Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Arizona Visitors

Photo credit goes to Christy Grigor
It has been far too long since my last blog and it's time to get going.

I recently had a lovely visit from my daughters, Stephanie and Christy.  It's so nice to have both of these girls to call my own and not having had to give birth to either one.  They came for a short visit in a man free zone to do what we girls do best...talk.

During the stay I knew I needed to have them connect with Sandy and Paul next door since they are such a big part of my life.  As you can see Jax and I have a special relationship.


Paul is quite the grill master and they invited us over for supper and we had the most mouthwatering chicken I've ever enjoyed.




We even managed to get in one game of pickleball with my friends here in the park before they left.  This was the first time Christy has held a paddle in her hand and she did amazingly well.

One of my many highlights on this trip was introducing Christy to the land I love and it was clear she was smitten by the beauty of the desert as much as I was.





We took a trip up to Tortilla Flat so she could experience the diversity of terrain as we wove our way up the mountain to have lunch.  




The beauty of this time of year is that there was plenty of parking and absolutely no wait for a table at all, but that will be changing in another month or two as the snowbirds fly back for the winter.




Long Live the Queen of the Desert

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Book Report: Too Good for Her Own Good

One of my major goals during this self imposed solitude is to learn more about myself, what I want and what I need.  This, of course, requires a lot of reading...at least in my case.

I'm loving a book my neighbor Sandy lent me called "Too Good For her Own Good".  I ordered my own copy so I can yellow highlight and bend pages at will.  

This is one of the gems I discovered in this book and I have it printed out and on my fridge to keep me focused.


The Code of Balance

BE COMFORTABLE: A woman in balance values feeling good more than looking good

BE DIRECT:  A woman in balance is honest about how she feels

BE RESPONSIVE: A woman in balance empathizes with others

BE NUTURING:  A woman in balance empowers herself and others

BE FIRM:  A woman in balance sets limits



Taken from “Too Good for Her Own Good” by Claudia Bepko & Jo-Ann Krestan


Long Live the Well Read Queen

Saturday, August 12, 2017

The Importance of Contacts

It's important when moving to a new area to make contacts...and also to have them.  Contact lenses that is.

I used to wear them in my youth and found myself wishing I could have them again now for sports (especially indoor) and special occasions when I want to wear make up.  Since this also involves combing my hair and putting on a bra, it wouldn't come up often, but it still would be nice.

Since I needed an annual eye exam anyway I asked my Thursday night group for recommendations (they've never led me astray yet) and got the name of an eye doctor.



An appointment was made and I found that my vision hasn't changed enough to warrant new lenses, I have the beginning of cataracts and was told that the glasses would give me better vision than the contact lenses.

Like a pouty little kid I whined "but I really want them for special occasions" and he relented.  I'm surprised he didn't give me a sucker as well.  He ordered me a trial pair which would only provide distance vision with no depth perception at all.  Heck, I don't have any depth perception anyway as anyone watching me try to park the car will attest.

When they arrived I picked them up and passed on the lesson on how to insert and remove them.  Well, it was a long time ago since I've worn these and I'd obviously forgotten some things.

After repeatedly stabbing myself in the eyes several times, they were finally in for my first four hours of wearing time.  Whoo hoo.  When it was time to remove them I finally had to Goggle "how to remove contact lenses" for some assistance.  After many fumbling attempts they finally were removed.  Certainly the next day it will go like clockwork.  Yeah ...right.

The next day I struggled again and wondered where in the world I got such a stupid idea but they finally went in.  I guess if you shove your finger in your eye firmly enough just about anything will stay in there.  The right eye never did feel good and I noticed at pickleball that the vision in my left eye was much better than the right eye.  Hmmm, I wonder if I had it flipped inside out.  That would explain the lack of vision constant irritation.

Day three I looked at them...put on my glasses and said "hell no".

Day four I plucked up the courage to attempt it again and they went in fairly easily.  Maybe I'm getting the hang of this after all!  Boy, he wasn't kidding about the lack of depth perception!  I kept hitting the pickleball past the back boundary a lot, but since I have played so long I just had to relax and rely on muscle memory for placement and then it was fine.

 I put them in a tad early and I was okay until I decided to run home for a shower and catch a movie.  By the time I left the theater and stopped to pick up groceries it was starting to feel like my eyeballs had been saran wrapped.  It felt really good to get home and take them out for the day.  I had them in for eight hours when it should have been more like 5 or 6.  Well, I guess that caught me up for skipping the one day.

I could have lived without the groceries, but I was out of canned cat food and didn't dare show up without it.  So instead of their usual healthier food they got Fancy Feast and gobbled it right up - what a treat for them.  I may switch back to this from time to time for a little variety, not to mention it's easier to find in grocery stores.

My follow up appointment is next Thursday and I'll ask if this is the best my vision will ever be or there are more advance ones to correct my astigmatism for clearer vision.  Then I'll have to decide if it's worth the money and hassle to have them for just once in a while.

Long Live the Queen of Contacts

Thursday, August 10, 2017

I've Found the Perfect Chiropractor!



One of the things on my list to accomplish this summer was to find a chiropractor.  I've had two massage therapists tell me that my right leg is longer than the left, so it was time to get those hips aligned.

So, during one of the Thursday Ladies Night Out gatherings I asked the group for names and found out the guy who comes into the park was very good.  I remembered him coming to one of the Wednesday morning coffee and donuts sessions, but couldn't find his card.

I was on my way to a movie with my friend Jennifer when she mentioned that her husband had an appointment scheduled with this chiropractor that afternoon.  Sweeeeet!  Hoping I could piggyback on this opportunity she called her husband to see if he could see me at the same time.

The timing was perfect as we returned from our movie just shortly before his arrival.  Since I wanted to get to my afternoon pickleball I asked if I could go first.

Everything was going along very well and we were just doing the final adjustment.  I was on my back with my arms crossed in front of me and he was leaning over me and I was ready for his body to come down on me for the adjustment.  And come down he did!

As he applied his weight the table legs let go and we both went crashing to the floor.  I started laughing and couldn't stop giggling hysterically.  He was shocked and embarrassed.

My friends came rushing in when they heard the crash and ensuing commotion to find us laying in what looked like a passionate embrace on the floor.

My friend then made the comment about "she's alone in a room with a man for five minutes and this is what happens". This prompted me to look up and asked the poor man "was it as good for you as it was for me?"

The poor guy looked so shaken I felt sorry for him, but still couldn't stop laughing.  After we all settled down a bit and the legs were secured firmly this time, he finished up with the neck adjustments.

As I exited the treatment I asked him what I owed since I knew it was cash only and I needed to get going to pickleball. He blushed and said "no charge".  Being the incorrigible hussy I am I hugged him and said I really felt I should be paying extra for all the excitement.  I left a generous tip for him with my friends and hustled out the door for the community center.

Every time I thought about it I'd start giggling again and had to explain to my pickleball buddies what it was that had me in such a condition.

The chiropractor did text me a day later to ask if I was sore, how was I feeling, etc.  I let him know I felt great and played well that day but still keep laughing every time I think about it.

The hard part was having to tell Left Brain that I had "fallen" for another man during his absence.

Long Live the Queen

Friday, August 4, 2017

Back to Arizona

After two and a half months of self exploration and finding myself it was time to visit Left Brain for a couple of weeks and see where things were at.  The day before I left Carriage Manor I was treated to a bloom on my neighbor's cactus...I took this as a good sign.


One of the first things I did when arriving in Minnesota was to begin to claim the land and put down roots.  The soil is not as good as I've had in Wisconsin, but much better than my garden soil in Arizona.



I added a couple of bird feeder areas

This shows the bird bath and the two feeder stations

This shows our little shed by the side of the drive way and the patio blocks we added in front of our patio.

Purple Pig looks happy to be home again

back view of the little garden and Left Brain's bright lime green Kia Soul - I had to relearn how to drive a stick shift



The Purple Pig has special significance to me as it was a gift from my son.  After a new paint job she was placed beneath the hostas in her new abode.




During my stay in Minnesota I got to see my family again and catch up with each others lives.  Since it was very near my birthday I received a sundae with one of my meals...sweet! After finishing the first round of Whole30 it was nice to indulge.



We had a lot of heavy talks during our visit and Left Brain and I received a lot of helpful counseling from Stephanie and Christy during this stay. 


Left Brain volunteered to stop the use of all hard liquor and stick to just beer and perhaps some wine and we both agreed to give this marriage one last chance.  We are both optimistic that we can pull this together and enjoy a satisfying and fulfilling relationship when he comes down on September 30th.

Being the child of alcoholics and having had a previous marriage to an abusive drinker in my first marriage, I finally declared "enough".  It took me 65 years to finally grow a backbone and stand up for myself.  I've always been second choice to the booze and just can't tolerate it any more.  Left Brain has given his full support in this and actually seemed relieved to have had the decision to quit made as an ultimatum for the motivation it takes to stop.

It was an exciting and emotional two weeks and I was lucky enough to have a window seat on the way home and see my new homeland as we approached the airport in Phoenix.  I know some people just see dry parched earth,but to me this is absolutely lovely...it's my home and where I belong. Maybe it's a Jewish thing and I was meant to live in the desert.









After arriving back home in AZ I settled back into my routine and was treated to a birthday celebration at the Osaka Steak House with my Thursday Girls Night Out group. Yeah, that's me in the weird get up.




When we exited the restaurant we discovered that it had been raining for an hour, which in Arizona means flooded streets.

Sandy and I drove around the park and here are some images of Patriot Park underwater.  It was so exciting to be in one of my first monsoon storms.




It's great to be back home, this week the temperatures are staying mostly under 100 so it's great.  Now I have another two months to continue working on myself and getting some more weight off this body.

Long Live the Queen of the Desert...or was that Dessert?





Monday, July 17, 2017

Flying to Minnesota for a Visit



I was getting lots of requests to come and visit for just a while and since it is 110 degrees (on a good day) it sounded like a plan to me as well.

Don't get me wrong, the heat isn't bothering me at all.  It's very much like winter in the north.  You are uncomfortable for brief periods between the house and the car and the store but it's not that bad. 

In the north I'd be struggling with boots, gloves, hats, scarves and coats.  Here I'm just warm for a bit, and I like that much better.

I fly out on Tuesday, the day I complete my Whole 30 diet, so can relax my diet for a bit during the stay but I plan to stick to it as much as possible to continue the progress I'm making.

It's another first for me to arrange my own flight and transportation to the airport.  I'm feeling so grown up!
Since I'll have to pay for a bag any way I plan to stuff my new suitcase to just under the allowable weight with clothes that I'll be leaving in Minnesota for next year.

My neighbor will be watching the cats for me and it has been such a joy having her across the street.  We talk almost every morning on my deck while her dog tries to coax the cats into playing with him. So far he's just been rebuffed with hisses, but maybe one of these days.

Our visits are like therapy sessions for both of us as we navigate our new lives in Carriage Manor.  I've been here a little longer and had the advantage of having Sister Mary show us the ropes early in our stay, so I've been able to fill her in on things.

We teach each other many things and share similar interests and it's nice to have a girlfriend I can see in person and talk with on a regular basis.  That does not mean my other girlfriends scattered about the country are less important, but it's good to be forming some new ones as well.

If it were not for her I wouldn't even consider leaving my babies for such a long period.  I'm still nervous about it, but she says she'll send me texts and photos during my absence to see they are fine.

I'll keep you posted with photos of the Minnesota digs when I arrive.

Long Live the Queen

Sunday, July 16, 2017

A Visit to Our New Vet Clinic

Now that my doctors have been located in our new area, it was time to find a vet for the kitties.  My first visit was to Banfield Pet Hospital that is associated with PetSmart.  But, I hated having to haul them through the store and past all the dogs roaming around for their nail trimming and rabies shots.  Then I received a recommendation from one of my Thursday night out ladies to try 1st Pet.

1st Pet is a 24/7 facility, so if an emergency should arise I could take them in directly and they'd have all their records, so I took them in for a nail trimming to check it out.  I liked what I saw and registered their information at this facility.

This is a cat friendly facility and there are two rooms set aside just for cats that no dogs ever walk through to eliminate all scent.  Much nicer than at PetSmart!

George needed to go back in to have his teeth checked and they did some blood work to check on his liver enzymes, which seem to be higher than they should.  

Dr Waldo asked me if I wanted some water and without thinking I said that George was probably too stressed out to drink anyway.  He smiled and let me know the offer was for me and that he wouldn't even serve it to me in a bowl.  Duh...I just had a Betty White (as Rose Nyland) moment.  As soon as he left the room I turned to George and asked "Where's Waldo?" but he was not in a humorous mood and just glared at me from his crate.

George was whisked away to the inner sanctum and one of the ladies brought in the "mini bar" for my enjoyment.  Of course, with being on the Whole30 diet I couldn't partake of much of the offerings and I always carry my own water bottle...bummer.  There was some nice chocolate at the bottom of the basket.  The popcorn looked the safest choice for when I can have grains again so I took this to enjoy later.


During the absence I was able to enjoy the Catster magazines provided for reading material while obsessing over the untouchable chocolate.  I was never meant to be this good!


The liver enzymes are still elevated so I'll bring him back in 4 - 6 weeks for another testing and if it's ok they will proceed with his dental cleaning.  If not we need to figure out what's going on with his liver.  I contacted the vet clinic from Wisconsin to have them fax the records to the new clinic.

It feels good to have all my doctors, dentists and vets lined up in my new home.

Long Live the Queen of Homesteading


Friday, July 14, 2017

The Deck is Complete

I struggled with trying to make everything fit on the deck and when my neighbor Sandy was over one morning she looked at the huge metal shelf and said "that has to go".  She was so right.

So in the spirit of moving things around (which I love so much), the heavy shelving went to the side of the house to store trash cans, and other sundry items.  It will be a nice spot for Left Brain to hang his bike helmet, gloves and sweaty clothes when back from a long ride.

I'm in love with these little tables to tuck into corners.



I found a smaller, cuter baker's rack at Hobby Lobby and this works perfectly for my decorative items that I never had space for.  It will double as a serving area for snacks when we have people over to visit or play cards.


I made a little sitting area at the front of the deck using the table that used to be inside the house and the two extra chairs from the dining room.



A new table cloth was added to the table to continue my brown, orange, yellow and red theme going on out here.





The string of orange lights add a little festivity to the area.



I found that an over the door hanger fit on my pvc pipe "wall" and so I added this little planter with fake flowers on my "cat proof" wall.



A cheap little shoe rack has been added to the front entryway to keep them organized.



This classy gate to the deck now has an open/closed sign.



It's starting to come together nicely and the cats and I enjoy the deck at about 5:00 am when you can actually be outside for any length of time.

Long Live the Decked Out Queen

Side note:  by the time this blog is being posted it has been rearranged already.  This will come to no surprise to anyone who knows me.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

My Little Smart TV

I've always wanted a small TV in the kitchen area so I can watch my shows when Left Brain is commandeering the remote in the Arizona room.

I picked up a 24" smart TV thinking it would sit on the kitchen counter, but it didn't really fit, so I put it on the hutch.



This works nicely as I can lay on the couch and watch TV with a couple of cats snuggled next to me.  I know...not everyone is lucky enough to have a couch in the kitchen.  It's an odd spot for it, but it's so comfortable I can't part with it.




I did add the washable pet cover, which is a bit too large, but it keeps the cat hair off better.
this was the first one...too little











There wasn't any satellite connected to this one, so I used it mostly to watch TV from Amazon Prime.  Although I'm finding it hard to find time to watch any TV, even in the summer it seems my days are overly full.

Well, one thing lead to another and I contacted Dish to see about having a box in this room so I have full access to everything.

Now that I have everything at my fingertips, I decided that this one was too small for when I'm sitting at the table.  This will become more important during football season when it's our turn to host.

So, being the considerate person I am I exchanged the 24" screen for a 39" one, because that was the largest size that would fit in the space.




Aaaah...Queen of my castle...and the remote




Long Live the Queen