Friday, November 30, 2012

Friday Happies!

Here is some of what has made me happy this week!

The kittens are enjoying Christmas preparations!

And then there is the fact that I have gotten lots of complements on my skin this week!  That would make anyone happy!

Men & boys, you can skip the rest of this post!  I have recently changed up my skincare routine, so I guess it's working!  I have been using L'Oreal night cream, day cream, and eye cream.  And then I just started using Bare Minerals products.  Can't believe the difference they make.  I thought I was using pretty much the same thing with Neutrogena's version (I have been a very pleased Neutrogena fan for ages), but Bare Minerals last longer (at the end of the day, it still looks like I just applied the make-up - amazing!)
Here are the products I've been using.

L'Oreal Youth Code eye cream (the white side goes under the eye, the red side goes above the eye to lift!)
L'Oreal Youth Code Face Wash
L'Oreal Revitalift Day Cream with SPF
L'Oreal Revitalift Night Cream

Bare Minerals Matte Foundation in Fair
Bare Minerals Blush in Fruit Cocktail
Bare Minerals Mineral Veil (finishing powder)

I am LOVING what is happening with my skin - it's better than ever even though I'm older than ever . . .


Juvy update

Juvy is making me happy.  She lives in the backyard because she is aggressive towards our older cats (she loves the kittens, though!), but she doesn't mind so much!  She LOVES rolling around in the leaves and getting all messy, but she certainly has very soft and smooth and silky fur!

Her little nose tip goes up at the end - like a little hook.  She's a hook-nosed cat!  Adorable.  

Look at the sweet little happy comfy face in the leaves!

Here are our elm trees from where I was lying in the leaves with Juvy.  Arizona has the most beautiful bright blue sky in the winter.  I love looking at it!

Sometimes we carry Allistair around with us just like a human baby because he needs love and snuggles.  Other times when he needs love and snuggles, we drape him over our shoulders so we still have two hands to work with!

Hope you are planning a wonderful weekend!

I am hiking with Cindy tomorrow morning, and then Greg will be working on his secret project . . . more pictures will come soon!


Saturday, November 24, 2012

Post-Thanksgiving Post!

Thanksgiving was great!  We did barely anything!

Well, we ATE . . .

Allistair wanted to have the turkey drumstick to himself! 

Instead of a big pumpkin pie, I made a bunch of weeny ones . . . 

The man does like his Cool Whip!

Then on Friday, I went hiking with Cindy.  It was a beautiful day.

Here are a couple of sights that made me happy yesterday.

Allistair sleeping under Baltazar's foot

Claude in the window with bougainvilleas

Did you get any deals on Black Friday?  We don't partake . . . too many people and too early in the morning!


Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving!

Yesterday we drove down to Green Valley, Arizona, to visit Greg's mom and step-dad, who live there during the winter.  One of the most interesting things we saw was this:
Rudolph!  It was one of those machines where you pay $.50 and then try to grab a toy with the claw.  I never ever play those games, but I like it that this one is festive and seasonal and that all the Hermies and Clarices are all in a big pile in there.

But we also saw this in Greg's mom's backyard . . . 

It's a snake head.  (And yes, my gold sneakers are awesome!)  They have caught two baby rattlesnakes already this winter.  Eek!  We live in too populated an area to get rattlesnakes (though it's possible).  BUT we also don't have javelina, bobcats, deer, mountain lions, or other neat-o desert creatures and they do have those.  We just have the yucky ones like cockroaches and black widows.  Though apparently our neighbor Micky did see a coyote in the middle of our street at 10 AM on Sunday morning.  She came over to warn Greg to tell me to take my pepper spray with me when I got walking in the early-ish mornings.  And maybe a stick, she said. 

The neatest animal I have seen since living here in Arizona is the Gila Monster that I saw when hiking with Cindy.  We were in a sort of remote area by Roosevelt Lake, and I was walking sort of sideways backward because I was saying something.  She started freaking out and said, "Slow.  Walk away slowly," stuttering.  I figured it was a rattlesnake, because walking away slowly is the rule for that situation.  But I turned around (because how could I not?) and there was a huge lizard crawling out of the path up the hill.  He was beautiful, orange and black and smooth.  They walk funny; sort of like a sidewinder, except with feet.

Here is Roosevelt Lake.

And here is the Gila Monster.  Keep in mind that he was BIG (I would guess at least 2 feet long - with tail a bit more), and Cindy was freaked out because they are poisonous.  It was March 16th when we took this hike, evidently just when Gila Monsters like to come out of hibernation and sun themselves.  This guy was sunning himself right in the middle of the hiking trail.  They are very slow moving, so even though they are poisonous, they aren't really threatening.

You should feel really special, because I have spent the last 45 minutes digging around for those two photos. My computer crashed between 2010 and now, and Greg was able to recover most of my treasured photos, but he wasn't able to give them their old names or locations.  I have been sorting through the "recovered - raw" photos and I actually found the Roosevelt Lake picture - amazing!  The Gila Monster was not among the recovered photos, but I remembered that I sent that picture via e-mail, and I found it in my archives!

On another, less slithery, note, Stephen and Allistair have been "helping" me get ready in the morning.

My last photo for the day is ME!  Thanks for being my friends and family members, and I wish you the happiest of Thanksgivings!

with love,


Musical Instrument Museum

Greg took last Friday and this whole week off of work because he had a bunch of vacation saved up that he needs to use before the end of the year - hooray!  It's been fun.  Today he is once again working on the secret project . . . the cats are in the bedroom with me as I type this.

On Friday, we went to the Musical Instrument Museum in Scottsdale.  It is beautiful architecture-wise, and the landscaping was gorgeous.

Here we are in front of the largest cello-type instrument we saw.  In order to play it, the musician needs a small ladder!

Greg looks like Mr. Bean in this picture.  Ha!  There are headphones that automatically play to match the videos on the screens near each exhibit.

In back of me, you can see the room of modern guitars.  My two favorites were the see-through guitar and the air guitar ("made of oxygen and nitrogen") - it was "displayed" in an empty guitar case.

The stuff in the exhibits was interesting, too . . . 
An instrument made from a pig's bladder!

A lute made from python skin!

And the museum cafe even had gluten-free peanut-butter & chocolate chip cookies (delicious - chewy, not crumbly)!

Hope you had a great weekend, too!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Kitten in the Dryer!

This video of Allistair in the dryer is too cute not to post!  I don't know what he's doing in there, but he certainly was having a grand time!

And Greg and I went for a hike on my birthday (in October).  He took the morning off and everything.  We went to the San Tan Mountains Regional Park and explored a bit.  I am dreaming about living with property that backs up to this park.  It's not too far from civilization, and it's beautiful and won't be used for anything but this park.  

Some cholla (pronounced "CHOY-uh"), also known as jumping cactus (this one is dead, but I like how we can see the internal coral-like structure).  If you kick a piece of cholla while you're walking, the long spikes catch your foot and boing up onto your pants (or leg!) as if the piece of cactus is jumping on you.  It's one of the ways they reproduce far and wide!

Close up of the internal structure

Greg & me, being cute in the desert

Also, here's a HINT about something FUN that's happening in our household . . . (pay attention to what Greg is doing while Allistair is attacking him and biting his shirt . . . )

More photos soon!

Monday, November 12, 2012

Job Over!

For those of you who know the "new" job that I recently accepted (that I had really been doing for 10+ years as a volunteer), the last four months have been TERRIBLE with figuring out that I had no support to do what I was hired to do and that it therefore was not going to work.  About a month ago, Greg and I decided that I shouldn't fight a losing battle anymore, and I submitted my resignation.  The relief has been tremendous.  We are sleeping better, singing more silly songs around the house, and enjoying life much more.  I am straightening up things for my team so they will be stable after I'm gone, and I expect to be finished before the end of the year.  So if you have checked back and wondered, "Where are the cute photos and videos of those adorable kittens?!" . . . well, hopefully you have an answer.  I was too overwhelmed with figuring out my job and trying to function to organize anything.  But I'm now feeling more like myself than I have for a long time - hooray!

Allistair and Stephen are now almost seven months old.  They are the most LOVING and people-centric cats I have ever known.  I guess that's what comes from being stolen sneakily away from their mother and being snuggled every day afterwards ad nauseum.  Greg was just wondering today if we "socialized" them a little too much.  Not possible!  

So here are some adorable pictures. Videos are being edited and will be posted soon.

They love each other and snuggle frequently.

Allistair's cute widdle facey . . . 

This is my sweet girl, Juildeen.  Allistair took to her right away.  He crawled up in her lap and settled in.  She said, "Cute little kitten."  (She has Autism, but she talks a LOT now and expresses herself better all the time.  I'm very proud of her!)

Stephen is like a model with his lovely high cheekbones!

I was glad to see that Allistair covering up his boy bits!

When we try to put clean sheets on the bed, Allistair hurls himself into the middle of everything.  We have to stop and cuddle him, which disturbs his hunting process.

Since most of you who follow this blog are my family members and friends, I thought I would include this funny picture of Juildeen.  We hang on on Tuesdays, and last time we made ginger snaps.  We practice measuring things and following directions and motor skills.  I was very impressed.  She decided that ginger snaps taste like Christmas.  Smiling AND looking at the camera is a bit much for her still, but I like the silly smile.  

More snuggling . . . 

Allistair in zonko-land (asleep):

This one's a little dark, but it's hilarious, so I had to include it.  I cut some holes in a cardboard box and sat around trying to see what the kittens would do.  Allistair was the funniest, because he tried to get out through the very small holes.

Stephen ready to eat birdies: "Now if it weren't for the screen, I could EAT some!"

Look at his lovely long eyebrow whiskers!

Stephen loves to sit in the trash basket and observe the world going by.

Here's another Allistair-in-a-box picture!

Arms hangin' off the edge . . . 

Tongue out (I LOVE tongue-out kitten pictures!)

This is a happy kitten!

Hope you are well, and thanks for taking a peek at the babies!

For those of you who are my friends and family members, or those of you who are just interested in more of my daily life, you're in luck!  I am going to add events and every-day occurrences to this blog.  Perhaps my new soon-to-be-born niece can check in as she's growing up and get to know me and Uncle Greg a little, since I don't make it up to frosty Minnesota more than a couple of times per year.

Each October, my best friend (other than Greg), Cindy, and I go for a day trip up to Flagstaff and take a long hike.  Last year we hiked inside an old volcano caldera.  There was even SNOW!!!  (We don't see that a lot, living in the Arizona desert, so it was very exciting.  Here are pictures).

Towering aspens

Cindy in the snow . . . 

A beautiful not-quite-frozen stream trickling through the pine trees

You can see why we were keen to go back!

This year, we tried to get to the same trail head, but there had been a wildfire in the area, and there was a lot of ash and rubble that had gone all over the road.  My little Nissan Cube got stuck.  In fact, at one point, I was trying to drive out of a rut backwards down a steep hill with a very scary drop-off on one side.  Thanks to Jesus, some stud-muffiny young whippersnappers (brothers and twins) were coming down the hill and guided me slowly out of the rut and then took over in manly fashion turning my little vehicle around for me so I could drive forwards down the hill.  We decided a different hike would be better.

We went across the highway to Sunset Crater park.  There isn't a lot of hiking - it's more a place for less mobile people (or people with little kids) to drive to a scenic overlook, ooo and aaah, take pictures, then get back in the car.  But we found a road that went up a mountain to a ranger station perched on top of the ridge  overlooking the painted desert, so we tramped up there as far as we could.

Me in a cave formed by the lava when the mountain erupted.

As we climbed the mountain across from Sunset Crater, we could see the crater.  It's black all around for miles because of all the ash that blew out.  The eruption was something like 12,000 years ago, so it's been a while.

There's a little update on my October birthday hike.  Not what I expected (85 degrees instead of snow, and I definitely wasn't dressed for it!), but it was still beautiful and calming to crunch up a mountain and back down again, to say nothing of the beautiful views.  

The Earth is a wonderful creation!