Friday, November 28, 2014

REAL Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving Day (plus one!)

I was in a funk yesterday and didn't feel very thankful, I'm ashamed to say.

My Mom got some less-than-stellar health news and I was tired and lonely for my family.

But Greg took good care of me, Jen called to cheer me up, and I made a lovely lasagna that tasted good.

God is always good even if my brain tells me everything is falling apart!

I got lots of snuggles from cute little kitty babies:


Greg and I read and then watched "Columbo" later in the evening.  It was a relaxed day, and it helped me feel much more positive today!

Here's a couple of outfits I've worn lately (wow, I had no idea the mirror was this dusty until the sun shone in at just this particular angle!)
sweater: Old Navy
pants: ?
socks: Target
shoes: Target

Taken in the mirror at church!
jacket: Max Studio
dress: London Times
leggings: Target
shoes: Aerosoles

And I have a special little gift for you on this Black Friday . . . 

cute kitten videos!

Stephen and Allistair in sinks:

Juvy, happily kneading away . . . 

Enjoy the long weekend if you are blessed with one, and I hope you have great turkey leftovers and that you get good deals on your shopping expeditions!

Fake Thanksgiving

Before the real Thanksgiving, Greg and I had a fake one!

turkey hats!!!

Aren't these great hats?!
I found them at Sprout's after last Thanksgiving - for 97 cents on clearance!

We went to Green Valley (south of Tucson) to visit Greg's Mom and Step-Dad, Dan.

I made apple raisin cake - yum!

After it baked, I put on some icing.  This cake did not last long!

It was a gorgeous day for driving.
The Arizona sky in the winter is clear and blue, and the air smells crisp and dry and clean. 

We found a Panera Bread near our house!!!
Mom & Dad, we can't wait to go have lunch there with you!

On the way down, we saw this truck with three back ends. 

No, four!

We drove by Pichacho Peak.
The pointiest part on the left hand side is the peak.
I climbed it once (click here to see that post)!

We drove by the Ostrich Farm!
Passers-by can stop, feed the ostriches (and other animals), and buy ostrich eggs!

There was a lot of cotton being harvested.

They bale it up until squares and cover it up in plastic.

We drove by the airplane "graveyard".

Oh yeah, it's the "Pinal Air Park".

And there was a special event: The Tour de Tucson!

It's a bicycle ride all the way from the Phoenix Metro area to Tucson - 
that's a looooong way!

 Tucson has an "A" mountain near the University of Arizona.
Tempe (in the Phoenix metro area) has an "A" mountain, too, but it stands for Arizona State University (where I earned two Masters Degrees).  When their sports teams play each other, the out of town team will sneak up on the mountain and paint the A their team colors.  

Somewhere slightly south of Tucson, the signs suddenly change to kilometers!

The freeway walls are well-designed.
Do you think that the little blue guy inside the yellow leaping deer is a baby fetus deer?

We also drove by the San Xavier Mission.

It looks like a refreshing spa.

This is what their neighborhood looks like - such a pretty view!

Greg's Mom had made a wonderful Thanksgiving dinner with the traditional fixin's.  
Dan carved the turkey!

Then I had to take some silly photos.

'Cause otherwise, what would we remember?!

On the way home, we drove across the Santa Cruz "river". . . 

yep, that's it.  Dry as a bone.  

Tucson has the Lowell Observatory (seen here in the freeway art).
You can also see the San Xavier Mission, an agave, and a horned toad!

Here is downtown Tucson, pretty against the mountains.

And when we stopped for a loo break, hundreds of birds were sitting on the wires, tweeting up a storm.  It was wonderful!

The sun went down and left pink and purple streaks behind it.

We hope your Thanksgiving was blessed and tasty!

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Day 9 - Lake Elmo Inn and . . . An Unpleasant Surprise

My parents generously took Greg & me to the very fancy, very wonderful and beautiful and cozy and delightful Lake Elmo Inn as a 40th birthday celebration (yes, I turned 40 in October!)

Mom, Dad, Greg

The walls are covered with built-in cabinets that hold salt and pepper shakers that the founders of the restaurant/inn collected over many years of travel.  Adorable and unique.

The day we went (Tuesday), we could have either something from the menu (which I did) . . . 


the beautiful and tasty buffet!

Layers of fruit and desserts . . . 

There were even some gluten-free options.

The main dishes weren't safe for me that particular day (they either had lots of onions, which isn't great for Crohn's, or weren't gluten-free), so I chose a gorgeous and delicious strawberry chicken salad.  It was fabulous!

The presentation was fantastic, too.

Dad and Mom were happy

and we were happy, too.

Mom found a cream-filled eclair in the dessert section.

Our server was kind enough to bring us champagne, 
due to the fact that we were celebrating a special birthday.

Our surroundings were cozy and homey.

And this HUGE wooden duck presided over the dessert part of the buffet.
I think I need to start collecting wooden ducks!

In the background, you can see how big that duck is!
Dad, Mom, Greg, & half of me

all of me in the restroom mirror
blouse: Macy's
sweater: WalMart
pants: SoHo
Socks: Target
Shoes: Aerosoles

The loo was decorated with autumn paraphanalia:

And Mom and I were excited to go for a little shopping expedition after lunch.

I had forgotton that Minnesota restaurants need a coat room!

The Lake Elmo Inn is well-rated!

and it has a little solarium!

After this point, Mom and I went shopping and Greg & my Dad went shopping at men stores (Menard's, Radio Shack, etc.)

Mom's wings shirt - so cool!

The sunset was beautiful over the marshes and through the clouds.

AND THEN . . . 

I got a text that Greg was in serious pain.

We suspected a kidney stone (again) . . . he's had them a few times in the past.
My Mom and I met Greg & my Dad at the Urgent Care facility.

They got Greg in very quickly once they saw how much pain he was in, and the doctor came in right away to tell us that she couldn't help us - we needed to go to the Emergency room.  That Urgent Care couldn't prescribe pain medication and didn't have a CT machine, so they couldn't check for kidney stones.  They told us there would be no charge because they couldn't help us.  What a blessing!

So we got in the car and went to the ER.

The ER room had a TV with ambient nature music and video.
I was impressed, because there is research that shows that nature and music can ease pain

more information on the C.A.R.E. Channel

Eventually they gave Greg some pain medication and then did a scan to find out that 
he did (does!) have a kidney stone.  It is 5 mm in size and he has not yet passed it (three weeks later).  It isn't causing pain any more, but it's threatening to know that it's still there.

We were in the ER less time than I expected, and all the staff were thoughtful and helpful.

The doctor recommended a trip to a kidney specialist, but said we could travel home the next day.  He gave Greg some heavy-duty pain medication in case the pain returned.  

When we went to pick up the prescription, I was interested to see all these "prepare your vehicle for winter driving" things . . . it makes me glad that we don't have scary winter weather here in Arizona!