a bench with a view

a bench with a view

Tuesday, July 4, 2017


Grandson is almost 17 months old. I know, its hard to fathom. Where did the time go?

As all children do, he transitioned into people food age appropriately and new foods are continued to be introduced.  He has his favorites, oatmeal, bananas, and he's definitely his grandmother's grandchild because he loves pasta and potatoes (I never met a pasta or a potato that I didn't like and that's why I'm 50 pounds overweight). 

He's over for dinner 2 nights a week. I have to be careful in meal planning because I need to make sure to include something he will like to eat. In realty, shrimp, which we all like to eat, is not going to cut it for someone his age so there is a backup plan, at least here. At grandmother's house he is a vegetarian. No matter how we cook the meat, he rarely eats chicken, ham, etc., that we serve here (he will at his own home). 

Yesterday the young family came over for dinner. Step grand daughter is missing; she's spending the summer in the New York area with her father, as she does every summer. I planned Betty Crocker's Suddenly Salad Bacon and Ranch pasta salad (a crowd favorite, I always have to make 2 boxes of it), chicken teriyaki barbecued on skewers, and barbecued zucchini. I wasn't sure if the wee one had the suddenly salad before (he had as it was a favorite of son's) so I made cheese noodles, Knorr's 4 Cheese Pasta.  I knew he liked them from a previous time I served them. 

I made the mistake of holding him while I was at the stove dishing out the hot pasta into a bowl for him to cool down while we were finishing the last of the meal's preparation.  Perfectly safe, he was never in danger when I was holding him. Stove was off. I just had a bowl and spoon by the pot on the far burner he couldn't reach and was preparing some so they would be cool when we sat down to dinner.

He saw the noodles and all bets were off. He wanted down and he wanted in his high chair. Son was just moving it over to the table and he helped him into it, buckling him in. From the time he started in his high chair, I made it a point (along with his parents) of folding his hands together when it was time to eat saying "let's pray". We say a very simple prayer "thank you Lord for the meal we are about to eat." For the past month or so when he gets into his high chair, he folds his hands and waits until we all sit down and we all say "let's pray" and then the prayer. He patiently is sitting there with his hands folded while we bring the food to the table etc.

I brought another bowl to the table and told son (DIL joined us a bit later as she was working and a bit late coming over) to put some noodles into the bowl to get them ready for when the bowl I had ready was empty, he would have a fresh batch to serve to the wee one that was cooled down. We prayed and son gave him the bowl I had gotten ready for the wee one, which had cooled down by now.

We could not keep him in pasta noodles. Son was continually filling up one bowl or another. He put a piece of zucchini on the tray as well as some chicken and pasta salad. If the wee one tries something he doesn't like he will spit it out, collect it on his fingers and want to give it to you. He would have nothing to do with the chicken or the pasta salad. Did take the piece of zucchini, licked it and promptly handed it to son. But he ate 3/4 of the pot of pasta. Several times he handed son the empty bowl with a look like if he was Oliver Twist he would have said "please sir, can I have more?" Thankfully there was more and then more on top of that.

Any grandparent will say. It is a joy to be one. I totally agree. It is worth the EXTREME heat to be living 3 miles close to them. He's been a joy. Of course every grandparent says their grandchild(ren) are smart. He is the same. Smart. Sharp, learning, active, busy, full of energy, much loved, a blessing.

Thank you God!

(Happy 4th; be safe out there).

Monday, June 26, 2017

randoms are all I got

Things are going relatively good here. I just haven't felt a great desire to write a blog post. Reading and commenting on most blogs I follow or randomly comment as the mood strikes. Again, nothing's wrong; just lost that bit of blogging loving I had. It will come back.

So this is totally random and I have no idea where it is going to go.

Its summertime in Phoenix!!! You know what that means. HOT temperatures. Call me sick, demented, weird, etc., but I think I've acclimated to the hot temperatures. It pays to be cold blooded too.  A few weeks ago when it was 105 degrees, I'm like "this is actually pleasant out here." This past week its been over 115 degrees, close to 120 degrees. (Really is there much a difference between 115 degrees compared to 120 degrees?) Hot is still hot. Thing is, it didn't feel HOT to me like it did last year. Granted I'm not going to want to run a marathon in it, but I didn't feel oppressed about it like I did last year. Again, it pays to be cold blooded. We do have low humidity here. One day last week the humidity was 3%. We run humidifiers here, but sometimes when the humidity gets low in here, we get shocked a lot. And that is painful!

Myra is shaking her head just about now.

Work sucks, but its a paycheck. I'm looking for another job. Had an interview for what I thought would be an interesting job for the medical examiner here in Phoenix. First interview in 10 years. I didn't get the job (my lack of experience with Excel, Outlook, and Word probably paid a big part in my not getting hired). I'll see if I can take some courses to learn them and keep looking for something else. I was kind of glad I didn't get it because I would have to drive into downtown Phoenix daily and I just don't drive anymore these days (yes I need to remedy that).

As part of work sucks, I'm now required to work one weekend day (all of us on our "team" have to work a weekend day. After all, hospitals run 24/7 so we have to be available to turn around the work 24/7 too). I was lucky that I got the Monday through Friday as long as I did but I could see the "writing on the wall" when the account I work on (the account from hell but that's for another day) was always getting out of turnaround time on the weekends (which prompted overtime to keep it in turnaround time and the company doesn't like to pay overtime) (and supervisors like to keep accounts from going out of turnaround time or they don't get their bonuses). In fact I mentioned to hubby "she-supervisor is going to make us work weekends" and sure enough the following week came the email with the mandate. I chose to work Saturdays 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. We watch the wee one Saturday evenings starting at 4 p.m. I got assigned to be off on Tuesday, so I'm off Sunday and Tuesday, which seems like a really weird schedule, but so far I like it (only been 3 weeks so far). Thing is I never got anything done on Saturdays when hubby and me were off together. We would mess around on our computers for a few hours, get cleaned up, run some errands, come home early afternoon and then get the wee one at 4 p.m. (I clean house through the week, a chore every day that lasts about 20-30 minutes, house is never completely clean, but never completely dirty). Sundays were church, maybe a few more errands and that's about it. I found the Tuesdays I was off (3 so far) I actually got projects done that I kept putting off. Like we bought new glassware after Christmas to get everything matched instead of the hodgepodge we had. I kept putting off sorting through the old stuff to replace it with the new stuff. I did it this past Tuesday, including reorganizing the incredibly messy pantry. Hubby yesterday put together a table he bought also after Christmas (same time we bought the glassware) that he wanted for his music room and his recording. I find it actually more relaxing to have the 2 different days off not together rather than working 5 days and being off for 2 days. Presently its working. And it is also motivation for me to keep looking for a new job and frees up Tuesdays so I can go on an interview that day (otherwise it was virtually impossible to get time off from work without a 2 week notice) (yes I also work for the company from hell) (yes I'm actively job seeking). 

In some of my spare time recently, I found two people from the past that I had worked with and worked for. Its a hobby of mine when I have time to try to track down people. One I saw was no longer married to the person they were married to when I knew them, but seemed to have a good life and had been raising a family. Other one totally shocked me. Physician I worked for that was one of the most generous and kindest people I knew, along with his wife; lovely well behaved and well mannered children. Saw he lost a malpractice suit for a hefty settlement and at the same time that was happening he was going through a very messy divorce, including his wife filing restraining orders against him. It was many moons ago that I worked for him, but I still can't grasp how that person then became this person now or what happened along the way.

We shop at a local grocery store, Fry's. We don't do our major shopping there, that's for Wal-Mart, but there is literally a Fry's on every corner here (agree Myra?) so that's where we go for our items we run out of, etc. They also have fuel pumping stations. You can earn points by shopping there to get cents off your gallons of gas. We are learning how to work the system (legitimately and honestly). We got an offer for a credit card from them where the first year you have the card, if you use it for buying gas, you get an additional 25 cents off a gallon. Signed up for it, use it and pay it off monthly. Use it for our groceries so we can get extra reward points. Then most weekends they have if you buy gift cards at the store, you can get 4 times the points for fuel rewards. We buy gift cards for restaurants we are going to go out to or places we are going to shop like Target, Kohl's, etc. The fuel points really add up then. And they are always looking for people to take their customer surveys. I take one weekly, 50 points for fuel rewards. A penny saved is a penny earned, right? (or did I get that backward?)

I think that's about it. 

I'll try not to let it go so long between posting. Enjoy your summer! Warm weather and all!

(but not the electricity bills, that's what I fear the most)

Monday, May 15, 2017

the price of water and other things

This past weekend we went to an event at Talking Sticks Arena Resort.  It was Chris Tomlin's Worship Night in America. I like Chris Tomlin's praise songs he writes. Very talented and inspired. It was more like a worship service before a sermon at church. It was great singing his songs with about 10,000 other people and worshiping God. 

It has been years since we have gone out to any event like this.  The tickets were reasonably priced for the whole venue and there were tickets even as low as $15.00 a piece (in the "nose bleed" section - i.e. way up high) but their purpose was to make it somewhat affordable for all people to be able to go. We had pretty darn good tickets and they cost $69 each. (remember that price for later on). 

During the intermission we got up to stretch our legs, go to the bathroom, and get something to drink. This is the first time in a bathroom where there was a bathroom monitor. I had read about them (an employee who keeps track of what stalls are open and directs people to them. It helps to get the bathroom lines moving so to speak). Boy was she a sharp one and boy that line moved fast.

Then we go to some place to get something to drink. We both wanted water. Water prices are a big contention for me. Especially at movie theaters where a bottle of water is $4.00 or more per bottle.

So imagine my surprise (though I shouldn't have been surprised) when we saw the price for water (ready for this????) was $6.50. Yes $6.50. Water. Dasani water. Here's the clincher. You couldn't bring water bottles into the arena (all bags were checked and we went through security like we were at the airport). Then there were no plastic bottles allowed in the arena. Only cups. So they literally poured the water into a cup and put a lid on it and then you had the privilege of paying $6.50 for it. I kid you not. We were thirsty so of course we shelled out the $6.50. Which is funny if you think about it. We live in a desert and they promote hydration, hydration, hydration. Yet water was $6.50. Unimaginable. We weren't the only ones buying water.

So once seated waiting for the event to restart after intermission, I see that Neil Diamond is going to be there in August. Neil Diamond was the very first concert I went to back in 1976 in San Diego, California. Loved his music, loved the concert. Saw him two other times over the years both when we lived in Billings, Montana. This is advertised as his 50th anniversary tour. He's 76 years old. I thought "heck, it could be fun to go to this." 

So we looked at ticket prices.

Those nose bleed seats going for $15.00 for Chris Tomlin were going for $150. 

The tickets we had going for $69 were going for $287.

Front row seats were over $2000 EACH. EACH. 

VIP tickets (whatever that meant) were $2800 EACH. EACH!

Needless to say, we aren't going to see Neil Diamond. Thing is we could afford the $287 tickets EACH and it wouldn't affect our budget either way. But then I thought $287 times two for perhaps a 2 hour show??? What could $287 times two do to feed the hungry, help the homeless, etc. 

I'm sure the concert will sell out. After all its Neil Diamond. 

And I'm sure there will be plenty of people paying $6.50 for water.

Just not us.

Just not this time.

Just about never.

And you?

Thursday, April 27, 2017

I didn't intend

to go this long between postings, but I did.  I have a post ready to go, but I have to take pictures to accompany it and I haven't gotten around to that yet. 

I'll blame work.  Sounds like a good thing to blame, don't you agree? If you remember, a few months back (August) I got switched to a different account. About 4 weeks ago, I got switched to another account.  Grrr...... Its hard to get switched to different accounts because you have to learn new dictators, learn new account specifics, etc., and your line count goes down and if you are paid on production, like I'm paid on production, line counts matter.  But this was a unique opportunity in that no matter what I produced in lines, I would be paid my PTO (paid time off) rate if it was higher than my production.  They set the PTO rate based on production over a period of time and that's what they pay you for time off, down time, etc. 

Its not a bad account except there's a lot of English as Second Language (ESL) doctors with terrible accents.  My weakness with ESL doctors are Middle Eastern doctors and there are lots of them on this account. Some talk in monotone at barely a whisper, hard to understand. I'm muddling through.

Then there has been a low work volume so I'm not getting in my full 8 hours of work in the full 8 hours I am supposed to work. There are no jobs available. I have 2 options, try to make up the hours on the same day I run out of work or take the time as PTO (biting into my bank of PTO hours). Most days when I can I try to make up the time so it has me sitting at the computer waiting for work to trickle in slowly and not always surely.  Sometimes 12 hours trying to get 8 hours in. Its a terrible system but its the system they have set in place, so one abides with it if one remains employed by them.

So its been a pretty stressful few short weeks. Thus no motivation to take pictures and put up that really cute blog post I had written (at least it is pretty cute to me, you will be the judge). It will happen, when, I'm not sure.

As I'm waiting around for work to come in, I am looking at what jobs are out there that I might qualify for or that I might be interested in.  I'll be 60 on my next birthday, so I really don't want to retrain for something.  I was hoping to limp through this career until I was ready to retire, but I'm thinking that will not be the case.  

I'm also finding lots of good recipes.  Tons of recipe sites out there.  I enjoy watching the videos on how the meals are prepared and have been printing a lot of recipes to try over the next few weeks.  

So I'll post again soon.  Not sure how soon, but soon.

And that's a wrap.

(It might sound like I'm depressed; I'm not really depressed, more like frustrated. We never really hear a reason why work is low, they seem to give us answers to placate us. I like to work, don't mind working, I just want to be productive in the 8 hours I'm assigned to work and not being able to do that has been a bit challenging. Hubby and me have already tightened up the budget so we won't be hurting financially with changes that could occur with the job over time, its just frustrating that a career that once was highly valued, respected, and well compensated has been basically run to the ground with technology. There are other such careers I'm sure, but I never thought in my life time this would be one of them).

Thursday, March 30, 2017

not on my watch

When I am watching the wee one, like anyone responsible for watching babies, toddlers, preschoolers, etc., you don't want anything to happen when you are at the helm, so to speak. So I watch him like a hawk. If I can see him I won't follow him around, but if he is exploring from room to room I'm right behind him. If I don't hear him, there's that old adage that they are usually getting into trouble or doing something they shouldn't and its the proven case with him 10/10 times (usually touching something he knows he's not supposed to touch). I call that our sinful nature :) 

Another thing I'm diligent about when its my watch. Its keeping these together in a pair. They are soooo darn small. They get lost easily with the other clothes in the load.  I'm always grateful when we match up 1:1.  The other day I was one sock missing.  I said "not on my watch."  It took an additional load of clothes, but things balanced out and order was restored to the universe (and the sock drawer).

And the best not on my watch.  This went in the other day. It does go all away around the pool; just couldn't get a good picture of it.  The lock is such that when it is locked using the key it is virtually unopenable.  Now that the wee one is mobile, it was a necessity. Though there are several doors with more than adequate locks on them to prevent his getting to the pool area, one can never be too safe with young children around the draw of water.  Our intent is for him to learn to swim this season.

I do realize no matter how much we baby proof the house, keep the safety gates up, put plastic things over the electrical sockets, plastic guards on the drawers, etc., an accident will happen.

It just better not be on my watch.

(I'm leaving this link here for all who might want to read this who are believers and who are concerned about what is going on with our country, the new administration, etc., as well as anyone that might want to read it. I know Meg's heart and it is one of being concerned for America and for its outcome in the days ahead. I know lots of thinking and praying by her have gone on not only now but in the months, weeks, days before the election. Its worth a read and worth a prayer if one is inclined to do so. America won't be great again because of a leader in office, but because those who believe, humble themselves, pray, seek God, repent and then God will heal our land).

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

I did it again!!!!!

This is a bit of a silly entry; feel free to skip it if you want, but do check at the bottom for the amount paid for items listed on my last post.

I am a bit (a lot) OCD. I don't have the extremes (yet) of it (and I'm not making fun of anyone that might) but I do have my routines and my likes. Dishes set up a certain way in the dishwasher (yes I change them after hubby stacks them; he doesn't "get" the way they should go, the natural flow so to speak.)

I like my paper towels to look like this.  And no I don't like patterned paper towels. Solid basic white.

This is not how I like my paper towels to look. The pick a size (who invented that and why????) 

99.5% of the time I am very careful when we need paper towels and make sure I don't buy the "pick a size" ones. But there are times when I'm stressed or overwhelmed with shopping that I'm 0.5% not careful. 

And I pick the wrong size. I did it again a few weeks ago.

There's not much of a difference in size between the two. But really, which one would you prefer to use? The pristine one on the bottom or the dreaded pick a size on top?

This is how they look when they are separated. Really horrid (in my opinion).

And really, what can you do with a paper towel this size? Useless  (again in my opinion).

What generally happens is I end up breaking off 3 half pieces or a piece and a half when I only want the regular basic size of paper towel and waste that extra 1/2. 

Drives me crazy!

So when I realized I bought the wrong size a few weeks ago, the minute I did I said "I'll give them to son........he won't mind."

So when son and family came over later that week for dinner I greeted him with 5 rolls of paper towels in bags and said "this is your lucky day." Being on a tight budget, indeed it was a good day for them.

And when I went to the store that week, you betcha. I made sure I didn't get pick a size. 

Life is good (at least until I use up the 6 rolls I bought).

Are you a fan of pick a size?

(And to answer on my last post about what we spent for the clothes; the grand total with tax was $41 and change. I was surprised with the various amounts guessed. Some of you came very close or spot on. I think there was only one or two items we bought that weren't reduced 50%. The next sale is this Saturday. Got to talk it over with them and see what is needed to concentrate what I should be looking for. I'm thinking to look for more books; the wee one really enjoys looking through them and while we have some, you can never have too many books :)

The pool water was 63 degrees as of 03/03/2017, 65 degrees as of 03/08/2017. Went up 2 degrees in 5 days. We're warming up here (high 80s). I'm thinking the water might be ready end of April for swimming??? Time will tell. 

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

bargains galore

Let's play a little game

These are all gently used items.  Four books and three baby toys here.

Six pairs of baby shorts, size 18 months.

Four sleepers; size 18 months.

Picture a bit fuzzy, but three shirts, size 18 months.

Three outfits, size 18 months. Can mix and match them with shorts above.

Two additional outfits, size 18 months.

Keep reading, the game will be at the end of the post.

We found this great kids consignment sale called Kids Closet Connection that here is held monthly at different locations (except for the months of December and January). The premise is people can sell their kids' items no longer needed at prices they set and they get a certain percentage of the sale back and the rest goes to charity and expenses.

From what I understand after talking to a lady volunteering at the sale, you get 65% of your sales price automatically. If you volunteer to help out at the sale you get 80% (you have to do a minimum of one 4 hour shift). If you do four 4 hour shifts you also get a $10 Visa gift card.

The sale is held Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. I believe if I read it correctly there is a pre-sale on Wednesday evening for foster parents and grandparents raising their grandchildren (I think that is neat). 

The size of the clothing goes from newborn to size 20 in kids.

The people who want to sell their stuff bring their stuff in with the prices they want. Everything is categorized and every item has a sales ticket on it. The seller has the choice of discounting the item 50% on the last day of the sale on Saturday. It will say on the sales ticket whether the item is 50% off on the last day of the sale. For items that don't sell, they can pick them up I believe the Sunday after the sale.

We have been to three of these consignment sales so far. Each have been different because they've been in different locations and it also depends who will bring their stuff to sell. Sometimes we've gotten more toys, this time we got more clothes. It just depends.

We go on Saturdays because of our work schedules. I look for items that are offered at 50% off on the last day of the sale. If I see something cute that is not 50% off, I'll ask hubby "is it worth so and so" (full price offered) and if he says "no" we don't get it.

Most of the items we bought were 50% off on this particular sale a week or so ago.

We bought an additional item that I didn't take a picture of that cost $4.50 and was not 50% off on the day of the sale. That is to maybe help you if you want to play along with the game.

We got 7 toys and 22 pieces of clothing for grandson as listed above, plus that additional item for step grand daughter that I didn't take a picture of. (I don't shop for her at these sales because my DIL's mom works at Last Chance at Nordstrom and she gets some incredibly great deals with her discounts, etc. Plus I have no fashion sense what a 11-1/2 year old girl would want to wear).

With 12 month old grandson, basically they go through lots of clothes and anything works for them if it is clean and comfortable.

Here's the game if you want to play along. No prizes awarded.

What do you think we paid for all above that we purchased???

Answer on my next post.

My only clue I'll give you.

It was lower than I expected.

And a great bargain.

I'm looking forward to March's sale!