Making the most of my "Dash"

I shared a status a week or two ago of a conversation I had in the Urgent Care with Mister.  The MFP (The Mother Freakin’ Princess!!) saw it and asked if I’d share my experience on her TMI Tuesday.  Of course, who am I to deny the world knowing about my embarrassing little (or big, depending on who you ask!) moment.

So, click here and go see what I shared on The MFP’s blog.  Also, while you’re there I hope you’ll check out her blog.  She’s full of glitter, sass, and has killer pink hair that I wish I could pull off!  Plus, she loves unicorns.  How can you not love a person that loves unicorns?!

Over a week ago I mentioned that I am a big, fat, squawky-type chicken when it comes to quads and three-wheeled ATV’s.  Then I said I was going to take a motorcycle course.  Makes total sense, right?!  Obviously I survived the class, since you’re reading this.  I’m here to tell you that everyone else around me survived too.  Thank goodness.  However, I was really worried about Moses.    Truth be told, I still am.  But not from me running him over on accident.

The first day (night, actually) of our course, we had to do a classroom type setting.  We all were supposed to come prepared by having read our handbook and answered the questions in the back.  I was the first person there (insert Mister rolling is eyes and saying, “of course”).  A woman in her 60’s showed up shortly thereafter and sat by me.  A few other people trickled in, all in their 50’s and 60’s, and then Moses (not his real name) showed up.  I kid you not.  This guy, with his wispy white hair, translucent skin showing off his spiderweb of blue veins came shuffling, SHUFFLING, into class.  Wearing shorts and long tube socks.  FOR REALS, people!  And, class went from there…

The lady next to me proudly proclaimed to any and all who would hear her that she “just bought a Can Am!!!”  Then she would lean over and whisper to me, “I’m TERRIFIED of taking this class tomorrow!” Repeatedly.  RE-PEAT-ED-LY.  Then there was the woman all decked out in her Harley-Davidson gear (remember…CLASSROOM night) whose  husband came strutting in with all his HD gear on as well and asked if he could “sit-in” on the class to get a “refresher”.  Seriously?!  Yo, buttface, I just paid $250 smackaroonies for this class that you seriously want to sit-in on?!  The instructor said it was fine, particularly since he didn’t have a choice since the dude quickly followed his request with, “most instructors wouldn’t be okay with this, like they’ve got some issue with other people listening in on it or something.”  Yeah, he was THAT kind of dude.  Ugh.

Since everyone had supposedly done their homework, instructor-man said our four hour class should only be two and half hours. Tops.  But, he underestimated Moses and the HD chick and their ability to actually follow instructions. And hear (Moses).  And pay attention.  Three and a half hours (and 50 “I’m terrified’s” from Can Am lady) later, I was headed home, anxious to get to the actual motorcycle riding the next morning.  I was also anxious about Moses.  Most concerning to me was the fact that Moses should not be driving, much less motorcycling, on our public roads.

Morning came, and all but one of the students made it to class on time.  Moses was late.  I was full of nervousness. We were told to pick a bike, and get on.  I wondered if Moses had slept in.  Then, I wondered if he had died in his sleep overnight.  Then, I felt like a schmuck for thinking such a thought.  Then I wondered if he had family living with him and, if not, how long it would be before someone found the body.  That made me sad (it happens around here in this retirement community, you know), and a bit perturbed at my morbid thoughts.  During this time the instructor was telling us that he had coned off  two of the three entrances to the parking area we were using and should anyone attempt to come in that way he would “give them hell”.  Right after he said that, we noticed Moses was pulling up to the parking lot and aiming to turn in to one of the two coned-off driveways.  Those big neon pylons ain’t got nothin’ on Moses.  But, Moses must have realized at the last minute that he probably didn’t really want to enter that way, so he went to the third driveway.   Also, I was very relieved to know he woke up that morning.

So, there we were, 6 students on our bikes waiting for Moses to get on his so we could start class.  And, we waited…and waited. And Moses shuffled himself on over, helmet in one hand, gloves in the other.  He got to his bike, bent his head down, took a breath, braced his hands against the motorcycle seat, and shakily put a leg over.  Did you read that? SHAKILY PUT A LEG OVER.  I had the thought that I was probably going to crash during class, and I knew it was NOT going to be my fault.  Moses slowly put his helmet on, then his gloves, and then we were ready.  I  totally expected Moses to be THAT student.  You know, the problem student.  The one who can’t get their crap together and everyone has to wait for them.  So you can imagine my surprise when it turned out to be ME.  For the first 20 minutes of class at least.

Let me first just say that I was the one really terrified of class.  Not Can Am lady, I think she was just pretending to get attention for her Can Am.  I was straddling my bike, and the motor was purring (well, in a choppy idle anyway), and I felt like a HAWT MOMMA… Just until it was time to let out the clutch and duck walk it across the parking lot.  Seriously, NO ONE looks ‘hawt’ duck-walking a bike.  But, I was about to get my hawt back on as soon as he said we could lift up our feet and ride it back.  Except that my feet would NOT lift up.  My brain said, “lift” and my legs said, “oh HELL no!”  For some reason, I was in the midst of an outright limb rebellion.  I thought I was going to fall over, and I REFUSED to be the student in class who dropped their bike.  Not me. No way.  So, I duck-walked-attempted-to-ride-wobbled-duck-walked.  A LOT.  In fact, the whole class had to continue to go back and forth across the parking lot while I tried to figure it out.

I wanted to cry.  I wanted to quit.  But, I am not a quitter.  I asked myself why on earth was I even doing this.  Then, the instructor-man’s wife (who also is an instructor) came over to help.  She was my motorcycle angel.  She told me I could DO this.  Then she told me my ass seemed to have a mind of its own.  Yeah.  Seriously, she said, “I don’t know what’s going on, but your problem is that when you start to lift your legs up your ass  starts wiggling all over the place.”  I had NO idea what that meant, how that was happening, or what I was doing to make that happen.  I just stared at her for a second and said, “Well, it’s big, so it takes time for it to stop jiggling and settle down, you know??”  Except that she didn’t know,  she couldn’t possibly know, because she was this pretty petite blonde thing. But, she did appreciate my smart-assery about the whole subject.  After holding up the whole class for about 20 minutes doing an exercise they all got down within 2 minutes, I finally got my feet up and made it 20 feet across the parking lot. Yay me!  Then the instructor said it was time to move on to the next exercise… Going around the parking lot.

I did fairly well after that.  I stopped being “THAT” student.  Thank the Good Lord above.  Because that was awful. I managed to do a figure 8 inside a box that was probably about 15′ wide by 30′ long. I only stalled about 6 times the whole class, and every time it was in front of the instructor.  Of course.  I didn’t drop the bike, but I did take off straight for the instructor several times.  He really only had to jump out of the way twice (oopsies).  By the way, if you ever take a course and the instructor points in a direction he wants you to go… look in that direction, not at him.  Because if you look at him, you’ll head straight for him.  Every. single. time.  Also, you’ll look like an ass.

In case you were wondering about Moses, he only fell asleep on his bike (while we were stopped and listening to the instructor) once.  He did have to go get a chair to sit in, in between course set-up changes, because he was too weak to stand.  He couldn’t turn his head very well (which makes turning on a bike down right difficult), and he could barely hear the instructions given.  Or see the instructor’s hand signals, apparently.  But, he passed, even though he had to duck walk some of it himself.  And that, right there, should scare the living daylights out of anyone motoring around Havasu.

After passing the class, I felt like a HAWT MOMMA again (albeit with a big ass… thanks for that, instructor-lady).  I came home and Mister got the Honda Magna out and we took it back down to the now-emptied parking lot where I had just learned to ride.  I was ready.  I was excited!  I got on the bike and realized it was MUCH bigger.  A lot heavier.  It dawned on me that I had only just been qualified enough to ride a little 20HP Suzuki 250 around this parking lot, and now I was on a 78HP Honda 750.  And, I became terrified all over again.  I duck walked it.  A LOT.  I finally got the courage to put my feet up, and did ok (apparently the Magna is big enough to handle my fat ass).  I went around in a circle once.  One thing I did a couple times during class was to forget that the right handle is not just a handle… it’s the throttle too.  We didn’t have to use hardly any throttle at all during class.  Lots of clutch work, idling, and maybe second gear.  So, let me tell you that when you’re on a much bigger bike, and happen to be nervously turning in a circle, it is NOT ok to forget that your right hand is on the throttle… and then accidentally goose it.  I almost shat my pants.  I shit you not.

I was pretty much done on the Magna after that.  Mister took me out to another area the next day to practice some more. I did, but I am still extremely nervous on the Magna.  We all got sick with the flu after that, so I didn’t get to practice anymore on it.  Mister could see that I was visibly stressed by trying to ride the bike, but I was giving it my best.  I don’t want to be so scared that I won’t even get on the bike, and I was starting to head down that path.  The Mister, as he does in all things, observed all of this and made a plan.  That man bought me another bike.

Ruby.  Rebel Ruby!

Ruby. Rebel Ruby!

SERIOUSLY!! He just bought me a bike today!  He knew I was comfortable on the little Suzuki 250, so he went on Craigs list looking for that or a Honda Rebel 250 for me.  He came up to me at 11:30 this morning and said, “Missy, I’m leaving for a couple-three hours”.  Since Mister and I are basically never apart, I just looked at him and said, “Wha….???  Gone?  For THREE HOURS??  Where are you going?”  He told me he couldn’t tell me, and he took off.  Except he was gone for FOUR hours.  And he brought me back the prettiest little Rebel in the whole wide world.  She’s an ’87, a rebuilt engine, aftermarket pipes, chrome engine guard (and highway pegs), sissy bar, and the seats look fantastic!!  The gears are smooth, the brakes are great, and I can RIDE it!  And I did too.  I hopped on that baby and ran down to the cul-de-sac and came back with a big grin on my face. By the way, her name is Ruby.  Rebel Ruby.

Riding down the street with Ruby.

Riding down the street with Ruby.

Seriously, Mister rocks my world.  I told him thank you about a billion times tonight.  When he said, “Why?!” after the billionth time, I told him it was because he didn’t need to do this at all.  That I could have learned on the Magna.  It would have been the hard way, I would just have taken a longer amount of time to get my confidence up; but that him getting the Rebel made it easier for me.  His reply?  “Honey, my job in life is to make your life easier.”  I. Love. This. Man.

Well, that’s the whole motorcycle story “enchilada” (as Mister just said).  He thought I was going to just write a post about the Rebel, but I’m far too wordy for that.  Context is important.  People (me), need the background story.  Plus, I was dying to tell you all about Moses (NO pun intended there.  Seriously).  If you made it this far in the post, I’m impressed.  And, I’ll leave you with wishes for safe riding.  If you’re not a rider, watch out for them, ok?

Actually, I’m fairly certain I can think of at least three times, but for today I will only relate two of the times.

I used to spend my summers in Oregon at my grandparents’ ranch. They would often have many other family members come and stay for a period of time as well.  This particular summer, a family member was visiting with his 3-wheel ATV.  I think it was a second or third cousin of mine, but I can’t remember exactly.  I was either 12 or 13 at the time and eyeballing his ATV.  Watching him ride around the property made it look like a lot of fun, even though I was terrified of it.  He asked me if I wanted to ride it, and I hesitated.  My dad was standing there and the guy/cousin/dude asked if it would be okay.  I said I didn’t know how to ride or shift gears, and they told me I would be fine in first as I rode around.  So, I nervously but excitedly got on and slowly started around.

I have to stop here and explain the layout of the ranch.  The house was situated to one side of a little valley between two mountains.  There was a small pasture beside the house.  It was probably as wide as a football field and about three-quarters the length, with a little creek running right through the middle.  It was sunk down about 5 to 6 feet on the house side, and had a dirt road that rimmed around it, elevating to about 15 – 20 feet as you got to the back side and started to round the corner to head back to the house.  That back corner also had a roughed up, old wooden rail fence bordering it.

Post & Rail Fence

Post & Rail Fence (Photo credit: catchesthelight)

The house had a second story sliding glass door facing the pasture.  That part of the house had been a sort of recent addition, and so the balcony outside of the door had not been built yet.  It was just a door that opened and dropped straight down to the ground.  It also looked perfectly across the pasture towards the elevated corner of the pasture.

Now little Christy (that’s what everyone called me when I was younger), was motoring her way around the pasture.  In first gear.  It felt like 30 miles per hour to me, but probably really more like two.  And it was awesome!  I was slowly making my way around the pasture, and climbing up the back road towards the corner.  Which looked not so high from the house, but as I rode up towards it I felt the road closing in on me, becoming narrower and narrower.  The cliff (yes, now it was a sheer cliff straight down from the road) made me feel like I was on the Guoliang Tunnel Road.  I slowly came to the peak of the corner, and stopped.  

The road banked to the left as it rounded that end of the pasture.  The angle was terrifyingly sharp (it wasn’t really).  I didn’t know what to do.  It looked like if I went down the road, the steep angle would make me roll off towards the “cliff”.  I didn’t know what to do.  Get off, leave the ATV and walk to the house?  No, that would make me a chicken.  And, I am NOT a chicken, even though I am the biggest chicken in the world.  I stayed in that spot for hours a minute or so, then decided to just cowboy up and head home.

So, I punched it.  But not on purpose.  I also had turned the wheel to the left when I stopped, but didn’t realize it.  The pasture had that wooden fence on the upper corner, except the cross posts in the area I was at were gone.  So, I roared off the cliff, tumbling end over end over end.  Not really, but it felt like it at the time.  Of course, that part of the “cliff” was covered in blackberry bushes.  Which is NOT fun to crash through.  I sort of felt like briar rabbit.  Except I wasn’t happy about it.

Dad had been watching me crawl around the pasture on the ATV from the second story sliding glass door.   I remember lying on my back, twisted up funny, wondering if I was going to die or had broken any bones.  My head was turned facing the house, and I remember looking sideways at the door as my dad jumped out of it.  I was thinking he could have killed himself doing that, as he tore across the pasture to get to me.  When he got there, with all the drama that a 13 year old could manage, I asked him how bad it was. I think he sorta laughed and told me it wasn’t that bad, I had just fallen off the back of  the ATV as it lurched forward down “the little hill” (little hill my ass!).

So, despite a few scrapes from the blackberry bushes, I was fine and so was the ATV.  Except that I was terrified of the death machine.  That afternoon, dad told me I needed to get back on it.  I refused.  He insisted that it was something I MUST do.  I refused.  We ended up compromising a bit.  He would drive it, and I would ride on the back.  Totally safe, and since he was operating it, I knew everything would be fine.

He choose to go up the one of the mountain roads behind the house.  It was a gradual climb, but ended up getting steeper.  Which would be completely fine, had I not been clinging to him for dear life and begging him not to go fast.  He, not wanting to traumatize me further, kept it in first gear and we crept up the road.  Which was getting more steep.  Which made me cry out for him not to go faster.  Which made him say he had to go faster to get up the road.  But he didn’t.  And so gravity decided to take it from there.  Creeping up a steep hill with two people on a three-wheeler will only end in one thing.  Flipping over backwards.  Oh. Yeah.

I stood up, crying like a big ol’ baby, and screamed at my poor dad that I was NEVER. IN. MY. LIFE. getting on anything like that again.  NOT. EVER.  And, as only a 13 year old girl teenager can do, I stomped down the hill bawling my eyes out all the way back to the house.  I’m pretty sure he was trying so hard to keep from busting up laughing, but the mouth contortions and twinkle in his eyes gave him away. This whole incident was probably one of my favorite memories with dad.

About 4 years later, I went on a date.  I lived up in the mountains and it had recently snowed.  My date had a quad.  I was hesitant (actually, I was downright chicken-livered, about ready to pee-my-pants scared) to ride it, but we were out with another couple and I didn’t want to show how I felt.  Or be laughed at.  So, we took the quads out to a back forest road, covered in snow.  When he took the quad out of the truck bed and I noticed that his headlight was actually a 4-cell Maglite duct-taped to the top of the broken head-light.  I should have been concerned.  Instead, I hopped on the back, and squeezed my eyes shut as he tore off down the road.  Did I mention this was at night?  Yeah.  So, not being able to see where we were going (with my eyes squeezed shut), and clinging to him like a spider-monkey, I managed to stay on when he whipped the handle bars to the left and we skidded to a stop.   Next to a cliff.  A real cliff.  That he didn’t know was there, he just decided that was the time to turn around.

NEVER. AGAIN. I said.  Never would I ride anything that was an open air “vehicle”.  Particularly anything that was called a “quad” or “ATV”.  I refused to ride a motorcycle with anyone but my dad.  I even signed a document written to my father when I was younger saying that I would never ride a motorcycle with anyone but him.

Then, I met Brad.  He has a purty bike.  She’s a beauty.  A canary yellow Honda Magna 750cc.  I was so tempted to get on.  And, he’s the most careful person I know.  So, I rode with him.  I was his “seat cover”.  I LOVED it.  Also, he didn’t put me in any terrifying “I’m gonna die” situations.  Mister recently bought a Honda ST1300.  He put the Magna up for sale.  I did not like that.  Not at all.    I had also recently starting watching Sons of Anarchy on Netflix. Which can mean only one thing.  Mister couldn’t sell the Magna, because I. MUST. RIDE.

Honda Magna 750ccSoon to be mine to ride (if I survive motorcycle class)!

Honda Magna 750cc
Soon to be mine to ride (if I survive motorcycle class)!

Yes, seriously, I have gotten the bug to learn how to ride a motorcycle.  So, I registered for a course in December.  The first available one being scheduled for February 1st-3rd. Today.

4 Cylinders!

4 Cylinders!

I’m hoping that I can continue to say that I almost died twice (ok, three times) from stupidity.  I’m nervous and excited. And, if you see a canary yellow Honda Magna with a redhead on it around Havasu, get out of the way, ok?!

Do you ride a motorcycle? 

What do you love most about it?

Today was a wonderful day for our family!  We added a new member…Mugsy!

Mugsy!  No, he doesn't normally look possessed. Thank you camera.

Mugsy! No, he doesn’t normally look possessed. Thank you camera.

Mister finally gave in to his missing-a-dog-in-his-life feeling.  He had two Shih Tzu‘s for over 16 years, but they passed away several years ago.  From everything he says about them, as well as others who had the pleasure of knowing them, they both were absolute darlings.

Mister fell in love within the first 5 seconds, and same for Mugsy with Mister.  The minute I saw their connection, I was in love too!

Mister fell in love within the first 5 seconds, and same for Mugsy with Mister. The minute I saw their connection, I was in love too!

I have been catching him looking at rescue websites to see if there were any Shih Tzus who needed to be adopted.  This past weekend a facebook friend of ours posted some pictures of a sweet doggie, and that did the Mister in.  He spent the rest of the weekend searching for Shih Tzus in our area, and came up empty.  So, he posted a Craigslist ad asking if anyone knew of someone needing a home for a Shih Tzu.  Less than two hours later we received a reply!

The story is that Mugsy’s first home was with an elderly woman who became too ill to care for him.  Her neighbor took him in, but apparently wasn’t sure how to take care of him and maintain his fur, and so he ended up quite matted.  She gave him to a woman in Bullhead City who rescues dogs from kill shelters in surrounding areas.  She cut his hair and cleaned him up.  Her daughter was the one who replied to our ad, letting us know that she had planned on taking the dog from her mother, but wasn’t able to follow through.  She asked if we would consider him because her mother could no longer care for him, and so she sent us pictures.  Then, I fell half in love with the little feller.

We made arrangements to meet with him today.  The moment we opened the door and saw him, I fell completely in love.  Mister was only four seconds behind me with the falling in love part.  The dog’s name was Jaques, but they called him Joey as well.  He was a delight, running back and forth between all of us.  Playing, pawing at the ground, hopping around, and rolling over to let us pet his belly.  There was no way we were going home without him, and he immediately became part of our family!

All relaxed and enjoying his new home.

All relaxed and enjoying his new home.

We didn’t really like the name Jaques or Joey for him, and since he didn’t seem to respond to well to either name we decided to try Mugsy; short for Mugwump.  He has been responding to us just fine with that name.

We surprised the kids, as they each come home at separate times in the afternoon.  None of them knew of our plan, and were very excited to meet the little feller when I told him they were going home to meet their new fur-brother.  He LOVES the kids.  And by that I mean, this dog is seriously a kid lover.  I am glad for that, because Shih Tzu’s tend to be one-person dogs only, but this one seems to love everyone.  He may be a mix of some sort, and not pure-bred, which may be some of the reason he is doing so well with all of the people here.  The daughter, who contacted us, seems to think he is Havanese, or maybe part Havanese, part Shih Tzu, which is its own breed: Havashu.  Seriously.  A Havashu in Havasu, how funny is that?!

Anyway, he loves us, and we love him.  His first day in the house has been great.  He’s been relaxed, he’s napped, he’s eaten, and he’s done the potty thing in the right place. I am so glad!

Do you have pets?  How did they become a part of your family?


In my haste to get my post published yesterday, and in an earnest attempt at keeping it short, I completely forgot about one of the highlights of 2012!


Not only is October my favorite month of the year (Hello, Halloween!!), but it’s Mister’s birthday month.  So for his birthday in 2012 we planned a trip to Oregon to bring the kids there to meet his family.  We had such a wonderful time!

The kids were able to meet his mother.  We spent time  with his sister, Jan and her husband, Mike.  The kids loved visiting with them, and they really enjoyed getting to explore their beautiful back yard… Koi pond, garden, and sweet doggies too! I’d like to say that the kids were well-behaved and using their best manners at Jan and Mike’s house, but…

Josh decided to interrupt just about every conversation by popping in with,  “Just a random thought…” and then go on with some odd thought.  Mike and Jan also served lunch and set out a veggie tray around 11:30 am.  The kids, who had eaten heartily at the Residence Inn breakfast buffet acted like I had not fed them in two weeks.  There they were, three children hovering over the vegetables, shoving them in their mouths like they were marshmallows dipped in the chocolate fountain at the Golden Corral. I gaped at them for a moment before having to shoe them away like flies.  My kids don’t even LIKE vegetables.  I really think it was some bizarre plot to make me look like a bad mother who forgot to teach social graces to her children.

On Mister’s birthday we went to our favorite pizza place in the whole wide world… Padington’s Pizza.  His sister had planned a surprise party for the afternoon, so we let him think we were just going out for pizza and “dessert” at her house afterwards. We met Mister’s other son and a few of his children there, as well as Mike and Jan and Mister’s mom.  We had a delicious lunch (Whippersnapper…Yum!), then headed to Jan & Mike’s house.

Mister is a big Jimmy Buffet fan, but he’s never been to a JB concert.  So, I bought tickets and a room in Vegas for an upcoming concert, and let Jan know what I planned.  So she decorated her house in a tropical theme and had Jimmy Buffet playing in the background when we got there.  Mike made this huge palm tree decoration, it was incredible!  I wished we could have brought it home, but there was no way to take it on the plane.  Funny thing is, Mister didn’t even put together the tropical theme or Jimmy playing in the background until he opened his present from me and saw the tickets.  Frankly, I was a bit puzzled at his initial reaction, because he did not look excited at all… more confused.  Then he admitted that he thought I was buying him tickets to Atlas Shrugged Part II in Vegas (Wha?! Seriously?!), so he was a bit uncertain as to what the tickets were.

Anyway, we had Jan’s delicious cake with a mexican chocolate mousse filling (to. die. for.), and had a pretty fantastic day.  The trip went by far too fast for us, but we thoroughly enjoyed it.  It was such a treat for the kids to get to know his side of the family and see how kind and amazing they are!

Ready to eat some yummy food!

Ready to eat some yummy food!

The other fantastic part of October was… The Jimmy Buffet Concert!! BOY HOWDY, did we have fun!!  A couple of weeks after our Oregon trip, we drove up to Vegas in the morning and I took Mister to Margaritaville for lunch.  I mean, how could we go there for the concert and NOT go to Margaritaville to eat?!

Hangin' out at the pre-concert pool party.

Hangin’ out at the pre-concert pool party.

After that we headed over to the Flamingo pool for the pre-concert party.  That was so much fun we had to take a little nap before the actual concert!  Then, it was on to the MGM Grand Arena and the concert of a lifetime (to me anyway!).

Proudly sporting our fins!

Proudly sporting our fins!

I wore my styrofoam fin hat with pride, and a whole lot of giggles.  I think Mister and I laughed and smiled and danced (he doesn’t dance normally, but everyone else was too busy dancing to notice him anyway), and laughed some more.  What a fantastic day!

Whew.  Good thing I made a separate blog post.  I am WAY too wordy!  By the way,  I changed the blog appearance.  I thought it needed a fresh look.  I hope you like it!

Have you had favorite birthday or concert experience?

I’d love to hear about it!! 

An Unexpected Hiatus

Hello!  Hello… Hello… Hellooooooo (echo, echo, echooooooo)?!

While I certainly didn’t plan to take any sort of break from blogging, I just looked and saw that my last post was March 16th of 2012… 301 days ago.  7,200 hours ago.  432,000 minutes ago. 25,920,000 seconds ago! (Just in case you needed it broke down like that.)   Time has just whizzed by for me.  So, I will do a brief (well, as brief as I am capable of being) post of what has happened since March of last year.

Grand Canyon

Taking a ride on The Grand Canyon Railway!

First of all I did NOT forget my anniversary on May 7th.  Mister planned a great little trip for us to Zion National Park and the Grand Canyon and we took that in late May.  The landscape in our desert states are simply beautiful, and surrounding myself in it was a feast for my eyes, heart and soul.  We went to the Grand Canyon via The Grand Canyon Railway, and it was so much fun!  I absolutely love to travel with Mister.  So many new experiences and lots of laughter shared between us!

Mister's son is an expert on how to efficiently relocate to another state!

Mister’s son is an expert on how to efficiently relocate to another state!

In June, some of my favorite people in the whole world, Mister’s son and daughter-in-law and granddaughter, moved to Havasu!  We are thrilled to have them here, even though we tried to warn them off.  Really, we tried to tell them not to come here.  Not because we didn’t want them to move here, but because the beginning of summer is the absolute worst time to try to acclimate to the desert.  Particularly when previously living in Oregon.  However, they did great and sweated through the Arizona summer heat like champions.  I think they’ve acclimated pretty well, because now we are all freezing our patooties off as it’s currently 39 degrees outside.

In July, we had the monsoon season to beat all other monsoon seasons.  Frankly, I’ve made a rather disturbing observation about our weather.  First, this past summer was one of the most humid in a LONG time.  All the local-yocals were talking about it (but not in front of the tourists… no, we buck-up and tell them that we’re used to this sort of heat and frown down upon them for complaining).  Then, we have this crazy monsoon storm that tore out roads, washed cars away, and created havoc all over town.  Now we’re having the coldest winter in a long time.  My only conclusion is that Mister’s family moved here from Oregon they brought some of the weather with them.  This crazy weather is all their fault.  And THAT is unacceptable.  I’ll have to have a chat with them to send it back.

People 'round these parts don't really make the best decisions  when a monsoon hits.  Obviously.

People ’round these parts don’t really make the best decisions when a monsoon hits. Obviously.

We had a lovely Thanksgiving with Mister’s family here in Havasu.  There’s nothing like spending the day with a loving family to help you appreciate all the blessings we are given.  Christmas was lovely as well.  We had a pre-Christmas celebration with the family here and then Mister and I spent Christmas eve and day together in Laughlin, NV (the kids were with their dad for the holiday). We have so much fun together, and this was no exception.  Plus, how can you go wrong playing three and  a half hours of slots on one twenty-dollar bill?!?! Tons of laughter, love and hugs; that’s what our life together is about!

Now it’s January and you may be wondering what prompted this rambling catch-up post.  I suppose it’s that I started to miss writing.  I am one of those people who learn something new and go gung-ho at it for a while.  Then, I see something else new to do and attack learning that with a vengeance.  The other “interest” tends to go by the wayside.  This blog was also  my therapy for a while.  I  had things built up inside my head and heart and I just needed to release it.  Once it was out, I had nothing more to say.  I felt lighter, and happier, and freer than I had for a long time once I had cleared out my head.

I started this blog to remind me to fully live my life.  To enjoy every moment with my husband, children, and his (now MY) family.  And, I found my groove…  I did my thang!  I am living my life!  And it is flippin’ WONDERFUL.  Seriously!  I think another reason I stopped blogging is because, honestly, how many posts could I write about how amazing life is being married to Mister before I drove you all nuts?!  I think we all know there would be A LOT of posts.  Because it really, really is amazing.

I remember a friend of mine asking me how another person (that we both know) could keep writing about her absolutely adoring and incredible  husband, and her super-fantastic life, incredible kids, and blah, blah, blah…  That made me hesitate about writing more things like that here. While I don’t want to sicken anyone with constant sugary tales of Mister mushiness, I realized that it doesn’t matter what other people think.  I don’t write about the salty-teared tales of the “discussions” between Mister and I, but they have happened.  Not every relationship is a rose-garden of beauty, and of course ours is no exception.  It takes hard work, and communication (reluctant tho I may be to “communicate”), and it’s not always clear or easy to make that happen.

I suppose I said all that to say that despite the “discussions” Mister and I have (or maybe because of them!), he and are are living a beautiful life together.  I am spoiled rotten, and I hope he feels the same.  We spend a lot of time in The Love Shack, mainly because now I’m learning to quilt.  Remember the jumping from learning one thing to the next I talked about up there ^? Yeah, basically it went from Crochet to Blogging to passing my Amateur Radio Operator test to Quilting.  I love sewing and spend a lot of time at my sewing machine.  I’ve made tons of crafty things lately, you can see them here if you would like.  My daughter even compleminsulted (yeah, that’s new word  I just made up) me by telling me they look like things I bought at the store.

Speaking of jumping from one hobby to the next, I’m taking a Motorcycle course the weekend of February 1st.  Hopefully I will be riding Mister’s Honda 750 Magna not long afterwards! Also just as hopefully there will be a fun blog post about it rather than a “you are NOT gonna believe what I did…” type of post.

Well, that’s the catch-up.  Not too much funny, not too much snark, and not too much mushy.  Just Christine living her life, and being ever so grateful for it!

So, tell me… How have YOU been? I’ve missed you! 

I’m a guest!

A guest blogger, that is!  Wow, can you believe it? Yeah, me neither… But, ’tis true.

When Deb from The Monster In Your Closet asked if I would do a guest post for her FTIAT (For This I Am Thankful) series, I was thrilled! I was also shocked, scared, overwhelmed and feeling unworthy.  So, I put it off. Then decided I shouldn’t do it at all.  Until an encouraging comment from Deb on Facebook made me realize I was letting my self-doubt keep me from this new and challenging experience.

Reflecting on what I was thankful for was a wonderful exercise in appreciating things in life.   In appreciating MY life. There are so many things I have been blessed with, it’s difficult to name them all.  A wonderful, loving, supportive husband.  Great kids who are bright, loving, and kind (mostly… they ARE kids after all).  A kind and supportive church where we can worship as a family.  A  beautiful home, and reliable cars (a very important thing for me, based on past experiences).  Living in a lake-side town where people come to get away from the cold during the winter, and spend summers vacationing.  Yet, to truly appreciate these blessings, I had to delve deeper.   Head over here with me to Deb’s, and let me share with you what I am thankful for.

Deb is such an amazing woman, who inspires me with her courage, frankness, and beautiful expressions of  kindness, compassion and love.  I thank you, Deb, for offering this amazing opportunity!


Me and My Sweetheart

For many, many years, my birthday, Mother’s Day, Valentine’s Day, and anniversaries were not really celebrated.  I often heard, “Sorry, it came up so quick I forgot to get time off” or “Sorry, I didn’t have enough money.”  (or apparently any time to even do a handwritten card). I also had (and probably still do) a habit of replying, “It’s ok. I don’t mind.” to these sorts of comments.  I certainly didn’t want to make the other person feel bad.  Even though it made me feel bad, very bad, inside.

So, in order to compensate for the disappointed feeling that I would get when these holidays came around , I just decided that Mother’s Day wasn’t for me anyway.  It was for my mom.  Plus, it’s just another way for the card companies to make money.  And Valentine’s Day… Well, Valentine’s Day was a stupid holiday anyway.  Chocolates were too expensive, flowers were astronomical, restaurants were too busy, gifts were too expensive, and all the lovey-lovey people were just annoying.  So with my lowered expectations (that were met without fail), I was never disappointed around these holidays.

Well, turns out that was another life.

Mister is having no such attitude from me.  My vocal protests of the extra holidays that “don’t mean anything” can not withstand the determination of my “romantical” (to use his word) husband.  He refuses to let Valentine’s Day pass without some sort of token of our love expressed.  Preferably homemade.  He does not like the commercialization of the holidays either, but his determination comes from a desire to prove to me that I am worth thinking of on these days.  I am worth going to the store for a $2 (make that $5, nowadays) card.  I am worth a box of chocolates.  I am worth being taken out to dinner.  I am worth his thoughts and his time.

The only thing that makes his view of Valentine’s Day acceptable to me is the fact that it doesn’t have to be Valentine’s Day for me to have these things.  I’ve come home countless times to fresh flowers on the entry table.  To a bag of snack size Reese’s Peanut Butter cups.  To a card that says, “Just Because I Love You”.  I get taken out on a date-night almost every Tuesday evening.  Every day with Mister is Valentine’s Day.  I know without a doubt that I am his sweetheart, and he is mine.  So, when Valentine’s Day arrives tomorrow, Mister and I will spoil each other a little more usual.  And I will take this opportunity to tell Mister some of the things I love about him:

  • I love how you say, “Good Morning, Beautimus!” to me every morning when we wake up.
  • I love that you always want to hold my hand.
  • I love how you try to anticipate my every need and meet it, even before I know I have a need.
  • I love how you try to race me to fold the laundry… and how sometimes you’ll try to be sneaky and do it when I’m not paying attention.
  • I love that you like cooking our meals together.
  • I love that when something needs to be fixed in the house, or on the cars, that you take care of it…as soon as possible.
  • I love how I never worry about being broken down and stranded anymore.
  • I love how your eyes turn soft, and your mouth smiles, whenever you look at me.
  • I love how you like to snuggle on the couch in the evenings.
  • I love how you help the kids with their math homework (because we all know that I’m clueless).
  • I love how you help me be a more patient, kind, and loving parent to the kids.
  • I love how fair and kind you are to the kids, and because they know that is how you are, they respond so well to you.
  • I love when you kiss me on the forehead.
  • I love how you always give me time to work out issues when I’m upset, and that you never let me get away with shoving an issue aside rather than discussing it.
  • I love you for trying to always make my life calm, and as stress-free as possible.
  • I love you for knowing when something’s bothering me, and that you never ignore it in the hopes that it will just “go away”.
  • I love you for making me feel so beautiful, that I no longer criticize myself whenever I look in a mirror and see my body.
  • I love that when I look at you I *know*, without a doubt, that you love me too.
  • I love you for encouraging me; for reminding me that I am a smart, capable, strong, and brave woman.
  • I love you for being the kind, patient, giving, loving, sensitive, romantic, intelligent, capable, and wonderful man that you are.
  • I love you for seeing me.

The Love Shack

The Love Shack! (Notice the Love Bears?!)

After the garages were finished, Mister and I got to work on turning some of the old garage (that’s what we named the garage that was existing before he added the other two garages) into a temporary hobby room.  It   is the perfect place for Mister’s Amateur Radio and my scrapbooking and miscellaneous hobby stuff.  It is a 32′ garage, so we took the last 10 feet and made that into our room.  We’ve still got plenty of room for the parked cars, and Mister’s toolboxes and work bench.  Mister told me to plan on two weeks for us to just get the wall framed and up. Sounded perfect to me!   Turns out, we got it up in 24 hours’ time.

We weren’t looking for anything fancy, just something temporary until the kids move out (the last kid leaves in 7 years, 3 months and 2 weeks… but who’s counting?!), and then we can reclaim the two other bedrooms in the house.  I told Mister I was perfectly fine with paneled walls.  I was impatient for it to be done, it’s temporary anyway, and I didn’t want to deal with the messiness of the drywalling, mud, tape, & texturing process.  So, in one weeks’ time we had the room completed.  We didn’t get a big carpet remnant as we had planned, but that is no big deal to me.  There is a fairly good sized scrap of carpet in there where I have my space, and that’s works out nicely.

Mister had been storing an unassembled day bed in the garage, so I told him he should set it up in the room.  It’s a great little place to sit and work on embroidery.  I also told him if he ever wanted to escape from the craziness of the house, it would be a perfect nap spot.  It ended up being the first thing he set up in the room.  I’m not sure what he’s trying to say with that…

When we were moving our things into the room I made a comment about having the perfect spot in “my scrapbook room” for an item.  Mister looked at me, smiled hugely and started cracking up.  He just pointed a finger at me and said, “YOUR scrapbooking room, huh?!  I KNEW you were going to try and claim the whole place for yourself!!”  Against such a Freudian slip, I had no defense.  We are very playful and tease each other a lot, so he wasn’t being mean and I wasn’t really trying to claim the room for my own.  I am thrilled with being able to share a space with him, as I enjoy being in his presence as much as possible.  However, to cover my little error in speech, I told him that we must rename the room and I jokingly called it “The Love Shack”.  It was just a joke, but the name has stuck… Oh well, it’s cute, and I love it!

Here are some images of us getting the room done from start to finish:

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Mister in his new garage with The Beast and his Honda Magna

The Garage has been finished for about a month, but I have been so busy I haven’t had time to post about it.  Oops!

We had a wonderful experience with this garage.  We happened to stumble into the perfect contractor, Rick Foster of Trophy Homes, quite by accident.   If you need to get any work done around Lake Havasu City/Parker area of Arizona, he is your man!  Whenever we had questions or concerns, he would answer them immediately.  He constantly kept us up-to-date on the status of the project.  We couldn’t have had a better experience!

So, THANK YOU, to Rick and crew… You did a wonderful job and couldn’t be more thrilled with how beautiful it turned out!

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