Sunday, April 30, 2006

More Trip Pictures - Day 1

Day 1 of our drive from Phoenix to Maryland via Pittsburgh had us head to Flagstaff and hang a right for about 60 billion miles. Flagstaff is about 2 hours north of Phoenix, and the elevation change took us from about 11oo feet to 7000 feet above sea level.

This was about an hour and a half into the start of our adventure:

As we got to Flagstaff, we could see the snow-covered San Francisco Peaks, the highest mountain range in Arizona:

After hanging a right at Flagstaff, things got...boring. It was like this for the next several gazillion hours:

Side note: We left early, around 7:00 am, figuring with 12 hours to drive, we'd get to our first destination (Elk City, OK) around 7:00 pm. Great idea in theory, until someone forgot to factor in the 2-time-zone change between Phoenix, on Pacific Time, and Oklahoma, on Central time. So, we pulled into Elk City at 10:30 local time. Considering our plan was to get up the next morning at 5:00 am to start Leg 2, this was not a good thing.

As we approached Albuquerque, we finally started seeing some landscape:

My favorite were these fake antelopes and things on the side of this butte:

After New Mexico, we scooted across the top of the Great State of Texas. I'll pick up there with my next post :)

Saturday, April 29, 2006

Odd Memories of Home

One of the great things about Moms is that they tend to hold onto things forever, especially things that you made with your own loving hands. I think I might have her committed for holding on to this:

So what is it? A ceramic coffin, of course. With french fries on top. If I remember correctly, the cross was a last-minute addition....though I don't remember why.

I made this in college. Believe it or not, I never experimented with drugs. Though I wish I had - it might help explain it. Here's a look at the inside:

I had taken a ceramics class just for the heck of it, and it turned out to be a ton of fun. I made some really neat stuff (as in, normal.... mugs, vases, plates, a bell. Mom still has all that too). At the end of the semester, we were given an assignment to make something free-form.

I would love to be me now, going through the thought process of me-then in coming up with this beauty. I really am at a loss as to how this was the end-result of hours of planning. I do know the french fries had something to do with the fact that I loved french fries (McDonalds in particular). How they got on a coffin, though, is less clear.

Anyhow, when we were at my Mom's house a few weeks ago, this was still sitting on the dresser in the spare bedroom where we stay when we visit. Clearly, I made her proud. Or senile. Joe still shakes his head......

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Sell This House!

Or, in this case, burn it!

When we were out in the Frederick, Maryland area last week looking around, we hooked up with a realtor and checked out a few places, just to get a feel for houses in the area.

Being a realtor has to be tough. You never know just what you are walking into. This one house that we visited, really looked picture-perfect on the outside. Only a few years old, our expectations were pretty high.

The first hint of trouble was surprising the homeowner. Despite having an appointment, he didn't realize we were coming, and I think we woke him up (in the middle of the afternoon).

As he gathered his stuff to leave, we wandered into the kitchen. Um....this is what we found:

This was on the kitchen island countertop. And yes, those are droppings. I believe it's a hamster in the cage. A messy one at that. When I took a peek inside, I came face-to-face with the hamster-equivalent of Cujo:
I'm glad I decided not to stick my finger in and try to pet it!

As I said, I think we woke up the homeowner when we arrived. This is where he was sleeping:

Aside from the sleeping quarters in the middle of the living room (there were no beds in any of the bedrooms), the oversized chairs drew our attention...and not in a good way.

Perhaps they should turn on the Christmas tree lights to create a more soothing and appealing focal point. Who cares if it's April - HO HO HO!

As we left the living room, we couldn't help but notice the laundry room...again, not in a good way:

Joe: "What's that coming from under the washer?"
Jeff: "Ew."
Realtor: "Don't touch it..."
Jeff: "Say, a toy firetruck!"

The upstairs was a disaster. I've never seen carpeting in such bad shape. For a house that's only 4-5 years old, these people really demolished it. And the paint jobs on the walls were soooo bad - sloppy, and it did not cover at all.

I don't know whether to feel sorry for the realtor that has the house listed, or be angry for even listing such a house and not providing some kind of warning; at the very least in some secret realtor code, like "Great fixer-upper opportunity!". Or "Please get rabies shot before entering"....

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Note from Spike

Grandma was kind enough to take down a message from Spike the Dog. I miss my poor babies. Apparently, that's a one-way feeling......

Hi Dad x 2. Having a great time, wish you were here. Grandma is treating us great. She cooked me a pound of bacon for supper last night. She throws us table scraps all the time plus we eat twice a day. We also feast on Munch's food sometimes too.

We forgot how much fun grass can be. Max loves to roll in it, his hair catches all the dirt and sticks. I like to dig in it and kick up the dirt. We mostly stroll in Grandma's beautiful back yard ( one whole acre!). Now that's a really huge lot. We go over every night after dark to Dr. Youngs' (the neighbor vet) - really good smells over there mmmm.

Getting lots of exercise, I even "ran" up all of Grandma's front steps the other night. No ramp for me thank you!!! Max is getting use to David, he jumped up on David's lap the other night and tonight even let David pat him. David's a pretty good guy, just looks a little wild and rough. He takes us for long walks and gives us beefy treats mmmm good. Why don't you ever buy us any of those. Grandma bought us new rawhides too.

Don't worry about us were' doing good here...can we stay for 3 months?? Miss Kitty likes David too, he gives her kitty treats and rubs her ears, she purrs.

Munch moved out , yea !!!

Grandma's big grey cat is not very friendly, He hissses at us all the time and hides under the couch. I sleep on my cozy blanket, Grandma just washed. Max sleeps with Grandma (he's a big suck up).

Hope all is going well for you 2. Did you sell our house yet? Did you buy a new one for us yet? We want grass!!!!

We love you. Spike

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Finally, some updates!

Wow, it's been that long? My excuse is that we've been traveling.

The interesting thing about driving cross-country is that you get to see so many...well...interesting things!

For instance, driving through Texas and Oklahoma, we saw a few of these:
Wind farms! Acres and acres of giant windmills. They were really cool. Keeping true to Texas ideology, they were really big too....

And how can you not smile when you come across this on the highway?

Even after some 20 hours in a car...with 2 dogs and a cat...this was fun!

This for something you don't see everyday either:

The down side is it took a good 7 hours to get "We All Live In A Yellow Submarine" out of my head...and unforunately, seeing this picture puts it right back there....ugh!

Through all of this, though, Spike seemed relatively unimpressed.

As I get all the pictures organized, I'll post a few more of my favorites. And, more details on what's *really* been going on around here lately! :)

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

All's well....

Turns out the pets are not actually possessed. A little weird, yes. But not possessed. See? This was Max this evening enjoying the patio:

Though I did sleep with one eye open last night just in case.

A few months ago, a co-worker gave me a bunch of Iris bulbs that her mother gave her. When I brought them home, we were both skeptical - mainly, because I suck at growing anything. But I'm an adventurer.

So, I put some soil in a pot, stuck a bulb in , and watered according to a very scientific schedule (i.e., when I remembered). I'll be damned - lookie what happened:

I'm not exactly sure what kind of Iris it is, but who cares? It's growing!

Maybe I'll plant the rest now and see what happens.

Monday, April 03, 2006

Possession is 9/10ths of the law...

...and apparently 3/3rds of the pets around here! All of 'em - possessed! Look!! LOOK AT THE EYES!!!!!

Non-believing types might attribute it to poor camera skills and the like. Rubbish! They are possessed - it's like Night of the Living Dead-Pets.

I wonder if we have any pet exorcists in Phoenix.....I wonder if I will make it through the night.

On an unrelated note.....I really am not the patient one in my family. When I want something to happen, I want it to happen NOW. I was expecting some exciting news last week, and it's taking longer than expected. My sights are set on this week, but I may explode by Wednesday if it doesn't come by then.

Rest assured, if I do explode, I'll take pictures. And probably have green eyes....