Summer Fun

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Death Valley Summer 1990

Seen in Bad Water
Puggle, odd little creature
Tours southwest desert

While Gretchen was attending classes at EMCC, I’ve been hiding out in the house posting about the scorching hot summer. June was a hot one in Phoenix this year. We hit a record high of 119 on Tuesday June 20th. It didn’t beat the big record for Phoenix of 122 on June 26, 1990 but we’ve gotten close on more than one day just this past Friday we broke another record with a high of 118. Since I’ve been following all the heat stories in the comfort of my AC, I noticed tourists out at Death Valley were getting out for photos next to the digital thermometer. It read 130 in the article. I had to go dig up the pictures we took the first time we came out west. And yes, it happened to be the year Phoenix holds the all time record high. It was HOT but I don’t think it was 130.

In the photo above I am holding my puggle. And no it is not a mix between a pug and a beagle. It’s a stuffed animal that now has inherited a new guardian. I still have the puggle and when Gretchen saw it, she fell in love.

Melt Down

I think I may be the only person dressed for winter in Germany later this month. Be sure to watch my blog in August. I’m sure I’ll have lots of photos to post.

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.

Phoenix ComiCon 2017

 

Once upon a time, 2010, we waited in a long line to buy tickets to attend our first comicon. Thanks to the On this day feature on Facebook, I was reminded it was seven years ago today. I did not plan on buying tickets this year, between college tuition, a new car purchase, and my upcoming trip to Germany, it didn’t seem wise to make the purchase. Seven years ago we only had to buy two tickets. Sidekicks, 13 and younger, were free (now a sidekick ticket costs money) not that it matters my girls are far beyond free anymore.

When I told the girls we weren’t getting tickets this year, they took it well. Shawn, on the other hand, he really wanted to go but I told him it was an expense we couldn’t afford now. Not only are tickets expensive, but then there is the exhibitor’s hall. BTW – thanks Del Rey for the free books. Once we finally got into the convention center, yeah some idiot decided to ruin the fun for the rest of us, I got into the Del Rey author signing line. They had free sampler books. Picked up the Star Wars one for Gretchen. Then we met Scott Sigler and Rob Reid. I waited to see what the price for the books were. They were signing and giving the books away for free. I have new reading material. 😀 A little bummed we missed seeing Pierce Brown though, I brought our copy of Red Rising for him to sign.

Gunman arrested
Cosplay weapons ban creates
Long wait to enter

Seven years ago
Flashback to first ComiCon
Could not wait to see…

And a Big Shout Out and Thank You! to Bear Essential News for giving us the four passes for Friday. They asked who your favorite cosplay character was and I answered, Levi. About a week after I told everyone we weren’t going to ComiCon this year, I got an email from Julie Madden congratulating me as the winner. I read it twice then showed it to Shawn, I think we are going to ComiCon this year. He confirmed my eyes were not deceiving me. Then I told Nonnie we got passes and she purchased a Friday pass to attend with us. We had a lot of fun. And despite the almost hour long line to get in, Nonnie survived and enjoyed her first con.

Happy 45

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Happy 45! Shawn and me at PF Chang’s Goodyear AZ

 

Black and white photo
celebrates another year
keep on loving life

On Saturday Feb. 25th, we went out to PF Chang’s to celebrate Shawn’s 45th birthday. The restaurant was overflowing, so we decided to dine out in the front, bar patio. No crowd, a lot quieter, and the weather was perfect for outdoor dining. Rachael took this picture of Shawn and me after dinner. The first few shots, the lighting created some strange effects and everyone was laughing. One reason why I like this photo; it isn’t an exact smile but Shawn does look happy. He so rarely smiles in photos. Then photobucket had canvas prints on sale. I was able to get a 10×10 print for $20 (including shipping and handling). The print arrived today. It turned out really nice.

Then On Sunday Feb. 26th, Shawn and I went to the Sabres/Coyotes game with other Buffalo State alumni. We also invited a neighbor from my old street in Hamburg, NY. I was wearing my Hamburg, NY sweatshirt. And when someone walked past me, to get to his seat he said, 1 4 7, no 1 4 0 7 5. At first I was a little confused as to why he was giving me numbers. Then he said, Hamburg’s zip code, right? Lol! Yes, I am wearing a sweatshirt that read, Hamburg, NY the town that friendship built. I kinda forgot – When I was 5.

Speaking of time flying, I can’t believe two months of 2017 have gone by. Right now Rachael is on spring break and next week will be Gretchen’s turn. And before we know it napowrimo 2017 will be here. Hopefully I will be able to write a poem a day this year. I have signed up over at napowrimo.net again.

Nasty Women Phoenix

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Me at the Nasty Women Unite in Phoenix exhibit

Saturday January 14 was the opening night for Nasty Women Unite in Phoenix. Wow it was crowded and it was a cash and carry show supporting Planned Parenthood. I told Shawn the walls were going to be bare by the end of the night. And they are open again this Friday and Saturday. The first night over $11,000 was raised for the cause. Early this week they opened submissions for more artwork to display and sell this weekend.

As Shawn and I waded through the crowd, he snapped a few photos of me. I kept glancing at his phone and commented, I’m starting to look like my mother! His reply, One day you put your arm in your sleeve and your mother’s hand comes out. He enjoys reminding me of the words of Adrienne Rich.

“At 45, you put your arm into your sleeve,
and your mother’s hand comes out.”

Hey, I have a couple more years to go there, mister. But speaking of poetry and prose, this Saturday January 21st is the Nasty Women Reading should be another interesting evening. The haikuchallenge word on twitter today is doom so I wrote –

Put your arm in sleeve
One day mother’s hand comes out
Doom suffered with age

Poetry in Phoenix

Last night Shawn and I attended our first Caffeine Corridor poetry feat at {9} the Gallery. It begins with open mic poetry readings. We arrived late, because Shawn had to drive all the way home to pick me up. We missed the first few readers, but many of the poets we did see kept mentioning an article recently published in the Phoenix New Times. The print version is here in the house, Shawn had Rachael pick it up at ASU on Thursday, because Joe is a friend of his, and he wanted to read the article. But by last night, neither one of us read it yet.

I read it this morning. Wow, it really is electrically charged with negative feelings about the poetry scene in Phoenix. All I can think is, Okay not everyone who gets up to read an original poem is going to be Whitman, Sandburg, Angelou (poet of your choice here), but you never know who will be the next great American poet. The fact they got up the nerve to stand in front of an audience to read and grow deserves kudos. You never know, in a number of years you may be able to say, I heard them when…

A person cannot improve on their skill locked up and alone. I thought poetry readings were encourage not disparage. I don’t go to poetry readings with my ego on my sleeve. Mostly because you won’t see me stand up and read a poem. I do enjoy the isolation of a computer. I’m more like Dickinson, the amount of poems people will find I’ve tucked away when I’m gone, that is if I don’t burn them all first. Yes, folks I’m analog and still write out more poems than not on actual paper I can burn.

When I first started the whole I’m going to be a published writer journey, my first submission experience was great. Those who read my blog, know I started submitting stories to the Star Trek Strange New Worlds anthology. I joined a wonderful online critique group specifically for SNW writers and I met great writers there who encouraged us newbies. And I realized I was pretty decent at this writing game. My second year, I submitted a story elsewhere and saw my first published piece. The other writers in that anthology introduced me to ritro.com and I started writing articles for the site. I shared Peter Pan Envy on this blog. I also wrote, The Hunt and Peck Method to Novel Writing.

No I was not interested in writing a novel – still holds true. But I also was not serious about poetry. I felt poets were egotistical, pompous jackasses until I joined gather.com and met some lovely poetry people who took the time to read the few poems I posted and comment with well done and at the same time offering ways I could improve my work. This was the kind of environment I saw at {9} the gallery last night. And it is the best way to grow as a poet. I’m not sure why the New Times journalist wrote they were nervous and did not make eye contact. They have the courage to stand in front of people and open themselves up. Maybe he should try it once instead of just printing he words out on a screen. And as for the featured poet in the article…I’m glad I did not run into his ilk when I first put poems out for critique. It was bad enough I was comparing myself to a great poetic ghost.

check ego at door
devote time to encourage
poetry will thrive

Happy New Year

I have been way too quiet lately. December was very busy here, my friend, Rick K, came to visit us. It was a nice time. We drove around in a convertible and it happened to be a warm (mid 70s and sunny) even for us in the desert.

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South Mountain Summit

High above Phoenix
Drive Summit Road, South Mountain
Top down, yields best view

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Rick and Shawn @ Third Space, Phoenix

9 the Gallery
First stop to view Shawn’s photos
Then drinks at Third Space

Jingle Bells

So back in August I wrote about taking out Grandpa’s guitar because Gretchen was taking guitar at school. And of course I got a picture of our vintage Martin with Rachael as Gretchen avoids the camera. This past weekend, I was actually able to record Gretchen playing the guitar. I told her it would be nice if Grandpa could see his guitar was being played again. She actually let me take video. But it’s only suppose to be seen by Grandpa.

Sure… whatever makes you happy.

I better not see
this on Facebook or Youtube
Daughter unaware

The #haikuchallenge word on twitter is unaware today. Everyone keep my secret.
Merry Christmas!

Phoenix Zoo

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Photo Credit – Zoo Photographer

On Saturday we spent the afternoon at the Phoenix Zoo to see the Nature Connects Lego Sculptures. It’s been awhile (over 4 years) since our last visit to the zoo. On the way in they had green screens set up for photos. This was new and of course I wanted to see what they photoshopped us into. Pretty neat picture and keepsake for the day.

Tired of 9 to 5
quits to build Lego sculptures
dare to be yourself

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Lego Peacock at zoo entrance

Nature Connects will be up until January. Definitely well worth the visit.

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!