knitting again. Knitting something for Janeva made sense since she was the smallest person in the house at the time. So I bought a pattern and some yarn from a LYS and got re-introduced to knitting.

Of course I had to pick a Cable Knit sweater to start with. I picked a color that I just knew would look great on Janeva so I didn't have any worries about the color.

I plugged away and knitted on this sweater each night after work. Janeva would sit next to me on the couch and watch me intently and asked me questions.....she was 4, so she asked me questions about questions at that age!

I told her that I was knitting her something and she was even more interested. But as the sweater progressed, just a normal wave of stress hit our household. Thinking that knitting was a great stress buster I just continued on.

As with any knitting project, I was getting more and more excited as the sweater took shape. By the time I had sewn the sweater together and picked up the stitches around the neck I could hardly contain myself.

I finished the sweater at the end of February and was tickled to hear the weather reports of some particularly cold weather coming our way. FANTASTIC!!! I was going to finish the sweater and Janeva would beable to wear it just in time! I casted off the neck and sewed in the ends. Moment of truth. I told Janeva to get ready to try on her new sweater and with delight she came running over. I was HORRIFIED to discover that that somewhere around the time I was knitting the armholes, my gauge changed and I had started knitting tighter. So tight in fact, the neck of the sweater would not go past her forehead! BUT THE STITCHES LOOKED GREAT!!!

With great determination I was not going to let this sweater get the best of me. I ripped the entire sweater out, steamed the yarn, rolled it back into 10 neat little balls and started over.

I finally finished the sweater in JULY. No weather reports of cooler weather in the forecast. I still presented the sweater to Janeva.

First Sweater for Janeva Surprise Sweater

Janeva delighted in telling me how proud of me she was was excited to model it for camera.

And it fits! Janeva1 Happy Girl!

After the photo shoot Janeva gave me a big hug and a kiss, then handed the sweater back to me and said "This color is YUCKY!".

This was the only day I could get her to wear this sweater. Yet I still love this child very much.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

The Passenger - A Test in Motherly Love

So, on Wednesday, April 30th, Jillian got her Learner's Permit. Because she is over 17 1/2 years old, the lady helping us at the DMV happily announced that Jillian wouldn't need to bother with the "Behind The Wheel" formal training. (she wasn't joking!)

This explains A LOT!! I'm driving on the California Highway to and from work having to concentrate on just surviving the other driver's around me. The roadways in California have to rank as one of the worst because of the numbers of unskilled drivers we have. Now I know why.

Jillian's dad paid for the formal instruction so we are making good use of it.

The flip side is she needs PRACTICE with a licensed driver (over the age of 25) with her.....I suppose that the idea behind this is that the licensed driver can instruct the new driver and help prevent him/her from getting into an accident. (My preferred method of risk mitigation is to just simply take the keys away from them!). I was hoping to pass this task over to Grant, who was a police officer with the traffic division in Australia. So Jillian ends up driving on the wrong side of the road....big least she will learn to signal and stay in her lane which is more than most of the drivers around here. Grant has thus far passed on riding in the suicide seat..... I mean ride as the licensed driver.

That leaves me. Mom. Mom who is high strung at the idea of my kids crossing the busy street at the ages of 17 and 14. I get to ride with Jillian while she practices. After calling the DMV and the Highway Patrol and their telling me that "No, you may not have medicinal alcohol to calm the nerves before the practice sessions nor be under the influence of mind altering medication either." I braced myself ...that's just GREAT...I have to do this stone sober and as I enter into my heart attack years. I couldn't be more or less ready.

So we go........

The first time Jillian sat in the driver's seat of my Chrysler Sebring Convertible, she looks at me beaming, I tell her to put her foot on the brake before she turns the key, she sweetly asks me this question......keep in mind, the look on her face gave no indication whatsoever that there was anything wrong with this question........"Mom, which pedal is the brake?"

Me: "HOLY MOTHER OF GAWD" (speed dialing the El Cajon police to see about a waiver on the whole drug/alcohol/impaired issue....FOR ME)

We discuss the pedals and the fact that if she hears me screaming, I'm expecting her to step on the big wide pedal to the left of the long skinny pedal. Jillian feeling ever confident turns the keys and we are off.

Jillian driving me home.

With the exception of her starts and stops and turning, she is actually doing better than I thought. We drove around the neighborhood (I don't like these people anyways) and then practiced in the parking lot of Holy Trinity Church. (I just needed to be closer to God at that moment). Jillian got the starts and stops down smoother. I won't even go into describing her attempts at parking. Other than to say we have a one car driveway and at the end of our session she pulled into the driveway and parked the car...ONLY ONE TIRE was actually ON the driveway. The sweetest part was she got out of the car and looked proudly at the car and didn't seem to wonder about the parking job.

I suddenly realized why the Pope kisses the ground after a flight. I think the poor man is flying with a student pilot!! I didn't actually kiss the ground but I did pause outside of the car and was thankful to be home.

Yesterday was a huge day for us!! Jillian had a hair appointment getting ready for her Senior Prom which was last night. I clearly was not in a lucid state at the time and apparently agreed to let Jillian drive us to her hair appointment. ON THE FREEWAY...MERGING into and out of traffic and everything. We arrived safely, but I was completely dripping in Flop Sweat. (Flop sweat is what I call it, when you see a performer on stage that has completely screwed up their performance and the look of horror on their face and the sweat is oozing out of every pore of their skin. THAT is a great description of me after riding with Jillian on the freeway!!!)

We have had some very sweet tender Mother/Daughter moments during these driving sessions. Like the time that Jillian sweetly said she feels like we are having great bonding time. I thought that I was seriously bonding to the seat of the car, but I like Jillian feeling closer to me. She also complimented me with "WOW Mom, you are doing great! You haven't yelled at me once this trip". She didn't realize it was because I wasn't breathing.

I remember when I was learning to drive, my mother would gasp for air and grab the door handle...flinching and gasping the entire time I was driving those first years. She would announce that there was a red light up ahead only for me to tell her that it was 4 blocks ahead! Tell me to slow down and to watch for pedestrians. (come to think about it, I'm the one gasping and grabbing the door handle when I ride with my mother now!)

I called my mother to tell her how I'm having to ride with Jillian. The woman laughed at me. As if this is some universal payback or something.

As bad as it is for me to see Jillian starting to drive, drifting further and further into independence and becoming her own is absolutely shattering to me to discover that I'm turning into MY MOTHER.

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Teenage Milestone - The Learner's Permit

Jillian passed the California Department of Motor Vehicles written driver's test.

My response: "OH CRAP!!!"

"Grant, pop the top off one of those wine coolers for me please!"

Monday, April 21, 2008

Summer Knits and Crochet

I have been staying busy starting and finishing some knitting projects, no surprise to those that know me. Right now I'm staying pretty busy with outfitting the girls, but I have a long list of projects in the works at the moment. I feel a push to finish some of these projects before starting new ones, so in the next few weeks I'll be posting updates on those projects and starting planning some new ones to start during the summer.

I finished the tank top I started for Janeva, from "Knitting loves Crochet" by Candi Jensen.....good thing too because I think the kid grew about 3 inches from the time I casted on, to the time I finished the bottom border!

Janeva's new tank top Janeva's tank

The tank fits Janeva nicely and will look great with a pair of jeans.

The next project I am working on is The Hourglass Jacket from Stitch Diva Studios. I am using Silk Purse yarn with a variegated black and blue color way. It is turning out great thus far and I'm excited that Jillian is already loving it. This will be one of her Graduation presents. Unfortunately I needed to have her try it on to check the fit. This gave Jillian ammo to tease me over the fact that I can't keep a secret to save my life.

Hourglass Jacket - Graduation Present Back which shows the blue coming through the black

So far, the fit is good and this jacket is working up real quickly.

I can't believe both girls have graduations this June, with both their birthdays in between. I didn't plan for this 18 years ago, that's for sure!

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Day Trip - Lesson Learned

Since you are one of my most loyal readers, I feel I can share this with you and let you take away the lesson learned from my experience.

As you know I got Grant a
camera for Christmas.

When we were on our day trip to Borrego last Friday we both were snapping pictures, me and my crappy old digital and Grant with his nicer newer one with the higher megapixals and better video taking capabilities.

I was happily snapping pictures and hunting for flowers and points of interest to photograph that would be suitable to share with you and also put into our scrapbook. Points of interests like the men's facilities on the trail (still grossing out). I really didn't have any thoughts of taking videos. Seriously, videos of flowers? Why would you?

On our way home we took a different route than the one we drove that morning. We went up
Montezuma Pass that would take us through Santa Ysabel. There we stopped off at Dudley's Bakery and The Julian Pie Company. These two bakeries are right next to each other, so it EASY to stop off at both places and do the right thing by stimulating the economy of Santa Ysabel.

031408_1310a.jpg Dudley's

But going back to the journey of driving to Santa Ysabel.......we are near the summit of Montezuma Pass, Grant pulled over to take a PHOTO of the valley from one of the turnouts.

From Montezuma Pass P1010127

From that elevation and the fact it is a pass between the mountains, it was windy as hell. I mean SERIOUSLY windy and I was having to focus on not getting blown off the road over the side of the cliff. So I stood BEHIND Grant (as any sensible wife would....thinking if Grant blows over the side, then I'd take that as the signal to head for the car).

Grant yells into the wind toward me, "I'm going to take a panoramic shot of the valley". HE SAID "SHOT"...I'm sure of it...and so I naturally assumed that he was using some fancy feature on his new camera or that he would later splice together numerous SHOTS with some fancier photo editing software back home. Instead, he was taking a "VIDEO" and I was oblivious!

Back home, Grant is looking at the photos and previewing his video, when I hear him say "What the hell is that noise at the end?" "I don't remember anything behind us!" "WTF,
IS THAT???" Then he falls out of his chair laughing.

All you can hear is the wind blowing, but then you hear me cough a little dainty cough, and then moments later let loose with an impressive BELCH while standing behind Grant!!!! It was so windy that at the time, it went unnoticed by him....and I don't remember doing that at the time. As a Lady who would never do something like that NORMALLY, I have to assume that it must have been from the wind blowing into me. Um, you'd buy that, right??

So here I am, making promises and deals with Grant all over the place so it doesn't end up on YouTube!!

Lesson Learned? Chose the gifts you are giving VERY carefully!

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Day Trip to Find Desert Flowers

6am on Friday morning we were on the road for the two hour ride to the desert. There is a small window of opportunity to see the desert in full bloom after rain has fallen. I had always heard about it, but never was able to make the trip to see it. I was excited because this would be a new experience for me, and Grant had not been in this area before so it was new to him as well.

Initially, we found that it was dark and foggy which isn't the best combo for a drive on a two lane windy mountain road. About when I was ready to say "turn around" because the visibility was not much beyond the hood of the car, we rounded a bend and the sky was crystal clear.

About 30 minutes into the drive we started to see the sunrise and the scene took on a whole different feel. Typically on a day trip you are focused on "getting there" to then enjoy the day. Seeing the sunrise during the drive gave us the feel that we were "there" all along the way.

Sunrise Sunrise

We arrived in Borrego Springs at 8am and decided it would be nice to have breakfast there. It was pretty quiet and not a lot of stuff was happening at that hour. But we did find a place and proceeded to have a breakfast to die for at Kendall's Cafe in the Borrego Mall. I think it was the homemade salsa that they put on the top, it was UNBELIEVABLY GOOD!! In fact, I'd drive the two hours just to have that omelette again then turn around and drive the two hours back home....IT WAS THAT GOOD!


After breakfast we started driving around to see if we could find the flowers that we had heard so much about. We ended up at Coyote Canyon and found a nice array of purple, white and yellow flowers.

P1010118 Grant

The sky was crystal clear, but the wind was intense at times.

Coyote Canyon Coyote Canyon

Indian Head Mountain, can you see the face looking up at the sky?

Indian Head Mountain

We spent about an hour in Coyote Canyon then drove on to the Anza Borrego State Park and parked at the Visitor Center. We then walked the path to Panaromic Outlook. It was still quite windy and it was really starting to get hot. Grant wanted to explore Palm Canyon Trail, I was more than happy to find a shady spot to sit in and wait for him.

Anza Borrego Springs National Park

Anza Borrego Springs National Park Cactus Flower

Then I was more than ready to head for the car when I discovered their bathroom facilities on the trail!

Men's Bathroom

Although the "girl's room" at least had a block wall where you can go immediate reaction was still "oh, hell no!!!"