Back to the old grind

Woken from sweet dream
Alarm turned back on last night
Lazy mornings gone

Good morning! It’s official both spring breaks have come and gone. The above photos are from the fun Gretchen had playing with snapchat. Also I promised my readers a photo of me in my green, Live your dash, t-shirt. So there it is. Well the first day of Gretchen’s break, she did sleep in past noon. Tuesday I woke her up at 7:30am because she had an orthodontist appointment. Then we went to the LEGO bricks & minifigs store. Believe it or not Gretchen still had some Christmas money burning a hole in her pocket.

Wednesday and Thursday we stayed home. Gretchen logged in quite a lot of time on the game Heroes of Might & Magic. I realized Saturday was St. Patrick’s Day and we did not have corn beef and cabbage. Shawn suggested we walk to the store, but we did walking on Tuesday and I can only walk so much. Friday Rachael is off so I thought we could buy the St. Paddy Day fixings then. Little did I know getting the oil change in the car would take almost 3 hours. The previous week when Rachael went to the dentist on her spring break, she texted, the engine light came on. Shawn was here because it was the day we were getting AC estimates. When Rachael got home, dad went out to the car; it’s the oil change light. Okay that we can handle – Rachael and I are old pros at oil changes now. The reason it took so long – the tire pressure light has been on for quite awhile. Shawn kept checking the pressure but even when he added air, the light did not go off. We asked them to check the tires; there was a nail in one so we had that repaired as well.

After the fun experience of our second oil change. Rachael and I went to the feed store to pick up hay for the tortoise. The look on the guy’s face when two women pulled up to load a bale of hay into a Honda Fit. They got the hay in the car; then we had to unload the hay. Guess what? ASU is #1 in innovation. They plaster it up all over so no one will forget. It took all three of us, Gretchen, Rachael and me to get the bale out of the car. Then Rachael started flipping the bale up the driveway, “Number one in innovation”. See what our tuition money is paying for. The bale was too big to push, but then I grabbed the twine and started to pull while Rachael pushed. This worked well until we ran out of sidewalk. The bale didn’t slide very well on the stones. Rachael flipped it the rest of the way onto the back porch. Oil change and tire repair done, hay for the tortoise in the backyard accomplished, now it was time to pick up Gretchen’s new frames.

We get to the eye doctor’s around 4:30pm and see the new frames have lenses in them. They were only suppose to be frames and they would switch the lenses from the broken pair to the new pair. Figured out the lenses were plain glass most likely to keep the frames in the proper shape during shipping. Well the office was very busy and they only had one tech who could switch out the lens so we had to wait. We walked over to the grocery store because Gretchen was disappointed we didn’t buy food while waiting in Wal-Mart for the oil change (still have not gotten the corn beef and cabbage). Buy some snack food and a roast chicken for dinner, walk back over to the eye store and learn it’s going to be more than a little while. It’s 5pm and we need to sign paperwork for the new AC at 6pm. I tell them we’ll pick up the new frames tomorrow.

Replace old AC
it worked well for 18 years
New one will be cool

Yes, we are all signed up to get a new AC unit. The old one is the original one stage system that came with the house. It has worked very well. One summer while we were out of town it stopped working. My cousin was coming over to check on the house, cats and tortoise and realized the house was warmer than it should have been. When we got home a good friend (who does AC repair) came over and saw we needed a new fuse. He replaced it for the cost of the fuse. Since then we have not had a problem, but the unit is 19 years old; it was made in 1999 but we bought the house new in 2000, which is why I say 18 years. And last summer was VERY HOT – the AC was chugging away all the time. Grateful it did keep chugging because during an AZ summer, you do not want to deal with no cooling.

And that brings us to Saturday. Rachael drove Gretchen and me back over to the eye doctor’s. Gretchen got her new frames and then we went over to Fry’s to get groceries for the week and the corn beef and cabbage. After we got home and put the groceries away, I had a little time to recoup before I had to start cooking the corn beef. It worked out pretty well. Then Saturday night Shawn went to the final event for the Erotic Show at Alwun House. I stayed home; I was worn out from all the adulting I did on Friday and most of Saturday. Sunday Rachael was off to work as usual and Shawn went over to help his mom. Then my cousin called to see if Shawn could help him. His mom lives down the block from my cousin, Shawn went over there to help as well. While he did that I made soup with the roasted chicken we bought on Friday. Prepped the veggies to go in and then had just enough time to get ready to go see the band, Come Back Buddy. They  were having a free concert on the lawn at the Wigwam.

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Cerebral Palsy Awareness

emerald color
supports cerebral palsy
keep calm and stay strong

March is cerebral palsy awareness month and the 25th is CP awareness day. But you would never know I have not worn the Emerald Isle color in years. On St. Patrick’s Day I’ve been known to wear orange. 😉 I grew up Protestant and I enjoy poking fun at Shawn’s Catholic upbringing – not to mention his grandmother was Irish. How does a man with Irish roots spell his name Shawn and not Sean? That’s a funny story. His grandmother’s maiden name was Barry. When she was pregnant with Shawn’s dad, she wanted to name him Barry if he was a boy and Shawn for the middle name. Cele (Shawn’s grandmother) wasn’t sure about the Irish spelling for Sean. She asked her neighbor who was straight off a boat from Ireland. The neighbor told her, S-h-a-w-n. At least this is the story I’ve been told. I think the neighbor liked the anglicized spelling over the Irish.

Well I’ve known that green is the CP awareness color for a couple years now, but I haven’t gotten a green shirt until this year. It just came in the mail the other day. When I wear it, I’ll be sure to snap a photo. I have the SunDevils reward app from ASU. You can log on everyday and earn pitchforks. As the pitchforks accumulate, you can redeem them on ASU merchandise. I saw they had Pat’s Run t-shirts from a couple years ago in the reward store and they were green. It says, Live your dash. I like the message as dash doesn’t necessarily have to mean run. Just like Colleen’s Weekly Poetry Challenge – there are plenty of synonyms to pick. Okay but really for green there aren’t many I like probably another reason I don’t have much of it in my wardrobe.

Job Comes to a Close

Scored standardized tests
replaced grant money we lost
no lend to repay

 

At the start of the year, we learned Rachael did not qualify for grant money from FAFSA that she was given her first year at ASU. I also saw an article about a work at home job, remote reader for standardized tests. Well over 20 years ago I received a BS in English Secondary Education and it’s been collecting dust. So I whipped up a resume. I haven’t worked a “real” job in almost 20 years either so I asked a couple friends to be personal references and then what do you know? I qualified for the work. It was nice to be able to earn some money from home. Especially when I cannot drive. I did not have to worry about how to commute to and from.

Tuesday as Gretchen started her new adventure at EMCC, Mom wrapped up her own and did well as I earned more money than was given to Rachael in last year’s grant. We are hoping to be able to finance Rachael’s four year degree so she doesn’t have to graduate in debt. Both my parents and Shawn’s parents paid for our undergrad degrees and it’s great not having to worry about student loans when you graduate. Of course Rachael is doing her part earning her AA while she was still in high school and keeping up her GPA to earn the top academic scholarship from ASU.

Meanwhile even though I only worked for a little over two months it feels strange not to log in and read papers. I got an email from my company this morning thanking all of us for our hard work. Qualified readers will get an email at the end of this year to score for the Spring 2018 test period. I’ll definitely sign up again. It was nice to bring in a little extra money.

Nasturtium

Nasturtium-Tropaeolum

CC BY-SA 3.0, Link Wikipedia

Nasturtium leaves
add some zing to salad greens
with hint of radish

NaPoWriMo Prompt Day 5 – In honor of Mary Oliver’s work, I’d like to challenge you to write a poem that is based in the natural world: it could be about a particular plant, animal, or a particular landscape. But it should be about a slice of the natural world that you have personally experienced and optimally, one that you have experienced often. Try to incorporate specific details while also stating why you find the chosen place or plant/animal meaningful.

Here we are on day five of NaPoWriMo. On the first day I told you Rachael is taking an outdoor eduction course at ASU. She is also taking a garden class. She learned about the nasturtium flower and told us how it tasted like radishes. Well Mom wanted a taste and she brought home a couple leaves last week. Whew! They definitely have a kick.

Meanwhile Gretchen is not feeling well and stayed home from school today. Poor girl has slept the morning away. I need to get set up to work, the new adventure I told you about the last day of March. It is online so I am able to work from the comfort of home. Great gig for someone who can’t drive. I need to check on Gretchen to see if she needs anything before my work day begins.

If the little American sentence was not enough poetry to satisfy your nature needs, here is one I wrote on Desert Spring Silver Birch Press published a couple years ago. Enjoy the rest of First Contact day.

End of March

End of March

Single file march
over to the park
children laugh
and dogs bark
outside to play
before it gets dark
she tries to teach
and ignite a spark
for the water cycle
this last day of March
but it is dreary
the wind picks up
students grow weary
looking for desert
plants and animals
how do they adapt
to dwell in the desert
where rain seldom falls
leaving them parched
a hare hops across
their path unexpected
sign of rebirth
or cruel April fool

 

Welcome back everyone! It’s day one of NaPoWriMo. This is my interpretation for the prompt at napowrimo.net: our (optional) prompt. In honor of today’s interviewee, I’d like to challenge you to write a Kay-Ryan-esque poem: short, tight lines, rhymes interwoven throughout, maybe an animal or two, and, if you can manage to stuff it in, a sharp little philosophical conclusion.

Yesterday, Rachael took Gretchen and me over to the park to teach us about the life cycle in the desert. She is taking a course in outdoor education and had to write and teach a lesson plan. It was in the mid 60s yesterday, and for us desert dwellers it’s chilly. I was cold anyway. When we came to the part of the lesson where it asked us to walk around and find plants and animals who live in the desert. I said, the only animals I see are children and dogs. Rachael said to find, draw and write about the plants then. A few minutes later, she pointed out the rabbits. Her first teaching experience didn’t end up being all about flora after all.

Vote for Rachael

Read Rachael’s message
help her make a difference
every vote counts

Rachael is on the DR.Pepper Tuition Giveaway. Veterinary school is pretty expensive. She has wanted to be a vet since grammar school. She is really doing well in her first semester at ASU still striving towards her goal. I am one proud mom. Please go read her page and vote for her – THANKS!