Sunday, September 13, 2015


A few days ago I had my air conditioner maintenance company come for their routine check of the system. They were here back in February and warned me that there might be a problem developing but I was in such a fog then that I didn't pay much attention. The news on this visit was not so good. The compressor was dying and because it holds freon it would cost $4000 to replace, or I could get a whole new AC system that was up to current building codes for $8000. It was a hard decision but I decided to get the new system so I don't have to worry about it. But now there is the part about paying for it. I worried and fussed over that for a few days and nights but then came to the realization that I do have options that other people may not have, great credit, a good job and resources to pay for this unexpected expense. I have a coworker who would have to go without AC if this happened to her. She has no resources and no credit - I am blessed, sometimes I just need to stop my whining and realize it.
This is the crane taking the old AC unit off and the new one is sitting on the ground ready to go up.
Then I was thinking back over all the other 'bad' things that have happened to me since January, and found the good in them too. My husband moved out and filed for divorce, and as soon as the divorce was final a few months later, he was engaged to someone else. How sad is that?  This whole episode, as well as the 3 awful years before that made me realize that he didn't love me, or care about me the way a real man should. I was just a stop over for him to get what he needed at the time, and he had no problem walking away and convincing another poor woman that he is the perfect man for her. I should have known that someone who would not talk to his own children for 8 years could/would do the same thing to me. My blessing was to come out of that relationship stonger, smarter and more determined than ever. 

I had a scare in June that I might have breast cancer. That whole episode showed me that I have wonderful friends who will be with me through thick and thin. I am blesssed to have these friends and my family in my life.

I'm still trying to figure out the blessing behind the broken water pipe in my front yard that took $5000 to fix. I'm sure there was something in that as well - maybe that my tree out there got a good soaking and made it through our extremely hot summer in good shape.

I Stand Before My God Alone
Our choir has a new song "I Stand Here With My God Alone" and that's what I named this watercolor. It says that I will put away blame and be responsible for my actions. I think this whole song means that in the end, it is just you and God, and as I told my choir a few weeks ago, when the time comes for your death, you better be right wtih God because it will be just you and him. I plan on going in for a hug!  I am blessed to be in this choir and blessed to be able to do my artwork as well. I'm so excited and blessed that other people actually like it!

A few months ago our daily newsletter at work suggested writing down 3 blessings a day for 21 days. I did that, putting them on post-its on the fridge. I think it does help to stop once in a while and write down your blessings so you realize just how good your life is, despite the trials you face. I had no trouble filling up those post-its.  And like the old song says, "count your blessings, name them one by one..."  I plan on continuing to do that.

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Too Many Choices

Today I needed to make cookies to take for church tomorrow. Our ladies group is serving the goodies between services. I had everything I needed except peanut butter chips so I ran to Walmart to get some. I hate shopping for food at Walmart but I needed a glass water bottle that my friend said I could get there - but I never found that.  Anyway I grabbed the chips and headed home. Little did I know that they now make packs of "chocolate" chips that are a mixture of PB and milk chocolate. I don't really like milk chocolate, and the recipe I was making calls for PB chips only so I had to separate them.  Remember when all they had was semi sweet chocolate? We got excited when they came up with butterscotch chips, and then PB chips. They could have stopped there. Too many choices just leads to disaster in all kinds of ways! Hopefully I'll figure out something to put the milk chocolate chips in one of these days - until then they are hanging out in my freezer.
I also made some wonderful almond shortbread cookies with raspberry jam in the middle. I found the recipe on Pinterest. They were simple to make and SO yummy!

The heat of June and July is oppessive here and keeping things growing is a challenge. I planted 4 varieties of sunflowers a few months ago and only 2 came up - rats! This is the big one and it was quite spectacular.  It has since given up the struggle and I cut it down so I can save the seeds from the birds. The other one is blooming how and it has 5 buds on it. Kind of strange to see that tall stalk with 5 flowers.

I like to find unusual plants when I go to the nursery and a few months ago I found this one. I forgot to write down the name of it so can't share anything but the beauty/oddity.
I also have gerber daisies, 4 o'clocks, cannas and some groundcover flowers that are happy. My herbs are also doing well - mint, sage, rosemary and basil. I still have a lot of cherry tomatoes.  I've eaten hundreds of them and given away hundreds as well. They are all voluntary and I have no idea where the seeds came from, except they were probably in my compost.

The purple flowers below are palumbo. I love this color. I even traded in a diamond ring and got an ice blue sapphire which is almost the same color. Not a bad trade for a ring I'd never wear again.

I have planted 4 packages of flower seeds in my front flowerbeds. I'm hoping this fall will be very colorful! Stay tuned for the show!

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Good News!

Yes, we all need some good news, especially me after the year I've had.  About 5 years ago I had an abnormal mammogram and had to have a biopsy. For 4 years after that I had to have mammograms every 6 months to watch that spot. Last year it had shrunk and the doctor said I didn't need to come back for a year.  Good news right?

The year was up and I went to my doctor and told him I wanted a mammogram. He said I didn't need it because the new recommendation is to do it every 2 years. I said "no, I want one" since I had the prior history of some abnormalities. So I went for a routine screening the middle of June. The day after the exam I had a call from the doctor that I needed a biopsy because they found an abnormality. WHAT!!! He told me I didn't even need the mammo but I'm glad I insisted. My advice is to get one every year, whether they say you need it or not!

Last week I had a stereotactic biopsy which is done at the mammogram center under local anesthesia. Even if it wasn't part of my workplace I would recomend the Women's Imaging Center to anyone. They were wonderful and treated me so well.  My boss, who is also a friend, took me to the procedure and waited with me. Another friend brought me dinner the next 2 nights although I really didn't need her to. They are just wonderful like that.

The last week has been hard waiting for results. I have 2 friends who have been diagnosed with breast cancer this year and although I love them, I don't want to join their club. Today I got the results and the words "negative for malignancy" was the best thing I could read. Of course I cried! And thanked God that I don't have to go through what my friends did.  So for those of you who knew what was going on, thank you for your prayers. I appreciate and love each of you.

My friends at work decided to celebrate I need to go shoe shopping. Sounds good to me! I think I'll have a Bailey's or a glass of wine too.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

A Wedding and Roadkill - What?

This past weekend I traveled to Montana for my nephew Chase's wedding.  They live in the far northeast part of the state, just a few miles south of the Canadian border.  To get anywhere in Montana your options for airports are pretty sparse. This time I flew into Bozeman as one of my brothers lives about an hour from there. I spent the night at his house and then he and I and his 2 daughters headed for the wedding the next day. Can you say long roadtrip? It takes about 7 hours if you can keep at 75, don't have construction delays or car problems. To make things interesting on these road trips when I was in college and when my kids were little, we used to play games - like "can you name the 2 house town we just went through?" or "what was the name of that bridge?"  I used to be an expert at that. This time I decided to write down all the roadkill we saw, as well as other interesting sights. So here it is (in order):
Jack rabbit
Unknown - big mess!
Gopher ...(there were a lot - I kind of lost track)

Interesting sights:
Wild turkey
Chinese ring-necked pheasant
White buffalo
A Hutterite woman with a wagon and horse selling something beside the road
Sea gull
Man in a green top hat driving a pickup that must have been held together with baling wire and duct tape
Camel statue made out of car wheels
White donkey

I just had to sing along with my brother's old CD's from the 70's - old country and Neil Diamond for the most part. I'm sure he loved me serenading him to "He's Not Heavy, He's My Brother". Not sure what my nieces were laughing about in the back seat. Hey, it's a very long drive.  Here is a pic of those wonderful nieces Jodi and Katie.

And of course the wedding was wonderful We know how to throw a Redfield wedding! It was held in a hayfield on the homestead. As typical for NE MT, the wind was howling, but it was wonderful none-the-less.

 Before the wedding Hanna came to see Grandma - looking beautiful as a bride should.
 Glad to see she had on the right shoes (correction, boots) for a country wedding.
Here she is with Mom. She fits right in with our family and we're proud to call her a Redfield girl (and she cleans up well too!).
 Mom and the other grandparents. See what I mean about the wind?
 My sisters Lisa and Lynn. We're a fun bunch when we get together.
The groom who is a real life rodeo cowboy
Waiting for the bride
She arrived in a horse-drawn buggy driven by my brother Les, her new father-in-law.

Here we go! Say "I DO!"
Father of the groom - and assorted Redfields
This was cute.
These little girls were precious. The little one really liked the music.
The bride and groom
And what country wedding would be complete without the Best Mutt?
The couple with my brother and sister-in-law.
Me and Lynn

So, the bride was beautiful, the groom was handsome, and a good time was had by all. Just like a wedding should be. I sure miss all these people when I come back to AZ!

Mom and Lisa

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Peach Cinnamon Rolls

FLOUR - May is peach season in this part of the US. A friend went to the peach orchard last weekend and brought me a "peck" of peaches. I grew up on a wheat farm and we never had anything less than as bushel to talk about so I didn't know how much a peck was. Now I know.

I promised her I would make some peach cinnamon rolls. I got the recipe from the newspaper about 10 years ago and never made them. I probably won't do it again either. I started working on this project at 11 and finished at 1 - and was busy the whole time. And dirtied every bowl and cookie pan in the house in the meantime.  They did turn out good tho. I will be sharing with my coworkers, my son and his family, and a friend's family.  And I have plenty left over to freeze for my breakfasts. If I do make them again, I will have to remember to cut the recipe in half. It said it made 24 but I ended up with 30 large rolls - YIKES! I was thinking 24 little ones. Live and learn... and share!

The final product


My yard is still going great guns. Probably because we've had lots of rain and cool weather which is very unusual for AZ.
This is the flower from a Grecian Pattern Plant. The stem is about 4 feet tall at this point. The leaves are bigger than a breadbox so it is quite interesting.

This hibiscus seems to like the weather too.

 These lilies are really producing flowers this year - more than ever before.
And the snail vine is always so pretty.

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Sketchbook Update

I have continued to keep up my sketchbook with a new watercolor every week. Sometimes it's hard, emotionally and timewise to get it done but since it is my journal, I'm determined. I feel like I'm getting better with my art - what do you think?  Flowers are still my favorite, and I think I draw them better than anything else.  So here are a few drawings, and the photo I used as a model.